Sunday, February 26, 2012

Divorce in the Family

 Divorced in 1869

While researching the gravestones in the Denison plot at Elm Grove Cemetery in Mystic, New London, CT. I came upon the graves of Hannah Burrows (Denison) Meservey and  two of her children. Hannah was my first cousin 3x removed, daughter of Isaac Wheeler Denison and his wife Eunice Eldridge Burrows. 

Research of this family has led me on a merry chase from Maine to Massachusetts to Connecticut. I knew that there was a connection to East Bridgewater, MA (source: Denison genealogy) and while living in neighboring Bridgewater,  I met Margaret Alexander, town historian and local cemetery expert. 

She helped me find the grave of one of Hannah's children, researched one child's death by drowning and drove me to the location where Hannah and her family lived while in East Bridgewater. It doesn't get better than having this expert help.

My Denison ancestors tended to stay put in Connecticut so this is really an unusual case. I am fascinated by this "messy" family.

Hannah married a man named Jefferson Bethel MESERVEY (1829-1883) as his second wife. I found out today that he was DIVORCED from his first wife. This divorce took place in January of 1869.  (source: Maine Divorces 1799-1903) The first wife was named Margianna Lovinia BARROWS and possibly there was a child named Martha from this marriage. They were married 13 Sept 1860 and the child was born in 1863. I certainly need more proof of these events but I have added this to my tree at to see if I can find any new leads. I also joined the Maine Genealogy Network.

The killer fact is that Jefferson was both a teacher and a LAWYER besides a farmer. After he died in East Bridgewater, I have no idea where he might be buried. (Not in East Bridgewater, according to Margaret) For a long time, I suspected she sent him back to Maine to be buried with this first wife. Now, I am guessing he may be buried with his parents, possible in Bradford or Brewer Maine. I don't think he'd want to be buried with a wife he divorced.

Hannah returned to her native Stonington and went back to teaching. She sold the farm in East Bridgewater that they bought in 1876 before she moved back to her Denison family. Her daughter married and stayed in Massachusetts. Apparently, this daughter married a disabled man. He may have been a polio victim.

But, I keep wondering why Jefferson and his first wife were divorced... 

Genealogists love a good mystery.

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