Today’s post will discuss some items related to Nathaniel’s family, questions surrounding Nathaniel & his wives, military records, and mysteries that still linger.
An in person review of Lunenburg records by a good friend came up blank for the Marden surname in the proper time period. I did locate a groom’s marriage “card” online showing Lunenburg as the location of the marriage of Nathaniel & Sally Beedy, in 1828, but the matching “bride card” was not located. What’s up with that – that sort of thing always makes we nervous about the reliability of the information. I don’t really trust this card file, but the information it contains matches the information in other published sources so I reluctantly except it as probably accurate.
Chapin Kidder’s birth place is claimed as Lunenburg VT and the year is 1824-1826. I found no documentation for this fact, but it is found in the published Annis Genealogy letter from Chapin’s older brother Joseph. Joseph was 14 years old when Chapin was born so I tend to believe he knew first hand where his youngest brother was born. Since Lunenburg doesn’t sound much like or look much like any other town’s name in the region, I also tend to think the published letter is transcribed correctly (at least as it relates to this particular item). The fact that Nathaniel, who is a young adult, appears to have married there in Nov-1828 suggests their father, Edward Marden Jr., very likely lived in Lunenburg for a couple years in the mid to late 1820s.
Lunenburg is also the location where Edward Marden Sr. (the Ranger) is first found in records. This may or may not be important in determining the identity of Edward Marden Senior’s first wife and the mother of Edward Jr., but it certainly is worth noting since this is also an important section of the Connecticut River for local Native Americans.
Nathaniel and his father Edward have households in Albany, VT in the 1830 Census. This suggests the families of Edward Jr. and his eldest son Nathaniel moved from Lunenburg to Albany about 1829, perhaps making the move together, or one followed closely by the other.
Lunenburg, VT, Lyman, NH, and Albany, VT are common connecting locations between the first 3 generations. These locations should be explored thoroughly for additional information concerning the early families.
From Albany, VT to Phillips, ME is a big trip as the crow flies and even further when traveling by land or water. I wonder what led Nathaniel to give up family and friends in Vermont to start again so far away? He is the first in the family to be found in Maine. I wonder what caused him to choose remote towns in Western Maine?
Many of these Maine locations are found on or near the Sandy River or Rangeley Lakes. The Sandy River provided very rich agricultural land and the forests were plentiful. This was also an important transportation route for Native Americans before the region was settled by whites in the late 1700s. It connected (via carries or portages) the Rangeley Lakes Region (part of the Androscoggin River watershed) with the Kennebec River watershed and provided access to important coastal communities. A handful of Native families stayed in the region and many continued to use it’s seasonal resources well into the mid 1800s. It is possible Nathaniel chose this region because it was good agricultural land at a fair price. Perhaps he chose the region because his Native grandmother (if she was Native) had family ties to the region.
Nathaniel called himself a farmer. As a farmer, he either had to have enough money to buy an existing farm or he had to create a farm out of the wilderness by clearing the forest, breaking the ground (often very rocky), building a house and barn from scratch, etc.. Starting fresh every few years would be a very hard way to raise a family and keep them fed. Researching his land transactions in these locations should be a priority, since they may help us understand the choices he made.
The Freeman Genealogy covers Nathaniel and his children quite well, although the errors I found in this source for his brother Chapin suggests I should be very careful about accepting Nathaniel’s data without question.
There is an online record that states Nathaniel was born in Phillips, ME. I have found no reason to believe this is valid information. I believe the family is recorded in the Phillips Town Records with their birth dates but that does not mean any of them were actually born there, only that the family lived there.
The confusion surrounding Nathaniel’s wives needs to be discussed, but I doubt I have uncovered anything conclusive at this point. We have a marriage record for Nathaniel & “Sally Beedy”, both of Lunenburg, VT at the time of marriage. I do not know with any certainty when the first wife died. The Marden Genealogy and the Freeman Genealogy both give her death as about 1851, but neither offer any reason for that date. Nathaniel’s youngest son, Chapin, was born sometime in 1850. If Sally Beedy is the mother, than she was obviously alive at that time. Published genealogies claim “Sally Beedy” is the same woman as Abigail Beedy, daughter of Aaron & Ruhamah Beedy and I have found no reason to disbelieve this except that Sally is an odd nickname for Abigail.
Nathaniel and Sally Beedy are the same age, give or take a year. The wife with him in the 1830 (Albany, VT) is in the same age bracket as Nathaniel, so that fits well. The wife in 1840 (Carthage, ME) may be younger. Nathaniel is in the 30-40 bracket and the woman is in the 20-30 bracket. I know Nathaniel is 30 or 31 and she could be 29 or 30. The information could fit a husband and wife just 1 year apart, but it could also suggest a different, younger wife. The wife with Nathaniel in the 1850 Census is called “Sally” and she is 1 year younger than Nathaniel.
Nathaniel’s wife as recorded in the Phillips Town Records (presumably recorded in the mid 1830s when they lived in that town) is called “Sally” and her birth date is given as 5-Sep-1810, which agrees with the birth date of Abigail Beedy given in published sources.
Lets look at the children’s names to see if we can form any conclusions based on naming practices. The first son, Edward, is named after Nathaniel’s father. Elizabeth is named after Nathaniel’s mother. Abigail is named after Nathaniel’s wife Abigail Beedy. Nathaniel Jr. is obvious. John does not appear in earlier Marden generations but is the name of Abigail Beedy’s grandfather. Aaron is named after Abigail’s father and Ruhamah is named after her mother, so it would certainly seem that Abigail is the mother of those two children and that Abigail and Sally are indeed the same woman. Sarah is probably named after Abigail’s grandmother (the woman married to John). Chapin is named after Nathaniel’s brother. Based on an apparent naming practice, all of these children probably do belong to Abigail Beedy, who went by the name Sally and died between the 1850 and 1860 census.
The wife with him in 1860 (Errol, NH) is also called “Sally” but she is younger. He is 50 and she is 44. This does not seem to be the same woman that was with him in earlier census. Nathaniel has remarried, which is not surprising if Sally Beedy died about 1851. The children are not all with Nathaniel, only 25 year old Edward (a married man with 2 children back in Weld, ME at this time) and 15 year old Ruhamah (called Roemma in the census) are in this household on the 6th day of June. On the 28th day of July, Ruhamah (now called Ruana) is again found in census at Flagstaff ME in the household of her older sister Abigail and husband Benjamin Durrell. Siblings Aaron and Sarah are also with Abigail. Nathaniel Jr. and 10 year old Chapin are no where to be found in the 1860 census.
Now add six kids (ages 8 to 18 and all born in NH) with the surname McGile to the 1860 household of Nathaniel and we have the makings for an interesting mystery to solve.
I found online mention (unsourced!) that Sally Jones Linnell of Magalloway Plantation, ME married to a Nathaniel Marden. I also found an online source (unsourced!) that suggested Sally Linnell was married to a John Mcgill. I just located a marriage record (Maine delayed returns) in Portland, ME for Sarah Linnell and John McGill on 2-Jan-1844. This does fit with the 1860 Census entry, but I certainly would like to have some real sources for this information. The local History of Magalloway, Maine mentions Sally Jones Linnell was the daughter of Israel Linnell and Desire York and that she died in Errol, NH 3-Mar-1867. The Errol cemetery has a Sally Marden that died in Errol, NH on 4-Mar-1867.
I also found a marriage record in Errol in 1894 in which the bride’s parents are listed as Sally Linnell and John Mcgill. The daughter, Mary, claimed she was born in Upton, NH. Since there is no Upton in NH, but Errol, NH is right next to Upton, ME, I believe this should be Upton, ME. This appears to be the child named Mary found with Nathaniel & Sally in the 1860 Census.
I have tried a number of times to find the McGill family in the 1850 Census but had no luck until just recently. I finally found John & Sally J. McGill in Township 5 Range 2, Oxford Co., ME. I found it at FamilySearch and eventually I found them indexed at Ancestry.com under John Mc Gill. The order of the children is different but the names are the same. Know I now have little doubt that Nathaniel married Sarah Jones Linnell, who was the widow of John McGill.
In the Marden Genelaogy, Ms. Getchell says Nathaniel is probably the man who married at Errol, NH to Melissa Edwards on 5-Aug-1861. My research suggests the man that married Melissa Edwards was Nathaniel, Jr.. Junior is reported MIA in Virginia on 16-May-1864 while serving in Co. A, 8th Maine and died at Andersonville Prison in September. Just weeks after his death, a widow files for this soldier’s pension under the name Melissa Mardin.
Nathaniel first enlisted on 15-Oct-1861 for 3 years of service in Co. G., 12th Maine Infantry. He is described as born in Granby, VT, resident of Upton, ME, age 44 (actually age 52, he lied about his age because he was too old for service), a farmer, married, 6’1” tall (this is very tall for the time period!), dark complexion, hazel eyes, and black hair. He was discharged 12-Sep-1863 due to disability.
The 12th Regiment stayed in New England until the end of 1861, then boarded the Stearmer “Constitution” headed for Ship Island, Mississippi. They served at Ship Island until May of 1862. In May they moved to New Orleans and duty at the U.S. Mint until October of 1862. During this period they went of a expedition to Manchac Pass where they captured 2 artillery batteries, a large amount of stores, the colors, and $8000 in Confederate money. They were allowed to keep the colors they captured. From there they moved to Baton Rouge until March of 1863. They then embarked on a campaign which included the siege of Port Hudson. After the surrender of Port Hudson they moved back to New Orleans then to Ship Island in August. The southern climate was very difficult for New Englanders to deal with and the wool uniforms didn’t help the situation. We don’t know what disability Nathaniel suffered from but it could have been caused by exposure, malaria, or perhaps his age. Many men much younger than he were not strong enough to survive the climate change and died of disease.
Nathaniel’s death did not occur on Ship Island of fever during the Civil War as stated in both the Marden Genealogy and the Freeman Genealogy. The Marden Genealogy also mentions he was alive in 1864 when his son John’s estate was settled, which was after he was discharged from his first enlistment.
On the 26th of February, 1864 Nathaniel once again enlisted for 3 years. This time he served in Co.I, 32nd Maine Infantry. He is still age 44 (but he is really 54!), a farmer, married, born in Granby, VT, a resident of Grafton (NH or ME?), 6’1”, dark complexion, black hair, and black eyes. He died of wounds 6-Jun-1864 according to the card file at Maine Archives.
In the above record, I favor Grafton, ME as his residence in 1864. First, there is a state specified for Granby, VT in both the 1861 and 1864 records, but none specified for Upton in 1861. Since these are Maine records, I suspect there is no state specified if the town is in Maine. Second, Grafton Township, ME is located on the border between Maine and New Hampshire and very near to Errol, where we know he was living in the 1860 Census and near to Megalloway where his 2nd wife was from. However, Grafton, NH should not be completely ruled out since it is very near to Lyman, NH where the family originated.
The 32nd Regiment was the last one created in Maine during the Civil War. They mustered in at Augusta March 3 to May 6. The 1st six companies left the state on April 20th. Nathaniel’s company left the state on May 11th and joined the other companies in action at the front on the 26th of May on the North Anna River. Nathaniel was at Totopotomoy from May 28th to the 31st. From the first of June until his death, Nathaniel was part of the Cold Harbor action. He was wounded during this action and died from his wounds. Military and cemetery documents do not agree on the actual date of death, but June 10th is the latest date I found.
Nathaniel is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 27, Site 1063. This was a brand new cemetery established during the Civil War and his burial took place a about a month before it actually became an official military cemetery.
Repeated attempts (using all the tricks I can think of) to locate evidence of a military pension for a widow and/or minor children (Chapin & the younger McGill children) have come up empty.
Military Service of his sons
All of Nathaniel’s sons, except the youngest served during the Civil War. I am including the information I found in the card file maintained by Maine Archives for each of them. The physical descriptions, ages, places of birth and residence are useful in analysis of their father.
Edward enlisted 25-Nov-1861 for 3 years service in Co. H, 14th Maine Infantry. He is age 32, born in Victory, VT, resident of Byron, ME, farmer, married, 5’9”, dark complexion, Blue eyes, and dark hair. He reenlisted when his term was up and served in Co. A of the same regiment until 23-Sep-1865 when he was honorably discharged from duty.
Nathaniel Jr. enlisted 7-Aug-1861 for 3 years of service in Co. A, 8th Maine Infantry. He is age 23, born in Phillips, ME, resident of Canton, ME, farmer, married, 5’7-1/2”, dark complexion, gray eyes, brown hair. He was listed as MIA at Drewrys Bluff, VA on 16-May-1864 and died 21-Sept-1864 at Andersonville Prison in Georgia.
John Jewell enlisted 25-Nov-1861 in Co. H, 14th Maine Infantry for 3 years of service. He enlisted on the same date and into the same company as his brother, Edward. He is age 21, single, farmer, born Berlin, ME and a resident of Byron, 5’11” tall, light complexion, blue eyes, and light hair. He died in service on 23-Feb-1863 of unknown cause in Carrollton, Louisiana. The Marden Genealogy provides probate information for him as “So. Paris, Me.Prob.#69” stating he was a resident of Byron but owned land in Weld.
Aaron enlisted 28-May-1861 in Co. E, 8th Infantry (same regiment as brother, Nathaniel Jr., but different company and date ) for 3 years. He is age 20, single, farmer, born in Flagstaff, ME, residence of Flagstaff, 6’2” tall, light complexion, blue eyes, light hair. He reenlisted. He was discharged due to disability 10-Jun-1865 from Cony U.S. Hospital in Augusta. There is a note in the record that his residence is also given as Rangeley and New Portland.
Nathaniel and his son’s must have believed very deeply in the issues surrounding the Civil War. All but his youngest served. They all enlisted before the end of 1861, very early in the war. The two that survived reenlisted in the field when their 1st enlistments expired and served until the end. The war devastated the family. This family really deserves to be properly honored for their sacrifice during this 150th Anniversary and Time of Remembering.
What else should I try to learn about Nathaniel Marden?
Nathaniel did own property in Franklin Co., ME and Coos Co., NH according to census records so a complete search of lands records for those counties should be made. Franklin County was established in 1838 and I show Nathaniel in Phillips as early as 1835. With this in mind, Somerset County should also be included in the deed search because Phillips was in Somerset County in 1835. This search should include land records for his children as well. Oxford Co., ME might also turn up some land records, since his last known address was Grafton Township in Oxford County. Probate records should be searched for in Franklin, Oxford, & Coos counties, since Nathaniel died leaving a minor child of his own, a number of step children, and a widow.
Errol, NH town records should be searched very carefully for all records of Nathaniel, both his wives, and the McGill family. Town meeting records might also contain bits and pieces of useful information about the McGill children in Nathaniel’s 1860 household.
All the towns he is found in should be checked for birth records of his children. This will be very time consuming since he was in so many undeveloped townships early in their history. Records might be found in neighboring towns, nearby historical societies, or may not exist at all.
I have located a lot of data, but not many historical documents to support the data. There is still plenty left to do, but I will leave it for his descendants to work for themselves.
I would love to hear from Nathaniel’s descendants. Can you add any documentation?
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Hi, I am one of Nathaniel's descendants and also interested in learning more about the family ties especially who our Native American ancestors would be. I believe that I descend through Aaron (my great grandfather Marden's name, my grandfather's middle name and my brother's name (though dubbed 'Erin' instead as my father thought the Aaron version reminded him of 'aardvark' :) My grandfather lived on Eagle Island as a caretaker to the Admiral Peary in Casco Bay and so there is much recorded about him. My grandmother is still living and she has a remarkable memory. She has shared much with me, but she would know more than I would. I know she refers to gramp's Native ancestor as Snowflower, but I don't know if that is a generalized term. She has made mention of a wedding photo of these ancestors, but it does not seem to fit the timeline unless there were another wedding more recent than Edwards. We did spend time as kids on Marden Brook near Phillips at our family camping site (which had been in the family for quite a long time.) I will look forward to hearing from you.
If you read through all the posts on this blog concerning the Marden family then you will know as much as I do about your possible Native heritage.
It is certainly interesting to hear that your line has oral history of Native ancestry.
However, “Snowflower” would not likely be a real name. The Wabanaki People of this region did not use this type of name. It is most likely something someone created in the past after reading a dime novel about Western tribes or attending a Wild West Show.
You are right to question the wedding photo. Edward Jr. was born long before photography, so there can not be a photo of the marriage of his parents.
I have two suggestions for you.
First, since you said “I believe” Nathaniel is
you ancestor, take some time to do a little bit of your own research so you know for certain if he is or not.
Second, talk to your grandmother more and make notes or tape record your conversations for future generations. Ask her about this marriage photo and about any other photos and family papers she still has. Take it upon yourself to preserve these family treasures and hopefully share them with all the family.
Thanks for dropping by. If you have specific questions you can e-mail me and I will see what I can do to help.