Saturday, September 29, 2012

1880s Autograph Album of Jane Mendell Briggs of Smithfield, Rhode Island


1880s autograph album of Jane Mendell Briggs, "Jennie", of Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Note: be sure to read the comments sections for additional information and clarifications from a New England researcher.



The album is approximately 5" x 3" and contains 36 pages signed by Jennie's relatives and friends.  See the complete list of signers in alphabetical order at the end of this post.

From online research, hopefully correct: [corrections and clarifications appreciated]

Jane Mendell Briggs was born 9 October 1869 at Barrington, Rhode Island, the daughter of Nathaniel Parke Briggs and Sarah Martin (Sweetland) Briggs, who were born in Massachusetts and Rhode Island respectively.

Her paternal grandparents were Nathaniel and Jane (Mendell) Briggs.  Her maternal grandfather was James L. Sweetland.  

I don't have the name of Jennie's maternal grandmother, who I'm assuming died before 13 October 1851, the date that James married Ellen Whipple.  I found a Rhode Island death record for a Maria Sweetland who died on 1 December 1849, but I don't know if she is the person I'm seeking.  If she is, her death may have resulted in part from Sarah's birth a month earlier.

One site online has James L. Sweetland married to a Sarah Martin, daughter of Benjamin Martin.  They had a daughter Sarah Martin Sweetland who married Nathaniel P. Briggs, so all would seem to fit, including the name Martin which was Sarah Martin (Sweetland) Briggs' middle name.  

However, I think some family members got mixed up, as the dates of birth of the mother and daughter Sarahs are too close, 1844 and 1849.  It's possible that the mother Sarah in question was actually Benjamin's sister Sarah Ann Martin, born 18 June 1819, daughter of Samuel Reed Martin and Sally (Bowen) Martin, and that the James L. Sweetland mentioned was actually the brother of Sarah Martin (Sweetland) Briggs.

If you have information that would clear up the mystery of Jennie's maternal grandmother, please leave a comment or contact me directly.  Thanks.

Jennie's mother Sarah Martin (Sweetland) Briggs signed a page in the album in 1885.

The person who signed a page N. P. Briggs, Jr., was likely Jennie's brother Nathaniel Parke Briggs, Jr.  Their father's father was also Nathaniel Briggs, which concerns me a bit, but I'm not sure his middle name began with a P, so I'm hoping the Parke middle name began with Jennie's father.

Another person signed a page J. L. Sweetland in 1884.  I'm not sure when Jennie's maternal grandfather died, so this may or may not be his signature.  He had a son James L. Sweetland, Jr., Jennie's maternal uncle, and I'm leaning toward this being the latter's signature.

Frank H. Sweetland of Burlington, Vermont signed a page in Jennie's album in 1890 [written over another date which looks like 1880 but was probably corrected by the author].  Frank was the younger half brother of Jennie's mother Sarah Martin (Sweetland) Briggs.  His parents were James L. Sweetland and his second wife Ellen Whipple.

An Ida L. Briggs of Smithfield, Rhode Island, signed a page in 1886.

Two people, mother and daughter, called themselves Jennie's cousins.  Mrs. S. C. M. Rogers of Central Village, Connecticut, signed a page as cousin.  She was Sara C. (Morse) Rogers, married to Civil War surgeon Dr. Charles H. Rogers, who also signed a page, along with their daughter S. Lillian Rogers.  The latter two dated their pages 1885.





An L. P. Briggs signed a page in 1884.  It was written under a piece of Victorian scrap.



In 1894 Jennie married Albert Lincoln Latham, son of Daniel and Louisa Abby (Mowry) Latham and raised a large family at Smithfield, Rhode Island.  Albert died in 1838 and Jennie in 1957.

Note: Many people from the Mowry family signed pages in Jennie's album.

If you have corrections and additions to the information on the Briggs and Sweetland families, or if you have insights into any of the signers listed below, please leave a comment or contact me directly.

Complete list of signers in alphabetical order by surname [given names within a surname may not be in alpha order]
  • J. C. Bailey, Jr.
  • Cora M. Bailey of North Smithfield, Rhode Island, or signed there, 1885; friend
  • Jane Mendell Briggs of Smithfield, Rhode Island, "Jennie", owner of the album
  • Ida L. Briggs of Smithfield, Rhode Island, 1886
  • N. P. Briggs, Jr.; Jennie's brother
  • S. M. Briggs, 1885; Jennie's mother Sarah Martin (Sweetland) Briggs
  • L. P. Briggs, 1884
  • Charles F. Burbank of Smithfield, Rhode Island, 1885; friend
  • Ruth A. Burbank of Smithfield, Rhode Island, 1885
  • Rev. M. Cole of Hyde Park, Massachusetts, 1884
  • Annie L. Cooke of Smithfield, Rhode Island, or signed there, 1885
  • C.M.E., 1873
  • Mary A. Evans of Smithfield, Rhode Island, 1884, friend
  • Sarah A. Evans of Smithfield, Rhode Island, 1884
  • J. Eliza Godfrey of Barrington, Rhode Island, signed at Smithfield, Rhode Island 1885; friend
  • Stella A. Harris of Smithfield, Rhode Island, 1886
  • Ida M. Harris of North Smithfield, Rhode Island, or signed there, 1887
  • Amanda Hunt, 1886; friend
  • H. S. M.; sketch of bird
  • Mary C. McLeod of Fall River, Massachusetts, 1886; friend
  • Waldo P. Mowry of Providence, Rhode Island, 1887
  • Abbie H. Mowry of Smithfield, Rhode Island, or signed there, 1884; friend
  • Amanda S. Mowry of Smithfield, Rhode Island, 1885
  • Addie E. Mowry of Smithfield, Rhode Island, or signed there, 1885
  • Edna E. Mowry of Smithfield, Rhode Island, 1885; friend
  • Mabel S. Mowry of Smithfield, Rhode Island; friend
  • A. L. Mowry of Smithfield, Rhode Island, 1885
  • Abbie H. Mowry of North Smithfield, Rhode Island, 1887
  • James S. Phillips
  • Dorcas A. Potter, 1885; friend
  • S. C. M. Rogers of Central Village, Connecticut; Jennie's cousin Sara C. (Morse) Rogers, wife of Charles H. Rogers
  • Charles H. Rogers of Central Village, Connecticut, 1885
  • S. Lillian Rogers, 1885; Jennie's cousin, daughter of Charles H. and Sara C. (Morse) Rogers
  • J. L. Sweetland, 1884; possibly Jennie's maternal grandfather James L. Sweetland, if he was still alive then, or his son, James L. Sweetland, Jr.
  • Frank H. Sweetland of Burlington, Vermont, 1880 or 1890 [strikeover]; half brother of Jennie's mother Sarah Martin (Sweetland) Briggs
  • Mrs. Lydia Wood of Providence, Rhode Island; not sure of middle initial
Smithfield, Rhode Island


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5 comments:

  1. This one was too close to home to pass up. I think Jennie's mother's family goes like this:

    Capt. Samuel R Martin (1783 - 28 Aug 1840) [1]
    + Sally ___ (1787 - 23 Feb 1828) [2]
    Benjamin Martin (28 Aug 1815, Barrington, RI - ) [3]
    Sarah Ann Martin (born 18 Jun 1819, Barrington, RI[4], died 1st or 2nd Dec 1849) [5]
    + James L Sweetland
    Married 3 Oct 1841, Barrington[6]
    His second marriage to Ellen M Whipple, 13 Jul 1851, Providence [7]
    James Lewis Sweetland (abt 1843 - ) [8]
    Sarah Martin Sweetland (abt 1849 - 25 Jan 1914, Barrington)
    her death record says "parents James L and Sarah M Sweetland." [9]
    + Nathaniel P Briggs
    Jane Mendell Briggs (9 Oct 1869, Barrington RI)
    Ida Louise Briggs (b abt 1874 - )[10]
    Nathaniel Briggs, Jr[11]
    Joseph Bowen Martin (28 Apr 1823, Barrington, RI - ) [12] Rhode Island, Births and Christenings, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F8QF-PBM


    [1] findagrave.com: Tyler Point Cemetery, Barrington, "Capt. Samuel R. Martin. died Aug 28, 1840 in the 58th year of his age"
    [2] findagrave.com: Tyler Point Cemetery, Barrington, "in memory of Mrs Sally Martin, wife of Capt Samuel R. Martin. She died Feb 23, 1828 in her 41st year"
    [3] Rhode Island, Births and Christenings, familysearch.org, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F8QF-GT5
    [4] Rhode Island, Births and Christenings, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F8Q6-2XP
    [5] Rhode Island, Deaths and Burials, 1802-1950 "Mrs James Sweetland, age 37, died 1 Dec 1849." no given name, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F8XC-ZP5, and findagrave.com: Tyler Point Cemetery, Barrington. "Sarah Ann, wife of James L. Sweetland, died Dec 2, 1819 in the 31st year of her age"
    [6] Rhode Island, Marriages, 1724-1916, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F8KV-GX5
    [7] Rhode Island, Marriages, 1724-1916, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F8KT-MXG
    [8] his own marriage record says "parents James L and Sarah A." Rhode Island, Marriages, 1724-1916 https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F8KW-8M7
    [9] Rhode Island, Deaths and Burials, 1802-1950, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F8XB-JWT
    [10] her own marriage record says parents Nathaniel P Briggs & Sarah M Smetland[sic], Rhode Island, Marriages, 1724-1916, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F8VZ-1YN
    [11] his own marriage record says parents Nathaniel Briggs and Sarah, Rhode Island, Marriages, 1724-1916, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F8KD-25J
    [12] Rhode Island, Births and Christenings, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F8QF-PBM

    ReplyDelete
  2. I guess blogspot doesn't like tabs. I tried it again with spaces instead but the preview didn't look much better. Hope you can make some sense out of the generations.

    Benjamin Martin, Sarah Ann Martin, and Joseph Martin are children of Capt. Samuel Martin and Sally ___.

    James Lewis Sweetland and Sarah Martin Sweetland are children of Sarah Ann Martin and James L Sweetland.

    Jane Mendell Briggs, Ida Louise Briggs, and Nathaniel Briggs, Jr, are children of Sarah Martin Sweetland and Nathaniel P Briggs.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fast work, Ed! So the website I found was almost correct but mixed up two generations, as I thought. Sometimes it pays not only to proof read by sight but by to read out loud, so there's an extra chance to catch dates and facts that just don't add up. This can be very eye-crossing work! That said, it was the only place I found that gave info on an earlier marriage. Most online trees blithely give Ellen Whipple credit for all of James' children, including those that were Sarah's. Sarah Martin (Sweetland) Briggs's mother was perhaps Sarah Ann MARIA (Martin) Sweetland, whose poor daughter was left motherless a month after birth.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Or they transcribed "Martin" as "Maria". I thought maybe also that one you took as Maria Sweetland was an unnamed Sweetland with parents James and Maria. I looked at a few others that said "Kin 1" and "Kin 2" and that is what it looked like on theirs. Whatever.
    We knew a woman here in RI, now deceased, whose married name was Briggs, so maybe a relative of a descendant somehow.
    And I'd never heard the name Sweetland until now, but was surprised to see how many there were.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes, perhaps there was no "Maria". When I was researching, I ran into pages and pages of Briggs and Sweetland folks. And Latham and Mowry, too. The eBay seller said the album was loaded with old time Rhode Island names - so true! I added a note to the post itself so folks would not forget to check the comments. Sometimes the best part of a presentation is the Q&A; and likewise, sometimes the best part of a blog post is the comments section!

    ReplyDelete