Spotlight on Female Ancestors #4 ~ Sarah Allen ~ Taken Captive

Sarah Marie Allen, my maternal 1st cousin 8 times removed, was born on May 1, 1692, in Deerfield, Massachusetts Colony. She was the 4th of 9 children born to Edward Allen Jr (1663-1740) and Mercy Painter (1664-1740). The following is an account of the events of her life from 1704 to 1764.

In the pre-dawn hours of February 29, 1704, during Queen Anne’s War, joint French and Indian forces (including 47 Canadians and 200 Abenaki, along with some Mohawk, Wyandot, and a few Pocumtuck, all under the command of Jean-Baptiste Hertel de Rouville) attacked the town of Deerfield, Massachusetts in what became known as the Raid on Deerfield. They razed much of the settlement and killed 56 colonists, including 22 men, 9 women, and 25 children. The attackers took 112 captives, including women and children, and forced them on a months-long trek to Montreal, nearly 300 miles to the north. Many died along the way; others were killed because they could not keep up.

Among those taken prisoner was 11-year old Sarah. The prisoners were marched from Deerfield to Montreal. It took them until April 25th to reach Fort Chambly. From here Sarah was taken to a settlement on the other side of the St, Lawrence River. She was kept here for a while before being sold to Jean Quenet, a Montreal merchant. One of his properties was at Baie D’Urfe and that is where Sarah was placed as a domestic servant.

Under enormous pressure, many of the captives converted to Catholicism including Sarah. On May 30, 1705, she was baptised by the Jesuits and renamed Marie Madeleine Helene at St Anne du Bout de I’lle before her appointed godparents Pierre Lamoureux and Etiennette Hurtubise, the wife of Jean Quenet, Sarah’s master.

The town of Deerfield quickly reestablished itself and Edward Allen Jr, Sarah’s father, was named town clerk. During the following three years John Sheldon was hired to led three expeditions to Canada to rescue the captives. Edward was a member of the third expedition in 1707. He was in Montreal in August of 1707. A war broke out between France and England while they were there, and they were prevented from completing their mission. There is no record that Edward found where Sarah was or what the result was. Sarah was living and working at the home of Jean Quenet at the time which was 10 miles west of Montreal.

Sometime in early 1710, Sarah, now known as Marie, met Guillaume Lalonde (1684-1752) whose family owned a farm near the Quenets’. He was a son of an immigrant from the Normandy region of France. On April 10, 1710, she married Guillaume and in May of that same year she was granted citizenship of New France, choosing to make her life in Canada and effectively cutting off any contact with New England and her family. To become a citizen Sarah had to agree to these terms: “they could not leave the country without express and written permission, nor be employed as go-betweens with foreigners on pain of forfeiting their right to citizenship.”

Sarah and Guillaume had 13 children, 9 sons and 4 daughters. During their lifetime they lived in the towns of Baie D’Urfe, Point Claire, Ile Perrot and Les Cedres in Soulange, Guillaume died in 1752 and Sarah died in 1764 at the age of 72. They were buried in the Parish Cemetery of St. Joseph de Soulange.

I can’t imagine the trauma and fear that little 11-year old Sarah endured on her forced trip up to Canada in the winter. She saw many people killed on this trek, some for being slow, some for being sic, and some for trying to escape. One 5 year old girl was killed because the man who carried her could not carry her and supplies at the same time. She must have lived in constant fear! She lived in “survival” mode, having been sold as soon as she arrived in Montreal and at the age of 16 she was forced to change religions in order to fit in. She also had to give up her name and her country to be able to live in peace. I believe that once she married and starting having children, she was able to begin enjoying her life. She was a very strong woman!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

Sunday Salute ~ The First Woman Soldier I Have Found In My Family

Ada Millburn Divine PhotoI feel very honored to be able to write this blog about my maternal 3rd cousin, Ada Milburn Divine. Since I started this weekly blog I always thought it would be great to find a female who served in the Military, but after months of searching I almost gave up. I do have a habit of searching my paternal line first, then my maternal one is always an after-thought. I am so glad I strayed from the norm!

Ada Milburn Divine was born on January 6, 1909, in Johnson City, Washington InkedYearbook Ada Divine_LICounty, Tennessee. She was the second of three daughters born to Paul Eaves (1871-1935) and Lula nee Milburn (1881-1955) Divine. Growing up, Ada was known as “Sis”. She had many interests while attending school. She was an accomplished artist (painting) and writer. After graduating High School she attended East Tennessee State Teacher’s College in 1927, where she was a member of the Pi Sigma Literary Society. She attended college for 4 years graduating with a degree in science in 1931. She taught school in Johnson City for a few years, then she moved to New York City to pursue her painting career.

Here she met Reginald Randall (1901-1938) and they got married on January 22, 1937, in Manhattan. Reggie was a veteran of WWI and he had been deeply affected by what had happened during his time overseas, and the things he saw and did in combat. He and his bride moved to Johnson City to be near Ada’s family. However, the move did not keep the memories away. On July 21, 1938, Reggie died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. This impacted Ada so much that she never remarried, nor had any children. For some unknown reason, she began to go by her middle name Milburn, and people called her “Millie”.

Ada Millburn Divine WWII PhotoMillie began working as a purchasing agent and buyer for the N.E.C.Company. In the 1940 census, we find her living with her mother Lula, and both women are listed as widowed. When WWII started on December 8, 1941, Millie wanted to join the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp but she discovered that all the women did was paperwork, laundry for the troops, and miscellaneous cleaning. This didn’t appeal to a college graduate with a degree. In July 1943 the organization was renamed the Women’s Army Corps when it was authorized as a branch of the US Army rather than an auxiliary group. The WAC’s received the same rank insignia and pay as men later that September and received the same pay allowances and deductions as men in late October. They were also the first women officers in the army allowed to wear an officer’s insignia. Millie enlisted in the WAC’s on November 13,1943.

Although women were prohibited from being in combat zones, some women who WAC_Air_Controller_by_Dan_V._Smithshowed a good knowledge of the technical field could be sent to England to help assist the troop in a non-combat fashion. Because of her degree in science, Millie was trained as one of the first women air traffic controllers. She spent the next two years in England directing the pilots as they flew their missions.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn November 13,1945, Millie returned home to Johnson City. She began painting again and teaching art to the local children. However, she missed the control tower. In 1944, she started working as an air traffic controller at the Nashville International Airport, She continued working there until she retired in 1970. Ada “Millie” Divine Randall died on February 4, 2001, in Johnson City, and she is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, located in Greenville, Greene County Tennessee.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Here’s Your Sign #2 ~ Mount Gilead Cemetery

For many years I have been collecting photos of and information about the various signs that have been placed in honor of some of my ancestors. These signs are a glimpse into some event and/or place where they lived. Some of the signs are small like a placard with a few poignant words, some are large and they go into great detail, and then there are those that are somewhere in between. Each one gives added life to those ancestors.

Permalia Allen sign

This sign states that my 4x Great Grandmother, Permelia “Milly” (Loving) Allen (1774-1866) a widow, had led a large group of her family from Missouri to the “Peter’s Colony” in Tarrant County, Texas. The ground that the Cemetery is on was the original settlement that she established. This is where she is buried. She was 92 years old. She led an amazing life if you would like to learn more about her you can find it here:

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Freaky Friday’s ~ From Generation to Generation

ff imageDo you ever wonder why some things are done a certain way in your family, but the same thing is done differently in a friend’s family? How about the foods you eat or don’t eat? Well, thanks to a cousin who shared a few stories with me I now know the answer to these two questions.

Mitchell Willard Sr is my 1st cousin. He is now in his late 80’s and is one of only two 1st cousins I have left. He is the only living cousin who got to meet and spend time with our Grandpa Charley Hughes (d. 1944). Here are a couple of stories.

My paternal grandparents lived on a farm outside of Lexington, Lafayette Co., Missouri.Charley & Virginia Hughes new pic Grandma Virginia (Jennie) Hughes would send Grandpa into town to buy items from the store. Is was quite a long trip so by the time he arrived in town he would be hungry. Among the small list of items to purchase she would always have him buy 30 hot dogs. On the way home he would always eat a couple of them uncooked Grandma knew that no matter how she would scold him he would insist on eating 2 so she always added those to the total number.  Why is this so interesting to me? Well, growing up my Dad ate hot dogs uncooked, so I did too. Of course, I would dip mine in ketchup and now I add a slice of cheese to them. My 3 children also eat hot dogs uncooked and now my Grandchildren do the same thing. I never knew until this story was shared with me that Grandpa Hughes did this and I always wondered why we adopted this way of eating them. This is definitely a strange thing to be passed down from Generation to Generation…LOL.

Grandma & Grandpa Hughes and Mr & Mrs Lewis (Neighbors) editedApparently, my Grandma Hughes loved peanut butter. She ate some every day. Grandpa Hughes hated it. He said the smell made him sick. So, Grandma would try to eat it outside when the weather was good. Missouri can have some pretty harsh winters and during that time she had to get creative. She discovered if you mixed peanut butter in a bowl with Karo Syrup that the sweetness from the syrup hid the peanut smell. She would mix up a bowl and just eat it with a spoon. As far as I know, Grandpa never found out! Grandma told my cousin that Grandpa being “sick” from the smell was all in his head. She then found she could eat peanut butter spread directly onto a banana and that too seemed to soften the smell. My dad also ate peanut butter both of these ways and so do I. Only one of my children does it and three of my grandkids.

What makes these two stories freaky? The fact that I just found out about them about 7 years ago, but I have been eating this way my whole life. Yes, my dad also ate hot dogs and peanut butter this way, but I had no idea it was a generational thing!!


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.



Strong Woman ~ Sarah Hood ~ #52 Ancestors Week #10

Sarah HoodThis weeks writing prompt is “Strong Woman”. I feel fortunate enough to have several women in my family tree that fit that category. I had a really hard time deciding which one I wanted to write about so, I would like to introduce you to my 8 times Great Aunt, Sarah Hood.

Sarah’s father Richard a was born in England in 1625, He, along with his parents, made the long voyage to the British Colonies sometime before 1650 and they settled in Salem, Lynn County, Massachusetts. He met and married Mary Newhall in 1652. Over the next several years they added 13 children to their family. Sarah was the 3rd child and their second daughter.

In 1675 Sarah Hood married William Bassett Jr who was the brother of Elizabeth Bassett Proctor, wife of Sarah Hood MLJohn Proctor who came from a very influential family. In the spring of 1692, there was an increasing rise to accusations of witchcraft in and around Salem, Massachusetts. The hysteria had actually started over in England several years earlier and spread across the sea, brought over by the ever-increasing newcomers. Several young girls of the village began having “fits”. They screamed, threw things, uttered peculiar sounds and contorted themselves into strange positions, and a local doctor blamed the supernatural. As a result over 150 people were accused of being a witch, having supposedly signed their souls over to satan to obtain power.

Salem w trialOn May 23, 1692, Sarah Hood Bassett was accused of witchcraft and was immediately sent to prison. She had to take her two-year-old daughter Ruth with her as she had no one to care for her. Her 5-year-old daughter Hannah stayed with her husband. Just being associated with Sarah was dangerous during this time. Food and clothing were brought to the prison for Sarah and Ruth on a weekly basis. It didn’t help that she was also about 2 months pregnant at this time.

The month before Sarah was accused; her husband’s sister Elizabeth and brother-in-law John Proctor had salemwitchhousealso been accused, arrested, tried and convicted of witchcraft. They were sentenced to hang. They all three spent the next few months together in the prison in Boston. Conditions were extremely harsh. On the 19th of August, despite no evidence to the charges and in spite of numerous testimonials to the character of John Proctor he was hung on Gallows Hill for the crime of being a wizard. This left Sarah and Elizabeth alone to care for each other.

It is impossible to say that I know how she felt. Here she was married into one of the best families in the region. Her husband and she attended church every week. Then she had to endure being falsely accused, sentenced, thrown into prison along with her child and being pregnant. She had to watch her brothers-in-law be hanged even though he was innocent. I can imagine that she spent a lot of sleepless nights thinking about her situation and praying for freedom. I am sure she also feared for the child she carried.

SalemStreetSarah spent a total of 7 months in this prison and she was pardoned because the charges against her could not be proven. Elizabeth Proctor was also pardoned and released. Within 2 weeks after being released she gave birth to a son which they named Joseph. She was later granted payment of 9 pounds by way of compensation and her next child, a daughter, was named Deliverance. At the time of her death in 1721, she and William had been married for 46 years. She was an extremely strong woman to survive this ordeal and to carry on with life



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.


“My Aunt, One of the Rosie the Riveters”

ImageOn a cold winter morning on the 14th of November, 1919, Margaret Ruth Hughes was born in Sweetwater Missouri. She was the youngest of 11 siblings. Being raised on a farm in rural Missouri she spent most of her childhood working on the family farm and tending to her Fathers prize-winning horses and mules. She learned how to cook and sew, which seemed to come naturally to her.

By 1930, soon after the start of the Great Depression, her family moved to a new farm outside of Lexington Missouri.  The Hughes’ were skilled farmers and they were able to grow enough vegetables not only to feed their own large family but also those of their neighbors. They also raised cows and pigs so there was always plenty of meat to eat.  Margaret learned how to be generous and giving from the examples of her parents.

In 1940 she was living in the town of Lexington sharing an apartment with her widowed brother (my Dad) and her widowed sister. She was working at a Laundry as an ironer. She used her skills as a seamstress and she soon began a sewing career, one that she worked at until her retirement in 1980. She was so talented that she developed her own unique type of Western Shirt that was well sought after in the Kansas City area.

Aunt Margaret and a friend, 1940 Lexington MO.

Then came World War II. At the age of 24, she moved by herself across the country to the San Francisco area to become one of the thousands of “Rosie the Riveters”. She worked at the Naval Shipyard on Mare Island. This shipyard built more than 400 vessels during the course of the War. As a matter of fact, Mare Island set a record for building a Navy Destroyer in just 17 ½ days. To this day this record has never been broken. She really enjoyed her job as a riveter and she learned a lot from the experience. She would sew shirts for the sailors as gifts and gave them to the men when they shipped out.  Margaret met and married a sailor in 1944 and he was soon sent overseas. It wasn’t long after he left that she discovered that she was pregnant. In the spring of 1945, Margaret returned home to Missouri to have her son there. Her husband never returned from the War so she raised him by herself for 4 years until she married my Uncle.

This experience made Margaret a very strong and determined woman. She loved her family deeply and worked very hard. She approached every obstacle in life with a zeal I have never found in anyone else. She passed away in 1988. A month Aunt Margaret for blog olderbefore she died Margaret was told she had cancer throughout her entire body. The doctor was shocked that she could even walk let alone continue to care for her family. No one knew that for years she had lived in terrible pain. This is the woman that I try to fashion my life after. I want to be as loving, giving, kind and strong as she was. At least that is my goal.



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, andcropped-blog-pic1.jpg grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.