Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dartmouth Hockey, Football and the “Booma” Award

Two brothers, Harold and Roland Booma were star athletes at Dartmouth College and the hockey rookie of the year award is called the Booma. These brothers are my wife, Stephanie’s, great-great uncles. Their half sister Emily Catherine was Stephanie’s great- grandmother. Emily’s uncle, Frank Booma, was a New Hampshire soldier killed in World War I and the American Legion Post in Portsmouth is named for him.

Harold E. Booma for whom the award is named was born on the 4th of July in 1908. His parents, Scott Booma and Annie May Stevens, were married in 1906 in Milton Mills, NH and were living in Swampscott, MA 2 years after his birth so he was probably born there. Scott was from Lancaster, NH and Anna from Milton Mills, NH. There were many Stevens from this area including Tufts kin and the Booma records lead back to Connecticut and Canada. The opportunity for research of both these lines is apparent. A copy of the book French-Canadian Emigrants to New England. An account of the Booma family would probably have the full story but I have not found a copy except in the Baker Berry library at DartmouthHarold would have attended Swampscott schools and then went to Dartmouth where he graduated in 1930. In 1929 he was in the Delta Nu fraternity (which was overseen by my great-uncle Nathaniel Burleigh). The yearbook “Aegis” lists Harold on the football team as a left end and a right defenseman on the hockey team. He captained the hockey team for the 1929-1930 season. He certainly appears to have been a standout athlete, playing baseball as well. His name must appear in local newspapers and sports sections of the day. He was awarded the Kenneth Archibald Prize for outstanding athletic achievement and scholarship. He is mentioned in one book describing the Yale game which was always a rival at Dartmouth (Football: The Ivy League Origins of an American Obsession by Mark F. Bernstein) ( Many other records are available at the Dartmouth athletics website

The 1929-1930 season was the first in Davis rink. Before this they played outdoors at Ocom pond.
There is even some film footage of the Dartmouth-Yale game in 1929

The Boomas also enjoyed outdoors hunting sports. There is a picture in the Dartmouth library collection of a group called the “Bait and Bullet” club with another called the “Eight for Eight”. The Eight for Eight club is pictured at the Merrill Brook cabin in Dartmouth Grant lands of northern NH. They apparently had a good year: at least two nice bucks are pictured and eight total deer for eight hunters. The letter accompanying the picture mentions that Harold is the first on left and his brother Roland is fifth from left. It also says the fourth from left is the president of the United Shoe Machinery Company where Harold worked. (United Shoe was a very large shoe equipment company in Beverly MA.) He is listed in census and directories available at as a manager and one trade magazine (Steel vol. 159 1966) states he was a vice president. He is also mentioned in the Who's Who in America. 38th edition, 1974-1975 and Who's Who in Finance and Industry. 18th edition, 1974-1975 presumably for his accomplishments with the company.  Harold  and his wife Dorothy settled in Marblehead by 1940 and raised 2 sons, Scott and Richard. Richard also played hockey at Dartmouth.

Roland Clayton Booma was born June 11, 1906 and died May 8, 1977. His wife was Dorothy Margaret MacLean. They had a son, Roland C. Booma, Jr., and lived in Salem and Lynn MA. He started Booma Oil Company which exists today. Roland probably attended local schools before going to Dartmouth where he graduated in 1930. In addition to hockey(?), he also played football and was a member of Kappa Kappa Kappa fraternity.

Stephanie and I will add the Frank Booma story when we have completed the research. Many New Hampshire baseball players will be familiar with the name if they follow Legion baseball because the Portsmouth post is named for him.
If anyone has further information on the other families from these Booma families, please post it in the comments or send me an e-mail. We do have information on some but the story is confusing because of name changes and secondary marriages. Also, if anyone has sports memorabilia or news copy of the Dartmouth teams of 1928-1930, please let us know in the comments section or by e-mail. As of this writing, we have accumulated data that result in this story about Emily Catherine. If there are errors and anyone has verifiable information, please let us know. This is one of those genealogical mysteries that we feel is very close to being solved.

Emily Catherine Booma was born Sept. 1, 1902 in Portsmouth, NH and died Jan. 24, 1995. She was the daughter of Scott Booma and Mary (Monahan) (his first wife). Emily grew up in the George W. Dame household when Scott Booma remarried and went to Massachusetts. When she married William Sears (or Cyr) she had adopted the name Dame and her mother had remarried Percy Freeman after George Dame’s death. She later adopted the name Cyr even though it may have been Sears. She had three daughters Margaret, Catherine and Lyla. Margaret died very young, Catherine died in a house fire with her daughter, and Lyla is my wife Stephanie Catherine Toland-Tufts’ grandmother on her mother’s side. Many of her descendents are living today but will not be published here. They include members of the Kidd, Grogan, Harris, Jordan, and Toland families.

Dartmouth library collections available on the internet were used in this story:

Football at Dartmouth history and archives:

Hockey at Dartmouth history and archives:

Yearbook pictures used above are available at

Thursday, December 13, 2012

More Tufts home pictures

Here are a few more pictures of James A Tufts home on Pine Street in Exeter New Hampshire

Decorated for July 4th perhaps
Snowy scene

Mothers room
(I'd be interested to know about the portraits in the background)

Dining room decorated with roses
The dining room
Helen (Betty) Tufts Kreger
(One of my favorite pictures from the old collection)

"Gyp" the ladder climbing dog 
(one of my Grandfather's favorite subjects)
Delmont, Betty, Irving, and Theadora; The children of Professor James A Tufts
(picture taken out back by barn at Pine Street home)

James A Tufts II, Irving, and Delmont
(can you tell which was the Nurseryman, Wall Street executive and dairy farmer?)
Irving Tufts family in the front yard 

 Delmont, Theadora, Betty, and Effie

the whole family; (l to r):
Tuffy, Effie, Irving, Betty, JAT II, Theadora, Delmont
(in the side yard. the house in background was Judge Shute's home)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pictures of Tufts homes

Here are a few pictures of my Great-Great Grandfather Timothy Tufts and Great Grandfather James A Tufts homes. Some are from collections handed down through the family by my father, J Arthur Tufts and his father James A Tufts II. I was fortunate enough to come across his negatives from 1908 to later years and digitize them. Other pictures are ones I have taken in my search for as many ancestors homes and graves I can find.

Timothy and Sarah Tufts in front of their home in Alstead, New Hampshire

Opposite side of the same house after the fire that destroyed Timothy's store. This one has the notation "Done by Dunn". A local photographer?

Timothy Tufts in front of his store

James A Tufts speaking at dedication of Shedd-Porter Library with his father Timothy's house and store in background

Timothy Tufts home on Bennett Road

Barn on Bennett Road

Timothy's father Jonas Tufts home in Walpole New Hampshire. Jonas formerly held a farm in the south meadow in Charlestown. I wonder if it was the one where you turn to Putnams farm. More research may tell.

Jonas Tufts home today (2010)
James A Tufts home on Pine Street in Exeter New Hampshire
(Later was dismantled or torn down to make room for home built on adjacent property)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Professor James A Tufts

My Great Grandfather


“Down in Timothy Tufts’ home in Paper Mill Village, a boychild was destined to be a real father to thousands of boys at Phillips Exeter, never a president in name, but more a symbol of the academy than some who held that title; “just raking up after,” was the way this country boy was to sum up his great lifework.”

New Hampshire Borns a Town
Marion Nicholl Rawson 1942

James Arthur Tufts I (fondly known as “Tuffy” by his students at Phillips Exeter Academy) was born April 26, 1855 at Alstead, New Hampshire, probably at his parents’ home, which sat next to his father’s store on Main Street or at the home his father Timothy built off Bennett Road. The village in the west part of town was called Paper Mill Village. The farmhouse is on the Bennett Road, which on a map from 1892 is shown as “T. Tufts”. It is a small brick cottage with a red barn, and there are references to Timothy having a fine farm, as well as the store and house in Paper Mill village.

Another excerpt from Rawson mentions how he enjoyed sledding.

“Little Jimmy Tufts and Charlie Kent would find some wooden boxes at Jimmy’s father’s store and drag them up the hill on their sled and then fill them and slide downhill on them as seats to their runners”

I suspect Tuffy enjoyed sledding his entire life, as he owned two sleds  when he lived in Exeter. The old double-runner sleds that were at the High Street house in Exeter when I was growing up are still in good shape today. He was said to have told a joke about the physics teacher always leaning the wrong way when sledding on Great Hill in Exeter.

The old picture above is Timothy Tufts and his wife Sarah at their home in Paper Mill village, Alstead. The newer one is the home off Bennett Road.

James Arthur attended local primary schools and at age 11, attended Miles Military Academy in Brattleboro, Vermont, for three years. In 1872, after clerking in his father’s store, he went to Phillips Exeter Academy and graduated in 1874. At Exeter, he excelled in academics and was elected president of his class and president of the “Golden Branch”, an oratory society based on the “Rhetorical Society”, which preceded it. This public-speaking theme was carried down through the generations, and was even impressed upon this writer as an important part of education, along with good command of proper English. 
After Exeter, he attended Harvard College and graduated in 1878. At Harvard, he maintained a high standard of scholarship, was a member of “The Signet” and president of the Everett Athenaeum. Upon graduation he returned to Exeter to teach English and was made professor of the classical department in 1883. In 1893 he was named Odlin professor in English. He taught for fifty years and served as Professor Emeritus for ten years following. 

For many years he prepared the school catalogue and in 1903, when he collected material for the general catalogue of the Academy for the years 1783-1903, he really began the work of the Alumni Office. He was also appointed secretary of the faculty in 1889, and served as secretary of the New England Alumni Association from 1891-1938. His speech at the One Hundred and Fiftieth anniversary of Phillips Exeter can be found in the Bulletin of the Exeter Academy July 1931 and is an excellent example of his oratory skills, mixed with some humor, and is descriptive of his long tenure with the school. Laurence M. Crosbie, an Academy institution himself, gives a tribute to him in The Exonian November 23, 1938, two days after his death.
“To thousands of the Alumni of Phillips Exeter Academy throughout this and many foreign lands, the death of Professor James A. Tufts ‘74 will bring sadness; for to them he represented the Alumni as did no other man.  For years he had attended the annual Alumni meetings, all the way from the Atlantic Coast to the Paciļ¬c.  At the gatherings of the graduates of the school, he was almost always present to bring greetings of the Exeter of today to the men of former years.  At these meetings he was always the speaker who was most applauded. “Tuffy” to the Alumni had become a tradition, a link between the school of today and the school that the old boys knew and loved.”
 In 1917 he was awarded an honorary degree of Master of Arts by Dartmouth College. Dartmouth president Hopkins called him, “The Idol of the Alumni”. In 1920 he was awarded an LL.D from The University of New Hampshire, and in 1928 a Literary doctorate from Boston University.  He also listed himself as member of the Cliosophic Society of Princeton College, Modern Language Association of America, New England Association of Colleges and Preparatory Schools, and American Dialect Society in the secretary’s report of his 1878 graduating class at Harvard.
Professor Tufts, Doctor Tufts, if you prefer, or “Tuffy”, as he was known to faculty and students, was a well-liked and honored member of the Exeter community, elected to the State Legislature from 1905-1908, and the State Senate from 1919-1922 (serving as president of the Senate in 1922). He also served as Trustee of the Robinson Female Seminary, The University of New Hampshire, Exeter Public Library, and Kensington Public Library. It was suggested that these library associations were due in part to his desire to keep Henry Tufts’ book from circulation. Henry Tufts was a notorious horse thief and criminal from Lee, New Hampshire, a relative from another branch of Peter Tufts’ family. Professor Tufts attended the Unitarian church in Exeter, as did many of his descendants, and was secretary of the Unitarian Society there, as well as life member of the Unitarian Sunday-School Society and American Unitarian Association.
Professor Tufts edited several books, including “Macaulay’s Essays on Milton and Addison”, Goldsmith’s “Vicar of Wakefieldand “The Deserted Village”, Scott’s “Lady of the Lake

Tuffy’s first wife was Effie (Locke) Tufts. They were married 12 December 1878. She was the adopted daughter of B. Delmont Locke and Sarah (Child) Locke of Arlington, Massachusetts. Her name before adoption was Caroline Effeda Green. Born in 1853, she would have been 7 at the time of her adoption. She passed away 29 October 1931.


Not much more is known about Effie at the time of this writing. Some family members think that she may have been the source of some Indian blood that gives present-day family members their dark-tanning skin and occasional black hair. Effie’s adopted mother, Sarah Child Locke for many years was bedridden from a fall down stairs. B. Delmont worked for Massachusetts and Vermont Railroads and was a cloth printer in the 1870 census. Their home was at 29 or 33 Academy Street in Arlington. He was a prominent man of Arlington holding several town offices including Town Clerk and Tax Collector in 1896 and 1897. He passed Oct 3, 1904. Sarah died less than 2 months following (Nov. 26).
The Locke family is an old family from the 1600’s in Boston and New Hampshire and other Tufts may have married Lockes. Their names are found throughout the early records including Revolutionary soldier Benjamin Locke.  Delmont and Sarah are buried in the Exeter cemetery, adjacent to the Tufts family plot. I was never aware of this and only discovered it in the investigation of an old picture of my grandfather’s. I saw who they were and noticed the back of the Tufts stone in the background so when I visited the Tufts plot in Exeter I found them right there. I wondered how many times I was there and never knew my great grandmother’s adoptive parents were there. I still don’t know why they would be buried there as they lived their whole lives in Arlington. It could be that Tuffy had the plot when they passed and had to handle their estate. B. Delmont’s death record is listed as Exeter but it is unclear if that is a death or burial record.
Tuffy and Effie lived at 27 Pine Street in Exeter and raised a family of 3 boys and 3 girls, Effie, Irving, twins Theadora and Delmont, James A. Jr. and Helen (Betty).Tuffy probably had different apartments at Phillips Exeter before he made his home on Pine Street.
The 1880 census lists Tuffy and Effie with six month old Effie Miriam and an Irish servant, Catherine Riley, but does not show their address. More research would be needed to find when he purchased the home but he was there by 1900 and probably sooner. That daughter, their first born, was Effie Miriam Tufts-called Miriam.
Effie Miriam arrived November 27, 1879.  She died on November 2, 1903 when her dress caught fire while working in the yard. Two local men and her mother rushed to extinguish the flames and she lived to be transported to the cottage hospital but died that evening. Her mother was burned on her hands assisting her, as were the men; David Cahill, Joseph Berry, Samuel McLane, and Edward Moore. A touching article was published in the Exeter Newsletter that week. She had attended Robinson Female Seminary and trained in Music in Boston. She played the organ at the Unitarian church and other churches. A funeral was held at the home with internment at the Exeter Cemetery. She was the first of our family buried in our Tufts plot there. A prayer service was also held at Mount Auburn crematory.
Irving Elting Tufts, the second child was born December 23, 1881.  He became a successful personnel manager on Wall Street and lived in New Jersey. He died February 5, 1953.
Irving probably attended early Exeter schools, maybe on Court Street, and graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1899. He went from there to Harvard as so many do, and graduated in 1903.He was subsequently employed at Hornblower and Weeks until his retirement in 1949. He lived at 63 Ridge Road in Rutherford, New Jersey. He married Anna Parker Lea who was born in Silver Springs, Maryland on May 31, 1883, the daughter of Henry Tyson Lea and Helen (Bently) Lea. They were living in Methuen, Massachusetts in the 1900 census so they may have met when he was at Harvard.  Anna passed on July 14, 1972 (or 1973) in New Orleans, Louisiana, after probably having lived with her descendants in Gulfport. Mississippi.Irving and Anna had three children; Irving Elting Junior, Martha, and Miriam.
Delmont Locke Tufts was born December 6, 1888 and passed November 17, 1964 in Florida. He married Florence Spencer Stevens of Connecticut, eventually lived in Pittsfield, Massachusetts where they had a large farm, then retired to Florida. They had a daughter Katherine who married a Keyes in Pittsfield and a son Delmont who was in the Navy and lived in Florida.
Theadora Tufts was born December 6, 1888, and passed April 3, 1948. She probably attended local schools in Exeter and possibly the Robinson Female Seminary. She married in 1914, Nathaniel George Burleigh of Franklin New Hampshire. She is noticed in the census of 1900 and 1910 at Pine Street in Exeter as a student and at age 21 with no occupation listed but not attending school. In 1917 when Nathaniel registered for the World War I draft, he was listed as an engineer with the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in New Haven Connecticut with his wife and one child, and sought exemption as a munitions worker. He later moved his family to Hanover, New Hampshire and taught at Dartmouth College living once at 1 Webster Terrace. He was a professor of Industrial technology. In 1951 he was appointed acting dean of the Tuck School of Business. They had three children of whom only one lived to adulthood.
James Arthur Tufts Junior was my grandfather. His story will be told in another post.
Helen  (Betty) Tufts Kreger was well known to the Exeter Tufts as our Aunt Betty. Her story will also be told later.

Professor Tufts remarried in 1936 after Effie passed away in 1931. Ruth Burrage Kilbourne had been a nurse for the Tufts. She passed away in Nashua in 1951.
I have more information on the descendants of these families. Some will be covered in other stories but I can provide anything I have for interested persons.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tufts Military History Part One: Before the Revolution

The Tufts and many other families were very active in defense of their settlements long before the conflict with England. I am very proud of my own sons who defend freedom today and I appreciate the symbol of the National Guard being the statue of the Minute Man, but more than 100 years before the American Revolution many lives were lost and many Tufts sons served their communities.

Peter Tufts (1617-1700), the first American Tufts, must have mustered out as required by law in Massachusetts in the 17th century. He may have been too old to go out on offensive actions so any action would have been in local attacks on Massachusetts towns, and on required training days. From what we know of colonial Massachusetts (where Peter arrived around 1638), all men were required to serve in the militia in defense of their townships.

The following quotes from Brooks’ History of Medford appear to quote local records of early legislation. Examples of such records can be found in many of local New England town histories. The Tufts name appears in many of those references.

These laws and taxes for ammunition and supplies were vital to the survival of the towns and their inhabitants. Only “freemen” were allowed to be officers, or vote for them, and those in certain occupations (such as fishermen and shipbuilders) were excused from training because their work was vital to the community. Some poorer residents had accommodations to work for the money required to provide their guns, and watchmen were often appointed to guard against surprise attacks. Fines were levied if one did not attend training. Trainees also included young boys from ten years to sixteen who were instructed by a member of the militia at his discretion in use of small arms, bows and arrows, and pikes.  Shocking as this may seem, it was often the women and children who had to defend the more remote settlements while the men were out in the fields.
The danger of attack from the Indians was ever present. Town histories often contain graphic tales of kidnapped settlers and murdered women and children. The French would pay ransom for captives in Canada, and the tribes often used these souls to replace members of their tribe lost in battle or by disease. My ancestor, Peter Labaree, whose granddaughter Sarah married Jonas Tufts in Charlestown, New Hampshire, was captured but escaped and returned to his frontier home at Fort #4.

King Phillip’s War, June 1675 – April 1678
  • Peter Tufts, Jr. (1648-1721), oldest son of Peter the immigrant, was a Captain in the Massachusetts Militia in King Phillip’s War and was referred to as “Captain Peter.” He lived in the Craddock Tufts house at 350 Riverside Avenue in Medford and raised two families with three wives. He commanded a troop of horse cavalry and probably went out on the initial alarm to defend the colonies around Swansea, Massachusetts (then part of Plymouth Colony) in 1675 during King Phillips War.  We know he was also sent out with the troop to pursue the Indians following the massacre at Groton, Massachusetts in 1704. He was also deployed with the cavalry troop in July 1706. He left his sword, a Silver Hilton, to his son Dr. Simon Tufts (1700-1746).

  • James Tufts (1650-1675), was the second son of Peter the immigrant. He was the first Tufts killed in combat in America that I have found. He was slain at Deerfield, Massachusetts, on September 18, 1675 in the attack later to be known as the “Battle of Bloody Brook.” During the conflict described as King Phillip’s War, the settlements along the Connecticut River Valley like Deerfield were constantly under attack by Indians. The townspeople decided to retire to Hadley, Massachusetts for the winter and moved the supplies there from Deerfield.   James, a Deerfield farmer, volunteered as a teamster, driving the ox carts.  Many of the soldiers guarding the wagons that day were from Captain Lathrop’s company from Malden and Medford, which often included Tufts and Tufts relatives. All but one of the teamsters and many of the soldiers perished in the Battle of Bloody Brook. It was actually more of an ambush than a battle: the column had paused to rest and let the ox teams catch up at “an unnamed brook” and were enjoying wild grapes when the Indians struck. It was the Indians’ normal means of warfare, to attack with a quick ambush and minimize their own losses. The brook got its name (Bloody Brook) from this episode.
    Soldiers in King Philips War.....
    George Madison Bodge

     James never married, but had one son. In the summer 1984 Tufts Kinsmen newsletter (volume X no. 2) Herb Adams writes that this only son was acknowledged by Peter the immigrant who provided for his upbringing in 1670. This is confirmed with reference to the actual records in the Tufts Kinsmen 2010 edition. James was born in Malden but lived for a time in Salem.  Elizabeth Wells claimed he had had relations with her and had fathered her child, and she had witnesses to back her up. There are no records and many suppositions about her ancestry, but she had a son James Jr. in Charlestown around 1670. James senior removed to Deerfield where Adams states he was a planter.  James Jr. was raised in the home of Captain Peter Tufts. His mother had died in 1674 and the governess provided by Peter had also died. Among James Jr.’s descendants are a long list of patriots and soldiers.

  • Henry Tufts (1651-1706?), Peter’s third son, may also have died in combat. In his 2010 edition of Kinsmen Adams reports that Henry died in 1706 in Dunstable, but, in the1982 draft, the date is 1675, and in the 1975 edition, the date is 1699. Adams writes at length about confusion between Henry Tufts and a Henry Jefts and isn’t even confident he is Peter’s son. A Henry Tuffs did serve in relief of Dunstable with John Lane’s troop. (Source: The New England historical & genealogical register and antiquarian journal, Volume 17.) The name Tufts was commonly recorded as Tuffs, Jefts and other variations. Adams bases some of his theory on the English practice of naming sons in sequence of their forefathers and a long lost record. There were certainly skirmishes in that area which are written in history and Dunstable covered a very large area at that time. This is obviously one of the mysteries that could be solved with further research. 
The French and Indian War (1754-1763)

  •  James Tufts Jr. (1670-1722), the son of the James killed at Bloody Brook, from Peter, and born in 1670 in Charlestown, served at Fort Saco, Maine which was part of Massachusetts at the time.  James Jr. lived in Medford and “Piscataqua” (Portsmouth area) New Hampshire and had his family of five children from 1696-1707.
  •  Aaron Tufts (1740-?) from Lancaster, Massachusetts, served in the French and Indian War in relief of Fort William Henry. Adams believes he was the son of William from James, Jonathan, and Peter. Born in 1740, in Medford, Aaron would have been only 17 for the 1757 New York campaign. His company marched as far as Springfield MA and returned.  Aaron is also listed in Captain Whitcomb’s company in Colonel Bagley’s regiment when they marched to Canada in 1758. Adams thought he may have died in Dalton, Massachusetts but no record is listed. Adams states he never returned from military service. The birth record spells his name Tuffts. (more research needed)
  • A John Jefts is listed in the company of men who suffered badly at the hands of the Indians at Pigwacket (near Fryeburg Maine) but it is unclear if this is a Jefts or one John Tufts. The John Tufts then would have been the minister in Newbury (unlikely) or John Tufts son of John and grandson of Peter the immigrant who died 16 May 1725 (one month after the expedition).some references list him as of Groton and state he was killed there. Another clue for more research.
  • William Tuffs (Tufts) (1738-1783) from West Brookfield Massachusetts was the son of John from James, James, and Peter. He is listed in the rolls as marching in relief of Fort William Henry in 1757 like Aaron (above). This was the relief of the fort which had been, by then conceded to the French. When the British and Colonial troops were marching from the fort in defeat, they were ambushed by Mohawk Indians allied with the French and close to 300 men were murdered with no control from the French. This attack is portrayed with some accuracy in a scene in the movie “Last of the Mohicans” . William was also on the rolls for 1758 and went out to capture the fort at Crown Point in 1759 and probably on to the capture of Quebec.
  • Isaiah Tufts, (1740-1773), was a soldier in the French and Indian War in 1757 (age 17). He was the son of Nathaniel from John and Peter. Isaiah married Abigail Pierce and had two children before passing in 1773. Two of his brothers married Abigail’s sisters. Nathaniel’s family was another family of many soldiers and patriots. Not much else was found on Isaiah, possibly due to his early passing.

Acadia (1745)

  • Peter Tufts (1715-1771), from Peter, Captain Peter, and Peter was also a colonial soldier. . He served in the siege of Louisburg, Nova Scotia and died of disease there on September 12, 1745 (record from General Shirley’s diary). The colonial troops were credited with dragging mortars across bad ground to effect the siege.
  • Lieutenant Thomas Tufts (1711-1746), born in Medford, was Peter’s cousin (above) and the son of Reverend Thomas (1683-1733) from Captain Peter, and Peter the immigrant. Lieutenant Thomas was a school teacher in Stratham, NH, a tavern-keeper at Greenland, Ensign, and Quartermaster in Colonel Moore’s Ninth Company in the French war, serving at Louisburg, Nova Scotia (with his Massachusetts cousins). History of Newfields states that the lieutenant’s service was from February 13 to September 6, 1745, although it also states that his father Reverend Thomas was born in England and immigrated to Boston (which is not correct). When he returned from the capture of Louisburg, Nova Scotia, Lieutenant Thomas was sick and never fully recovered. He passed away in Greenland, New Hampshire, in 1746. I’m looking for his resting place.

  • William Tufts Jr. (1727-1771) was the son of John Tufts of Medford from James, Jonathan, and Peter. He was a mariner and married Katherine Tufts (his cousin), the daughter of Lieutenant William Tufts from James, Jonathan, and Peter. He served at Louisburg heroically and the story is told in two sources. In “France and England in North America” by Parkman, there is reference to John Langdon Sibley’s “William Vaughan and William Tufts Jr at Louisburg”.  In this story Sibley says:  “William Tufts of Medford, a boy of eighteen, climbed the flagstaff, holding in his teeth his red coat, which he made fast at the top, as a substitute for the British flag, a proceeding that drew upon him a volley of unsuccessful shot from the town batteries”. This was the initial assault on the harbor in which they captured the main batteries before assaulting the fort and town. The Medford in the Revolution version of William’s feat states that he was the first to enter the works and that he was the son of John and Sarah Tufts.  After this, the colonials had to defend the main battery against a much larger force until reinforcements arrived. (William Jr.’s son, William, died in 1777 at the battle of Bennington in the Revolution). 

Many good references are available to read more about colonial wars before the revolution. Perhaps one of the best is Half Century of Conflict (2 volumes) and the many other works of Francis Parkman. One source I like to read to really get a feeling for colonial endurance are the works of Kenneth Roberts. Many may know his story about the Northwest Passage, which was made into a movie starring Spencer Tracy and Robert Young in 1940. The first part of this book details the expedition of Robert Rogers’ Rangers and their assault on the village of St. Francis, Canada. James Fennimore Cooper also wrote many historical novels (including the earlier-mentioned Last of the Mohicans) that really give the reader a feel for what life was like then. I can’t imagine my neighbor coming by one day and saying  ”Grab your flintlock and a pack, we’re going to march to Canada and raid an Indian village or take Quebec.” I’ve been to Quebec and I can’t see any easy way to attack that city on the hill, especially after marching through the forest for 2 months!
As always, I have much more information about these families. I can provide more details on them and these events but urge readers to seek out the books and records from the colonial period as well. Please leave comments with corrections, additions or other ideas. I will update them in the comments section or future stories.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Finding Charles C. Tufts for my cousin Chuck (Charles K. Tufts)

Charles Crittenden Tufts was a Civil War soldier from Illinois who is buried at Vicksburg National Cemetery in Vicksburg, Mississippi. My first cousin Hugh Tufts had visited Vicksburg and told his brother Chuck that a Charles Tufts was buried there. Charles C. Tufts was the son of Thomas Tufts, Jr. of Brookfield, Massachusetts and Gorham, New York.
This branch of the Tufts family is a family of storied patriots and soldiers. Thomas Tufts, Jr.’s father, Thomas Tuffs (a common spelling of the name in this family), was a second Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War. Thomas’s father, John Tuffs, was from Brookfield, Massachusetts where he had a family with Agnes Foote (of Scots-Irish descent). John’s history before this is up to debate. Some say he was from Ireland and Scots-Irish, while others relate him to the family of James Tufts (1670-1722) a descendant of James Tufts (1650-1675), the son of Peter, the common Tufts immigrant ancestor.
In his Kinsmen 2010 edition, Herb Adams relates how Dr. James Hayden Tufts (1862-1942), an eminent Professor of Philosophy at Chicago University, claimed John Tuffs was from Ireland.  The story of John Tuffs ancestry may relate to the mystery of John Tufts from Windham, New Hampshire and Belfast, Maine. In the early 1700's there were several John Tufts and both theWindham John and Brookfield John spelled their name Tuffs. If John of Brookfield was descended from James (1670-1722), he came from good soldier stock. The first James was killed in King Phillip’s War at the Battle of Bloody Brook (Deerfield Massachusetts). The second James served at Fort Saco in Maine during the French and Indian War. There will be much more on this family.
Charles C. Tufts was born in Gorham, NY in 1829 and grew up there with his nine brothers and sisters. In 1853, he married  Adelia(Roxie)Foster and they settled in Illinois. The census of 1860 lists them as residents of Illinois in “Subdivision 17” of Sangamon County. Before Charles went off to war in 1862, he and Roxie had three girls: Adelia M., Flora A., and Mary E. 
Charles enlisted in Company C, Illinois 114th Infantry Regiment on September 18, 1862. His unit went straight into the action upon activation.  According to  The Union Army, vol. 3 (from

[This] regiment was organized in the months of July and August [1862] and was mustered into the U.S. service at Camp Butler on September 18, 1862. Companies A and D were from Cass county [Illinois]; Companies B, C, E, G, H, and I were from Sangamon county; and Companies F and K were from from Menard County. On November 8, the regiment left Camp Butler, and arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, on the 16th. ...

On May 2, 1863 the regiment joined in the movement to the rear of Vicksburg; was engaged in the battle of Jackson, losing 5 men killed and wounded; arrived at the rear of Vicksburg on May 18 and participated in the siege, with a loss of 20 men in killed and wounded. On the surrender of Vicksburg [July 4, 1863], the regiment was ordered to move against the Confederate General Johnston, who retreated to Jackson Mississippi, and during the siege of [Jackson] the loss of the regiment in killed and wounded was 7 men. It was then ordered to Oak Ridge, Mississippi, and while doing picket duty there, [the regiment] had several skirmishes with the [Confederate] guerrillas, 1 man being killed and 2 men captured while on duty.

Charles C. Tufts mustered out in Vicksburg on November 3, 1863 when he died of disease (according to the record, he died of chronic dysentery).

I have found record of several Charles Tuftses. They include one from our home state of New Hampshire, others from New York, Ohio, Vermont, and even a Confederate soldier.
Charles H. Tufts was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 8, 1830 and was the son of Zebulon and Abigail A. (Gage) Tufts. He married (second) Adelaide Wright on April 30, 1859 in Boston and they lived in Manchester, New Hampshire with her family in 1860 (from census).  Charles H. Tufts enlisted on August 20, 1862 as a wagoner. He served in Company E, 11th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment. He mustered out on June 4, 1865 at Alexandria, Virginia.Charles and Abigail had two children; Bion and Hattie. Eventually he and his family moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts where he was a painter.  He died in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1886.
Charles H. Tufts’s family was from Medford Massachusetts. His father, Zebulon, was the son of Jonathan, from Jonathan, James, James, Jonathan, and Peter the immigrant.
Much of the information in this story comes from records available at and Tufts Kinsmen 2010 by Herbert Adams and The Tufts Kinsmen Association available by e-mailing
Please excuse any errors or omissions. More information on these families is always available by request. Please leave comments for requests and check for updates.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Freeling Tufts Colt: A Tufts descendant and World War II paratrooper

Freeling Tufts Colt was a first lieutenant  and paratrooper killed in Normandy on D-Day June 6, 1944. He served in the 506th parachute infantry of the 101st Airborne (2nd Battalion Company F). He is buried in the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, France (Plot D Row 22 Grave 26).

He was born in 1916 in Hazelton, Pennsylvania to Alexander and Ida Colt. Alexander was the son of Katherine (Tufts) Colt from Litchfield, New Hampshire and Samuel Colt of Niagara, New York. Katherine (Catherine or Julia Ann Catherine) was descended from Peter Tufts (the patriarch who came to Charlestown, Massachusetts from England around 1638) through the families of Captain Peter (Jr), Thomas, Henry, John, and Thomas Jefferson Tufts. Her brother Freeling Tufts, for whom Lt. Colt was presumably named, grew up in Litchfield and was a prominent engineer and business man in Kansas. Lt. Colt is among the many patriots and soldiers in the Tufts families and families of Tufts daughters. Today, descendants of his family can be found in Colorado and Texas among other places. Additional family lineage is available upon request.

In 1937 Lt. Colt traveled to England, then returned from South Hampton to New York on the Aquitania[italicize]. He graduated in 1938 from Virginia Military institute with a BS in chemistry as a flying cadet of the Army Air Corps.

In July of 1942 Lt. Colt joined the 506th Parachute Infantry regiment upon it’s activation at Camp Toombs (Toccoa), Georgia. He was assigned to F Company alongside Easy Company (the unit featured in the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers”). They trained as hard as any unit in the armed services. They faced one of the hardest obstacle courses and ran daily to the top of Curahee Mountain. They then went to Fort Benning, Georgia some of the battalions marching 136 miles and breaking a record held by the Japanese army.

After parachute training at Fort Benning and maneuvers in Tennessee, the 506th moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, a trained fighting unit. It was here that Lt. Colt and his wife Margaret (Pardee) had their two children Tricia and Blais. During the latter part of August 1943, the unit reported to Camp Shanks, NY, where preparations were made for overseas movement. The 506th crossed the Atlantic on the SS Samaria during September, and arrived at Liverpool, England, on 15 September 1943.

 June 5, 1944, found the men of the 506th parked by the aircraft that were to carry them into their first combat mission. Shortly after 0100 hours on 6 June 1944, the men of the 506th hit the silk in the skies over France for the initial assault on the northern coast of Normandy. The drop was scattered around the area and disorganized but eventually the units gathered their forces and accomplished their missions. They received a unit citation for their work.
Map of 506th Parachutes Infantry landing zones

There is much available to read on the exact fighting and movements of the units. The fighting was fierce in the hedgerow country where they fought for road crossings, towns, and gun emplacements. One book that mentions Lt. Colt is The Cow Spoke French: the story of Sgt. William True, American Paratrooper By William True, and his son Deryck Tufts True (Merriam Press, 2002). In that reference they state Lt. Colt was killed upon entering the town of Ste. Marie-du-Mont. Deryck Tufts True is a descendent of another Tufts daughter in California. (William married Clarissa Jane Tufts who was the daughter of Robert G. and Maybelle L. (Shanks) Tufts of California from Charles P., Leman G., Joseph, John, John, John, Peter.) Please visit their site to purchase their book.

2nd Battalion Officers


History of the 506th: 

Pictures of 506th used in this story were from this site: