Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nova Scotia Tufts families and stories Chapter 1

I will have to post this story in several chapters.

(edited 10-23-2014 last 2 children of Gershom Tufts Jr. added)

Check each post often as I will also edit them when new information is added and note it at the top of the post.

It is lengthy because I have tried to list details for families into the tenth generation of Tufts descended from Peter Tufts of Charlestown Massachusetts. I have also and will continue to post stories about descendents as I find them. Details of generations eleven, twelve or even thirteen may be included later or by the persons themselves in the comments section as they could be living today and I want to respect their privacy.
Much of the information here comes from Tufts Kinsmen by Herbert Adams and The Tufts Kinsmen Association and is referenced here as allowed by copyright with full credit given to the hard work of Mr. Adams and others. I recommend any serious researcher of Tufts and other families’ related buy this book or find it in a library near you. The book may be purchased by sending an e-mail to

I also want to help people make cousin connections so please message me privately if you need to find a living descendent. Please feel free to just post your name and where your family lives today and ancestors. Readers can use the Tufts Family Genealogy Facebook page to make connections as well.         

Tufts families may have come to Nova Scotia from America as early as 1749. The first of those to came from America was Gershom Tufts, one of the first settlers of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Gershom obtained a British Crown land Grant of close to one thousand acres.  Gershom left many descendents which I will detail below, including some lost in the horrible Halifax explosion of 1917.

The next migrant was Reverend Joshua Tufts in 1761. He was born in 1716 in Newbury, Massachusetts, the son of Reverend John Tufts. He preached in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and many of his descendents lived in those provinces as well.
There were others which will be detailed as well, but these are the main families who left descendents. This does not include the soldiers who bravely assaulted Louisburg in 1745. Their story is told here: That story tells about Peter Tufts (1713-1745) who died of disease at the siege of Louisburg and may have been buried there.
There were also Tufts immigrants to Nova Scotia from Ireland, including Moses Tufts and Hugh Kearns Tufts.

Chapter 1, Gershom Tufts story and children 1-3, Mary, Elizabeth, and Gershom Jr.

Gershom Tufts
Gershom Tufts was born July 2, 1728 in Medford.(previously believed to be January 2, and listed in Medford records as June 23, 1728) You can believe whichever date you wish. I am going on the newest record available on which appears to be straight from the family bible.

Gershom was the son of James Tufts and Lydia (Hall) Tufts.  James was a brick maker, born in Charlestown and the first of many Tufts to work in the brick business in Medford. James was fourth generation from Peter the immigrant. Gershom died 11 May, 1797 in Medford, Massachusetts. The details of his ancestry are abbreviated here from Tufts Kinsmen:
JAMES TUFTS, Jr. (1703-1769)
LYDIA HALL (1705-1753)
JAMES TUFTS (1681-1733)
RUTH GRIMES (1681-1721)
JONATHAN TUFTS, (1660-1722)
REBECCA WAITE (1662-1755)
PETER TUFTS, The immigrant ancestor
b.                 1617 in Tibenham, {Norfolk} England
d. 13, May 1700 in Charlestown MA
b.               1626 in England
d. 10 Jan, 1702/3 in Charlestown

 In 1749 the British decided to settle Halifax Nova Scotia and settlers were brought there and given land. I thought it would be more likely he went there in 1750 as the 1749 settlers all sailed from England but perhaps some came from Massachusetts as well.. Various history references and researchers state however that it was 1749. The 1750 settlers came on the Alderney and had 353 immigrants, which established Dartmouth. (History of the townships of Dartmouth, Preston, and Lawrencetown, County of Halifax, Nova Scotia Lawson, 1893.)
 Gershom’s first 5 children were recorded in Charlestown and Medford until 1756. There are also miscellaneous tax records up to 1761. Those would need to be investigated closer. The last one is an abatement paid to him so it could have been after he had moved to Dartmouth. (Later records there would be for his second cousin Gershom born in 1767.) It is entirely possible he went before his wife and children as they were young and he had to build a home for them. The book Nova Scotia Immigrants to 1867 by Leonard H Smith states he came with Cornwallis in 1749 and his wife came in 1760. This is perhaps the reference that Herbert Adams used for Kinsmen.

(Gershom)obtained a Crown land grant commencing along the shore of the Narrows near the old windmill that still bears his name, Tufts Cove. It extended for a thousand acres to the eastward and extended straight across the Dartmouth Lakes. On an 1815 plan there is an area marked Tufts house, the location of which could have been on the level ground overlooking Lake Micmac about 350 yards distant from the later Town limits on Crichton Avenue.
Tufts Kinsmen 2010
Wikipedia link to Tufts Cove
Halifax explosion site
Advertisement for settlers in Halifax

This was a pioneer settlement in 1750. Louisburg was still being conquered and traded back to the French, LeLatour’s war was the current French and Indian conflict, and the northeastern weather and terrain were their own obstacles to survival. But they survived and built several homesteads. Gershom is described as a ships carpenter and farmer. He married Mary (Baldwin) Waugh, widow of Richard Waugh, and daughter of James and Mary (Stower) Baldwin. Kinsmen states they were married in Aylesford, Nova Scotia July, 2 1750 but I have not found that record. Some online family trees say he was married to Mary at St. Paul's Church in Halifax and there is a record in St Paul’s’ Halifax records available on line at That record state her names as Mary Baugh. Mary died 20 Dec, 1806 in Dartmouth, NS.
The families he left appear to have had a probate conflict of epic proportions of which there must be numerous records of court proceedings. This quote from Tufts Kinsmen details it briefly:
Undoubtedly over the years certain portions of the forest in Gershom’s grant were gradually cleared and cultivated by members of his family who after a time occupied their own homes and were able to fend for themselves. His children apparently assumed that they were the possessors of their respective holdings but by the year 1791 they found such was not the case. Apparently their father had no desire to reward them for their labors on the lands they had possessed, and, suffering from some sort of a rift in family relations, in 1791 announced that he was going to dispose of his property, including the parts on which his children had settled, and move back to Massachusetts, selling the thousand acres to strangers, thereby disfranchising his children of their homesteads. A case in court developed for the members of his family to reclaim their lost real estate. All this is inferred from a 1791 petition to Gov. Sir John Parr that declared three of his sons had made considerable improvement to the lands in Dartmouth assigned by warrant to their father, but the Government could do nothing about the matter. Records have not been found as to how the recovery was accomplished or whether Mary accompanied her husband back to Massachusetts but she evidently died in Dartmouth and is buried in Tufts Cove Cemetery. Her gravestone in evidence when this compiler first visited the cemetery in the 1960’s has been missing since.
The Tufts cove cemetery is currently being restored. Many pictures can be found at their facebook page. “Tufts Cove Cemetery”That page has some excellent maps and pictures and family trees of the Tufts and Wright families.

I welcome any ideas or true stories about the family “rift” that caused Gershom to return to Massachusetts and sell the land out from under his children. I have found no record that his wife returned to Massachusetts. There may be records undiscovered in Nova Scotia that give more insight into this story. Perhaps they were divorced or she is recorded in a census document in Dartmouth. There is always more to the story.

More research about the land conflict was undertaken over the years. Sandi Bellefeuille, the able and exhaustive assistant of Kinsmen author Herb Adams is a direct descendent of Gershom and with other cousins discovered that the land grant was never approved. The records exist of only his application. It appears over the years of land sales, the government decided to honor the original grant as if it were approved. It appears that Gershom did sell the land out from under his sons but nobody ever tried to remove them. Gershom sold it to a Thomas Cochrane who died with no will, as did his wife. Their estate was so disrupted that the Tufts land was never dealt with. So the families lived in Dartmouth and bought and sold land as it were their own and much of it eventually was held by the Gay family, many of whom were descendents of Tufts daughters. This was a complicated issue and I have only presented it in brief. There is probably more that can be discovered about the land sales and deeds.
This website has some great church records from Nova Scotia. It requires registration and approval but they have transcribed many early church records.

Children of Gershom and Mary:
1) Mary, 2) Elizabeth, 3) Gershom Jr, 4) Susannah, 5) Richard, 6) Sarah, 7) Lydia, 8) Samuel, 9) Francis, 10) James B., 11) William, 12) Abigail, 13) Edward, 14) Margaret

It is difficult to track down where and when each child was born and where and when they were baptized. It appears they returned to Massachusetts often for the birth of children or for the winter months and baptisms occurred or were recorded when convenient. I will not try to set those records for each child. I will quote Tufts Kinsmen and allow for further research by interested persons or direct descendents. Please post corrections or additions in the comments section of this entire post. A lot of the births and baptisms are available on

1) MARY TUFTS (1752-1826)
married 20, Oct. 1774 in Halifax, NS to Alexander Yosition (changed to Alexander Austin)
had 1) John Gershom  Austin bp 25,  Jan. 1776 in Halifax, N. S.
       2) William Austin             bp 24,  Sep. 1778 in Halifax, N. S.
       3) Elizabeth Austin                      bp 28, Aug. 1780 in Halifax, N. S.
       4) Alexander Austin                    bp 15, Oct.  1782 in Halifax, N. S.
       5) Mary Austin                             bp  2, Dec.  1784 in Halifax, N. S.
            Please forward any information on the further descendents of this family

2) ELIZABETH TUFTS (1753-1833)                                
married first 18, Apr. 1771 in Halifax, N. S. to SAMUEL FERGUSON  of Halifax  who died at sea in 1778. had 1) Henry, Jr. FERGUSON
married secondly 22, May 1787 to JACOB ALBRECHT GETCHENS, Capt. St Paul’s church transcripts record Getchens/Getshouse as his last name.
had 2) Elizabeth May GERTZEN   b. 27, Mar. 1789 in Halifax, N. S.
married thirdly;  JOHN PEEBLES, Capt., shipmaster, wid of Mary Robertson
had no issue.
Please forward any information on the further descendents of this family

3) GERSHOM TUFTS, Jr. (1754-1815)
married  3, Nov. 1777 in Halifax, N. S. at Saint Paul’s Church to SARAH BURCH WISWELL and had 1) Mary, 2) Elizabeth, 3) Sarah, 4) Abigail, 5) John, 6)Lydia,7)Hannah
            MARY TUFTS (1778-1808)
married 8,  Apr. 1798 in Halifax, N. S. to THOMAS JOHNSTON had ? MARY died due to a beating by her husband for which he was arrested [NSRG 13/Dec/1808] (quote from Kinsmen states Nova Scotia Royal Gazette as the reference)

SARAH TUFTS (1778-?)
married first; 31, Dec. 1806 in Wilmot, N. S. to ANTHONY EATON, had:
 1) Caleb Eaton,          b.   2, June 1808 in Annapolis Royal, N. S.
             2) William Eaton        b. 30, Aug. 1813 in Annapolis Royal, N. S.
Anthony is recorded in Annapolis census in 1827 with one female and two males.
Married secondly; to ? KELLEY, had ? There must be descendents of the Eaton’s but I have not found their family. There are many Eatons of the era.

ELIZABETH TUFTS, Betsey, (1782-1846)
married 2, June 1802 in Halifax, NS. to JOHANN HEINRICK KOHLER
(changed to JOHN HENRY KEELER)
had 11 Keeler children in Dartmouth.
There is more information about these families in Tufts Kinsmen      

ABIGAIL TUFTS (1785-1856) in Little Nemaha, Nebr.
married   7, Sep. 1811 in Halifax, N. S. to JAMES PHILLIP PRIESTLY, widower of Susannah Wiswall
I find no record of this family or children. I cannot figure how she died in Nebraska but trust that Herb Adams did.

JOHN TUFTS (1787-1867)
m  20, Dec. 1809 in Halifax, N. S. to CATHERINE FITZMAURICE
had: 1) Sarah, 2) Margaret E., 3) Margery A., 4) Henry G., 5) Mary A., 6) Abigail H., 7) John, 8) Benjamin, 9) James P., 10) William, 11) Charles
1) Sarah Tufts (1810-1873)
            Married to MICHAEL DOYLE
Michael Doyle was a Free Will Baptist minister and preached in Ontario and Michigan. They had a large family in Michigan. There is a wealth of information in family trees on about this family.

2) Margaret Elizabeth Tufts (1812-1892)
John Frederick Wolf He was possibly of German origin from Lunenburg NS. They had 11 children and passed in Dartmouth (according to family trees). There must be descendents and families there today.

3) Margery A., Tufts, twin of Margaret, died in 1828, (age 16) not verified.

4) Henry Gershom Tufts (Gershom) Gershom was a farmer in Nova Scotia and listed his occupation as laborer in the Westborough census.
b. 10, Sep. 1814 in Dartmouth, NS
d. 25, Oct. 1891 in Westborough, MA
Married first 2, June 1842 in Sackville, NS to HARRIET ELLIS (1817-1852) had:  1) Theodore W., 2) Katherine J., 3) George M., 4) James E  
THEODORE WILLIAM TUFTS, mason (1842-1889)
had 1) William M., 2) Winnifred ?
I need information on this family
married secondly to ELIZABETH CATHERINE HILTON (1851-1895) had 1) Ella M., 2) Elizabeth M., 3) Harriet B., 4) Theodore H., 5) Luella M. Tufts
I need information on this family

KATHERINE JANE TUFTS (1845-?) in Malden MA?
had 5 children in ? and Massachusetts.

GEORGE MALCOLM TUFTS, carpenter (1847-1930)
Married first MARY  S  GOSBEE (1847-1907)
had 1) Alice M., 2) George E., 3) Lillian M. in Massachusetts.
I need information on this family
Married secondly 30, Nov. 1916 in Boston, MA to ELLA MARY PELTON, had no issue.

JAMES ELLIS TUFTS, shoemaker, canvasser, lamplighter and wood dealer (1849-1915) Married SARAH JOSEPHINE SWAIN (1845-1928)
had 1) Clara V., 2) Ernest N., 3) Grace S., 4) Elsie J., 5) James O. A., 6) Adeline F. Tufts in Massachusetts(?)
I need information on this family

(Henry G. Tufts-continued)
married secondly;  MARY ANN COLLISHAW (1830-1888)
had 1) Melburn W., 2) John M., 3) Harriet E., 4) Leander E., 5) Annie S., 6) Grace M., 7) Clara M., 8) Charles C., 8) Josephine N.
MELBURN W.  TUFTS (1852-1869)
JOHN HENRY TUFTS (1855-1929)
married 22, Mar. 1882 in Salem, Mass. to SARAH ELVIRA CUMMINGS (1861-1934) had 1) Jennie M., 2) Etta L., 3) Henry  E., 4) ? 5) Lena Cummings Tufts in Massachusetts.
I need information on this family

married 25, June 1874 in Halifax, N. S. to GEORGE FRANCIS CROSSKILL(1852-1894 had 4 Crosskill children in Halifax NS          

married 15, May 1884 in Salem, Mass. to SUSAN ELLEN (STEINSBRECHER) BARNETT, had no issue.

ANNIE F TUFTS (1860-1939)
m 16, May 1894 in Boston, MA to GEORGE E FRENCH
had 1) ?
I need information on this family

GRACE ROSE TUFTS (1863-1924)
Married FRED ORVILLE BULLARD, (1854-1922), carpenter
had 1) Eva May Bullard in Westborough, Mass.

CLARA MAY TUFTS (1867-1953)
married 11, June 1902 in Westborough, Mass. to CALVIN ABIJAH CHAMBERLAIN (1868-1931)
had no issue.

married 20, June 1902 in Westborough, Mass. to CORA ELIZA COLLINS (1873-1953), had no issue.

married 19, Aug. 1898 in Westborough, Mass. to GEORGE OSCAR STONE (1872-1961), had 4 Stone children
in Framingham, MA.
I need information on this family

(John Tufts family-continued)
5) Mary Ann Tufts, (1816-1904)
married  25, Dec. 1839 in Halifax, NS to JOHN MARTIN GAETZ, (changed to JOHN MARTIN GATES) (1815-1901), had 9 Gates children in Dartmouth NS.
had ?

7) JOHN TUFTS (1821-1905)
married 17, Mar. 1852 in Wilmot, NS to MARIA DOWNEY (1824-1886) in Stronache Mountain, NS
            JOHN EDGAR TUFTS, of Stronach Mountain. N. S. 1852-1907
m.  MARY H ? Had 1) OWEN DeFOREST TUFTS 1895-1895
infant. 2) LeForest ? in Margaretsville NS.

MARGARET ANN TUFTS 1854-1922 in Margaretsville, N. S.
m  JOHNSON JOSEPH DOWNIE 1840-1905      
I need information on this DOWNIE  Family.

JAMES WILLIAM TUFTS 1857-?           

BESSIE TUFTS-1870-1907 in
Information needed.

8) BENJAMIN TUFTS, Capt., Ben (1823-1883)
married 19, Nov.  1862 to KATE MATTHEWS
In the mid-1800s Captain BEN and KATE lived near the beach where he had a landing wharf. He is said to have sailed the first fishing shallop out of Tufts Cove, Dartmouth which was then a very romantic spot with greenwood trees reaching down to the shore at the Narrows, Often the Micmac Indians, who also lived on the land, could be seen on fine nights gliding up and down Tufts Cove with torchlights spearing fine large lobsters. The Indians were literately blown away in the Halifax Explosion of 1917 and the survivors moved inland to the Shubenacadie reservation
NOTE: A Kate Matthews, b. abt. 1826 in TRURO, N. S. is said to have married a Luther Stearns.  (Kinsmen)

9)  JAMES PRIESTLY TUFTS [TUFFS], (1824-1906) in Grants Pass, Ore.
married 11, May 1854 in Ten Mile, Ore. to MARGARET CROXTON (1838-1914) had:  Harriet A., 2) Lydia H., 3) Margaret J., 4) Mary M., 5) James T., 6) Minnie L., 7) William G.
            HARRIET A TUFTS [TUFFS] 1856 -1889 m. ? WHITE

LYDIA H  TUFTS [TUFFS] 1857 -? M. ROBERT H              DEAN     (died in Oregon?)


MARY MAUD TUFTS [TUFFS]1860 -1941 in Woodland, Yolo Co., Calif. m. LAWRENCE M  KANE
had 1) Estelle M

had 1) William G., 2) Rex L., 3) James H. Tufts in Oregon.

MINNIE L TUFTS [TUFFS] 1865 -? in Grants Pass, Ore.

WILLIAM GRANT TUFTS [TUFFS] 1868- d. 1889 in Grants Pass, Ore. single.

10) WILLIAM TUFTS (1826-?) in Montréal, Qué. m.  MARGARET ?
had 1) DAVID TUFTS (1850-1907)
married 18, Oct.  1874 in Huntington, MA to CELINDA SAVOIE (1857-1930) had 1) Mary, 2) Charles E., 3) Rozanna, 4) Mary J., 5) Margaret, 6) Thomas A., 7) Joseph D., 8) Ellen, 9) Charles E., 10) -                11) Charles?  12) Evelyn L. Tufts in Huntington MA(?).
I need information on this family

11) CHARLES TUFTS (1835-1871)

(children of Gershom Tufts Jr.-continued)
LYDIA TUFTS (1790-?)
married 15, Jan. 1822 in Halifax, N. S. to GEORGE SLADE BELLOWS,

HANNAH TUFTS (1792-1845)
married 23, Sep. 1815 in Halifax, N. S. to RICHARD SEXTON
had  William Henry, George Richard, and James Sexton                 
            There is more about these families available from Tufts Kinsmen


  1. Hi Thomas, I know you posted this over a year ago, but I just found it. Gershom Tufts was my 1st cousin 8x removed. I'm finding this fascinating! Thanks for all your hard work!!! Brenda De Sousa

  2. Good day, Happy to have found this blog. Gershom's son (James Baldwin Tufts) married Mary Ann Wellener. They had a number of children, including Edward Delmus Tufts. He married Janette Wellener. Of their several children was Susana Tufts. She married James William Wournell II. Of their many children were James William Wournell III, who married Rose Howe. Of their many children, the youngest was Katherine Rose Wournell, who married Thomas William Bertel (Bert) Grainger. Their second youngest son is Frederick Bertel Grainger, who married Heather Gail Dunn. Their eldest child is Angela Gail Grainger (me) who married Eric John Wertman. We have 3 children. Gershom is my 5x great grandfather. Feel free to get back to me for dates and locations! - Angela Wertman

    1. Thank you very much. I need to fill in these families.Please check out the other NS chapters. In Chapter 4 we cover the families you mention down to the Wournell family. I would love to add these details in full if you send me an e-mail with all you wish to share

    2. Hi Angela,
      I know I'm responding to a post you wrote back in 2017, so their's a chance no one will see this, but I thought I would ask anyway. Would you or anyone happen to know or have any information on Gershom's son Rev. Francis Tufts? (James's brother)
      I'm looking for information on him and his daughter Lydia Tufts who married Samuel Lightfoot. It is believed that she would be my 3x Great Grandmother, making Francis my 4x Great Grandfather and then Gershom my 5x Great Grandfather. - Tammy Adams

    3. Good morning Tammy, unfortunately I know very little other than what Nova Scotia Genealogical records provided, and then some other deep digging. I am often a dog-with-a-bone when it comes to trying to dig into my history!

    4. Angela and Tammy, I will look into this asap. feel free to send me an e-mail at for direct communication too.
      Tom Tufts

    5. Angela and Tom: Thank you for replying back!
      Genealogy can be fun but so frustrating at times as well.
      Tom: Any information you may be able to find would be appreciated for sure!! If you can't then I still appreciate the thought. I will write your address in my records.
      I forgot to add my email address before so here it is now.

    6. Angela, you are my missing link. I have been researching the Wellener line and found Mary married to James Tuffts, and have been looking for her descendants. Did you know that John Wellner, Mary's father and her mother were killed in a house fire? my email address is

  3. Hi Thomas, I came upon your post as I was searching for information about people buried in the Tufts Cove Cemetery. Well, I am happy to tell you that Peter Tufts and Mary Pierce are my 9th great grandparents. I would love to collaborate. BTW I am searching for George James Hawkins d abt 1890 in Tufts Cove and his wife Elizabeth Ruth Roome d Mar 5 1910 Tufts Cove.

    1. Thanks for saying Hi Barb. Have you seen Gary Wright's facebook page for the cemetery? He has some great pictures and info there. I'll send along some info on the Tufts Kinsmen Association by e-mail. We are planning a reunion in 2020 in Boston. If I have anything on Hawkins and Roome, I will send it along. Please fill in any blanks in what I have posted here.

  4. Hello Thomas,
    Thank you so much for sharing this fascinating family history with all of your readers! Gershom Tufts is my 5th great grandfather. His daughter Susannah's second husband James Brechin's (after Nathan Levy passed away) descendants settled in Kings County, NS. My uncle, a Potter, lives in Bedford. I am primarily using WikiTree and invite you to have a look.
    Thank you once again!

  5. Hi Thomas
    Gershom Tufts is my 4th great grandfather through his daughter Elizabeth Tufts who married John Henry Keeler (Johann Heinrich Kohler) in Dartmouth, Halifax, Nova Scotia. I have enjoyed reading your work here. You have obviously done a great deal of research as far as is possible. Thank you.