Chester Parsons in the News – Lawsuit Settled & Real Estate for Sale

In the News
By Don Taylor

 In the News” is my reporting of discovered newspaper articles and advertising regarding ancestors I am researching.  Chester Parsons is a fourth great-grandfather of mine. The information found in newspapers often raises more questions and more research areas, but invariably provide fresh texture to understanding the life of an ancestor.

Chester Parsons’ Lawsuit

This week from The Statemen, (Marshall, Michigan) dated 11 December 1885, Column 4, Paragraph 4.  

Circuit court convened Monday afternoon and up to date the following cases have been disposed of: … Chester Parsons vs. Eva E. Jewett, settled; ….

So, we don’t know what their beef was, that will take further research with the circuit court, but it might be interesting to learn.


Chester Parsons’ Real Estate Sale

This week from The Daily Chronicle, (Marshall, Michigan) dated 11 December 1885, Column 4, top item.

REAL ESTATE FOR SALE—State of Michigan, County of Washtenaw—as.

In the matter of the estate of Chester Parsons deceased.

Notice is hereby given, that in pursuance of an order granted to the undersigned administrator of the estate of said Chester Parsons by the Hon. Judge of Probate for the County of Washtenaw, on the twenty eighth day of January A. D. 1888, there will be sold at public vendue to the highest bidder, at the front door of the store building on the premises below described in the city of Marshall, in the county of Calhoun; in said State, on Wednesday the 21st day of March A. D. 1888, at two o’clock in the afternoon of that day (subject to all encumbrances by mortgage or otherwise existing at the time on the death of said deceased the following described Real Estate, towit:

All that certain piece or parcel of land situated in the city of Marshall, in Calhoun county and State of Michigan, known and described as follows towit: Commencing at a point seventy (70) feet and three inches east from the south west corner of block thirteen (13) according to the recorded plot of said city, running thence north one hundred and twenty two (122) feet to an alley thence west along the north line of State Street to the place of beginning.

Dated, Ann Arbor, January 28, 1888

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Marshall, Michigan, Block 13, showing the property described above.

Chester Parsons died in 1887, so his property going into probate sale in 1888 makes complete sense. From this article, I learned that besides the farm out on Clinton Road, Chester owned property in nearby Marshall.  Looking at the Sanborn Fire Map from the year indicates that he owned a restaurant.

Today, the (apparent) location is “The Mole Hole” a unique gifts shop.


Who was Eva E. Jewett and what was the lawsuit that Chester and Eva settled?

What was Chester Parsons’ interest in the property in Marshall?

Joel Barnes & the 1850 Census

Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

I know very little about my 3rd great-grandfather, Joel Barnes. He may have been born 1bout 1790 in Broome County, New York. He married Lucy Wilson Taft and they had at least one child, Nelson, born in 1816. I have no idea about any other children nor any death information.

In 1850, I would expect Joel to be about 60 years old.

Search Results

Using Family Searcy, my search for Joel Barnes in the 1850 Census yielded 13 results.

    • Joel Barnes, Born 1846 in Georgia – Too young.
    • Joel Barnes, born 1845 in Indiana – Too young.
    • Joel Barnes, Born 1839 in Kentucky – Too young.
    • Joel Barnes, born 1836 – Too young.
    • Joel Barnes, Born 1830 in South Carolina – Too Young
    • Joel Barnes, Born 1829 in South Carolina – Too Young
    • Joel Barnes, born 1827 in North Carolina – Too young.
    • Joel Barnes, born 1816 in North Carolina – Too young.
    • Joel Barnes, Born 1824 in Kentucky- Too young.
    • Joel Barnes, Born 1810 in Pennsylvania – Too young.
    • Joel Barnes, born 1795 in Vermont – Possible
    • Joel Barnes, Born 1790 in Tennessee. Possible.
    • Joel Barnes, Born 1782 in Massachusetts. Possible.

That left 3 possible Barnes’ listed by birthyear.

    • 1795 – Living in Corinth, Orange County, Vermont. Has an apparent wife, Ruth, and an implied mother living with him.  No Lucy; unlikely my Joel Barnes.
    • 1790 – Living in South Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee. He has an apparent daughter in law and two grandchildren living with him.  No Lucy; unlikely my Joel Barnes.
    • 1782 – Living in Thompson, Windham, Connecticut. He has an apparent wife, Mary Barnes and an apparent daughter, Eliza; unlikely my Joel Barnes.

None of these entries are consistent with expectations, so I believe that either Joel died before 1850 or was enumerated differently.

Future Action

Look at potential Joel Barnes’ in the 1840 Census.

Five photos – Two Named – None Identified

Photo Friday
By Don Taylor

One last “first look” at my various unrelated photos. Today, I am looking at five photographs of four women. Two are sadly unidentified. Another one is also unidentified, but it is possible we may be able to determine who she is. Lastly, there are two photos of Nellie Peckham.

Nellie Peckham (twice), A 1895 Thornton Academy Student, and two unknown women.

Unidentified Woman – J.H. Lamson, 5 Temple Street, Portland Maine.

There is no identification with the photo. The photo was taken at the Lamson Studio in Portland. It is likely this woman lived in Cumberland County. I think it is unlikely I will be able to identify this person unless someone else sees a photo of the same person.  Image here.

Unidentified Woman (older) – Norris, Portland Maine.

There is no identification with the photo. The photo was taken at the Norris Studio in Portland. It is likely this woman lived in Cumberland County. I think it is unlikely I will be able to identify this person unless someone else seed a photo of the same person. Image here.

Unidentified Woman – Thornton Academy (Class of ’97) – Philbrick, Biddeford, ME.

Unidentified Woman - Philbrick, Biddeford, ME - Thornton Academy - 1897This woman is unnamed. However, the back says “Thornton Academy – Class of ’97.” As such, it may be possible to identify this woman based on further investigation.

Nellie Peckham (standing by flowers)

Nellie Peckham (by Flowers)A Family Search search for Nellie Peckham yielded only one “Nellie Peckham” result. A Charles Larabee, age 36, married in 1904. His parents were Samuel Larrbee and Nellie E. Peckham.[i] Additionally, a Nellie F Thomas died at age 45 in 1913. Her parents were Samuel ? and Nellie E Peckham.[ii] So, both Charles and Nellie F. were born about 1868. As such, that would suggest that Nellie E. was married about 1867 and these photos come from about 1867.

The photos don’t seem that old to me. As such, I don’t believe these photos are of the mother of Charles & Nellie F. Further searching for Nellie on Family Search and Ancestry was unproductive.

Nellie Peckham (standing by house and carriage-way)

See the writeup above. – Image Here.

Final Note

If you are related to any of these individuals or can help confirm the identity of them, I’d love to hear from you.


[i] “Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 4 April 2020), Larrabee and Hale, 1904; citing , Cumberland, Maine, United States, multiple sources, Maine; FHL microfilm.

[ii] “Massachusetts Deaths, 1841-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 6 April 2020), Nellie F Thomas, 01 Nov 1913; citing Lynn,,Massachusetts, 42, State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 2,401,815.


“Chin Chin” – Colonial Theatre – Pittsfield, MA – 15 May 1920.

Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” play at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA, on 15 May 1920.

Chin Chin
Donna Montran

“Chin Chin” played at the Bennington, Vermont, Opera House on May 13th and the Empire Theater in North Adams on the 14th. Then the show moved the 20 miles south to play at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA on Saturday, the 15th.

Advertising for the show began on the 8th of May with an ad showing “Chin Chin” would be coming for “One Night Only” on May 15th. On the 10th, a quick little note said, “’Chin Chin’ at Colonial – Manager Raymond has booked Charles Dillingham’s ‘Chin Chin,’ with Walter Wills and Ray Binder for the Colonial Saturday night.”

The Berkshire Eagle reported Monday, after the show:

The Berkshire Eagle – May 17, 1920

“Chin Chin” with Walter Wills and Roy Binder in the leading roles played to a good-sized audience at the Colonial theatre Saturday evening. It was the second one night stand in two days despite this that there was a large attendance. Like other Dillingham shows it was a wonderful production.

The play is a modern version of the famous old Arabian Nights tale of “Aladdin, or the Wonderful Lamp.” Messrs. Wills and Binder become a couple of Chinamen who have more or less adventures in the pursuit of the lamp which brought its possessor all kinds of happiness. The musical numbers were very sweet and catchy.

Among the many features in this gigantic show are the Teddy Bear dance, Tom Brown’s Saxophone band, a real circus tent with an honest-to-goodness big white circus horse circling around the ring, while Mlle. Falloffski performs the most daring and screamingly funny bareback stunts. Tom Brown’s band was one of the big hits of the evening.


Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, MA – (Photo courtesy of Granola via Cinema Treasures)

The Colonial Theatre was built in 1903 but burned in 1912. It underwent extensive renovation and reopened with state-of-the-art theatrical technology, in 1912.

The 1921 Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide and Moving Picture Directory indicated that the Pittsfield Colonial Theatre was operated by the Goldstein Bros. Amusement Co. and managed by L. H. Raymond. The theater played legitimate theater, stock, and picture attractions.[i] It had a seating capacity of 487 on the main floor, 309 in the balcony, 350 in the gallery, and 72 in the Box seats for a total capacity of 1218.

Specifications for the Colonial Theatre

Proscenium opening: 32 ft
Front to back wall: 45 ft
Between side walls: 58 ft
Apron 5 ft
Between fly girders: 46 ft
To rigging loft: 64 ft
Between fly galleries: 40 ft
The theatre had 8 Dressing rooms

Photo courtesy: Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Photo courtesy: Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

The theatre operated until 1934 when it closed due to the Depression. It reopened in 1937 as a movie theater with occasional community performances. It closed in 1952 and became a paint and art supply business. In 1998, the theatre was designated a National Historic Treasure. In 2001, the Colonial Theatre Association began a restoration of the building. In 2006, the theatre reopened to the public with its vaulted gilded enterence, elaborately decorated boxes and balcony, and exquisite ornamental detail.[ii]


The Colonial Theatre of Pittsfield, MA, is a beautifully renovated facility.


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[i] (1921). The Julius Cahn-Gus Hill theatrical guide and moving picture directory. New York, N.Y.: Julius Cahn-Gus Hill via Hathi Trust – – Accessed 21 July 2020.

[ii] Internet: Berkshire Theatre Group website, “History of the Colonial Theatre” – Accessed 21 July 2020.

Nelson Barnes & the 1840 Census

Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

Previously, I had looked at the lives of Nelson Barnes and his wife, Mercy Eliza Taft. (See Endnotes Below.)  I was unsuccessful in finding them in the 1840 Census. I thought I’d try again as part of my examination of the life of Joel Barnes.


In 1840, Nelson would have been 24 years old. He had married Mercy Eliza Taft in 1839 in New York. Mercy was born in 1822, so she should have been 18 at the time. They were in Sullivan County in 1845, but their whereabouts in 1840 is unknown. In 1840 I would expect them enumerated as:

Male 20-30
Female 15-20
Possibly a child under 5, but probably not.

There were five different Nelson Barnes enumerated in the 1840 Census.

1840 Censuses Entries for Nelson Barnes

  1. Indiana, Switzerland County, York Township, Page 352, 10th Name

– – – – – 1 |2 – – – 1
Male 20-30     – Not consistent.
Female 20-30  – Not consistent.

  1. Indiana, Allen County, Wayne Township, Page 46, 3rd from bottom.

– 2 – 2 1 – 1 | 1 1 – – – – 1
Male 40-50 – Not consistent.
Female 40-50 – Not consistent.

  1. Rhode Island, Providence, Burrillville, Page 1, 9th from bottom.

2 – – – 1 1 | – – – – – 1
Male 30-40 – Not consistent.
Female 30-40 – Not consistent

  1. New York, Steuben County, Lindley, Page 2, 21st from top.

– – – 1 2 1 | – – – 1
Male 30-40 – Not Consistent
Female 15-20 – Consistent

  1. New York, Delaware County, Franklin, Page 2, 11th from bottom.

– – 1 – 1 | – – – – – – – 1
Male 20-30 – Consistent
Female 60-70 – Not Consistent


None of these entries are wholly consistent with expectations, so I believe that either Nelson and Mercy were missed in the 1840 Census or they were enumerated in another household. Next, I’ll look closely at the various Joel Barnes in the 1850 Census.


20. Nelson Barnes (1816-1884)
– – – * Nelson Barnes – Civil War Veteran?
– – – * Memories of Martha Barnes Conner – Nelson Barnes and Mercy Eliza Taft
21. Mercy Eliza Taft (1822-1884)
– – – * Surname Saturday – Taft