Saturday, May 12, 2007

My Paternal Pedigree

246 years ago, 61 year-old Robert Barnhill, his wife and family (including grandchildren) boarded the ship "The Hopewell" and made the perilous journey across the North Atlantic from their home in Donegal, Ireland to Nova Scotia, Canada.

Robert Barnhill was my paternal grandmother's great-great-great-great grandfather.

In the Spring of 1762, Robert, his son John, along with many other mostly Presbyterian Irish land grantees with names like Crowe, Baird, Wilson and Deyarmond, took up residence in Londonderry Township, in present-day Colchester County, Nova Scotia, and began farming the land.

They've been there for generations now.

Having lots of children was then and is still the norm in my family.

Robert Barnhill and his wife (whose name I haven't been able to confirm) had six children, all of whom resettled with them in interior Nova Scotia with their spouses and children.

Alexander Deyarmond and his wife Mary Barnhill, Robert's daughter, also had six children, three boys and three girls. Alexander was a farmer who settled in Isgonish, Nova Scotia, now known as Lower Belmont. He and Mary were married in Donegal, Ireland in 1755, when Mary was 17 and he was around 20.

Elizabeth Wilson, who married Alexander and Mary (Barnhill) Deyarmond's second-oldest son, John Deyarmond, in 1793, at the age of 18, came from a family of ten children. Not to be outdone, her and John had twelve. Elizabeth had her last child, Susan in May of 1821. She was 46. She lived to the ripe old age of 91, dying on August 23, 1866 in Isgonish, Nova Scotia.

Elizabeth's father, Thomas Wilson, was born in Ireland in 1745. He emigrated to Nova Scotia sometime before 1771 and settled in Masstown. Her mother was Mary McDormand, who was born in 1749 in Masstown and who represents the first generation of my family born on North American soil, 27 years before the American Revolution.

John and Elizabeth (Wilson) Deyarmond named their fifth daughter Letitia, after John's youngest sister.

Born in 1803 in Isgonish, Nova Scotia, and Christened in Masstown, Letitita Deyarmond was my paternal grandmother's great-great grandmother. She married Charles D. Graham, a fairly recent Scottish immigrant to Canada, in Burnside, Nova Scotia, in November of 1836. They got a late start at 33 years old each at the time of their wedding, but still managed to have six children.

Charles D. Graham was the son of Charles Graham, whose birth is recorded as in the Abbey of Dundrennan, Scotland, December 10, 1772, and Marian Hyslop, born on June 22, 1774, also in Dundrennan. He was the fifth of eleven children. Charles D. was born on April 20, 1803 in Stockings, Scotland, and died at the age of 83 on March 4, 1887 in Burnside, Colchester County, Nova Scotia. He and his wife Letitia, who lived to be 78, passing away on January 29, 1882, are both buried in Graham Hill Cemetary, Nova Scotia, where many of my ancestors rest for the ages.

Marian's parents were Andrew Hyslop, born sometime in the 1740's, and Margaret Donaldson, birthdate unknown.

Marian was 21 when she and Charles had their first child, Andrew, on January 13, 1796 in Robertown, Scotland. She gave birth to her tenth child, son George in the town of Rockfield in Pictou County, Nova Scotia in 1820, exact date unknown. She was 45 or 46.

Charles Graham, who had emigrated to Nova Scotia with his son Charles D. and other members of his family in the 1830's, was the second child out of six of William Graham, a Scotsman born in 1741, and Janet Kirkpatrick. William Graham died in Dundrennan on June 25, 1828. Depending on his exact birthdate, he would have been 86 or 87 years old. Janet Kirkpatrick was his second wife. William's first wife was Jean Gordon.

Charles D. and Letitia (Deyarmond) Graham settled in Burnside after their marriage, and, as stated before, had a family of six, both starting relatively late in life late at the age of 33 at the time of their marriage. My great-great grandmother, Rebecca, was born in Burnside in 1839, their fourth child and second daughter.

Rebecca Graham married Peter Grant on July 4, 1864 in the town of New Glasgow, Pictou County, Nova Scotia. Peter was born in 1826, presumably in Nova Scotia, to William and Catherine (Grant) Grant. Catherine was born in Scotland sometime in the area of 1789-1801, and died in Earltown, Colchester County, Nova Scotia on January 21, 1874. Peter's father William was born around 1796. Peter was one of eight children.

Peter's marriage to Rebecca was his second. His first marriage was to Christy MacKenzie, born in 1825. They had four children together. The last, John, was born around 1856.

Peter and Rebecca had seven children, giving Peter eleven offspring total.

They settled in Upper Stewiacke, Colchester County, Nova Scotia where my great grandfather Robert, their youngest son, was born sometime around 1875. Peter Grant would have been around 49 when Robert was born. Peter and Rebecca (Graham) Grant's youngest child, daughter Nellie M. was born in 1879, when Peter was 53 or so and Rebecca was around 40.

Robert Grant emigrated to the United States in 1899, settling in the town of Northampton, Massachusetts. He married Massachusetts-born Mary L. Waldron in 1904. Records show that they were married in Lower Stewiacke, Colchester County, Nova Scotia, Robert probably taking the opportunity to show off his blushing bride to his family back in Canada.

Mary L.'s mother was also named Mary and was born in the North of Ireland around 1840. She emigrated to the United States in 1860 and was married to Patrick Waldron, also of Irish descent and born in 1842. They spent at least a little time in Maryland, their oldest son John, having been born there in 1874 or so. In 1880, Patrick Waldron was employed as a laborer in Northampton, Massachusetts, and Mary was working as a housekeeper. In addition to John and Mary L., they had a middle child, son Thomas Waldron.

John, Thomas and Mary lived with their mother Mary for a time in a rented home on Smith Street in Northampton after she was widowed, and before Mary L. married Robert Grant. In 1900, when Mary L. was 21, she was working as a skeiner at one of Northampton's silk mills. Her brother John was a barber in Northampton as he would be for all of his working life. Thomas was a carpenter and worked as a millwright in various local factories including manufacturers of items as diverse as hosiery and boxes.

In 1910, Robert and Mary L. (Waldron) Grant were living at 61 Main St., in Northampton, Massachusetts, with their three young children, Martha, 6, Helen, 3 and William, 2. The oldest, Martha Violet Grant, was my paternal grandmother, born on March 18, 1904. Widowed mother-in-law Mary Waldron resided with them.

Robert and Mary eventually had two more children, Mildred, born in 1911 and Robert, born in 1912.

At that time, my great grandfather Robert worked as superintendant at his older half-brother William Grant's firm, Grant Ice Company, located in Northampton.

William Grant, Peter and Christy (MacKenzie) Grant's oldest son and second child, had come south from Nova Scotia in the late 1800's, settling in Northampton with his wife Martha. He ran a successful ice business and employed his half brothers Alfred and Charles, as well as Robert.

Charles W. Grant emigrated to the United States in 1894 and was a boarder with William and Martha for a time. He was a laborer.

Alfred S. Grant, his wife Mary and their infant son Donald moved to Northampton from Nova Scotia in 1905, and by 1910 had added two daughters, Marion and Genevieve to their family. Alfred worked as foreman at Grant Ice Company and rented a home at 20 Cedar Street in Northampton. He became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. in 1914.

William and Martha Grant often kept boarders at their home, including workers at the ice company. Norman Taylor was a boarder of theirs at South Street in Northampton and worked as a teamster along with fellow boarder William Mcgrath, driving the teams of horses that pulled the ice wagons.

Norman Taylor ended up marrying the second youngest daughter of Peter and Rebecca (Graham) Grant, Charlotte R. Grant, who came to the States in 1914, more than likely meeting her through her half-brother William, or brothers Alfred, Charles or Robert. They settled in Palmer, Massachusetts, taking up residence at 276 South Main Street. They had a son, Kenneth G. Taylor, in 1910. Norman and Charlotte owned Palmer Trucking Company in 1920 and also had boarders, including Charlotte's youngest sister Nellie.

My great grandmother Mary L (Waldron) Grant had a somewhat tragic life, with husband Robert being crushed to death by a Grant Ice Company ice wagon with his brother Alfred at the reins and her youngest child, son William, perishing after being struck by a car in Northampton while riding his bicycle. Both sad events happened sometime between 1910 and 1920.

In 1910, she and Robert had owned their home on Main Street in Northampton free and clear, in 1920, she lived in a mortgaged home at 19 Lassell (?) Avenue with her three children and 80 year old mother, Mary. By 1930, Mary L. Grant was renting a home at 57 Crescent Street in Northampton for $20 a month with her two laid off children, Mildred, 19, who when employed, worked as a stringer in a local hosiery factory, and Robert, 18, who usually worked for the Grant Ice Company as a chauffeur. In April of 1930, Mary L. (Waldron) Grant, who had not had to work while Robert was alive, was working as a laundress at a local college. She was 52.

My grandmother, Martha V. Grant, married my grandfather, Frederick Alamed in 1925.

My grandfather had emigrated from Portugal in 1920. His name when he first came to the United States was Fernando d'Almeida, but he had it changed to Frederick Alamed, probably in an attempt at Americanization. It is said that he was dashing and debonair and quite cosmopolitan. He drove a sportscar and dressed very well.

My grandmother was given a hard time by her family when she announced that she would be marrying my grandfather. He had very dark skin and she was warned that all of her babies would turn out black. To my grandmother's credit, she was undeterred and married him anyway. They had five fine and handsome children together, one daughter and four sons, my father the second youngest.

In 1930, Frederick and Martha Alamed were living in a home they owned at 198 North Maple Steet in Northampton and they owned a lunch room in town that Frederick operated. According to the 1930 census, their home was valued at $6400 and they owned a radio set, no doubt a technological necessity of its time.

Eventually, they would move to Westfield, Massachusetts, where they lived until their deaths. He served for a time as an auxiliary Westfield policeman.

My grandfather was an avid outdoorsman and had a passion for hunting and fishing. He made his own wine and Portuguese sausage in his cellar, which, like most Portuguese homes, had a full kitchen in the basement.

My grandmother was a superb cook of both Portuguese and Irish dishes. They had a traditional family and my grandmother never worked outside of the home.

She had a very "New England" drawl, "Ay-uh" being one of her favorite affirmative replies. Her superstitions rubbed off on me too, I knock wood and throw salt over my shoulder to this day, along with many other ancient evil-avoidance rituals she taught me.

Every so often, they would travel to Nova Scotia to visit my grandmother's relatives who remained there.

My grandfather died in August of 1975, the year he and my grandmother celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. He was 71.

My grandmother stayed in the family home on Dartmouth Street for a time after my grandfather's death, but the upkeep of the house and her advancing age eventually led to her moving in with my parents, bless them, where she died peacefully in her sleep on January 8, 1995, not far from her 91st birthday.

Her and my grandfather are buried side-by-side in St. Mary's Cemetery in Westfield, Massachusetts.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

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Barbara said...

I love your site and all the genealogy, as well. I do lots of research at Forbes using the Gazette on microfilm and constantly come across articles about "Iceman Grant." I feel I know him. If you would like me to print out a few when I find them, I'd be happy to.
Barbara Pelissier

Mark T. Alamed said...


What a thoughtful and generous offer! I was thrilled to read your comment. It would be awesome to get copies of articles you may run across, to say the least.

My email address is:

I am intrigued by that side of my family and the trials and tribulations and triumphs they experienced upon moving to the United States and trying to set down roots. I have to admit, I've gotten away from my research, but maybe this will be the spark that gets me going again.

Thank you so much.


Anonymous said...

Hi from West Dover Nova Scotia. Russ here. I am studying a ship wreck, the C Graham. The ship was built by Michael and Patrick Hogan. It ran up on a rocky island known as Dover Castle on the 25th of Jan. 1887 in a storm. Only lost the captain. The ship was on a run from Bermuda and missed Halifax Harbour . The ship was built in Brule, Nova Scotia and was registered to Charles Graham and John Smith. Were any of your Grahams into ships or shipping?


Mark T. Alamed said...


As far as I know, they were all landowner/farmers. This weekend I'll dig out the family files and take a look. It's been awhile since I've done the research and it would do well to refresh my memory.

I'll let you know if I find anything that may be helpful to you.

Sounds like interesting stuff you're working on there. Cool.


Anonymous said...

Your blog is wonderful. I only wish my wife, a native of Westfield, could have lived long enough to read it. I am sending the link to our kids who will enjoy your efforts as they will benefit from learning the past of their city and their region. Thanks again.