Emails from two former Packard researchers

In an attempt to get some others writing for this blog, I emailed a number of individuals who have put up sites about Packard genealogy. I wrote them something like this:

[name of person]

Good afternoon. A while back I found your genealogy website where you write [link], referring to the Packards. You also have a page on the Packard family line.I thought it would be best to email you. I am emailing you today because as a Packard descendant, I have a blog I’ve put together called Packed with Packards! And if you are willing, you can make submissions to it. It doesn’t have to be grand, or much at all. It would just be better if more people could contribute to it. If not, that’s ok as well.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Burkely Hermann

Packard descendant via Samuel-Zaccheus-John-Barnabas I-Barnabas II-Barnabas III-William Henry-Cyrus, then the Mills family from there

I sent a number of emails out. Sadly, one to Don, who wrote that the Packard family branch “very likely extends to early colonial times but needs further study for confirmation” and a page on the Packard family line, bounced back (i.e. the email is no longer valid). The same was the case for Mr. Butler, whom had a page on Ensign Samuel Packard. However, Mr. Butler, emailed me back through another email, writing that


I indeed have listed amount my ancestors Samuel Packard, though the Ensign’s father rather than the ensign himself.  I descended, twice,  through the daughter – sister Mary Packard.  (I found a surprising number of people twice on my family tree, Mary included.)

I was very much into both genealogy and the web once upon a time.  My favored software was and remains MacFamilyTree, which automatically generated the page in question.  Although my interest in genealogy has faded, the web pages remain up, thus I get occasional e-mails from people who share a distant ancestor.

A few remain favorite stories.  One person wanted to know how I learned the date of death of a War of 1812 veteran.  It turned out a letter had been written from his ancestor to a sister who was my ancestor saying father had died.  That letter had been kept in the family.

I’m afraid I have no similar interesting information about any Packards.  It seems my father was related to much of old Hingham.  The Butlers seem to have moved from Hingham to Brockton to Abington to Rockland.  I’m now in Plymouth.  My father chased genealogy the old fashioned way, through legwork and old paper.  I used my computer, chasing trees through the internet.  I got lots of names and way back, but I had more enthusiasm than accurate double checking.  My trees spread wide, but should be taken with a grain of salt.

I have visited your blog and may visit again, but I have nothing to contribute at this point.

Bob Butler

After a quick reply, which I won’t reprint here, I wrote him back, leaving the door open:

Considering that you spent some more time on this email, it is only proper to send a fuller response. You are right that you have listed your ancestors there. Sometimes that happens that you have double listings. I’ve had to pull all sorts of people off my family tree so it was overly accurate. I haven’t heard of MacFamilyTree before. I use from time to time, and FamilySearch’s tree. I understand that you get occasional emails from people such as me. Interesting story about the date of death of a War of 1812 veteran. Well, that’s fine that you don’t have any other interesting information about the Packards. I visited Hingham last summer on a road trip, following the Packard line into Western Massachusetts. My grandfather [Robert B. Mills] chased genealogy just like your father. I still have his book on my shelf, the Mills/Packard Family History [I meant to call it The Packard/Mills Family History, but misremembered the name], written in 1979, only a few years before he died. I understand that your trees have spread wide and that they should be “taken with a grain of salt” as you put it.

I am glad you visited the blog I put together. But, if you ever want to talk about how you went about your research, that would be welcome as well. I haven’t really explored that much on this blog, but hope to do more in the future.

Best regards,


Then there was Ms. Lenker, who wrote me that she is not working on her genealogical file anymore. She makes a good offer:

Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately, I am not working on my genealogy file anymore. I posted my file and Ancestry put it on-line in their new format, unbeknownst to me, and too many people have made changes to it that are incorrect, including in my own family. However, I can send you what I have, about 259 pages of different Packard lines to use as you wish. Moses Packard was my 10th great grandfather. I have Zaccheus in my file and he was my 7th great grand uncle. I only have John’s name connected to his family, but no info about him. I don’t have William or Henry, or Barnabus !,!!!. Or Cyrus I don’t have any Mills family either.

I started this project about 30 years ago with Family Tree Maker 2004 which was a very good program. It has been changed too much to be the quality program it once was. I can’t even create the reports that I once could in the new 2014 program. However, FTM 3005 still works on my computer, so I can send you the 200+ pages of info if you would like.

I no longer post anything on the various website forums. But thanks for the invitation. Let me know if you want a copy of what I have.

Barbara Lenker

After a short reply, I sent a longer reply, writing:


Building upon what I sent in my last email, thank you for replying with this much depth. I received some information from a Packard descendant as well, but sadly his email bounced back the last time I tried to send him an email. That’s fine that you don’t have a William or Barnabas or Cyrus or even the Mills. Not everyone goes through the same line. And that’s ok. I’ve heard of Family Tree Maker before. Thanks again for the offer. Even if you’d like to talk about how you conducted your research, over 30 years, using Family Tree Maker, that would be fine. I know the programs are different now, but its always nice to hear a story like that. I wish I’d know how my grandfather [Robert B. Mills], who wrote a family genealogy which he released as a Christmas present in 1979, The Packard/Mills Family History, did his research. I know some snippets from my mom that he gathered a lot of information, but that’s about it.

Thanks again for such a kind email.

– Burkely

I also sent a number of other emails to the following individuals

  • A Packard descendant, listed in the 1997 newsletter of the Genealogical Society of Vermont
  • Cathi Clore Frost whom hosted an old genealogical website with a page about the Packard family.
  • A blog written by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewski, B.F.A., one page about the Packards generally and another about the Packard family line.
  • Sharon, a person who commented about the Packards on now-defunct rootsweb back in 2003.
  • Scott White, whom had a blog about the Packard family.

And that’s it. So far, I have not received a response from any of the others listed above.


Continuing the story of Plainfield, a “small hill town” in the Berkshire Highlands

Courtesy of the Facebook page of The Old Brick Store in Plainfield. It is captioned on Facebook as: “This may be the oldest picture of the Brick Store. Note that the porch is not there and the windows are 12 over 12 and 15 over 15. The sign in the front referrs to the scales that were used to weigh wagon loads of goods. You can also see two openings: the basement window on the right and the entrance to the cellar on the left. Through the door in the barn you would have found the outhouse for the place. I’m guessing this picture was taken c.1870.”

After writing my last post, I looked a little more about Plainfield. What I found further amazed me. For one, the Shaw Memorial Library, within Plainfield I found that while it serves a small number of residents, its collection size is over 13,000 volumes and has an annual circulation of more than 7,000! That’s not all. I found the websites of a ” well-maintained horse boarding facility” in the Plainfield area, called Back Acres Farm, a volunteer church group called Concerts at 7 which “sponsors a summer series of classical music concerts” and a farm which raises “rare heritage breed pigs and cattle on rotating pastures” and a mention of “Ed Stockman’s Summit Farm in Plainfield, MA.” This is no surprise based on the geographic location of Plainfield in Western Massachusetts, part of the “Hidden Hills”:

Plainfield is where the Hidden Hills touch the Berkshires proper. The village sits at the base of West Mountain, with Mt. Greylock towering beyond it to the west. The meeting of the Deerfield and Westfield Rivers serve to give the place a cool and refreshing feel, particularly in the autumn and spring seasons. The 1953 National Book Award winner Ralph Ellison made Plainfield his home, until the novelist’s house tragically burned down in 1967. The author claimed that the fire destroyed 300 pages from his follow-up novel to the successful Invisible Man, which was never published in his lifetime.

Interestingly, I know that Ellison wrote Tom Packard, a son of Cyrus Winfield Packard and Clementina Cheney, since Tom was one of the founders of the Plainfield Historical Society and a well-known local personality!

One website writing about  Plainfield proves the assertions by RBM III in The Packard/Mills Family History about maple sugar trees:

The town of Plainfield, Massachusetts was first settled in 1770. Plainfield is a small hill town in the scenic Berkshire Highlands with 589 residents. This may sound small, but keep in mind that over the past 20 years this little town’s population has doubled. Began as an agricultural community, it now is home to a wider range of people than in the early years, including farmers and trades people, writers and artists, singers and musicians, loggers and welders, teachers and students, builders and homemakers. The landscape in Plainfield is a mix of high sweeping fields and mixed hardwood forests. In abundance are moose, bear, deer and the usual New England wildlife. It’s safe to say that the maple trees in Plainfield far outnumber the residents, and the Fournier Sugarhouse operation has set about 1,500 taps in the trees on and around our location on South Central. There are about two miles of tubing running the sap to the holding tanks along with 300 buckets. We are a little concerned that the moose that seem to frequent our land may end up wandering into our tap lines, but we are hopeful that Wally, our Beagle, will dissuade the moose from coming too close. Many of the trees we tap are more than 200 years old. All in all, they provide us with the best quality sap available.

This brings us to the Packard legacy, if you want to call it that, in that part of Massachusetts. In Northampton there is a “Packard’s bar” although it is not owned by a Packard, but a man named Robert “Bob” McGovern. [1] There’s also a man named Michael Rice Packard who served as the Highland Ambulance Town Representative for Plainfield from 2015 to 2016 and was on the Plainfield Energy Committee, trying to bring green energy to the town. There was also a representative named Sherman Packard, a bunch of Packards in Franklin County,  Massachusetts (Matthew H. Packard, John Packard, and Ellynn Packard), and an Esther Packard mentioned on a rug in Deerfield. Other articles noted a Debra L. Packard in Florence, MA, a Brandi Packard from Massachusetts, a Larry Packard in the Hilltown region, and an Elizabeth  Packard who works at the Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary in Massachusetts. Recently, the Old Brick Store commented that Mary Bowker Connell stopped by, who was “the granddaughter of Harold Packard, the last person who ran the brick store as a general store. Mary is celebrating her 92nd birthday today!!! She used to come up here in the summer time to stay with her grandparents when she was young. We had a wonderful visit on the porch!” Additionally, there’s the Packard-Chilson House in Goshen, photo of a house once owned by Col John Packard, along with mentions of the name Packard on forums, GEDCOM, along with mentions in varied books (here, here, and here). But, most interesting of all was the auction of the former “Old Packard store” as mentioned in an article last year:

Town officials will hold a third auction for a home at 345-347 Main St., Plainfield, in the hopes of finding a successful bidder for the property that was taken by the town in 2015 due to non-payment of taxes…Located across from the Town Hall and the Plainfield Congregational Church, the property was once an important part of everyday life, serving as the town’s general store…in the early 1900s the building was known as “Gurney’s Store” and in the 1950s it was called the “Packard Store.” Many in town still refer to the home as “the old Packard Store.” According to Bronstein, the property has been used as housing for many. [2]

There may be more on the webpages of the Old Brick Store (which notes the passing of Cummington historian Bill Streeter), Hilltown Families, and Plainfield Historical Society, but I believe this is a good start for now.

Until next time!


[1] Chad Dunn and Bob Dunn, “Tuesday hearing in Northampton to discuss possible happy hour revival,” Daily Hampshire Gazette, Sept 24, 2012; Dan Crowley, “Gazebo bra shop owner sells to 2 employees,” Daily Hampshire Gazette, Mar 22, 2016; Michael Majchrowicz, “Northampton police, bar owner stand by practices in light of ‘place of last drink’ report,” Daily Hampshire Gazette, Jan 6, 2017; Fred Contrada, “Walter Colby of Northampton sues Packard’s restaurant, assailants, bouncer, World War II Club following fight outside bar,” masslive, Oct 26, 2010; “AREA PROPERTY DEED TRANSFERS,” Daily Hampshire Gazette, Feb 12, 2017; Scott  Merzbach, “Report: Vacancies down, sales up in downtown Northampton,” Daily Hampshire Gazette, Feb 4, 2017; Lisa Spear, “A church is home for Bob and Kimi McGovern of Hatfield,” Daily Hampshire Gazette, Oct 20, 2016; Amanda Drane, “Liquor license goes to Mulino’s as bar owners debate need for more,” Daily Hampshire Gazette, Jun 8, 2017. The Feb 12, 2017 article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette says “Tracey McNeill to Michael Rice Packard, Greene St., 8 East Greene St., Easthampton, $228,000.” Also see a source talking about newspapers in Massachusetts .

[2] Fran Ryan, “Hilltown Voices: Plainfield hopes the third time is a charm for successful home auction,” Daily Hampshire Gazette, Apr 22, 2017.

Plainfield, Massachusetts today

Courtesy of the website of Town of Plainfield.

I’ve written in the past about the small town of Plainfield, Massachusetts, and sits to the north of more populous town of Cummington. I’ve noted in “Chapter IX: Barnabas, Mary, and Plainfield,” how Barnabas Packard II moved to Plainfield, between 1764 and 1789, clearing the “wilderness for a farm in what is now Plainfield’s Maple Street” and later marrying a local woman named Mary Nash. In the same article, I wrote that “the town of Plainfield was not at all new…[it] had begun to be settled in 1770 but was not incorporated until 1807…[and it] has moderate to rugged terrain, with some areas having relatively gentle hills…no major waterways go through Plainfield,” with a number of Packards buried in Plainfield’s West Hill Cemetery. I’ve also written about William Henry Packard, in “William Henry Packard and the Civil War,” the farmer who served in the Union Army, from Plainfield, who I also wrote about in “Chapter XI: The Civil War, William, Rachel, and Massachusetts,” and about Cyrus Winfield Packard, in “Chapter XII: Cyrus, Dora, and the last of the Packards,” whom was born in Plainfield and married Dora Mills, owning 112 acres in West Hill, likely near the cemetery. Beyond this, I’ve also written about Barnabas Packard III living in Plainfield, as noted in “Chapter X: The last Barnabas, Ruth Snow, and Cameron, Missouri,” mentioned it in my “Family tree chart for reference” and the “”Introduction” to my Packard family history.” Additionally, there has been mentions of Plainfield in my article about David Packard (“The family tree of David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard (HP)”), a post examining the sources of the Plymouth Colony Pages, a post focusing on Packards in South Carolina, the “other Barnabas,” and the mystery Packard family history book. That’s not all! I also mentioned Plainfield in my post about the story of Cyrus and Clementina since they both lived there, a small mention in the post about Cyrus running away from home, and a post introducing my Packard family history.

This brings us to the topic of this article: Plainfield today. Using the 2016 American Community Survey, available through the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Fact Finder for “Plainfield town, Hampshire County, Massachusetts,” we discover, not surprisingly, that Plainfield is over 91% White, but is not old and aging, as one might think, as there seems to be a good amount of youth in the town. There is some people of color, but not many. Such demographics should not be a surprise since the 2010 census notes that 40% of the population have children under the age of 18 in their households. This census also says there are 269 households in Plainfield, 69 of whom are a 1-person-household, 111 of whom are a two-person household, comprising the majority of households in Plainfield itself! The median age of those in Plainfield is about 53, meaning that many are middle-aged or getting close to it.

This brings us to the occupations within Plainfield. Of the individuals who are employed, most are in “management, business, science, and arts occupations” which includes the following:

  • Management occupations
  • Business and financial operations occupations
  • Computer and mathematical occupations
  • Architecture and engineering occupations
  • Life, physical, and social science occupations
  • Community and social services occupations
  • Legal occupations
  • Education, training, and library occupations
  • Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations

Others in Plainfield are mainly employed in the service; sales & office; and natural resources, construction, and maintenance sectors.

Taking this into account, the listing of “Industry by Sex for the Civilian Employed Population 16 years and over,” notes that 113 are employed in educational services, and health care and social assistance, and 46 in retail trade, with all other industries having smaller numbers of people within them. Interestingly, the median household income of those in Plainfield is $54,886 but still 10.1% are in poverty, while educational attainment is relatively high as noted  by the American FactFinder.

Otherwise, the news mainly focuses on civic issues, including low voter turnout, with only “56 out of a total of 465 Plainfield registered voters” voting, possibly because “the Annual Town Meeting was held at the Public Safety Complex rather than the usual Town Hall where voting takes place” as the Plainfield Town government says “these factors probably contributed to a low voter turnout.” Or perhaps it has to do with overall apathy?

It is also worth noting there is a historical commission in Plainfield and a Shaw Memorial Library (with limited hours) which I wanted to visit when I was in Plainfield last, but was unable to do so.

That’s all for now. For next time!

William Henry Packard and the Civil War

In a previous post, taking from my family history [link to Chapter XI: The Civil War, William, Rachel, and Massachusetts], I wrote about Barnabas and Ruth’s son, William Henry (called William H. in the rest of this article), whom was born on October 1, 1822, in Plainfield, and became a farmer who settled in Windsor, living there at least from 1850 to 1860 marrying Rachel Bartlett Tillson on May 20, 1847. I also noted that William  H. and Rachel had at least four children, being Welcome, Cyrus W., Frank, Alice Cornelia, Joseph A., Fred, Mary, and William Luther, adding that in 1860, William H. was a farmer who owned a farm which was worth, fully, over $2,000. I then wrote about William H.’s participation in the Civil War:

In 1862, the family of William H. and Rachel would be drawn into the Civil War…William’s brother, Roswell, a unmarried Massachusetts farmer, fought, enlisting on September 2, 1862.  Unlike William H., he enlisted in Company F of the Massachusetts 46th Infantry Regiment, became a corporal on June 9, 1863, and was mustered out on July 29 in Hampden Park, Springfield, Massachusetts…On November 3, 1862, he [William] enlisted in the Union Army at Camp Brigg in Pittsfield…He would serve as a private within Company I of the 49th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. As part of that unit, he would see action in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and he would be discharged honorably on September 1, 1863 after 10 months of service when his unit disbanded at Pittsfield…He served for 9-10 months in the 49th Regiment commanded first by Captain William Francis Bartlett. The unit, after moving from area to area, gained a “reputation for good discipline.” It left from Long Island to Louisiana on the Illinois steamer in January 1863, arriving in New Orleans by early February….The unit was attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, of the 19th Army Corp. It engaged in reconnaissance on Port Hudson in March, and then fought in the siege of the same area in May through July, off and on…it [also] fought at Plain’s Store and at Cox’s Plantation (“line of Bayou Lafourche”) during the summer…In fighting at Port Hudson, it was assisting Farragut’s union fleet. During its time in service, 2 officers were killed, 28 men killed or mortally wounded, and 84 men killed by disease…By August 9, after staying in the nearby area, it left New Orleans, going on the Templer steamer to Cairo, Illinois, and taking a train to Pittsfield, where it arrived on August 22. Once there, there was likely an “enthusiastic reception” (with Rachel and family likely in attendance) and it was “mustered out of the United States service” on September 1. The battles the unit was engaged in were sometimes Union victories. This was the case in the siege of Port Hudson from May to July 1863, allowing the Mississippi River to be open to “Union navigation from its source to New Orleans” and the fight at Plains Store, which closed the last “Confederate escape route from Port Hudson,” with Confederates dragging away some of “their cannons by hand rather than abandon them to the Yankees.”…However there were some Confederate victories…One such victory was at Cox’s Plantation…In a broader context, the siege of Port Hudson was part of the offensive up the Mississippi River. Furthermore, with the fall of Vicksburg, and surrender of Port Hudson later that month, the Union was going “unvexed to the sea” as Lincoln put it…Simply put, the surrender [of Port Hudson] gave the Union “control over the entire Mississippi River, cutting off important states such as Arkansas and Texas” as the National Archives notes. The siege, the longest in U.S. history, was a massive operation, with 30,000 Union troops under the command of General Nathaniel Banks surrounding the Mississippi town and Confederate stronghold…600 Black soldiers died in the fierce battle, fighting [against] the Confederates. This victory was one of the most significant days of the war, and 41-year-old William H. was part of the reason [they were victorious], along with his valiant unit. The battle changed the tide of war to favor the Union, which would emerge victorious after a little less than two more bloody years. For this, descendants of the Packard family should be undeniably proud, especially since other descendants fought for the Union…William had eagerly answered the call to serve as a private, going from the “free” north to fight in the slaveowning South, even passing through enemy territory on the steamer to New Orleans, after the Union was advancing more into the South…He possibly enlisted not only out of feelings of patriotism but to prove his “manliness”…William H., one of the 17 individuals who enlisted in Windsor, with pay of only $13 a month, had a number of fellow soldiers that he got to know very well.

In my family history I added that two years after he returned, William H. was a farmer and legal voter, living with his wife Rachel and eight children.

I mention this because of an article I read by Maps of the Peninsula Campaign, which was a “failed attempt to capture Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate capital, by landing troops at Fortress Monroe in March 1862 and attacking northwest up the peninsula formed by the James and York Rivers.”

Looking into this more, I found that Samuel Sumner, Lt. Colonel of the 49th Regiment, held a reunion of those former volunteers of the 49th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Militia like William H. Sumner read a poem about their shared war experience. Rodney M. Torrey, writing from Camp Banks, Jamaica, N. Y., on January 4, 1863, said that William H. missed home, calling him “Henry Packard”:

I received yours and father’s letter this evening, and was glad to hear that you are all well. I am well, (except a slight cold now), and have been since you were at Worcester. Father wanted me to write about those he was acquainted with. Henry Packard is not very tough. I think he is homesick.

If this is accurate, it means that RBM III’s speculation in The Packard/Mills Family History, that William H. “might have enlisted to escape the children or the farm” since he was forty years of age, may be inaccurate. Perhaps he entered the military service for other reasons!

Apart from this, we know that William H., as I noted above, had action in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after landing in New Orleans, along with at Port Hudson, Plain’s Store, and Cox’s Plantation (“line of Bayou Lafourche”), going on varied steamers.

Some maps of the time, which are not hard to read like this one, may help here. The first is one that outlines the Siege of Port Hudson, with William H. with those indicated by “Paine,” meaning Charles J. Paine, a Boston-born military general:

Bartlett was the overall commander. Map courtesy of the Library of Congress. [1]

Some sources list William F. Bartlett as the commanding officer, but histories I’ve read, and recounted in Chapter XI: The Civil War, William, Rachel, and Massachusetts [link], say it was someone else, with Wikipedia saying it was Ltc Burton D. Deming. To solve this discrepancy, I went back to Henry T. Johns’ book, Life with the Forty-ninth Massachusetts volunteers. In it, he notes on page 433 that Bartlett died,  and a Lieutenant Deming, so the Wikipedia chart, in this case, may have some validity. The version of Johns’ book I just cited is the 1890 version, but it is the 1864 version which lists William H. (on page 390) as on the roll of Company I, which suffered 21 individuals who either died of wounds, disease, were discharged, or most unlikely, deserted.

Thanks to Henry T. Johns, we also have an illustration subtitled “Col W.F. Bartlett

I cropped this image a bit, but you can easily see the original in the Henry T. Johns’ text

The next map focused on Grierson’s route from La Grange to Baton Rouge, which isn’t applicable to the Packards.

With that, we can move onto Plain’s Store and Cox’s Plantation. Nothing was found for Plain’s Store, a battle in Louisiana. I did find the NPS description of Kock’s Plantation, a battle in Louisiana, a bloody loss for the Union. I also found a first-hand account of what happened from Brigadier-General Weitzel, commanding division, reported by  Colonel Nathan A. M. Dudley, Thirtieth Massachusetts Infantry, commanding Brigade on July 15,  1863, to a higher officer:

Besides my own brigade, which consisted of the Thirtieth Massachusetts Volunteers, One hundred and sixty-first and One hundred and seventy-fourth New York Volunteers, there were temporarily assigned me two sections of the Sixth Massachusetts Battery, First Lieutenant Phelps commanding, and Captain Barrett’s company of cavalry. At 3 p. m. on the 12th instant, I sent in advance, down the right side of Bayou La Fourche, a small force of cavalry, followed by four companies of infantry, under Captain Shipley, Thirtieth Massachusetts Volunteers, the balance of the force following in order by the flank, with cavalry scouts constantly out on my right. Previous to starting, I had an interview with Colonel and Acting Brigadier-General Morgan, commanding brigade, Emory’s division, who stated that he was ordered to follow down the opposite side of the bayou with his brigade. We arranged signal flags, to be used in case of necessity, before separating. The advance skirmishers had not proceeded more than 1 miles before the enemy opened a brisk fire upon them, driving in the cavalry to the infantry support. The enemy’s pickets being well supported by a dismounted force, in full view, I ordered Lieutenant Phelps to bring up one of his pieces, and, after four or fire shots, they fell back, keeping up a fire from both sides of the bayou as we advanced. When about 1 mile from Kock’s plantation, I halted till Colonel Morgan came up on the opposite side, when the tow columns moved forward nearly abreast up to Kock’s residence, when I made the following disposition of my forces: One section of Phelps’ battery I placed on the road fronting down the bayou, supported on the left by two companies of infantry, on the right by the One hundred and seventy-fourth and One hundred and sixty-first New York Volunteers, the latter under Colonel Harrower and the former in command of Major Keating. These two regiments were in line of battle, the right of the One hundred and sixty-first extending down a broad lane,with a clear field in front about 100 yards wide. Three-fourths of a mile to the right I posted two companies from the One hundred and sixty-first, to prevent a surprise on that flank. With strong pickets on the road running down the bayou, and at right angles to it, with mounted vedettes in front, I felt certain of no surprise. The Thirtieth Massachusetts Volunteers were posted as a reserve near Kock’s house, in of battle, with the exception of two companies, which were stationed with pickets out on the flanks, at the junction of a plantation road and the Bayou road, with the remaining section of Phelps’ battery. By this disposition, I had command of both roads running to the right; protection to my rear and front, with Colonel Morgan’s command on the left. This was my arrangement of the force for the night of the 12th. About 6 o’clock in the evening, the enemy opened a brisk skirmish in front, and exchanged a few shots with our artillery.

Other original accounts also note the 49th. I also recall the Civil War diaries of C. J. Ingell of which “Packard, William H. (Co I, of Windsor)” was listed. Here are the full entries mentioning William H.:

“Sunday – Put up our A Tent + put floor into it – quite warm – Tent with Packard, Higgins, + Spring – n.p.h.t.d.”- Mar 22, 1863

“had orders to Pack our Knapsacks + have our Tents ready to strike them all 11 1/2 O’clock – struck them at that time – about 4 O’clock Higgins + myself carried Spring’s + Packard’s Knapsacks + our Tent + carried them about 3/4 mile to our new Camp towards the River – got our Tents ready to sleep in about 7 1/2 O’clock – carried all of our Boards for the Bottom of Tent from old Camp to new one / had a nice time of it”- Apr 4, 1863

“Went to the Cooks + got some Breakfast – I picked some Greens + cooked them for our Supper – Crozier eat with us Spring, Packard + myself”-  Jul 30, 1863, copy, name implied in original

“n.p.h.t.d. – went to River + washed all over + Shirt with Packard” – Aug 2, 1863

That’s all for today! Until next time!


[1] Sneden, Robert Knox. Siege of Port Hudson. [S.l., to 1865, 1863] Map. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.

Seminar on the Packard family in Ohio

Of course, its not the Packard family going all the way back to Samuel, but is undoubtedly related, I’d say. The article in The Vindicator says that

The National Packard Museum, 1899 Mahoning Ave. NW, will present a seminar titled “The Packards of Ohio: Pioneers of Transportation” at noon today.

Part of the museum’s educational seminar series, it is open to the public with a paid admission to the museum.

Thomas Packard was the first Packard in Ohio, settling in Austintown Township in 1801. As an elected supervisor of highways for the Youngstown District, he was responsible for improving old Indian paths and blazing trails through the wilderness. Thomas probably never imagined that his great-grandsons Will and Ward Packard would build a machine in Warren that would blaze a new path across the continent 100 years later.

The seminar will shed light on five generations of Packards, their triumphs and tragedies and their lasting impact on transportation.

After the seminar concludes, guests are encouraged to experience the museum’s 18th annual Antique Motorcycle Exhibit, “The Motor,” which runs through May 20. For information, go to or call 330-394-1899.

The “Hingham Community Band” and Samuel Packard

Recently, the Hingham Heritage Museum wrote about the Hingham Community Band which had prominence in the community in the 20th century. By that time, the Packard family that is covered on this blog was long gone. Undoubtedly there were some Packards remaining. Still, it is worth recounting the story of Samuel Packard in Hingham itself. After all, there is no doubt the Packards are in varied histories and records of Hingham, specifically genealogies and transcriptions of original records. In the Genealogies of Samuel Packard and Abel Packard it was written that

Samuel Packard b. 17 Sep 1612 in Windham England d. 7 Nov 1684 in Bridgewater, Massachusetts m. Elizabeth Stream 1632 in England; son of George Packard and Mary Wither. Samuel came to the colonies in the ship called the “Diligent of Ipswich” in 1638 with his wife and one child and settled in Hingham, Massachusetts.

Generally, this has been the accepted narrative. However, we now know that Elizabeth’s surname cannot be confirmed, that their marriage date is a guess, and that Samuel Packard died by November 7th, 1684, not that he died on that day. But, the last sentence is the only one that is mostly accurate. This reminds me of the Packard poem where they say that

The second child, in Hingham born,

Was for father named [Samuel],

And as ensign he held rank

Is by records claimed.

The third son, Zaccheus, too we find

In Hingham woods was born,

And doubtless with his father wrought

In raising Indian corn

As I wrote in my family history,  the Packards were not only part of a society in Hingham but part of the growing colony in New England.

Selected content about the Packards from Grandpa Don Plefka (Harry Ronald Cecora)

This is quoted from his posts on the Packard family line and Packard family mysteries. It has been quoted here in relevant sections and is used here under the fair use exception to US copyright law.

The Packard family line

The surname Packard is French. It means the descendant of Bacard (combat, strong).(Source: New Dictionary of American Family Names by Elsdon C. Smith. New York: Gramercy Publishing Company, 1988). The name Packard appears in English records as early as the beginning of the fourteenth century. The name was well established in East Anglia long before Samuel’s birth…In early Norman records is found Ralph, Engeram, Richard, Peter, Geoffrey, and Walter Picard in Normandy from 1180-1196. Then we find a Robert Pichard in England circa 1198; and a John Pikert circa 1274. How and if these early Picards/Pikerts relate to later generations is not known…Richard G. Packard of Mesa, AZ, said “Almost all of the Packards in America descend from Samuel and Elizabeth Packard who came to America in 1638″… George Packard Married Mary Wither (1574 – 1652) and were the parents of Samuel Packard. George Packard (1579?-1623) was a yeoman farmer. He had a farm called “Colman’s” in Whitsungrene (Whitsun Green), England. Colmans is now called “Red House.” George Packard married Mary Wyther, daughter of Thomas Wither (d. 1595) and Margaret — his wife. Mary Wither was baptized in 1574 in Woolpit, and died August 19, 1652. Stonham Aspal is in the diocese of Norwich in Norfolk County, England. The will of George Packard was dated December 1, 1623, and he was buried December 14, 1623 in Stonham, Suffolk County, England. Mary’s will was dated August 11, 1649 and was proven on August 19, 1652. She mentions her daughters, Mary, Frances Standley; her sons, John and George; and her grandchildren Mary Standley and Margaret Smyth…Richard Packard has given permission for me to publish these photos There is substantial documentation of the Packard Families of Massachusetts. The book “Mayflower Families – Through Five Generations” lists many of them but does not go beyond the mid 1700’s. US census reports do not list individual family members by name until the mid 1800’s. The Document “Early English Packards” lists records of wills and court documents and parish records back to the year 1311. In his document titled “Samuel Packard 1612 – 1684″ Richard states that Samuel was the fourth son and as such would not have inherited land. That was rectified by going to the American colonies where land was there for the taking…Samuel Packard (1612-1684) married Elizabeth (Family unknown) (1614 – 1694) in about 1635 at Stonham, Aspal Parish, Suffolk, England. With their two year old daughter Mary they emigrated to Plymouth Massachusetts Colony in 1638 on the ship Diligent from Ipswich, England, where, according to an article by Karle S. Packard, they were the parents of 13 additional children. 11 were born in Hingham, Mass. and 2 in Weymouth, Mass. before they relocated to Bridgewater, Mass. According to Karl S. Packard…Samuel and his sons were soldiers in King Philip’s War, a bloody conflict with the native Americans, under Captain Benjamin Church.”

Packard Family Mysteries

“I have given that name [the American Dark Ages] to the period between 1800 and 1849 because the records of the US Census only gives the name of the head of the household and the number of people, male or female, free or slave, in various age groups. The names of wives and children were not recorded. There were no civil birth records or death records. This dearth of information makes research into the lives of people who lived in this era very difficult, if not impossible. Both Shepard L Packard, on my mother’s side, and Eliza S Hunt, on my Father’s side were born and led their early lives during these “Dark Ages”.”