The first in a line of Packards: the story of Elizabeth

Building off the last post in this blog, where I pledged to write about more female ancestors, countering past gender imbalances, I’d like to focus on Elizabeth, the wife of Samuel Packard, who came over with a child, likely Mary, in 1638 from Hingham, a town in Norfolk County, England, to Hingham, a settlement in Plymouth County, Massachusetts. Many aspects of her life are an utter mystery. Her surname, long speculated to be Stream, is unknown, and is often given second billing, when it comes to efforts by Packard descendants to remember the past, elevating Samuel Packard above her, even by those than communicated with my grandfather, Bob Mills, or those that communicated with me in the past. The same is the case in contemporary records during the time her husband, Samuel, was alive, already implying was a second-class citizen. But, who was she, and why does she matter?

As I’ve written in the past, Elizabeth seems to have met Samuel when he moved to Norfolk County, which was north of Suffolk County, where he was born, reportedly in the Red House Farm. I am, to be clear, indirectly descended from both people. Apart from that, she had, at least nine children with Samuel, along with five grandchildren. [1] I tied to break this down into a listing so its much easier for you (and me) to understand those mentioned in Samuel’s will:

  1. Elizabeth X, wife of Samuel
  2. Samuel, son of Samuel and Elizabeth, eldest son
  3. Zaccheus, son of Samuel and Elizabeth
  4. John, son of Samuel and Elizabeth
  5. Nathaniel, son of Samuel and Elizabeth
  6. Mary, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth, wife of Richard Phillips
  7. Hannah, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Randall
  8. Jaell, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth, wife of John Smith
  9. Deborah, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Washburn
  10. Grandchild Israel Augur, son of ???
  11. Grandchild Caleb Philips, son of Richard? Phillips
  12. Grandchild Israel Packard, son of Zaccheus
  13. Grandchild Samuel Packard, son of Samuel
  14. Grandchild Daniel Packard, son of Samuel

In his will on October 29, 1684, Elizabeth received some money from her husband and much, much more. This included gobs and jobs of land, including:

  • his farm in the town of Bridgewater (36 acres), along with lands and meadows connected to the farm
  • share of meadow called Bullshole for life
  • all his goods and cattle
  • 40 pounds for life
  • 20 acres of land lying in Bridgewater between lands owned by James Keith and Joseph Hayward near Satuckett Pond
  • all money and chattle shall be divided equally among his children and grandchildren after she dies
  • a feather bed, which shall be given to his grandchild Deliverance Augur after her death
  • one of the joint executors of his estate along with her son Samuel

That’s a sizable amount!

After Samuel died, she married a man, likely in late 1684 or perhaps in early 1685, by the name of John Washburn, a long-time Bridgewater resident. He would die sometime after October 30, 1686, outlining the following in his will [2]:

to my Wife Elizabeth Washbourne one Bed one Boulster one Pillow two pair of sheets one Blanket one Coverlet two chests Six bushels of Indian Corne one bushell of Barley. ffarther with Respect to money which was my wives part whereof I have already laid out for her we are agreed that I should Returne to her two pounds and ten shillings which I have already done.

Of course, she is not mentioned at all in his inventory. [3]

Over ten years after Samuel’s death, on October 27, 1694, Elizabeth sold land given to her by Samuel: a 20-acre tract called “Satuckett Pond” or “Sehucket Pond,” selling the  the land to “an Indian” living in Bridgewater named Sam James for five pounds. [4] This agreement would be signed by Samuel’s son of the same name, Samuel Packard, Jr., along with two others, while identifying her as “Elizabeth Washburn Widow of the Town of Bridgewater”:

Most importantly, in this agreement she explicitly noted herself as married to Samuel, calling him her “first husband”:

“…by these presents convent with the said Sam James his heirs & assigners I…at the lime of making over and passing away said Land unto the said Sam James stood truley & lawfully peired and processed with the same & every part and parcel thereof of a good lure, lawfully & absolute Estate of Inheritance, by virtual of my first Husband, vis: Samuel Packard his will, and therefor, I have full power to Bargain, Sell, Grant, alienate, and pass away the piece onto said Sam James.

It goes on from there in legalise, basically saying she has the right to give Sam James the land. This transcription may not be completely correct, so I’d recommend you read the full page below, as I could have made errors:

Many years later, in April 1702, Elizabeth, still a “widow,” would sign a document about John Washburn’s heirs, receiving some rights. I came to the conclusion this is her as she is called “Elizabeth Solo” (widow):

“Massachusetts Land Records, 1620-1986,” images, FamilySearch, Bristol, Deeds 1699-1709 vol 3-5, image 304 of 806, page 83, county courthouses and offices, Massachusetts.

That is the last record we have of her. What I have posed here goes far beyond what I wrote in the past. Further recommendations for how I can find more about Elizabeth are appreciated, as I’m planning to focus on later Packard ancestors in the future.


[1] Last Will and Testament of Samuell Packer, Oct. 29, 1684, Plymouth Colony Records, Wills Vol. 3, Part 2, Plymouth Registry of Deeds, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, Plymouth, p. 96-98, images 585586 of 616.

[2] “Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1633-1967,” images, FamilySearch, Probate records 1686-1702 and 1849-1867 vol 1-1F, image 49 of 490, pages 84-85; State Archives, Boston.

[3] “Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1633-1967,” images, FamilySearch, Probate records 1686-1702 and 1849-1867 vol 1-1F, image 50 of 490, pages 86; State Archives, Boston.

[4] “Massachusetts Land Records, 1620-1986,” images, FamilySearch, Plymouth, Deeds 1712-1714 vol 10, images 183-184 of 651, page 333, 334-5; county courthouses and offices, Massachusetts.

The Nebraskan Man of Mystery: The Story of Joseph Winfield Packard

Close up of an 1897 map of Nebraska on the website of Hall County, Nebraska

On the morning of Sunday, March 13, 1910, three boys from South Sioux City, Nebraska, who were on a duck hunt, found a horrifying sight near Coburn Junction. [1] A man, said to be 27 years old, was lying beside a train track, his body mangled with a deep gash in his forehead, a broken hip, and numerous contusions and bruises across his body. He had been dead for several hours. On his person was five dollars of change, a “quart bottle of whiskey” (a fifth of a gallon or about 26 ounces), a raffle ticket, and a receipt belonging to a saloon (Duggan and Heffernan) in nearby Hubbard, Nebraska. He also had a letter on him, dated at West Cummington, Massachusetts, on an inside coat pocket addressed to “B.F. Packard” (likely an error) and signed “father.” He was, as local papers reported, killed instantly by a passing freight train that morning by accident and was dragged by the train, furthering his injuries. These same papers said he was suspected of robbery at the Duggan and Heffernan saloon on Saturday night, not an uncommon occurrence for the saloon (which had been robbed and burglarized in 1902, 1904, and 1906). [2] They also supposed that he walked down the Omaha railroad northeast toward the Coburn Junction, on his way to Sioux City, Iowa, across the Missouri River, but was overtaken by a train. His body was held “awaiting some word from his relatives.” This man was named Joseph Winfield Packard.

Joseph was the third child of Cyrus Winfield Packard (1852-1924) and Dorothy “Dora” Ann Mills (1849-1895). He was born on June 17, 1885 in the small town of Plainfield, Massachusetts. [3] His fellow siblings included 3 brothers, John Henry (1882-1950), and Charles Edward (1887-1960), Robert (1891-1956) [adopted in 1895 by the Mills family], and 3 sisters, Margaret (1884-1976), Marion Estelle (1889-1965), and Mabel Hattie (1892-1961).

Little is known about his life, how he got out to Nebraska, what his occupation was, or where he lived. He may have been a boarder with the locally-known Streeter family in Cummington, Massachusetts in 1900 due the fact that it correctly lists his father’s birth place (Massachusetts) and mother’s birthplace (New York), while saying he was born in May 1885. [4] However, since census record lists a “Joseph M Packard” rather than a “Joseph W Packard,” it cannot be confirmed that they are the same person.

Further complicating matters is his gravestone in Plainfield’s West Hill Cemetery, which his father Cyrus once oversaw. It correctly notes his dates of birth and death (1885-1910). However, it also states that he was “buried at Sioux City Nebraska” even though no such place exists! On his Find A Grave page, a family bible entry, sent to me by second cousin once removed, is attached, stating that his death date was March 10th even though it was actually March 13th. This raises the question of who provided this faulty information, which went into the family bible, and who provided the incorrect burial place which was carved into the stone.

We know from local newspaper reports that Joseph was buried in a cemetery in Dakota City on March 19, 1910. Unfortunately searches on the page for Dakota City Cemetery, the only cemetery listed for this town on Find A Grave, have been fruitless. Joseph’s remains were taken there by coroner B.F Sawyer. The county paid the funeral expenses as his father, Cyrus, said he was a “poor man” but he would like to know “the particulars of his son[’]s death.” This charge may have had some validity. The 1910 U.S. Federal census, enumerated about a month after Joseph’s death, showed Cyrus as a farmer who mortgaged a farm in Plainfield, married to his third wife, Clementina Cheney, and having five children in the household (Olive, Herbert, Rachel, Thomas, and Harold), none of whom had any occupation listing. [5]

Despite the lingering mystery of many of the particulars of Joseph’s life beyond his birth and death, there is something we can say for certain: Joseph lived in a small town environment, with Hubbard numbering in the hundreds of people, tied into the train system to nearby towns like South Sioux City and Dakota City, which are four miles apart, both to the Northeast of the town itself. [6] When authorities attempted to bring law and order to the Dakota County, ordering the closing of “remaining gambling houses,” there is no doubt that they were thinking of places like Hubbard, which had at least one saloon. These areas, within Dakota County, were also highly influenced by the railroad and agriculture, the latter due to the fact that the county was “originally vegetated with oak prairie savannas” and lies within confluence of the major rivers draining from Minnesota (Missouri, Minnesota, Mississippi, and St. Croix). [7]

The horrific death of Joseph was not unusual for those times. During the 19th century, railroads in the U.S. were “comparatively dangerous” to workers and their passengers, especially for freight trains. [8] In 1910, Joseph was one of the 314 people killed in railroad-related deaths and over 12,000 were injured, which was even a decrease from previous years.

In the end, while there are many remaining questions about Joseph’s life, there is no question that he was, to put it mildly, the Nebraskan Man of Mystery.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally slated to be published in an upcoming issue of Packard’s Progress, led by Dale Cook and pushed by others, which I submitted for consideration back in January of this year. I felt that it was wrong to let this article linger without further publication, so it seemed right to publish it at this time.


[1] “Mangled Body of Man Found Near Coburn Junction,” Norfolk Weekly News-Journal, Mar 18, 1910, p 8, Death of Joseph W. Packard, Daily Deadwood Pioneer-Times, 16 Mar 1910, p. 1; “The body of a man…,” Dakota County Herald, Mar 18, 1910, p 5; “Joseph Packard, the man who…,” Dakota County Herald, Mar 25, 1910, p 5; “B F Sawyer took the remains…,” Dakota County Herald, Mar 25, 1910, p 5; “Surviving Nebraska Railroad Stations,”; M.M. Warner, Warner’s History of Dakota County, Nebraska: From the Days of the Pioneers and First Settlers to the Present Time, with Biograpical Sketches, and Anecdotes of Ye Olden Times, (Dakota City, Neb.: Lyons Mirror Job Office, 1893), p 97. A 1915 railroad map assists in locating where Coburn Junction was at the time. Coburn Junction is near South Sioux City, Nebraska and is “five miles due west of Dakota City…there is neither a settlement nor post office at this point” as M.M. Warner put it in 1893.

[2] “Hold Up [at] Hubbard Saloon,” Omaha Daily Bee, Dec 24, 1902, p 1; “Nels Anderson Disappeared,” The Lincoln Star, Dec. 15, 1902, p 3; “Notorious Robber is Convicted of Murder,” Lincoln Journal Star, Feb. 22, 1904, p 7; “U S Senator Norris Brown on County Option,” Dakota County Herald, Oct 14, 1910, p 4; “Former Negro Politician Dies in Insane Hospital,” Lincoln Journal Star, Nov 5, 1907, p 1; F.B. Tipton, “Anti-Saloon Legislation,” Nebraska State Journal, Jan 4, 1907, p 8; “A Question of Point of View,” Beatrice Daily Express, Apr 2, 1903, p 1; “Law and Order League,” Lincoln Journal Star, Apr 20, 1904, p 5; “Changes in the Mulct Law,” Omaha Daily Bee, Oct 18, 1903, p 6; “The Duggan and Heffernan saloon…,” Dakota County Herald, Apr 23, 1909, p 4; “The Dugan and Heffernan saloon…,” Dakota County Herald, Nov 30, 1906, p 4. The saloon was part of the local community, like other saloons in the area, leading to debates as to whether saloons should lawfully exist in the county. This was manifested by one writer in 1903 saying saloons “serve the devil,” F.B Tipton calling for limits on Saloons in Jan 1907, Norris Brown writing in October 1910 that “the county government polices and protects the saloons,” and a Law and Order League established in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1904, calling for “the union of all temperance people, the proper enforcement of the laws and the abolition of the saloon.”

[3] “Massachusetts Births, 1841-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch, Packard, 17 Jun 1885, Windsor, Berkshire, Massachusetts; citing reference ID #90, Massachusetts Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 1,428,207. His Family Search page, which I have contributed to, like other ancestral pages, is a work in progress like all good family history. It is used for rough information on his fellow siblings, the accuracy of which I can vouch for.

[4] “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch, accessed 4 January 2019, Joseph M Packard in household of Edward B Streeter, Cummington Town, Hampshire, Massachusetts, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 618, sheet 2A, family 31, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,653.

[5] “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch, Cyrus W Packard, Plainfield, Hampshire, Massachusetts, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 712, sheet 1A, family 20, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 594; FHL microfilm 1,374,607.

[6] Charlene Jenson, “Hubbard,” Virtual Nebraska, 2005; Lori Steenhoven, “South Sioux City,” Virtual Nebraska, 2005; Shirley Sides, “Dakota City,” Virtual Nebraska, 2005; “Trains,” Sioux City History, accessed Jan 4, 2019.

[7] “A Premier County,” Dakota County Historical Society, accessed Jan 4, 2019; “Hastings Downtown District Added to National Register of Historic Places,” History Nebraska, Jan 3, 2019.

[8] Charles W. McDonald, “100 Years of Safer Railroads,” Aug 1993, p 14; March Aldrich, “History of Workplace Safety in the United States, 1880-1970,” accessed Jan 4, 2019.

The UK’s National Archives are ‘packed with Packards’

Back in May 2018, I covered records of the Packard name in the UK’s National Archives. It shows that the earliest mention of the name as “Packard” was in 1367. It also indicates that Packards were concentrated in, with dates of residence indicated by the records in parentheses:

Map is courtesy of familypedia. Used myenglandtravel as a guide to names of counties so they could be labeled correctly

This is worth pointing out as it shows where the Packards are concentrated, in the eastern part of England, specifically the counties of Suffolk (most common), Norfolk, and Essex,  all of which consist an area known as “East Anglia”:

This fits with where Samuel Packard and his family were born, although records of them in Suffolk is a bit thin, unfortunately,  including claims of the “Red House”  he was apparently born in. In fact, in one of my  earliest articles, I covered an article saying that Samuel was baptized September 17, 1612 in Stonham Aspal, Suffolk, England, and part of existing family legend, even promoted by the Stonham Apsal Village. There  is evidence that Samuel’s father, George, was born and lived in Suffolk as well. [1] This was also covered by Dale Cook in his page on the “Samuel Packard family” while another genealogist, Margaret Odrowaz Sypniewski, wrote that on her page, titled “The Packard Family” (which has been archived here):

They [the Packards] Came from Stonham Aspal, Suffolk County, England; to Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts on the Diligent. The Diligent sailed from Ipswich, England; in June, and arrived in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts on August 10, 1638…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 I 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. However, I found my own lineage in the parish records for Woolpit, Suffolk County, England…How these two Georges relate, to each other, is unsure, but most current scholars place the second George as father to Samuel Packard who immigrated to Massachusetts. Since they also note them as the elder and younger Earls Stonham, and the fact that they married only one year apart, tells us that Ann Garrard was NOT his first wife. In 1080, Suffolk was a county predominantly of villages and freeman, rather than manors and feudal vassals. Its population was fairly evenly distributed. None of the seven principal towns, which included Ipswich, Bury St. Edmunds, and Dunwich, had over 3000 residents.

While this does seem to generally fit with what  I have said here, what about the claim that Picard was French and turned into Packard?  I already have argued on here that it is wrong to call Samuel Packard a Huguenot. After all, with some saying that the name “Pykarde” is  a deviation from Packard or Packarde, there are over 60 results for the surname from 1200 to 1699 in the records of the National Archives of the UK. The same name “Picard” appears multiple times in the same records:

13th  century

14th century:

Not known:

  • various dates: “Feoffment by Gervase le Cordewaner, citizen of London, to John, the prior, and the canons, of Holy Trinity, London, of 16s. quit rent which Henry de Birchangre, tanner, used to pay him for the whole tenement he held of him in the suburb of London, without Crepelgate, in the parish of St. Giles, in ‘Everardeswellestrat’ within the bar, between land of Geoffrey Chipere and of Reginald Hopheldere, which land was formerly Henry Myttehere’s; consideration, 11 marks in gersum. Witnesses: Nicholas Bat, then mayor, John de Norhamton, Richard Picard, sheriffs, Stephen Bukerel, alderman of the ward, Lawrence de Frowyk, Nicholas son of Joceus, aldermen, Philip, rector of the church of St. Giles, and others (named). London.”
  • various dates: “conveyed property in 1250 to John Picard (to settle on the heirs of his daughter’s marriage to Felicia’s son)”
  • undated: “Grantor: PICARD, John and Basilia, his wife Grantee HUREL, Alexander, citizen of Chester Grant of lands in Newbold, Chester, paying 4d p.a. to Philip, clerk” (a second time)

There are other records that can be looked at later on this topic. When they say “norman records” I don’t know what they are referring to specifically. I have found no record in the National Archives records of “a Robert Pichard in England circa 1198” or a “John Pikert circa 1274.”Even so, their assessment that “how and if these early Picards/Pikerts relate to later generations is not known” is accurate. There is even a Packard Avenue in Ipswich. To solve these issues, there will need to be more in-person research at the Suffolk Records Office or elsewhere. Until next time!


[1] Others on genealogy pages, (with Robert Glen Packard citing various sources), connectedbloodlines, WMGS Members’ Genealogy, and Scott White, made similar arguments.

The story of Packardsville, MA

Newspaper clipping from the Brandon Times in Brandon Wisconsin on page 2 of the paper’s January 4, 1883 edition that mentions Packardsville, MA. This same article was also printed in the National Tribune of Washington, D.C. on December 28, 1882, along with other newspapers in Kansas, Wilmington, DE, and Lancaster, PA

In the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), run by the USGS, there are a number of places with “Packard” in the name. One of those is Packardsville, Massachusetts, still listed on a Wikipedia page of “list of villages in Massachusetts” but not citing any sources. The GNIS entry on this place says it is “0.8 mi SE of Knights Corner and 3.2 mi SSE of Pelham; Town of Pelham.” [1] There is evidence certain Packards lived there. There was some talk about this on the message boards of Ancestry, with some mentioning the existence of the town of Packardsville, with one user, named Debbe, writing that “the documentation shows Samuel Packard born 1794, Packardsville, Mass. died 1826 at Enfield, Mass. was in the war of 1812.” Another user on a related forum writes that they are “looking for any information on Theodore L. Gold” whom they state “resided in Packardville, MA or Palmer, MA during late 1800’s.” Apart from this, other users note that: Freelove Packard, who married Cyrus Clark Miner of Leyden, Massachusetts, lived in Packardsville, that two people (George Myron Gamwell and Charlotte Adelia Hanks) married there. This raises the question of whether the defunct Packardsville Cemetery in Enfield, Massachusetts is connected? As such, there needs to be some further investigation.

In 1788, the southern district of Packardsville was annexed by Pelham. By the early 19th century, Packardsville had developed into a “craft village.” [2] By the 1830s, a man with the last name of Packard and Thurston were making carriages within the village, a business that continued into the 1840s, generating thousands of dollars, until the firm left and moved to Belchertown. By the 1860s, there was apparently a congregational Church in the village. By 1874, Packardsville was still within the town of Pelham with one church, while sitting nearby the Jabish River and adjacent to Belchertown. It was, at the time, manufacturing village. Eleven years later, there were two villages listed as “Packardsville” in Massachusetts, one in Pelham and another in Pittsfield. By 1906, Packardsville was still as village within Pelham. A later survey ten years later said that Cadwell Creek goes through Packardsville. And, in 1932, any further burials in the Packardsville Cemetery by the Packardsville Church in Enfield, MA was prohibited. In the years that followed, before WWII, the Quabin Reservoir was constructed which flooded part of Packardsville, including a Baptist Church which was founded in 1831 (with the church building constructed in 1835). Undoubtedly this led to displacement of some individuals within the village, itself.

But how did it get its name? Well, page 11 of Carlene Riccelli’s “Place-Names of Pelham, Massachusetts Above and Below* Water” has the answer to that, noting that there was even a Packardsville Road that led into the town:

Named for Joel Packard sho[wed up] in the year 1840 [and] built a wagon manufacturing shop with a Mr. Thruston at the south end of town. Since that time the hamlet was call ed Packardsville .

Otherwise, there really wasn’t much else I could find about Packardsville, even from the Pelham Historical Society as of yet. If you have any stories about this village, hamlet, or whatever you want to call it, I’d love to hear them.


[1] They cite a source for this information: U.S. Geological Survey. Geographic Names Phase I data compilation (1976-1981). 31-Dec-1981. Primarily from U.S. Geological Survey 1:24,000-scale topographic maps (or 1:25K, Puerto Rico 1:20K) and from U.S. Board on Geographic Names files. In some instances, from 1:62,500 scale or 1:250,000 scale maps. There was also a Packardsville, Missouri as well, apparently.

[2] Massachusetts Historical Commission, “MHC Reconnaissance Survey Town Report PELHAM,” October 1982, pp 1, 2, 5, 8, 9;  Elias Nason, A Gazetteer of the State of Massachusetts (B. B. Russell, 1874), p 402; Massachusetts Bureau of Statistics of Labor, Census of Massachusetts: 1885, Volume 1, Part 1 (Wright & Potter Print. Company, state printers, 1887), p 24, 32, 35; Public Documents of Massachusetts: Being the Annual Reports of Various Public Officers and Institutions …, Volume 11 (State Printers, 1906), p 231; Charles Henry Pierce and Henry Jennings Dean, Surface Waters of Massachusetts, Issues 413-415 (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1916), p 318. There was also a mention of a merchant, Jacob Gould, in Packardsville, likely in the 19th century.

Who was Abigail Congdon Packard?

I recently found that someone shared yet another photo from RISD of a Packard ancestor. As it turns out, Abigail Congdon, shown above, is related to Captain Samuel Packard whom I have written about before on this blog!: “Captain Samuel Packard…was married to a woman named Abigail Congdon and had a daughter with her which had the same name (Abigail)” while also quoting a Rhode Island Historical Society History which noted that “on December 13, 1789, Captain Packard had married Abigail Congdon…in 1798, Abgail (Congdon) Packard inherited a portion of the Congdon homestead farm on Boston Neck.” I also noted that records held by Family Search show that “Captain Packard and Abigail’s daughter died in 1860” and that “Abigail, Captain Packard’s wife, died in 1854.”

But who was Abigail? Well, the description by Susan Holloway Scott on Instagram is:

This woman’s dress is more bronze that true flaming-cheetos-orange, but hey, it’s the 1790s. Her portrait is by James Earl, younger brother to fellow-artist Ralph Earl. Arguably the more talented of the two, James unfortunately died of yellow fever at only age 35. Mrs. Packard is wearing a wonderfully complicated cap, and extra ruffled trim that runs from her shoulders down the sides of her dress. “Portrait of Abigail Congdon Packard” by James Earl, c1795,

One post which reprinted this painting (and the RISD description) noted that Abigail “wears a fashionable silk gown and a fine linen cap and fichu, matching him in both style and status.” It was further noted that only a few years later, “she inherited a portion of her father’s estate in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, where the family built a house and later expanded their land holdings,” adding that she later “helped establish the Providence Female Charitable Society, an organization aiding indigent women and children.” But there is much more! She is in the newsletter of the United Empire Loyalists’ of Association of Canada (UELAC), raising the question of whether she was a supporter of the British Crown.

Other than a Flickr user who guessed that Abigail was a “Rhode Island local who would have lived at and after the time of the revolutionary war,” it is worth noting her Find A Grave entry, which describes her as 93 years old, but says nothing more! The latter should definitely be improved and added upon by Packard researchers. The National Portrait Gallery’s Catalog of American Portraits describes the painting of her as “oil on canvas” and by a man named James Earl. The  latter was a Massachusetts native, who was then painting in Charleston, South Carolina, after painting in London from 1787 to 1794. Early himself was sympathetic to the British Crown as he “established a niche in London by painting Americans who had expatriated because of their Loyalist politics.” This implies that Samuel Packard, the husband of Abigail, was a loyalist,  as was Abigail herself. However, an article about Samuel in Rhode Island History (Vol. 1, No. 1, Jan 1942), a publication of the Rhode Island Historical Society, disputes this, showing how these Packards were in the wealthy elite of Providence, Rhode Island. This article notes that Samuel was the son of Nathaniel Packard, with his father owning land bordering varied streets in Providence, that Samuel was a “mariner, ship master, ship–owner, and merchant,” owning 39 ships, and that he was “an ardent admirer of George Washington,” even involved in secret work for him. By 1797, the article notes, Samuel,. his wife Abigail, and their family lived in a three-story-high mansion in Providence. The following year, Abigail inherited some of the ” Congdon homestead farm on Boston Neck” of which Samuel purchased the remainder of in the early 1800s, Later on Samuel would own land in Cranston, Rhode Island and even in Illinois, with his homes in Providence in North Kingston furnished with “fine furniture, china, and silver.”

The fact there was a house there at all is substantiated by pages 39 and 40 of  the 1914 Report of the Committee on marking historical sites in Rhode Island, published by the Rhode Island Historical Society. The same society currently holds a letter from Samuel Packard in Havana on April 5, 1797, and scattered other records on Packards. I can’t find his land in Illinois as of yet.

Thanks to the USGS’s Geographical Information Names System (GNIS), I was able to find an entry for the John Congdon Plot, which is also called the “Congton-Packard Cemetery” according to the citation they provided. [1] This plot, according to GNIS, is located on Boston Neck Road in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.  Looking on Google Maps at the coordinates they provided, you find that its near something called the Casey Farm, which currently raises “organically grown produce for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program” and has a nearby cemetery nearby. [2] But I have asked them about this.

Screenshot of the cemetery (on the left) with a close-up of the cemetery (shown on the right) taken from the Google Earth photograph of the area.

Despite this hurdle, I was able to find records within the Rhode Island Cemetery Database, run by that state’s historical society, which shows five Packards buried there, all with marble stones:

  1. Abby Packard (1802-1860)
  2. Abigail Packard (c. 1761-1854)
  3. John C. Packard (c. 1794-1827), has a carving of an urn/willow
  4. Capt. Samuel Packard (c. 1761-1820), has a carving of an urn/willow
  5. Samuel Packard, Jr. (c. 1804-1823)

Abigail is the one this article has been focused on and Samuel is her husband. Interestingly, there is also a Nathaniel Packard buried elsewhere in Rhode Island who is likely the father of Samuel. Other than this, the information on Samuel and Abigail is relatively sketchy, with a Find A Grave user, Carrie Anne Perez, reposting an death notice for an infant son of this couple in February 1799:

Otherwise, one can find the photographs of the gravestones, by Stan Arnold, of both Samuel and Abigail on their respective Find A Grave pages, but reposted here:

I did also find a mention of Capt. Samuel Packard in an August 1888 edition of Book Notes about a journey from Providence to Alexandria, Virginia in 1788, noting that “in August 1786, Mr. Olney Winsor, son of Mr. Samuel Windsor, long pastor of the first Baptist Church of Providence, made a voyage on the sloop Susan whereof Capt. Samuel Packard was master,” adding they later went ashore in Alexandria, stopping at a mansion and even visiting George Washington. [3] I did also find that Capt. Packard worked for the Providence Insurance Company in the early 19th century, insuring cargo such as boxes of sugar in places such as Havana. There were a number of other mentions in including in The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1794 and The Washingtonian in 1811 (about the capture of Bostonian on the high seas). One book by RISD provided a bit more context about their lives:

Captain…Samuel Packard of Providence…[had] success as a ship’s captain, merchant, and shopowner…indicated [in the painting of him] by the sailing vessel in the portrait’s background and the spyglass in his hand. He married Abigail Congdon (ca. 1761-1854), a descendant of one of Rhode Island’s earliest English settlers and owner of considerable property

I don’t want to rehash the records I looked at my post on Capt. Packard in March of last year, so I’m probably going to stop here for now. I will add that he may have signed, when he was caught for illegally trading in slaves off the African coast, a pledge to leave the slave trade forever and that his house was at a time on Westminster Street in Providence and that he was in Newport when the artist who painted his portrait was there, while he also remembered Washington fondly.  But, it was clear that Capt. Packard was a powerful personage in Providence.

From the early censuses of Rhode Island on Samuel Packard, we find that in 1790 he had no enslaved peoples, two women living in the household (presumably one whom was his daughter and another whom was his wife Abigail) and himself:

Pages 188 of the 1790 census for Providence, with page 172 providing the heading used here. Sorry for the distortion of the picture.

By 1800, there were three people under 10 years of age (one of which was male, two of which were female), one woman who was between ages 16 and 26, and another between age 26 and 45 (undoubtedly Samuel’s wife, Abigail), along with three other people in the household. No enslaved people were living in the household.

Page 197 of the 1800 census for Providence plus the top part coming from another census in order to define the terms below.

By 1810, Capt. Packard was living in the West District of Providence with one son between ages 10 and 16, another between ages 10 and 26, two daughters under age 10, one between age 10 and 16, another “free person,”  no enslaved peoples, and two woman over age 45. While it is obvious that one of the woman over age 45 is his wife, it is not known whom the other person is…

Transcribed from page 69 of the 1810 census for Providence as pasting it with the above categorization made reading the original text impossible.

For 1820, the census must have been taken after he died, as he is not mentioned in this census from what I could find.

But what about the earlier censuses? Well, we also know that he was mentioned in the 1777 Rhode Island Military Census and likely some other census documents, although searching census records he is only mentioned in 1777. For more information, on Rhode Island censuses, please see here. He is not found on the Rhode Island, Wills and Probate Records, 1582-1932 on Ancestry from a search I did, even when just focusing on Providence.

With that, this article concludes.For another day!


[1] The citation they provided was: “McAleer, Althea H., Beatrix Hoffius, Deby Jecoy Nunes. Graveyards of North Kingstown, Rhode Island. n.p.: The Author (McAleer), 1992.”

[2] It is implied this is the same cemetery, as they say on their website that “Tour the farmyard and cemetery, where six generations of Caseys are buried.” I sent them a message on February 27th, saying “Good morning. I was wondering if the John Congdon Plot (,P3_TITLE:1902089,John%20Congdon%20Plot) is on your Casey Farm property, as some of ancestors, Samuel Packard and his wife Abigail are there. I may visit sometime in the future not only because of that genealogical connection but due to my love of history and archives. I look forward to hearing from you.” While I await their response, I did read in the Rhode Island Cemetery Database that: “On the west side of Boston Neck Road (Rte. 1A), north of Casey Farm. It is adjacent to cemetery NK065, separated from it by a stone wall. Graveyard is clear of brush, cared for, unfenced. Entrance is by permission from property owner at 2265 Boston Neck Road, just north of the Casey Farm. Visited by Arnold 25 April 1880, his #53, “On land of the late Samuel C. Cottrell a distance south of his lare residence is an ancient burial yard of the Congdon family, wall in poor condition” Recorded by Althea McAleer, Beatrix Hoffius, and Deby Nunes for a 1992 book on North Kingstown cemeteries,” also noting the owner is Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, with a website that re-directs you to Historic New England that owns the Casey Farm.

[3] He is also mentioned briefly on pages 122 and 123 of Art & Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650-1830, in relation to the fact that he was sitting in an armchair.

An addendum unfinished: Bob’s “sentimental journey to Massachusetts”

Bob Mills’s caption: This was Uncle Tom Packard’s home in Plainfield on Maple Street. It is a shingled shack on a deserted gravel road in the country. The barn has been converted to a modernistic solar home by a young couple. West Hill Cemetery is adjoining.

Editor’s note: This  is an essay, titled “Addenum” at the end of Bob’s original version of his family history booklet, seemingly written in a tone that it was meant to be read by his siblings (Helen and Carol), along with other relatives perhaps, The Packard/Mills Family History, which was sent to relatives in December 1979 as a Christmas present. However, this essay was likely written in July or August 1980. This text, in this post was assembled by this editor almost 38 years after Bob went there, as an interest coincidence. The text is printed below, with only additions of the photos he mentions. My family history trip is recounted  at the end of this post.

In July, 1980 I made a sentimental journey to Massachusetts to visit the grave-sites described in this book, and to learn more about the family. In the Berkshires, I visited West Cummington, Cummington, and Plainfield. I did not visit Shelburne Falls, or Heath. South of Boston, I visited Hingham, drove along Hingham Bay, and visited West Bridgewater and Bridgewater. I will report these adventures in the order in which they occurred. The Berkshires are extremely beautiful, and I had lunch in Pittsfield, a busy town which hosts the Tanglewood Musical Festival nearby. However, all the little towns in which the Packards have lived are nothing more than wide spots in the road. Everybody is friendly, and almost anyone I  asked knew about the Packard family in astonishing detail. Considering the exotic nature of my purpose, I was quite dependent upon asking directions to the obscure little cemeteries scattered around on the hillsides, and got good information from passerby and general stores.

Having found a few recent Packard graves at a roadside cemetery in West Cummington, I drove a few miles further to a general store which marked the center of Cummington. Incidentally, West Cummington boasts the Berkshire Snow Basin, which is ski tow alongside the main highway. It looks about 1000′ feet through wooded slopes. Anyway, a pleasant lady gave me some rather complex instructions to the Dawes Cemetery, and to ask for a Rev. McEwen. Apparently, almost nothing in New England has proper signs, so that one proceeds carefully searching for local landmarks described by residents.  I found Rev. McEwen cutting the grass, and he allowed as he didn’t know the cemetery well enough to point out Packard markers, but there was an old lady next door to the cemetery, etc. Again, I found this several times, there is usually an elderly woman living next to the cemetery who knows the place, and is a kind of guide and carekeeper. There was one row of Packards. Families are usually planned in rows, with plots running either East or West, or North and South. Often later residents are uniformly buried in a given direction, with the early gravesites running at 90 degrees contrary to the rest of the cemetery. It turned out that William Henry Packard and Rachel Bartlett Tilson, and some of their children, are buried here, a fact which had not been discovered by Tommy Adkins, who had compiled much of the family history. Since this couple’s third child was Cyrus Winfield Packard (our grandfather), much more information was added to the family history.

I then went over a gravel road which was quite hilly, strewn with rocks and ferns. This is Packard Road, the original connection between Cummington and Plainfield, about five miles apart. Plainfield is basically an intersection with a few old houses and a few rundown businesses. Everything else is widely scattered and one-family farms marked by stone walls and trees which are beginning to reclaim the whole place. So-called Maple Street, my own guidepost, is not a street at all, but an unpaved dirt road between rural mailboxes and farms. Without a lot of persistence and the extremely solicitous assistance of neighbors who seemed to know everything about Tom Packard and the West Hill Cemetery, I would have missed the place entirely. So far as I could tell, the local population is either retired gentleman farmers or young couples who work in the cities, with occasional vegetable gardens in the side yards. By Midwestern standards, the soil looks terrible for farming.

I finally found Tom Packard’s farm, which is now owned by a young couple whose Italian name escapes me. They weren’t home, so after snooping around I went next door to an ultra-modern solar-type house which it turns out had been constructed from Tom Packard’s former barn. There an extremely pleasant woman, whose name I never learned,  told me of the subdivision of the farm by Atty. Doris Alden from Springfield, and directed me to the West Hill Cemetery next door. Incidentally, Tom Packard’s house is little more than a tar shingle shack without central heating, and was constructed in 1946 after the old home much further up the hill had burned to the ground. The main product of the farm  appears to be maple syrup.

West Hill Cemetery must have originally been a family-owned cemetery, since it seems to contain virtually nothing but Packard names. It was tended throughout Tom  Packard’s life by him personally, and a $30,000 bequest was used to maintain the cemetery, which appeared to be well-kept. Uncle Tom is buried here, and he was 73 at the time of his death in 1975. Bert’s father, Cyrus Winfield Packard, was buried here with Clementina Cheney, his 3rd wife. Also there is a marker for Joseph Winfield Packard, who was said to be killed while “working on the railroad” in 1910. The grave of Bert’s younger sister, Mabel Hattie Packard Whitley Landstrom, is also here, as shown in the photo.

Reposted from Find A Grave, where I uploaded Bob’s photo.

While I was photographing these stones, a battered van drove up, disgorging a middle-aged woman, a somewhat larger man with a huge beer belly, and rather impassive son. I was never introduced to the men, but she turned out to be Mabel Landstrom‘s daughter, Frances M. Rae, who lives in Shelburne Falls nearby. She was rather surprised to discover who I was (Does that make her my cousin?), and regaled me with tales about Uncle Rob, who seems to be the reigning success figure in the family. She was bitter about not getting part of “Uncle Rob’s” estate, and also bitter about not getting a bigger share of “Tom’s” estate. She was bitter about Douglas Packard getting 20%, claiming he was adopted, and not entitled to such a large share. She also noted that she had been married twice, “but never again”. In the midst of this harangue, which was carried out in front of her beer-bellied boyfriend, who offered me a beer from a case in the van, a 4th figure suddenly emerged from the van, almost knocking me down in the process. He was introduced as her mentally retarded son, almost 30 years of age, and after shaking hands, he retired again to the van.

I excused myself from this scene, and sped on to Boston. The next day I went to Hingham, seeking information about Samuel and Elizabeth Stream Packard, the original settlers. Hingham is a rather exclusive little town, with large houses set back from the street, and it proved impossible to locate anything easily there in the general rush through Hingham to get to the beaches beyond Hingham Bay. I drove to the beaches and Hull, and had a delightful lunch on top of an abandoned artillery form which had a splendid view of the whole bay. Afterward, I took the Interstate down to West Bridgewater, and searched through three graveyards in this busy little community without success, except that I found a clutch of Haywards in a very old pioneer cemetery. However, driving five miles into Bridgewater, which is a really charming  old community, I found the old cemetery in the heart of town which contained most of  the original Packards. The oldest was the gravestone of Judith Willis Packard, married to the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Packard, whose name was John Packard. She was born in 1681, and died in 1761 at the age of 90. Most fascinating was Deliverance Packard, whose second marriage was to Capt. Abiel Packard after her first husband, Capt. Joseph Washburn, died. However, she was buried with her first husband! I noted three marriages between the Washburns and the Packards in those early days, as well as a possible marriage between Abigail Hayward, as the second wife of Jonathan Packard. Abigail died in 1760. The Bridgewater Cemetery is well-tended, and is a fascinating treasure trove of the old families of Massachusetts.

Some of Bob’s other photos in July 1980:

Dividing town line between Cummington and Plainfield

Presumably Maple Street, or another wooded street.

Bob’s caption: Packard Road connects Cummington to Plainfield over steep hills. It is mostly a gravel road with lots of ferns, rocks, and trees, but nothing else but a few random farmhouses. Only Plainfield has a few restored old homes – the area is rather poverty-stricken.

West Cummington, Mass. A ski tow (Berkshire Snow Basin) is located here. The mountains and streams are beautiful, but the soil, rocks, and growing conditions seem very marginal for farming.

West Cummington

Gravestones of Barnabas I and Mary his wife in West Hill Cemetery. As Bob writes, the cemetery was tended by Tom Packard “until his death in 1975, and actually on his property, now sold and subdivided.”

Packard gravestones in West Hill Cemetery

Dawes Cemetery, Cummington. “A row of Packards” as Bob described it. It is not like Bridgewater’s First Cemetery where “most of the early Packards are buried” as Bob wrote in his book

Dawes Cemetery, Cummington. Wm. Henry Packard (father of Cyrus Winfield Packard) died on Aug 21, 1898, at the age of 74 years. His wife, Rachel, nee Tilson, died Jan. 30, 1881, at age 56. This marriage produced 10 children.

My August 2017 family history tour

Plainfield Town Hall, photo  taken in August 2017. Originally posted in my “From Samuel to Cyrus: A fresh look at the History of the Packard Family” post.

This expands on what I wrote in my ““Introduction” to my Packard family history“, while also drawing from “Chapter IX: Barnabas, Mary, and Plainfield.” [1] These are my reflections almost a year after this trip occurred.

In August 2017, like Bob, me, my dad, and my mom went on a family history trip across Massachusetts. I will tell this story in the order in which it occurred. Unlike him, since he was driving from Cincinnati, we started in the eastern part of the state, after staying in Cape Cod for a few days, hitting Hingham first. While there, I talked to the archivist of the Hingham Historical Society Michael Achille, which Bob, according  to his above story, did not get to do at the time. While he was not able to find anything about the Packards in their database, except for some tangential connections, he was very nice, friendly, and was about my age, going to graduate school which was a bit of an inspiration for me to pursue the same path. We also walked around one of the worst parks in the world, World’s End. The scenery was nice, but there were passenger jetliners flying above almost all the time. Despite this, I did take a few pictures which I used to represent Bear’s Cove, where the first settlers of Hingham landed. The town of Hingham was relatively well-off, with many small shops and was bustling, filled with history. It would be different from what was to come.

Mapping places visited in Hingham. 1.3 miles  between the two locations.

From Hingham, we went to Bridgewater. The town itself was a little-run down and not as well-off as Hingham. While there, we didn’t visit the historical society but we went to the First Cemetery and took some photos. Looking around, we counted how many Packard graves there were in this cemetery, which sat behind a Unitarian church. Some gravestones were sinking into the ground more than others. Others were leaned up against a fence. No person who would tend the grave was there. The gravesite sits near the corner of two streets. However, it was, if I remember correctly, protected by a sort of stone wall around it. Oh, I almost forgot. Later on that day we ate in a restaurant and I told the waitress what I was doing in Bridgewater and she said she knew a friend whose last name was Packard! So the Packards are everywhere!

Hingham Historical Society to Bridgewater’s First Cemetery, 18.4 miles away from each other

Moving on from Bridgewater, we went to Western Massachusetts, where Cummington and Plainfield resided. Before going into Plainfield, I went into a local post office in Cummington, where I asked a postal worker to help us find the Dawes Cemetery. I don’t think I asked for the Dawes Cemetery exactly, but maybe for a local landmark, but regardless she gave directions to the cemetery. It is at the top of a hill, where people zoom along in their cars since its some type of thoroughfare. There’s only a few nearby houses. There’s a nearby creamery nearby called Grace Hill Dairy, which sits at, as I looked up later, on 47 Potash Hill Road. This may help those who read this find it in the future. While there, we took some pictures, and my mom drove the car through a path going through the cemetery, something Bob seems to have done as well. We did not meet any overseer of the cemetery or anything, but it seemed somewhat well-tended, much more than the cemetery in Bridgewater! There was a marker across the street where someone was buried, but I’m not exactly recalling who it was exactly.

Cummington locations visited are mapped above. The Kingman Tavern Museum will be talked about later in this story, for obvious reasons as you’ll see later

After visiting that cemetery, we went back down the road and stopped at the Old Creamery Grocery which has a big cow on top if my memory serves me right. They had some local music act playing a guitar. It seemed like a bit of a community meeting area. We ate our packed lunch there at some picnic tables they had set up and then moved on to another cemetery: West Hill Cemetery. Like Dawes, this cemetery has a sign, and even though it has less Packards than Dawes (20  in West Hill, 33 or 34 in Dawes). While there, we put some flowers in front of graves of Packards and looked at the Packards as a whole. There were a few houses around, but its generally wooded there, with not much activity around.

Locations in Plainfield visited. The Plainfield Historical Society does not have a fixed location, but this is about where I met Matthew Stowell

With that, Plainfield was the next stop. I was set for a meeting with the archivist Matthew Stowell of the Plainfield Historical Society. He was not a permanent resident of the area, working and living somewhere else during the year and was a teacher. I won’t go into his political affiliation here, but he was very friendly, as he met us on the street, walking his dog, before my appointment was set to occur. His house was a bit of a mess inside because of renovations. His dog kept trying to lick me, as dogs always go to those who dislike them the most! Anyway, he had some local history books such as Only One Cummington (vol 1 and 2), and Vital Records of Cummington. He also had a genealogy of someone related to the Packards which had been recently given to the Plainfield Historical Society. I looked through that and found many photographs, pictures, and other documents I hadn’t seen previously! After talking to him, we walked around a bit more of Plainfield. The town almost seemed deserted. There seemed to be no visible industry in Plainfield. There are historic houses, sure, but its basically a one street town, at a crossroads, literally. They were debating medical marijuana in the town hall from what I could see.

Courtesy of the Town of Cummington

Mr. Stowell recommended that we visit Cummington to find out more. We went into Cummington and lo and behold, a place called the Kingman Tavern Museum was open, which is run by the Cummington Historical Society. People were dressed in period costumes of the 19th century, I believe. One local girl, whose ancestors were a wealthy family known as Tillsons (Rachel Bartlett Tillson, the wife of William Henry Packard, was part of this family) if I remember correctly, was a tour guide inside the museum, dressed in clothing that  women would have worn at the time, showing visitors around. Everything inside could be photographed. My phone wasn’t working that well at the time, but I still got to take photographs. Most amazing of all was a room in the tavern called the “Packard room.” I was so overjoyed by this as I wasn’t expecting it whatsoever. Later on, an older man who seemed to know Tom Packard showed me to their family files,which were in a building across the street, one of which, of course, they had on the Packards. I took some photographs and notes, but felt a bit shortchanged. We had to go onto another destination and I had to say goodbye. Still, it was worth it.

It was then that the family history tour ended. After staying at a friend’s house for the night, we went into a bit of Western New York, visiting Olana and other sites along the Hudson River. We then took Interstate 90 back home, back into Maryland.

While this family history trip was great, after doing much research since then, I know so much more than I knew then. Sometime in the future I’d like to go back and visit Hingham, Plainfield, and Cummington once again. Until next time!


[1] In the first post I added a family story: “as the story goes, he [Bob] entered a store in Plainfield, and friendly town residents asked him why he was there. He said he was researching family genealogy of the Packard family. One person responded saying “I’m a Packard, he’s a Packard, she’s a Packard, we’re all Packards here.” Another one of his cousins had a similar experience but slightly different in Pittsfield, asking about the Packards at a local library and they had a whole section dedicated to the family.”

Analyzing ‘Packard’s Progress’

Volume II of Packard’s Progress, summer issue 1987, via Internet Archive. This was not found on Mr. Cook’s website, as I have no need to take the PDFs from there.

Some time ago, I wrote about, in my family history, briefly, Packard’s Progress, a family newsletter once issued by the Packard family, specifically talking about volumes 6 and 17, while adding that the “Packard’s Progress publication from 1987 to 1998, both of whom used certain primary sources.” [1] Starting in 2011, genealogist Dale H Cook began posting volumes of this publication online, even though he does not have the complete collection as of yet. In years since then, Cook proposed creating a new version of the publication, but, according to the message boards for the Packard surname, there has been no progress on this front. He has since, indexed all the available volumes of Packard’s Progress on his website.

Looking at this publication is important because it has been broadly cited, apart from  its presence on Worldcat, the Southern California Genealogical Society, and Historical Society of Pennsylvania websites, by varied genealogies online. [2] As the late Richard Packard described it in 2009, on a link which is now dead, Packard’s Progress was a publication of the Packard and Allied Families Association (PAFA), noting that it was published from 1987 to 1998, with Cook, not surprisingly, as one of the editors. With the newsletter’s demise, the PAFA also well apart, as he writes:

In the spring of 1987, Mrs. Jeri Packard Schlerf began privately  publishing “Packard’s Progress,” a family newsletter for anyone interested in Packard and allied family history, genealogy, and  activity. She and interested readers organized a reunion at Eureka Springs, Missouri, to celebrate the 350th anniversary on Aug 10, 1988 of the arrival of Samuel Packard and his wife and one daughter. I attended with my brother and our wives and 100 or more others. The Packard and Allied Families Assoc. (PAFA) was formed, elected officers, and established by-laws. It was an informal organization and was not registered in any state…The editorship of “Packard’s Progress” was taken over by Alan D. Packard in 1991 until the fall of 1994 when Dale Cook became editor. I became editor in 1997 until September of 1999 when I announced my resignation and appealed for a volunteer to continue it. There were a few possible volunteers at the August 2000 reunion but medical problems occurred, no one took over the editorship and newsletter  publication ended. Meanwhile, the popularity of the internet, especially for the exchange of genealogical information, has grown tremendously and supplanted much of the interest in a family newsletter. Without a newsletter the PAFA organization has in effect ceased to exist and no further reunions are being planned.

That brings us to the electronic copies posted by Cook, provided “for personal non-commercial use only.” He described the Packard’s Progress newsletter as containing “much useful information for Packard researchers” which is difficult “to find other than in some Massachusetts libraries and the Library of Congress,” posting the volumes, except for Volume 16. He further added that “the reliability of any article depends upon the person submitting it,” saying that the articles of Karle S. Packard and Alan D. Packard are of “high” or “excellent” quality. [3]

With this, it is worth looking at each Volume of Packard’s Progress. We’ll start with Volume II since that is the only version of Packard’s Progress available apart from Cook’s website. The 2nd page of this volume has a number of dated photographs of Packards and gives a summary of the family line from Samuel Packard onward, but provides no sources for this information. The next few pages focus on an immigration depot in America called Castle Garden. Past a host of pages outlining another family listing, there is an insert from Alan D. Packard. Apart from the letters, the next to last page has a map of the town of Easton, taking from an original drawn in 1750. And that’s about it.

With this, we can move back to Volume 1, with Jeri Packard as the editor. It begins with a similar front page to Volume II, but tried to get people involved in the PAFA, with later pages reprinting a Packard ancestry from the Library of Congress, and maps of Suffolk, England. Others summarize Packard genealogy from other books, include letters from Packard family members in California, Arizona, Ohio, along with a calendar. That’s about it.

As such, this comes onto Volume 3. The first page of this volume puts some doubt in who found and assigned the surname of “Stream” to Samuel Packard’s wife, Elizabeth, saying “cite your source and reference.” After telling a story of Amynander Packard, with another about the Packard Car (and Packard Brothers), another summary of the Packard family line, and an article about problems in copying photographs. The newsletter also lists varied other books on Packard genealogy, more summaries of listed family genealogy, noting that Packard is sometimes spelled Packer, a sketch of Coleman’s (home of George and Mary, Samuel Packard’s parents), and reprinting the passengers on The Diligent. There’s also a map of varied counties (Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex). That’s  about it.

Following this is Volume 4. After messages from the editor, Jodi, some other Packards, summaries of Packard family lines, the effort of one Packard to find her roots, and varied letters. Other pages note the Packard coat of arms (with an article later on in the publication), photos of Coleman’s, more family charts and summaries, including one of the “Streame” family, a list of surnames, and a map of North Easton. There’s a bit more than this, but not much.

After this is Volume 5 of Packard’s Progress. There are summaries of related family records, a map of Yorkshire, England, more family charts, and summaries from past genealogies. After more family listings and letters from Packard relatives, the genealogy of Samuel and Abel Packard I wrote about and put on the Internet Archive! Then there was a summary of all the Packard generations from Samuel Packard who came on the Diligent to Deliverance Packard Washburn. Following some letters from more Packard relatives, there is an agenda for the upcoming Packard reunion, a map of Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts, and that’s about it!

The next issue is Volume 6. This volume begins with talk about David Packard, a new genealogy by Brigadier General John G. Packard, a Packard in Monterrey, California. Then there’s the rector of the Stonham Aspal Church signing a document saying that Samuel Packard is listed within church records, stories about Stonham Aspal, Packard family mentions from 1311 to 1612 which are mainly in Suffolk County, England, along with short stories about “troublesome” Packards in England in the 14th century. Other parts have family genealogical listings, stories about David Packard, corrections to past errors and letters from readers. This is also the volume with, I believe, the first article by Karle S. Packard, aiming to correct issues in the Packard family lineage.

Then there’s Volume 6, the annual reunion edition. It begins with photos of the recent Packard family reunion, focuses on the PAFA, and lists all those who tried to get Brigadier General John G. Packard’s recent genealogy. It also noted those who attended and other aspects of the reunion.

Following this is the next edition of Volume 7. Apart from scattered family stories, there’s an article by Brig. J. John Packard of London titled “Why Did Samuel Packard Emigrate in 1638?” He concludes that Samuel was like typical emigrants of the time, wanting land. Not much else to it. Other parts of the magazine again reprint family genealogical listings, getting a letter and photos from the occupants of the Red House Farm, even giving it address. There are also quotes from original documents, including Samuel Packard’s last will and testament (only extracts). Other sections note a John Bruce Packard who served in the Civil War, some articles about Packards, and a map showing colonial roads.

Afterwards is Volume 8, focusing on William Cullen Bryant (related to this Bryant), and his home in Cummington, with a number of pictures. Later pages have letters from readers, research into Samuel Packard’s parents, Packard books, a map of Connecticut and New Haven colonies, and a number of other holiday pleasantries.

Volume 9 is an interesting issue. After talking about Horatio Alger, they are summarizes of original records, family genealogical lines, and reprinting a biography of Samuel Ware Packard from The National Cyclopedia of American Biography. There’s also the history of the Packard House Bed & Breakfast Inn in Bath, Maine, a Civil War document for Edmund Packard, articles about Brockton, and the reprinting of an early New England map.

Volume 10 is a bit odd since “pages 41-42 are missing” and they “appear to have been omitted by Jeri and never published.” Apart from the letters from Brigadier J. John Packard, there’s a number of stories about other Packards, family genealogical listings, a map of Maine, a map showing areas of settlement from 1620-1770.

Volume 11 isn’t as odd, of course, as there are no missing pages. There is mention of the 351 years the Packards had been in America at that point (in 1989), letters from Brigadier J. John Packard in London, extracts from original documents, and letters from readers. There was also a short piece about Abigail Adams writing a Packard, collections of Packard family data, other reprinted articles about varied Packards, and a map of Cape Cod.

Volume 12 has a number of responses from Packard family members, winter greetings, a reprinted biography of Henry Kingman, and family genealogical charts. Later pages had a listing of Massachusetts Counties and Townships, along with photos of Jeri Packard Schlerf, still the editor, who died in 2009.

Volume 13 is similar to Volume 12. It begins with a  poem about the Packards, which apparently makes all sorts of errors. One woman, named Sally Packard, in Huntington, NY, is listed as a Packard archivist. One article from Karle S. Packard talks about William Cullen Bryant, listing common names in 1638. Other parts of the publication reprint an article about Packards, family listings, reprint a map of New England in 1675, and note a “National Registry of Living Packards” published at the time (Spring 1990).

Volume 14 is a bit different. It doesn’t begin with a poem. Instead, it begins with an article about E.P.W. Packard, and says what they contribute to: Library of Congress, Family History Library in Utah, Old Bridgewater Historical Society, Packard House in Maine, Historical Society of Wisconsin, Red House Farm in England, General Library in Bennington, Vermont, and a few others. They also print a letter from Brig. John Packard, family  listings, letter A of families allied by marriage to the Packards through the male line, and other materials. Upcoming, the newsletter reports, is a meeting in Bridgewater of cousins. The newsletter also mentions previous Packard publications (New Packard Commercial Arithmetic, Packard Commercial Arithmetic, Packard Method of Teaching Bookeeping, Packard’s Bookeeping, Packard’s Commission, Packard’s Progressive Business Practice, and Packard’s Lessons in Munson Photography), reprints letters from a Robert D. Packard in Pittsburgh, and a representative named Ron Packard. And there’s a lot of drawings of cats!

Volume 15 is a bit different. In talking about a group of cars, they call it a “Pack of Packards” which funny enough, is pretty close to the name of this website! After some beginning pleasantries, the newsletter reprints a passage by G. Bailey, Jr. about “Puritan Namegiving,” messages from Packard relatives, and a way of numbering Packard ancestors, with only two of the three Barnabases listed, weirdly. So, the listing of Packards is not  complete. In this publication, all families allied by marriage to the Packards through the male line, with the letter B, are printed, family charts, and much more, like a map of Hingham Harbor.

Missing Volume 16. Cook says “according to the Preface to Photocopied Reprint of Packard’s Progress, Vols. 1-32, Volume 16 had limited distribution, and was apparently published much later than Volume 15 – it was not included in the reprint.” So, good luck finding that!

Volume 17 is the volume which some have cited as having an article by Karle S. Packard which some title “Samuel Packard and the English Origins of the Packard Family” and others erroneously title “Samuel Packard of Bridgewater, Massachusetts and His Family.” As such, this volume has a degree of importance. Beginning this newsletter is a photo of one Packard named Harding (born in 1892) and his ancestry back to Samuel. The first article is about Icabod Packard and his family. Then we get to Karle S. Packard’s article. She says that Samuel Packard has been long considered the progenitor of most Packards in the U.S., works to correct Mitchell’s errors in a History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater, builds upon Brig J. John Packard’s research, and says Samuel died in November 7, 1684 although the actual record, as noted on this blog, does not say this. She gives a number assumptions. She cites a number of sources:

  • Stoham Aspal Parish Register Transcript, LDS film 991989
  • “Daniel Cushing’s Record” NEHGR XV,  p 25
  • C.E. Banks, The Planters of the Commonwealth, 1930, p 194
  • NEHGR XVI,  187
  • E.W. Pierce’s Civil, Military and Professional Lists of Plymouth and Rhode Island Colonies, Boston, 40 et seq.
  • Town Records Of Bridgewater, Massachusetts 1656-1683, 1988, p 31
  • G.E. Bowman, “Samuel Packard’s Will,” The Mayflower Descendant, XV, p 253
  • “The Hobart Journal,” NEHGR, CXXI, p 19, 24-25
  • NEHGR, XII, p 349
  • NEHGR, IX, p 314
  • Vital Records of Taunton, Massachusetts to the year 1850, Boston, 1928-29, Vol. II, p 349, 356
  • Nahum Mitchell, History of…Bridgewater…Massachusetts,…(1840), Baltimore, 1970, p 40

I’ve looked at most of these sources already. Other articles in this newsletter focus on early settlers in north Auburn, obituaries of varied Packards, Packards in Lenawee County, Michigan in 1897, Packards in Lucas County, Ohio marriage records from 1895 to 1928, and an another article from Karle S. Packard “solving” the mystery of Levi Packard. That’s it.

Volume 18 is a bit different, of course. Two photos of an 19th century Packard couple begins the newsletter. Following it is a family record, more photos, and other family records. Then there are reprinting of marriage indexes in Lenawee County, Michigan, abstracts of Packards buried in Tecumseh, Michigan’s Brookside Cemetery, and other Packards in Lenawee County, Michigan records. The publication also notes Packards in the records of the New Bedford, Massachusetts Whaling Museum, some more family records, more photos, obituaries, and material received.

Volume 19 is also a bit different. It begins with a photograph of the Benjamin F. Packard (a sailing ship) and the story of this boat. Then there is another article from Karle S. Packard, noting more errors in Mitchell’s 1840 History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater, when it comes to the Packards. There are more listings of Packards, allied families with similar surnames, death notices, ancestry of specific Packards (Hosea S. Packard), with Alan D. Packard either the editor at this point or within the publication’s high-level staff.

Volume 20 begins with photos of the three Packard brothers: Warren Packard, James Ward Packard, and William Doud Packard. Other varied articles, family record sheets, photos, biographies, and much more, are noted. There is another article of Karle S. Packard titled the “Diligent of Ipswitch.” It tries to arrive at some tentative conclusions, claims Samuel Packard was called Samuel Packer, but only has four sources:

  • R.C. Anderson, “A Mayflower Model,” Mariner’s Mirror, Vol XII (1926), p 260
  • Charles Edward Banks, The Planters of the Commonwealth, Boston, 1930, p 191-4
  • Brian Dietz, “The Royal Bounty and English Merchant Shipping in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,” Mariner’s Mirror, Vol. 77, No. 1 (Feb. 1991), p. 19
  • R.C. Anderson, Seventeenth Century Rigging, Hemel Hampstead, Hertfordshire: Model and Allied Publications, Ltd., 1955.

After this, in the publication, there were more family sheets, photographs, obituaries, articles, having a book review on The Private War of Mrs. Packard, and that’s about it!

Volume 21 of Packard’s Progress begins with a history of Tonto basin, Packards as ranchers,  and family records. It also has instructions on where the 1992 Packard gathering will be held and some other messages.

Volume 22 is a bit different. It begins with a summary of Packardville, Lance Packard, and family charts. It also reprints a publication by the Packard Memorial Association in 1888, family charts, obituaries, and other news clippings.

Volume 23 starts with a summary of a Packard business (Shear, Packard & Co.) in Albany, New York, a number of family charts and old photographs. There were also newspaper clippings, family charts, obituaries, and messages from the PAFA leadership (President Karle S. Packard, First Vice President Norman A. Packard, Jr., Second Vice President Christine Y. Packard, Treasurer Charles Packard III, Secretary Barbara Millirons, Editor of Packard’s Progress and Trustee Alan D. Packard, Trustee Robert S. Johnson, and Trustee Richard F. Packard, Sr. And that’s it.

Volume 24 begins with a photo of a Packard family in Kansas, along with a story by a Kansas pioneer, with photos of related Packard ancestors. This issue also has Packard obituaries, family charts, and other information.

Volume 25 begins with a  story of Benjamin Packard, M.D. who was one of Albion College’s founders. There are also family charts, photographs, other family stories, images, and obituaries. Apart from this, there are further family charts, family photographs, and a message from the PAFA officers.

Volume 26 begins with a photograph of varied Packards, followed by family charts, and a story about an Edmund Packard. After a number of family charts, there are varied obituaries, and other charts. There is also an article about a Packard car,  along with messages from PAFA leadership.

Volume 27 begins with a story of civil war general Abner B. Packard. It is followed by family charts, a biography of Frank Packard, a letter, some articles, and obituaries. It ends with messages from from PAFA leadership.

Volume 28 begins with a newspaper page, followed by a family chart, and a biography of Arthur D. Packard. Following this is another family chart, memorial of Jasper Packard in 1900, and obituaries of varied Packards, including one of Brigadier J. John Packard whom contributed to Packard’s Progress information about the English origins of the Packard family. There was also a message from PAFA leadership once again.

Volume 29 begins with paintings (I think) of 18th century Packards such as Chester William Packard (1799-1863), John Chester Packard (1827-1905), and William John Packard (1822-1868), followed by the story of John Chester Packard as a “pill-pusher.” There were also stories about Chester W. Packard, recipes from varied Packards, a Packard family  tree courtesy of C W (Cyrus Winfield?) Packard III, and a story of Col. Burdett A. Packard. Following it was a family chart, 1851 obituary of Ashley Burdett Packard, a  family chart, and notations about the upcoming Packard reunion.

Volume 30 begins with a biography of Butler Packard who designed 19th century postage stamps. After this are family charts, a story about Charles G. Packard by Harry G. Woodworth, and some other related family stories. Alan Packard announced, on the last page, that this would be next-to-last issue.

Volume 31 begins with a photograph of the Jackson Farm in Spring Creek, Pennsylvania, circa 1889, along with photographs of a number of related Packards for pages upon pages. One of these is of a Packard family farm in Helena, Oklahoma in circa 1914. Apart from family charts is an article about Packards in New Hampshire, further photographs, obituaries, and other information. It is in this publication that Alan Packard says he is retiring as editor.

Volume 32 begins with a photo of the Isaac S. Packard homestead in Brockton, MA. The publication has a new look, much smoother. The first article is about the Packards of Cameron, Missouri by Lester O. Packard. The second article is reprinted from the Brockton newspaper, The Enterprise.  Other articles are reprinted from varying newspapers across the country. It is also in this issue that we get the first article by Dale H. Cook, specifically focusing on the Packards in The Rich Men of Massachusetts book. Other articles focus on a Packard who served in a Confederate Prison. There are also family charts, a notation of Packards in the 1790 census of Bridgewater, a family album of Isaac S. Packard of Brockton, and the new desktop publishing format of the publication. This is all thanks to the new editor, Dale H. Cook, with Alan Packard now just the family historian. Also, “keeper cards” (or keeper kards) begin this issue, listing those descendants who have a certain genealogy so others can contact them.

Volume 33 begins with a postcard of Pike’s Peak Auto Highway with a Packard stamp. In this issue, Dale is no longer editor but Richard S. Packard, Sr. is, with emails for Richard, Peggy (coordinator of the 1997 Packard reunion), Charles (Treasurer) listed at the time. The main focus of this publication is the upcoming reunion, but there’s also an obituary of Vance Packard, the conclusion of a Packard account of a confederate prison, family charts, missing links in the Packard genealogy, and some corrections to Brig. J. John Packard’s 1987 book, The Packards in article by Karle S. Packard, described as a “long-time student and researcher of Packard genealogy.” There are also a family charts, and summaries of the publication in the past.

Volume 34 begins with a photograph of a 1908 Packard Roadster. There is promotion of the upcoming Packard reunion in Colorado Springs, a story about the architect Lambert Packard, a further note about Stephen Burnett Packard, further missing links in the Packard chain, family charts, and other information. There is even floated the idea of a Packard reunion in England in  2000.

Volume 35 begins with a photograph of whales. This connects to the first story about Packard whaling captains Alpheus and Prince. The next article focuses on the 1997 Packard reunion. Articles following were on Noah Packard II (1796-1859) of Plainfield, Massachusetts. There was another post about missing links in the Packard genealogy, family charts, and an update on the George and Mary Packard family. There is also an article on Rev. Abel Kingman Packard (1823-ca. 1903), and a number of obituaries, along with the idea floated for reunions in 2000 in the U.S. and England.

Volume 36 begins with a photo of Bill Packard’s go-kart, called the Diligent. The emails of Karle S. Packard, treasurer Charles E. Packard III, trustee Robert F. Bovee, and editor Richard F. Packard, Sr. are listed. First is an address before the Packard reunion in August 1997 (originally given in August 1938 in Warren, Ohio), second are historic and personal events in Samuel Packard, an article about the Joseph Packards, and an article about Frank Edward Packard (1872-1961). Another article is about William Dunlap Packard (b. 1861), along with scattered Packard news, more missing links in Packard genealogy, and varied obituaries.

Volume 37 begins with a departure of emigrants from Ispwitch Hamlet in Massachusetts for the Ohio in 1787. Then there are articles on the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, Ohio counties, Packard who are within Ohio county histories, Milton Packard, and more missing links in the Packard chain.There are also blank Packard chains as well.

Volume 38 begins with sketches from Winthrop Packard and his story, including stories about Packard bird houses. There were also printed letters from readers, along with varied obituaries, family charts, and other information.

Volume 39, the last issue, began with a photo of the Packard motor car company plant in Detroit. At this time, Richard “Dick” Packard was stepping aside as editor, but as we know, no one would take his place. It is the only issue to ever have a complete and total table of contents. There are stories about the Packard plant  demolition in Detroit, usual references for Packard genealogy, a purposed trip to England in 2000 and a reunion in Massachusetts. There were also stories about women changing their names, a letter from a union soldier in the battle of Chancellorville in 1863, a Packard musician (Jimmie Packard), the story of Harvey Packard in Maine, the Packard family of Peru, Maine, and varied poems. There was also a story involving Silas Packard (and John Anderson Draper) going from Illinois to California’s gold fields, Edmund Packard and Susan McGovern whom were Decatur, Illinois pioneers, the Johnson Wax company, and Cyrus Snell Packard (1810-1891) of Maine which includes a letter to him. Additionally, there are family charts, a call for volunteers, varied obituaries. The editor, Dick Packard, was upbeat, but another issue would not happen.

To reprint what Dick Packard wrote, as quoted earlier in  this article,

There were a few possible volunteers at the August 2000 reunion but medical problems occurred, no one took over the editorship and newsletter  publication ended. Meanwhile, the popularity of the internet, especially for the exchange of genealogical information, has grown tremendously and supplanted much of the interest in a family newsletter. Without a newsletter the PAFA organization has in effect ceased to exist and no further reunions are being planned.

It is my hope that this blog serves as a sort of successor to Packard’s Progress. There seems to be some indications that could come in the future.


[1] This article fulfills my earlier promise on this blog, back in April of 2018, to write on this subject. In “Chapter I: The Packards in good ‘ole England” I wrote that “some say her name is Elizabeth, but Samuel and Elizabeth did not have a child of that name until 1664, with that date in question. The only person with a date before their arrival was Mary. There is a delayed baptismal certificate noted in one issue of Packard’s Progress which shows a “Samuel Packard” born in a Hingham church. However, this is indirect evidence as it was created many years after the event occurred. In another issue of Packard’s Progress, Karle Packard admits that saying that Samuel was born in Stonham Aspal, Suffolk, England is “presumptive” and is only a “probable” conclusion.” In “Chapter IV: Samuel, the Bridgewater yeoman” I wrote that “the current basis for Samuel Packard’s life, as manifested in this Find A Grave entry (for example) is shaky at best. This does not take away from the work done by Mr. Cook and by Karle S. Packard, who died two years ago, among others who wrote for the short-lived Packard’s Progress publication from 1987 to 1998, both of whom used certain primary sources. A lack of primary sources, rather relying with citations of transcriptions, abstracts, and other derivative documents, or those documents which are not in the original form they were created, creates a number of problems…Some chronicling the Packard genealogy cite an article titled “Samuel Packard and the English Origins of the Packard Family” by Karle S. Packard. However, no article of that name exists within the scanned issues by Packard’s Progress by Mr. Cook.”

[2] Ed Sanders, Sources, within “Descendants of John Sr. Johnson”; Art Packard on forums in 2000; Wikitree entry for Samuel Packard; Samuel Packard, Find A Grave, accessed May 14, 2018; “Descendants of John Alden. Notes,” accessed May 14, 2018; “Packard, Jael,” Michael & Deborah’s Genealogy Pages, accessed May 14, 2018; “Samuel Packard,” Our Northern Roots, accessed May 14, 2018; “Ens. Samuel Packard,”, Apr 29, 2018; Margaret Odrowaz Sypniewski, “The Packard Family,” The New England Colonists Web, Oct 2005; “Samuel Packard,” MyAncestralLegacy, accessed May 14, 2018; V. W. Hartnett, Jr, “Deliverance Packard,” accessed May 14, 2018; “Mary Edson,” Genealogy Pages, accessed May 14, 2018; “Ancestors of EastMill,” accessed May 14, 2018; Elizabeth Washburn, Find A Grave, accessed May 14, 2018; Richard F. Packard, “Re: Gil(l)mores in NY,” forums, Aug 22, 2018.

[3] One genealogist, Valerie A. Thomas, who wrote “Do You Own Old Family Photos?” in September 1987 in  Published in Packard’s Progress, Vol. III, Autumn Issue 1987, p.39-40, is still a living and breathing genealogist.