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.

More than Zachariah Packard’s property: the story of America, Peter, and Ann

Back in May, I wrote about how my great-great-great-great-great-great-great grand uncle, Zachariah Packard was a slaveowner in Massachusetts in the 1770s. In this article, I aim to tell the story of the three enslaved people, Ann, America, and Peter listed in his last will and testament building upon what I have written on this post in the past. While it is hard to trace enslaved people before 1870, I do my best to tell their stories to the best extent possible.

In 1771, Zachariah (whose name was also spelled Zechariah) had one dwelling house, 5 acres of pasture for 6 cows, “6 tilled acres, 4 acres of upland mowed land, 3.8. acres of fresh meadow, while producing 71 bushels of grain, 2 tons of hay from his upland mowed land, and 8 tons of hay from his fresh meadow land.” He also had “1 horse, 4 oxen, 6 goats & sheep, and 3 swine, along with one servant “for life”” (an enslaved person), “with his real estate worth 14 pounds, and owned “18.8. acres compared to Barnabas’s 18.” While the record does not outline who this enslaved person was, his inventory, outlined the same year gives more detail: it notes that he bequeathed a “servant boy” named Peter to his sons Nathaniel and Nathan, a “servant boy” named America to his daughter Abigail, and a “servant maid” named Ann to his wife Abigail, only to be set free after she died. [1] Here is what he says, exactly in his will about them, just to be clear:

I give and bequeath to my wife Abigail the improvement of my servant maid Ann (who is a servant for life) during the life of my said wife…I give and bequeath to my sons…Nathaniel and Nathan my servant boy named Peter (who is a servant for life)…I give and bequeath to my said daughter Abigail my servant boy named America, who is a servant for life…my will is that my said servant maid Ann (after the decease of my said wife) should be set at liberty with regard to service, and that my heirs, executors & administrators should not exercise any authority over her or control her in any way whatsoever, she having proved herself a very faithful servant & merited her freedom

This executed on November 2, 1772 with his death.

His inventory, on December 17, 1772, we find is how his son, Nathan, valued Peter as the highest (over 33 pounds), America as second-highest (33 pounds), and Ann as the lowest (9 pounds). [2] You could say that this “proves” that Ann was the oldest, Peter was second oldest, and America was the youngest.

One record on April 23, 1774 puts that all into question, outlining payments from Zachariah’s estate. [3] It lists an amount of 25 pounds, 5 shillings given to “America Peirce,” saying he was “hired”? owned? by the “said Zachariah Packard.”

This raises a number of questions. Who was “Peirce” (or Pierce)? And, what happened after 1774? What was the fate of America, Peter, and Ann?

We know that on March 4, 1774, Nathaniel Packard, Nathan Packard, Edward Poivers?, James Howard, Nathaniel Perkins, Benjamin Cantril?,  and Josiah Williams petitioned the court to appoint a guardian for Zachariah’s wife, Abigail. [4] They argued she was “insane or superannuated,” saying it made her incapable of improving the small estate bequeathed to her by Zachariah. The judge, Daniel Cushing, and several selectmen of Bridgewater (Shepard Frisk, Ephraim Carey, and Simeon Cary) agreed with this sentiment, and a guardian was appointed. It seems that Nathaniel became her guardian, although his 1794 will does not mention any enslaved people, as I noted in my previous post because slavery was phased out in Massachusetts after 1781, resulting in Peter, Ann, and America vanishing from the records, from what I could tell at the time. As the Museum of African American History puts it on their online timeline, slavery was abolished in Massachusetts in 1783.

We know, also, as I noted there, that there is an “America Pierce” and “Peter Pierce” living in Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1790, who could be the same as as those mentioned in this article. [5]

But, looking at the entries for America Peirce and Ann Freeman, this is thrown into question, as is this record which seems to prove the marriage. I was unable to find any records here, although we know that those whom were freed after 1783, like America, Peter, and Ann had a tough time, as they paid taxes and were treated equally by the legal system, but they couldn’t serve on juries, attend public schools (by tradition and custom), and had a harder time finding work than they did as enslaved people. As such, domestic service was often seen as viable, along with “common labor” and those professions associated with the sea, although fear of being kidnapped or forced to return to slavery elsewhere in the U.S. was a bar “to working on the waterfront or at sea.” As the Massachusetts Historical Society added, “freed slaves in Massachusetts continued in an inferior social position, legally free but with fewer civil rights than whites.” Even so, finding records for them is hard to do.

So, I throw it out to all of you. What places should I look next for records to complete this story? Because the list of records by FamilySearch is clearly inadequate.


Matthew Stowell has made some great comments on here, inspiring me to do some more research onto this going forward! A wonderful series to say the least!


[1] Will of Zachariah Packard, Apr. 17, 1771, Probate Records 1771-1778 vol. 21-23, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1663-1967, p. 200-201, images 130-131 of 627. Courtesy of FamilySearch.

[2] Inventory of Zachariah Packard, December 17, 1772, Probate Records 1771-1778 vol. 21-23, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, p. 622, image 298 of 697. Courtesy of FamilySearch.

[3] Payments from Zachariah Packard’s estate to subscribers, Probate Records 1771-1778 vol. 21-23, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, p. 623, image 299 of 627. Courtesy of FamilySearch.

[4] Petition for guardian for Abigail Packard and Response, Probate Records 1771-1778 vol. 21-23, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, p. 603, image 289 of 627. Courtesy of FamilySearch.

[5] “United States Census, 1790,” database with images, FamilySearch, America Pierce, Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States; citing p. 75, NARA microfilm publication M637, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 4; FHL microfilm 568,144. Note how they are NOT considered White here.

This means she did not die in 1758 as her Find A Grave entry, cited in the previous footnote, asserts. He gives his grandchildren, the children of his son Elijah, named Abigail, Benjamin, Elijah, and Mary four shillings a piece. John Washburn, Josiah Edson, Jr., and William Hooper are witnesses. They note in a letter in Nov. 1772 that Nathaniel is executor of the estate, with further accounts. His estate is not settled until June 6, 1774 as noted by other documents.

Inventory of Zachariah Packard, Dec. 17, 1772, Probate Records 1771-1778 vol. 21-23, Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1663-1967, p. 621-622, image 298 of 627. Courtesy of Family Search.

From slaveowners to liberators: the Packard family and slavery

Prof. Farnsworth describes how Fry is his uncle, branching off an ugly and filthy branch in the Futurama episode “All the President’s Heads” (S8, e10). This is how I could feel about my ancestors who participated in enslaving other human beings, but I do not feel that way in the slightest.

Recently on Twitter, I said that  Zachariah Packard, my great-great-great-great-great-great-great grand uncle was the “only connection to slavery I have found so far other than Theophilus Packard, husband of famed E.P.W. Packard, seeming to support slavery,” responding to a tweet linking to my article on this blog about how Zachariah was a slaveowner. This was fact was also clear from the 1771 Massachusetts tax inventory, which was only recently made available. However, what I said is only partially accurate, as I had forgotten, that not only was Zachariah a slaveowner but so were his sons Nathan and Nathaniel, his daughter Abigail, and his wife Abigail, due to the stipulations outlined in his last will and testament, along with other parts of his probate like his inventory! These enslaved peoples (named “America Pierce,” “Peter,” and “Ann”) went from person to person, then disappeared from the record as none are listed in Nathaniel’s will in 1794, except for a 1790 census for Bridgewater listing an “America Pierce” and a “Peter Pierce.”

However, Zachariah was not the only one involved. For one, Captain Samuel Packard (my great-great-great-great-great grand uncle) sailed a ship to the coast of the African continent in 1797, “looking for Black Africans to enslave…contrary to Rhode Island law,” forced to sign a pledge he would leave the slave trade behind, which he seems to have honored. Secondly, Charles Chilion Packard, my great-great-great-great-great grand uncle, of Charleston, South Carolina (but born in Plainfield) “had the ten slaves from the estate of his wife’s deceased first husband” in 1820. Indirectly, the Packards that lived in New England, specifically in Massachusetts, were involved in that the region depended on a “trading system that serviced the wealthier slave-based economy of the West Indies,” which constituted an interconnected trade network.

At the same time, there were those who were directly opposed to slavery, like my great-great-great-great-great grand uncle, William Packard, organizing “a petition asking the United States Congress to abolish slavery and the slave trade in DC.” He also not only attended “several abolition meetings in Northampton through the 1830s and 1840s, likely starting the Cummington abolitionist society. His strong sentiments for abolitionism were shared by his uncle,  Rev. Theophilus Packard (my great-great-great-great-great grand uncle). This Theophilus, was “vice president of the antislavery society in Massachusetts, in the 1830s” and would be a dedicated anti-slavery crusader for years and years. This differed from his son, Theophilus (my great-great-great-great grand uncle) and his wife, E.P.W. (Elizabeth Parsons Ware) Packard (my great-great-great-great aunt in-law), who seemed to scowl at her sentiments that slavery was a sin. She also compared marriage to slavery, a comparison many made at the time despite the fact it was deeply problematic and carried with it horrible connotations. You could also say that William Henry Packard (my great-great-great grandfather), who fought in Louisiana during the Civil War (along with a host of other Packard ancestors), was effectively on the side against slavery, along with another distant ancestor, my great-great-great grandfather Lawrence Weber (not a Packard), who fought in a gunboat to stop Confederate blockade runners. [1]

There were other Packards I found, including one Reverend E. N. Packard (whose full name is Edward Newman Packard and lived in Dorchester, MA), who is my great-great-great uncle, and Adelpus Spring Packard (my great-great-great-great uncle), a professor of Bowdoin College, both in opposition to slavery rather than in favor. After all, there were two Packards in Topeka, Kansas (Cyrus and Sarah Burrows) who sheltered “runaway slaves” time and time again.

Until next time, as this post opens up a lot of avenues for further exploration on this blog, without a doubt!

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.

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.

The Packards were everywhere. Even in South Carolina

In my searching for more on the Packard family I stumbled upon a collection held by the South Carolina Historical Society. Titled “Packard family papers, 1823-1893,” it has 60 items. [1] The collection is described partially as follows:

In 1818 Dr. Chilion Packard, a Charleston, S.C. physician,married Sarah Gordon Roulain (d. 1839), a widow with three children. The Packards, who later lived in Aiken, S.C., had two children of their own, one of whom was Sarah Olive. She married Alfred J. Davis in Murray County, Ga. in 1842, and their son was Charles C. Davis. A daughter of Alfred J. Davis, Tallulah Agnes Davis, married Peyton Phelps Barber. The Barber family moved to Texas in the late 1880s. Chilion Packard died in Murray County, Ga…Papers consist of correspondence and other items. A letter (1823) from Olive Packard in Plainfield (Mass.) to her brother Chilion Packard in Charleston (S.C.) expresses how he is missed and loved by his family and conveys family news. This letter includes a lengthy poem written by Olive concerning her friendship and love for her brother and lamenting their separation.

The rest of the description doesn’t seem to relate to the Packards, at least not directly. So who is Dr. Chilion Packard and what Packards were living in South Carolina?

Other than the Packard who was a GOP governor in Louisiana after the Civil War (also see here), one website for family genealogy in MurrayCounty, SC noted that

…Chilion Packard (1791-1851) was a medical doctor, trained in New England. Chilion Packard was born in Plainfield, Hampshire County, Massachusetts on 17 March 1791, son of Revolution soldier Noah Packard (1752-1830) and Molly (Hamlen) Packard. Chilion Packard “went south” from Massachusetts to Charleston, SC by 1816, where he was apparently a doctor, taught school at Mt. Pleasant Academy according to archived Charleston Gazette newspaper advertisements of that era, and had a boot and shoe store in the early 1820’s. In 1820 at Charleston, he was in “Commerce” and had the ten slaves from the estate of his wife’s deceased first husband. Chilion Packard married Sarah (Gordon) Roulain (1786-1839) in Charleston on 4 Dec. 1818, by Rev. Aaron W. Leland, Pastor of the First (Scots) Presbyterian Church…By 1828, Chilion and Sarah Packard, with three children, left Charleston and moved to Pickens District, SC, where Chilion Packard was a merchant and is in the 1830 Pickens Census…Before 1842, Chilion Packard and daughter, Sarah Olive, moved to Pleasant Valley in Murray County, Georgia, where Sarah Olive Packard married A.J. Davis on August 16, 1842, by William P. Swanson, a Baptist minister and cabinet maker…Dr. Chilion Packard died at Pleasant Valley, Georgia on 6 Feb. 1851, according to the A.J. and Sarah O. Davis Bible.

More about this topic will be added in time. I am also glad to get this comment from my cousin, Rosi:

I like the symmetry of Robert Byron Mills III’ grandson Burkely Mills Hermann being the one to continue so much of this family research work. Great job, Burkely. Also, this makes me want to go back to Charleston for a visit to get a look at these newly-found materials. Greetings to any of my Packard cousins reading this!



[1] The above described collection, which can only be accessed in South Carolina, is at the historical society along with Packard family papers.

A “social and professional role”: the story of Captain Samuel Packard

There are many subjects I could write about here. Either looking at vital records for Abington, Massachusetts to see where Packards pop up, results on Family Search for the surname of Packard, or mentions in a “Genealogical Dictionary” seemingly. [1] What I am inquiring here about is a man named Captain Samuel Packard painted by an American painter named James Earl, in the last years of his life, in circa 1794. The oil on canvas painting, which measures 35 by 29 1/4 inches, is of a prominent man in New England, begging the question: who is this man?

A photo of the above painting, held by the RISD Museum, is reposted here from the RISD website based on the Creative Commons license used for all RISD Museum works, which lets “others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.” This post is a non-commercial work as it is intended purely for educational purposes about the Packard family.

In their description of the above painting, [2] the RISD Museum writes that

He was married to a woman named Abigail Congdon and had a daughter with her which had the same name (Abigail). They were married on December 13, 1789 in Saint Pauls Church, Narragansett, Washington, Rhode Island as the record shows:

Page 345 of Vital record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850, Vol 10, within the section “St. Paul’s Church marriages”

In January 1942, the Rhode Island Historical Society displayed the painting of Samuel Packard on the cover of their historical magazine. One article titled “A Rhode Islander Goes West to Indiana” by George A. White, Jr. explained more about Capt. Samuel Packard’s role in the early United States. He wrote on pages 21-22 that

Captain Samuel Packard was the son of Nathaniel Packard and was born in Providence, October 17, 1760. His father owned land bordering North Main, Howard, and Try Streets. Captain Samuel Packard’s life followed a similar pattern…he was a mariner, ship master, ship–owner, and merchant. He owned 39 ships, sailing from Providence to all ports of the world…an ardent admirer of George Washington…Captain Packard acted for him in secret work [during the revolutionary war]…[after 1797] Captain Packard and his family lived in a mansion [in Providence] built of wood and brick, measuring 25 feet on the street and 60 feet deep. It was three stories high…On December 13, 1789, Captain Packard had married Abigail Congdon…in 1798, Abigail (Congdon) Packard inherited a portion of the Congdon homestead farm on Boston Neck…in the early 1800’s Captain Packard purchased the remainder of the farm…Captain Packard owned land in Cranston, R.I., and in Illinois. Captain Packard furnished his Providence and North Kingston homes with fine furniture, china, and silver

Mr. White continues by quoting letters from Captain Packard‘s son, John Congdon Packard, describing his experiences “out West” which are addressed to Captain Packard’s residence in North Kingston, Rhode Island.

Apart from the confusion of Samuel Packard who arrived in 1638 with Captain Samuel Packard (as noted here and here), some got it right. It is evident that Captain Packard was a “revolutionary patriot,” which was also recognized by William Shaw Bowen who gave some of the Captain’s belongings to the Redwood Library in 1878. He may have commanded a company during the war with the British from 1812-1815 as well, although this be a confusion with another Packard.

There is no doubt that Captain Packard was renowned as a master of ships, while transporting important financial papers. While it would seem, reportedly, was pointed to the spot where Roger Williams, Rhode Island’s founder, was buried, with one book saying that, this is actually referencing Nathaniel Packard who married a woman named Nabby. He was, however, one of the original members of the Providence Marine Corps of Artillery and, later on, the Providence Marine Society.

Captain Packard clearly had a role in the revolutionary war in moving supplies past the British blockade as Vol 4 of Naval Documents in the American Revolution reports:

These events happened in April 1776

I still question whether this is the right Packard, however.

Captain Packard went beyond the owning of slaves by Zachariah Packard as noted in my family history. He sailed a ship to the coast of Africa looking for Black Africans to enslave in 1797 contrary to Rhode Island law. As the University Publications of America noted in a guide to certain Rhode Island Historical Society records,

Moreover, Moses Brown’s letters reveal not only the Abolition Society’s formal legal stratagems but also its traditional policy of intense but informal negotiating with slave traders who often yielded to the group’s demands without a court fight. Cyprian Sterry, for example, the principal slave trader in Providence during the 1790s with fifteen voyages to the African coast in 1794 alone, fully succumbed to the society’s persistent pressure. He escaped prosecution (along with his captain, Samuel Packard) for an African voyage involving the ship Ann by signing a written pledge to leave the slave trade forever.

Captain Packard was seemingly related to a Capt. Nathaniel Packard who was also in Rhode Island. Other books sadly only exist as snippets and hence do not give much information about his life. However, there is no doubt that he lived in Providence, Rhode Island near houses that nowadays are called historic (see pages 16 and 17 of this PDF).

page 17 exercpt

Page 17 excerpt

You would be able to look at the deed books either by going to the Rhode Island State Archives, as noted here, or being at a Family Search Library.

He was alive and well in Providence in September 1794 when a ship, Hope, came into the harbor:

Courtesy of Chronicling America.

Thanks to Family Search, I have also discovered:

  • Captain Packard (called Samuel Packard in record) living in Providence, Providence, RI in 1790 and in 1800, as summarized also in an article later on on this blog, using the original records.
  • Captain Packard (called Samuel Packard in record) living in Providence RI’s West District in 1810.
  • Captain Packard and Abigail’s daughter died in 1860 (no publicly available image is available)
  • Abigail, Captain Packard’s wife, died in 1854 (no publicly available image is available)

As it was noted, in one of the books I found, that a Captain Packard died at age 80 in 1809. There is a Samuel Packard who died in 1823 at sea with a tombstone in Rhode Island along with a Samuel Packard Jr who died in Providence in 1799. His tombstone makes it clear that he was born in Oct 1760 and died on July 17, 1760. This is clear from the following transcription:

In the memory of


Samuel Packard

Who Died

July 17, 1820


59 Years & 9 Months

Via page 382 of Vital record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850, Vol 10, shows deaths of varying Packards in Rhode Island.


[1] Also it is worth noting that no Packard popped up here, meaning that there is nothing in Family Search’s Massachusetts, Town Clerk…Town Records, 1626-2001 specifically for  Norfolk,  Weymouth or  Land records 1642-1644. Packards could be on this page, but is also questionable. Additionally, I could look at online records of Hingham to see if the Packards appear, possible Packards on pages such as this one or this. But I have already done that in the past and future searches at this time are a waste.

[2] The Rhode Island Medical Journal writes that “several other portraits by James Earl in the RISD show bear a strong stylistic similarity [to the one of Dr. Amos Thoop], particularly that of Capt. Samuel Packard of Providence, a successful ship captain, merchant, and ship owner of Throop’s era.” The painting is in the Smithsonian’s Art Inventories Catalog but resides at RISD. As one person writes about the collections in Rhode Island, “Postwar Windsor production at Providence for domestic use is indicated in the accounts of the Proud brothers and in a circa-1795 portrait of Capt. Samuel Packard seated in a sack-back Windsor.”