Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lyons & Reed

When you research a family member from the 1800’s, you are never quite sure what you will find – especially if it is a female ancestor.  My great grandmother was Shirlie Louisa Pope and when we initially went back to North Dakota, the goal was to find at least whatever remained of the cemetery that she had been buried in.  (She was buried in the Old Dunn Center cemetery in North Dakota and sometime in the 1930’s, the family was told that they needed to move her grave as they had found out that the cemetery was on top of a burning coal mine.  There was no money to make the move, so she remained in an unmarked grave at the old cemetery.)  I had known about Shirlie since I was a child…nothing terribly concrete but the photo from my childhood gave me a mental image of her.  When I first started researching her background and had made some contact with cousins, it was with a great deal of enthusiasm that I began to research her family.

Shirlie was the daughter of Winslow Lonsdale Pope and Nancy Ann Marie Lyons.  I must admit that the Pope side was fairly easy to research.  Within a few weeks after I started researching the family, I made contact with cousins and had the Pope family traced back to literally the earliest settlers in New England. Winslow’s wife, however, took a lot more research.

Nancy Ann Marie Lyons
Nancy Ann Marie Lyons was my great great grandmother.  She was the daughter of John Nathan Lyons, Jr. and Mary Elizabeth Reed.  I know than Nancy was born on 6 Mar 1855 in Bath, Grafton Co., NH and died on 30 May 1906 in Washburn, McLean Co., ND.  (My cousins took me right where she was buried in a little country cemetery called Sverdrup near Washburn, ND)  

She was married to Winlsow Lonsdale Pope on 19 Mar 1881. I have to assume that she was fairly sickly the last few years of her life, as she died of tuberculosis.  I am also sure she must have been considered a spinster when she married because she was 26 years of age.  Through the census records, I could tell that she spent all of her young life growing up in Bath, Grafton Co., NH.   I was fortunate to find information on her parents, but beyond a few census records, I hit a brick wall during my first few years researching them. 

John Nathan Lyons Jr was b. 23 Apr 1820 in Randolph, Norfolk Co., MA and d. 7 Apr 1911 in Bath, Grafton Co., NH.  It wasn't until I got his birth certificate that I was able to find that his parents were John Lyons and Mary French.    Here is more about his family  (Chink in a Brick Wall – John Lyons and My Irish Ancestor – John Lyons )  I know that he married Mary Elizabeth Reed on 21 Dec 1845 in Fairlee, Orange Co., VT.  From census records, he is listed as a wheelwright and I also know that he remarried after Mary Elizabeth Reed’s death to Elizabeth Snow on 23 Mar 1893 in Manchester, NH.   He died at the age of 90 and was buried in the Warren Village Cemetery in Grafton, NH.

Mary Elizabeth Reed was more of a challenge.   I had her name from family records that had been passed on to me, but there was not going to be an easy to way to figure out who her parents were.  For one thing, Reed is a very common name.  For several years, I explored news-lists, emailed other researchers and came to the conclusion that she was most likely the daughter of Samuel Reed and Nancy Chase Swett.  It wasn't until last year when www.ancestry.com published some new records – specifically The New Hampshire Death and Disinterment Records, 1854-1947 that I was able to finally prove my theory.   

There was the record for Mary Reed Lyons death which listed her date of death, age, cause of death and her parents as Samuel Reed and Nancy Sweet (which is a common misspelling for Swett).  I also learned that she died of “Brights Disease” which is kidney disease.    I admit that it was very satisfying to learn that my theory had paid off.  However, once you confirm one theory…now you have the challenge of pursuing her parent’s ancestry…but that is another story.

Here is a list of the children of John Nathan Lyons, Jr and Mary Elizabeth Reed:


  • John Weston Lyons b. 5 Jul 1846 NH d. 22 Oct 1922 m. Jennie M. Stain
  • George Leonard Lyons b. 20 Nov 1849 NH d. 10 Apr 1916 NH m. Inez Clifton Eastman
  • Charles Edward Lyons b. 14 Jun 1851 NH d. 14 Jul 1901 NH m. Lizzie Smith
  • Mary Louise Lyons b. 21 Feb 1853 NH d. 12 Sep 1855 NH
  • Nancy Ann Marie Lyons b. 6 Mar 1855 NH d. 30 May 1906 ND m. Winslow Lonsdale Pope
  • Arabella Eliza Lyons b. 15 Dec 1856 NH d. 9 Jun 1943 NH m. John Harrison Roby
  • Freeman Austin Lyons b. 11 Sep 1860 NH d. 8 Mar 1947 VT m1- Viola Belinda Pope m2- Jane Anderson Richardson m3- Nellie F. Evans
  • Lizzie Maria Lyons b. 19 Dec 1865 NH d. 19 Nov 1942 NH m. Charles Nelson Davison