Wedding Wednesday – Caroline Elizabeth Shackford marries her sister-in-law’s father Joel Whittemore (Blog 375)

Caroline Elizabeth Shackford, the daughter of William and Mercy (Rose) Shackford was born Dec 19, 1823 in Weymouth, Massachusetts. (While the Massachusetts Births and Christenings Record only gives us a year and location of her birth, this letter from her brother Abner provides us with an exact date of her birth).

Caroline and Lebbeus H Varney announced their marriage intention on Dec 1, 1844 in Roxbury, Massachusetts and married on Jan 6, 1845. Their marriage was announced in the Boston Post which stated they both lived in Jamaica Plain.  We haven’t been able to find much about Lebbeus but do find we find 36 year old Lebbus H Varney with a 26 year old Caroline Varney in the 1850 census  — he’s working as a carpenter and has 900 in real property.

We have found no other record of Lebbeus H Varney in the Massachusetts area and have not found a divorce record but do find a record showing that on September 4, 1864, Caroline E Varney with parents William Shackford and Mercy Shackford married Joel Shackford, a jeweler, son of Joel and Catherine. Joel was also the father of Georgianna, the wife of Abner, Caroline’s brother.


In May 1865 we find Joel, age 65, a watchmaker, with Caroline, age 44, her brother Abner, age 37, his wife and Joel’s daughter, Georgianna, and Abner & Georgianna’s 11 year old daughter Frances A Shackford.  Also living in this home was 70 year old Mercy Newell, the mother of Caroline and Abner.  That September Joel who had been married previously to Margaret Hersey updated his will defining which property (mostly pictures drawn by his deceased daughter Helen) was to be given to his children and stating that his wife Caroline Elizabeth would be his exectrix and would receive the remainder of his property.  Unfortunately Joel died of pneumonia two months later on November 28, 1865.

On September 2, 1866, Caroline married Charles Lewis Palmer, a painter whose first wife, Hannah Z French had died on August 11, 1865.  He was raising multiple children who were still living at home. After his marriage to Caroline, we find the family recorded in the 1870 census in Brookline with six children ranging from age 24 to age 9.  Unfortunately Caroline died of bilious colic tubercular peritonitis on November 18, 1877.  We’re not sure where she was buried.

We still have some research questions regarding Caroline:

  1.  Who were Lebbeus H Varney’s parents and when did he die?

2.  Where was Caroline buried?

This (and all other posts on this website) are a work in progress.  We’d love to learn of any corrections or additions to the information shared here as we are hoping to learn more of these families or hear from any descendants.  We’re also looking for any other source information pertaining to this family line.  And if you liked or learned something new from this post, please like the post or the Facebook version ( as that helps share the post with others.  Thanks!


1850 United States Federal Census, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, Roxbury, dwelling 2486, family 3264, Lebbeus H Varney; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 1 November 2014).

1865 Massachusetts Census, Suffolk County, population census, Boston, Ward 11, Page 23-19, dwelling 2200, family 3434, Joel Whitteman; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 10 March 2014).

“Letter from Abner R Shackford to Samuel Shackford Nov 25, 1888,” 1988.325.1, [Research on Shackford family genealogy], ; Samuel Shackford, Winnetka Historical Society, Winnetka Illinois.

“MARRIED.,” Boston Post (Boston, Massachusetts), 8 January 1845; digital images, Newspapers. com ( : accessed 8 July 2014).

Massachusetts “Massachusetts Births and Christenings, 1639-1915,” database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 8 July 2014), Caroline Shackford.

“Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 1 November 2014), Lebbeus H Varney m Caroline Shackford 6 Jan 1845.

“Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 October 2013), Joel Whittemore m Caroline E Shackford Varney 4 Sep 1864.

Massachusetts, Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915, , Joel Whittemore, 28 November 1865; digital images, ( : accessed 25 September 2016); Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

Massachusetts, Massachusetts Marriages, 1841-1915, , Caroline E Whittemore m Charles L Palmer, 2 September 1866; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 12 April 2015).

Massachusetts, Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, , Caroline E Shackford m.i. Lebbeus H Varney, 1 December 1844; digital images, ( : accessed 25 September 2016); Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records..


Treasure Chest Thursday – “Although I have never seen you would like to have you come and see us if you come east”(Blog 370)

On November 25, 1888, Abner R Shackford, the son of William and Mercy (Rose) responded to a letter from Samuel Shackford.  We’re very fortunate that this letter was kept by Samuel and preserved by the Winnetka Historical Society. because the enclosed Family Record page he completed included  information about his family that we have not found elsewhere in our Shackford Family History Research.  From the letter we learn:

That Abner lived in Roslindale when he wrote to Samuel.

Abner was impressed with Samuel’s letter and hoped to meet him someday and ends his letter saying he hoped to hear from Samuel again.

The reference to Thomas Joseph and probably refers to Abner’s uncles Thomas  G Shackford and Joseph Shackford who lived in Newburyport.  Thomas did have a son George who died at the age of nine months.

Abner did not know the death dates of his two sisters Caroline and Louisa May.

Samuel’s letter probably mentioned William Brown Shackford, his wife Catherine and their children  as Abner tells Samuel that their daughter May who married a Mr Lougrin had died, that Catherine is living in Dorcester (interesting — as we find her in the 1887 and 1890 Syracuse directories living with her son – perhaps she was visiting someone in Dorcester), and that Joe has two boys ages 14 and 8.

Abner has a wife and daughter.

The Family Record page includes the first information of birth and death dates for Abner’s parents that we’ve seen and lists siblings that we have not yet hear of.

We’ll spend the next few weeks focusing on these families – sometimes when you have dates it’s easier to find more information about the families.

Letter Abner Shackford to Samuel Shackford – page 1 of 3

Roslindale Nov 25th 1888
Mr Samuel Shackford
Dear Sir
your kind letter was glad to
hear from you although I
have never seen you but would
like to have you come and see
us if you are east. I will give
you all the information I can.
I don’t know anything about
Thomas Shackford and his
son, there are some Shackford’s
living in Newburyport Mass
perhaps if you write there you
can find out something about
them. I will send you a list
of my Father’s family the name
you wanted to know about is
Joseph. There are two more deaths
that I will try and find out –
about they are my sister Caroline’s
and Louisa’s death I will write
and let you know when I find
out. May K. Shackford is dead
she married a Mr Loughrin
she only lived 13 months after
she was married. I would like
to have you write to me again
and tell me some more about
the Shackford’s. Mays mother
is living in Dorchester. her son
Joe lives in Syracuse N. Y.
he has two little boys about
14 and 8 years old. There are
only 3 of us myself wife
and daughter. I will close
hoping to hear from you again
Your’s Truly
Abner R. Shackford

Attached Family Record Page [note: appears to be annotated in pen by Samuel before sending and after he received the document]
IMG_7529 Family Record William Shackford m Mercy Rose.JPGPlease fill up the following Family Record as fully as possible with all the details you have in your own possession, or can gain access to in the possession of others, and return as soon as possible to [hand written] Samuel Shackford Chicago Ill

Family Record of William Shackford – Your Father

with the children in order of birth BORN DIED

William Shackford July 22ed 1789 v
Married (give date left blank]
Mercy Rose Jan 24th 1795
Page 85
New Book
William B Shackford Aug 10th 1812
Joseph Shackford Aug 5th 1814
Thomas Shackford Oct 20th 1815
Abner Shackford Nov 16th 1817
Mary B Shackford July 4th 1819
Louise Shackford July 18th 1821 m Cushing L1 child, Ms Louth [added]
Caroline E Shackford Dec 19th 1823 m. Varney; Whitmore; Palmer no child
Abner R Shackford Jan 19th 1827
Lucinda W Shackford April 21st 1828 married July 28 1839 [added but not correct, jsp]
Emeline Shackford Feb 7th 1830
Abner Shackford Oct 15th 1818
William B Shackford May 16th 1831 father
Lucinda W Shackford July 20 1839
Joseph Shackford Sept 14th 1839
Mary B Shackford Dec 27th 1841
William B Shackford Nov 13th 1866
Thomas Shackford Jan 29th 1874
Mercy Rose Shackford Mar 1875 mother

All posts on this website are a work in progress.  We’d love to learn of any corrections or additions to the information shared.  Also we’d love it if  you’d like the post here or at as that helps share the post with others. Thanks!


“Letter from Abner R Shackford to Samuel Shackford Nov 25, 1888,” 1988.325.1, [Research on Shackford family genealogy], ; Samuel Shackford, Winnetka Historical Society, Winnetka Illinois.

Correction made 10/7/2016:  changed William Shackford’s birth date to July 22, 1789 as it was improperly transcribed in the earlier version of this blog

Correction made 7/19/2017:  changed Mercy Rose Shackford’s death date to March 1875 as it was improperly transcribed in the earlier version of this blog

Copyright 2017 Joanne Shackford Parkes  (sharing a link to this post is appreciated but please do not copy this material and paste it elsewhere)