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..