Wedding Wednesday – Abby Shackford marries John Whitton in 1859 (Blog 452)

While cleaning out our hardcopy genealogy files we found a folder titled Abby Shackford 1823- which included one document – a hardcopy printout of the 26 June 1859 marriage record of John Whitton and Abby Shackford. The marriage record tells us that she was born about 1823/4 in Alfred, Maine to Noah and Hannah Shackford, that this was her first marriage but the second marriage for her new husband, John Whitton, a paper-maker.

Marriage Record Abby Shackford John Whitton
Marriage Record John Whitton to Abbie Shackford, June 26, 1859

In the 1850 census, we find Noah and his second wife Bethulah and probably siblings Japhet, Abigail, Lydia, William, Bethular, and Stephen.  It’s interesting that none of Noah’s children by his first wife Hannah who now range in age of 19 to 36 have not yet married.

We’d love to know what brought Abby from Alfred, Maine around age 30 to Norfolk, Massachusetts, a distance of 110 miles.  We do see her name on the 1855 census living in John Whitten’s home who is now a widow – she is 31 years old and has no occupation listed.  John’s children John W, age 22, Theodore A, age 21, Albert G, age 20, Sarah, age 18, and Josephine, age 16 are living in the home along with Sarah Taylor from Nova Scotia.

Abby and John’s marriage was announced on June 25, 1859 and they were married the next day on June 26th.  Five years later in Nov 1865 when Abigail was 41 and her husband 60, she had a daughter, Martha Louisa Whitton.  Fortunately John never changed occupations from paper-maker which has helped us verify that this was the family living at Grove near Washington in Newton in 1875, 1877 and in 1878 when John died on May 28, 1878 at the age of 72.  His death record is difficult to read but the cause of death appears to be listed as acute insanity.

Abigail remained in the home until 1887 when she moved to Waltham.  She died on November 23, 1891 in Cambridge of cancer of oventum (possibly ovarian cancer??).  Her sister Lydia (Shackford) Buck who had been an invalid for 20 years died less than two months later in Cambridge.  We’re unsure where Abigail was buried or if she or her husband left a probate record.


Martha Louisa Whitton (1865-1931) – married Alton Augustus Reed in 1886 and William Herbert Boutwell in 1900.  She had no children.

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!


1850 United States Federal Census, York County, Maine, population schedule, Alfred, page 392, dwelling 118, page 128, Noah Shackford; digital images, ( : accessed 7 December 2013).

1855 Massachusetts State Census, Middlesex, Massachusetts, population schedule, Newton, dwelling 52, family 71, John Whitton; digital image, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 August 2017).

1860 United States Federal Census, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, population schedule, Newton, Page 265, dwelling 1702, family 1969, John Whitten; digital images, ( : accessed 27 August 2017).

1865 Massachusetts State Census, Middlesex County, population schedule, Newton, John Whitton; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 August 2017).

1870 United States Federal Census, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, population schedule, Newton, Page No 266, dwelling 1840, family 1938, John Whitton; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 August 2017).

“Massachusetts Deaths and Burials, 1795-1910,” database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 August 2017), John Whitton.

Massachusetts, Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915, , John Whitton m Abbie Shackford, 26 June 1859; digital images, ( : accessed 27 August 2017).

Massachusetts, Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, , Mr John Whitton marriage intention Abbe Shackford, 25 June 1859; digital images, ( : accessed 27 August 2017); Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records..

The Newton Directory, Containing a General Directory of the Citizens, Business Directory, and the City Record, No. VI (Worcester: Drew, Allis & Co, 1879), page 222, John Whitton; digital image, Newton Massachusetts The Offical City Website ( : accessed 28 August 2017).

“U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995,” database, (www/ : accessed 27 August 2017), Abigail S. removed to Waltham.

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