No Story Too Small has issued a New Year’s Challenge: “Have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”
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Prior to applying for membership to the Society of Mayflower Descendants, for a small fee ($20) you are able to submit a “Proposed Lineage Form” and they will determine if a portion of your line has already been accepted: https://www.themayflowersociety.org/preliminary-review-forms/view/form
I submitted my lineage and found that someone, in 1990, had been accepted for a line through to my g-g-grandfather, Edwin Lansil’s sister, Frances “Fannie” (Lansil) Bragg (https://passagetothepast.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/52-ancestors-week-23-edwin-lansil-the-not-so-famous-brother/)
(14) me -> (13) my dad -> (12) my grandmother->(11) Edith Bernice Lansil (m. William John Haines) ->(10) Edwin Lansil (m. Jane Catherine Roberts) -> (9) Asa Paine Lansil (m. Betsey Turner Grout) -> (8) Ruth C. Paine (m. Charles V. Lansil) -> (7) James Paine (m. Elizabeth Cobb) ->(6) Thomas Paine (m. Mary Vickery) -> (5) Major Thomas Paine (m. Thankfull Cobb) -> (4) Captain Thomas Paine (m. Hannah Shaw) ->(3) Mary Snow (m. Thomas Paine)->(2) Constance Hopkins (m. Nicholas Snow) ->(1) Stephen Hopkins
Deborah Moore, State Historian at the New Hampshire Society of Mayflower Descendants (who was a great help in assisting with my application), identified a potential “issue”. Fannie and Edwin’s grandmother, Ruth Paine’s lineage, was recorded as “weak – circumstantial”. Admittance criteria is stricter today, prior lineage acceptance does not guarantee election for future applicants of that line.
I set out to convincingly argue that it is “probable” not just “possible” that Ruth Lansil who died 1837 in Bangor, ME, wife of Charles V. Lansil (Lansill, Lansel, Lansell, Lanselle, Lancle, Lancil, Lancel to name a few variations) and mother of Asa Paine Lansil is the Ruth born in Truro, Massachusetts to James and Elizabeth (Cobb) Paine on 17 September 1783; and thus a descendant of Stephen Hopkins who arrived on the Mayflower.
The History of Penobscot County
“The History of Penobscot County, Maine: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches”, published by Williams, Chase & Company, 1882 (http://openlibrary.org/books/OL14013119M/History_of_Penobscot_County_Maine) describes the life of the Bangor Lansil’s through the eyes of two living children. Son James was born about 1816, and would have been about 66 when the biography was written, while Charles Jr., born about 1808, would have been 74 (he died the year after publication). As I have discovered inaccurate details in many published (unsourced) narratives, I regard historical accounts with some skepticism. In this case, both men were alive when the biography was written, making it likely they were consulted and thus more likely that the biography is mostly factual (unless they had reason to lie or exaggerate, which seems unlikely).
Their mother is named as: (a) “Ruth C. Paine born on Cape Cod in the year 1778″ and (b) “Charles V. Lancil…settled in Truro, Cape Cod, Massachusetts where he married Ruth Paine”. She was said to have eight children: (1) Thomas P., (2) Mary P., (3) Betsey, (4) Charles V., (5) Asa P., (6) James P., (7) Ephraim P. and (8) George W.
Ruth’s husband, Charles V. Lansil/Lancil born about 1768 in France was said to have emigrated at age 18, settled at Cape Cod for about 24 years, then moved to Bucksport, Maine [known as Buckstown until 1817], then relocated to Sunkhaze [now Milford, Maine] and finally migrated to Bangor, Maine, where he died.
This would place Ruth’s husband, Charles V., on the Cape from about 1786 to 1810 before their move to Bucksport, Maine [the family was not found in the 1810 census, but their fifth child, Asa, was reportedly born in Bucksport in 1812; Bucksport Vital Records did not survive, his birth was recorded with his death entry in Bangor church records].
The biography further claims that Charles V. Lansil, the fourth child, was born in Chatham, Massachusetts September 16, 1808. If the fourth child was born in Chatham in 1808, it is likely that the first three were also born on the Cape.
To date, one potential birth record was discovered. The third child, Betsey, was born 10 October 1806 as recorded in Chatham town records February 1808 as: “Betsey Linsel daughter of Charles Linsel and Ruth his wife was born in Chatham October 10th 1806 recorded February 12 1808″ by the town clerk. The record book on FamilySearch.org appears to be a transcription from the “Second Book of Records”. It is possible that the surname was not copied correctly. It is unknown why the births of the other children would not have been recorded at the same time, unless they were born elsewhere.
Betsey has not been definitively identified in census or death records to aid in confirming this birth date. There is a likely match, given the uniqueness of the surname, in the 1870 census which corroborates her age.
She filed a marriage intention in 1826, to Aaron McKinney, an indication that she had reached “age of consent” which was 18 in Maine at that time [she would have been about 20]. She is later named in a land deed with her other siblings as Betsey McKinney (see below)
We do know she was likely the third child and that since the fourth child was born September 16, 1808 in Chatham, her birth must have occurred within a few years of 1808. So she could be the same Betsey, which would place Charles and Ruth on the Cape in 1806.
Furthermore, if Ruth was born in 1778, she likely would have married after 1794 (age 16). Assuming all of their children were legitimate (and none were twins), and given that third child was born in 1806, she likely married before 1804.
A Land Deed
A land deed from, Bangor, Book 48 pages 129 & 130 dated 17 April 1834, shows all of Charles V. Lansil’s heirs and children together buying a lot of land near the Penobscot River for the price of $325 from three merchants named William Emerson, Wiggins Hill and James McLaughlin (Dionysia Hill, wife of Wiggins releases her dower).
The names of the Lansil children/heirs listed match the History of Penobscot County (including the initial “P” in many of their names) and include: Mary P. Dudley, Betsy McKinney, Charles, Thomas P., Asa P., James P., Ephraim P. and George W.
Interesting that they purchased as “heirs” and not on their own behalf. The land office wasn’t even sure why the purchase was written this way. As of 1821, married women in Maine, were allowed to own and manage property in their own name in case their spouse became incapacitated which explains Mary & Betsey being included in the transaction and not their spouses (http://womensrights.hubpages.com/hub/Womens-rights-timeline).
The Middle Initial “P”
Ruth’s son (my 3rd g-grandfather), Asa, signs as “Asa Paine Lansil” in 1842 when was baptized and became the 321st or 322nd member of the Hammond Street Church, Bangor; further evidence that “Paine” was likely a family name:
Asa’s death recorded in Boston in 1890, reports his mother as “Ruth born in Truro”:
The death, also recorded at Hammond Street Church, again names him as Asa Paine Lansil. The document reports that Asa, the fifth child, was born October 1812 in Bucksport, Maine, which coincides with the timeline given in the History of Penobscot County:
Ruth’s children Thomas, Mary, James & Ephraim are recorded in a variety of documents with the middle initial “P” . I have not discovered any that specify the “P” is for Paine, other than Asa’s, but it would seem likely that they were given the same family name.
Ruth’s Death and Probate
When Ruth passed in November 1837, the newspaper and death indexes reported her age as 53, which would put her birth about 1784 (six years later than the reported 1778 in The History of Penobscot County, although it doesn’t seem unreasonable for a child to miscalculated an elder’s birth year).
Only daughters Betsey McKinney and Mary Dudley are named in Ruth’s will with Betsey being named as executrix and awarded the majority of the estate. This does not add to the case, other than further supporting the fact that the marriage intention filed in 1826, between Betsey Lansil and Aaron McKinney was indeed Ruth’s daughter.
The inventory of Ruth’s estate does not offer clues to her parentage, but I include it here in the event that other descendants are reading and interested.
1800 Federal Census
- There are a number of entries for “Paine” in Truro, however Ruth can not be definitively identified. In that census year, only head of household was identified by name; her father James was deceased; her mother Elizabeth might have also died (unsourced online trees). Ruth would have likely have been listed in the category “Free white females 16 – 26″ in 1800, of which there were 124 in Truro.
- No variation of Lansil (searching on Lan*l* & L*ns* & L*nc*) – John, Charles or any other male first name could be located in New England. A page by page search of the Truro, Provincetown and Chatham censuses revealed no likely matches. Charles may have been at sea or boarding in a home and thus not named.
- Interestingly, the 1800 Buckstown, Maine [ now Bucksport, ME] census includes a column entitled “from whence emigrated”; about 50 of 134 heads of households, residing in Buckstown (more than a third of residents), report to be of Cape Cod.
 Ancestry.com wild card search; and “like” searches in FamilySearch & name search in Heritage Quest
 Year: 1800; Census Place: Truro, Barnstable, Massachusetts; Roll: 13; Page: 66; Image: 70; Family History Library Film: 205611.
1810 Federal Census
- There is only 1 variation ofLansil (searching on Lan* & L*ns & L*nc*) – John, Charles or any other male first name.
- John Lasell, Windham, Connecticut; 7 household members – 3<16; 4 >25 (in 1810, Charles and Ruth would have had four family members under the age of 16, not three; and in 1820, when Ruth and Charles were enumerated in Bangor, a John Lassell, was enumerated in Windham, Connecticut; additionally a marriage is reported between John Lassell and Elizabeth Dana, 15 Apr 1770, in Ashford, Windham, Connecticut, on Ancestry.com. Early Connecticut Marriages).
- Charles V. Lansil and family may have been residing in Truro, Chatham or in Buckstown, that census year – however, he was not found in a page by page review of the census for those towns. They might have been in transit, residing with others or simply missed by the enumerator..
1820 Federal Census
- Lan* reveals 168 results in Ancestry.com there is 1 variation of the surname Lansil (I also browsed L*ns* with no promising results).
- There is a Charles V.Lancell in Bangor, ME
- 3 Males <10
- 1 Male 10-15
- 1 Males 16-25
- 1 males >45
- 1 female <10
- 1 female 10-15
- 1 female 16-25
- 1 female 26-44
In 1820 census records, if Ruth Lansil of Bangor was the eldest female listed as living in the household of Charles V. Lansil, and if the enumerator recorded the information properly, then she was between the age of 26-44 (putting her birth between 1776-1795).
1830 Federal Census
- There is a Charles V.Lancil in Bangor, ME
- 1 Males 5-9
- 2 Males 10-14
- 1 Male 15-19
- 1 Male 20-29
- 1 male 50-59
- 1 female20-29
- 1 female 40-49
In 1830, the eldest woman, likely Ruth, in Charles V.’s household was between the ages of 40-49 (putting her birth between 1780-1790).
Cape Cod Marriages
So we have established that Ruth’s maiden name was likely Paine and that she was born on the Cape, about 1778 – 1784, likely in Truro where she married Charles V. Lansil, between 1794 (or 1800 if she was born 1784) and 1804.
Only one potential marriage intention and record were located in Cape Cod:
Intention: John Lancle of Provinctown and Ruth pain of Truro Published Octobr 16 — 1800
Marriage: Novembr 13 John Lancelee of Provincetown to Ruth Paine 
Wikipedia: French people have one, two or more given names. One of them, almost always the first, is used in daily life (but someone can also have a usage name that was not given); the others are solely for official documents, such as birth, death and marriage certificates. Traditionally, most people were given names from the Roman Catholic calendar of saints. Common names of this type are Jacques (James), Jean (John), Michel (Michael), Pierre (Peter), or Jean-Baptiste (John the Baptist) for males. The prevalence of given names follow trends with some names being popular in some years, and some considered definitely out-of-fashion. Others never really went out-of-fashion such as Jean, Pierre, Louis, François.
Charles V.’s birth record has not been located, so it is unknown if this is the case, but it is certainly plausible.
Cape Cod Births
A search revealed four births recorded under the name“Ruth Paine” in Truro, dated 1723, 1736, 1759, 1783. It seems most likely that the one born in 1783, to James and Elizabeth (Cobb) Paine, could be our Ruth.
James and Elizabeth were married 8 November 1764 in Truro.
According to vital records, the Ruth Paine of Truro born to James and Elizabeth (Cobb) Paine in 1783 had the following siblings:
- John Cobb paine the Son of James and Elisabeth paine was Born in Truro august 17th : 1766
- Ephraim paine Son of James and Elisabeth paine was born in truro April 18 1779
- Asa paine Son of James and Elisabeth paine was born in truro march 15 1777
- Betty paine the daufter of Jams and Elizabeth paine was borne in truro June ye 11 day in the yeare 1768
- Jams paine the Sone of Jams and Elizabeth paine was Borne in truro June 18 in the yeare 1770
- thomus Cobb paine the Sone of Jams and Elizabeth paine was borne in truro October ye 19 in the yeare 1772 these thre recorded by me Daniel paine town clerk
- mary paine the daufter of Jams and Elizabeth paine was borne in truro may the 20 1775 and Recorded by Daniel paine town clerk [died 21 May 1777: http://www.capecodgravestones.com/truropixweb/pain77tr.html]
- mary paine the Daufter of Jams and elizabeth paine was born in truro april the 20 1780 and Recorded by D p town clerk
- Ruth pain Daughtr of James & Elisabeth pain was born at Truro ye 17 of Septembr 1783; baptism: 1783 November 23, Ruth daughter of James Paine.
The naming patterns of Ruth and Charles V Lansil’s children were similar to that of the Truro Paine families who descended from the Mayflower. A few of Ruth Paine of Truro’s siblings had their mother’s maiden name Cobb as a middle name – it would make sense that Ruth continued the practice, giving her children the middle name Paine. The History of Penobscot County gives Ruth’s middle initial, likely provided by her son, as “C” which could possibly stand for Cobb.
As shown earlier, Ruth Lansil of Bangor named her children:
Thomas P., Mary P., Betsey, Charles V., Asa P., Ephraim P., and George W.; James P.
Ruth Paine of Truro had:
- Two grandfathers named Thomas (Cobb and Paine)
- Grandmother Mary (Vickery) and a sister Mary
- Mother Elizabeth (Betsey)
- Husband Charles V.
- Brothers Asa and Ephraim; an Uncle Asa Cobb Paine who also named a child Ephraim
- Father James
- There were no Truro relatives named George W., however George Washington died in 1799 a few years before George W. of Bangor was born, he was perhaps named after our first president, which was quite common in that time period.
There was a Ruth Paine who married Nathaniel Basset in Harwich on 4 Jul 1795, it is not plausible that this is the Ruth born 17 September 1783, as she would have been only eleven. No other Massachusetts marriages were located in the years between Ruth turning 16 in 1799 and 1804 (the latest date that the first child could have been born to Ruth Lansil).
There was no evidence that a Ruth Paine born to James and Elizabeth died unmarried. Massachusetts records report deaths of:
- Ruth Paine daughter of Seth Paine and Rachel born 29 May 1808 and died 20 Oct 1809 in Harwichport.
– Ruth Paine daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Paine died 5 Oct 1800 in Wellfleet.
– Ruth Paine, age 90, died 23 Dec 1801 in Bridgewater, wife of Samuel (likely her maiden name was not Paine).
– Ruth Paine, age 26, died 15 Mar 1815 in Bellingham, wife of William (likely her maiden name was not Paine).
– Ruth Paine, age 60, died 30 Sep 1843, in Truro, wife of Elkenah, daughter of John and Hannah Avery.
– Ruth Paine, age 82, died 20 Apr 1854, in Blackstone, daughter of Jonathan Paine.
– Ruth S. Paine, age 20, died 27 Jul 1858, in Eastham, daughter of Seth and Rebecca.
– Ruth H Paine, age 80, died 11 May 1878, in Ashburnham, born Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
- Ruth T Paine, age 84, died 13 May 1881, in Weymouth, daughter of Levi.
James Paine, age 60 of Truro, likely Ruth’s father, died 10 Dec 1799 (he was born 14 July 1743, so the age at death is off slightly, but there were no other deaths found that might be our James). This might explain her marrying at the age of 17, a man fifteen years her senior. He may have been established and ready for a wife at a time when she was seeking stability.
Cousin Ed asks: “Why would Ruth’s father James be buried with his sister-in-law? Cheaper grave? It’s a family plot in Pine Grove Cemetery. Mary Paine (Vickery) and Asa (Jame’s brother) are right there also. Spookiest cemetery I’ve been in”.
Based on historical accounts, death and census records, Ruth Lansil was of the right age to have been born in Truro, Massachusetts to James and Elizabeth (Cobb) Paine on 17 September 1783. The History of Penobscot County supports a Truro birth, in the same time frame and a maiden name of Paine as reported by two sons, who seemingly had no reason to fabricate. Additionally, Ruth’s son Asa’s death record reports a mother born in Truro.
An 1800 marriage of a John Lancelee /Lancle to Ruth Paine in Truro further supports this theory. It was typical for the French to have more than one name, usually christian, and Jean (John) was a common choice. No census, birth, death or other records have been uncovered to indicate there was a second couple John and Ruth Lancelee /Lancle residing in the United States after this date.
At least two of Ruth Lansil’s children, Charles V. and Betsey, report a birth in Chatham on Cape Cod, placing the family there in the early 1800’s. Many Cape Cod families immigrated to Buckstown/Buscksport, Maine (about a third of the population in 18o0) making it plausible that the Lansil’s followed.
At least one son, Asa, was given the middle name Paine, others used the initial “P” (as written in the 1834 land deed, The History of Penobscot County and other census documents not listed here) which might stand for Paine. James and Elizabeth (Cobb) Paine’s sons John and Thomas were given the middle name Cobb; Ruth Lansil used a middle initial of “C”. If Ruth’s mother passed her maiden name to her offspring, perhaps Ruth followed suit. The names of Ruth Lansil’s children, although common, were the same names found in Truro family of James and Elizabeth (Cobb) Paine.
Other vital records consulted reveal no evidence that the Ruth born to James and Elizabeth (Cobb) Paine married someone else or died unmarried.
On the off-chance that Ruth Lansil is not the daughter of James and Elizabeth (Cobb) Paine; given that she was found living on Cape Cod with a surname of Paine, it is still probable that she descends from Stephen Hopkins. Paine is an old family name, on the Cape dating back to the 1600’s. Most everyone there in that time frame, descends from one or more Mayflower passengers.
“In the year 1644 The Court doth grant unto the church of New Plymouth or those that goe to dwell at Nausett all that tractt of land lying between sea & sea from the purchasers bounds at Namseakett to the hearing brooke att Billingsgate with the saide hearing brooke & all the Medows on both side the saide brooke with the greatt basse pond these & all the Medows & Islands lying within saide tractt. Nathaniel Morton,Secretary of the Court.” This grant came about as the result of the realization on the part of the church of Plymouth that it was situated on “one of the most barren parts of New England.” It was concluded that “the whole body of the church at Plymouth should not remove from Plymouth but liberty was given to those who so desired.” Consequently seven men became the first settlers in April 1644. They were Thomas PRINCE, John DOANE, Nicholas SNOW, Josias COOK, Richard HIGGINS, John SMALLEY and Edward BANGS. In 1651 the Colony Court decreed the town be known henceforth as Eastham. The surnames MAYO, CROSBY,FREEMAN, HARDING, ROGERS, GODFREY, BROWN, ATWOOD, SMITH, COLE, SPARROW, HOPKINS, COBB, CRISP, MYRICK, WALKER, TWINING, AKINS, YOUNG, KNOWLES, NEWCOMB, PAINE, COLLINS, LINNELL,PEPPER, NICKERSON, WITHERELL, DYER, WARD, HERD, HATCH, HORTON were added by the end of the 1600s along with several others”.
Yes, for those wondering, my application was accepted: State of NH # 1200; General # 82,512
A 4-generation descendancy chart that I created for Ruth can be found here, please contact me with corrections (I do have information through 6/7 generations but have not included those details for privacy reasons, since many are living): Descendants of Ruth Paine 4 generation
On-line resources used:
- Google/Google Books
- Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/
Offline resources used:
- Hammond Street Church record books found at the Hammond Street Church in Bangor and Bangor Public Library
- Bangor Probate Court
- Bangor Land Office