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vital records sources
go to Elizabeth E. Haskell's page

Ezra probably grew up in his grandfather Ellinwood's house near Beverly Ferry, and in a family of men who went to sea for a living. Crewlists for the Port of Salem give a look at Ezra's beginning as a seaman. The earliest found was in 1804, when he is described as 18 (he was actually 17), 5' 8" and with dark hair. He sailed on the ship Endeavor, Capt. James Buffinton, out of Philadelphia for Marseilles, France. The ship and crew were based in Salem, so why the record of the trip starts in Philadelphia isn't apparent. The Salem Register of 12 November reports that the ship had arrived in Philadelphia "in 13 days," but no sailing notice from Salem appears in the newspapers. They were cleared to sail from Philadelphia in late November.1 They were reported at Gibraltar probably already having been to Marseilles, in late April 1805, to head for Salem in ten days.2 The Salem Gazette of 5 July reported that the ship had returned home on the first of that month.
     Ezra's next trip was in the following August on the same ship, but a different master (Jeremiah Page). The crewlist is dated 6 August 1805, and this time he was 20 years old, off by two years. Their destination was "Isle de France," now Martinique. They reportedly had just arrived on 26 November.3 The 14 April issue of the Register says that Endeavor was at "Bourbon" in early January 1806 from Isle de France, and was loading. The 9 May issue of the Gazette says that the ship had sailed from Isle de France at the end of January for Calcutta. One of the January references must be wrong. Given that they were heading for India, the reference to "Bourbon" was very likely "Isle Bourbon," now the very remote Reunion Island east of Madagascar.They sailed from India on 2 May and arrived back in Salem on 25 September. 4 The arrival notice mentions that sugar was expensive and hard to come by in Calcutta, as were fabric "piece goods." Why Capt. Buffington knew this becomes apparent in an ad in the Democrat of Boston, shown below, providing a nice snapshot of the goods they were shipping.

A less extensive trip came next aboard the brig Industry. It was cleared in early December 1806 to sail for "Leghorn," which was the anglicized name for the Italian city of Livorno.5 Jonathan Cook was captain. About mid March 1807 they were in Barcelona after a 105-day leg from Salem.6 They were still there on 5 May, and were reported "riding quarantine" in that month.7 Industry arrived back in Salem on 28 July, 65 days from Barcelona.8 A later notice says they sailed from Salou, Spain.9 No mention of having been in Livorno was found. They may have been delayed so much at Barcelona that Capt. Cook decided to change course.
     Ezra downsized again when he sailed on the schooner Two Brothers, Capt. Nathaniel Fowler.10 The crewlist is dated 13 October 1807, and they were cleared to sail and may have already left by the 15th for the West Indies.11 They were back in Salem from Trinidad after 30 days sailing in late January 1808.12 The ship's log, excerpted in the paper, says that on 30 December, 3 days sailing distance from St. Croix, they were boarded by the British sloop-of-war Melville and told that St. Croix and St. Thomas had surrendered to England within the previous 10 days.
     There is a gap of about a year when Ezra isn't found on a crew list, as they're transcribed for the Mystic Seaport website. He's next found on the schooner Anson, Capt. Zachariah Morgan. He was the mate, and he may have waited through 1808 for the first opportunity to get that position, having previously been a regular "seaman." Also possible is that the crew list no longer exists for an inbetween trip. The lists for Anson are missing in 1808 and early 1809. They were cleared to sail for Cayenne (the crew list says Havana was the destination) in French Guiana around 24-26 April 1809.13 They were there by 21 June, "to sail in 4 days for a market, having landed part of his cargo."14 After a 17 day trip from St. Barts, Anson was in Beverly by 12 August 1809.15
     Ezra appears on a list of soldiers in the War of 1812. He served between 21 June and 22 August 1814 in Capt. Lamson's company of Lieut. Col. Levi Dodge's (Third) regiment.16 Their activity in the war hasn't been found.
     Although he was a ship master, I can't find him connected to specific ships. He was co-owner, with many others, of the bark San Francisco out of Beverly in 1849. It was advertised to sail with a party to California in the same year. This was a venture of the "Beverly Joint Stock San Francisco Company, with shares at $500 each. The cargo consisted of 63,000 feet of planed boards, 10,000 bricks, provisions for two years and a deck load of eight house frames. The Company consisted of 40 members, a cook, steward, twenty pigs, a dog, a kitten and a crow." This was one of many companies organized in New England to capitalize not only on the mining frenzy in California, but also the opportunities of commerce and developing towns associated with it. Ezra's nephew Ebenezer Ellingwood was the mate on another ship commissioned by a different company. He stayed for a while in California and ended up dying in Australia.
     Ezra co-owned the brig Poconocket out of Beverly, which was made in Brewer, Maine, in 1847 and registered on 30 September 1853. His partner and master of the ship was his brother-in-law Joseph Thissell Haskell.17 The boat Poconocket was registered again on 13 August 1856 under the ownership of Ezra and his sister-in-law Augusta Obear, and lost at sea.
     A tiny notebook found in the collection of Virginia Carpenter records payments made by Ezra in connection with two schooners, Bunker Hill and German. Of German I've found nothing, but Bunker Hill was made in Northport, Maine, with dimensions of about 79 feet length, 23 feet width and 127 tons.18 It was registered at Salem in March 1832 and at Beverly in June of that year under the ownership of Ezra and Henry Larcom, a cousin by marriage.
     Beginning in 1829 and for several years, Beverly tax records give brief descriptions of the real and personal estates of the heads of households in town.19 Here we learn that Ezra was part owner of Safford's Wharf, formerly Ellingwood's Wharf next to the Beverly ferry and across the street from where he grew up. Personal estates in the tax records were limited to items of highest value. Ezra had vessels, stocks and cash on his list. He was probably living with his father up to this time, who, according to his Revolutionary War pension file, was living very modestly with an infirm wife and his sister Lois in 1818. This source also says Ezra bought their house at an inflated price in 1821 in order to defray John's debt to him for supporting the trio. This doesn't correspond to the tax records. The 1825 and 1828 taxes list John with the real estate. Ezra, aside from a comfortable personal estate that jumped $3,000 in those 3 years, only had ownership or part interest in Safford's Wharf for his real estate. The 1829 taxes finally say that Ezra owned a house and land and John was part owner. Ezra's personal property of the greatest value were "stock in trade, vessel & money" totalling $6,500. His personal estate had been $6,000 the previous year. What filled his coffers between 1825 and 1828 hasn't been found. In 1830 and 1831, John was back to being the only real estate owner. In 1830 Ezra was taxed for his part of the wharf. A gain in personal property by 1831 was relatively modest. This back and forth with real estate and personal estate value is a mystery.

At 46, Ezra married Elizabeth Haskell in 1834. She was 24. When her grandmother Lucy (Lovett) Thissel died 6 days later, Ezra was appointed guardian of Elizabeth's under-age siblings to oversee their portion of her estate. Ezra and his growing family moved to a house on the southwest corner of Cabot and Federal Streets. This house is said to have been built for his uncle Benjamin Ellinwood in 1784, but it then passed through many other hands before coming back to the family.

The Ellingwood house, Cabot and Federal Streets, the lower photo showing President Taft, who had a summer house in Beverly,
going into the First Church. Bottom sketch by Doug Sinclair

The City of Beverly decided to widen Cabot Street in 1900, and took the front yard and even the steps and entry portico off the house. Ezra's daughters, now living in the house by themselves, had no intention of moving. After years in that condition, it was only after Melanie died in 1924 that Ella moved out and the house was, according to the family, torn down, although it was reported elsewhere as being remodelled. The "Ellingwood Building," which still stands, was commissioned by Ezra's grandson Charles Hoyt Ellingwood and looks like a newly constructed building from the 1920s. Woolworth was the first retail tenant.

     Ezra was voted one of Beverly's selectmen from 1832 to 1835.20 In 1832 the selectmen were part of a Board of Health which was to "act and do anything they may think proper towards securing the town against that deadful scourge, the Cholera, which is desolating so many places." For two years he was a candidate to represent the town in the county legislature.
     The Washington Congregational Church was organized in 1837 by a group that seceded from the Third Congregational Society, Ezra among them. Stephen Masury gave Ezra land in trust to build on. Ezra was one of three men who oversaw the construction of a church there in 1836-1837.22 Ezra deeded the land to the church but must have retained part-ownership as a member of the society, given that his interest in the property is mentioned in his will. He was also a director of the Beverly National Bank, serving as such for 32 years (1835-1867).23

(collection of Beverly Public Library)

Washington Street Congregational Church

Elizabeth, Ezra's wife, died in 1844. While she was in her coffin in the Cabot Street house, a fire broke out in his brother's cabinet making shop nearby. The shop and the large and relatively new house across Federal Street from the Ellingwood house were a complete loss, and it was due to some effort that the fire didn't spread to the Ellingwoods.
      Ezra died of old age 25 years later and is buried next to his daughters, his wives and their parents in Central Cemetery, Beverly. The family doctor was Augustus Torrey, who married Ezra's second cousin Sarah Cox. Ezra and Elizabeth's daughter Ella Torrey Ellingwood was named for him. His son Edward Payson, called the blacksheep of the family, was sent to school at Thetford Academy in Vermont. He may have become a seaman. He appears in English court records as having been convicted, with several others, of breaking and entering premises in Oxford in 1854. They were sentenced to 4 months in prison. He likely returned to the United States in 1865. After his father died he sold his share in his estate to his sister Melanie. Nothing else has been found about him, but there may have been a reason, even at a young age, to send him to a remote place in Vermont. In Beverly, legend has it that there was animosity between the Ellingwood sisters, and they lived in different parts of the Cabot Street house. They didnt change anything, thinking that Edward would one day come back to them from them from the Civil War and it would be as it was. There certainly is some mythology in this. Their mother, who isn't accounted for in these stories, was alive into the 1890s. It was brother Charles who was in the Civil War, and he and his family stayed in touch with the family still in Beverly, his heirs eventually inheriting the property. Brother Lyman's will says he no longer had a relationship with his sisters and brother Edward, they having sided against him on some issue. He gave them each a dollar to emphasize the point. He left his house to his maid and the rest to brother Charles' heirs.

Ezra's will:

Know all men by these presents, that I Ezra Ellingwood of Beverly in the County of Essex and state of Massachusetts, gentlemen, being of sound and disposing mind and memory to make and publish this my last will and testament.

First, my will is that my just debts and funeral charges shall by my executor hereinafter named be paid out of my estate as soon after my decease as shall by him be found convenient.

Second, I give and bequeath to my wife Mary Ann Ellingwood my house furniture. She is also to receive one-third part of my personal property and the improvement of one-third part of my real estate, or the income of the same during her natural life agreeable to her right of dower.

Third, I give and bequeath to Eveline Amelia Ellingwood one-third part of the homestead so-called consisting of the dwelling house and land under and adjoining the same.

Fourth, I give and bequeath to my son Edward Payson Ellingwood one-sixth part of my dwelling house with the land under and adjoining the same and all my wearing apparel and silver watch.

Fifth, I give and bequeath to my son Lyman Ellingwood one-sixth part of my dwelling house with the land under and adjoining the same.

Sixth, I give and bequeath to my two daughters Melanie Augusta Ellingwood and Ella Torrey Ellingwood one thousand dollars each to be paid from my personal property to be held in trust and in addition one hundred dollars each to be put in the Savings Bank to be at their disposal.

Seventh, I give to Melanie Augusta Ellingwood one-third part of my interest in the Parsonage house so-called and one-half of my Spanish claim, interest paid annually at Beverly National Bank, also my gold watch.

Eight, I give to Ella Torrey Ellingwood one-third part of my interest in the Parsonage house and one-half of my Spanish claim.

Ninth, I give to my son Charles H. Ellingwood two hundred dollars.

Tenth, I give to my executor hereafter named two hundred dollars for his trouble and expense he may be subjected to in the performance of his duty in executing this my will.

Eleventh, I hereby name and appoint Charles H. Ellingwood executor to this my last will and testament.

Twelfth, I hereby name and appoint Charles H. Ellingwood trustee from my two daughters Melanie A. Ellingwood and Ella T. Ellingwood. They are to receive the interest that becomes due every six months on their money held in trust and in case of sickness such part of the principle as may be needed.

Thirteenth, I give the remainder of property whatever it may be to Edward P. Ellingwood, Charles H. Ellingwood, Lyman Ellingwood, Melanie A. Ellingwood and Ella T. Ellingwood each to receive an equal part.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal and publish and declare this to be my last will and testament in the presence of the witnesses named below this 30th day of March in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and sixty-seven.

Ezra Ellingwood (seal)

The above instrument of one sheet was at the date thereof declared to us by the testator Ezra Ellingwood to be his last will and testament and he then acknowledged to each of us that he had subscribed the same, and we at his request sign our names hereto as attesting witnesses

Samuel Endicott
Joseph D. Tuck
Robert G. Bennett(24)

children of Ezra Ellingwood and Elizabeth Haskell:25

i. Edward Payson, b. 13 October 1835
ii. Charles Henry, b. 17 September 1837
iii. Lyman Haskell, b. 1 September 1839 (named Samuel at birth if vital records are correct, bap. as Lyman at the Washington Street Congregational Church in 1842)

children of Ezra and Mary Ann (Haskell) Ellingwood:

iv. Melanie Augusta, b. 3 September 1846, d. 27 March 1848
v. Melanie Augusta, b. 9 June 1848, d. 2 February 1924
vi. Ella Torrey, b. February 1851

sources for vital records: Ezra's birth, death and marriages can be found in the Beverly, MA, vital records. His death is also among the Mass. Dept. of Health vital records (1869: 22:166). His first marriage is in noticed in the Salem Gazette (20 May 1834, p. 3), shown above, and the Columbian Centinel (21 May 1834), "Capt. Ezra" and "Elizabeth E., daughter of late Samuel Haskell" in Beverly. His second marriage has been found in Massachusetts State Health Dept. records (1845/1846: vol. 18, p. 79), where it says that they were married by Rev. George T. Dole of the Washington Congregational Society, Ezra a widower and merchant, age 57y, 10m (should be 12, this may be a transcription error), 24d. His death is also recorded in the Health Dept. records (vol. 220, p. 166), age 82y, 4 m, 13d, of old age, married, mariner, b., res. and d. in Beverly, son of John, b. Beverly, and Hannah, b. Marblehead. The date is also on his gravestone, Central Cemetery, Beverly.

2. New York Gazette, 10 June 1805, 3.
3. Ibid, 27 February 1806, 2.
4. Ibid, 26 September 1806, 3.
5. Ibid, 9 December 1806, 3.
6. Ibid, 19 May 1807, 3.
7. Salem Register, 13 July 1807, p. 3; Reperatory, 17 July 1807, 3.
8. Salem Gazette, 19 May 1807, 3.
9. Essex Register, 3 August 1807, 3.
10. Two Brothers, 74 tons, was built in Danvers in 1797. When it was registered on 9 Oct. 1807, Nathaniel Fowler of Beverly was listed as owner and master.
11. Baltimore Price Current, 22 October 1807, 4.
12. Salem Gazette 26 Jan 1808, 3.
13. Salem Gazette 26 April 1809, 3.
14. Salem Gazette 21 July 1809, 3.
15. Essex Register 12 August 1809, 3.
17. ?Essex County Historical Society Quarterly, "Ship Registers of the District of Salem and Beverly, Mass. 1789-1900" (this needs to be checked. Is this published in the ECHSQ series or by itself? If the latter: (Salem:1906).
19. Beverly town records, vol. 119, 133, etc. (double check)
20. Ibid (p. 88?).
21. Virginia Carpenter's notes.
23. Salem Gazette, 9 Oct 1835.
24. Essex County Surrogates Court, wills, 426:153.
25. Ezra's children's births are recorded in the Beverly vital records.

all text and photographs © 1998-2023 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted