Saturday, August 05, 2017

Coffee post

Today Tommy arrives for 9 days. And Mike is off work. We are going to have a great time. I made a cup of coffee before I start setting up the guest room.

Both bathrooms now have floors and ceilings. I posted this one a while back, but here's the before:

And now after (too lazy to rotate photo):

The new schedule is working out well, where we no longer have a nanny. The kids do go to a friend's house one day per week for about 5 hours, but that's it. My house is staying really clean. Does this mean our nanny was really a slob?

Libby finished the 1st grade curriculum and Mae is about halfway through it. She's ahead in math.

I bought a weed wacker and do my own yardwork now, though it will be nice when Tommy is here because maybe he can help clear the path again, down into the ravine. I hired someone to do it a couple months ago, and it's already grown over with greenery.

We're trying to outline plans to move from this house. Our forever house. But now possibly not. It is not the house, it is the neighborhood. Not quite right, not quite what we had in mind. It's hard to admit it, though, so as long as we can't really afford to move it is easy to say it's just a maybe. And maybe the neighborhood will improve.

I'm trying a new (to me) VPN called but I already found a security flaw and I'm not even a tech person by any stretch of the imagination. I sent tech support a chat but since it's Saturday I guess they aren't answering. So we'll see on Monday. I might have to cancel the service already. It's frustrating to be bombarded with articles harping on me to get a VPN and also find out that no one has any recommendations, like there are 200 VPNs and they are all terrible. Please stop writing articles about VPNs if a good one is nonexistent.

Speaking of tech, our programmer is back to work and says he will have a beta product for us by the time we are back from vacation. I told Mike I have a bad feeling. It's just my gut instinct. But I feel like something is wrong with the arrangement. Mike will ask him for a copy of the code so then maybe I will feel better.

I'm listening to a new podcast called By the Book which I really like.

Mike and one of our friends are trying cryotherapy at this moment. They also did it yesterday. Our friend has a herniated disc (disk?) but he said the cryo is not helping. Mike has neuropathy in his feet and he said it was better last night but he actually thought it was not the cryo, but the magnesium oil he has been rubbing on his feet. Biohackers! can't just do one thing at a time so then you don't know what is working.

Mae is asking me for chocolate milk and keeps bugging, so now I sign off.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Merch by Amazon vs Gearbubble - solar eclipse Tshirt case study

I had a recent successful side hustle, where I designed a Tshirt commemorating the upcoming solar eclipse. I then sold the shirt via 2 platforms: Etsy (where I filled orders manually through Gearbubble), and Merch by Amazon. The 2 channels are very different, so this post describes step by step how I did it, along with pros and cons of each channel, and lessons learned.

I was late in getting my shirt created. I uploaded it sometime in June, and the eclipse is August 21. I did ZERO advertising because I did not want any expenses other than the licensing fee I paid for my image (more on that later). Even getting in so late and doing no advertising, to-date I have made more than $1200 profit on roughly 200 shirts sold. I took my shirt off of Etsy today, but it's still available on Amazon.

Etsy sales (some orders were for multiple shirts):

Amazon sales:

Step one is to get an account with Merch by Amazon, because although it is super easy, it can possibly take a while. I submitted my request in early March, and did not get an approval back until April 17, so it was about 5 or 6 weeks. In my approval email, they apologized for the delay while they scaled up operations. So maybe the turnaround time on applications is faster now. To get an account go here: and click on Request Invitation. You don't need to have a business license or a professional Amazon account. I got an approval just using my normal Amazon account and with zero design experience.

The next thing I did was to view the competition on Amazon. I typed in "eclipse shirt" and just looked at what came up. From there I knew what I disliked about the shirts I saw, and what I wanted in my own design to make it different. I also wanted to make a design that I would actually wear myself, because I knew I had to pay for the image and I didn't know if I would get any sales. So I had to justify the expense of the image, a little bit.

I looked at eclipse images on "free" image sites.  I say "free" because these images are not actually free if you intend to profit from them by putting them on a Tshirt. Read the license agreements carefully and pay the appropriate fee for the image you want. Make sure the image is allowed to be resold on a Tshirt...not all of them are. If I remember right, I found the image I wanted on but in the past I have also used

If you have an idea of what you want the shirt to look like, and you have no design experience, at this point you could hire someone on Fiverr. I have done that before, but this time I wanted to spend no money (other than the image license) and this meant I had to actually make the design myself. I am not a designer and I had never used Photoshop. I didn't even own the real version of Photoshop. I have Photoshop Elements. But Elements doesn't count. If you want to use Merch by Amazon you have to have the real Photoshop. Amazon provides a .psd template which allegedly (more on that later) ensures that your design will work on their shirts. In order to edit the .psd template, I had to get "real" Photoshop. I downloaded the free trial version. So I only had a few days to get it right.

Although Photoshop appears overwhelming with literally a million buttons to push and a million YouTube video tutorials, it's actually not that hard, and with just a little poking around I was able to edit my eclipse image how I wanted it, and add text, all within the confines of the required template. This only took me a couple hours. Kind of tense hours, in which I was threatening to give up and hire someone on Fiverr, but my 7 year old daughter convinced me to go on and do it myself.

Then, once you are approved to use Merch, you just upload the completed file in .png format, as they direct. You can pick your shirt colors from there. Up to 5 colors. So here's problem #1 with Merch by Amazon - the preview picture they show the customer is "whatever is selling the most," they say. So if you have zero sales, they apparently just put up a random size and color, or maybe the size and color that sells most in other designs. My image looks best on a black shirt, so I chose to ONLY sell it in black. Otherwise it was going to default to a gray or red shirt or something like that, and most people aren't going to click through while saying to themselves, "I wonder if I can get that in black."

On Merch by Amazon, you have a choice between offering your design on "premium" or "bargain" Tshirts. They don't use the word "bargain", I forget what they call it. But I chose premium. I priced shirts at $19.99 and that put my profit around $5.50 per shirt. Amazon handles all the customer service, and you do nothing at all but collect checks.

Just for fun, I decided to also fill orders myself using a print-on-demand service called Gearbubble. It is similar to CafePress and Teespring. So here's the thing with POD sites. Once you create the shirts, you have to drive traffic there in order to make sales. And since I chose not to advertise, I could not just leave the shirts on Gearbubble.

Incidentally, the reason I use Gearbubble is because I use Rachel Rofe's products and through her business I was able to get a drop ship account with Gearbubble. That means I get the wholesale price, which allows me to then sell products at retail price on Etsy. The drop ship account is an expense and I suppose I should have counted it, but I already had it so it didn't feel like an expense. It might be $100 or might be $300 per year...I am not sure since like I said I got this as an add-on to another product I have.

I was able to use my same .png file on Gearbubble. One difference on Gearbubble is that each shirt style is a different web page. Unlike Amazon where you upload the .png file once, and then the customer chooses the shirt style (mens, womens, kids), on Gearbubble you have to create one page for men's shirts, another for women's shirts, another for kids shirts, you get the idea. Gearbubble provides really nice mockups that you can then upload to Etsy. Once I made sales on Etsy, then I had to go over to Gearbubble and fill the orders myself.

The profit margin in this method is higher. Depending on the style, I made anywhere from $7 to $9 per shirt sold. But it's not exactly passive income like it is with Merch by Amazon.

I purchased my own shirt in various sizes from both Gearbubble and Amazon. All the GB shirts came out beautifully. However, 2 of the 3 Amazon shirts were printed incorrectly and I returned them. It was the shirts in the smaller sizes (kids and small womens). In those cases, my design had been compressed from left-to-right in order to fit on the shirt. This effectively ruined my design since it's the sun, not an egg! The largest size printed exactly as I had designed it. So that was troubling, since I used Amazon's own template. And by the time I received my shirts and saw the problem, my free trial of Photoshop had expired and I could not alter my own design and create a different shirt. Also, Amazon does not allow you to alter a shirt design once it's uploaded. You just have to cancel that campaign and start a new one.

Another problem with Amazon is that the shirt sizing is way off. They do provide measurements, but a lot of people don't read the fine print and then order their usual size and find it is too small. Way too small. In the long run this can create negative reviews of the product. Until Amazon fixes the product, you can combat this by trying to alert customers to this issue in the product description. But then you're counting on people actually reading the product description.

With Gearbubble/Etsy, the shirts are also on the small size, but (a) they aren't crazy small and (b) it's a lot easier to communicate with the customer and make sure they are ordering the correct size.

Something I loved about using Gearbubble and selling on Etsy was that 3 times I was approached on Etsy with a request for some kind of customization of the shirt. Gearbubble makes it insanely easy and all 3 times I was able to make the customization, and it resulted in sales all 3 times as well. Never in a million years would I have considered myself a graphic designer. never. in. a. million. years. Now all of the sudden I'm able to design stuff on the fly that some stranger asked me to do.

But one of the problems with drop shipping is that when you have stuff listed on Etsy it gives the illusion that you're actually making it at home and shipping it yourself. So a few times people would say they gave me the wrong size, or wrong address, and it's not so simple to fix on the back end at GB. Also, GB is SLOW at printing the shirts. I had to tell people to wait up to 2 weeks, as opposed to 1 week on Amazon. Sometimes people wanted me to include a gift message and I'm not really able to do that.

********************Pros and cons of each method****************

Amazon pros:
Truly passive income - they handle fulfillment and customer service
Customer returns go back to Amazon, not you
Probably easier to deal with at tax time because you just have 1099 income
It's AMAZON where everyone goes to shop
pretty fast production time - it was about 7 days from the time I ordered my shirt til I received it
I made more sales on Amazon with zero advertising

Amazon cons:
lower profit margin
lower quality processing
designer has little to no control over product variations to offer customer

Etsy with Gearbubble drop ship pros:
higher profit margin
you can talk to the customers
easy product variations, can print different images on front and back of shirt
better quality product

Etsy with Gearbubble drop ship cons:
GB processing is pretty slow
At tax time you will have both income and cost of goods sold to account for, so there's more paperwork to keep track of
Etsy customers don't comprehend that you're using an outside printer and shipper
If customer is unhappy with sizing you still have to pay for the shirt

And that's why in the end I took down my Etsy listings even though the eclipse is 3 weeks away.

My final thought about this hustle is that I am proud that my kids got to see this. My 7yo was standing at my side when I was working in Photoshop, and she saw the shirts arrive in the mail. She wears hers proudly and tells everyone that her mama made it. She understands that she can do this too.

Feel free to leave questions in the comments.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

{genealogy} Wood ancestry part 11 - Thomas Wood

Thomas Wood

Heather’s 8th great grandfather

When Thomas Wood was born in 1666, his father, John, was 46 and his mother, Mary Peabody, was 27. He married Content (Thurston?) in 1690 in his hometown. They had nine children during their marriage, all of whom survived their father. He died on May 10, 1729, in Little Compton, Rhode Island, at the age of 63.

Little Compton vital records has his death record, but they also listed his birth year with his death date, which is helpful.

LC vital records also record the marriage in 1690 to Content, but gives no last name for Ms. Content. Researcher Eugene Preston, who published his work in 1916, “felt quite sure” that this was the Content Thurston who was the daughter of Edward Thurston and Elizabeth Mott. The other Content Thurston (Thomas’s brother Henry’s wife) was THIS Content’s niece.

We know that Thomas’s father is John Wood, Jr. because John sold land to his son and named him “son Thomas” in the deed. The land was located in Little Compton.

Bertha Clark writes, “Thomas Wood was a Quaker, and it would seem a very active one.” She notes that by following Dorothy Wood Ewers’s research, we can learn that Thomas Wood regularly attended the Newport Monthly Meeting of Quakers, which included Little Compton, and that he represented L.C. twice a year in these meetings.

Probate records show that Thomas’s will was written 22 Aug 1728, and proven on 20 May 1729. It does not mention his wife Content, so we assume she died before the will was written. He names 3 sons, 6 daughters, and 1 granddaughter. The inventory indicated that he owned a home and 100 acres of land.

{genealogy} Wood ancestry part 10 - my 2nd line - Rebecca Wood

Due to some intermarriage among the Wood and Shaw families, I have a 2nd Wood line that adds a couple more Woods. Here is the new line, with the new names added in bold.

My dad
Ward Palmer Wood – Regina E. Goppert
Palmer Melander Wood – Jennie Mary Ward
Tillinghast Wood – Jemima Burlingame
Peleg Wood – Amy Palmer
Reuben Wood – Ruth Wilbore
Peleg Wood – Ruth Shaw
Anthony Shaw - Rebecca Wood
Thomas Wood - Content (Thurston?) (if her last name is Thurston, she is NOT the same Content Thurston as Thomas's brother Henry's wife)
John Wood Jr. – Mary Peabody
John “The Mariner” Wood

Rebecca Wood

Heather’s 7th great grandmother

When Rebecca Wood was born on April 17, 1696, in Little Compton, Rhode Island, her father, Thomas, was 30, and her mother, Content, was 28. She married Anthony Shaw on August 14, 1718, in her hometown. They had 9 children during their marriage, all of whom survived their mother. She died in January 1766 in Little Compton, Rhode Island, at the age of 69.

Rebecca’s birth was recorded in Little Compton. The record that I have access to says she was born in Newport County, Rhode Island, and that her father’s name is Thomas. Little Compton is in Newport County. Little Compton Historical Society and records compiled by Benjamin Franklin Wilbour indicate that her mother’s name is Content.

We also have LC vital records proving that she married Anthony Shaw in Little Compton on 14 Aug 1718, when she was 22 years old.

Again thanks to LC vital records we know that 9 children were born in Little Compton.

Rebecca’s husband died in March 1759, when she was 62. She then wrote her own will in October of that year. She died about 7 years later, in January 1766. Her will was proven on 2 Feb 1766.

The will reads, in part:
“…Rebecca Shaw, widow, being something weak and low of body but of perfect mind…To son Benjamin my great iron kettle and farming tackling. To son Anthony and he to be executor, choice of two cows. To son Arnold one cow. To son Thomas bed and bedstead. To son John bed and bedstead in lower room. To daughters Ruth Wood, Elizabeth Wilbour, and Rebecca Potter, each a spoon marked R.S. To grandson Anthony Wilbour 10 pounds. All my wearing apparel to my four daughters…”

She was most likely buried in Little Compton, but the burial location is unknown.

Remembering the Vietnam War and the Clackamas County Fallen

I don't know why I didn't post this sooner, because I did finish this a month ago. My latest book is available on Amazon! And you can click the image above or click here to get it. We set the price at $10 so that proceeds can be used as a fundraiser for the memorial monument that we are working on. Phase I for the monument is expected to start very soon and has already been funded by one of the partners. My chapter is responsible for the fundraising and execution of Phase II, which is to install black granite benches to match the monument.

At this time, the biographies are for these men that we know lived in Clackamas County at some point, and later lost their lives while in service in Vietnam. As we obtain more information, it will be added to future editions of this book.

Andrew John Abramson, Rodney "Keith" Arnold, William John Block, David Bruce Brandon Jr, Donald Dean Brubaker, Virgil Allen Calkins Jr, Christopher Lee Chambers, Robert Wayne Clarke, David Lawrence Cooper, Larry Gilbert Dahl, Larry Ernest Dikeman, Herb Doby, Curtis Neil Evans, Walter David Freeman, Joel Lynn Gabriel, Michael Jefferson Greeley, Dennis Day Harris, Dwight Hayes, Larry Albert Iannetta, Warner Craig Jacobson, Gary Lyle Kestler, John Alan Macdonald, Daniel Irvin Mambretti, Paul Martin Moore, Robert Dean Neasham, Warren Emery Newton, Allen Dean Perkins, Dale Allen Perkins, Robert James Phillips, David Fred Popp, Wayne Conrad Reinecke, August Karl Ritzau, Charles Leroy Roberts, Donald Raymond Schafer, Robert Ernest Sharpe, Hallie "Bud" William Smith, William Lyle Sperb, Terry Allan Sundeen, Dale William Tolbert, Michael Douglas Weeks, Gordon Lee Wirth Jr, Patrick Leonard Woods, George Nathan Wright, and James Alfred Wright. 

Friday, June 09, 2017

How to make uncooked (freezer) jam using products available in 2017

The kids and I went to Sauvie Island and picked 8 pounds of strawberries. They were so red and basically overripe that I didn't want to cook them and lose that beautiful color.

I usually cook jam, so it's been several years since I did freezer jam. I turned to master teacher Google, and found that the official recipes posted by Ball and Sure Jell are different from what I remembered. What I remembered from 5+ years ago: a product labeled "freezer pectin", no cooking, and very little sugar. You just mixed it all up in a bowl, and voila.

What I'm seeing now: recipes that are labeled as "freezer jam" or "no cook jam", but for some reason involve cooking, normal pectin (as opposed to freezer pectin), and a lot of added sugar. Seemed weird. The consumer comments confirmed my suspicion. People are saying this isn't the recipe they remember, and to add insult to injury, they ruined their beautiful strawberries with a jam that won't set. 

I figured out that sometime in the last few years, the Ball packaging changed from a clearly labeled freezer pectin product to a set of new labels and canister that are confusing people. 

This is the OLD  freezer pectin product that you probably remember:

And this is what you need to look for now:

The product is now labeled Instant Pectin. This is what you need for the freezer jam. Make sure not to get the stuff called Classic Pectin if you want to make the old freezer jam. It's also not the same as the product called Low Sugar Pectin. All of these are different. I had to go to 3 different stores to find the Instant Pectin. They had it at Walmart.

To make matters worse, the Ball website lists many recipes for what they call "freezer jam using classic pectin".  See the 2 star average review. Not good.

If you peel open the label on the Instant Pectin jar, the freezer jam recipe is inside. You can peel it open and read it right inside the grocery store, to make sure you get enough fruit.  But I did this with our fresh-picked strawberries and I can now say it's a tried-and-true recipe. The recipe inside the label is enough for 2 jars, 8 oz each. I doubled the recipe in an attempt to get 4 jars. I actually ended up yielding 5 jars. I think it's because I used the immersion blender on the fruit. My kids insisted they didn't want chunks. I was a little nervous because some reviewers said that freezer jam tends to only work with chunky jam. But mine turned out fine.

Start by combining the following:
1 and 1/3 cups granulated white sugar

Then add 3 and 1/3 cups mashed strawberries.

As the label says, stir for 3 minutes. You must stir for 3 minutes. It was at this point that I used the immersion blender.

Pour into sterilized jars (I just used the dishwasher) and put lids on. I use glass jars and leave a generous amount of head space. I got 5 8oz jars from this recipe.

The label says the jam will set in about 30 minutes. I don't think that's exactly true. I felt like my jam got thicker after sitting in the fridge overnight. 

Users on the Ball site complained about runny jam. This jam is not really a gelled jam, but it's not runny either. Here are some photos of my jam.  Here I'm holding the jar open tipped to one side and you can see it is not pouring out. It's definitely thick enough to hold its shape in the jar.

However, when I spread it on toast I usually use a spoon instead of a knife. Think of a curd or pudding consistency. It's soft but it's not like it falls off the toast after you spread it.

It's a beautiful jam and very, very delicious!

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Books I read in May

The Woman in Cabin 10. A mystery novel that I enjoyed.

The Adventurous Life of Myles Standish. Got this one at the library. I like Thanksgiving books and I always wanted to know who Myles Standish was, since they mention him in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. What I learned is that the romance between Myles Standish and Priscilla Mullins, that they refer to in the Peanuts show, is fictional.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday morning coffee post

If you saw on the photo blog, we lost our red Ford Explorer to an accident, but after getting payment from the insurance company we were able to buy a better Ford Explorer. It was really important to us to have a 4x4, even though we only use that feature once every few years. If you don't have it, you're walking! And last winter was big reminder of that. The last thing I posted was that the new Explorer was missing the title, but yesterday that was resolved and I now have the seller's title in my hand. The truck was registered in Washington, so next steps is getting it titled in Oregon which I hope to do on Tuesday.

The sun has finally come out and so we got our landscaper out here and they put the weed-eater to our acre and mowed it all down. It's so great. Auntie Shannon sent a bubble machine and the kids set it up outside and play in the lawn and bubbles for hours.

Next step is to refinish my lower deck. I am trying to get a pressure washer to come here and clean it, and then I'll sand and refinish it myself. I know I could pressure wash it myself but I don't want to.  My neighbor has a gas-powered pressure washer we could borrow, but it's a pain to start (like a lawnmower) and it's really heavy, and my lower deck is at the bottom of the hill. An electric pressure washer costs a bit more than pressure washing service, and Mike is starting to see the minimalist philosophy a bit more and realizes that if we bought one we'd also have to store it. So he said to hire someone. Now, getting someone to show up is always a problem. First guy did not show, though I would have been surprised if he did. Then my sister recommended Amazon Home Services, so I booked someone through there and he is supposed to show up on Tuesday. I would really like to get this deck finished because we actually have a friend who wants to come over and it would be nice to entertain on the deck. This photo is the "before" picture. Before the cleaning/refinishing and before the landscapers came.

So, long story short about the bathroom reno bc I don't really want to talk about it bc it's possible it wasn't really necessary but what's done is done. Downstairs bathroom really needs to be demolished completely, but I don't want to pay for that, so right now it's just missing the floor, ceiling, and has a window that needs replacing. Upstairs bathroom now requires a new floor after one 6" strip was pulled, down to the subfloor.

I'm not hiring a GC but instead going with specialists for each thing. That means getting a lot of bids, a lot of phone calls, a lot of no one calling me back, a lot of no shows. What fun!

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Book I read in April

Alia Tero: The Many Lives of Darren Datita.

Self-published sci fi. I liked this one, but it needed to be longer!

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Saturday morning coffee post

It's almost 10am and everyone is still asleep. Well, everyone was awake at 6am for some reason but most people went back to sleep.

A quick update on everything I've been up to, before everyone wakes up.

The nanny we wanted to partner with for the day care has moved to Nebraska, so the partnership is no more. We didn't want to do the day care with anyone else, so, oh well.

Our existing nanny is still in limbo in her life and so we just have to wait until that settles itself before we make any plans for the next phase of our life and our kids' homeschooling, etc.

I don't think I mentioned it here previously, but I hired a software developer a few months ago to work on a project for Mike. He started the job but then he got sick, so I'm trying to wait patiently for that to move forward.

I hear a kid waking up so I have to type fast

I've been invited to give a talk about my Vietnam book and it's gotten more publicity than I expected. The talk, I mean. I wonder how many people will actually attend. It will be good practice for me. It is next Tuesday at 3:30. Really how many people could possibly attend a talk on a Tuesday at 3:30? Not that many I think. The book is nearly ready for publication and I already started a website. The cost proposal for the monument came in and I politely ripped it to shreds, metaphorically speaking. If that guy worked at my day job he would be so fired.

I hear Mike and Mae up so I will have to write more later, after breakfast. Mae is now yelling at Libby RISE AND SHINE! Today we are starting a bathroom renovation if the reno guys ever show up. How's that for a cliffhanger. You will just have to stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Like a majestic interception

I just returned from a meeting with my Vietnam War Memorial committee.  We've hired an artist and he will proceed with a cost proposal. I found a benefactor who will help donate funds. And then there was one awful moment where one of the partners suggested that the memorial only commemorate 14 names instead of the 45 that I researched. (City vs county.) I told my brain to stop thinking. That I would process it later and consider what to do. But then the normally soft-spoken DAR Regent loudly announced that if it didn't include all 45 names that we'd leave the committee and go build our own monument some place else.


Then I exhaled and realized I hadn't been breathing. I almost cried and hugged her, but I controlled myself.

My book will be published and available to the public by Memorial Day. Then we have plans for a 2nd edition and a website. The monument will be linked to the website with a QR code.

my heroes today

Saturday, April 01, 2017

{genealogy} Wood ancestry part 9 - John Wood of Portsmouth, aka John Wood the Mariner

John Wood, Sr.

Heather’s 9th great grandfather

Once again I am grateful to Bertha Winifred Clark, whose research provides this biography for the John Wood I refer to as John Wood, Sr. Additional research is ongoing to this day by current Wood descendants that I've been in contact with.

We know that John Wood originated from England. He MIGHT HAVE BEEN a mariner based in London, we know from letters written by Governor John Winthrop of Massachusetts and Governor John Winthrop Jr. of Connecticut, who referenced a John Wood...we're just not positive that is THIS John Wood. We know that he was married and had children in England. But we do not know anything else with certainty of his life before he started working for the New England colonies.

There is record of a John Wood who married Margaret Carter in London, January 1610. But Clark says we have “no real evidence” proving that this was our John Wood who later moved to New England. There of course are many men by the name of John Wood who lived in England at that time. The date and location are about right for our John, and Clark says we do know for certain that John had a daughter named Margaret who was born in England. It makes for a compelling story but we must proceed with caution in stating that Margaret Carter was part of this family line. Here is the marriage record – likely a transcription though I don’t know the age of the transcript. I basically just included it here because it’s pretty.

Close up:

The whole page:

Clark also asserts that it is “probable” that this John Wood family was originally from Gloucestershire before moving to London.

So now let us proceed to what we do know of our John, beginning with the assumption that he is the mariner.

In early 1636 John Winthrop Jr. writes a letter to John Winthrop Sr. It is evident from the letter that John Wood, along with one or two of his sons, is working for the Winthrops, sailing back and forth among the colonies, delivering goods. It is clear that John Winthrop Jr. trusts John Wood, even though he references a previous failed voyage. John Winthrop Jr. indicates that he is certain the failure was due to weather and was no fault of John Wood’s. The ships Bachelor and Blessing are mentioned.

Then we know that John Wood returned to London for a short time.

In April 1637 a Francis Kirby of London wrote a letter to John Winthrop Jr. and tells him that he has sent some goods back with John Wood, on the ship Hector. On this ship, John is serving as “master’s mate”.

Clark’s research then goes on to show that in March 1640, John Wood leased a tobacco plantation in New York, near present-day Brooklyn. He did not intend to work the farm, but Clark says all tobacco farms at that time used slave labor. John continued his mariner career while earning from the tobacco plantation on the side. By 1641 John is said to own the plantation outright. It seems that the owner had gotten into some trouble and perhaps faked his own death. At any rate, John has record of owning the land by August 1641, when he sells it. Rhode Island state archives shows that John Wood buys a farm in Newport, Rhode Island. The deed is not dated, but Clark guesses that he bought the farm with the proceeds from the tobacco plantation,  and we may assume by this time that John Wood has decided to permanently relocate from London to Rhode Island, and brings his family over from London.

John Wood starts appearing in dated Newport land and court documents in June 1643.

Massachusetts Bay records has this entry 7 March 1644: The debt of John Wood of twenty pounds is respited for two years in regard of his great losse.

What great loss could this be? Clark tells a story that has no evidence, but compelling analysis. An Indian massacre had occurred in September 1643 on Long Island in a Dutch settlement called Maspeth. This massacre was revenge for a Dutch attack on an Indian settlement earlier that year, in February. The Dutch and Indians had a history of fighting as we previously learned in the Teague biographies. Some Rhode Island settlers, including friends of John Wood’s, had purchased some 13,000 acres at Maspeth, with the permission of the Dutch settlers. Therefore they became victims of this war as well. Clark suggests that John’s “great loss” could have been property and even his wife and a son. I must reiterate that all of this is conjecture, as we do not know when or where John’s wife died or even what her name was. We do not have evidence that he was part of the group that purchased the Maspeth acreage. But we do know that he was involved in many land transactions and that men close to him in Rhode Island were involved in the Maspeth purchase.

In 1645 and 1646 John appears in several court and land records in Newport, Rhode Island. 1646 is the last date where John is referred to as “John Wood of Newport”.

In July 1648 he is named a freeman of Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

An unknown researcher indicated that John’s death occurred on 1 Mar 1655, but Clark was unable to verify this exact date. 

Some people imply that John Wood did in Italy in 1653 in the Battle of Leghorn. There is a JW who died there as stated, but he is not the same person as JW of Newport and Portsmouth. This has been proven with original source documents in work published by NEHGS.

Although researchers seem certain that John of Rhode Island did relocate from London, that still doesn’t guarantee that he is the same John of London who the Winthrops had discussed. It is possible that there were 2 John Woods of London at this time, of course.

We do know that he died without a will, and his estate was divided 7 May 1655 by “the councell of the town of Portsmouth”. They reference a “widow and children” and then go on to name many children. A reference to the late wife Elizabeth Wood is given. In context it seems that the word “late” is not the same as “deceased” as we would use it today.

We have to use analysis to determine that Elizabeth is John’s second wife. Clark mentions that Elizabeth later has to testify her age, and from that testimony a birth year of 1613 is derived. This does prove that she could not be the mother of John’s 3 oldest children (at least), including John Jr. of this line.

{genealogy} Wood ancestry part 8 - John Wood, Jr.

John Wood, Jr.

Heather’s 8th great grandfather

Thanks to the research of Bertha Winifred Clark, we know quite a bit about this John Wood, who I will refer to as John Wood, Jr.

He was born around 1620, as he stated in a deposition he made in 1662, and also as derived from his gravestone inscription.

We believe he was born in England, possibly London. He is described as “John Wood, of London” as late as January 1649. He was a mariner, as was his father.

Ms. Clark tells us that we first see John Wood, Jr. in the colonies when he appears in the Aspinwall Notarial Records. William Aspinwall was the public notary in Boston from 1644-1651, and the records he took were published in book form in 1903. The book has since been transcribed on the internet and can easily be found in Google Books and other public domain archives.

If I’m reading and interpreting the notes correctly (which is debatable):

In December 1648, John Wood represented London merchants and a ship called Peregrine. I’m not sure if he was the ship’s captain or just a representative. The ship was to pick up wheat in Boston – I don’t know where the ship was then supposed to take the wheat. But at any rate the Peregrine failed to pick up the wheat at the appointed time, or something like that, so the New England merchants wanted reimbursement.

Aspinwall notarizes a few more exchanges between John Wood and the New England merchants in December and January, but then nothing further is said about the wheat incident. They seem to have worked it out.

Clark writes: “It must have been soon after the 1648/9 Peregrine cargo affair – perhaps even because of it – that John Wood Jr. came with his family to America to live.”

His father had settled in New England before him, and in 1649/50 that gentleman is suddenly referred to as John Wood Sr., telling us that there are now 2 John Woods in the community and there is a need to tell them apart.

John Sr. gave John Jr. land in Newport, Rhode Island.
Ms. Clark writes: “…In spite of his Rhode Island home and citizenship, the years between 1650 and 1663 were for John roving ones. We find him in Connecticut, on Long Island, in Massachusetts, and even in New Hampshire; as well as, intermittently, in Rhode Island, as the items below will show. A strange career his, with checkered lows and highs. Happily, the lows were in his early years, none of them in his later ones.”

Clark says that a later biographical sketch of John (from Southeastern Massachusetts p. 1157) says that John and his brother Thomas were “great hunters and possessed of that hardy adventurous spirit so characteristic of our early pioneers. In search of country where game was plenty, they first came to Seaconnet or there-abouts and soon after to Swansea, where Thomas settled. John, so tradition says, went still farther west into Connecticut – which was a wilderness.”

She goes on to quote New Haven (Connecticut) court records, from 1 April 1651. In this court entry, it tells a convoluted story that winds up something like this. John stole a pig from Mr. Wakeman, killed  the pig, and sold the pork for 36 shillings. John said he was “sorrey”. Mr. Wakeman said he thought the pig was worth 40 shillings. The court ordered John to pay Mr. Wakeman 36 shillings, and to pay the town Treasurer 10 shillings for his lying.

He shows up in Connecticut court records a few more times in 1651-52, over minor incidents, once as a witness. In the court record where he is a witness, he is quoting his wife. So we know he was married in 1652 but the wife is not named.

In 1655 he is back in Rhode Island records, and is on the list of 95 named Newport freemen.

But in summer 1655 he is again in Connecticut, where he sold a mare. This is important, because this sale would end up the subject of a long drawn out court trial that would end up having hearings over the next several years. Similar to the pig incident, John was accused of selling a mare that was not his to sell. The records show that the incident should have been decided by arbitrators, but because “it concerned an absent man”, it went to court trial. We believe the absent man was John, who by the time it went to court, was no longer living in the New Haven area.

1657:  Clark reports that it is likely that he was “living on Long Island (probably at Hempstead) as early as 1657, and that he married a wife named Anna at about that time. We think the wife Anna was not the wife who was living in Milford in the early 1650s, who had probably died – unless she had been deserted, as Anna was soon to be. The marriage with Anna may have been an irregular one…recognized as valid by some, not so by others. It is certain that she called herself wife of John Wood, formerly of Rhode Island, when she indentured their son Jonathan to John Smith; certain, too, that the Governor of New York called her wife of John Wood when he ordered her and her goods to be restored to her husband.”

In summer 1658, John and Anna moved to Springfield, Massachusetts. Clark believes that this is because Quakers had moved to Long Island and were immediately persecuted. Although we do not have record of John ever joining the Quakers, he was definitely in sympathy with them. Many of John’s children and grandchildren became Quakers.

26 Aug 1658 – John and Anna’s son Jonathan is born in Springfield.

But after finding himself fined in court a couple of times, he leaves Springfield in 1660, and this is where Clark reports that he apparently deserts Anna. Anna and baby Jonathan return to Long Island, while John goes back to Newport, Rhode Island with an older son. Other Wood genealogists question the assumption that John deserted Anna. Could it possibly be that she “deserted” him, they ask? Refused to go with him to Rhode Island? Would the Governor of New York order her to be “restored to her husband” if John left Anna?

In 1661-62, John’s name appears on a few land records in the Newport area.

Clark writes, “At about this time, John Wood had connections with the Oyster River, which was then a part of Dover. Dover from 1641 to 1679 was under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Perhaps his maritime interests were what brought him there. Ship-building was a leading industry there, and much lumber was exported. One notes, too, that ‘Quakerism flourished with greater vigor in Dover than in any other town in the province.’” (Dover, N.H., Its History and Industries, pp. 8-13)

In 1663, John marries Mary Peabody of Newport, but the couple travels to Dover to be married.

Clark goes on to report that the next major event in John’s life is a “political situation” relating to the Wood family friendship with the Winthrops of Connecticut (including Governor John Winthrop). A dispute had arisen between the colonies of Rhode Island and Connecticut, over control of some significant land along the Narragansett River. Clark says the dispute would go on for more than 60 years. Now, I personally don’t really comprehend the court records that Clark posts in her research, but earlier in her book she describes John Wood as one of 5 “chief agitators” publicly supporting the idea of the land belonging to the Connecticut colony. Since he was a resident of Rhode Island, this incensed the court there. By 1665 though, John was removed from the feud. The land was temporarily taken under the control of the British crown, probably to shut up the bickering colonies. The dispute was reignited 2 years later, but John is not known to have any part in it then.

Throughout the late 1660s and early 1670s, John’s name shows up in court records in Newport, Rhode Island, serving on various juries, and buying and selling land.

In May 1673, when John was 53, he was elected as a Deputy to the Assembly in Newport. This was a one-year position available to 8-10 men. He was re-elected the 2 following years as well. Clark also doesn’t explain the role, so I located a book on Google books called The Colonial Metamorphoses in Rhode Island: A Study of Institutions in Change by Sydney V. James. According to James, the General Assembly was a legislative body and also sometimes served as a court. He also mentions that the Rhode Island colony had a relatively weak government structure from 1660-1686 (p. 114), exactly at the time that John lived in Newport.

In December 1677 we find that land deed that was referenced in son Henry’s biography.

In the late 1670s and early 1680s John’s name appears in various Rhode Island records for paying taxes and buying and selling land.

On 22 Mar 1687 John Wood’s father-in-law, John Peabody, writes his will. In that will he names his daughter, “Mary Wood”. This document confirms Mary’s first name and maiden name, and that she is still alive and married to John Wood in March 1687. John Peabody was ill, and he dies shortly after and his will is proven 22 June 1687. Incidentally, John Peabody’s will shows he owned one (un-named) slave, so that’s my 2nd known slaveholding ancestor. Peabody’s “moveable” estate is divided into lots, and John/Mary Wood draw the following:

In 1690, when John is 70 years old, he is elected again as Deputy to the Assembly.

14 Nov 1695, John sells some land to his son Thomas. And it’s an interesting document because John names his wife Mary and indicates that she has given her consent to sell the land to Thomas. Both John and Mary sign the document with their marks. Then, on 28 June 1699, John is asked to verify that the 1695 document is legit. And it is fascinating to read that John “and his now wife Mary” acknowledge the accuracy of the document. Clark believes the term “now wife” implies that this Mary of 1699 is not Mary Peabody. Clark believes the new Mary is Mary Hardine, and that she married John in Woodbridge 11 Jan 1697. Other Wood researchers disagree, stating that there would be no reason for a new wife to affirm that the deed from 1695 was accurate.

5 Jan 1702 John appears in another land record, in receipt of 2 more parcels.

26 Aug 1704 is John’s death date, according to his headstone. He is buried with a Mary (unclear if this is Mary Peabody or Mary Hardine, if Mary Hardine exists), and his daughter Margaret (daughter of Mary Peabody). The Newport Historical Society says that the burials are on the Deacon Smith Farm in Middletown, Rhode Island. They report that the John Wood house was near the burial site, but was torn down in 1850 by Deacon John Smith, who was a relative of the Woods. I am not sure if the headstone still exists, but the Newport Historical Society had recorded it as saying that John Wood died 26 Aug 1704, age 84 years. The Mary who is buried next to him had a headstone reading, “Mary wife of John died Jan 24, 1719, age 78 years”.

Clark was unable to find a will or estate settlement, so his exact holdings and surviving children are unknown. She had only been able to definitively prove 10 children, but believed there were others.

{genealogy} Wood ancestry part 7 - Henry Wood

Henry Wood

Heather’s 7th great grandfather

Henry Wood was born as early as 1684, probably in Newport, Rhode Island, the son of Mary Peabody and John Wood. He married Content Thurston on September 14, 1715, in Little Compton, Rhode Island. They had four sons and two daughters during their marriage. He died in March 1758 in Little Compton, at the age of 71.

Unfortunately I am missing the page from Ewers’ research that describes Henry’s documentation, so I am summarizing the research of Ms. Clark instead.

Ms. Clark estimated Henry’s birth year as 1684 based on the fact that he was buying and selling land as early as 1705, which meant he would have been of legal age to buy/sell land by that year. She goes on to say that Mrs. Ewers has records of many land transactions by Henry, in Little Compton, even while Henry was living in Newport.

But his first land transaction is the one that allows us to name his father John Wood who married Mary Peabody. I will paste text from Ms. Clark’s work:

But by 14 September 1715 he has relocated to Little Compton and he marries Content Thurston. They have six children from 1716 to 1733. Son William died young, but the other children survived to adulthood.

Ms. Clark says once Henry gets to L.C., he has a “quiet life”, which I guess means she didn’t find a lot of documents with his name on them.

His will was written 14 Mar 1758, and proved 4 April 1758 (according to Wilbour), so he must have been sick, I think. He names his wife and all five of his surviving children. The two daughters were still living at home at the time of his death. He leaves a generous amount to Content. “…the whole of the house where I now dwell…a piece of land near the house for a garden…great looking glass…one half of pewter and glasses and earthenware…brass warming pan…the best bed…case of drawers…great chest…oval table…my will is that [Henry and Peleg] find and provide for my wife yearly and every year during her widowhood one good milk cow the whole season that cows commonly give milk, and six cords of wood to be brought to the door of the house, and one hundred pounds of good pork, and one hundred pounds of good beef, and fifteen pounds of good sheep’s wool, and fifteen pounds of good flax, and eight bushels of Indian corn, and three bushels of barley, and to pay her yearly as above said the sum of forty pounds…”

“…To son Thomas Wood 1200 pds current money of R.I. tender…To daughters Sarah Wood and Rebeckah Wood 120 pds and the use of the largest room at my house…”


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