Monday, 18 July 2016

Charlotte Butler & Elias Nelson of Colchester, Nova Scotia

My paternal great grandparents, the parents of Alice Nelson Dougherty, were Charlotte Butler (1853-1942) and Elias Nelson (1854-1946). Elias was a farmer, and the son of Charles Nelson (1812-1892) and Sarah Ann Moore (1819-1889). It's not clear if Elias farmed the land granted to Alexander Nelson. There were after all, many descendants of Alexander still in Colchester County, Nova Scotia in the late 19th century.

Charlotte was born in Upper Stewiake to Samuel Butler (1816-1887), who was a blacksmith, and Mary Olive Fisher (abt 1819-1865), as one of ten children, most of whom survived childhood. After her mother died in 1865, Samuel married again, to Esther Taylor Lawson the following year, and had seven more children.

Samuel Butler was born in Halifax to parents who had migrated to Nova Scotia from Cape Cod. He was one of three sons. It isn't clear when his parents Captain John Butler and Mary Southwick died. At some point, Samuel found himself living in Upper Stewiake, where he met Mary Olive.

Mary Olive Fisher was the daughter of John Waddell Fisher and Margaret White Godfrey, who was a cousin of Noah Webster who created Webster's Dictionary.

Elias had one brother, Horatio--yes, really--who was born about 1848. Horatio appears in the 1871 census, but then he disappears.

Charlotte and Elias married on February 15, 1877, in Truro, Colchester. In addition to my grandmother Alice, they had five other children. Their eldest daughter, also Charlotte, died young, making my grandmother the eldest surviving child. The others were Letitia, Emma, Robert and Lophemia, called Loie. Below is the 1901 census of the household. Note the liberty taken with the spelling of Charlotte: Sharlot. In another census, she is identified as Charlet, and in yet another, Sharlott. Finally, in the 1921 census, the last one available right now, she is identified as Charles. Oh, the indignity.


Sadly, I have no photographs of my great grandparents Charlotte and Elias or of my grandmother's siblings.

Charlotte, Elias and their daughter Emma are buried in one plot at Watson Cemetery in Truro. Loie, Letitia and Robert are buried in the same cemetery, separately. My grandparents Alice and John are buried in Sherbrooke, Quebec. But that's a whole other blog post yet to come.

The never ending story continues...

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