Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Hunt for Joshua J. Virgie's Children...

Joshua J. Virgie was born 11 Dec 1798 in Nova Scotia, the son of John Vergee and Sarah Etter.  You can find variances of the surname as Vergie, Virgee, Vergee, Virgy, and Verge just to name a few.  It is a very uncommon name and this family is the only one known to live in New Brunswick with the Surname.

When I first started researching my forth great grandfather I found a family tree on file with the LDS that showed his name as possible John and wife's name as Jane and a list of 11 children.  There was a note stating that Jane may have also been the wife of William Hayward.

After several trips to the Provincial Archives in New Brunswick and finding very little on the family I decided that the only way to find more was to go to Curryville, New Brunswick.  After a very long drive I arrived to find a small town with a few houses, a church and a cemetery. Curryville is on the eastern edge of Albert County near Hopewell.  I did not have to walk far into the neatly kept grounds of the church yard to find the Virgie graves and the grave of William Hayward and his wife Jane situated next to one another.

Joshua J. Virgie and Cynthia Smith

William Hayward, Jr and Jane

The graves were not easy to read but I copied and photographed what I could and then called the number posted on the church to see if someone could help with records for the town.  I spoke to a nice man who said someone took the records home years ago and no one has seen them since.  Well that was a new one, usually it is that the Church or Town Hall burnt years ago.  The man knew the graves but said he never knew any Virgie's or Hayward's in the area.

With a day to spare before I had to head home I drove back to the Archives in Fredericton, New Brunswick about a 3 hour trip from Curryville.  This time I finally got lucky and came across the will of William Hayward, Jr.

William Hayward, Jr born 1777 most likely in Ireland was the son of Henry Hayward and Isabella Griffin, he died in Apr of 1849 in Hopewell, Albert Co, New Brunswick. He married Jane, she died in 1847, both are buried in the Curryville Cemetery.  No children have ever been found for this couple and it is believed they never had any.

In William's will Proved Jun 1849 He list 7 of the Virgie children, Rosannah, William, Sarah, John, Benjamin Etter, Lucinda Malisa and Mary Jane.  He does not list a relationship to the children as he does others in the will. Their inheritance is as follows (spelling is a transcribed):

  • "To Rosannah Virgie All my household furniture together with any clock and thirty pounds currance out of my real estate said thirty pounds to be paid by installments yearly five pounds in year intuil the whole thirty pounds shall be paid with Interest for the same after the sale of said land"
  • "To William Henry Virgie the sum of five pounds on the day he may arrives at the age of twenty one years."
  • "To Sarah Virgie to give and bequeath any bed and bed stead and stand table and one two year old heifer said therfor to be delivered unto her the said Sarah Virgie at the age of eighteen....Sarah Virgie before named shall have three pounds to be at interest same as the others for the purpose of purchasing said two year old heifer."
  • "John Virgie one pair of two year old steers and one two year old Heifer, the sum to be delivered to him at his demand where he may achieve at the full age of twenty one, or in other words the sum of the pounds provided the steers and the heifer cannon be procured."
  • "To Lucinda Malisa Virgie the sum of three pounds to be put to interest for her twelve month after my deceased and to be paid when she shall be of the age of eighteen years"
  • "To Benjamin Etter Virgie, the sum of five pounds and one years schooling Enclussion of board."
  • "To Mary Jane Virgie Two years schooling to be paid for also the sum of three pounds to draw interest several months after my decease and to be paid unto her by my executors when she may be at the age of eighteen years...and to Mary Jane Virgie before married the further sum of three pounds and the same to draw interest same as the others three pounds."

What I found odd about the will was that I believe Joshua Virgie had an older daughter Rhoda b. 1823 who is not listed and at the time of the Will had another child that had been born in 1846.  Now I had to figure out why they were left out.

In the 1851 Albert Co Census all of the older children with exception of Benjamin Etter Virgie were living with other families. 

  • Rhoda is married and living with husband in Albert Co, New Brunswick 
  • Rosannah has never been found in the 1851 census in New Brunswick
  • William is living with Daniel Clark and his wife Cynthia as an Apprentice Joiner
  • Sarah is living with her grandmother Sarah Clark Wright but listed as a Lodger.
  • John Verge is living with William Wright as a Lodger, his Uncle.
  • Lucinda Malisa is living with Winkworth and Elizabeth Wright Brewster, her aunt.
  • Mary Jane is listed as Mary Wright and living with Uncle James and wife Margaret Featherby Wright, listed as a lodger.

Children at home with Joshua and Cynthia were:
Benjamin, Alonzo, Dorcus, Alexander (Wilford)

Next I found the will of Alonzo George Virgie, son of Joshua, He was a wealthy Sea Captain. His Will lists the children of his sister Lucinda Virgie Pye as well as his sister Dorcas Virgie Archibald and children of his brother Wilford.  He also list a cousin Chipman Smith.

So now I have William Hayward, his wife Jane and Chipman Smith that are somehow connected to this group.  But how?

After a few more years of research it has all come together thanks to a few death cerficiates:

Joshua J. Virgie b. 11 dec 1798 in Nova Scotia d. 13 Dec 1880 in Hopewell Parish, Albert Co, New Brunswick and is buried in the Curryville Cemetery.  The family seemed to be poor and made living as farmers.  
Most research have always assumed that Lucinda and Cynthia were the same person but finding the death certificates of the younger children in the family I was able to break them into how they are listed below.

Joshua married at least two times but most likely three:

* Unknown wife:
<1> Rhoda Virgie b. abt 1823 New Brunswick died before 1881.  She married first James Fales b. 1815 Nova Scotia  on 7 Nov 1843 in Hopewell Parish.  This couple had 6 children Benjamin, William, Mary Ann, Charlotte Elizabeth, John Shenton and Isabella Rebecca Fales.
After her husbands death in 17 jun 1864 she married Robert Blinkin Hoar (don't you love that name!) on 24 Nov 1874 and died between 1874 and 1880.  On a side note Robert was the widower of my 4 great grandmother Martha Rogers (her 2nd marriage, his first) and he was 1st cousin to her first husband John Hoar.

* Lucinda Wright b. abt 1806 d. abt 1845 No grave found. She married Joshua on 14 Aug 1828 in Hopewell, Albert Co, New Brunswick. Lucinda was the daughter of William Wright and Sarah Clark.

<2> Rosannah Virgie, b. 3 Feb 1829 at Hopewell Hill, Albert Co, New Brunswick d. 30 Sep 1911 at Hopewell Hill.  She married David Oliver Woodworth on 15 Dec 1853 at Hopewell.
Their children, Lucy Jane (my GG grandmother), Daniel Obed, Albert W, Lena Pauline, Edgar James and Fredrick W. Woodworth

John Hoar, Lucy Woodworth Hoar, Weston Arrol Hoar (child) and Elmer Stiles Hoar on their farm on the Salisbury Rd, Moncton, New Brunswick c.1924

<3> William Henry Virgie b. 3 Apr 1832 Hopewell, Albert Co, New Brunswick d. 17 Jan 1913 in Clarksburg, Harrison Co, West Virginia.  Known as W.H., He was an Civil Engineer and Bridge Contractor.  
He married twice, first to Charlotte Bishop on 15 dec 1853 in Coverdale, Albert Co, New Brunswick.  Charlotte and their unnamed first born son died in childbirth 12 Feb 1856, they are buried at the Old Shepody Cemetery.
Second he married Sarah Frances Vickery b. 6 Aug 1844 in Nova Scotia . They had 3 children Guy Morse (died at age 8), William Blair and Alice Whitmore Virgie.

Excerpts from From the diary of Anna Eliza Rogers (Gallagher/Moore) of Albert Co, New Brunswick:

  • 12 Feb 1856; Rain.  Mrs. William Vergie (Charlotte Bishop) died at the Cape.  They have been married one year.
  • 28 Nov 1858 Sunday, Snow all day but not cold.  I was to see some persons baptized, viz, William Vergie, Mrs. Miles Peck, Old Mrs. Elizha Peck and Jane Peck.
  • 12 Apr 1860 Fine. William Vergie fell off Russel's vessel where he had been working, got hurt pretty bad.
  • 24 Sep 1860, Fine. got a letter from Mary.  She says William Vergie is to be married to Sarah Vickery.  We all went to the Mechanics' fair at Fennel Hall Boston. (Anna Eliza was in Roxbury, Mass at the time)
<4> Sarah Elizabeth Virgie b. abt 1834 Alma, Albert Co, New Brunswick d. bef. 1867 married Thomas Hanson Brigham on 29 Dec 1859 in Shepody, Albert Co, New Brunswick.  Thomas was born Nov 1829 in Massachusetts.  They had one known child Arthur Ansel Brigham who resided in Rhode Island.  It is possible that a Coleman Brigham also belonged to this family but no proof yet.

<5> John Franklin Virgie b. 1837 in Demoiselle Creek, Albert Co, New Brunswick d. 23 Aug 1897 in Waterside, Albert Co, New Brunswick.  He married Martha Jane Copp on 9 Aug 1865 in Harvey, Albert Co, New Brunswick.   They had two children William Harvey Virgie who resided in Massachusetts and Fern Lucy Virgie who died 26 Apr 1908 at the age of 23, unmarried.

Date November 3 1892
County Albert
Place Albert
Newspaper The Maple Leaf

John Virgie and wife, who has been living in Boston, Mass. for some time, returned home last week.

<6> Benjamin Etter Virgie was born abt. 1840 in New Brunswick.  The 1861 (listed as just Etter) Albert Co, Census he is living with his older sister Rosannah and her husband David Woodworth.  He is listed as Sick or Infirm at the time.  No futher records or his grave have ever been found.

<7> Lucinda Malisa (Melisa) Virgie was born in 1843 and died 30 Dec 1870 both in Albert Co, New Brunswick.  She married Capt. Edward Pye of Prince Edward Island on 22 Jan 1863 in Coverdale, Albert Co, New Brunswick.  They had two children Rufus H. Pye who died 24 Aug 1877 at the age of 13.  In 1871 he is found living with Elizabeth Wright Brewster the same Aunt who his mother lived with when she was a child.
Second child was Charles Morley Pye he was born 4 Jan 1867 in Albert Co, New Brunswick.  He was the executor of his Uncle Alonzo Virgie's Will in 1922.

Date September 2 1896
County Saint John
Place Saint John
Newspaper Messenger and Visitor

m. At residence of bride's father, John TINGLEY, Aug. 19th, by Rev. I.B. Colwell, Charles M. PYE, Salisbury (West. Co.) / Alice M. TINGLEY, Hopewell Cape (Albert Co.)

<8> Mary Jane Virgie was born in 1845 Albert Co, New Brunswick and died at age 30 on 20 Sep 1875 in New Brunswick.  She married 16 Oct 1865 in Albert Co, William Lovell Gunning.  Along with Rosannah, above, Mary Jane is also my GG grandmother. She and her husband William, who died at age 27, left three young orphans.  William was a Ferryman and Minister.  Their children were Annie Laura, Frank Lovell (died at age 8, one year after mothers death) and John Seymore Gunning.  Very little is known of Mary Jane and William and their graves have not been found as of yet.

                                        FUNERAL MRS. ANNIE LEAMAN
The funeral of the late Mrs. Annie L. Leaman, who died at the home of her daughter Mrs Nellie M. Hoar, Salisbury on Thursday Morning was held in Cadman's Funeral Home, Alma St. Saturday afternoon at 3:30 o' clock.
Many friends and relatives gathered to pay last parting farewell. The service was conducted by Rev. Lawrence Bone, pastor of the United Church of Canada, Salisbury, assisted by Rev. Julian Green, Pastor of the United Baptist church, Salisbury, Members of the Salisbury male chorus sang the hymns " Nearer to Thee", "Jesus Lover of my soul" and "Resting Now"
Pallbearers were G. W. Gunning, Weston Hoar, Orville Leaman, Weldon Leaman, William Leaman and Kenneth Dunfield.  Many floral tributes, messages of sympathy and Gideon Memorial Bibles received by the family, testified to the high esteem in which she was held.
 Interment was made in Elmwood Vault, with Rev. Lawrence Bone, Assisted by Rev. Julian Green, Conducting the Committal service.

* Cynthia Smith b. 1816 d. 10 Dec 1866 Hopewell Parish, Albert Co, New Brunswick.  She was the daughter of Stephen Smith and Sarah Peck.  She had 7 children with Joshua.

<9> Captain Alonzo George Virgie was born May 1846 in Albert Co, New Brunswick and died 2 Jan 1922 in Curryville.  He married Sarah Rouse of Nova Scotia 20 Nov 1872 in Boston, Suffolk Co, Massachusetts.  They had four children and divorced at some point. Sarah lived in Massachusetts and Alonzo stayed at sea or in New Brunswick.
Children were James A (died as infant), Eva May, John Starr and Alonzo George Virgie (died as infant).  John Starr De Wolf Virgie drown in 1907 in Mobile, Alabama.  Daughter Eva married John King and lived in Massachusetts.  The Chipman Smith found on his will in 1922 and who he is living with in 1911 Albert Co is James Chipman Smith, son of William Smith and Elizabeth Ann Dawson.  William Smith was Alonzo's mother younger brother.

<10> Dorcus Almira Virgie b. 20 Nov 1849 in Hopewell, Albert Co, New Brunswick and died 13 Apr 1928 in Truro, Colchester Co, Nova Scotia.  She married Marshall Archibald of Truro on 16 Dec 1870 in Boston, Suffolk Co, Massachusetts.  They had 9 children, Florence, William, Dorcas, Carrie, Carl, Blair, Frederick, Alexander and Milne Archibald. Dorcas was named for her mothers sister Dorcus Almira Smith that died at age 18 in 1846.

<11> Alexander Wilford Virgie, know as Wilford born 1851 in Curryville, Albert Co, New Brunswick and died 24 Apr 1906 in Old Town, Penobscot Co, Maine.  He married Milchia Hawkes.  They are both buried in the Brownville Village Cemetery located in Brownville, Piscataquis Co, Maine.  They had 7 Children.  Mary E (died at age 3), Alonzo George, Carrie, Cynthia Jane, Norman H, Martha M and Archie Stewart Virgie.  This family has the only known male descendant still carrying the family name. 

Tombstone of Wilford A. Virgie

<12> Irena Elizabeth Virgie b. 1854 Albert Co, New Brunswick. No other information found.
<13> Eva Jane Virgie b. 1858, Albert Co, New Brunswick.  No other information found.
<14> Annie Virgie b. 1860, Albert Co, New Brunswick, No other information found.
<15> Alfred W. Virgie b. 1863 d. 15 Sep 1864 Curryville, Albert Co, New Brunswick, buried in the Curryville Cemetery.

I still do not know how William Hayward or his wife Jane are connect to the Virgie children.  My theory is that Jane was part of the Wright family as William only left items in his will to the Children of Lucinda Wright.

In the end the first information I found on the Virgie Family was incorrect.  It was Joshua, not John, Jane was never his wife, and Joshua had a total of 15 children with 3 wives but we all know that is how genealogy goes sometimes.

As with everything this family is a work in progress.  I hope by putting this together other descendants will contact me.  I have been in touch with several in Maine, Nova Scotia and Virginia.

Let me know if there is a family in my database you would like to see a blog on.  

Hope you have a wonderful day,



  1. Welcome to Geneabloggers! I wish you great success with your new blog :)

    Michele (also with one L!)
    Ancestoring's Ask A Genealogist

  2. Welcome to Geneabloggers and good luck with your blog!


  3. Welcome to Geneabloggers! This is a great blogging community.

    Regards, Grant

  4. Oh, Michele, what a blow to discover the cemetery records were missing! And of all the reasons for them to be gone. That's a new one on me, too. How awful.

    I found a mention of your blog on GeneaBloggers today. Best wishes as you continue your research and your blogging project.

  5. Welcome to GeneaBloggers! It's a wonderful community.

    I can't believe someone actually took the records home and now they can't be located. That's just terrible!

    Best to you as you venture into the fun world of genealogy blogging!

  6. It sounds like you had a great, productive research trip!
    Welcome to the Geneablogger family.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)