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Finding A Girl

Ask a question. Search for an answer. Solve a mystery. Isn’t that what we do in researching our family history? Seek and you shall find, hopefully. We follow clues in a never-ending cycle of questions and answers. Puzzles to solve.

The photo is of Harriet Eleanor (DeMott) Black – solving a puzzle! Harriet was born in China, Maine but raised in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She died in Hagaman Mills, New York. There are several conflicting documents concerning her birth year, but in the end, it is logical to conclude that she was born 2 July 1864. She married Reverend John Black in 1901 and they were buried in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Harriet’s parents were Harriet Esther Goddard and John R. DeMott. Harriet Esther Goddard, the mother was born 9 April 1832 and raised in China/Palmero, Maine.

John R. DeMott was born in 25 March 1827, raised in New Brunswick, New Jersey. John DeMott’s family were Huguenots who originally settled in Kingston, New York and migrated a bit south to Hunterdon, Somerset and Middlesex Counties, New Jersey. Generations later, DeMott descendants dominated the northern New Jersey landscape.

The question is, the lingering puzzle piece that remains unknown is…how did a young girl in the 1850s from a tiny inland town with a whopping population of 800 people then (and still today) in Maine meet a city boy from New Jersey, then marry 1860 in Dover, New Hampshire?

Difficult to read, the above image is the marriage record of John DeMott and Harriet Goddard, transcribed as follows[1]:

Dover Aug 29 ‘60

This may certify that Mr. John R. Demott of New Brunswick, N. J. and Miss Harriett Goddard of China Me were given this day, united in marriage according to the Laws of the State of New Hampshire.

B. F. Parsons

Pastor of the Belknap Church

As a side note, B. F. Parsons was actually Benjamin Franklin Parsons, installed as pastor at the opening of the Belknap Church on June 1853.[2] Quite an interesting man.

With genealogy, geography plays a huge role. At first, I thought they married in Dover as a halfway-point. While that may be true or partially true, you then have to realize that Harriet’s grandparents were from Gilmanton, New Hampshire, just a mere thirty miles away. John was a butcher by trade. Harriet, his wife, grew up on a farm but somehow, somewhere these two people met and lived out their lives in New Brunswick. Still to this day, it remains unclear ‘how’ Harriet and John met.

Of course, that leaves one to wonder how a New Jersey city girl, Harriet Eleanor DeMott met and married a man from rural upstate New York. That one is easy: John Black graduated from Rutgers College, just a stroll across town.


[1] Belknap Church (Dover, N.H.) 1860. Marriage of John R. DeMott and Harriet Goddard.

[2] First Parish Church (Dover, N.H.). 2005. Manual of the First Church, Dover, N.H.: organized December 1638, no. IV, September 15, 1876. See:

#Maine #NewBrunswick #NewYork

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