When I was a little girl I really wanted a Cabbage Patch kid… and I never got one. My Mom’s cousin made “fake” cabbage patch kids and I got one of those. They were actually very well made… lovely really. But the truth was, it wasn’t the doll I was interested in, it was the Birth Certificate that drew me in. I wanted one of those official looking Adoption/Birth Certificates. That’s what made the Cabbage Patch so alluring to me. I was a genealogist even then!
I do not have the birth certificate of my Great9 Grandmother, Martha Curry Sherwood, but I do know that she was born on the 12th of July, 1765 in New York State. She came to Canada in 1785 as an United Empire Loyalists.
During the war Martha’s parents, Andrew Sherwood & Martha Curry, decided to remain neutral. However, Andrew’s brother and one of his own sons joined the British troops. Because of this the supporters of Independence became suspicious of the Sherwood family and raided their farm. Andrew & Martha fled to the British for shelter. While with the British, Martha died in childbirth. Andrew remarried and brought his children and his new bride to Canada in 1885.
Not long after they arrived in Canada, daughter Martha married James Beyea, a man who was the same age as her father. Regardless of the age difference, history reports that the pairing was one of great love, and mutual respect. James encouraged young Martha to form her own opinions and to support the causes she believed in. When the Baptist movement swept through Kings County, New Brunswick, Martha became a champion of the cause. James was very supportive of her decision and even helped a persecuted Baptist preacher as he came through Smithtown. James also gave up some of his land for a Baptist Church to be built. The Smithtown Baptist Church still sits on this land! Yet, to his dying day, James remained faithfully Anglican.
Martha was described as being of medium height, medium complexion, dark hair & black eyes. She likely inherited her looks from her grandmother, Rachel, who was a Mohawk Indian maiden.
In the 1851 Census of New Brunswick Martha is living with her daughter, Rachel Smith, son-in-law James, their nephew Richard Smith, and three boarders (the local schoolmaster and his two children). In her frailty Martha had left behind a home that was, for years, known as Old Granny’s House!
Martha Curry Sherwood died on April 16th, 1856 at the age of 90. She had been a widow for 46 years of her life.
Martha & James are buried in one of the most serene and picturesque spots in New Brunswick: the Acadian/Loyalist cemetery, just on the border of Smithtown & French Village, NB. Their tombstones are adorned with ferns, the symbol of humility and serenity.
By the way, we now have 4 Cabbage Patches in our family: Grace Catalina born Feb.26th, Deborah Adalia born Jan.17th, Penny Viola born Feb.3rd and one unidentified Cabbage Patch doll that my daughter bought at the school toy sale. Her birth certificate has been lost and I can’t find her in the census records. She was lost to history until my daughter found her, gave her the name Alice, and picked out a new birth date for her in June.
If only it was that easy to identify great great great Grandma “Question Mark”.