Suicide by Drowning in the Charles River

While collecting vital records on my Storms ancestors, I came across

The above is from the Massachusetts death records. The date of death was February 18, 1884. The town of Boston records included his burial site which was Mt. Hope Cemetery in Boston. There was no indication of who his parents were or where he was born in either record. I also couldn’t find any newspaper articles referencing the drowning. The records state that he was married but no mention of his wife’s name.

According to my family genealogy database, Charles is one of my Storms relations. But is this Charles Storms the son of Philip Storms and Rebecca Williston of Vergennes, VT?

Charles H. Storms enlisted in Company K, 55 Reg’t Mass. Inf. (Col’d) on 10 December 1863. He was 29 years old and born in Vergennes, VT according to his military records. This would put his date of birth around 1834. By December 31st, he was assigned to Colonel Hartwell as the colonel’s private cook. At the time of his enlistment, he had already married Jane Jackson, also of Vermont. “Mrs. Charles H. Storms No 2 Sands’ Yard in rear of 880 Washington St Boston Mass.” is listed on Charles’ military service record as Jane’s then current address. I’ve not located a marriage record for Charles and Jane – not in Vermont or Massachusetts. The 55th regiment mustered out in August of 1865 and Charles along with it.

Charles, Jane and their daughter, Emma J., were living in Boston in 1865 according to the Massachusetts State Census of that year. His occupation was still cook. It looks like the census was taken in January of 1865 when Charles was supposedly still in the service. Charles and Jane and their children continue to be counted in the 1870 and 1880 censuses in Boston.

I was unable to find a death record for Jane Jackson Storms, or a marriage record after Charles’ death. Charles and Jane had two other children – George Henry, born in 1865 Boston and May R. born in 1869, again in Boston. I have no further information on Emma Storms or May Storms but son George married twice in his life. His first marriage was to Mina Cota on 8 July 1890 in Haverhill, MA. They had one son, Daniel. George’s second marriage was to Fall River Wampanoag Rachel E. Crank, the daughter of Thomas Crank and Julia Simmons. There were no children from this marriage. George Storms died on 9 February 1926 in Providence RI. His parents were listed as Charles Storms and Jane Jackson.

Philip and Rebecca had several children and there is a Charles among them. Philip Storms was born in 1795 in Vermont (most likely Ferrisburg) and died on 25 February 1854. He and his family are included in the federal censuses for Vergennes, VT in 1830, 1840, and 1850. Rebecca Williston Storms and three of her children can be found on the 1860 federal census living in different households in Vergennes and Panton, VT. Charles was not found in Vergennes, Ferrisburg, or Panton, VT. All of these towns had several of the extended Storms family living there. Rebecca Storms died on 15 March 1865 in Panton, VT.

The 1840 census does note a male child that could be Charles. But Philip Storms’ probate record does not mention Charles nor do any of Philip’s land transactions. There are many other avenues to research however. I have been able to uncover quite a bit about George Storms, Charles and Jane’s son. My next steps will be to further investigate Charles and Jane’s other children, Philip and Rebecca’s other children, Philip’s siblings and their children and expand the search beyond Boston and Addison County, Vermont.



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