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Martha Peterson of Newtown: The Woman in the Iron Coffin

I don’t usually write blogposts about non-family members or non-members of my family’s communities of origin, however, this story takes place in a community near where I grew up and involves a church and cemetery with which my family has been associated. First, for most of my life, St. Mark’s A(frican) M(ethodist) E(piscopal) Church was located not far from the church I attended growing up, The Episcopal Church of the Resurrection (now Grace and Resurrection), in East Elmhurst, Queens, New York. In addition, my paternal uncle, Charleton “Jimmy” Williams had attended church there. I have his prayer book. Second, many of my Williams family members, including my great grandmother, Ellen Gainer (Wilson/Wilkinson) Williams are buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery (Maspeth, Queens, NY). This is where many of the bodies from the original African burial grounds in Elmhurst were re-interred, including Martha Peterson. So, while not about my family, this story has significance for me.

Martha Peterson
The reconstructed face of Martha Peterson by forensic anthropologists.

An Iron Coffin Was Found

In 2011, an excavation to prepare to build a parking garage in Elmhurst, Queens, New York, unearthed a body buried that had been buried in an iron coffin. Elmhurst was originally part of a community called Newtown, which had a large African American community. The excavation site had been a 19th century African American cemetery.[1] The iron coffin had preserved her body nearly perfectly, so much so that the smallpox lesions from the disease that undoubtedly killed her were still visible on her body, leading to examination by the medical examiner and consultation with the CDCs to be sure they were not still viable. They were not viable.[2]

Iron Coffin
An Iron Coffin

Preliminary research determined that this young woman was most likely Martha Peterson living with William (Mead) and Josephine Raymond (probably as a house servant), next door to Almond D(unbar) and Phoebe Fisk, a “stove manufacturer” on the 1850 census in Newtown.[3] They also determined that she probably died about one year after the census, in 1851, from the smallpox that had attacked her brain. Among some of the remarkable things revealed were the cloths and accessories with which she was buried. She was in a nightgown, stockings, hair braided with a bone hair comb.[4] Although she was living with William Raymond and next door to Almond Fisk, his brother-in-law and business partner (Fisk and Raymond Co., not reflected on the census) in whose coffin she was buried?[5] Her burial attire suggested she was part of a family that could be considered of some means for an African American family of the time. Who was that family? What place did they hold in the Newtown African American community?

Martha Peterson 1850 census
Martha Peterson in the 1850 Census

What do we know about Martha’s potential family?

Preliminary research determined that Martha was likely the sister of Elisha Peterson of Newtown, who named one of his daughters “Martha.”[6] In 1850, Elisha was still living in the home of his parents, John and Jane Peterson.[7]  In 1870, Elisha was married with his own family, including the baby Martha and her twin, Matilda.[8] His father, John was living next door.[9]  An entry in the occupation column for John Peterson indicates that he was a sexton.  A sexton, as occupation, is someone who provides custodial care for a church. What church?

Elisha Peterson & John Peterson 1870 census
Elisha Peterson and family, as well as John Peterson in the 1870 Census.

The History of the African American Church in Newtown

The earliest outreach to the African American community of Newtown appears to have been from the First Presbyterian Church.[10] In New York City at this time the Presbyterians had a large outreach to the African American communities including at least two churches in Manhattan, Spring Street and Laight Street, churches which were integrated.[11] In 1822, the First Colored Presbyterian Church, later called Shiloh Presbyterian Church, as founded. It became an active part of the Underground Railroad and was where the well-known, escaped formerly enslave, James Pennington, an active abolitionist, was a minister in the 1850s.[12]

First Presbyterian sanctuary-front
First Presbyterian Church, Elmhurst (formerly Newtown), Queens, New York. Courtesy of the First Presbyterian website

James W. C. Pennington

James W. C. Pennington was born a slave in Maryland from where he escaped, first living with a Quaker family in Philadelphia, later moving to Brooklyn where he worked, as a coachman for the Leverich family. It is while living in Brooklyn, “with the family of an Elder of the Presbyterian Church,” in 1829, that he met the Rev. Samuel Hanson Cox, pastor of the Laight Street Presbyterian Church.[13] Cox was a staunch abolitionist and firmly believed in the equality of all. Laight Street Church was an integrated community, and though illegal, he was known to secretly marry interracial couples. Pennington reported that the effect of his meeting with Cox was profound and, invited by Cox, was “moved” to attend services at the Cox’s church.[14] It was these experiences as well as his commitment to the abolition of slavery, his help of escaped slaves, and his involvement in the National Colored Convention movement, that led him to believe that he should enter the ministry, but he was also concerned about his limited finances. It was during this time that he was offered a teaching position at a school, reportedly the school in Newtown, called the African Free School, established in 1830.[15] Additional evidence of his presence in Newtown at this time may be the baptism of the young son of John and Jane Peterson in 1837. The name of the child was recorded in the First Presbyterian Church records as John James Pennington Peterson, clearly an honorific for Pennington.[16]

James Wc pennington
The Rev. James W. C. Pennington

In 1834, convinced he should become a minister, Pennington sought admission to Yale (then Yale College). He was their first black student, although he was not allowed to use the library or officially be enrolled, and he had to sit in the back of the room silently. After completing his courses, he was ordained by the Congregational Church. He reportedly returned to Long Island to pastor a church, most likely the church in Newtown. This would have been about 1837-38.[17] It is interesting to note that Pennington made no mention of this time in Newtown in his autobiography, The Fugitive Blacksmith. In 1840, he moved to Harford, Connecticut to become the pastor of the Talcott Street Church, now Faith Congregational Church.[18] He did not return to New York until about 1851, after formally being freed by John Hooker, when he moved to Manhattan, becoming a pastor at Shiloh Presbyterian Church.[19] Pennington was also one of the founders of what would become the American Missionary Association.[20] He died in 1870 in Jacksonville, Florida a few months after arriving to establish a new church congregation there.[21]

Second Presbyterian Church of Newtown

Second Presbyterian, an outgrowth of First Presbyterian, was where the Newtown African American community had worshipped, though segregated.[22] Evidence of this relationship can be found in the recording of the baptism of one of John and Jane Pennington’s sons in 1834, John James Pennington Peterson, referenced above. The community was able to purchase land in 1828.[23]

“Black worshipers at Newtown’s First Presbyterian church, long accustomed to second-class seating, probably planned the separate congregation as early as 1826. The members of this United African Society founding group (named by an elderly church member in 1919) included five men who “acted as purchasers”-John Potter, Thomas Johnson, John Peterson, John Coes, and George Derlin. The first three are listed as black Newtown household heads in the 1830 census, as are a John ‘Coles’ and a George ‘Dushing.’ The last of these names is probably Carter G. Woodson’s misreading of the handwritten ‘Durling’; also listed in 1830 were Henry Durling, Peter Dorland, and Abraham Dorlon, no doubt alternative spellings, like Derlin or Durland, of the same family name. In 1911, the Newtown Register recorded as ‘some of the first members and founders’ of the church John Peterson, George and Henry Durland, and four women-Mrs. Nancy Jackson, Freelove Johnson, Jane Peterson, and Judith Schenck.”[24]

The congregation that had become synonymous with the United African Society, which had purchased the land that included the church and cemetery, became divided over with which worship community to be affiliated, the Presbyterians (who themselves had become divided over issues of race) or the Methodists. Based on the 1873 map, it appears the Methodists had won, since the parcel is marked, “M. E. Ch. African Cem.”[25] In 1902, after a period of neglect the property was back in the hands of the church then called the Union Ave African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church after the street’s name at the time. In 1906, the church applied to be affiliated officially with the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. In 1929, the congregation sold the Union Avenue property and moved to 95th Street in Corona, a community that was also originally part of Newtown. The congregation took the new name of St. Mark’s AME Church.[26] The church applied to the city of New York for permission to transfer all the bodies from the old cemetery to Mount Olivet Cemetery in Maspeth. The City refused the request, but at least 20 bodies were moved to Mount Olivet.[27] It is there that Martha Peterson was reinterred. St. Mark’s also moved again and is now located on Northern Blvd. in a new building.[28]

Mt Olivet Cemetery
Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens, NY. Courtesy of Find A Grave.

A Genealogical Record:

John Peterson was born about 1800. He reports in the 1850,[29] 1860[30], and 1870[31] censuses, that he was born in New York, however, most census reports of his children and, where indicated, their death certificates say he was born in Pennsylvania, for example, the death record of his son John James Pennington Peterson, which indicates specifically, Philadelphia.[32] John lived most of his adult life in Newtown, Queens, New York as evidenced by his presence on the 1830,[33] 1840,[34] 1850,[35] 1860[36] and 1870[37] censuses. According to his Findagrave memorial, he died in October 1873.[38]

John was married to Charity Jane Peterson, born about 1798 in New York, according to the 1850,[39] 1860[40] and 1870[41] censuses and the death record of her son, John James Pennington Peterson.[42] It appears she and John may have separated after 1860, since they are not in the same household in 1870. The William Peterson found living with her in 1870,[43] was probably the same as the William Seymore found living with John and her in 1860.[44] Jane was not found on the census after 1870. It is presumed she died before 1880.

The Children of John and Jane Peterson were likely:

  1. Henry Peterson, 1815-? Henry Peterson never appears in the household of John and Jane Peterson. However, his age on the 1850 census, 35 years old, suggests that he could be the oldest of the Peterson children, possibly born to Jane before marrying John.[45] Henry is living in the William Raymond household in 1850, along with Martha Peterson. There is no additional information on Henry. He is not the Henry Peterson found living in Flushing, Staten Island, or Hempstead, each of whom can be tracked in those places before 1850 and after 1850. He cannot be definitively identified in any census records after 1850. It is possible that he also died from smallpox.
  2. Martha Peterson, 1824-1851.
  3. Mary Peterson, 1828-? Mary Peterson appeared only on the 1850 census.[46]
  4. Josephine Peterson, 1830-? Josephine Peterson appeared only on the 1850 census.[47]
  5. Elisha B. Peterson, 1832-1915. Elisha B. Peterson was born about 1832, in Newtown, Queens, New York. He was the son of John and Jane Peterson.[48] In 1864, he enlisted in the 20th Infantry, United States Colored Troops (USCT). He was mustered out, 24 September 1865, in New Orleans, Louisiana.[49] Sometime before 1870, he married Mary Butler.[50] Mary was from the nearby community of Astoria, Queens, also considered part of greater Newtown.[51] The Elisha and family moved to Manhattan about 1880.[52] It appears that Elisha may have sought better employment opportunities, because he moved to New Jersey about 1883.[53] He seems to have moved in and out of New Jersey over the next few years, returning to New Jersey permanently[54] after Mary died in New York in 1892.[55] Elisha died 25 April 1915, in Passaic, New Jersey.[56] His final Veteran’s claim payment was made to his daughter, Martha Peterson McCormick (Martha J. McCormick). Elisha Peterson and Mary Butler had seven known children: Josephine Peterson, Joseph H. Peterson, John B. Peterson, Edward Vincent Peterson, Martha Jane Peterson (McCormick), Matilda S. “Millie” Peterson, and Elisha E. Peterson.[57]
Elisha Peterson mil record
Elisha Peterson’s Civil War Veteran’s record.
  1. Harriet Jane Peterson, 1834-1919. Harriet is found first on the 1850 census living with her parents.[58] In 1870, she was living with her father, in the house of her brother, Elisha Peterson.[59] She is most likely the Jane Peterson on the 1892 New York State Census, living in Newtown, near the family of a William Peterson.[60] This was possibly the same William Seymore/Peterson living with her parents in 1860,[61] then with her mother in 1870.[62] In 1910, she is a 60 year old woman, working for a “private family.”[63] Harriet died 25 April 1919, in Queens, New York. She was 85 years old.[64]
  2. John James Pennington Peterson, 1837-1892. John James Pennington Peterson was born in October 1837. He was baptized at First Presbyterian Church on 1 November 1837, and named for James Pennington, who had been a teacher at the African School and was possibly newly returned from Yale as well as newly ordained.[65] John J. P. Peterson died 19 December 1892, in Manhattan, New York City.[66]

References

[1] Laterman, K. (2019. 14 June). This Empty Lot Is Worth Millions. It’s Also an African-American Burial Ground. The New York Times. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/nyregion/african-american-burial-ground-queens-newtown.html

[2] Thirteen Productions, LLC. (2018). Secrets of the Dead: The Woman in the Iron Coffin. PBS. Retrieved from: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/woman-in-the-iron-coffin-about-the-film/3923/

[3] 1850 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; Martha Peterson, age 26. NARA Roll: M432-583; Page: 86A; Image: 75. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4203136_00075?pid=8128235&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D8054%26h%3D8128235%26ssrc%3Dpt%26tid%3D154826296%26pid%3D302044750656%26usePUB%3Dtrue&ssrc=pt&treeid=154826296&personid=302044750656&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[4] Thirteen Productions, LLC. (2018). Secrets of the Dead: The Woman in the Iron Coffin. PBS. Retrieved from: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/woman-in-the-iron-coffin-about-the-film/3923/

[5] Warnasch, S. (2019). Inventors. Iron Coffin Mummy: Steam Age Travelers and Their Mummiform Time Capsules. Retrieved from: http://ironcoffinmummy.com/inventors/

[6] 1870 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; Elishua Peterson, head; Martha Peterson, age 10/12. NARA Roll: M593-1080; Page: 130A; Family History Library Film: 552579. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7163/4276962_00264?pid=32014780&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D7163%26h%3D32014780%26ssrc%3Dpt%26tid%3D154826296%26pid%3D302044750767%26usePUB%3Dtrue&ssrc=pt&treeid=154826296&personid=302044750767&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[7] 1850 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head; Elisha Peterson, 18. NARA Roll: M432-583; Page: 111B; Image: 126. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4203136_00126?pid=8130361&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?dbid%3D8054%26h%3D8130361%26indiv%3Dtry%26o_vc%3DRecord:OtherRecord%26rhSource%3D8054&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[8] 1870 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; Elishua Peterson, head; Martha Peterson, age 10/12 and Matilda, age 10/12. NARA Roll: M593-1080; Page: 130A; Family History Library Film: 552579. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7163/4276962_00264?pid=32014780&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D7163%26h%3D32014780%26ssrc%3Dpt%26tid%3D154826296%26pid%3D302044750767%26usePUB%3Dtrue&ssrc=pt&treeid=154826296&personid=302044750767&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[9] 1870 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head. NARA Roll: M593-1080; Page: 130A; Family History Library Film: 552579. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7163/4276962_00264?pid=32014801&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D7163%26h%3D32014801%26ssrc%3Dpt%26tid%3D154826296%26pid%3D302044750657%26usePUB%3Dtrue&ssrc=pt&treeid=154826296&personid=302044750657&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[10] First Presbyterian Church of Newtown. (2017). History. Retrieved from: http://www.fpcn.org/history

[11] NYC AGO. (n.d.). Spring Street Presbyterian Church. Retrieved from: http://www.nycago.org/Organs/NYC/html/SpringStPres.html

[12] The History Box. (22 May 2012). Brief Histories of the Churches Connected with the Presbytery of New York. Pre: 1949 Part IV: First Colored Church-Shiloh Church (Dissolved). Retrieved from: http://thehistorybox.com/ny_city/nycity_worship_histories_churches_presbyterian_pt_IV_article00558.htm

[13] Pennington, J. W.C.  (14 May 2017 edition). The Fugitive Blacksmith: Or, Events in the History of James W. C. Pennington, Pastor of a Presbyterian Church, New York, Formerly a Slave in the State of Maryland, United States (hereinafter, The Fugitive Blacksmith.) (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform), p. 66.

[14] Pennington, J. W. C. (14 May 2017 edition). The Fugitive Blacksmith, 66-67.

[15] Sanjek, R. (1993). After Freedom in Newtown, Queens: African Americans and the Color Line, 1838-1899. Long Island Historical Journal, 5(2), 158. Retrieved from: https://ir.stonybrook.edu/jspui/bitstream/11401/60288/1/i002.pdf and Pennington, J. W. C. (14 May 2017 edition). The Fugitive Blacksmith, p. 68.

[16] New York Births and Christenings, 1640-1962, [Database on-line], John James Pennington Peterson, Baptized:  01 Nov 1837; citing Presbyterian Church, Newtown, Queens, New York. FHL microfilm 974.7B4 NE V. 8. Retrieved from: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2H5-

[17] Sanjek, R. (1993). After Freedom in Newtown, Queens: African Americans and the Color Line, 1838-1899. Long Island Historical Journal, 5(2), 158. Retrieved from: https://ir.stonybrook.edu/jspui/bitstream/11401/60288/1/i002.pdf

[18] Connecticut Humanities (n.d.). Reverend James Pennington: A Voice for Freedom. ConnecticutHistoy.org. Retrieved from: https://connecticuthistory.org/reverend-james-pennington-a-voice-for-freedom/

[19] UNC-Chapel Hill. (n.d.). John Hooker, from Frederick Douglass’ Paper 26 June 1851. Documenting the American South. Retrieved from: https://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/penning49/support1.html

[20] United Church of Christ. (2018). Blacks and the American Missionary Association. Retrieved from: http://www.ucc.org/about-us_hidden-histories_blacks-and-the-american

[21] Connecticut Humanities (n.d.). Reverend James Pennington: A Voice for Freedom. ConnecticutHistoy.org. Retrieved from: https://connecticuthistory.org/reverend-james-pennington-a-voice-for-freedom/

[22] First Presbyterian Church of Newtown. (2017). History. Retrieved from: http://www.fpcn.org/history

[23] Sanjek, R. (1993). After Freedom in Newtown, Queens: African Americans and the Color Line, 1838-1899. Long Island Historical Journal, 5(2), 158. Retrieved from: https://ir.stonybrook.edu/jspui/bitstream/11401/60288/1/i002.pdf

[24] Sanjek, R. (1993). After Freedom in Newtown, Queens: African Americans and the Color Line, 1838-1899. Long Island Historical Journal, 5(2), 158. Retrieved from: https://ir.stonybrook.edu/jspui/bitstream/11401/60288/1/i002.pdf

[25] St. Mark AME Church. (2014). The History of Saint Mark A.M.E. Church. Retrieved from: http://www.stmarkamenyc.org/our-history.html

[26] St. Mark AME Church. (2014). The History of Saint Mark A.M.E. Church. Retrieved from: http://www.stmarkamenyc.org/our-history.html

[27] St. Mark AME Church. (2014). The History of Saint Mark A.M.E. Church. Retrieved from: http://www.stmarkamenyc.org/our-history.html

[28] St. Mark AME Church. (2014). The History of Saint Mark A.M.E. Church. Retrieved from: http://www.stmarkamenyc.org/our-history.html

[29] 1850 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head. NARA Roll: M432-583; Page: 111B; Image: 126. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4203136_00126?pid=8130361&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?dbid%3D8054%26h%3D8130361%26indiv%3Dtry%26o_vc%3DRecord:OtherRecord%26rhSource%3D8054&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[30] 1860 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head. NARA Roll: M653-843; Page: 694; Family History Library Film: 803843. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7667/4236779_00358/48378554?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/154826296/person/302044750657/facts/citation/902061247075/edit/record#?imageId=4236779_00358

[31] 1870 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head. NARA Roll: M593-1080; Page: 130A; Family History Library Film: 552579. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7163/4276962_00264?pid=32014801&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D7163%26h%3D32014801%26ssrc%3Dpt%26tid%3D154826296%26pid%3D302044750657%26usePUB%3Dtrue&ssrc=pt&treeid=154826296&personid=302044750657&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[32] New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949, [Database on-line], John Peterson, Birthplace: Philadelphia,” in entry for John P. Peterson, 19 Dec 1892; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,850. Retrieved from: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W6Z-JNS

[33] 1830 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head; total 7 Free People of Color. NARA Series: M19; Roll: 104; Page: 15; Family History Library Film: 0017164. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8058/4410629_00032/40955?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/154826296/person/302044750657/facts/citation/902059040018/edit/record&lang=en-US

[34] 1840; Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York Henry Peterson, head. Total 7 Free People of Color.  NARA Film Group M704; Page: 129; Family History Library Film: 0017203. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8057/4409546_00958?pid=3292425&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D8057%26h%3D3292425%26ssrc%3Dpt%26tid%3D154826296%26pid%3D302044750657%26usePUB%3Dtrue&ssrc=pt&treeid=154826296&personid=302044750657&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[35] 1850 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head. NARA Roll: M432-583; Page: 111B; Image: 126. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4203136_00126?pid=8130361&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?dbid%3D8054%26h%3D8130361%26indiv%3Dtry%26o_vc%3DRecord:OtherRecord%26rhSource%3D8054&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[36] 1860 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head. NARA Roll: M653-843; Page: 694; Family History Library Film: 803843. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7667/4236779_00358/48378554?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/154826296/person/302044750657/facts/citation/902061247075/edit/record#?imageId=4236779_00358

[37] 1870 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head. NARA Roll: M593-1080; Page: 130A; Family History Library Film: 552579. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7163/4276962_00264?pid=32014801&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D7163%26h%3D32014801%26ssrc%3Dpt%26tid%3D154826296%26pid%3D302044750657%26usePUB%3Dtrue&ssrc=pt&treeid=154826296&personid=302044750657&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[38] John Peterson. (  ). Findagrave Memorial #193272790. Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens, New York. Retrieved from: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/193272790

39] 1850 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head. Jane Peterson. NARA Roll: M432-583; Page: 111B; Image: 126. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4203136_00126?pid=8130361&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?dbid%3D8054%26h%3D8130361%26indiv%3Dtry%26o_vc%3DRecord:OtherRecord%26rhSource%3D8054&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[40] 1860 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head; Charity Peterson. NARA Roll: M653-843; Page: 694; Family History Library Film: 803843. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7667/4236779_00358/48378554?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/154826296/person/302044750657/facts/citation/902061247075/edit/record#?imageId=4236779_00358

[41] 1870 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; Charity Peterson, head. NARA Roll: M593-1080; Page: 130B; Family History Library Film: 552579. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7163/4276962_00265/32014829?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/154826296/person/302044752745/facts/citation/902061249782/edit/record

[42] New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” [Database on-line], Jane B. Peterson in entry for John P. Peterson, 19 Dec 1892; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,850. Retrieved from: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W6Z-JN3

[43] 1870 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; Charity Peterson, head. William Peterson. NARA Roll: M593-1080; Page: 130B; Family History Library Film: 552579. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7163/4276962_00265/32014829?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/154826296/person/302044752745/facts/citation/902061249782/edit/record

[44] 1860 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head; Charity Peterson; William Seymore. NARA Roll: M653-843; Page: 694; Family History Library Film: 803843. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7667/4236779_00358/48378554?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/154826296/person/302044750657/facts/citation/902061247075/edit/record#?imageId=4236779_00358

[45] 1850 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; Henry Peterson, age 35. NARA Roll: M432-583; Page: 86A; Image: 75. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4203136_00075?pid=8128235&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D8054%26h%3D8128235%26ssrc%3Dpt%26tid%3D154826296%26pid%3D302044750656%26usePUB%3Dtrue&ssrc=pt&treeid=154826296&personid=302044750656&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[46] 1850 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head; Mary Peterson, 22. NARA Roll: M432-583; Page: 111B; Image: 126. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4203136_00126?pid=8130361&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?dbid%3D8054%26h%3D8130361%26indiv%3Dtry%26o_vc%3DRecord:OtherRecord%26rhSource%3D8054&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[47] 1850 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head; Josephine Peterson, age 20. NARA Roll: M432-583; Page: 111B; Image: 126. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4203136_00126?pid=8130361&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?dbid%3D8054%26h%3D8130361%26indiv%3Dtry%26o_vc%3DRecord:OtherRecord%26rhSource%3D8054&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[48] 1850 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head; Elisha Peterson, 18. NARA Roll: M432-583; Page: 111B; Image: 126. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4203136_00126?pid=8130361&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?dbid%3D8054%26h%3D8130361%26indiv%3Dtry%26o_vc%3DRecord:OtherRecord%26rhSource%3D8054&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[49] U.S., Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1863-1865 [Database on-line]. Elisha Peterson. NARA Roll: M1823-13. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/1107/miusa1861m_088412-01395?pid=94370&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D1107%26h%3D94370%26ssrc%3Dpt%26tid%3D154826296%26pid%3D302044750767%26usePUB%3Dtrue&ssrc=pt&treeid=154826296&personid=302044750767&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[50] U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [Database on-line]. Martha Peterson McCormick; Mary Butler, mother; Elisha Peterson, father. Retrieved from: https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?viewrecord=1&r=an&db=Numident&indiv=try&h=13507758

[51] New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” [Database on-line] Elisha B. Peterson in entry for Mary S. Peterson, 22 Mar 1892; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,836. Retrieved from:
www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W63-4DR

[52] 1880 US Federal Census Place: New York City, New York, New York; May T. Peterson [sic], head; Elisha Peterson, husband. NARA Roll: 880; Page: 99C; Enumeration District: 279. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/6742/4242248-00141?pid=2751097&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D6742%26h%3D2751097%26ssrc%3Dpt%26tid%3D154826296%26pid%3D302044752407%26usePUB%3Dtrue&ssrc=pt&treeid=154826296&personid=302044752407&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[53] U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [Database on-line]. Elisha B. Peterson, 1883.  Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2469/11096913/583089041?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/154826296/person/302044750767/facts/citation/902104686942/edit/record

[54] U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [Database on-line]. Elisha B. Peterson, 1894.  Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2469/11136030/587555298?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/154826296/person/302044750767/facts/citation/902059423720/edit/record

[55] New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” [Database on-line] Elisha B. Peterson in entry for Mary S. Peterson, 22 Mar 1892; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,836. Retrieved from:
www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W63-4DR

[56] United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933, [Database on-line with images], Elisha B Peterson, 25 Apr 1915; citing NARA microfilm publication M850 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,635,801. Retrieved from: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QJDQ-7SJX

[57] 1880 US Federal Census Place: New York City, New York, New York; May T. Peterson [sic], head; Elisha Peterson, husband. NARA Roll: 880; Page: 99C; Enumeration District: 279. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/6742/4242248-00141?pid=2751097&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D6742%26h%3D2751097%26ssrc%3Dpt%26tid%3D154826296%26pid%3D302044752407%26usePUB%3Dtrue&ssrc=pt&treeid=154826296&personid=302044752407&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[58] 1850 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head; Harriet Peterson, age 16. NARA Roll: M432-583; Page: 111B; Image: 126. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4203136_00126?pid=8130361&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?dbid%3D8054%26h%3D8130361%26indiv%3Dtry%26o_vc%3DRecord:OtherRecord%26rhSource%3D8054&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[59] 1870 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head; H. Jane Peterson, age 29 [sic]. NARA Roll: M593-1080; Page: 130A; Family History Library Film: 552579. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7163/4276962_00264?pid=32014801&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D7163%26h%3D32014801%26ssrc%3Dpt%26tid%3D154826296%26pid%3D302044750657%26usePUB%3Dtrue&ssrc=pt&treeid=154826296&personid=302044750657&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true

[60] New York, State Census, 1892 [database on-line]. Jane Peterson, age 40, Column 2, line 11; William Peterson, Column 2, line 4. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/3212/41121_B125834-00348?pid=2991385&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D3212%26h%3D2991385%26ssrc%3Dpt%26tid%3D154826296%26pid%3D302044834987%26usePUB%3Dtrue&ssrc=pt&treeid=154826296&personid=302044834987&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true&lang=en-US

[61] 1860 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; John Peterson, head; Charity Peterson, George Seymore & William Seymore. NARA Roll: M653-843; Page: 694; Family History Library Film: 803843. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7667/4236779_00358/48378554?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/154826296/person/302044750657/facts/citation/902061247075/edit/record#?imageId=4236779_00358

[62] 1870 US Federal Census Place: Newtown, Queens, New York; Charity Peterson, head; William Peterson. NARA Roll: M593_1080; Page: 130B; Family History Library Film: 552579. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7163/4276962_00265/32014829?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/154826296/person/302044752745/facts/citation/902061249782/edit/record

[63] 1910; Census Place: Queens Ward 2, Queens, New York; Harriet J. Peterson, head. NARA Roll: T624-1066; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 1192; FHL microfilm: 1375079. Retrieved from:

https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7884/4449999_00614/19740926?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/154826296/person/302044834987/facts/citation/902061237911/edit/record

[64] New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 [Database on-line]. Jane Peterson, Date of Death: 25 April 1919. Retrieved from: https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=9131&h=2373259&ssrc=pt&tid=154826296&pid=302044834987&usePUB=true

[65] Sanjek, R. (1993). After Freedom in Newtown, Queens: African Americans and the Color Line, 1838-1899. Long Island Historical Journal, 5(2), 158. Retrieved from: https://ir.stonybrook.edu/jspui/bitstream/11401/60288/1/i002.pdf

[66] New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949, [Database on-line] John P. Peterson, Date of Death: 19 December 1892; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,850. Retrieved from: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W6Z-JN3

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