Putnam/ Dougherty family genealogy

Posts tagged ‘Benjamin F. Fletcher’

#6 ~ The Fletcher Line cont.

The children of Benjamin and Mary Ann (Brown) Fletcher of Cambridge Massachusetts were Mary Ann, Benjamin, William Alfred, and James or Joseph Fletcher. Last week I told you the saga of Benjamin Jr. in trying to determine the reason that Benjamin F. Fletcher, a 70 year old man and his wife Mary Ann would move clear across the country in 1871. (Click on underlined items to view record)

William Alfred Fletcher was born 10 April 1845 in Cambridge Massachusetts.

  • 1850 US Census for Cambridge listed an Alfred Fletcher 5 years old in Benjamin F. Fletcher’s household.
  • 1855 Mass State census list  William A. 12 years old with the Benjamin F. Fletcher family
  • 1860 US Census for Cambridge we find a A.W. Fletcher 18 years of age and a clerk living at home with the family.
  • 1864 William A. Fletcher marries Julia M. Small in Quincy Massachusetts.
  • 1865 Mass State census shows William and Julia living with his parents in Cambridge. William is listed as a clerk.
  • 1865 Cambridge City Directory list William A. Fletcher, baker,  bds at 99 Norfolk (with his parents).
  • 1870 US census finds William and Julia living with his parents in Lexington Massachusetts. William is listed as a farmer. William and Julia have 3 children shown, Marrietta 5, William F. 3, and Freddie B. 7/12.
  • 1880 US census finds William and Julia living within Lexington Massachusetts. William is listed as a R.R. Clerk. They have  4 children in their household. Mary E. 15, William F. 12, Freddie B. 10, and Alice M. 2.
  • 1900 US census finds William A. and Julia still in Lexington. At home with them are William F. 33, Alice M. 23, and Abby L 12. Williams occupation is listed as a Delivery Clerk B & M.
  • 23 April 1906 William A. Fletcher dies at the age of 64 years and 13 days, cause of death Heart disease, occupation is listed as a Delivery Clerk B & M R.R., parents listed as Benjamin F. Fletcher and Mary A. Brown.

James or Joseph Fletcher is born 14 Feb. 1848 in Cambridge. That would have been the same year that Mary Ann and Joseph Putnam’s daughter Mary Ellen Putnam was born.

  • 1850 US census lists James 3 years old.
  • There is no record of a Joseph or James after 1850
  • No death record has been found either.

Benjamin F. Fletcher (carpenter) and Mary A. had 3 grandchildren in Lexington in 1870 and 8 grandchildren in California.  Since Mary Ann and Benjamin’s only have two children living one in Lexington and the other in California. Did they decide that they would move out west to be there for their daughter who had a house full of children, rather then to stay in Cambridge where they had suffered with the loss of two of their children?

Most parents today do not seem to hesitate to move across country to be closer to their grandchildren but  in 1871 that would not have been an easy move. The only convenience was that the United States Transcontinental Railroad was completed May 10th 1869, making travel less arduous. Did William and his family travel west on the railroad to visit while his folks were still alive? Maybe he got a special rate working for the railroad.

That will close the book for now on the Fletchers as I change gears and start on the Francis Family.


12 Family Lines~ 12 Months #6 the Fletcher Family

I’m finally catching up. This is the 6th month and I am on the 6th family line.
The Fletcher line comes on the scene when Mary Ann Fletcher married Joseph Putnam, 28th of May in 1848. Mary Ann

Mary Ann Fletcher

was the eldest child of Benjamin F. Fletcher and Mary Ann Brown of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Benjamin was a carpenter and  while being born in Westford Mass. he lived in Cambridge from at least 1830 up through 1870. Benjamin’s daughter had been living in Clements California since 1859. Benjamin and Mary Ann moved west some time after 1870 and before Mary Ann’s death in 1877.

So my question is why did Benjamin and Mary Ann (Brown) Fletcher move out to California after Benjamin was over 70 years old?

Looking to what was happening with the family in Cambridge Massachusetts may give us the answer. Benjamin and Mary Ann had 4 children. Mary A. was the oldest born in Cambridge 14 Feb. 1830.

Benjamin F. Fletcher Jr. was born in 1833 in Cambridge.


  • 1840 US census he would be the 10-15 year old male in his fathers household
  • 1850 US census he is 17 years old working as a clerk and living at home.
  • 1855 Mass state census he is 22 living at home an working as a carpenter. Is father is also listed as a carpenter.
  • 1856 Cambridge City Directory lists Benjamin F. Fletcher Jr  at  99 Norfolk (his parents address)and listed as a carpenter.
  • 1859 Cambridge City Directory list Benjamin F. Fletcher Jr brds (boards) at  99 Norfolk (his parents address)and listed as a carpenter.
  • 1860 not found in the US Census for Cambridge. There is a B.F. Fletcher in Amador County California listed as a Miner from Mass and 27 years of age. Could be him.
  • 1864 Benjamin marries Sarah F. Thurston basically the girl next door. They marry in Cambridge.
  • 1865 Mass State census does not list a Benjamin and Sarah Fletcher. But the 1865 Cambridge City Directory list Benjamin F. Fletcher Jr  h. Norfolk (his parents are at 99 Norfolk in the same directry)and listed as a baker n. Broadway.
  • 22 Nov. 1865 son Charles Fletcher is born in Cambridge.
  • 1866 Cambridge City Directory list Benjamin F. Fletcher Jr b. baker at  83 Norfolk (his parents address is still 99 Norfolk), near Broadway.
  • 1870 US census finds Benjamin Fletcher 34 as a resident at McLean Asylum Somerville Massachusetts.
  • 1870 Cambridge City Directory list Benjamin F. Fletcher Jr (Thurston, Hall and Co,) baker, 46, 48, & 50 Elm, h. 83 Norfolk (his parents address is listed above as 99 Norfolk).
  • 12 June 1872 Benjamin Fletcher dies at the age of 39 years and 5 mos. cause of death Brain disease, occupation is listed as a baker, parents listed as Benjamin F. and Mary Ann.

We can see from the 188o US Census that Benjamin’s Father-inlaw (Daniel H. Thurston) is the Thurston in the Thurston, Hall and Co. Bakery and doing quite well. Benjamin’s wife Sarah is living at home and listed as a widow. She never remarries and is found in the 1890 US census living with a younger sister and her family.

So what happened to Benjamin? What happened to him from 1860 – 1864? Was he in the Civil War? What exactly was a Brain Disease? was it PTSD?

The second and third sons of Benjamin F, and Mary Ann (Brown) Fletcher were William Alfred Fletcher and then James or Joseph Fletcher.

Maybe we can figure this out together. Come on back next week as I continue to discover why a 70+ man from Cambridge Massachusetts would move out to California about 1871.

52 Ancestors – #42 Benjamin Fletcher

Benjamin F. Fletcher was my paternal 3x great grandfather. Benjamin was born to Joel and Abigail (Maynard) Fletcher on 7 July 1799 in Westford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.

It was reported in the Boston Recorder under Marriages in Lowell 6 August 1829, Mr. Benjamin F. Fletcher to Mary-Ann Brown.

In the 1830 US Census I was unable to find Benjamin and Mary Ann in Westford, Lowell, or Cambridge Massachusetts. At this time Benjamin’s father Joel Fletcher has moved to Landaff, New Hampshire. In a search of the census in Landaff Joel is the only Fletcher family in the area. In Joel’s household there is no male in the 20-30 age group and the children in the household match other children in the family.

They could be living with Mary Ann’s family the Browns. Benjamin and Mary Ann (Brown) have their first child Mary Ann on 14 February 1830. There are several Browns in Lowell and in Cambridge but unable to determine one that might be Mary Ann’s family. At this time I do not have Mary Ann’s fathers name.

In 1940 Benjamin and family are found in Cambridge Mass. (Click on images to enlarge).

1840 US Census Cambridge Mass.

1840 US Census
Cambridge Mass.

In 1850 Benjamin (45) was in Cambridge, Mass, he is shown as a carpenter. Mary Ann (20), Benjamin (17), Alfred (5) and James (3) Mary Ann Putnam (45) and Mary E. Putnam(3). Here the mother and daughter ages are mixed up.

1850 US Census Cambridge Mass

1850 US Census
Cambridge Mass


In 1860 the family is not in Cambridge or in Lexington Mass. But by 1870 we find Benjamin (67) living in Lexington, Massachusetts, listed as a carpenter but his birth place is shown as Vermont.  The rest of the family listed are Mary Ann(63), Wm Alfred (28), Julia M. (28), Marritta (5) and Wm. F. (3) and Freddie B. (7 months).

1870 US Census Lexington, Mass

1870 US Census
Lexington, Mass

In  the history of Lexington we found an entry for William Alfred Fletcher, born in Cambridge  10 April 1842, son of Benjamin Franklin and Grandson of Joel and Abigail Maynard. His Mother Mary Ann Brown born in Rockport 14 May 1809. Wm. Alfred married at Quincy 27 July 1864 Julia Maria Small born in Quincy 12 September 1842  daughter of Warren Elbridge and Abigail Francis (Mayo) Small.

Benjamin and his wife Mary Ann traveled out to California from Massachusetts some time between 1870 and 1877 remaining there until his death . At 67-74 years of age moving clear across country had to be a daunting experience for these two.

In the 1877 we find Mary Ann (Brown) Fletcher has died on 29 September and is buried in Clements, California.

In 1879 Benjamin Franklin Fletcher (75) married Anna Y. Hurd (68) in Stockton California 15 December. It states he is a native of Massachusetts and a resident of Lockeford in San Joaquin county, California.

Anna and Benjamin are enumerated in the 1880 US Census in Clements, California.

In the 1884-85 City directory for Clements, California we see Fletcher, Benjamin F., carpenter.

us City Directory Clements California

us City Directory
Clements California

Benjamin F. Fletcher died 15 September 1887. He is buried at the Clements cemetery.

Mary Ann and Benjamin F. Fletcher Tombstone Clements, CA

Mary Ann and Benjamin F. Fletcher Tombstone
Clements, CA


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