Eli and Mary Handy 1893 – 1911
Eli Handy was William and Caroline Handy’s second child, born on June 6, 1847, in Westport. He married Mary Catherine Anthony, daughter of Jacob G. Anthony and Fannie C. Briggs. Mary is recorded as being born in Newport, Rhode Island, but was living in Westport by the time she married. They were wed on May 8, 1873; Eli was twenty five years old, and Mary twenty years old.110
Eli and Mary had five children that survived past infancy, two girls, and three boys. They were:
- Almy M. Handy (b. August 26, 1874 in Westport, MA., d. Unknown)
- Hannah Frances Handy (b. August 28, 1877, in Westport, MA., d. Unknown)
- George William Handy ( b. January 23, 1880 in Westport, MA., d. Unknown)
- Jacob A. Handy (b. August 6, 1882, in Westport, MA., d. Unknown)
- Hervey Handy (b. Unknown, d. Unknown)111
In their marriage record, Eli is listed as a Marketman.112 Seven years later, in the 1880 census, his occupation is listed as a farmer, his wife is listed as keeping house, and along with his three children, his aunt, Hannah, is listed as a “Boarder.”113 Hannah, who was 82, actually owned the farm at this point in time.
Just like many Westporters today, Eli took advantage of what the river had to offer. An entry in the town records details permissions given to him and Benjamin W. Allen to harvest oysters. The application granted:
“…license to said Allen and Handy to plant grow and dig oysters at all times of the year in a certain portion of the East branch of Westport River where there is no natural oyster bed, and within the limits of said town for the period of ten years from the date hereof bounded and described as follows: Starting from the shore in a line with the wall between the Handy and Gammons farms, Easterly to the East bank of the channel thence Southerly to the West bank of the channel opposite the South side of the upper point of the Handy marsh thence Westerly to the shore bounded by the shore on the West.”114
In addition to farming, Westport records show Eli was appointed to a number of town positions including Registrar of Voters, 1888, 1891, 1894, 1897, (each for a three year term), Inspector of Animals, 1895 and 1898-1910, Fish Commissioner, 1903 and 1906 (each a three year term), Landing Commissioner, 1898, 1899 and 1904-1906, and Inspector of Meats 1907 and 1908.115
Mary Handy died April 1, 1898, at 46 years old. Her cause of death was identified as carcinoma uteri, what we would know today as uterine cancer or cancer of the uterus.116
The 1900 census lists only Eli and his youngest son, Jacob together. Eli’s occupation is listed as “Day Laborer.” Under Ownership of Home, Eli is identified as owning the property where he lives, free of any mortgage and that it is a farm, suggesting he is still living on the Handy farm.117 By 1910, Eli, 62 years old is no longer at the farm, instead he is listed as living at a rented property. He is still listed as a laborer, with the nature of his work being, “Odd Jobs.” Under the question, “Number of weeks out of work during the year 1909,” it states, 16.118
Eli Handy died March 24, 1911, he was 63 years old. The cause of death was listed as heart disease. Following his passing, Eli’s estate fell into probate. Eli’s son, George, was appointed administrator of his estate. At the time of his death, documents show Eli held a share in the Handy house worth $400, a share in the Homestead worth $962.91, and a share in a wood lot in Darthmouth worth $20.119 On December 5, 1911, Eli’s children, Almy, Hannah, George, Jacob, and J. Hervey Handy sold the Handy house and land to Daniel Baker of New Bedford for “…One Dollar and other considerations of value paid…”120 At the time of the sale, the parcel contained approximately thirty-five acres, described as:
“On the West by land now or formerly of one Hicks, on the north by land of William E. Brightman, on the east by the Drift Road, so called, and on the south by the highway leading from Handy’s Corner to the Third Christian Church of Westport, containing thirty-five (35) acres, be the same more or less…”121
110 Marriage record of Eli Handy and Mary C. Anthony, May 8, 1873, Westport Marriages 1857-1892. Vol. B, Page 24, Westport, Bristol County, Massachusetts. Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, Utah. Original data: Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook).
111 Descendants of Zaccheus Handy. Generation 3. Handy FamilyPDF.pdf, Westport Historical Society archives.
112 “market-man. n. A man that brings things to market.” Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language. 2013. http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/word/market-man (28 December 2013).
113 Handy, Eli (1880 U.S. Census) Massachusetts, Bristol County, Westport. Series: T9, Roll: 523 Page: 244.
114 Westport Town Records, 1887-1893, transcribed by Louis Racine, May 2001, pp. 30-31. digital file, wrecords1887-1893.doc, Westport Historical Society archives, Westport, Massachusetts
115 Westport Town Records, 1887-1893, transcribed by Louis Racine, May 2001, pp. 28-29, 30-31. digital file, wrecords1887-1893.doc. Westport Town Records, 1893-1900, transcribed by June Johnson and Suzan Martineau, July 2000, pp. 297, 321. digital file, wrecs 1893-1900.doc. Westport Book of Records, 1901-1904, transcribed by Claude A. Ledoux, May 2000. pp. 8,18, 29, 54. digital file, wrecs1901-1904.doc. Westport Book of Records, 1904 – 1912, transcribed by Claude A. Ledoux, May 2000. pp. 6, 11, 23, 29, 44, 49, 68, 70, 88, 114, digital file, wrecs1905-mar1912.doc, Westport Historical Society archives.
116 Mary C. Handy. Death registry, Town of Westport, April 1, 1898, Westport Deaths, 1893 – 1940, Vol. C, Page 14, Westport, Bristol County, Massachusetts. Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, Utah. Original data: Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook).
117 Handy, Eli (1900 U.S. Census) Massachusetts, Bristol County, Westport. Series: T623, Roll: 639 Page: 146.
118 Handy, Eli (1910 U.S. Census) Massachusetts, Bristol County, Westport. Series: T624, Roll: 575 Page: 242.
119 Eli Handy, Schedule of Real Estate in Detail, Administrator’s Inventory, June 30, 1911, Bristol County, Massachusetts, New Bedford Probate Court.
120 Frances H. Handy, George E. Handy, Almy M. Allen, Hannah F. Pettey, Jacob A. Handy, Hervey Handy to Daniel Baker, December 5, 1911, Book 356, Page 431, Westport, Massachusetts.
Eric Gradoia, Architectural History and Conservation. Copyright 2014