Sylvanus Goodwin was born February 20, 1876, in Lower Argyle, Nova Scotia. His parents were Edward Goodwin (fifth great-grandson of Daniel Goodwin the immigrant) and Matilda Nickerson, daughter of Phinneas Nickerson and Rosanna (Rose) Nickerson. (See Edward and Matilda for a list of Edward and Matilda's children.) As a young man, Sylvanus was a fisherman. Later, he shipped out of Boston as a cook on a fishing schooner. Later still (between 1916 and 1920), Sylvanus was owner and master of his own fishing schooner, the Regina, which he used for fishing off the Grand Banks. The Regina was sixty feet long and carried a crew of eight. In addition to sail, she had a 20 HP Fairbanks engine for emergencies.
Mary Leona Pierce, born in 1879 in Argyle, Nova Scotia, was one of several children (maybe as many as nineteen), of Ephram Pierce and Almira Nickerson. (See Ephriam and Almira for a list of Ephriam and Almira's children.) Mary Leona was raised in Chelsea, Massachusetts, by an aunt and uncle, Eliza and James Warren, who were childless. James went into real estate and became quite well-to-do. He owned several houses around Boston and two houses in Oak Park, Nova Scotia.
Please note that both Sylvanus' and Mary Leona's mothers were Nickersons. Next to the Goodwins, the Nickersons are most numerous in our lineage.
See the Nickersons for information on this branch of our ancestors.
Mary Leona's maternal ancestors (Nickersons) can be traced back to a William Nickerson born circa 1604, in England, who was the founder of the Nickerson family in America, and also was the founder of the town of Chatham, Massachusetts. Mary Leona's maternal great-grandfather, Simeon Nickerson, was the founder of the village of Oak Park, Nova Scotia. He took out a land grant for five persons at "Provost Town," which later became Oak Park. In addition, Mary Leona claimed to be a great grand-niece of Franklin Pierce, 14th president of the USA.
Sylvanus and Mary Leona were married November 4, 1896 at the Free Baptist Church in Argyle Sound, Nova Scotia by Reverend George Sturgis.
See Children of Sylvanus and Mary Leona for information on their descendants.
The Goodwins, and a lot of others at that time, traveled freely between Nova Scotia and the more prosperous Massachusetts to find work. Sylvanus was no different and lived anywhere that offered employment. This explains why some of their children were Canadian and others were American.
Between 1906 and 1912, Sylvanus and Mary Leona lived in East Pembroke, Massachusetts, where Sylvanus worked in Gib West's Box Factory and also owned and operated a cranberry bog. They bought a beautiful Colonial-style house that had been built during the reign of King George III, while this country still consisted of a few English colonies. The central chimney was made of stone, three feet wide. In this house was a "borning room" directly behind the kitchen chimney. James and Percy (two of their sons) were born in this room.
There was another interesting feature about this house. The living room had wide, twenty-two-inch floorboards which were much in demand at that time. Obtaining them was risky, however, since King George had made a law that all white pine trees with a diameter of twenty-three or more inches must be reserved for His Majesty's Navy's mainmasts.
Anyone guilty of breaking this law would be instantly beheaded (yuk!). When least expected, his majesty's (we'll drop the capitalization for a guy who had people beheaded) soldiers would come into a house and measure boards to determine if they were twenty-three inches or more. A homeowner would watch his chance to cut a tree and then trim it down to twenty-two inches, to be within the law and of course to save his head.
This house is still in perfect condition. It is located on Taylor Street in East Pembroke. In the early 1980s, Percy Goodwin (who was born in the "borning room" in this house) and his wife Irene had a tour of the house. At that time, it was owned by a Mr. Connant, brother of Professor Connant, President of Harvard University.
Mary Leona's uncle, James Warren (the man who, with his wife Eliza, had raised Mary Leona) talked Sylvanus into moving to Oak Park, Nova Scotia, in 1912. Sylvanus sold everything and moved into one of the houses that James owned in Oak Park. James deeded the house, and several hundred acres of land, to Mary Leona.
Mary Leona died in Oak Park, Shelburne County, Nova Scotia, in 1936. Sylvanus died in Jamaica Plain, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, in 1940. They are buried in Riverdale Cemetery at Barrington, Shelburne County, Nova Scotia.
See Children of Sylvanus and Mary Leona.