People & Places

Miscellaneous additions – under continuous construction

(1) From Alan Harrington (Aug 2019) – with thanks:

“One of my favorite family heirlooms I think you might enjoy. It is an 1854 cabinet card featuring all thirteen children of Joshua Converse Sr. and Polly Piper of Rindge, New Hampshire. Back to front, left to right, they are: Levina Piper, Zebulon, Omar Duane, Alfred Collins, Amanda Malvina, George Washington, Gustavus Adolphus; Lucius Manlius, Ebenezer Hartshorn, Joshua, Christopher Colombus, Mary, and Abraham Jewett. Great names, huh?”

1854 Converse children – Levina Zebulon Omar Alfred Amanda George Gustavus Lucius Ebenezer Joshua Christopher Mary Abraham
Back of the 1854 card

Details taken from the History of Rindge NH, p. 486


(2) Navestock, Shenfield, Stamford Rivers…

Cary’s New and Correct English Atlas, 1798

Essex (England) place names commonly associated with the Converse family early history. View here for current location (Google map).

Note: In some family history records the village of Shenfield has been mistakenly transcribed as “Sheffield”, which is a different place altogether (it’s an industrial city in the north of England with no obvious connection to early Converses).


(3) Domus Conversorum

Domus Conversorum (‘House of the Converts’) was established in 1232 by Henry III for Jews who had converted to Christianity. Located in London, it provided a communal home and low wages that were needed because, until 1280, all Jews who converted to Christianity forfeited their possessions to the Crown.

Adapted from: and Jewish Encyclopedia article

Current location:


(4) Ansel Frost Converse – family reunion 1907

This 1907 photo was given to us by Gladys Converse Wright, the youngest child of Sibley Converse and Florence Lufanna “Fanny” Rumsey Converse (Carolyn’s paternal grandparents). The names on the back of the photo are listed below. Basically, this records a reunion of Ansel Frost Converse and Selinda Power Payne Converse with four of their children and their families, in Palmyra, N.Y. Their fifth child, Amelia Frances Converse Purdy, had died in 1900.

Ansel Frost Converse (1838-1918) was the son of Joseph Elliott Converse (1786-1867), who had moved to northern New York State and joined the Society of Friends (Quakers) there. Joseph Elliott Converse was married four times and had 18 children. At least three of his wives were also from Quaker families. Ansel and his wife were Quakers also, but later in life he “united with the Methodist Episcopal Church” and was licensed to preach by the ME Conference in 1890.

Front row, left to right: Florence Lufanna Rumsey Converse, wife of Sibley Converse, holding their eldest child, Mildred Converse. William Chauncy Converse, son of Ansel and Selinda. Ansel Converse, holding his grandson Sibley Tremaine. Selinda Power Payne Converse. Albert Converse, son of Ansel and Selinda. Florence (Fanny) Converse, Albert’s wife.

Back row, left to right: “Wife of Alex Purdy” it says on the back of the photo, but this is unlikely*. This is probably Mary Eleanor Converse Beck, age 20, the daughter of Albert Converse. Next is Alexander Converse Purdy. Lena Converse Tremaine, daughter of Ansel and Selinda. Sibley Converse, son of Ansel and Selina. Ross Moe Tremaine, husband of Lena.

*Despite his mature appearance, Alexander Converse Purdy was only 17 at the time this picture was taken. His mother Amelia died when he was ten, and his father Alexander Purdy, also a Quaker minister, remarried. Alexander Converse Purdy, the son, went on to pursue a notable career in biblical studies, wrote a number of books, became dean of Hartford Theological Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut and in 1964 was awarded an honorary doctorate from Swarthmore College along with President Lyndon B. Johnson, UN President U Thant, and a long list of other notables. Swarthmore was celebrating its centenary that year, and since it had been founded by Quakers, they presumably honored Alexander Converse Purdy in his role as a leading Quaker. (

There is now an organisation devoted to restoring the old Quaker meeting house, reviving its history, and documenting their connection to the Underground Railroad, which helped escaped slaves to flee to Canada. (