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Gayle Hedrington

July 30, 2008 
Part 1 of 2

The Truth Behind the Bartons and  Coopers of Croydon, NH

   Hannah fell in love with Otis, and they would go for long walks in the evening. The couple returned only after the eldest child, Lucinda was asleep for the evening. The couple was in love and enjoyed romance, but there was one problem. Hannah Powers was married to Barazeel Barton 2nd, and the mother of his five children, Lucinda Jane, Adelia Diana, Levi Winters, Williams, and Hiram Winchester. She was also 12 and 1/2 years older than Otis Cooper was. Scandalous by today's standards, but back in the late 1820s their unspeakable love was the talk of Croydon.

    All the gossip, court dispositions, and the shame were unfortunate, for the couple obviously in love. No records indicate how the couple came to know each other, but depositions from the Barton vs. Barton divorce does shed light on their relationship and upsets known Barton Genealogy.

    In his petition Barazeel Barton states,“ .......and that he from the day of his entering marriage with said Hannah Barton observed and kept his marriage covenant, but that the said Hannah is in violation of the same at said Croydon on the 12th day of September in the year of our Lord 1823 and at diverse other times and places between that time and the first day of April A.D. 1830 did voluntarily lie with and carnally know and commit adultery with one Otis Cooper the and there being also with other person to your petitioner unknown."

    This is of historical note since Alanson Cooper Barton was born Jan. 10, 1825, Ziba Cooper Barton was born Apr. 27, 1827, and Julia Ann Barton was born June 8, 1830 the same year as the Barton's divorce. All of these births occurred after the date that Barazeel Barton says Hannah violated her marriage vows. The birth of Alanson Cooper Barton also occurs after Abigail Darling and Mrs. Edward Hall caught the couple in bed.

    Abigail Darling recalled that she and Mrs. Edward Hall walked from the Hall's Store to Barazeel Barton's home on September 10, 1824. Abigail needed to pick up a weft from Hannah that Darling, needed to weave material due in Lebanon on September 14.

    Mrs. Hall and Darling saw no light in the house so the women looked in the window. The bright light of the full moon allowed the women to see two bodies rise from the bed, young Otis Cooper and Hannah Powers. Upon hearing the women at the door, Hannah left the house and came out in the street to talk with them. Hannah explained that her "old man" came home and he wanted her to lay with him and that was the reason for the delay. She promised Abigail, she would deliver the weft to Hall's Store the next day.

    While Abigail was working at Hall's Store the next day, Hannah dropped off the weft. Abigail asked Hannah "How many old mans do you have?” Hannah admitted it was Otis Cooper in her house, and that her husband was away.

    Hannah's own daughter Lucinda Jane Kidder recalled how bedrooms were re arranged, so Otis could have the room that opened to the kitchen, where Hannah slept. Lucinda commented that Otis promised to buy her a gift if she would make the exchange.

    Hannah also remarked that Otis also took care of Hannah for the two days following the birth of Ziba Cooper Barton on April 27, 1827.

    Mr. Eldridge Melendy also recalls seeing Otis and Hannah lying on the bed when he walked into the Barton's residence without knocking, in the fall of 1827. He also noted that no other persons were in the home, except for the children.

    Eventually the love relationship became a problem for Otis. He confided to Hannah one night that he was in trouble and might have to leave Croydon. Hannah asked him what she should do if he went away, and he assured her, she and Ziba would go with him. Otis called Ziba his child and would tell the child to come to his Pa.

    Court papers show that Otis Cooper was found guilty of adultery and ordered to pay  $100 to Barazeel Barton for his offence. Barton was issued his divorce, moved to Springfield NH, and remarried.

    John Cooper, historian and cousin to Otis, refers to the eventual marriage of Otis and Hannah as unfortunate, in his unpublished notes. He blamed this union for Otis not living up to his full potential and cites Otis' high intelligent. Otis was one of the few worthy competitors of John's in the Spelling Bee competitions of the schools in Croydon.

    Despite scorn and ridicule from family and neighbors, the couple remained together until Hannah death on Sept. 14, 1881. Otis died within one year of Hannah's death. He passed away unexpectedly, while visiting his daughter Augusta Cooper Bristol in Vineland NJ on August 19, 1882.


Mystery of the Cemetery Shoes

Last year and this year, I went to Bert Smith to put the flags on the graves of Croydon’s Veterans for Memorial Day. For the past two years a pair of white, girl's sandals has set on top of one the headstones. If anyone has information about why the shoes are there, please contact me.


The Joy of Sex with Watermelon

    When I was a child watermelon had seeds. Half of the fun of eating the juicy fruit was seeing who could spit the seeds out the furthest. Sometimes we would see who could accumulate the most seeds in their mouths and spit them out all at once.

    Now that designer watermelons have come into vogue, scientists are touting it as a natural Viagra.  According to scientist in Texas the luscious summer fruit contains citrulline that can trigger production of a compound that helps relax the body's blood vessels, similar to what happens when a man takes Viagra.

    Watermelon along with cantaloupe, walnuts, and cucumbers contain citrulline.  However the rind of the watermelon contains the most and the best watermelon for citrulline is the orange color varieties.

    Watermelon has come of age. No pun intended.

PART 2 of 2


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