Mary D. Hudson

Mary. D. Hudson is my toughest brick wall. She is my Great, Great Grandmother on my mother’s paternal side.

    Verbal history tells us that she was orphaned in the Great Boston Fire and then raised by family. All research has failed to prove this. Questions remain; if she didn’t know her parents as all her documents state, then where did she get her last name? If family raised her, wouldn’t they have known her parents’ names? All census, marriage, and death records state Mary’s parents as unknown yet Mary states that she was born in Boston. How does she know where she was born if she doesn’t know anything about her parents? And if family raised her, why did her children never meet them or hear stories about them? Why did Mary have so little information on herself? We are left to conclude and the only thing that makes sense is that the story she told of being orphaned in the fire was to cover up the real story or that she knew no story.

   At this point, I am left with little with which to work. But I still have two pieces of information to research.

Verbal History also tells us that….

  • the “D” as her middle initial stands for Delano. 
  • The Vinal Family of Scituate raised her as a young girl and then she went onto the White Family in Abington. Her marriage certificate does state she lived in Abington at the time.

I have been taught that when you can’t research the person you want, then you need to research around them. Therefore I began to research the name Delano in Plymouth County, Massachusetts. I am assuming it is a last name and given to her must have some significance.

 IN a quick search, I found …

  • Mary F. Delano  in 1880 Census Rockland, Mass. She was born 1842, now divorced, living as a housekeeper at the age of 38.

   It occurred to me that back in the 1800’s divorce was considered shameful and also limited choices were available for divorced women. It would not have been uncommon to surrender your children to family to raise. So I build a theory that Mary F. Delano had to surrender her daughter. I decided to play out this theory. So the above vital record was my jumping off point. I will list out what else I discovered. Each line item is backed by paper with verifying information and cross refenced.

  • Mary F. Delano was born Sept 6, 1841 in Duxbury.
  • Her neighbors were the Vinal Family. 
  • Mary’s father and the Vinal’s Dad were both blacksmiths. Did they work together as well as live as neighbors? (This would create a bond of trust for surrendering a child)
  • Mary F. married at 17 in 1858 to David Henry Lincoln of East Bridgewater.
  • David H. Lincoln went away to war. Mary F. Lincoln shows up on Census 1860 as living with her parents.
  • 1862 David H. Lincoln dies in war.
  • 1863 Mary F. Lincoln files for pension as widow of David H. Lincoln.
  • 1865 May 28. Mary F. Lincoln marries Marton Whitman Bourne.
  • 1870 Census states Martin W. Bourne and wife Mary F Bourne live in Hanson.
  • 1880 Martin Bourne lives with his mother and other family in Hanson,Mass.
  • 1880 Census also shows Mary F.Delano living with a family as a housekeeper and listed as divorced.


  • Martin Bourne’s grave does not mention his wife. His interment states his wife was Mary F  Bourne and that there were no children.
  • Our Mary D. Hudson would have been born in 1872. 

These are my possibilities.

  • Mary F. remarried Martin Bourne and then gave birth to Mary D which caused the divorce. 
  • Mary F. remarried only to be divorced soon after and then out of wedlock had Mary D.
  • Mary F. remarried only to find herself divorced with a number of children and unable to raise them, surrendered them all.

Either way, I theorize that she then surrendered Mary D as a baby or young child to the Vinal family who had been friends with her family for years. Were there other children? The above information doesn’t not connect our Marys together but it is at least promising. There is work yet to do.

I plan to seek out the actual divorce papers to prove that and see dates as compared to Mary D’s birth. I also seek to find further census records to show Mary D. living with Vinals. It makes sense that Mary D. would be named Mary as was commonly done to name after the mother. Delano would be her mother’s family name.  I need to search out Hudsons in the area if this is all a viable story then there should be a male Hudson of the right age nearby. 

DNA matches on Ancestry could possibly then prove out my theory.

It is complicated. I am writing it out here for myself and also for others in hopes of anyone connecting something that I missed or dont see. All I can think to do with so little to go on and to invent theories and play them out.

And I had to add this…. wouldn’t it be romantic to believe that Mary F had an affair that resulted in Mary D. And even though she had to surrender her, she named her after herself and then gave her the last names of each of her parents, as a way of having both her parents at least in name. Mary Delano Hudson. That would make it seem that she was very loved and surrendered only due to cultural norms at the time.

I press onward.

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