Learning from the past, living in the moment, and leaving footprints for the future. Stories of lov

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Little Girl Lost Has Been Found

On July 2, 2011 I told you the story of my great-great grandmother, Mary Ann Besse.  At the age of 14 and 8 mos. she married a gentleman by the name of Andrew Thomas on September 29, 1859.  On August 16, 1860 they had a little girl, Joanna B., named after Andrew's deceased mother.
 Little Girl Lost

At the onset of the Civil War, Andrew joined the ranks of the 4th Massachusetts Infantry as a Union soldier for a period of nine months on September 19, 1862.  He was only two days shy from completing his nine months of service and returning home to his family when he died from his wounds.  Most likely Andrew was buried in Louisiana, as many soldiers were buried in a cemetery where they died.

By the year 1865 when Mary Ann remarried to Thomas W. Pierce, little Joanna B. Thomas was nowhere to be found.  I traveled to New Bedford, Fall River, Middleboro, Halifax, Accushnet, Taunton and Mattaposett where I knew Mary Ann had lived, had family, or researching in town halls, etc. looking for my little girl lost.  Was she given up for adoption, did she die, or did she live to marry.  Then I thought that just maybe if Joanna died I might find Joanna buried in the Centre Cemetery in Wareham, MA where Mary Ann's parents were interred.  I discovered tonight that this cemetery has a listing on the Internet.

This Little Girl Lost, Joanna B. Thomas, my great aunt, is now the Little Girl Found.  She died of croup. Her stone reads across the top, Joanna B.  The front of the stone reads: 

Dau. of Andrew &
Mary A. Thomas
Died Jan. 16, 1864
Aged 3 yrs. 5 mos.


  1. So happy for you! If only all the little ones (and big ones) could be found. Rest in peace Joanna B.

  2. What an incredibly moving story. While very sad that little Joanna died so young, leaving her mother alone, at the same time how fortunate that someone cared enough to find her some 147 years later!

  3. I'm glad you discovered what happened to her. I think it's great that some cemeteries put their listings online...I wish all did.

  4. Kathryn:

    What a touching story. I'm so happy you found little Joanna B. and that she is no longer lost....

  5. So glad to hear you found her! How sad for Mary Ann to lose her husband and baby girl so close to each other :-(

  6. Congratulations on finding her but it's so sad that she died so young. Sad, too, for her mother to lose both husband and daughter in such a short time period.


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