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The Lovecraft Family in America

By R. Alain Everts

Howard Phillips Lovecraft was somewhat reticent—guarded is the more proper word—when speaking of his Lovecraft forebears, and it is likely that he had some basis for this reticence—likely that he had some knowledge of these forebears that made him reluctant to go into great details about the Lovecrafts. As well he should, for the story of the Lovecrafts in America was a singularly tragic tale.
     The family name in Devonshire would seem to have been originally Luccraft with variations on this spelling—however by the early 19th century, the branch known as Lovecraft was dying out in Devonshire, and another branch in London was also dying out. Contrary to Howard Lovecraft’s hyperbole, his Lovecraft ancestors were not landed gentry—neither in Devonshire nor in America.
     Prior to removing to America, the family were described as simply farmers in their small town of Newton-Abbot, whence Joseph Lovecraft (1775–1850) and his wife, Mary (Fulford) Lovecraft (1782–1864) set sail for America, arriving in Rochester, New York in 1831. With them came their British born children, and one or two other relatives, and upon settling in Rochester, they engaged in various business quite below landed gentry—Joseph Lovecraft was a copper, carpenter and joiner until his death nearly 20 years later.
     His eldest son, John Full Lovecraft was born in 1806, and apparently married his first cousin, Elinor Gaskin (Lovecraft) Lovecraft (1782–1872). John Full Lovecraft operated a planing mill, which was destroyed several times by fire, and when he died in 1877, he had suffered many domestic tragedies. The first born, Rhode Ellen Lovecraft (1834–1892) made a good marriage, but a childless one. She and her husband adopted a daughter who later died in childbirth.
     Several of John and Elinor’s infants died in birth or soon thereafter—Joshua John Lovecraft (April–Oct. 1835), William Lovecraft (stillborn, 1839), while the eldest surviving son, Sydney Joseph Lovecraft, born in Rochester in 1836 had nearly drowned in 1845. By age 18, Sydney Joseph Lovecraft was already a foreman in his father’s mill, and by 21, he had married Electa M. Perry (1838–1915). During 1862, Sydney Joseph Lovecraft enlisted in the Civil War, but less than two months later, he deserted and fled to Canada, returned finally to Rochester, dying there in 1890. His only child was stillborn in 1859.
     John Full Lovecraft’s next daughter, Josephine Ann Lovecraft (1842–1933) made a very brief marriage, and had no children, save her husband’s daughter by a previous marriage. The daughter, Sarah Letitia Jordan, outlived her step-mother by six years.
     The youngest son, Silas John Lovecraft was born in 1845, and at age 18 he enlisted in the Civil War, to be discharged 6 months later critically ill, dying a few days later at his father’s home.
     The next son of Joseph Lovecraft, named William Lovecraft, was born in 1808 and married Eliza Ann Randall (1813–1874). He died of tubercular consumption in 1882, and had several children who died as infants prior to the birth of his daughter, Laura Maria Lovecraft, born in 1840. She is an important figure in Howard Lovecraft’s genealogy, for she married William Daniel Andrews (1837–1874) whose sister, Mary Jane Andrews, married Silas Franklin Millikan, father of scientist Robert Andrews Millikan (1868–1953). Lovecraft frequently referred to Millikan in his letters, little knowing that they were both related. Laura Andrews’ husband died tragically in an industrial accident, while Laura herself died in 1897 of cancer.
     Joseph Lovecraft’s next child, Joseph Lovecraft, junior, was born in 1811 and married Elizabeth Lovecraft (1812–1896). Joseph worked with his father, and later his brother, dying in 1879. He and his wife had several infants who died stillborn or soon after birth. A son, Joshua Elliott Lovecraft, was born in 1845 and very early married Libbie Vandervort (1847–1873) who was tragically drowned. In 1875, he married Alice Ward. He died insane, of paresis, in 1898. By his first marriage, he had one child, George Elliott Lovecraft.
     Joseph, jnr.’s daughter, Alice Lovecraft, married William Williams (1848–1904), and she died about 1912, leaving no children.
     George Lovecraft, Howard Lovecraft’s paternal grandfather, was born in 1814 in Devonshire, and about 1839, he married Helen Allgood (1821–1881) a daughter of William Allgood (1787–1848) and Rachel (Morris) Allgood (1796–1843), both natives of Wales. William Allgood had four daughters, Helen, Sarah Allgood (1829–1908), Eliza Ann Allgood (1832–1898) and Augusta Charlotte Allgood (1839–1884). Augusta was 10 when her father died, and she was adopted by George Lovecraft and raised as his own daughter. All of the other Allgood sisters at one time or another made their home with the George Lovecraft family. Augusta later married an Englishman, John Taylor (1877–1900) who died tragically young of tuberculosis at his Aunt’s home. George Lovecraft, who started as a harness maker in Rochester, died of malaria while visiting his daughter in 1895. In 1859 he had moved to New York City, the next year to Brooklyn, and finally in 1863 he settled in Mount Vernon, north of New York City.
     George Lovecraft had had five children—two were infants who died young. Emily Jane Lovecraft (called “Emma”) born 1849, married Isaac C. Hill (1849–1932). Emma died in 1925, leaving one daughter, Mary Ida Emily Hill (1874–1951), who had married and had one child, a son who died at age twelve.
     Winfield Scott Lovecraft, H.P. Lovecraft’s father, was born in 1853, but owing to difficulties he did not remove to Mount Vernon with his parents in 1863. He remained in Rochester with various of his relatives working at his trade of blacksmith. By 1889, he had removed to New York City, for at his marriage on 12 June 1889 he gives this as his home.
     Mary Louise Lovecraft, the last child of George Lovecraft, was born in 1855. She died in 1916 leaving no children by her husband Paul Mellon (1863–1910) who had deserted her some years after their marriage in 1898.
     The next child of Joseph Lovecraft was Aaron Lovecraft, born in 1817 and who married Althea Elizabeth Veazie (1818–1905) in 1842. She was the daughter of John Veazie (1776–1862) of Boston and his wife, Mindwell (Brown) Veazie (1785–1883). Their firstborn, Georgianna Francis Lovecraft was born in 1843, and at age 19, she married Andrew B. Myers. She gave birth to one child, George Francis Myers, and died shortly thereafter from complications.
     Several other children died young, but the firstborn son, Frederick Aaron Lovecraft was born in 1850. He died quite tragically after a fairly tragic life, a suicide in 1893. The last child, Florence Veazie Lovecraft was born in 1861 and died in 1950.
     George Lovecraft’s only sister, and the only daughter of Joseph Lovecraft, Mary Lovecraft, was born in 1828 and became the second wife of James Brown (1806–1889). They had nine children, only one of whom reached adulthood. In 1907, she died after refusing to eat anything.
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