Tuesday, April 15, 2014

52 Ancestors: #15 Albert Thorburn Hamilton (1895-1979)

Albert Thorburn Hamilton, my great grand uncle, was born on this date in Upper Stewiacke, Colchester County, Nova Scotia, in 1895, the seventh of nine children born to Peter Suther Hamilton and Isabella Fulton MacKay, and their third son.

When he was around 23 years old, in 1919, Bert immigrated to the States, stating that his destination was the home of Mrs. E. K. Noyes, who was his sister Mary, married to E. Kent Noyes and living at 1367 Washington Avenue in Portland, Maine.

In the 1930 U.S. Census, Bert was living with his brother Dan, as well as his mother Isabella, at 67 College Avenue in Portland, and working as a truck driver. By 1940, he was lodging in Hannah Fowler's rooming house at 10 Shepley St., in Portland, with Dan and Dan's wife Lettie.

Bert Hamilton never married. In my youth, I remember his visits to his sister Vina, my great grandmother, in Portland. I was told he had a "club foot," which, naturally, fascinated me, although I never heard the story behind it.

Nana and Uncle Bert During One of  His Visits
Our House in South Portland,

By that time, the 1960's, he had moved back down east. He and their unmarried sister Stella lived very near "the old home place," in Nova Scotia, until Stella passed away in 1966.

Bert Hamilton died at the Colchester Hospital, in Truro, Nova Scotia, on January 30, 1975.
His obituary read:

Albert T. Hamilton
UPPER STEWIACKE - Albert T. Thorburn Hamilton, 79, died Thursday at Colchester Hospital, Truro.
Born in Upper Stewiacke, he was a son of the late Peter and Isabel (MacKay) Hamilton. He was a member of Elm Lodge No. 115.
He is survived by a brother, Dan, Portland, Maine.
He was predeceased by two brothers and five sisters.
The body is at the Mattatall Funeral Home, Truro. Funeral and committal service will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. in the the Springside United Church, Rev. David Whiston officiating.

Bert Hamilton is buried with his sister Stella in Pembroke Cemetery in Upper Stewiacke.


1930 U.S. Census; Census Place: Portland, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: 831; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0077; Image: 844.0, Albert T Hamilton.

1940 U.S. Census; Census Place: Portland, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: T627_1475; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 3-69B, Albert T Hamilton.

“Canada Census, 1901," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KHK2-TGV : accessed 15 Apr 2014), Albert I Hamilton in household of Peter S Hamilton, U, Colchester, Nova Scotia, Canada; citing p. 12, Public Archives, Ottawa, Ontario.

CanadaGenWeb's Cemetery Project. CanadaGenWeb.org. http://cemetery.canadagenweb.org.

“Albert T. Hamilton,” obituary, The Chronicle-Herald (Halifax), 1 Feb 1975, p.40, col 4. Retrieved: Library and Archives Canada, 15 Apr 2014.**

Ancestry.com. Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

** I am particularly grateful to Ken McKinlay in the Nova Scotia Roots Facebook Group, who kindly found Uncle Bert's obit while giving a tour at LAC in Ottawa this afternoon, just in time for this story.


This is the 15th in a series, “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks,” coordinated by Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

52 Ancestors: #14 Rosanna Austin (1737-?)

Rosanna Austin, my sixth great grand aunt, was born on this date in 1737 in Brunswick, Maine, the third of five children born to Benoni Austin and Mercy/Marcy Thompson, and their second daughter.

Her older brother John, my sixth great grandfather, fought in the Revolutionary War, and was honored in 2013 with a marker in the Austin Old Burial Ground Cemetery in West Farmington, placed there by the Colonial Daughters Chapter of the DAR.

Re-dedication of John Austin's Grave Site

Her younger brother Benoni took part in 1775's Thompson's War, a skirmish between a Patriot militia from Brunswick and the Loyalists aboard the HMS Canceaux anchored off Falmouth, now Portland. The episode ultimately provoked the retaliatory "Burning of Falmouth" five months later.

Spruce sprigs were worn in the caps of the
 men who were part of Samuel Thompson's militia

By contrast, there is very little known about Rosanna. At eighteen years old, she supposedly married Samuel Allen of nearby Topsham. There was a Samuel Allen from Topsham who fought in the Revolution, so perhaps this was Rosanna's husband. It is unknown whether she had any children, or when she died, although she probably lived most of her life and died in Topsham.


Ancestry.com. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War (Images Online)[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.

“Colonial Daughters rededicate ancient cemetery, Revolutionary War veteran’s grave,” Daily Bulldog, August 31, 2013 (http://www.dailybulldog.com/db/features/colonial-daughters-rededicate-ancient-cemetery-revolutionary-war-veterans-grave/)

Wheeler, George Augustus, M.D., and Henry Warren Wheeler.  History of Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell, Maine, including the ancient territory known as Pejepscot (Boston: Alfred Mudge and Son, 1878), pp.681-683, 811-816, 857, 880.

Woodard, Colin. The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier (Penguin Books, 2004), pp.136-137.


Monday, March 31, 2014

52 Ancestors: #13 Lyman Seavey (1837-1881)

Lyman Seavey, my half great grand uncle, was born on this date in 1837 in Bridgton, Maine, the fifth of seven children born to Jonathan Seavey and his first wife, Mary Blake, and their second son.

[ICYMI, this story was originally published in June of 2013]

I have established that Jonathan married twice, first to Mary G. Blake, and second to Harriet Cross Libby. With Mary, he had 7 children (although one may have been "adopted") and with Harriet he had 7. Lyman is the only son of Jonathan's to live to adulthood, so I thought I would find some clues. So, although I descend from his second marriage, it seemed prudent to investigate the life of Jonathan and Mary's son Lyman, and I am very glad I did.

Although it provided no additional information, the search for Lyman proved a wonderful journey into a strong, albeit short, Masonic life, and an insight into his and his wife's role in building the community of Whitefield, New Hampshire.

Lyman was the firstborn son of Jonathan and Mary Seavey in Bridgton on March 31, 1837. Two more children would come after Lyman, Julia Anne, whom I wrote about in Part 2, and a brother Albion, who died at age 12, before Mary died in 1845.

12-year old Lyman was still in Bridgton in 1850, but there is no way to know whether he was home when his father passed away 8 years later. He seems to have taken up the miller's trade as a young man of 22, living with the Snow family in Whitefield, New Hampshire, by 1860.

In 1861, he married 23-year old Sarah R. Thomas, of Littleton, New Hampshire, the daughter of Henry and Eveline Thomas. Her father was a hotel-keeper in Littleton. A daughter Alice soon arrived in 1863, along with the omen of war. Lyman did register for the draft, but there is no evidence that he served.

Five years later, Lyman became a Charter member of the White Mountain Masonic Lodge No. 86 in Whitefield, and over the next few years, held several offices including Junior Warden, Junior Deacon, Senior Deacon, and, briefly, as Secretary Pro Tempore. In 1867, he is also listed as the Town Clerk of Littleton, a very prestigious position to hold in those days.

In the meantime, Lyman's wife Sarah was elected Treasurer of the Whitefield Library Association in 1872, and, in January 1873, she opened their home to the Association, housing 208 volumes for the Town of Whitefield's reading pleasure.  She was also a member of Excelsior Chapter No. 5, Order of the Eastern Star, newly instituted in Whitefield in the fall of 1876, holding the Electa chair for a time.

Much of this activity had to have helped fill her days, as she and Lyman lost their young daughter Alice, at the tender age of 13, in January 1876. So, by the 1870 census, it was just Lyman and Sarah.

Ten years later, Lyman's health was failing, and his Masonic brothers were there to assist him:

"White Mountain Lodge No 86 F.A.A.M. met at their hall in Whitefield March 18th 1881, it being a called meeting for the purpose of seeing what action the Lodge would take in the case of Bro. Lyman V. Seavey.
Lodge voted to instruct W.M. and Wardens to hire some suitable person to take care of Bro. Seavey during his illness and such person to be paid out of the funds of Lodge."

In spite of the care provided by his Masonic brothers, however, Lyman died of consumption on April 26, 1881, at the age of only 44.  His Lodge recorded the procession and burial of their brother:

"Lodge opened on 3d Degree in Masonry.
Lodge went through with some drill in funeral services. Called from labor to refreshment to meet at 12:30 o'clock April 28th to form procession for the occasion.
Lodge called to order by sound of the gavel and procession formed to attend the funeral and to pay the Last Said Rite to Bro. Lyman V. Seavey, Which was buried under Masonic honors in Due and ancient form, after which the Lodge returned to their Lodge Room and Lodge was closed in due and ancient order.  SD Witcher, Secretery
60 Masons being present."

Lyman's widow, Sarah, lived to the age of 78 in Whitefield, continuing with many of her civic and charitable interests.

Lyman, Sarah, and Alice are all buried together in the Pine Street Cemetery, in Whitefield.

I am immensely indebted to Mr. Thomas A. Ladd, Secretery, North Star Lodge No. 8, Free & Accepted Masons, Whitefield, New Hampshire, to whom my initial inquiries to the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire were forwarded. Mr. Ladd provided the minutes from the White Mountain Lodge, did extensive research at the Whitefield Public Library on my behalf, and, just recently, graciously took the cemetery photos.

Other Sources:

1850 U.S. Census;  Census Place: Bridgton, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M432_251; Page: 290B; Image: 278, Lyman Seavy.

1860 U.S. Census;  Census Place: Whitefield, Coos, New Hampshire; Roll: M653_669; Page: 958; Image: 236, Lyman B. Seavy.

1860 U.S. Census;  Census Place: Littleton, Grafton, New Hampshire; Roll: M653_670; Page: 313; Image: 318, Sarah R. Thomas.

1870 U.S. Census;  Census Place: Whitefield, Coos, New Hampshire; Roll: M593_839; Page: 213A; Image: 432, Lyman V. Seavey.

1880 U.S. Census;  Census Place: Whitefield, Coos, New Hampshire; Roll: 762; Page: 213A; Enumeration District: 045; Image: 0427, Lyman V. Seavy.

"History of Coös County, New Hampshire," Ancestry.com, p.157.

Jackson, James R., History of Littleton, New Hampshire, in three volumes: genealogy compiled by George C. Furber, revised and enlarged by Ezra S. Stearns, 3 vols. (Cambridge, Massachusetts:  University Press, 1905, 3: 481; digital images, Google Books (http://www.Google.com/books : accessed 21 June 2013).

“Maine, Birth Records, 1621-1922,” database, Ancestry.com, entry for Lyman T. Seavey, 31 Mar 1837, Bridgton.

“Mrs. Sarah Seavey,” obituary, Coos County Democrat, 29 November 1916, p.8, photocopy emailed by Thomas A. Ladd.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

52 Ancesters: #12 Solomon Libby (1785-1861)

Solomon Libby, my half 4th great grand uncle, was born on this date in 1785 in Scarborough, Maine, the fourth of six children born to Allison Libby and his second wife, the widow Mary Libby, and their third son.

As a young man, he moved to Freeport, Maine, and worked in a shipyard there. There he met and married Frances Sylvester of that town. 

Following their marriage, Solomon and "Fanny" moved to nearby Brunswick, Maine, where Solomon worked as a ship's carpenter in several towns in that area.

There is evidence to suggest that Solomon fought in the War of 1812, having enlisted on March 30, 1813, which may explain why he doesn't show up until the 1840 Census in Brunswick, with Fanny and three young children.

Ten years later, by the time of the 1850 Census, Solomon was a widower, having lost Fanny in 1844, and he was living with his son Solomon and daughter-in-law Lucy.

In the 1860 Census, Solomon, at age 75, was living in Brunswick with the widow Abby Hunt and her two children. There doesn't appear to be any family relationship, so he may have been simply taken in.

Solomon died sometime in 1861, probably in Brunswick. Fanny is buried in Growstown Cemetery, in Brunswick, Maine, so this seems a good place to look for Solomon's grave.

Grave of  the wife of Solomon Libby,
Fanny Libby
Growstown Cemetery
Brunswick, Maine


1840 U.S. Census; Census Place: Brunswick, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: 139; Page: 570; Image: 1072; Family History Library Film: 0009702, Solomon Libby.

1850 U.S Census; Census Place: Brunswick, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M432_251; Page: 229B; Image: 158, Solomon Libby.

1860 U.S Census; Census Place: Brunswick, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M653_437; Page: 88; Image: 925; Family History Library Film: 803437, Solomon Libby.

Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 22 Mar 2014), memorial page for Frances “Fanny” Libby (1786–1844), Find A Grave Memorial no. 65453040, citing Growstown Cemetery, Brunswick, Maine.

Libby, Charles Thornton. The Libby Family in America, 1602-1881 (Portland, B. Thurston and Co., 1881), p. 171.

Maine State Archives, Maine; 925; Record Group: Maine War of 1812 Records.