Monday, September 1, 2014

52 Ancestors: #35 Stephen Leighton (1804-1820?)



Stephen Leighton, my third great grand uncle, was born on this date in 1804 in North Yarmouth, Maine, the eleventh of twelve children born to Andrew Leighton and Mary Weymouth, and their ninth son.

His father, known as Captain Andrew, had laid out the county road from Falmouth to Portland, and was a prosperous lumber trader, dealing in ship's timber.  In 1800, he built and operated Leighton's Tavern on the Gray Road in West Cumberland. It was a popular stop on the stage route to Lewiston.

Stephen's two oldest brothers, Joseph, born in 1789, and Andrew, born in 1790. were both lost at sea off the Georges Bank in 1815, while aboard the privateer Dash. Stephen would have been 10 or 11 years old at the time, old enough to share in the family's loss.


Illustration : The Story of DASH 
Freeport (Me.) Historical Society 


Nonetheless, young Stephen did not retreat from a life aboard ship, and it is noted that he, too, was lost at sea. Assuming youth of his generation frequently put to sea in their early teens, one imagines him perishing around age 16, in 1820. No written recollection has been found.

Sources:

Leighton, Perley M. A Leighton genealogy: descendants of Thomas Leighton of Dover, New Hampshire. Compiled by Perley M. Leighton based in part on data collected by Julia Leighton Cornman. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical  Society, 1989.) p. 282.


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This is the 35th in a series, “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks,” coordinated by Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small.

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

52 Ancestors: #34 Beniah Pratt Brackley (1833-1896)



Beniah Pratt Brackley, my 1st cousin 5x removed, was born on this date in 1833, in Freeman, Maine, the seventh of eight children born to John Brackley and Mary Trumble, and their sixth son.

Beniah lived in Freeman until his early teen years, but eventually made his way to the coast of Maine, settling in Rockland, answering the call of the sea. He signed on to a fishing voyage with his older brother Silas for three months, and may have made it all the way to Cuba with him. There is evidence he also worked on the Boston and Lowell Canal for a time. In the 1860 Rockland census, he listed his occupation as "sailor."



He met Fannie Ulmer there, and married her in Rockland on May 9th in 1861.  Two years later, the couple welcomed their only child, a daughter Elizabeth, whom they called Lizzie.

Beniah answered the Union call and enlisted at Augusta on February 22, 1864, in the 4th Maine Regiment of Volunteers. After one year, he was promoted to Lieutenant. His second enlistment was with the 31st Maine, where he rose again in rank from Private to Lieutenant. He fought in the Battle of Bull Run, and witnessed the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox.



At the end of the war, Beniah returned to Rockland and joined the police force. In the 1870 census, he listed his occupation as "police man." After about ten years, he held various civic positions in Rockland and Knox County.

Beniah lost his wife in 1894, and followed her in death two years later, dying on February 4, 1896, of what later came to be known as Parkinson's Disease.

He and Fannie are buried in the Achorn Cemetery, in Rockland, Maine. I hope to find and photograph their graves on my next trip to Maine.




Sources:

1850 US Census ; Census Place: Freeman, Franklin, Maine; Roll: M432_253; Page: 231A; Image: 447, Beniah Brackley.

1860 US Census; Census Place: Rockland, Knox, Maine; Roll: M653_443; Page: 728; Image: 728; Family History Library Film: 803443, Beniah I Brackly.

1870 US Census ; Census Place: Rockland, Knox, Maine; Roll: M593_548; Page: 172B; Image: 348; Family History Library Film: 552047, Benniah Brackley.

1880 US Census ; Census Place: Rockland, Knox, Maine; Roll: 482; Family History Film: 1254482; Page: 160A; Enumeration District: 109; Image: 0807, Bennia P. Brackley.

1890 Veterans Schedule; Census Place: Rockland, Knox, Maine; Roll: 7; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 204, Beniah P Brockley.

"Maine, Marriages, 1771-1907," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F4NH-GLD : accessed 30 Aug 2014), Beniah P. Brackley and Fannie P. Ulmer, 09 May 1861; citing Rockland,Knox,Maine, reference ; FHL microfilm 12045.

"Maine, Veterans Cemetery Records, 1676-1918", index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KXQC-NN3 : accessed 30 Aug 2014), B P Brackley, 1896.

Thompson, George A. and F. Janet Thompson. A Genealogical history of Freeman, Maine, 1796-1938, in three volumes. 3 vols. (Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1996), 1:340.


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This is the 34th in a series, “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks,” coordinated by Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

52 Ancestors: #33 Bessie Judson McCain (1877-1958)



Bessie Judson McCain, my great grand aunt, was born on this date in 1877, in Florenceville, New Brunswick, the oldest of four children born to John McCain and Harriet Atwood Harnett, and their first daughter.

She lost her father at age 19 to a accidental death from drinking contaminated water, and soon after moved with her mother, two sisters and brother to Portland, Maine.

The 1900 US Census found her and her sister Augusta (Gussie) working as nurses-in-training at the Maine Eye and Ear Infirmary in Portland, which had just opened its doors 9 years earlier in 1891.

Maine Eye & Ear Infirmary
Portland, Maine
Photo Credit: John Phelan/Creative Commons


Two years later Bessie married the widower Edward Elden Cheney, eighteen years her senior, on February 19, 1902. For most of their married life, they lived on the Eastern Promenade in Portland. She lost her husband, however, in 1919. Edward Cheney died at 59 years of age of Lou Gehrig's Disease.



In her widowhood, Aunt Bess, as she was known, lived at various addresses around Portland, including Spring St., Brown St., and Cumberland Ave. She was always included in family gatherings, like this one from the mid-1950's:

Aunt Bess on the far right, with me on my dad's knee.

Bessie passed away at age 80, on August 15, 1958, and is buried with her husband in Evergreen Cemetery in Portland.




Photo credit:

Maine Eye and Ear Infirmary Portland ME
By John Phelan [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/by/3.0)], Wikimedia Commons

Sources:

1920 US Census; Census Place: Portland Ward 6, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: T625_640; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 44; Image: 103, Bessie J. Cheney.

Ancestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, The Generations Network, Inc., 2004), www.ancestry.com, Database online. Portland, Cumberland, Maine, ED , roll  , page .. Record for Bessie J McCain.

Ancestry.com, 1910 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, The Generations Network, Inc., 2006), www.ancestry.com, Database online. Portland Ward 1, Cumberland, Maine, ED , roll T624_539, part , page .. Record for Edward E Cheney.

Bessie J. Cheney tombstone,  Evergreen Cemetery, Portland (Cumberland County), Maine; photographed by Pamela Schaffner on 8 August 2009.

Maine. Certificate of Death (15 Aug 1958), Bessie Judson Cheney; Maine Vital Records, Augusta; photocopied from microfilm, received in the mail Jan 25, 2013.

"Maine, Marriages, 1771-1907," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F4DP-2YX : accessed 17 Aug 2014), Edward E. Cheney and Bessie Judson Mccain, 19 Feb 1902; citing Portland, Cumberland, Maine, reference 122; FHL microfilm 12027.

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This is the 33rd in a series, “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks,” coordinated by Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

52 Ancestors: #32 William S. Libby (1829-1894)



William S. Libby, my third great grandfather, was born on this date in 1829, in Eddington, Maine, the second of seven children born to David L. Libby and Charlotte Stevens, and their first son.

At the age of 25, William married a single mother named Patience Miller, in Denmark, Maine, on August 12, 1854. By the 1860 Census, the couple, along with 16-year-old "Heneritta Libbey," were living in Bridgton, Maine. At some point after their marriage, William adopted Patience's daughter Henrietta.

In October of the following year, however, he left his young family, and enlisted in Company C of the 10th Maine Infantry Volunteers, known as the "Portland Light Guard," which was being reorganized and raised in Portland. He lasted until March of 1862, when he was discharged "on account of disease."

10th Maine Flag preserved  in the Maine State Museum

As often happened to military units during the Civil War, portions of the remaining 10th Maine were transferred to the 29th Maine, and William re-enlisted in Company C on December 17, 1863. This enlistment lasted until July of 1864, when he was mustered out  "at hospital." One wonders if this indicates a recurrence of the prior illness.

By 1870, the 40-year-old William was back in Bridgton, where he lived for the next 24 years, working variously in a sawmill and a tannery.

William S. Libby died in Bridgton on November 10th, 1894, at the age of 65, and is buried in High Street Cemetery there. I will be traveling there this fall to visit his grave.




Sources:

1850 US Census; Census Place: Bridgton, Cumberland,Maine; Roll: M432_251; Page: 277A; Image: 251, Patience Miller, age 24, and Heneryetta Miller, age 7.

1850 US Census; Census Place: Clifton, Penobscot, Maine; Roll: M432_264; Page: 281A; Image: 565, William Libbey.

1860 US Census; Census Place: Bridgton, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M653_437; Page: 28; Image: 717; Family History Library Film: 803437, William S. Libbey.

1870 US Census; Census Place: Bridgton, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M593_539; Page: 19B; Image: 43; Family History Library Film: 552038, William S. Libby.

1880 US Census; Census Place: Bridgton, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: 477; Family History Film: 1254477; Page: 41A; Enumeration District: 023; Image: 0332, Wm. S. Libby.

1890 Veterans Schedule; Census Place: Bridgton, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: 6; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 30, William S. Libby.

Ancestry.com. Maine, Death Records, 1617-1922 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

Ancestry.com. U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

Gould, John Mead. History of the First-Tenth-Twenty-ninth Maine regiment. In service of the United States from May 3, 1861, to June 21, 1866. By Major John M. Gould. With the history of the Tenth Me. Battalion, by Rev. Leonard g. Jordan. Portland (Me.): S. Berry, 1871, p.319.

Historical Data Systems, comp. U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.

Historical Data Systems, comp.. American Civil War Soldiers [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999.

Libby, Charles Thornton. The Libby Family in America, 1602-1881 (Portland, B. Thurston and Co., 1881), p. 524.

"Maine, State Archive Collections, 1718-1957", index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/246J-GCD : accessed 10 Aug 2014), William S Libby, 1863.

"Maine, State Archive Collections, 1718-1957," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-21942-24999-30?cc=1877829 : accessed 10 Aug 2014), Maine > Military Records-Civil War > Civil War soldiers index Lavington, Joseph-Littlefield, George W., 1861-1865 > image 1102 of 1409; citing State Archives, Augusta.

"Maine, Veterans Cemetery Records, 1676-1918," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-26281-45009-30?cc=1985567 : accessed 10 Aug 2014), King Philip's War to Spanish-American War > Jeffers-Lyman, H. > image 2931 of 3746; citing State Archives, Augusta.

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This is the 32nd in a series, “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks,” coordinated by Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small.

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