Saturday, March 30, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 30 ~ "Paddle Your Own Canoe"

Mattie Leighton
My Grandmother
circa 1925


And, written in my Great Aunt Beck's autograph book that same year by her mother,
my great grandmother, Melvina Hamilton Bustin:



Love many
Trust fun
And always
Paddle your own canoe






Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 29 ~ A Genealogy Trading Card of Aunt Beck




Female Ancestor Trading Card made at Big Huge Labs.


Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 28 ~ “Grandmothers Are Just Antique Little Girls”

When I think about my grandmothers’ best girlfriends, a couple of women come to mind.

For my Grammy Bustin, Harriet Bustin, I think about her dear friend Helen Driscoll. Harriet and Helen were friends from childhood. They attended Portland High School together, and stayed friends into adulthood. They played bridge together, had mutual friends, and, in later years, their daughters became friends.

For my Grammy Seavey, Mattie Seavey, Lib (for Elizabeth) Gray was that close friend, a young divorced mother who met my grandmother when they were neighbors on Pine Street in South Portland. Lib’s son Donald actually stayed with my grandparents for a while during that turbulent divorcing time. And, similarly, Don and my dad remained friends their whole lives.

I wish I had pictures of these two women who played such major roles in my respective grandmothers’ lives. I have found these pictures from Grammy Seavey’s scrapbook, showing her with some girlfriends from her youth.












Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 27 ~ Bella At the Border

Immigration in my family, at least on my well-documented maternal side, meant “coming to the States” from Canada.

Even though I have recently reached far enough back to discover American colonials who went on to settle in the frontier Maritimes, it is the migration from the Stewiacke Valley of Nova Scotia to Portland, Maine, that I wish to focus on here.

As outlined in prior posts, and described under the Tab above, three Hamilton women accompanied their soon-to-be Bustin husbands to the States in the early 1910’s. Their husbands went to work on the Maine Central Railroad, and they started their families
.
It wasn’t until twenty years later, however, about a year before the birth of my mother, that my recently widowed great great grandmother, Isabella Fulton MacKay, decided it was finally time to “come to the States.”

The following manifest card1documents Bella’s crossing the border at Vanceboro, Maine, on October 30, 1930. She is a 65-year old woman, born in East Jordan, Nova Scotia. She was coming from Upper Stewiacke, Nova Scotia, and she was bound for Portland, Maine.

The name of her nearest relative at her destination was her son, Daniel G. Hamilton, my great great uncle, who was living at 67 College St. in Portland at the time. Her departure contact was George B. Hamilton, in Upper Stewiacke, N.S., my great great uncle Brad.





I haven’t pinned down just how long Bella stayed in Portland. At the time of her death in 1945, she was back in the Stewiacke Valley.



Left to right: Melvina, Ross, Marilyn (in arms), Bella
circa 1932

1Ancestry.com. Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1954 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.




Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 26 ~ Getting That MRS Degree…NOT!

Last week, Gloria Steinem visited my alma mater, Simmons College, in Boston, for the first time in 40 years.* Reading about her visit brought back wonderful memories of my four years at the College on the Fenway, and what a very big deal it was for my family for me to pursue a college education. That’s because I was the first person in my family, let alone first woman, to go.**

For my mother, it was simply out of the question for financial reasons. Raised in a blue-collar family, she may have had some aspirations to attend nearby Westbrook Junior College, on Stevens Avenue, in Portland, but it was a pipe dream at best. She had worked summers at Cushman’s Bakery during high school, and returned there following graduation in 1949.

As for my grandmothers, my maternal grandmother briefly attended Gray’s Business College in Portland, according to her engagement announcement. Beyond that, the whole concept of attending college was completely foreign to my family's way of life.

So you can imagine the novelty of taking a child to the big city in the fall of 1973, settling her into a dormitory room with two strangers, and driving back up the Maine Turnpike without me!

At least they assuaged their anxieties somewhat. Before leaving Boston, they decided to take in a Red Sox game. As they sat there waiting for the game to begin, wondering what I was doing, their conversation was overheard by another couple seated behind them. They too, ironically enough, had just dropped their own daughter off at Simmons College!

Father-Daughter Weekend
South Hall
Simmons College
[Yours Truly 5th from left, Dad 6th from left]


Graduation Day
May 22, 1977









* Ms. Steinem was the first recipient of the Doctorate of Human Justice from Simmons College in 1973 (just before my freshman year).

** My great grandfather Wylie H. Smith graduated from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.





Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.



Monday, March 25, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 25 ~ A Tale of Two Grammys

I was fortunate to grow up with both my grandmothers, my paternal Grammy Seavey (Mattie) and my maternal Grammy Bustin (Harriet).

Although they were both very loving and supportive of me during my growing up years, I couldn’t help observing how they interacted with their own children (my parents and my aunts). And, as the oldest grandchild who tended to gravitate more to her elders than to her own siblings, I was privy to much family lore about times gone by.

Harriet grew up in a very loving family and was particularly close to her mother. In raising her two daughters, she extended that closeness as well as she could.  My mother was her firstborn and the first grandchild of her generation, so she held a very special place in the family. As such, she was, to a great degree, favored over her sister, my Aunt Norma.

Norma came along a full ten years after my mother, and, I believe, always suffered in my mother’s shadow. Perhaps, as a result, she was more rebellious as a young girl, and ran into difficulties with school and dating.  The challenge of raising two very different daughters took it’s toll on Grammy Bustin over the years. She was a woman with a very big heart, and always tried to treat each of her children equally. She would want to believe she succeeded.

My Two Grammys
Harriet and Mattie

Mattie grew up estranged from her mother, and was raised by her maiden aunt. Although it was a unique upbringing, I believe she was happy as a child. As a young woman entering a marriage, she was probably in awe of the whole prospect of raising a family. But there was no question that she favored my father.

Mattie was definitely a boy-favoring mother, and was known to express the hope that my own mother would have the somehow distinctive joy of having a son. She talked a lot about my dad’s childhood, toys he had and activities he enjoyed.  My dad and Grammy Seavey frequently talked on the telephone, although my dad rarely used the phone otherwise.There seemed to be a son-worship going on at times, whereas I didn’t feel there was a strong mother-daughter bond between her and her daughter Pauline, my aunt. Throughout the subsequent difficulties Pauline endured in her adult life, I never felt that my grandmother lent much support and comfort. Perhaps there was none to give.

I spent many overnights throughout my childhood at both of my Grammys' houses. Although I always had a wonderful time, the experiences were totally different. Interestingly, my two Grammys were born at opposite ends of 1906,  but brought from their own childhoods two very different modes of mothering.




Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 24 ~ She Could Never Disown Me




My Mother
Marilyn Louise Bustin Seavey
21 years old



Yours Truly
Pamela Gayle Seavey Schaffner
22 years old


SEE WHAT I MEAN ?!




Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 23 ~ The Dash Between the Years


The following Timeline from my FTM2012 software shows my grandmother's life juxtaposed against world events. She was born in the era of Model T's, and was a child during the first World War.

She married at the beginning of the Depression, and, by so doing, found herself raising a family in financial hardship, with her husband having a difficult time holding a job. As such, as I later learned from my father, they moved around quite a bit, from one rent to the next, until finally buying a house in South Portland.

Her son, my father, just missed serving in World War II, but she saw her grandchildren grow up during the turbulent years of political assassinations and Vietnam.



Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 22 ~ Three Brides for Three Brothers


Lights! Camera! Action!

If Hollywood were EVER to come calling, the best family saga to bring to the Silver Screen would be the story of how the 3 Hamilton sisters from Nova Scotia, Vina, Cassie, and Nessie, met and married the 3 Bustin brothers from New Brunswick, Fred, Tom, and Ben. You can read how the Portland Evening Express and Advertiser covered these nuptials in 1910 at the Page Tab above.

And, because MY great grandparents tied the knot first, let's have Jane Powell play Vina and have Howard Keel play Fred !! 





Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 21 ~ Our Bodies Ourselves

Sometimes we don't appreciate how far we've come in women's health awareness. It is hard to believe that just two generations ago, many women had no concept of how their bodies functioned, especially in the reproductive arena.

For example, my mother's generation of mothers was routinely anesthetized during childbirth, and was discouraged from breastfeeding their newborns. But in the next generation backward, female reproduction matters were cloaked in mystery and manners.

Apparently, according to my mother's version of events, she found herself counseling and reassuring her own mother-in-law over my grandmother's impending hysterectomy.

She had taken my grandmother to see a doctor, perhaps a general practitioner, or maybe a gynocologist. There may have been menapausal symptions. In any event, my mother was called back to the doctor's examining room, because my grandmother seemed a bit baffled.

Who's to say how she understood the process by which a woman became pregnant, and subsequently gave birth. Who knows what kind of instruction ("sex education?") she had ever been given as a young woman.  She was probably being introduced to several terms she had never heard before.

As the afternoon following the appointment wore on, the only recourse my mother found was to patiently wait for me to come home from school. Knowing that I would have my Biology textbook packed in my backpack, she explained to my grandmother that it would show her, in pictures and diagrams, what she couldn't possibly imagine back when this picture was taken.


Mattie Leighton Seavey holding my dad as an infant




Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 20 ~ In Search of Mary Ross

I am thrilled to have been able to purchase from the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick this copy of the Marriage Bonds of my 2nd great grandparents, Samuel J. Bustin and Mary Ross, I will have to dig deeper to find Mary's parents. She apparently lived in Mechanic Settlement when they were married, but I haven't found an online birth record. So it seems that another dive into the Canadian censuses is in order. Fortunately, they are available online at Automated Genealogy.  Off I go! Wish me luck!








Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 19 ~ Hidden In Her Daughter's Obituary



Harriet Atwood Harnett (1838-1905),  is my 2nd great grandmother.  She married John McCain in Florenceville, New Brunswick, in 1875.  But it wasn't until I found her daughter's, my great grandmother's, obituary in the Portland Press Herald, last summer, that I realized she had an earlier married life.

As I dissected Bertie's obituary, I noticed a few names that made no sense to me. Evelyn and Harriet were familiar to me as Bertie's daughters. Bessie J. McCain was her sister, and J. Frazier McCain was her brother.. But who was this other sister Annie Burtt? And a brother, E.W. Boyer, where did he come from?




One of my favorite genealogical sources is Daniel F. Johnson's New Brunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics, 1784-1890, accessible through the Public Archives of New Brunswick. It was there that I found a piece from the Saint John Christian Visitor, announcing the 1870 passing, at age 33, of Edward Wheeler Boyer of Florenceville. He left a wife and two children.

The widow ended up being Harriet and her two children, Edward W. and Anna Belle. My 2nd great grandmother had been married twice!

(Annie went on to marry Winslow Jordan Burtt, and they had a very famous son. But that's fodder for a future blog post.)





Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 18 ~ Her Perfect Arrangement

My great aunt, Evelyn Smith Brown (1904-1978), was my grandmother’s sister. When I was growing up, she and my Uncle Winston lived on Lawn Avenue, in South Portland. They didn’t have any children of their own, but always welcomed us into their home for holiday gatherings, and we visited with them frequently.

My memories of those visits are filled with images of china cabinets full of porcelain figurines, an old white upright piano perfect for little kids to bang out simple songs, and a cuckoo clock that never failed to delight.

What I never appreciated as a child about “Auntie” was her talent for flower arranging.  She belonged to the local chapter of the Osawantha Garden Club and took great pride in her flower gardens. I remember an afternoon during my Girl Scouting days, when I was trying to earn one badge or another, and I was dropped off at her house so that she could teach me how make an arrangement for myself. As with so many talented people, of course, she ended up doing the whole thing herself!

Evelyn Brown took great pride in her flower arrangements and won numerous prizes like this one.







Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 17 ~ Like Mother, Like Daughter

Being surrounded by people, whether as a hostess, a member of a service organization, or just spending their leisure time with family and friends, has been, and continues to be for my mother, the most fulfilling aspect of life, for both my grandmother, Harriet Bustin, and my mother, Marilyn Bustin Seavey.

Harriet Bustin
1953


Harriet was an enthusiastic homemaker, hosting many holiday gatherings at 24 Mayfield Street. She was active as a member of the women’s Ever-Ready Club of Immanuel Baptist Church, and played Bridge regularly with women friends she had known all her life.

From her days at Deering High School, Marilyn has always loved to participate in social activities and endeavors.  She has always been on, and has occasionally chaired, the Reunion Committee for the DHS Class of 1949. Church groups, South Portland PTO’s, Eastern Star (which she joined so she could come to our Rainbow Girl meetings!), as well as couples groups, where she and my father loved to dance to those Big Band tunes, have kept her active and committed all her life.


Marilyn Seavey
[center]
promoting a PTO school fair
for Henley School


There is nothing my mother loves more than feeding people (she actually ran a small catering business out of her home for a while).  Following one of my church camp sessions, she helped me organize a winter reunion of campers and counselors at our church. Out of the church kitchen, with very little help, she fed the whole bunch of us  - breakfast, lunch, and dinner - for the whole weekend!








Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 16 ~ Chicken Croquettes with Grammy Bustin

It’s been an fun-filled overnight stay at Grammy and Grandpa Bustin’s, on Mayfield Street in Morrill’s Corner. Maybe it was by request (both ours and theirs), or maybe Mom and Dad just needed a break.

We’ve probably played Solitaire, worked a jigsaw puzzle, or played “Store,” with pictures of groceries cut out from magazines and coins made out of cardboard disks.

But the real treat is yet to come. Grandpa has gone off to work, leaving Grammy bus fare for us to go downtown, do a little shopping at the “5 and 10,” and eat lunch in a real restaurant!

We walk up to the Corner to catch the bus, making sure we push the walk light before we cross, and always remembering to hold hands with Grammy as we venture across the busy intersection. It doesn’t take long for the Portland Coach bus to convey us down Forest Avenue, then up to Congress Street, for our big outing downtown.

After picking out some special treat, maybe a pretty necklace, or a set of barrettes for our hair, it’s off to lunch at The Puritan! And the counter just won’t do; it will be a booth for us, with water, and a waitress!
.


Grammy is always so friendly to the waitress, chatting with her about how long she’s worked there, and whom she might know. It doesn’t take me long to decide. It’s always Chicken Croquettes.




There’s probably some red or green Jello on the side, along with the standard green vegetable, and usually mashed potatoes (no French Fries back then). We’re always complimented for how nice we look, and how well behaved we’ve been, and Grammy is so proud to show us off.

The meal is presented to each of us in turn, the croquettes crunchy on the outside, but moist and delicious inside, and dripping with gravy. I gobble mine up, thinking this is the best meal ever.

And, we still have that thrill of a bus ride back to Mayfield Street, and the excitement of telling Grandpa all about our Big Day!




Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 15 ~ Nana's Wordle Tribute



Melvina "Vina" Jane Hamilton Bustin
(1886-1974)



As A Young Woman


As I Remember Her At 80
1966





Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 14 ~ Shot at Shin Pond


When family tales revolved around my dad’s side, and mention was made of his cousin Charlotte Seavey Rigby, he would always say “She was shot at Shin Pond.”

The background to this unusual event was never fully explained at that time, and I have hesitated to pry too much into the details which led to this sad news item appearing in the December 9, 1975 Portsmouth Herald.



Suffice it to say, it was winter in northern Penobscot County, Maine, and perhaps no one will ever know the whole story.




Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 13 ~ She Buried A Child At Sea

I only have a couple of family lines that can be traced “across the pond” so far. My Smith lineage is fairly well documented back to Nathaniel Smith and Elizabeth Duck, who came from Yorkshire, England, and settled in Nova Scotia.

I can’t even imagine sailing across the Atlantic in a brig the size of the Albion. But, three years earlier, in 1771, my Hamilton ancestors left Ireland behind, and my 5th great grandmother, Agnes “Nancy” Ferguson Hamilton lost a newborn baby during the voyage.

Accounts differ as to the birth of little Archibald Hamilton. One says mid-March, while the family’s arrival in Halifax also mentions March of the same year.

They sailed on the aptly named brig “The Hope,” Robert, Nancy, five children, Robert’s younger brother Hants and at least one nephew. And, somewhere during the arduous voyage, in a private corner of the ship, Nancy gave birth to her fourth son.

There is no account that I have yet discovered as to the cause of baby Archibald’s death. Whether illness, malnutrition due to the health of his mother, or accident, it must have been a very traumatic event for Nancy, the entire family, and the crew as well.




An account of a typical service for an infant burial at sea reads thusly:

'' A little child died last night and was buried today … the little body was sewn up in a bag, and laid on the grating of the main hatch, covered with a Union Jack. At 10 a.m. all hands were called up to attend the funeral. A few boards were laid from the ship's side to the long boat. The boatswain stood on the boards, the little body before him stretched on a piece of plank, still covered by the Union Jack. The boatswain had hold of the plank in one hand and the flag in the other. The doctor read the service over the body, and at the word of command the sailor pulled off the flag and tipped up the plank, and, amidst the tears of some and the sigh of many, the little thing was launched into the deep, and in a moment was lost to sight, and in ten minutes all things were going on as before.”

Source of quote: British Deaths At Sea.



Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 12 ~ Mattie at the Switchboard

Very few of my female ancestors worked outside the home, unless you count domestic work, like housekeeping in wealthier families’ homes. And, but for an early widowhood, my grandmother never would have felt it necessary.

But when my grandfather died suddenly and without warning in 1956, Mattie Seavey was a widow at age 50.  Whether it was financial necessity, or simply out of boredom, she went to work at the Portland Press Herald as a telephone operator.

Since she didn’t drive, that meant taking the bus to and from Cottage Road, in South Portland, in town to the newspaper office. Although we lived relatively close by, I don’t have any memory of my father taking her in or picking her up, although he may have done so, if the weather was bad. 

I do have memories of her describing how the operators had to pronounce the word for the number 9: enunciating clearly, almost like “ni-en.” It always made me laugh.







Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 11 ~ Gone Too Soon


[ This post originally was written for Digging Down East
 on February 4, 2013]




Annie Virginia Bustin was born on March 3, 1913, the second daughter of Tom and Catherine (Cassie) Bustin, in Portland, Maine. Tom and Cassie were one of 3 couples described above on the page:

“3 Brothers Marry 3 Sisters”

As the newspaper account relays,Tom had followed his brother Fred, my great grandfather, to the States from New Brunswick to work on the Maine Central Railroad.

BustinTom1920Cen


The 1920 Portland Census shows the family renting at 1245 Forest Avenue, Tom (the father), Catherine (the mother), Eva (8), Annie (6), Bernice (Bunny) (5), and Leslie (Let) (4 1/2).
.
Anne Bustin


By 1930, the two eldest daughters were looking ahead to graduating from Deering High School. Eva would be a member of the Class of 1930, and Annie would follow next in 1931.

BustinTom1930Cen

It was only a few days after Annie graduated from high school that it was announced that she and Stanley Grant, a young man from Peaks Island, had run off to Portsmouth, New Hampshire (the Gretna Green of its day), to be married.

GrantBustinWeddingAnn-a
Marriage Of Early June Is
Announced By Bride’s Parents

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas H. Bustin of Forest Avenue announce the marriage of their daughter, Miss Anne Virginia Bustin, to S. Kenneth Grant, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Grant of A Street, Peaks Island. The marriage took place June 1 in Portsmouth, N.H.
Mrs. Grant was graduated last week from the Deering High School and Mr. Grant attended Portland High School. He is employed a the A.H. Benoit Co.


There is a suspicion that she had become pregnant and therefore felt the pressure to make the union legal, as was customary for that day.  If that is in fact what happened, then the story of Annie’s short life is especially tragic.

Her death record tells the sad story of Annie Bustin contracting Encephalitis Lethargica, otherwise known as “Sleepy Sickness,”



During the years of 1917 to the late 20’s and early 30’s, there was an epidemic of Encephalitis Lethargica in this country, running concurrently with the Spanish Flu, and frequently causing catatonia. Readers may recall the 1990 film “Awakenings,” which featured patients suffering from this disease.

Whatever Annie endured for over 40 days, the fact that she was 3 months pregnant complicated matters considerably, and she passed away on August 6, 1931, at the tender age of 18 years, 5 months, and 3 days, leaving a young grieving widower behind.

Annie Grant is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery, in Falmouth, Maine, with her parents, Tom and Cassie Bustin, and her sister Eva. Although Stanley Grant’s name in on the headstone, I believe he did indeed remarry and is probably not buried there.

IMG_0288

IMG_0287a






Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 10 ~ Keepin’ The Faith

One could make the argument that the most religious ancestor I have is my great grandfather, Wylie Herbert Smith (1874-1952), an ordained Baptist preacher.

It stands to reason, then, that my great grandmother, Bertha “Bertie” McCain Smith (1882-1930), would instill a religious fervor in their two daughters.

I do know that their younger daughter, Harriet, my grandmother, was a very active member of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Portland, even though my grandfather wouldn’t be caught dead in the place!

I have very fond memories of attending the annual Mother-Daughter Dinner in the social hall at Emmanuel, along with my grandmother, my mother, my two sisters, my Aunt Norma, and my cousin. Following a three course dinner, there was always a program afterward, possibly an author, or a piano player, or a puppeteer.  We would dutifully stand as the roll was called for “Most Generations Present,” and my grandmother would just beam.

Emmanuel was in downtown Portland (my grandmother may have taken the bus, or been dropped off by my grandfather for Sunday services or Ever-ready Club meetings), and so my mother went to Sunday School at Stevens Avenue Congregational Church, a church she could walk to in Morrill’s Corner. It was there she also attended Pilgrim Fellowship (youth group), sang in the Choir, and where she would be married.

It wasn’t long after they were married that my mother joined my father’s church in South Portland, First Congregational Church, on Meeting House Hill.  As a young mother, she readily became active in this burgeoning congregation. She taught Sunday School, attended women's guild meetings, and helped organize such events at the Antique Show and the Annual Holy Daze Bazaar.






Since my father frequently worked at the Bakery on Sundays, there were many wintry mornings when she would traipse all four of us up that snowy hill to attend church and Sunday School. As the years went by, she encouraged us to be active in church activities, be confirmed, participate in youth activities, and attend church camp.

When she can get a ride, she attends services and meetings to this day.





Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 9 ~ A Necessary Marriage

[ This post originally was written for Digging Down East
 on May 25, 2011
 for Wedding Wednesday]


When this couple "had to" get married around the turn of the century, it took a trip to New Hampshire to tie the knot. The whole episode was hushed up all around, and there were doubts over the years about whether it had really taken place. One small proof existed, however, and she was my grandmother.


You see, Mark Leighton and Alice Lovell were cousins. Mark's mother Lillian and Alice's mother Louisa were sisters.

The 1900 Portland, Maine, Census shows that they lived together at 221 Sherwood St., in the East Deering neighborhood of Portland.

"Lillian Leighton, Head of Household, age 35
Maude Leighton, age 17
Mark Leighton, age 14
Mattie Crilley (Lillian's mother), age 56
Alice Lovell, age 16"

Five years later, in 1905, Mark was 19 and Alice was 20, and Alice was pregnant. The child, my grandmother, was born January 5, 1906.

I am fortunate to have in my possession the original "Certificate of Marriage," and have been able to corroborate it with another record of the marriage, from New Hampshire Marriage Records, 1637-1947.










Both Mark and Alice went on to re-marry, Mark in 1921 and Alice in 1909. Both of them had large families their second time around. My grandmother, Mattie Louise Leighton (1906-1987), was left to be raised by her maiden aunt Pauline. Because she was older than her step-siblings, they assumed/were told she was their aunt.

A bittersweet wedding tale to be sure.




Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.



Friday, March 8, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 8 ~ A Letter of Condolence

This letter was written to my great grandmother (Aunt Vina) by her niece Anna, following the death of her daughter Vesta in 1964.  It expressed her heartfelt sympathy to her aunt and uncle on the passing of their only daughter at age 56.

In these words, I hear the strong, resilient spirit of the women from “down home,” “Down East,” from whom I am descended. The unwavering determination to face all of life’s trials with courage and faith, and a philosophy about death that allows you to continue on with the living - traits I have seen exhibited many times in the women of my family.  We have endured the passing of two members of my family tree since the beginnings of this blog. Anna’s words echo through the years, offering comfort, understanding, and love.




Vina outlived her daughter Vesta by 10 years. Anna, a year older than Vesta, died in 1986, at the age of 89.




Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 7 ~ Recipes In Their Head

How many times have I called my mother to ask for a recipe, only to hear her say, “I don’t have the recipe written down; it’s in my head.”?

Both my mother and my grandmother were excellent cooks. Nothing exotic or complicated; just good home-cooked meals for growing families and family gatherings.

There were always sweets in our house growing up - a batch of homemade cookies or squares at an arm’s length.

Here are a couple of sweet recipes: my grandmother’s  Never Fail Chocolate Cake, and my mother’s Rhubarb Pie (still made by request).





I really cannot explain why it was called "Never Fail" Chocolate Cake; maybe because it was from scratch. And I love the old name for margarine, oleo.





Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 6 ~ Heirlooms of the Heart

If there was one female ancestor of mine who embodied the sentimental attachment we frequently have for the objects we surround ourselves with throughout life, it would be my grandmother, Harriet Bustin. 

Fond memories of setting the dinner table at 24 Mayfield St., in Portland, include remembering to place Grammy’s “lucky plate” at her place, always pouring milk into a pitcher before putting it on the table, along with finding the glass in the DUZ detergent box, are mixed with regret that her diaries were hastily lost when she was moved to a nursing home.

Fortunately, I was able to rescue this set of nested bowls. They sure aren’t valuable in terms of money, but every time I use one, I think of Grammy Bustin.




And, although I neither play Bridge, nor cut bread up in shapes, I love that I have these aforementioned cutters from her kitchen.



Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Fearless Female Blog Post: March 5 ~ At the Corner of Bread and Cookies


My father, Dick Seavey, and my mother, Marilyn Bustin, met at a place I have written about before. And dear Cupid, in the guise of mutual friend, Winnie Cooper, found the perfect assignment at Cushman’s Bakery in Portland, Maine, in the early Spring of 1954.

Fresh out of the Navy, Dick was working in the Bread Room at the Bakery’s Store #5 at 107 Elm Street. Following a couple of summers working there during high school, and with no money for college, it was only natural for Marilyn to return to work there following graduation from Deering High School in 1949.

Having graduated from South Portland High School the same year, Dick knew many of the same people, many of whom would remain friends of theirs for years to come.



The above pictures were taken while they visited 
with Dick's sister and brother-in-law 
in their mobile home

While visiting Washington with friends that Spring, Marilyn sent Dick this postcard (postmarked March 29, 1954):


Dear Dick -
Hello again and how are you today? It is real warm here today. Just been shopping. Going to a show tonight. Don’t know if another letter will get to you before I do or not. Gee wiz, I really never knew I could miss anyone so much, but I do. Should be home by 6 Sunday night. I wish you would call me. If you want to that is. Hope you miss me a little. See you soon. Love, Marilyn”

I guess he did, because they were married the following September, and were married for 56 years.





Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.