Sunday, June 23, 2013

Digging Under My Brick Wall (Part 3) - Lyman and Sarah Seavey of Whitefield, New Hampshire

It has been quite some time since I have written about the children of my brick wall ancestor, Jonathan Seavey (1795-1858), of Bridgton, Maine, my second great grandfather. See Digging Under My Brick Wall (Part 1) and Digging Under My Brick Wall (Part 2).

In an attempt to investigate Jonathan's origins (I believe he was born in New Hampshire) and his parentage, I have been working on another of his children, his son Lyman.

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: Maine, Birth Records, 1621-1922 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

Year: 1850; Census Place: Bridgton, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M432_251; Page: 290B; Image: 278.

Year: 1860; Census Place: Whitefield, Coos, New Hampshire; Roll: M653_669; Page: 958; Image: 236.

Year: 1860; Census Place: Littleton, Grafton, New Hampshire; Roll: M653_670; Page: 313; Image: 318.

Year: 1870; Census Place: Whitefield, Coos, New Hampshire; Roll: M593_839; Page: 213A; Image: 432.

Year: 1880; Census Place: Whitefield, Coos, New Hampshire; Roll: 762; Page: 213A; Enumeration District: 045; Image: 0427. U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. History of Coös County, New Hampshire [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005., 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 ( : accessed 21 June 2013).

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

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wednesday's Child ~ Young Stephen Henry Leighton of West Cumberland, Maine

Stephen H.L. tombstone, West Cumberland Church/Universalist Cemetery, West Cumberland (Cumberland County), Maine; photographed by Pamela Schaffner on 29 Aug 2011.

Stephen Henry Leighton was born November 16, 1834, and passed away at 12 1/2 years of age, on May 8, 1847. He was the second of 13 children, and first son, born to Robert and Cynthia (Morse) Leighton of West Cumberland, Maine. As such, he was my 2d great grandfather's brother. He is buried in the "Universalist churchyard,"* commonly referred to as the West Cumberland Church/Univeralist Cemetery on the Gray Road. I have not found out how or why he died.

*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. 284.

Friday, June 7, 2013

When DAD Spelled Delicious

Here's a great clipping from the Portland Press Herald* publicizing the annual DAD dinner at Stevens Avenue Congregational Church in Portland, Maine. I'm guessing this is around 1965, since Lawrence Bustin, my great uncle, died in 1969. This is how I remember him.

Stevens Avenue Congregational Church is where my mother went to Sunday School and sang in the Choir.  The wife of  Dorrance A. Douglas, for whom this dinner was named, was Virginia Douglas, and she was the Choir Director. My mother says that whenever she sang off key, Virginia would slide her foot off the organ pedal and kick my mother in the shin!

Look at those heaping plates of food!

 370 people in less than 2 hours!

Now that's a church suppa!!

*from my great grandmother's crumbling scrapbook

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday's Obituary ~ They Cleared the Land on Which He Wed

This obituary is from my great grandmother's scrapbook of newspaper clippings, which is quite tattered and crumbly. Undoubtedly, it appeared in a newspaper from Down East, perhaps from Truro. It would not surprise me if she had these clippings, if not the entire newspaper, mailed to her in the States, so that she could keep up with family "down home."

As the obituary so eloquently states, John W. MacKay was the eldest son of my third great grandparents, Alexander and Eleanor Mackay. making him my 2d great great uncle. He was the brother of my great great grandmother, Isabella "Bella" Fulton MacKay, of whom I have written earlier.

I love the floral language of this obituary, like "passed away very peacefully,"
"he leaves to mourn the loss," and "he spoke a word of comfort to the bereaved ones," and, lastly, "a profusion of flowers showed to what esteem our neighbor was held."

John William Mackay (1866-1945) is buried in the Burnt Hill Cemetery, Upper Stewiacke, Colchester County, Nova Scotia, along with his wife of 50 years, the former Emma Jane Deyarmond.

J. William MacKay tombstone, Burnt Hill Cemetery, Burnside, Upper Stewiacke, Colchester County, Nova Scotia, Canada (  : accessed 27 May 2013.)


Below is a portrait of the Alexander MacKay family. This eldest son is standing in the middle back, to the right of my great great grandmother Isabella.