Saturday, May 21, 2016

My 64 ~ Researching My 4th Great Grandparents : Simon Packard and Nancy Jordan

My fourth great grandfather, Simon Packard, was born around 1803, in Minot, Maine. He is likely the son of Nehemiah Packard and Betsy Bennett Bray. Nehemiah enlisted as a 14 year old drummer boy in the Revolutionary War, and served along with his father Reuben and his brother Ichabod. The family had migrated from Bridgewater, Massachusetts, to Minot, Maine, perhaps as a result of being granted Bounty land as veterans.

Minot, Maine, and neighboring towns

Nancy Jordan, my 4th great grandmother, was born in Durham, Maine, sometime around 1806, the daughter of Jedediah Jordan and Rachel Turner. She was the 3d great granddaughter of Rev. Robert Jordan and Sarah Winter, who settled on Richmond Island, off present-day Cape Elizabeth, Maine, in the mid-1600's.

Simon and Nancy were married in Minot on January 2, 1831, as the third hand-written record of "Marriages Returned by James Goff, Esq." shows.

Simon and Nancy had eight children, all born in Kingfield, in Franklin County, Maine:

Cyrus, b. 1834
Harriet, b. 1836
Hannah, b. 1837
William, b. 1839
Matilda, b. 1844*
James, b. 1847
Olive, b. 1849
Joseph, b. 1851

*My 3rd great grandmother

Their oldest son, William, my 3rd great grand uncle, enlisted in the Massachusetts Infantry, and fought at Gettysburg.

William H. Packard,  1840-1897

During the next 50 years, Simon and Nancy lived in small towns in Franklin County, Kingfield (1840), Freeman (1850 and 1860), Salem (1870), and back in Freeman (1880), where Simon was a farmer.

By 1880, both of them were considered elderly, and financially destitute. In column 16 of the regular 1880 Census for Freeman, Nancy is noted as being blind. They both appear in the 1880 Supplemental Census for the "Defective, Dependent and Delinquent Classes," in this case, for the "Pauper and Indigent." They were supported at the expense of the Town.

Following this enumeration, the whereabouts of Simon and Nancy Packard is unknown. There are no records of their death or burial, and their graves have not been found.

Two of their children, Hannah and Joseph, were living in neighboring Kingfield during this time, died in Kingfield, and are buried there. Perhaps their parents were buried ignominiously there. Oftentimes in Maine during the 1800's, the poor suffered all kinds of shame.

"To be poor in 19th century Maine could mean suffering all kinds of indignities, but the final degradation often came at death.

With no family to assume responsibility, and towns ready to finally cash in on the liability they had assumed, paupers' cadavers were crated and sold to the medical school at Brunswick's Bowdoin College"
-- "19th century poverty full of indigities," by Sandy Gregor, staff writer, Lewiston Sun-Journal, June 14, 1997

Sadly, their ultimate resting place may never be known.


1840 US Census; Census Place: Kingfield, Franklin, Maine; Roll: 140; Page: 69; Image: 143; Family History Library Film: 0009703.

1850 US Census; Census Place: Freeman, Franklin, Maine; Roll: M432_253; Page: 225B; Image: 436.

1860 US Census; Census Place: Freeman, Franklin, Maine; Roll: M653_435; Page: 838; Image: 253; Family History Library Film: 803435.

1870 US Census; Census Place: Salem, Franklin, Maine; Roll: M593_543; Page: 186A; Image: 192251; Family History Library Film: 552042

1880 US Census; Census Place: Freeman, Franklin, Maine; Roll: 479; Family History Film: 1254479; Page: 440C; Enumeration District: 072; Image: 0637.

"Norlands Seminar: 19th century poverty full of indignities," by Sandy Gregor. Lewiston (Me.) Sun-Journal, June 14, 1997; accessed 4 May 2016 ( U.S. Federal Census - 1880 Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

Borders of Auburn, Androscoggin, Maine, USA, on a map of Androscoggin County. Familysearch Research Wiki, based on original in Michael J. Leclerc, Genealogist's Handbook for New England Research, 5th ed. (Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2012), 90. (

Early Vital Records of Minot, Maine, pp. 58, 98, emailed to me from Lucille Hodsdon, 8 Oct 2012.

Jordan, Tristram Frost, comp. The Jordan Memorial: Family Records of the Rev. Robert Jordan, and His Descendants in America. Boston: Press of David Clapp & Son, 1882, pp.363-364.

Maine, Marriages, 1771-1907," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 4 June 2012), Simon Packard and Nancy Jordan, 1831.

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