Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Seavey-Dyer Cousins 1963

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Back Row: Steve Dyer, Robyn Seavey, Pamela Seavey (me)
Front Row: Howard Seavey, Ellen Dyer, Laura Seavey

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - 7 Point Pupil

During the 1930's and 40's, the Maine Public Health Association ran a program in the public schools called 7 Points of Health.  As part of this program, public health nurses would visit elementary school children around the state, checking each child in 7 different areas: teeth, hearing, vision, posture, throat, growth, and birth registration. The last category probably required the child to bring some documentation to school.

In those days, children did not visit pediatricians on a regular basis, like they do today.  Sometimes, this was the only means by which parents could gauge their child on his or her growth and development.

For successfully meeting the requirements each year, children were rewarded with a pin and a certificate.

This is my father's pin from Grade 3 at Hutchins School in South Portland, Maine.  He was 10 years old.

My father's colored 7-point star, with his picture pasted in the middle.

My father's Seven-Point Certificate.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Those Places Thursday - St. Barnabas Hospital

    In the Portland, Maine of the late 1920's and early 30's, there were several medical facilities founded by individual physicians, and, as such, were known as their "private hospitals."  My mother, for instance, was born in 1931 in Dr. Leighton's Private Hospital on Emery St. in Portland.

    Dr. William Lewis Cousins also founded his own hospital, Dr. Cousins' Private Hospital, which later was named St. Barnabas Hospital, where my father was born in 1930.

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As Harold Boyle described St. Barnabas, in the following 1978 "The Way It Was" article for the Press Herald, "many prominent Maine persons were born in it and it supplied the Woodfords area with its first emergency facilities."

Thank goodness my mother marked this clipping!
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Three stories marked by a distinctive cupola, it stood at 231 Woodfords St., opposite the present-day Woodfords Congregational Church.  As described by Michelle Souliere, on her great blog, Strange Maine, "the hospital boasted a terraced lawn, a broad, glass-enclosed sun parlor, an elevator, and refrigerator ice gleaned exclusively from Sebago Lake."

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Harlan Roscoe Mason

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Boston Daily Globe, 25 May 1916

According to Edna Warren Mason, on p.311 of her Descendants of Capt. Hugh Mason in America, (New Haven, Conn.:Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor, 1992):

   "Harlan Roscoe Mason (Capt. Hugh, John, John Jr., Jonas, Ebenezer, Willard, Samuel), son of Samuel and Jennet (Warren) Mason, born Buckfield, Maine, March 19, 1840, died Brockton, Mass., 1921*. Married North Bridgewater, Mass., March 1, 1869, Anna J. Seavey, born Bridgton, Maine, March 3, 1841, died Brockton, August 10, 1925, daughter of Jonathan and Mary (Blake) Seavey.
   Mr. Mason was a last maker, in politics a Republican, in religion a Universalist.
   No children."

Mr. Mason enlisted on July 22, 1864 and was mustered out on November 11th of the same year, according to U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, available on

Anna J. Seavey was actually born Julia Anne, the 6th child, and 4th daughter, of my 2nd great grandfather and his first wife. She married Mr. Mason in 1869, after the Civil War had ended
(Massachusetts Marriages, 1841-1915)

The mystery of his daughter, mentioned in the obituary, is still to be solved.

*Discrepancy in year with Globe article.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Depression Marriage

The Wedding of My Paternal Grandparents 
January 30, 1930

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Chestnut Street Methodist Church*

Chestnut Street Parish House

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  "The marriage of Miss Mattie L. Leighton of Deering Street to Howard C. Seavey of Brackett Street will be solemnized at 8:30 o'clock this morning in the parish house of the Chestnut Street Methodist Church.  The Rev. Ralph Stoody will use the double ring service and the couple will be unattended.
  Miss Leighton's gown will be of independence blue crepe with hat and shoes in harmony. She will wear a corsage of Ophelia roses and pink and orchid sweet peas.
  Miss Leighton, who has made her home with her aunt, Miss Pauline M. Lovell of Deering Street, was graduated from the Portland public schools and is employed by the New England Telephone & Telegraph Company.
  Mr. Seavey was graduated from the public schools of Bridgton and is employed at the postoffice (sic).
  Following a wedding trip to New York, Mr. and Mrs. Seavey will make their home at 271 Brackett Street."

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Marriage Solemnized

   "Mr. and Mrs. Howard C. Seavey (Miss Mattie L. Leighton) were married Thursday morning in the Chestnut Street Methodist Church parish house** by the Rev. Ralph Stoody.***"

*  Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. No longer a place of worship, but the home of Restaurant Grace.
**At that time, Rev. Ralph Stoody's Chestnut Street Church had a large and affluent congregation. To be married in the church may have been beyond Howard and Mattie's means.
*** Stoody later became quite prominent in the United Methodist Church in the area of church public relations (the Stoody-West Fellowship for Graduate Study in Journalism is named for him and Arthur West.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thrifty Thursday – Housewife Feeds Six for $25 Per Week

One day in the Spring of 1967, our mother told us that my sister Robyn, aged 10, and I, about to turn 12, would be included in a picture taken by a photographer from the Press Herald.  The reporter, a feature writer by the name of Lyn Liljeholm, had come by the house to interview her about raising a family of six by shopping and serving meals within a budget.

This picture brings back such wonderful memories!

The mirror where we always checked our appearance before heading off to school, the many “dish nights” in front of the kitchen sink (“do you want to wash or dry?”), the plaid thermos bottle Dad took in his lunchbox, the Peter Pan collars, the barrette in Robyn’s hair, even the old pencil sharpener (can you spot the handle?).


The article appeared on Page One (!) of the Portland Press Herald in April 1967 (this original glossy is stamped THU APR 13 1967, PRESS HERALD), but I only have the continuation:


It is a fascinating article to read, so I hope you take the time to do so. I’ve just re-read it to Mom, and she still has a great many of these recipes in her head. Who knows, it may provide some guidance in these tough economic times! As for me, I remember all the canned goods stored in the cellar way, and which we were sent to retrieve before supper. Desserts were always on hand (especially cookies), and many of her casseroles I still make today!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday – My Steeves Plate

I still have quite a bit of genealogical research to do on my Steeves ancestors, but I feel fortunate to have one of these plates.

Matthias Steeves was born in 1761. He died on May 21, 1848 He married Sophia Beck, and together they had 13 children. One of their nine sons, Jacob Steeves, was born on May 3, 1788.

Jacob and Eleanor Bleakney had four children. One of their two sons, William Bleakney Steeves, was born in 1823. He married his cousin Charlotte Steeves on October 22, 1846, and they had one daughter, Robina Elizabeth Steeves, born in Elgin, Albert County, New Brunswick, Canada.

Robina Steeves married James Henry Smith (who also had Steeves roots) on Nov. 3, 1873, and together they had 7 children, the eldest of which is my great grandfather, Wylie Herbert Smith.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Streetcar Named Wylie

Wylie Herbert Smith, my great grandfather, was born in New Brunswick on this day, September 12th, in 1874.  After some years as a Baptist minister, he worked as an electric streetcar conductor in Portland, Maine.1  This piece from the Portland Press Herald, from an April issue in the 1930’s, shows him with another conductor, enjoying a smile for the camera.

“Meeting The Cameraman
Suppose They Do?

The postman who went for a walk on his day off and the busman who went for a ride have had their praises sung by jokers long enough. There is a question to be asked. Do electric car operators take a car ride on their day of rest?
If they do, they have a chance to sit back and enjoy the route which they travel so many time aday (sic). They have a chance to sit back and enjoy nature, read the advertisements and size up the passengers. They know it is to wait for a car. And if they are in a hurry they know what it means to have to stop at every car-stop and take in or let off passengers.
Oh yes, they do all that. For all cars are alike, and every commuter or joy-rider knows it. But while they wait, the two here pictured, seem to find enough to amuse themselves. It’s all a part of the game though, so it might as well be taken good-naturedly.
As a little divertisement (sic) today, the two shown here will find that two tickets have been set aside for each of them at Keith’s2 today. Present this page at the box office for tickets to either performance.”

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1Electric street cars operated in Portland from 1892 to 1941.
2Keith’s Theater was located Congress and Preble Streets in Portland. Small-scale live performances and vaudeville acts were performed there. In 1939 its name changed to the Civic Theater.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Ross and Harriet Bustin

Married August 31, 1930
at the home of
Rev. Edward R. Nelson
Minister of Emmanuel Baptist Church
Portland, Maine

My Maternal Grandparents
Remembered With Love

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hamilton-Bustin-Noyes Graves in Pine Grove Cemetery

Today we found the graves of three of my Great Grandmother's sisters, along with their husbands. They are all buried in Pine Grove Cemetery, in Falmouth, Maine.

Graves of  Agnes Rachel Hamilton (Aunt Nessie) and Benjamin Bishop Bustin (Uncle Ben)

Graves of Catherine Margaret Hamilton (Aunt Cassie) and Thomas Herman Bustin (Uncle Tom)

Graves of Mary Ellen Hamilton and Edward Kent Noyes

To read the story of the 3 Bustin Brothers who married the 3 Hamilton Sisters, see the page marker above. Sister Mary married the Bustin Brothers' best friend, Ed Noyes.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Uncle Laurie

Lawrence Albert Bustin
Born August 21,1913
 Died January 12, 1969

Deering High School, Portland, Maine, 1931

Working at Deke's Drug Store, Morrill's Corner, Portland

Buried with wife Flora, Evergreen Cemetery, Portland

Friday, August 19, 2011

Will Bustin Liked August 19th!

William James Bustin was one of nine children born to Samuel James Bustin and Mary Elizabeth Ross. His brother, Frederick Parker Bustin, was one of his five brothers and my great grandfather.  The family lived in Mechanic Settlement, Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada.

According to the 1891 Census of Canada, Will Bustin was born August 19, 1872.

Will Bustin married Elizabeth "Lizzie" Maud Kyle on August 19, 1895.

Unfortunately, he didn't quite mark the date with his passing, as he died on August 6, 1947.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mappy Monday–Mrs. Seavey’s Place in 1871

Mrs. Harriet Cross (Libby) Seavey (1814-1891), my second great-grandmother, had been widowed for 13 years in 1871. Born in nearby Harrison, Maine, she was 19 years younger than her second husband, Jonathan, and together they had 7 children.

This 1871 map of Bridgton, Pin Hook, and South Bridgton, Maine, a research print of which I obtained from Historic Map Works, in Portland:

shows many residences and businesses, including that of “Mrs. Seavey.” on the left hand side of a road running along the southeast shore of Woods Pond.

The history of Bridgton, Bridgton, Maine, 1768-1994: An Updated Bicentennial History, includes this hand-drawn map showing roughly the same area, along with this description:

"Just beyond the road divides near the old Alley-Seavey place. The Joseph Trumbull family lived here.* Today it is owned by Pioneer Camps, located on the shore of Woods Pond." -- p.349.

Google Maps shows the same road, off Rt. 117 in the Sandy Creek village of Bridgton, and the pinpoint shows where the house stood.


By the time of the 1880 Census, Harriet C. Seavey was 66 years old, a widow, keeping house, living here in Sandy Creek with the Berry, Merrill, and Martin families as neighbors. Her 27 year old son, Clarence Howard Seavey, my great grandfather, still lived with her. He would marry Nettie Griswold 9 years later in 1889.

*The Joseph Trumbull family referred to here is undoubtedly descendants of the Joseph Stephen Trumbull who married Nettie after Clarence died.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Penny Postcard for Her Thoughts

I love this postcard from Alice Leighton (my great-grandmother) to her mother, Louisa Spalding (my great-great-grandmother). Alice had recently given birth to her first child, Mattie Louise, on January 5, 1906.
She had married her cousin Mark Leighton the prior September out of necessity.  By this time, her mother had married her second husband, Fred Spalding, and was living in Brooklyn, New York.
The picture is captioned:
After the Theatre, Riverton Park
Greetings from Portland, Maine
Her note across the top reads:
“With Love from Daughtra (sic) Alice. You will get baby’s pictures this week coming.”
It is postmarked in Portland on May 5, 1906, so her baby was 5 months old, having been born on January 5th. It was again postmarked in Brooklyn on January 15th.
I can only imagine Alice’s feelings as she lived through a very difficult time.  She would not stay married to Mark very long, and would remarry in 1909, to a Norwegian immigrant named Lawrence Olsen, and have seven more children.
Louisa would eventually marry a third time, and is buried with Alice and her Olsen family in Forest City Cemetery in South Portland, Maine.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Remembering Dad–A More Than Good Enough Grandpa

Why is do the most loving, considerate and dedicated of parents always worry that they are not all of those things?!
All of the grandchildren will tell you that they always looked forward to going to Grandma and Grandpa’s, and one of the reasons was all the FUN they would have with Dad.  Yet, he always worried, starting with Nathaniel, the oldest, to Daniel, the youngest, if he was a good enough Grandpa.
From shooting pool, to swimming and fishing, to walking the beach, to just listening to his stories and jokes, there was always fun and laughter to be had, and those times are the most precious memories of all six of his grandchildren.
In our family, is seemed perfect that Father’s Day was in the summer (well, early summer in Maine, more or less), because that meant getting in the water and other outside activities. Dad loved it when the grandkids came to visit in the summertime, and it was a joy to see him being a “more than good enough Grandpa” to all of them.
Dad, Nathaniel, and Stephanie, Thomas Pond, South Casco, 1989
Dad and Stephanie, Scarborough Beach, 1989
Dad and Nathaniel, Fun Town, Scarborough,1986