Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Digging Under My Brick Wall (Part 4) ~ The Burnhams of Bridgton, Maine

When last I left the continuing saga of digging under my brick wall called Jonathan Seavey (1794-1858), my 2d great grandfather, I had made a wonderful Masonic connection in Whitefield, New Hampshire.

It is now time to look at Jonathan's youngest child (who lived to adulthood), Alice Florence Seavey.

Alice was born to Jonathan and Harriet (Libby) Seavey on April 20, 1855, in Bridgton, Maine. At the age of 21, she married Astley Leonard Burnham, also of Bridgton. The Burnham family had come to Bridgton from Bolton, Massachusetts several generations earlier, and had become well established in Bridgton and neighboring Harrison.

The Astley (or Al, as he was known) Burnhams lived their entire lives in Bridgton, raising a son and three daughters, Howard Eugene (1878-1964), Jessie Winifred (1882-1961), Bertha Lee (1885-1970), and Grace (1894-1967).

A.L. and Alice Burnham at home in Bridgton

But what long-time residents, local historians, and vacationers of bygone days in Bridgton would come to know Al and Alice Burnham for was their hospitality.  As the History of Bridgton recalls, "Another pleasant memory is the evenings spent at the Lake View House...and the hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Al (Astley) Burnham. This was the gay meeting place for young people of the neighborhood, with a bowling alley in the rear of the house, and treats of ice cream, popcorn or sweets usually on hand."

In 1894, Al Burnham built the Lake View House, on the west shore of Highland Lake just north of the center of town. Here, for many years, guests came to spend the entire summer, some from as far away as New York. J. Clark Reed arrived each June with his family, driving a two-seated buckboard.

An article in the Boston Evening Transcript read:

Resorts That Prove Popular With the Vacation Seeker

On the west shore of Highland Like at Bridgton, Me., one mile from the railroad station, is the Lake View House, a pleasant place to spend your vacation.  There is a pine grove, tennis courts, a number of boats and an excellent livery stable. The house has a telephone and carriages meet guests at the station. Particulars regarding this attractive house may be had by addressing the proprietor, A. L. Burnham.

Ned Allen, in his book Bridgton, offers this description of the resort in its waning years:

The resort was eventually operated by Howard Burnham, following Al's death is 1908. It was sold to Leland Page and renamed Highland Lake Inn, a postcard of which I was able to purchase recently on eBay.

Alice Florence Seavey Burnham passed away on March 22, 1903, and Al died May 24, 1908. They are buried side by side in the Rte. 93 Cemetery (aka the Burnham Cemetery) just north of town in Bridgton.


Corrigan Michael T. History of Bridgton, Maine 1768-1994. Camden, ME: Picton Press, 1994,  p.392 and other various pages.

Allen, Ned. Bridgton. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 2008, p.93.

"Public Member Trees," database,, "Levi Family Tree," for Astley Leonard Burnham (b. 23 Sep 1854), with linked image.

Friday, November 22, 2013

When The World Turned Upside Down ~ My Memories of the JFK Assassination

November 22nd in 1963 was a typical school day for this third grader. It was Friday, but I don't have any memories of looking forward to the weekend, like so many kids today. After all, I loved school.

We lived directly across the street from Henley School when I went there, and for many years after, on a stubby little street with just a few houses on it. The Henley playground, with its gigantic set of swings, was an extension of my own backyard. On the last day of that 1963 summer,  I had eagerly stationed myself on one of those swings, yelling out greetings to the mostly "old maid" teachers, as they arrived to prepare their classrooms for the new school year.

In those halcyon days before school bus exhaust, it was said I could roll out of bed and be at school, we lived so close. I sometimes brought friends home for lunch with me (those who might have a rare "mom who worked"). When it was time to go back to school after lunch, there were hop-scotch games and double-dutch challenges on the playground to give time for the teachers to welcome us back. We dutifully, and mostly silently, "lined up" in queues to go back in, knowing we'd have another chance to play during afternoon recess.

That day, for my mother, would have also been a typical one for this mother of four. With two in school, and two still at home, she had seen to feeding, clothing, and housecleaning with an enthusiasm seen rarely these days. She had sent us off with a hearty breakfast, fortified our day with a nutritious lunch, and looked forward to rewarding herself with her "program" at 1:30. It was a break from the routine of running her home, where she could immerse herself in lives outside her own, with their own problems and challenges. It was time for Chris and Nancy, Grampa, Penny and Tom Hughes. It was time for "As The World Turns."

We had just come inside from the Henley playground following afternoon recess, and were hanging up our coats and jackets on the hooks in the center of the hall. They probably allowed for about 10-15 minutes for this ritual, with teachers hustling us off to our assigned classrooms. A few teachers had had "monitor duty" outside, two on the girls' side and two on the boys' side. I recall one of those teachers frantically corraling us near the coat hooks, informing us that we were all to reverse course, put our coats back on, and go home. The President had been shot.

For me, it was a short sprint out the door, past the swings, and up the front porch steps of my house. There I found my mother in the living room, glued to the television set, saying that they had just broken into regularly-scheduled programming, in the middle of "As The World Turns," with a news bulletin.

The initial CBS News Bulletin which interrupted As the World Turns at 1:40 p.m.,
 as Nancy (
Helen Wagner) talks with Grandpa (Santos Ortega)

The television remained on throughout the rest of the day into the evening, and steadily for the following momentous days. Scenes replayed over and over again, the motorcade, Oswald's murder, Johnson's swearing-in, and especially the funeral. John-John's seemingly impulsive salute is one of those poignant memories, but I remember seeing the riderless horse in the funeral procession, with boots turned backwards in the stirrups, as being both sad and scary.*

We had no school all the following week, because Thanksgiving was coming up anyway. In the family rotation tradition, it was at our house that year. A houseful of family gathered that day to rehash all that we had seen and heard. We were not an overtly political family, but we all knew we had, collectively and individually, witnessed, through the medium of television, something historic and heart-wrenching.

For this little third grader in South Portland, Maine, it shaped how I viewed the world I was being raised into. It was forever to be a world turned upside down.

* The poignant story of that horse, Black Jack, can be found at:

Photo credits:

Ed Stout, New York Times,

CBS Television live screenshot, printed in TV Guide magazine (vol. 12, no. 4), January 25, 1964: "A permanent record of what we watched on television from Nov. 22 to 25, 1963", p. 23. TV Guide © Triangle Publications, Inc. Self-scanned from collection of Wikipedia User JGHowes.


This Collective Memory Project, brought to you by Geneabloggers, can be followed on Pinterest:

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Honor Roll Project ~ The U.S. Marine Corps Memorial in Cincinnati, Ohio

As part of Heather Wilkinson Rojo's Honor Roll Project, I am, this year, again representing Ohio.  Each Veteran's Day, we try to find Honor Roll monuments and plaques around the country, some prominent and famous, others unknown or obscure. We transcribe the names in a blog post, thereby making the names searchable by most internet search engines.

In so doing, we provide a hint for genealogists and famiy historians searching for ancestors on the internet, and give them a glimpse into the military heritage of their family.

Stop by Heather's blog, Nutfield Genealogy, on Veteran's Day, November 11th, to see all the participants' posts so far, or visit our Military Honor Rolls board on Pinterest.

The U.S. Marine Corps Memorial, located in Lytle Park, in Cincinnati, Ohio, was built and dedicated on July 4, 1921.  It consists of a 500-pound bronze reproduction of the traditional Marine emblem, the globe, anchor, and eagle, sculpted by Sarah Ayers Kruthap, resting on a rough block of Beverly (Mass.) granite.

The inscription on the memorial states that the memorial was given to the City of Cincinnati by Dr. Benjamin Ricketts, in memory of all the Hamilton County marines who died in action during the World War, including his own son. It lists the names of 35 marines who died during World War I.

"In honor of the United States Marine Corps & the Marines of Hamilton County who made the supreme sacrifice in the World War"

The portrait depicts 
Corporal Merrill Laws Ricketts
XVIII Co., V. Reg., U. S. Marines


Defensive Sector * Aisne-Marne * St Michiel * Meuse-Argonne

In left and right columns, here are the names:

Walter S. Austin
Otmer O. Anderson
Walter H. Berger
Russell P. Blackham
Charles H. Boettcher
George W. Budde
Lovette L. Channell
James W. Costigan
Edward T. Danford
Robert B. Decatur
Henry E. Denham
James F. Duncan
James W. Easter
Ford E. Erdmann
Raymond Erhardt
Albert C. Gahr
Guy Gaynor
Edward C. Gehlert
Harry J. Gorth
Lyle C. Houchins
Elmer H. Hughes
Wilber H. Jeffries
Robert D. Johnson
Lyle B. Jones
Edward A. Koehne
Julius J. Latscha
William F. Lindsey
Raymond D. Lindsey
Leo P. Linneman
Albert R. Marshall
Joseph E. Miemann
Nicholas W. Miller
Charles A. Naegelen
James A. O'Brien
Neal O'Leary
Philip E. Patton
Earl L. Parrott
James F. Reynolds
John Roos
Henry Schmidt
Max E. Seal
Albert Silverston
Russell A. Stephens
Ulysess W. Upton
Albert C. Veid
Willard J. Wagner
Robert A. Waters
Henry Watson
William F. Welch
Leo Weschke
Charles M. Wintering
Eli Wittstein

The memorial also included a Marine drinking water fountain on the back side, when in its original park location, but after the memorial was relocated, it no longer works.

This memorial is now located on the southern tip of Lytle Park, overlooking the I-71 Expressway and Anna Louise Inn.  It is #8 on the map.

Additional info:

Dr. Benjamin Merrill Ricketts was a world-renowned surgeon, who founded Ricketts Hospital in Cincinnati. His son, Merrill Laws Ricketts, born in Cincinnati September 24, 1893, was killed in France on October 4, 1918, six weeks before the end of the war, 25 years old.

Merrill Laws Ricketts' military service records show his name as Langdon Laws Ricketts (His name was changed by his mother after his parents' divorce.). He is buried at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, but has a cenotaph in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati.*

Find A Grave. Find A Grave Memorial # 26205779. Grave of Corp Langdon Laws Ricketts (1893-1918).

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Poem for Halloween ~ My Contribution for Bill West's 2013 "Great American Local Poem Genealogy Challenge"

I am more than pleased to participate for the first time in Bill West's Fifth Annual Great American Local Poem Genealogy Challenge. To find links to each of the blogs that are taking part in the challenge this year, tune in to Bill's blog, West In New England on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2013.

For Bill's challenge I chose a poem about Nova Scotia (my maternal ancestral home) and about death. This poem, by renowned American poet Elizabeth Bishop, elicits a variety of emotions for me, from the poignant subject (the death of a child) to the stark isolation of Nova Scotia itself.

As family historians, we are often drawn into the events surrounding death and dying. In so doing, we feel compelled to document "the where and the when," while the human need to understand "the why" is ever present in our subconscious.

Bishop was born more than 100 years ago in Massachusetts. However, it was not America that formed her. After the death of her father, the 3-year old Elizabeth was taken to Great Village, Nova Scotia, where she stayed with her grandmother. Nova Scotia is the setting of many of her best poems.

In "First Death in Nova Scotia," she remembers a cousin's body laid out in the parlor, his loss of color and detail dissolving him into the snow outside. 

From Elizabeth Bishop's Questions of Travel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1956), here is:

First Death in Nova Scotia

In the cold, cold parlor 
my mother laid out Arthur 
beneath the chromographs: 
Edward, Prince of Wales, 
with Princess Alexandra, 
and King George with Queen Mary. 
Below them on the table 
stood a stuffed loon 
shot and stuffed by Uncle 
Arthur, Arthur's father. 

Since Uncle Arthur fired 
a bullet into him, 
he hadn't said a word. 
He kept his own counsel 
on his white, frozen lake, 
the marble-topped table. 
His breast was deep and white, 
cold and caressable; 
his eyes were red glass, 
much to be desired. 

"Come," said my mother, 
"Come and say good-bye 
to your little cousin Arthur." 
I was lifted up and given 
one lily of the valley 
to put in Arthur's hand. 
Arthur's coffin was 
a little frosted cake, 
and the red-eyed loon eyed it 
from his white, frozen lake. 

Arthur was very small. 
He was all white, like a doll 
that hadn't been painted yet. 
Jack Frost had started to paint him 
the way he always painted 
the Maple Leaf (Forever). 
He had just begun on his hair, 
a few red strokes, and then 
Jack Frost had dropped the brush 
and left him white, forever. 

The gracious royal couples 
were warm in red and ermine; 
their feet were well wrapped up 
in the ladies' ermine trains. 

They invited Arthur to be 
the smallest page at court. 
But how could Arthur go, 
clutching his tiny lily, 
with his eyes shut up so tight 
and the roads deep in snow? 

Where I discovered this poem:


Little Peter's Grave, Pembroke Cemetery,
 Colchester Co., Nova Scotia

Peter Suther Hamilton

Born 4 February 1945
Upper Stewiacke, Colchester County, Nova Scotia

Died 6 September 1946
of Croup
19 months old

Monday, October 28, 2013

Maritime Monday ~ Lawrence Olsen, Merchant Marine Navigation Student

Pasted to the front cover of a scrapbook once belonging to my grandmother, Mattie Leighton Seavey (1906-1987) was this undated clipping from the Portland (Me.) newspaper, depicting a navigation class for would-be officers in the Merchant Marines.

According to the U.S. Merchant Marine website, this World War I training program began in June 1917, with headquarters in Boston. Within months, there were 43 schools in seaports from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon.

A 6-week program trained 1,500 deck officers during the first 10 months. However, as depicted in this newspaper item, a land-based, 4 -week course was offered to train engineering officers.  A total of 14,000 men received officer training between June 1917 and October 1920. 

Among the students pictured in this photo is Lawrence Olsen (spelled Oleson in the caption), in the foreground on the left, my great grandmother and Mattie's mother, Alice Lovell Olsen's second husband.

I haven't found any evidence that Lawrence ever served in the Merchant Marine. The 1910, 1920, and 1930 censuses all list his occupation as "house painter."

From left to right, the men pictured are:

Augustus A. Scofier
John A. Peterson
Morris Kent
Frank W. Johnson
William H. Mason
Charles A. Gilmore
Capt. Frank A. Wilson, Instructor
Lawrence Oleson (sp?)
William A. McLean
Horace D. Griffin

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mappy Monday ~ The Lost Cemetery on Pig Knoll in Scarborough, Maine

My 6th great grandparents, Edward and Sarah (Mills) Skillings are buried in a "lost cemetery." Pig Knoll lies along the present Running Hill Road in Scarborough, Maine, a two-lane route located near the present Maine Mall and the Portland International Jetport.  It is 167 feet above sea level, is entirely overgrown and dwarfed by the commercial development surrounding it. There is no evidence that it was ever used as a burial ground.

Edward Skillings had acquired about 110 acres in this part of Scarborough in the 1730's. This land included plots located near the crest of Running Hill. He was at times both a farmer and a fisherman. He had married Sarah Mills in Kittery, Maine in the early 1730's. She was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the daughter of Benjamin Mills and Lydia Fernald. They attended the Scarborough Congregational Church. Edward and Sarah had 13 children, all born in Scarborough.

Edward died in Scarborough on November 3, 1779, possibly of smallpox. There is no record of when his wife Sarah died. Both were buried on Pig Knoll.

Pig Knoll (43.6301 N - 70.3589 W)


Descendants of Thomas and Deborah (?) Skillings of Cumberland Co, Maine (

Find-a-Grave memorials for Edward and Sarah (

Henley, Thomas Shaw, Descendants of Thomas Skillin of Falmouth (Now Portland), Maine and Allied Familes. (Tavares, Florida, March 2010).

Libby, Charles Thornton. The Libby Family in America, 1602-1881 (Portland, B. Thurston and Co., 1881), p. 83.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday's Faces From the Past ~ Everett Deyarmond Family in Burnside 1953

The handwriting above this picture is my great grandmother's, Melvina Jane Hamilton Bustin (1886-1974). Everett Deyamond (1876-1942) was her cousin, she being the daughter of Peter Suther Hamilton (1852-1929), and Everett being the son of Margaret Rebecca Hamilton (1857-1937). Burnside is a small community in the Stewiacke Valley of Nova Scotia.

Having come across this wonderful "family gathering" photograph, I sent it to Judy from the Stewiacke Valley Museum Facebook page.  She kindly passed it on to one of the people in the photograph, a young girl in the photo, Mrs. Freda MacKay Rogers. Mrs. Rogers identified everyone in the picture, and also was able to date the photograph at 1953 or 1954.

Here is an alphabetical list, by surname, of everyone in the picture:

Berkelow, Maria Deyarmond
Deyarmond, Adela Roode
Deyarmond, Art
Deyarmond, Dick
Deyarmond, Eldridge
Deyarmond, Frank
Deyarmond, Jean Cox
Deyarmond, Lance
Deyarmond, Lester
Deyarmond, Mary Graham
Deyarmond, Terry
Deyarmond, Wayne
Fisher, Curtis
Fisher, Velva Deyarmond
Goff, Doris Whidden
Graham, Betty Deyarmond
Graham, Gordon
Hamilton, Albert
Hamilton, Stella
Johnson, Ella Deyarmond
Johnson, Herman
Johnson, Von
MacKay, Alice Deyarmond
MacKay, Ian
MacKay, Freda
MacKay, Norman
MacKay, Robert
Stevenson, Deanna
Stevenson, Laura Deyarmond
Stevenson, Linda
Stevenson, Lloyd
Whidden, Foster
Whidden, Frances
Whidden, Gary
Whidden, Harry
Whidden, Nettie Deyarmond
Whidden Philip
Whidden, Roy

Albert Hamilton and Stella Hamilton are my great great uncle and aunt, respectively, siblings of my great grandmother, although, in one way or another, I am related to all 38 people in this picture.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bustin's Fine Furniture, Ltd. of Saint John

My daughter, my mother, my son, my dad, and me at
Bustin's Furniture
Summer 2000

In my start-and-stop genealogy journey, one high point was the trip I took to Canada in 2000, with my two children and my parents. On my list of places to visit was Bustin's Fine Furniture in Saint John, New Brunswick. 

At the time of this visit, no one in my family (at least of those still living) knew how our Bustin line connected to this Bustin family. I was hopeful that someone in the store with family ties could give me some clues. Unfortunately, although they were as welcoming and friendly as could be, they did not have any ideas.

It has only been recently that I have connected the dots, so to speak.

On the store's website, under the heading called  "Our Story," the history of the business provided valuable genealogical facts.

Charles Leon Bustin (1870-1927) and Sam Withers opened Bustins & Withers on 99 Germain Street in Saint John in May of 1905.

Charles L. Bustin's father was the 2nd son of Hugh Bustin (1820-1900). Hugh Bustin and my 2nd great grandfather, Samuel James Bustin (1818-1897) were brothers.

Hugh Bustin died on this date in 1900.

Bustin's Furniture, 99 Germain St., Saint John, New Brunswick

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Patriot John Morse of Gray, Maine

John Morse
Born in Falmouth (now Portland), Maine
August 3, 1746
Died Gray, Maine
June 20, 1826

I found his grave this summer in the Gray Corner Cemetery,
 in Gray, Maine.

"Blessed are the pure in heart for
 they shall see God."

John Morse, my 5th great grandfather, served as a private in Capt. Moses Merrill's Company, in Col. Edmund Phinney's 31st Regiment of Foot, from his enlistment on May 15, 1775 to July 5, 1775.

Leonicea (nee Riggs) was his second wife, and was awarded a widow's pension in 1853. The pension file, #W27871, includes births and deaths from the family Bible, which may help me prove my lineage for membership in the DAR.

Sources: U.S., Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files (NARA microfilm publication M804, 2,670 rolls). Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. National Archives, Washington, D.C. Pension Application No. W27871. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution, 17 Vols.[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1998.
Original data: Secretary of the Commonwealth. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the RevolutionVol. II, p.101. Boston, MA, USA: Wright and Potter Printing Co., 1896.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Blogoversary Road Trip

Today marks the 4th Blogoversary of Digging Down East. Thanks to all my faithful readers over the past four years for indulging my passion for documenting, recording, and writing about my family.

As you read this, I am on my way down east for my annual vacation/research trip. I'm looking forward to spending some much needed quality time with my wonderful mom (and research assistant extraordinaire).

I'll visit the usual spots where my Maine and New Hampshire ancestors lived, including Bridgton, Harrison, Portland, South Portland, Whitefield, Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough, and Gorham, as well as the Maine State Archives in Augusta.

I'm looking forward to meeting the great folks I've met online from the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society, and will join them for a wonderful House Island tour on Casco Bay.

The highlight of this past year of blogging was hearing from Gary and Deb LeMons, complete strangers, who had found a 1930 Portland High School ring belonging to my Great Aunt Flora Parsons. If you missed it, you can read it here.

As my fifth year of genea-blogging begins, another complete stranger, Arthur Brooks, Jr., has contacted me because my cousin Mary Arletta Curran was his dad's birth mother, at the tender age of 15!

Hang On...It Promises To Be an Exciting Ride!

photo credit: x-ray delta one via photopin cc

Monday, July 22, 2013

Maritime Monday ~ James McCain and Wife Board the "City of Boston" at Halifax

James McCain arrived in Carleton County, New Brunswick, at the tender age of 18, in 1829, well before many of his countrymen and their families would follow as a result of the Potato Famine in 1847. He had left County Donegal, seeking a better life for himself, and soon found it five years later, with the arrival of 19 year old Isabella Ferguson in May of 1834. 

By the 1851 Census of Simonds Parish, he was a 40 year old "Farmer (Prop)" with Isabella as his wife and the mother of their eight children. He owned the land he farmed, as opposed to being a tenant farmer.1

Beginning with the birth of daughter Jane in 1835, and for the next 27 years, the McCain family lived in rural Carleton County, farming the land and raising three sons and six daughters.

The Carleton Sentinel sadly noted Isabella's passing, however, in their July 26, 1862 issue:

"d. Simonds (Carleton Co.), 4th inst., Isabella McCain w/o James McCain, age 47, left husband, nine children."2

Left a widower with a large family, the 57 year old James did not hesitate to take a second wife, the 58 year old Alice Patterson, and it was the two of them who would perish together aboard the ill-fated mail steamer "City of Boston."

City of Boston, Inman Steamship

Numerous accounts detail the story of the loss of the SS City of Boston in February of 1870. Built in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1864, she is the largest vessel to disappear without a trace off the coast of Nova Scotia.

Belonging to the Inman Line, she departed New York on January 25th and headed for Halifax to pick up mail, coal and more passengers. James McCain and wife Alice went aboard as steerage passengers (the cheapest rate, the lowest deck, and the worst traveling conditions). Clearing Halifax on the 28th, the ship was carrying 207 passengers and crew, including a number of prominent Halifax businessmen and military officers. She was due to arrive in Liverpool on the 6th of March.

Typical Steerage (Between Decks)

There were many theories as to the cause of the ship's loss, one being that she may have been overloaded. Besides the 207 human lives, her cargo included: 390 tons of beef, 200 barrels of flour, 486 bales of cotton, 12 cases of sewing machines, 18 tons of oil cake (livestock food), 189,700 pounds of bacon, 10,376 pounds of wheat, 82,672 pounds of tallow, and 36 bales of hops. By August, a libel suit would be filed by the Inman Steamship Company asserting that the "City of Boston" was as sea-worthy a ship as any plying the seas.

A more likely cause, given the Inman track across the Atlantic, as well as the time of year, was a winter gale or a collision with an ice berg. If her steam-powered engine had suffered a malfunction, and she had had to rely on her sails, she would have been at the mercy of any fowl weather the North Atlantic offered up. So many steam ships were traversing the ocean during this period, that, were she in distress, it is likely some other ship would have seen her rockets (assuming she was able to fire them off).

There were numerous false reports of its eventual safe arrival in Queenstown (present-day Cobh), Ireland, like this one from the March 19th Fredericton Colonial Farmer:

"A telegraph was received at the News Room on Wednesday morning to the effect that the "City of Boston" had arrived at Queenstown. It turned out, however, to be an error, the "City of Antwerp" having been mistaken for her."3

By November, all hope had long since been relinquished, and the family and friends of those lost at sea clung to the report in the Halifax Citizen, which described a bottle washed ashore at Shediac, New Brunswick, containing five pieces of envelopes, on which were written in pencil:

"We are lost...City of Boston...we are all sinking...goodbye...
I should like my..."

James McCain was my 3d great-grand uncle.

Photos used with permission and with credit to:


11851 Census of New Brunswick, Simonds Parish, Carleton County, population returns, Parish of Simonds, schedule L, p.14 (penned), Eastern Section of the Parish of Simonds, in the County of Carleton, N.B., fronting on the St. John River, James McCain; digital image, Automated Genealogy (  : accessed 21 July 2013)

2Daniel F. Johnson's New Brunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics, 1784-1890, Vol. 19, No. 2454. Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada. ( Accessed 14 July 2013)

3Daniel F. Johnson's New Brunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics, 1784-1890, Vol. 28, No. 1693. Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada.( Accessed  21 July 2013)


Inman Line, City of Boston, Captain J.J. Halcrow, from New York January 25th 1870, Halifax January 28th 1870, for Liverpool, TheShipsList.

The loss of the CITY OF BOSTON 1870, Old Mercey-Times.

City of Boston - 1870. Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Marine Heritage Database, On The Rocks: Find A Wreck.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Travel Tuesday ~ The Canadian Pacific & Grand Trunk Railroad OR How My Great Grandfather Became a British Subject

The early years of my great grandfather Mark Leighton's life seem to have been turbulent at best. The 1900 Portland, Maine, Census lists him, at 14 years old, living at home on Sherwood Street, in East Deering, but also lists his 16 year old cousin Alice Lovell at the same address. Five years later, he was marrying Alice, in order to give my grandmother's birth, in January 1906, legitimacy.

A more thorough investigation into Mark's life turned up a curious chapter, and one which I could not let go of.

Amongst all the birth, death, marriage, and census records, I found the following on

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Indexes to Naturalization Records of Federal Courts, Portland, Maine, 1851-1955 (M2083); Microfilm Serial: M2083; Microfilm Roll: 2.

I knew this was my great grandfather, by the address, but why would he have to apply for citizenship? All indications were that he was born in Massachusetts in 1885. My next step was to contact the regional office of NARA to get the full record. Unfortunately, the "full record' contained simply his Declaration of Intent from 1916, which only added another layer to the story.

Mark Samuel Leighton declaration of intention (1916), naturalization file no. 1470, District of Maine.

Buried in the handwriting on Mark Leighton's first papers was the following:

"I emigrated to the United States of America from Bow Island, Province of Alberta, on the Canadian Pacific & Grand Trunk Railroad, na [sic] Montreal, P.Q.; my last foreign residence was Bow Island, Province of Alberta, Canada.
Petitioner was naturalized and became a British subject in the District Court, District of Letherbridge, Province of Alberta, Canada, Dec 31, 1912."

To further substantiate this information, I returned to the 1910 Portland City Directory, on, and, sure enough, he had, in fact, left for Canada:

The Canadian Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad was in expansion mode in the early 1910's, endeavoring to extend their lines to the Pacific Ocean. Construction had begun in the Canadian Prairies in 1905, the same year the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan were established. However, the GTPR never realized the traffic potential its developers had hoped, and it became obvious by 1919 that it was not paying its way. It eventually defaulted on repayment of all of its construction loans, was nationalized, and taken over by the Canadian government.1

So perhaps my great grandfather was taking advantage of an offer of steady employment far away from home and the troubles he wanted to leave behind. It was probably quite an adventure for a young man in his mid-20's, from Portland, Maine, to work on the railroad in the Canadian wilderness.

There is no evidence to suggest that Mark Leighton ever followed through with his application to become, again, a United States citizen, although he did serve in the United States Navy during World War I.  But that's a blogpost for another day.

Bottom photo credit: Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL via photopin cc

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wedding Wednesday ~ Ed Noyes and Mary Hamilton

Edward Kent Noyes and Mary Ellen Hamilton
Married in Portland, Maine
December 28, 1904

Mary Ellen Hamilton was the older sister of my great grandmother and her two sisters who married the three Bustin brothers (see above tab entitled "3 Brothers Marry 3 Sisters") She did beat all three sisters to the altar, however, by marrying Ed Noyes, of Falmouth, Maine.*

Courtesy of 2d Cousin, 1x removed, Peter Noyes Greeley's Public Member Tree on

They were married at the home of Rev. John A. Watersworth at 72 Auburn Street in North Deering, with brother of the groom, Wilbert Edson Noyes, and cousin of the bride, Maria Jayne Deyarmond, as witnesses.


*Melvina married Fred Bustin in 1907, Nessie married Ben Bustin in 1910, and Cassie married Tom Bustin in 1918.

Record Source:
Maine.  Record of a Marriage (28 Dec 1904), Edward K. Noyes and Mary E. Hamilton;  Maine State Archives, Augusta; photocopied from microfilm July 2, 2012.

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.