Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Mrs. Lois Cross Libby

Lois Cross Libby (1784-1860)



Wife of



Mar. 25 1860

AE. 76 yrs.

North Street Cemetery
Gorham, Maine

Died of Consumption1
1  Maine State Archives; Augusta, Maine; U.S. Census Mortality Schedules, Maine, 1850-1880; Archive Collection: 2; Census Year: 1860; Census Location: Gorham, Cumberland, Maine; Page: 1; Line: 17.

My Third Great Grandmother

N.B. The jury is still out on the my interpretation of the script preceding  the name LOIS. Hopefully, during my next trip to Maine, I will be able to give it a second look. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Military Monday ~ Gleanings From A Civil War Pension Record

Chalmette National Cemetery Graves

Charles H. Brackley enlisted on December 1st, 1863, at Augusta, Maine. His uncle, Howard Winslow Brackley, is my 3rd great grandfather and will be the subject of a future post. I have written about Charles previously at “Oh Brave Brackley Boys of Freeman.” 

When I discovered there was a pension file available, I ordered it from the National Archives. At 75 pages, it provided a fascinating window on the life of a rural Maine farmer in the late 1880’s. 

I was also able to glean a dozen or so genealogical leads from the file itself.


Charles was one of the many Civil War soldiers who died, not from war wounds, but of disease, far from home. He is buried in Chalmette (La.) National Cemetery.

From reading the mostly hand-written pension file, I learned the following about Charles:

He was born on May 2, 1846.

About Charles’ enlistment:

Charles was mustered in to rank at Augusta on December 17, 1863.

His father, Eli, was paid a bounty of $10.00 on December 24th for his son’s enlistment.

After being mustered in, and before he left Augusta, Charles gave his father $75.00.

About his death I learned:

He died on June 6, 1864, from what was called then “Bilious Fever.” (I have also seen it described as “chronic diarrhea.”)

About his father, Eli Brackley, I learned that he was married to Mary Grant on September 7, 1843, by an ordained minister named Simeon N. Pierce, in Freeman, Franklin County, Maine.

About his mother, Mary Grant Brackley, I learned that she died in Farmington, Maine, on October 3, 1850.

About Eli’s 1879 application for his son Charles’ pension:

In 1879, Eli lived and farmed in Salem, Franklin County, Maine. He kept on the farm 60 sheep, 2 cows, 2 horses, and 4 or 5 young cattle, all valued at about $470.

He was dependent on his son Charles financially, and his economic situation had been declining in the years since Charles died in the war.

He was in declining health. Although he gave his age as 59, he seemed much debilitated. He had not been to a physician in the years since his son went to war, because there wasn’t one in town, and appeared to be between 68 and 72 years old. (Another source has him born in 1822, which makes him 57 at this time.)

He was initially paid $8.00 a month, retroactive to the day after Charles’ death, June 7, 1864. This pension, which eventually increased to $12.00 a month, continued to be paid until Eli’s death on May 24, 1904.
Declarations of and on behalf of Claimant, December 3, 1879 to August 22, 1881, Eli A. Brackley, dependent father pension application no. 255, 239, certificate no. 194, 322; service of Charles H. Brackley (Pvt., Co. K, 29th Maine Vol. Inf., Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications …, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sleep, Sleep, Sweet Annie ~ The Short Life of Annie Bustin Grant

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.


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.


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.

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 idea that she may have been 3 months pregnant wuld have 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.