Sunday, February 23, 2014

52 Ancestors: #8 James Leighton (1797-1844)

James Leighton, my third great grand uncle, was born in Cumberland or North Yarmouth, Maine, on this date, in 1797, the 8th of 12 children born to Captain Andrew Leighton and Mary Weymouth, and their 6th son.

He married Prudence Blanchard when he was 21 years old. Prudence was one of 10 children born to Beza Blanchard and and Prudence Rideout. James and Prudence were married on February 14, 1819, in North Yarmouth. She was 19 years old.

James and Prudence welcomed their first two children, Charles, in 1820, and Christianna, in 1822, while they stayed in the Cumberland/North Yarmouth area. But sometime in 1823, James and Prudence moved to Pittsfield, Maine, in Somerset County, where James had purchased a farm of some 300 acres.

James and Prudence and their growing family lived and farmed in Pittsfield for about 12 years. During that time, they saw the arrival of 5 more children: Andrew in 1824, James Noyes in 1826, Enos in 1828, Joseph in 1831, and Loemma in 1833.

Sometime around 1834 and 1835 James moved his family to Upper Stillwater (present-day Orono), where he engaged in the lumbering trade and, being located along the Stillwater River, operated a sawmill. Their daughter Frances Jane was born in Orono in 1835.

After about five years, the James Leighton family moved back to Cumberland, where James purchased a grist mill. Their daughters Roxanna and Margaret were born in Cumberland, although the youngest lived only a little past a year.

James' son Andrew fought in the Civil War, enlisting in the 17th Maine in 1862. He was severely wounded at Cedar Creek and disabled at Chancellorsville.

His daughter-in-law, Diana Gilbert Leighton, Enos' wife, was lost on the Steamer Portland in 1898.

James survived his youngest child by just 9 days, dying in Cumberland at the age of 47, on April 12, 1844.

James Leighton is buried in the West Cumberland Methodist Cemetery, off the Blackstrap Road, along with his parents, a brother, his wife Prudence, 3 sons, 4 daughters, 3 sons-in-law, 1 daughter-in-law, 1 grandson, and 3 granddaughters.

James Leighton's Grave

Prudence Leighton's Grave

West Cumberland Methodist Cemetery

Sources: U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Entry for Andrew Leighton.

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. 282.

James Leighton grave marker, Methodist Cemetery, West Cumberland (Cumberland County), Maine; photographed by Pamela Schaffner on 29 August 2011.

Prudence Leighton grave marker, Methodist Cemetery, West Cumberland (Cumberland County), Maine; photographed by Pamela Schaffner on 29 August 2011.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

52 Ancestors: #7 Kathleen Coffen Seavey (1905-1979)

Kathleen Coffen Seavey, my great Uncle Archie's wife, was born in Portland, Maine, on this date, in 1905, the youngest of  9 children born to Edmund Coffen and "Kate" Quain. Her father died just four months later, at age 39, of tuberculosis.

At the tender age of 17, she married William Francis Lancaster, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on March 20, 1920. He was 21 and worked in a canning factory.

She was married a second time, to James A. Moultson, but I have found no record of this marriage so far. The two of them had one child, a daughter named Dorothy. At the time of Dorothy's marriage in 1943, Kathleen stated her residence as New York. She was probably married to Uncle Archie by this time.

In the 1930 census, on April 24th of that year, my great uncle Archie was enumerated as single, and stationed at Fort Williams, in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. 

I haven't yet found a marriage record for Archie and Kathleen. But even if they married later on in 1930, with Kathleen dying in 1979, it doesn't explain the writing on the top of this anniversary cake. As far as I can discern, it reads, "Happy 50th Anniversary Leenie and Archie". Maybe they were married in 1929? If so, this picture was taken shortly before Kathleen passed away.

I have very fond memories of Uncle Archie and Aunt Kathleen. As far as I knew, they always lived in an apartment in New Rochelle, New York. Usually once a year, the two of them would drive to Maine in Archie's very old flivver. They thought the world of my dad and his growing family, but we were always amazed that they made the trip in that car!

They faithfully sent Christmas money to all of us kids every year, and it was a Christmas vacation ritual to sit at the dining room table to write our thank-you notes to them. 

We made one trip as a family to New Rochelle, probably in the early 70's. We discovered how meager their living situation was, in a somewhat depressed neighborhood, but it was the only home they had ever shared. We met Kathleen's grand-daughter Roberta during this trip. It became obvious that Kathleen's daughter and family had drawn them to New York.

Kathleen died in New Rochelle on the 1st of October, 1979. She is buried in Forest City Cemetery, in South Portland, Maine, alongside her husband Archie, who followed her in death two years later.


1930 U.S . Census; Census Place: Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: 830; Page: 7A; Image: 293.0, Archie L. Seavey.

Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 15 February 2014), memorial page for Kathleen A. Coffen Seavey (1905–1979), Find A Grave Memorial no. 58223179, citing Forest City Cemetery, South Portland, Maine. 

“Maine, Birth Records, 1621-1922,” database,, entry for Kathleen A. Coffen, 15 June 1905, Portland.

“New Hampshire, Marriage Records Index, 1637-1947,” database,, entry  for William Francis Lancaster and Katherine Arletta Coffen, 20 Mar 1920, Portsmouth.

“New Hampshire, Marriage Records Index, 1637-1947,” database,, entry for Robert Edmund Wilder and Dorothy Arletta Moultson, 12 Sep 1943, Hopkinton.

“U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current,” database,, entry for Kathleen Seavey, Oct 1979, New Rochelle, New York.


This is the seventh in a series, “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks,” coordinated by Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small.

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

52 Ancesters: #6 Samuel James Bustin (1921-1962)

Samuel James Bustin, my first cousin, 2x removed, was born on this date, in 1921, in Portage Vale, Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada, the youngest of seven children born to Charles Alexander "Sandy" Bustin and Ada Elmira McNair.

In 1950, Sam married Katherine Irene Teakles, also of Portage Vale, the daughter of Brunswick Hugh Teakles and Katherine Steeves. This is a picture of Sam and Katherine, probably taken at the time of their marriage. My great grandmother's notation proves invaluable, again.

Unfortunately, Sam Bustin died suddenly at age 41, from a stroke caused by a cerebral embolism, on July 16, 1962.  He is buried in Fair Haven Memorial Park, in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Sam and Katherine had four children, Colleen, Barbara, Douglas, and Sandra. Katherine is 86 years old. 


This is the sixth in a series, “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks,” coordinated by Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small.

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Sunday's Obituary ~ Ashmore Cox of Upper Stewiacke

Another "down east" newspaper obituary
 clipped and pasted into my great grandmother's scrapbook.

This one is for Ashmore Cox, my second cousin, 3x removed. He died on May 19, 1962. Born in Nova Scotia, he came to the States by train in 1913, at around 30 years of age.

He married school teacher Margaret Jane Gourley, who was also from "down east" in South Branch, in Quincy, Massachusetts, on February 3, 1914, and the couple had one daughter, Helen, the following year.

Sadly, Margaret passed away only 4 years later, in 1919, leaving Ashmore to raise his young daughter.

He worked for the Metropolitan Ice Company in Somerville for most of his life, according to the 1920 and 1930 censuses. You can read more about the ice business in Massachusetts in my story about Ashmore's 2d cousin, Archibald Hamilton.

I have yet to determine where Ashmore and Margaret are buried. It was common to be buried back home in Canada, but they may rest together in Massachusetts.


1901 Census of Nova Scotia, Upper Stewiacke East, District 29, Colchester County, population returns, Upper Stewiacke East, schedule 1, p.12 (penned), Ashmore Cox, digital image, Automated Genealogy ( : accessed 8 February 2014).

National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Alphabetical Manifest Cards of Alien Arrivals at Vanceboro, Maine, ca. 1906-December 24, 1952; National Archives Microfilm Publication: M2071; Roll: 3; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; Record Group Number: 85.

Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915. (From original records held by the Massachusetts Archives. Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.), Ashmore Cox and Margaret J. Gourley, 3 Feb 1914. Massachusetts, Death Index, 1901-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Cambridge, Margaret J. Cox, 1919.

1920 U.S. Census; Census Place: Cambridge Ward 11, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_707; Page: 13B; Image: 500.

1930 U.S. Census; Census Place: Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: 917; Page: 27A; Image: 496.0.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wednesday's Child ~ 10 Year Old Freeman MacKay

Freeman Orrin MacKay was born in December of 1906, the fourth of six children born to John William MacKay and Emma Jane Deyarmond. He is my first cousin, 3 times removed.

His death record says that he was 10 days old.

However, the 1911 Census of Nova Scotia clearly shows that he was 4 years old that year, being born in December of 1906, and therefore agrees with the headstone.

Freeman was 10 years old, and died of gastroenteritis (stomach flu). He is buried in the Burnt Hill Cemetery, Upper Burnside, Colchester County, Nova Scotia, with his parents.


1911 Census of Nova Scotia, Upper Stewiacke East poll district, Colchester County, population returns, Upper Stewiacke East, schedule 1, p.11 (penned), Freeman O. McKay; digital image, Automated Genealogy ( : accessed 3 February 2014)

Nova Scotia.  Historical Vital Statistics.  Registration Year 1917, Book 331, Page 1111. Freeman Orrin McKay. ( : accessed 3 February 2014)

Photo credit:

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

52 Ancestors: #5 Hannah Wilson Leighton (1760-1813)

Hannah Wilson, the second wife of my 5th great grandfather Joseph Leighton, was born on this date in 1760, in Kittery, in the Province of Maine, which was then part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Hannah was the 5th child of eight children born to Joseph Wilson and Mary Mansfield, and their 3rd of 4 daughters. The Wilsons were early and prominent settlers in Kittery and neighboring New Hampshire, as far back as 1641.

In 1792, at the age of 32, Hannah married Joseph Leighton on the 13th of December. Joseph's first wife, with whom he had 13 children, had died earlier that year in March. Five of the 13 children were under 20 years of age when Hannah became their step-mother.

All 13 of Hannah's step-children had been born in Falmouth (now Portland), in Maine, and it is to Falmouth that she moved to start her new life. Her new husband was well established in the area, having purchased large tracts of land in Falmouth and North Yarmouth, some of which he had already deeded to his third son, Ezekiel.

Hannah's husband, my 5th great grandfather, was also a Quaker, having married first Mercy Hall, the daughter of Hatevil Hall, founder of the Falmouth, Maine, meeting. This is the first evidence of my Quaker roots.

Falmouth (Quaker) Meeting House
Present site:
Lincoln Park, corner of  Federal and Pearl Street

Hannah gave Joseph five more children:

Jeremiah, born 21 May 1793
Jane, born 28 July  1794
Dorcas, born 2 March 1796, who died at 2 yrs. old.
Ann, born 9 August 1797
Dorcas, born 2 October 1801.

Her oldest son, Jeremiah, is buried at Evergreen Cemetery, in Portland. I will be taking a picture of his grave this summer/fall. Perley Leighton has her daughter Ann and husband Henry Huston buried in the Methodist cemetery in West Falmouth, which is now off the Blackstrap Road in Cumberland. It has lots of Wilsons, so I will definitely look for them there. Her youngest daughter Dorcas and husband Ebenezer Cobb Libby lived in Gray and are buried in the Gray Village Cemetery.

Hannah died on August 22, 1813. I do not yet know where she is buried, but I now have quite a few leads.


Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 2 Feb 2014), memorial page for Jeremiah Leighton (unknown-1884), Find A Grave Memorial no. 118625868, citing Evergreen Cemetery, Portland, Maine.

Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 2 Feb 2014), memorial page for Dorcas Libby (unknown-1832), Find A Grave Memorial no. 116189050, citing Gray Village Cemetery, Gray, Maine.

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.) pp. 57-58.

Stackpole, Everett Schermerhorn. Old Kittery and Her Families. Lewiston, Me.: Press of Lewiston Journal, 1903, p.783.

Sketch credit:
Portland Freedom Trail.


This is the fifth in a series, “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks,” coordinated by Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small.

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday's Obituary ~ Roy MacKay of Burnside

This is another newspaper obituary that my great grandmother clipped and saved in a scrapbook. This one is for my first cousin, 3 times removed, Marcus Roy MacKay.

Roy was only 49 years old when he died of a heart attack. During the last three years of his life, he drove a school bus for Brookfield Rural High School, and had his usual trip the day before. 

He is buried in Burnt Hill Cemetery.

Photo Credit:

The Sprague Project: