Monday, March 31, 2014

52 Ancestors: #13 Lyman Seavey (1837-1881)

Lyman Seavey, my half great grand uncle, was born on this date in 1837 in Bridgton, Maine, the fifth of seven children born to Jonathan Seavey and his first wife, Mary Blake, and their second son.

[ICYMI, this story was originally published in June of 2013]

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:

1850 U.S. Census;  Census Place: Bridgton, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M432_251; Page: 290B; Image: 278, Lyman Seavy.

1860 U.S. Census;  Census Place: Whitefield, Coos, New Hampshire; Roll: M653_669; Page: 958; Image: 236, Lyman B. Seavy.

1860 U.S. Census;  Census Place: Littleton, Grafton, New Hampshire; Roll: M653_670; Page: 313; Image: 318, Sarah R. Thomas.

1870 U.S. Census;  Census Place: Whitefield, Coos, New Hampshire; Roll: M593_839; Page: 213A; Image: 432, Lyman V. Seavey.

1880 U.S. Census;  Census Place: Whitefield, Coos, New Hampshire; Roll: 762; Page: 213A; Enumeration District: 045; Image: 0427, Lyman V. Seavy.

"History of Coös County, New Hampshire,", 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).

“Maine, Birth Records, 1621-1922,” database,, entry for Lyman T. Seavey, 31 Mar 1837, Bridgton.

“Mrs. Sarah Seavey,” obituary, Coos County Democrat, 29 November 1916, p.8, photocopy emailed by Thomas A. Ladd.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

52 Ancesters: #12 Solomon Libby (1785-1861)

Solomon Libby, my half 4th great grand uncle, was born on this date in 1785 in Scarborough, Maine, the fourth of six children born to Allison Libby and his second wife, the widow Mary Libby, and their third son.

As a young man, he moved to Freeport, Maine, and worked in a shipyard there. There he met and married Frances Sylvester of that town. 

Following their marriage, Solomon and "Fanny" moved to nearby Brunswick, Maine, where Solomon worked as a ship's carpenter in several towns in that area.

There is evidence to suggest that Solomon fought in the War of 1812, having enlisted on March 30, 1813, which may explain why he doesn't show up until the 1840 Census in Brunswick, with Fanny and three young children.

Ten years later, by the time of the 1850 Census, Solomon was a widower, having lost Fanny in 1844, and he was living with his son Solomon and daughter-in-law Lucy.

In the 1860 Census, Solomon, at age 75, was living in Brunswick with the widow Abby Hunt and her two children. There doesn't appear to be any family relationship, so he may have been simply taken in.

Solomon died sometime in 1861, probably in Brunswick. Fanny is buried in Growstown Cemetery, in Brunswick, Maine, so this seems a good place to look for Solomon's grave.

Grave of  the wife of Solomon Libby,
Fanny Libby
Growstown Cemetery
Brunswick, Maine


1840 U.S. Census; Census Place: Brunswick, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: 139; Page: 570; Image: 1072; Family History Library Film: 0009702, Solomon Libby.

1850 U.S Census; Census Place: Brunswick, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M432_251; Page: 229B; Image: 158, Solomon Libby.

1860 U.S Census; Census Place: Brunswick, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M653_437; Page: 88; Image: 925; Family History Library Film: 803437, Solomon Libby.

Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 22 Mar 2014), memorial page for Frances “Fanny” Libby (1786–1844), Find A Grave Memorial no. 65453040, citing Growstown Cemetery, Brunswick, Maine.

Libby, Charles Thornton. The Libby Family in America, 1602-1881 (Portland, B. Thurston and Co., 1881), p. 171.

Maine State Archives, Maine; 925; Record Group: Maine War of 1812 Records.

Monday, March 17, 2014

52 Ancestors: #11 Major Plaisted (1798-1887)

Major Plaisted, my second great grand aunt's husband, was born on this date in 1798 in Gorham, Maine, the sixth child of Andrew Plaisted and Molly (or Polly) Libby and their third son. His grandfather, Elisha Plaisted, was one of the original proprietors of Scarborough, and, legend has it, a wedding night victim (and subsequent escapee) of an Indian kidnapping.

Although there is no evidence of any military service in his life, he remained a single man until, at the age of 51, he took 22 year old Mary Gage Libby as his bride on June 6, 1849, probably in Gorham, Maine. Mary, born in Harrison, Maine, was the youngest of 7 children of Allison Libby III and Lois Cross.

In the 1850 census, he and Mary were living in Gorham on his father's homestead with his 87 year old father Andrew and his unmarried 47 year old sister Hannah.

Ten years later, in spite of an almost 30 year age difference, he and Mary had 5 children, John (10), Helen (8), Louisa (6), George (3), and Edward (1 mo.).

By the time of the 1870 census, the Plaisted family had increased by one, with the arrival of Alice just after the 1860 census had been taken. By that time, Major was 71 years old.

Another ten years found Major and Mary at home in Gorham with son George and daughter Alice.

Major Plaisted lived and farmed his whole life in Gorham, passing away on March 27, 1887. When the 1900 census was taken, his 72 year old widow Mary had moved in with their son George and his wife Elma, and their daughter Edna. Mary died on November 14, 1901.

Major and Mary Plaisted are buried side by side in the North Street Cemetery in Gorham, Maine.


1850 U.S. Census; Census Place: Gorham, Cumberland,Maine; Roll: M432_250; Page: 293B; Image: 56, Major Plaisted.

1860 U.S. Census; Census Place: Gorham, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M653_437; Page: 23; Image: 778; Family History Library Film: 803437, Major Plaisted.

1870 U.S. Census; Census Place: Gorham, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M593_540; Page: 296A; Image: 66; Family History Library Film: 552039, Major Plaisted.

1880 U.S. Census; Census Place: Gorham, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: 477; Family History Film: 1254477; Page: 300D; Enumeration District: 034; Image: 0851, Major Plaistead.

1900 U.S. Census; Census Place: Gorham, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: 590; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0043; FHL microfilm: 1240590, Mary L Plaisted.

Libby, Charles Thornton. The Libby Family in America, 1602-1881. (Portland, B. Thurston and Co., 1881), pp. 90-91.

"Maine, Births and Christenings, 1739-1900," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Mar 2014), Major Plaisted, 17 Mar 1798; citing Gorham, Cumberland, Maine; FHL microfilm 10930.

"Maine, Vital Records, 1670-1907 ," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Mar 2014), Major Plaisted, 27 Mar 1887, Death; citing Maine, State Board of Health, Augusta; FHL microfilm 001205237.

Major Plaisted grave marker, North Street Cemetery, Gorham (Cumberland County), Maine; photographed by Pamela Schaffner on 7 August 2013.

Mary L. Plaisted grave marker, North Street Cemetery, Gorham (Cumberland County), Maine; photographed by Pamela Schaffner on 7 August 2013.

McLellan, Hugh D.. History of Gorham, Me.. Portland Me.: (Smith & Sale, printers, 1903, c1902), pp.722-723.

Monday, March 10, 2014

52 Ancestors: #10 Benjamin Bishop Bustin (1879-1975)

Benjamin Bishop Bustin, my great grand uncle, was born on this date in 1879 in Mechanic Settlement, New Brunswick, Canada, the sixth of nine children born to Samuel James Bustin and Mary Ross and their fourth son.

In the 1901 Census of Canada, he was listed as the head of the family, which, at that time, consisted of himself and his five brothers (Alexander, Stephen, Thomas, Walter, and Fred and a sister Harriet). Their father had died in 1897, but their mother lived until 1904, according to her headstone. It is unclear where their mother lived in 1901.

Following his older married sister, Annie, and his younger brother, Tom, he came to the States in 1902, at the age of 31, and moved into 430 Stevens Avenue in Portland, Maine.

By the 1910 U.S. Census, Annie had been widowed, having lost her husband three years before.

Two months after the census was taken in April, Ben married Agnes Rachel Hamilton, a 20 year old house servant for the Hayden family at 360 Woodfords Street in Portland. Nessie, as she was known, happened to be the sister of Ben's brother Fred's wife (Fred and Melvina had married in Portland in 1907). The sisters were born in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Ben and Nessie had two children, Harry, born in 1910, and Caroline (known as Carrie), born in 1913.

Ben Bustin and Family

In the 1920 Census, Uncle Ben was listed as an Engine-wiper for the Steam Railroad, and in the 1930 Census, he was listed as a Watchman in the Roundhouse. He undoubtedly worked for the Maine Central Railroad, probably at the Rigby Yard.

In the 1940 Census, he was living with his married daughter and son-in-law, Ashley and Carrie Horton, having lost Nessie the year before.

I remember being taken to visit Uncle Ben in a sparse apartment in the Six Links Building on Bishop Street in Morrill's Corner in Portland, Maine.

He resided in a nursing home on Rt. 302 in Windham, Maine, in his final years. He passed away there on February 24, 1975, at the age of 95. He is buried beside Nessie in Pine Grove Cemetery, in Falmouth, Maine.


The Bustin-Hamilton ties were further bound, when brother Tom married Catherine "Cassie" Margaret Hamilton in 1918, being the third Bustin brother to marry a third Hamilton sister. The romantic tale was poetically, if not accurately, retold by the Portland Evening Express newspaper on July 2, 1910, a transcript of which can be found at the above tab.


1901 Census of New Brunswick, Elgin, Albert County, Benj. Bustin, transcribed digital image, Automated Genealogy ( : accessed 9 March 2014).

1910 U.S. Census; Census Place: Portland Ward 9, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: T624_539; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 0099; FHL microfilm: 1374552, Benjamin B Bustin.

1910 U.S. Census; Census Place: Portland Ward 6, Cumberland,Maine; Roll: T624_539; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0094; FHL microfilm: 1374552, Agnes Hamilton.

1920 U.S. Census; Census Place: Portland Ward 9, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: T625_640; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 59; Image: 907, Benjamin B Bustin.

1930 U.S. Census; Census Place: Portland, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: 831; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0080; Image: 878.0; FHL microfilm: 2340566, Benjamin Bustin.

1940 U.S. Census; Census Place: Portland, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: T627_1476; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 3-112, Benjamin B Burton.

"New Hampshire, Marriage Records, 1637-1947," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 May 2012), Benjamin B. Bustin and Agnes R. Hamilton, 1910.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

52 Ancestors: #9 William Archibald (1765-1836)

William Archibald, my fourth great grand uncle, was born on this date in 1765, in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada, the sixth of twelve children born to Thomas Archibald and Janet Orr and their third son.

In the fall of 1759, a group of 20 men had come up the Bay of Fundy from New England, specifically to Truro and Onslow, to prepare the land for settlement. They returned to New England to spend the winter, and in the spring of 1760, they returned again to Nova Scotia with their families.

These first settlers endured a considerable amount of hardship for the first few years. In the fall of 1760 all the women but one returned to New England to spend the winter. It was difficult to obtain provisions from the provincial government, and agents of the British government were no more forthcoming.  It wasn't until the spring of 1762 that William's parents, Thomas and Janet Archibald, arrived in Truro, but by 1763 there were 60 families settled there.

William's older brother David was actually born during the sea voyage from New Hampshire to Truro in 1762, and William was the first of the remaining eleven children to be born in Truro three years later.

William married Martha Denny of the new settlement of Londonderry Township, Nova Scotia, the seventh of eight daughters of John Denny and Rebecca Mitchell, on February 17, 1791. Between that year and 1811, William and Martha had nine children.

William Archibald was a farmer all his life. He died in the month of July, 1836, in Truro.


Miller, Thomas. Historical and genealogical record of Colchester County (Originally published Halifax, N.S.: A. & W. Mackinlay, 1873)

Murphy, John Michael. The Londonderry heirs: A Story of the settlement of the Cobequid Townships of Truro, Onslow, and Londonderry, in Nova Scotia, Canada, by English-speaking people in period 1760 to 1775 (Middleton, Nova Scotia, 1976)

Smith, Leonard H., Jr. and Norma H. Smith, compilers. Nova Scotia immigrants to 1867 (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub.Co., 1992)


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday's Obituary ~ Henry Eric Purchase (1894-1961)

Here's another obituary from Nana's scrapbook. This one marks the passage of Henry Eric Purchase, the husband of my 1st cousin 3x removed, Lila Mae MacKay. Lila and my great grandmother were paternal 1st cousins.

Henry Eric Purchase (He was known as Eric as far as I can tell) was born on August 8, 1894, in Smethwick, Staffordshire, England, the only child of Henry Archer Purchase and Emily Hatton Cookson.  He first appears in the 1911 Census of Canada as a 17 year old lodger in Halifax.

He fought in World War I, first with the 193rd Battalion, and later as part of the "Fighting 25th" Battalion, Nova Scotia Regiment, of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.*

He came to the States in time to be enumerated in the 1930 U.S. Census as a single 35 year old roomer, living in Chicago, Illinois. By the 1940 Census, he had married Lila Mae MacKay, daughter of John William MacKay and Emma Jane Deyarmond from Upper Stewiacke, and together they had two children, Jean aged 6, and Ian aged 4.

He also registered for the World War II draft.

For most of his post wartime life, he was a switchman on the railroad.

I don't know whether he and Lila returned to Canada in their later years. Even if they did not, it would not be unlikely that they wished to be buried down east.

Eric Purchase passed away in Otter Brook, Upper Stewiacke, and is buried in Riverside Cemetery, in Upper Stewiacke, Nova Scotia.

* For more on "The Fighting 25th," read:


1911 Census of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Halifax County, Henry E. Purchase, transcribed digital image, Automated Genealogy ( : accessed 1 March 2014).

1930 U.S. Census; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: 440; Page: 16B; Image: 813.0, Henry E. Purchase.

1940; U.S. Census; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T627_948; Page: 14B, Henry E. Purchase. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

"Public Member Trees," database,, "Whatley Family Tree," for Henry Eric Purchase (b. 8 Aug 1894), with linked image.

“Stories of the Stewiacke Valley,” spiral-bound, published for the Stewiacke Valley Bicentennial, 1980