Sunday, December 7, 2014

52 Ancestors: #47 Suther Ross Bustin (1908-1990)

Suther Ross Bustin, always known as Ross, my maternal grandfather, was born on this date in 1908 in Portland, Maine, the second of four children born to Fred Bustin and Melvina Hamilton, and their first son.

Ross in a baby carriage
Morrill St., Portland
Both of Ross's parents were immigrants from Canada, his father from New Brunswick, his mother from Nova Scotia. Ross and his siblings were the first generation to extend these two families into the States.

In the 1910 US Census, my grandfather is listed as "Suther R." However, he never used his first name, and always was known as "Ross," and officially as "S. Ross." At the time of this census, and for his entire life, my grandfather lived in a neighborhood of Portland, Maine, known as Morrill's Corner.

This is an historical map of Morrill's Corner, which dates about 30 years before the Bustins moved in. The Corner is actually at the very top of the map, at the point, and was formed by the confluence of Forest Avenue, Stevens Avenue, and Allen Avenue, as in the yellow inset.

By the 1920 Census, my grandfather was 11 years old and already working. Even though he is enumerated as "Luther R.," his occupation is listed:

This a picture of Ross during his teen years at the Corner.

By this time, the Bustins had moved from 6 Morrill Street to 846 Forest Avenue. Ten years later, the 21 year old was listed as "S. Ross" in the census, and was still living at home at 815 Stevens Avenue, working for a plumbing company.

It was later that same year, 1930, that he married my grandmother, Harriet Cheney Smith, the younger daughter of Wylie Smith and Bertha McCain.

Ross and Harriet lived for a short while with Harriet's recently widowed father at 92 Spring Street in downtown Portland, but soon welcomed their first child, my mother, Marilyn Louise, on November 20, 1931. They eventually moved back to Morrill's Corner, to 1158 Forest Avenue, where the 1940 Census taker found the young family. Ross was listed as a truck driver, probably for Cushman's Bakery.

Ten years later, the couple welcomed their second child, a daughter Norma Sherrill, on May 1, 1941. My grandparents purchased their only home in 1948 at 24 Mayfield Street, off Bishop Street, in Morrill's Corner. They paid $4,000 for a home where three generations would gather for many holiday gatherings over the next 30 years.

My grandfather always had a strong work ethic. For most of his working life, he worked for the Portland Coach Company, the predecessor of the Metro, Portland's bus company. Even after he retired from Portland Coach, he drove a school bus for the City of Westbrook.

He loved children, and was famous for taking neighborhood kids to the Arbor Street fire barn for an outing. He was always seen around Morrill's Corner, talking to the neighbors, and passing along the local news. He was fond of saying that he could stand in the middle of the Corner and point out every place he ever lived.



Grandpa and Mom - 1988

Ross Bustin passed away in Portland on April 19, 1990. He is buried with my grandmother in Evergreen Cemetery, in Morrill's Corner.


1910 US Census; Census Place: Portland Ward 9, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: T624_539; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0100; FHL microfilm: 1374552.

1920 US Census; Census Place: Portland Ward 9, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: T625_640; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 59; Image: 908.

1930 US Census; Census Place: Portland, Cumberland, Maine, ED 75, roll 831, page , image 796.

1940 US Census; Census Place: Portland, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: T627_1476; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 3-110. Maine, Birth Records, 1621-1922 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

Cumberland County (Me.) Real Property Records, Deed for 24 Mayfield Street, Portland, Maine, Book 01918, Page 72, Document #7825, dated 6/15/1948.

Maine Department of Human Services, certificate of death 90-02896 (1990), S. Ross Bustin; Office of Vital Records, Augusta.

Maine.  Record of a Marriage (30 Dec 1930), S. Ross Bustin and Harriet C. Smiith;  Maine State Archives, Augusta;  photocopied from microfilm July 2, 2012.

“S. Ross Bustin, official for Portland Coach,” obituary, Portland (Maine) Press Herald, April 20, 1990.

S. Ross and Harriet C. Bustin tombstone, Plot 206, Section V, Evergreen Cemetery, Portland  (Cumberland County), Maine; photographed by Pamela Schaffner on 7 August 2009.


This is the 47th in a series, “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks,” coordinated by Amy Johnson Crow at

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