Mary Washburn & the Early Censuses

Census Sunday

Blanchard Project
Blanchard-Washburn

In “Searching for Mary Washburn’s Parents,” I concluded the neither Cyrus Washburn’s daughter, Maria, nor James E. Washburn’s daughter, Mary, could be the Mary Washburn, who married Albion Blanchard.

Mary had one of the roughest lives of anyone I’ve ever researched. In 1868, when she was only 34 years old, her husband and only daughter, Sarah, died, and she became destitute. Left with a 10-year-old and a 2-year-old, the widow became wholly supported by the town. In the five years she had left, she lived in the Almshouse in Yarmouth and boarded with A. M. Libby in Windham for a short time. Finally, in 1873 her oldest son, 15-year-old Charles, joined her in Saco before her death.

The point of all this is that there was no family that could or would take her in; thus, she remained destitute and supported “wholly by the town.” With no family able or willing to take her and the kids in, it is possible that she had no family. That might explain why she didn’t appear in any census records for Cumberland during the 1850 Census. Her son, Frederick, died in 1917. His death record indicates that his mother, Mary, was born in Cumberland. Not finding her in the 1850 Census, I wondered if she may be in the 1840 Census.

Using the criteria of the last name of “Washburn” and residing in “Cumberland County” during the 1840 Census, there were six results.

  • James E. Washburn – Determined not to be Mary’s father previously.
  • Cyrus Washburn –Determined not to be Mary’s father previously.
  • Otis Washburn – Determined not to be Mary’s father previously.
  • Marshall Washburn – Had no females living in his household under 20.
  • Charles Washburn –Had no females living in his household under 10.
  • Isaac C. Washburn – Had three males and four females living in his household. He was likely the one male between 20 and 30. The two other males were 15 to 20, and of the females, two were from 20 to 30, one was 10 to 15, but one was under 5. I thought, “Maybe.” But, further research was necessary.
Isaac C Washburn in the 1840 Census.

Sadly, further research suggests that Isaac C. Washburn isn’t Mary’s father either.

Isaac married Cynthia W. Stevens in 1837, a few years after Mary was born. Additionally, the female under five years of age is likely Cynthia, a 10-year-old (apparent) daughter in the 1850 Census. So. I’m confident that Isaac is not Mary’s parent either.

Conclusion

I think I’ve encountered a brick wall with Mary, at least as far as my online research is concerned. I think maybe a deep dive into town records might yield some additional information. Possibly, some newspaper will have an article that will tell me more.

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