Ancestor Sketch – Laurance Louis Harmon

Howell-Welch-Harris-Harmon Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Paul, the husband of my wife’s niece, said he didn’t know much about his great-grandfather, Laurance Louis Harmon. I was invited to be the godfather to his children several years ago. As I believe it to be important for children to learn about their ancestors, I am excited to learn about Paul’s ancestors so I can help my godchildren to learn more about where they come from. Finally, Paul’s ancestor was born in Scarborough, to a family name long known to me as a volunteer at the historical society.  As I quickly learned, besides Paul’s great-grandfather, I learned of six more greats in his family tree, which means much more research in the future.

Howell-Welch Project – Ancestor #14

List of Greats

  • 1st Great-grandfather: Laurance Louis Harmon (1897-1941)
  • 2nd Great-grandfather: Lewis Lunbard Harmon (1863-___)
  • 3rd Great-grandfather: Joseph Harmon
  • 4th Great-grandfather: John S. Harmon
  • 5th Great-grandfather: Joseph Harmon
  • 6th Great-grandfather: Nathanel Harmon
  • 7th Great-grandfather: John Harmon

Laurance Louis Harmon (1897-1941)

Birth

Although spring had arrived a few weeks earlier, the morning that Laurance[1] Louis Harmon was born, April 11, 1897, there was light snow and a temperature of 33.  Laurance was the third, and last, child born to Lewis and Lucille (Cousins) Harmon. Medical Doctor, Martin Coffin, attended the birth in Scarborough, Cumberland County, Maine.

Childhood

The 1900 Census found 3-year-old Laurance living with his father, a farmer, mother, and two siblings, Ernest (age 11) and Velma (age 8). They were at school and Laurance was too young to attend school yet.

The 1910 Census found 13-year-old Laurance attending school but his siblings were both working. Earnest was laboring at a sawmill and Velma was doing housework. His father was still a farmer.

Laurance followed his father into farming, as the 1915 Portland City directory reports. The 17-year-old was living with his father (L. L. Harmon). His mailing address was RFD 2, Gorham.

Marriage

Laurance married Mildred R. Swain on 1 October 1917. The ceremony was performed by Rev. John A. Ford in Gorham, Cumberland County, Maine.

Laurance and Mildred would have four children, a boy and three girls.

Military Service

On 5 June 1918 Laurance registered for the draft. He and his new wife were living at 7 Grace Street, Portland, Maine. He was employed as a machinist at Peterson Motor Company, 327 Forest Avenue, Portland. It was described as tall, with a slender build, blue eyes and brown hair.

Two months later, on 28 August 1918, John was inducted into the army as a private. He was assigned to the 43rd company, 11th Rec Batallion, 151st Depot Brigade at Camp Devens, Massachusetts.

The 43rd Company, 151st Depot Brigade – Camp Devens, Massachusett

Camp Devens was an epicenter for the Spanish Flu in 1918 where over 850 soldiers, mostly privates like Laurance, died.[2] The War ended on 11 November 1918. Laurance was discharged, three months after arriving, but a month after the war ended, on 5 December 1918 with an honorable discharge.

Adulthood

After his short time in the service, the young family located to Westbrook where Laurance worked as an auto mechanic until at least 1922.

The 1930 Census finds Laurance living with his wife and three oldest children in Gorham. He is still working as a mechanic in a garage. He is living on County Road in Gorham, near the Scarborough line.

The 1940 Census continues to find Laurance living with his wife and four children on County Road, and working as a mechanic at a machine shop

Death

Laurance Louis Harmon died 4 April 1941. He was buried in the South Gorham Cemetery, Gorham, Cumberland County Maine. He was survived by his wife and his four children.

Events by Location

  • Maine, Cumberland, Gorham                 – Residence 1915-1917, 1930-1941, Death, Burial
  • Maine, Cumberland, Portland                – Residence 1918.
  • Maine, Cumberland, Scarborough        – Birth, Residence 1900, 1910.
  • Maine, Cumberland, Westbrook            – Marriage, Residence 1917, 1919-1922.
  • Massachusetts, Camp Devens                – Military Service 1918.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Try to find Laurance’s military record to see why he was discharged after only three months.
  • Determine the exact property he purchased along County Road in Gorham.

————–  Disclaimer  ————–

Sources

  • 1900 Census, Various, 1900 Census – Lewis L Harmon – Scarborough, Cumberland, Maine. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMLF-FL3 : accessed 20 December 2020), Lewis L Harmon, Scarborough town, Cumberland, Maine, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 78, sheet 18A, family 436, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,591.
  • 1910 Census (NARA, 1910), Various, 1910 – Lawrance C. Harmon – Scarboro, Cumberland, Maine. “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MR3M-H97 : accessed 19 December 2020), Lawrance C Harmon in household of Lewis L Harmon, Scarboro, Cumberland, Maine, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 101, sheet 20A, family 467, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 538; FHL microfilm 1,374,551.
  • 1930 Census (FS), Laurence Harman – Head – Gorham, Cumberland, Maine. “United States Census, 1930,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XM8L-7KP : accessed 19 December 2020), Laurence Harman, Gorham, Cumberland, Maine, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 17, sheet 7A, line 2, family 105, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 830; FHL microfilm 2,340,565.
  • 1940 Census (FS), Family Search, 1940 Census – Lawrence Harmon – Gorham, Cumberland, Maine. “United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KMMW-WMH : 28 February 2020), Vyra A Harmon in household of Lawrence Harmon, Gorham Town, Cumberland, Maine, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 3-27, sheet 6A, line 37, family 92, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 – 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 1474.
  • Find a Grave, Laurance L Harmon – Memorial #127906305. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 19 December 2020), memorial page for Laurance L Harmon (1897–1941), Find a Grave Memorial no. 127906305, citing South Gorham Cemetery, Gorham, Cumberland County, Maine, USA ; Maintained by Maine 101 (contributor 47130320).
  • Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921, Family Search, Birth – Alton [No Name] Harmon – 11 May 1919. Citing this Record. “Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q24N-7HYM : 16 December 2020), MM9.1.1/Q24N-7HYM:, Birth 11 May 1919; multiple sources, Maine; FHL microfilm 10,133.
  • Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921, Family Search, Birth – Laurence L Harmon – 11 Apr 1897. “Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VZQD-3P8 : 16 December 2020), Lawrence L Harmon, 11 Apr 1897; citing Scarboro, , Maine, United States, multiple sources, Maine; FHL microfilm.
  • Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921, Family Search, Birth – Ruth Marie Harmon – 19 Jul 1922. “Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q24N-9GQ7 : 16 December 2020), Ruth Marie Harmon, Birth 19 Jul 1922; multiple sources, Maine; FHL microfilm 10,128. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q24N-9GQ7.
  • Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921, Family Search, Marriage – Laurence Harmon & Mildred R Swan – 1 Oct 1917. “Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q24N-SHR3 : 16 December 2020), Laurence Harmon and Mildred R Swan, 01 Oct 1917; citing Westbrook, Cumberland, Maine, United States, multiple sources, Maine; FHL microfilm.
  • Maine, Marriage Index, 1892-1966, 1977-1996, Family Search, Marriage – Laurence Harmon & Mildred R Swan – 1 Oct 1917. “Maine, Marriage Index, 1892-1966, 1977-1996,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KCN2-TRK : 27 November 2014), Laurence Harmon and Mildred R Swan, 01 Oct 1917; citing Marriage, Maine, United States, State Archives, Augusta.
  • Maine, State Archive Collections, 1718-1957, Family Search, Military Service – Laurance or Laurence Louis Harmon 1918. “Maine, State Archive Collections, 1718-1957,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KG9Q-67X : 11 March 2018), Laurance Or Lawrence Louis Harmon, 28 Aug 1918; citing Military Service, United States, State Archives, Augusta.
  • Maine, World War I Draft Register Index, 1917-1919, Family Search, Draft Registration – Lawrence Louis Harmon – Inducted 28 Aug 1918. “Maine, World War I Draft Registration Index, 1917-1919,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2HM-P1F5 : 15 March 2018), Lawrence Louis Harmon, 1917-1919; citing Draft Registration, Portland, Cumberland, Maine, United States, Maine State Archives, Augusta; FHL microfilm 005652220.
  • Portland Press Herald (Portland, ME, ), Genealogy Bank, Alton S. Harmon – Obituary 27 May 1998. Portland Press Herald (Maine) 27 May 1998, obit for ALTON S. HARMON CONSTRUCTION WORKER, WWII VETERAN, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/0F9C33C5B8BC7A98 : accessed 19 December 2020). https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/0F9C33C5B8BC7A98.
  • S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry, Portland, Maine – 1915-’17 – Page 212 – Harmon – Portland, Maine – 1915-’17 – Page 213 – Harmon. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
  • S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry, Westbrook, ME – 1930 – Gorham Directory – Page 241 – Harmon. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
  • S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry, Westbrook, ME – 1934 – Gorham Directory – Page 178 – Harmon. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
  • S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963 , Ancestry, Laurence L Harmon (1897-1941). National Archives at Washington DC; Washington DC, USA; Applications for Headstones for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1941; NAID: A1, 2110-C; Record Group Number: 92; Record Group Title: Records of the O.
  • S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, Ancestry, Alton Swain Harmon (1919-1998) – No Image. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/28283679:60901.
  • S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, Ancestry, Lawrence Louis Harmon (1897-1941) – No Image. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/89437:60901.
  • United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Family Search, Draft Card – Laurence Louis Harmon – Registered 5 June 1918. “United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KZFY-BQX : 24 August 2019), Laurence Louis Harmon, 1917-1918.

Endnotes

[1] Laurence and Laurance are used interchangeably throughout many documents. His military service record even uses both on the same page. I have standardized by using “Laurance” because it is the spelling used on his tombstone and is likely the spelling he used later in life.

[2] Internet – Wikipedia – Fort DevensEstablishment during World War I

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