Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor
One of my favorite resources in researching ancestors is to check the local historical society. A simple google search using the “Site” criteria for a search. In this case, I was researching Mildred Swain in my Welch-Harris Project. I knew from the 1910 Census she was living in Westbrook and attending school. A Google search of the Westbrook Historical Society’s website site for Mildred would be:
Mildred Swain site:www.westbrookhistoricalsociety.org
The search returned one page, http://www.westbrookhistoricalsociety.org/photo_arc.html. A quick <cmd-f> to find an entry of “Swain” on the page yielded a photo of “The Pride’s Corner Union Bible Society” as well as a great little article. Besides my Mildred, who would have been about 12 at the time, is another Mildred (I wonder who she is?), her sisters Ruby and Esther, and Mildred’s father, Milton. What a treasure to find. There is additional history about the Pride’s Corner Church; land for the church was purchased on Elmwood Street in 1912, and the church was dedicated in 1915, free from debt.
On the back of the original photograph is additional information about some of the people in the photo. Included is that Mildred Swain married Lawrence Harmon (which I knew) and that Ruby Swain married Van Vliet (which I didn’t know.)
- Milton Swain was a founder of the Pride’s Corner Union Bible Society. His children, Ruby, Mildred, and Esther, also attended the Society.
- Ruby Swain married Van Vliet.
- All were living in the Pride’s Corner neighborhood of Westbrook in 1912.
- I cropped mall headshots of the various Swain family members in the photo to use in my family tree.
I couldn’t wait to see what else might be on the Westbrook Historical Society. A search for just “Swain” on the site found a list of people buried at the Highland Lake Cemetery. It included the following entries:
- SWAIN Emma L. Bunker w/o Milton N. Swain 1866 – 1933
- SWAIN Milton N. 1867 – 1961
- SWAIN Ruby L. (VanVliet) w/o Willem VanVliet 1895 – Mar 7, 1958
Continuing with more items to follow-up with:
- A heretofore unknown woman also named Mildred Swain lived in the area and should be researched regarding her relationship. (Possibly a sister of Milton’s and/or namesake for young Mildred?)
- Research the Pride’s Corner Church on Elmwood Street.
- Research the Pride’s Corner school, its students, etc.