Ancestor Sketch – Mary S. [A.[i]] Washburn
By Don Taylor
Mary (Washburn) Blanchard had one of the saddest lives I’ve ever encountered. Her birth and childhood are unknown. She married a farmer so poor he needed supplies from the town to keep his family fed. Then her house burned, killing her husband and a daughter. She lived for five years after the fire and died at the age of 39.
Blanchard-Utterstrom Ancestor #17
List of Grandparents
- Grandfather: Edward Everett Blanchard (1900-1971)
- 1st Great-grandfather: Frederick W. Blanchard (1865-1917)
- 2nd Great-grandmother: Mary S. Washburn (1834-1973)
Mary S. Washburn (1834-1873)
Mary’s birth is still unknown. The 1860 Census indicates that she was 25 years old, suggesting she was born in Maine from 1834 to 1835.[ii] Her son’s death certificate indicates she was born in Cumberland, Maine.[iii] It isn’t clear if she was born in Cumberland County or Cumberland Town.
Mary married Albion Blanchard in a ceremony performed by Edias Baker in Windham, Cumberland County, Maine, on 2 February 1957.[iv]
The couple had three children.
- 1858 – Charles A. F. Blanchard
- 1861 – Sarah L. Blanchard
- 1866 – Frederick W. Blanchard
Disaster – September 1868
It appears that on 7 September 1868, the home of Albion and Mary burned. Their daughter Sarah died in the fire. Mary’s husband, Albion, died two days later in what must have been two days of agony.[v]
Mary was destitute and became wholly supported by the Town. In 1870 she boarded with David Libby in Windham.[vi]
In 1871 she was in the Yarmouth Almshouse. Her sons, Charles and Frederick, were being boarded with their uncle, Charles Henry Blanchard, in Cumberland.
In early 1872, Mary was at A. M. Libby’s in Windham and then “left for parts unknown.” Her 16-year-old son, Charles, was working for board at D. Pittee’s in Cumberland. Little six-year-old Frederick remained with Charles H. Blanchard in Cumberland, where he remained until he was at least 16 years old.
Mary reappeared living in Saco, York County, Maine, in early 1873, with her son, Charles, where she died on 2 May 1873. She was 39 years old. After her death, Charles boarded with William M & Samuel Merrill and worked for his board.
Events by Location
Maine, Cumberland County, Cumberland – Birth (1934), 1860 Census.
- Maine, Cumberland County, Windham – Marriage (1857), 1870, 1872.
- Maine, Cumberland County, Yarmouth – 1871.
- Maine, York County, Saco – Death (1873).
Mary appears to have lived her entire life between Yarmouth and Saco, Maine, a distance of fewer than 30 miles.
Further Actions / Follow-up
Research on Mary appears to have reached a brick wall. Possibly visits to:
- Saco for death records
- Cumberland for Marriage and Poor Records
- Cumberland County (Portland) for other birth records may yield results.
1. 1860 Census, Family Search, Albion Blanchard – Cumberland, Cumberland, Maine. “United States Census, 1860”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MDHK-XYB : 18 March 2020), Albion Blanchard, 1860. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MDHK-XYB?from=lynx1UIV8&treeref=M647-GD1.
2. Town of Cumberland, Maine, Cumberland Pauper Book, Digital Maine, Blanchard [search]. https://digitalmaine.com/cumberland_books/5/.
3. Maine Marriages, 1771-1907, Family Search, Albion Blanchard & Mary S. Washburn – 2 February 1857. “Maine Marriages, 1771-1907”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F4N3 PXT : 14 January 2020), Albion Blanchard, 1857. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F4N3-PXT.
4. Maine, Death Records, 1617-1922, Ancestry, Fred [Frederick] W Blanchard (1866-1917). http://search.ancestry.com/search/collections/MaineDeathRe/1138416/printer-friendly?ssrc=pt&tid=10416014&pid=220072758160&usePUB=true.
[i] Occasionally, the town pauper records refer to Mary A. Blanchard which may be more accurate than the Mary S. Blanchard reported in her son’s death information.
[ii] See source #1 above.
[iii] See source #4 above.
[iv] See source #3 above.
[vi] See Source #2 above.