Book Review – Pioneers on Maine Rivers

by Wilbur D. Spencer

Review by Don Taylor

Maine’s early history is the story of Europeans coming to the new land to start anew. My understanding has always included the fundamental knowledge that the people settled along the rivers. Indeed, Scarborough and the entire Maine coast contains stories of the various plantations, proprietors, and pioneers. With my volunteer work at the Scarborough Historical Society, I’ve grown to know many of the stories of Scarborough, but I know little about any other places along the Maine coast. Consequently, I was excited to see Pioneers on Maine Rivers as a book to straighten out some confusing stories and provide the basics of many other colonization stories of Maine.

Summary of content

After the dedication and introduction, the author includes several background facts, such as the “Maine Visiting Lists before 1630,” “Proprietary Division,” and “The First Plantations. Then the book takes each river where settlements were established and works north from the Piscataqua River to the Machias River. Most of the settlement writeups include their history and quick identification of the early pioneers.

Analysis and evaluation of the book

To understand the accuracy and what the book can add to my knowledge and understanding, I immediately jumped to the “Scarborough River.” I had heard of the first settlers at Blue Point, Henry Watts and Richard Foxwell. I knew the first pioneers included Hilkiah Bailey and George Dearing, but I didn’t realize that Dearing’s widow married Jonas Bailey. A short subsection about “Stratton’s Islands” included dates of various individuals establishing settlements.

The next chapter in the book is the “Nonesuch River.” Surprisingly, this chapter included a few paragraphs regarding the Alger settlement at Dunstan (where I live on land that was once the Alger property). After the four pages of history about the settlements is a set of short paragraphs about the Pioneers. For example:

BAILEY, HILKIAH, employe or tenant of Richard Foxwell at Blue Point 1640; last mentioned, 1645.

The following chapter, SPURWINK RIVER[i], includes information about Richmond Island and Cape Elizabeth. Again, the Pioneers are listed, which includes Andrew Alger and Jonas Baily.

There are several appendixes, including on on Planters and another on Patents. However, “Appendix C” intrigued me. It is “Ancient Maps of Maine.” It provides a shortlist of maps that I will definitely seek to find copies of. I love maps.  There is an index; the index does not include the individuals listed in the Pioneer sections, but otherwise, it is excellent.

Conclusion

I found the book helpful, and I am delighted to have it in my collection. Whenever I want to know the early history of Maine’s many river settlements, this will be my “go-to” book for gaining basic knowledge of Maine’s 17th-century settlements.[ii]

Spencer, Wilbur Daniel. 1995. Pioneers on Maine rivers: with lists to 1651 compiled from the original sources. Baltimore: Reprinted for Clearfield Co., Inc., by Genealogical Pub. Co., Inc.

Pioneers on Maine Rivers
Publication Date: 1930
Reprint Date: 1995
Pages: 414 pp.

 

This book is available at the Portland Public Library[iii], the University of Southern Maine Library[iv], and directly from the publisher.

—– Disclosure —–

Endnotes

[i] The Spurwink River provides some of the border between Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth. Today, Higgins Beach is on the western bank of the Spurwink River. Across the river, the eastern bank, is primarily farmland. Also see the area at the mouth of the Spurwink River (43°34’17.1″N 70°16’42.4″W) on Google Maps

[ii] I need to reread the chapter on the Saco River. It’s 20+ pages contained so much information my head is spinning.

[iii] Internet: WorldCat – https://www.worldcat.org/title/pioneers-on-maine-rivers-with-lists-to-1651-compiled-from-the-original-sources/oclc/833207387

[iv] Ibid.

My Top 10 Fee-Based Genealogy Websites

Tuesday’s Tips
By Don Taylor

  1. Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Ancestry – Without a doubt, I use Ancestry more than any other fee-based website. I have a World Subscription and use Ancestry almost daily.
  2. Newspapers – I find Newspapers.Com has more pages that fit my needs. Ancestry will bundle a Basic Newspapers.Com subscription with their subscription, but I find the basic doesn’t provide the information I need. Consequently, I have the Publisher Extra plan and love it.
  3. American Ancestors – The New England Historic Genealogical Society is an excellent resource, particularly for New England ancestors.
  4. Genealogy Bank – I wish I could afford all the sites I want. To save money, I switch between a Genealogy Bank and a Newspaper Archive subscription each year. Both of them are very good.
  5. Newspaper Archive – Again, I subscribe to Newspaper Archive every other year.
  6. Fold 3 – Fold 3 is the top/best site for military records. I subscribe occasionally. When I do, they give a Newspapers.Com discount. Also, it can be bundled with an Ancestry.Com subscription. I’ve subscribed that way also.
  7. General Register Office – This is the Online service to order BMD records from England and is a pay-as-you-need system. They are the place to search for English records. When you find a record you can order it (B&D) for electronic delivery in a few days. For marriage records, they send a physical copy and delivery takes a couple of weeks. I use them several times a year.
  8. State Societies – I find subscribing to various genealogical societies helpful. They typically have some kind of magazine or newsletter plus provide access to member resources. I typically join one when I’m researching ancestors in that state and see what they have. Currently, I am a member of the Maine Genealogical Society, but I’ve had memberships with the Minnesota and Southern California societies in the past couple years depending upon who I’ve been researching.
  9. Local Societies – I also maintain several local society memberships for places where my ancestors lingered. For example, many of my Brown ancestors lived in Morrison County, Minnesota, so I keep a membership with them. Likewise, my Wolcott ancestors were among the Founders of Ancient Windsor, Connecticut, so I’ve been a member there on and off. I highly recommend being a member of the local historical or genealogical society where your ancestors lived.
  10. DNA Testing Sites – Strictly speaking, DNA testing sites are “fee-based” that is to say, you gain access to resources on their site after you have paid for testing. I’ve tested with AncestryDNA, 23&Me, and Family Tree DNA. However, once you’ve tested with them, further fees aren’t charged to access your results.

My thanks to Randy Seaver and his “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun” for encouraging me to consider what I think of as my top 10 paid sites.

Don Taylor Genealogy – 2019 Year in Review

Reviews

The primary purpose of my blog is to help me understand my genealogical findings. It is like a diary or journal that helps me to focus on what I know. It helps me to stay focused not to become distracted. I would like to remind readers that I do accept guest submissions. If you would like to write something that will be of interest to readers of my six primary topics (Brown, Darling, Howell, and Roberts lines as well DNA discoveries or understanding and Donna Montran’s Vaudeville Career), I’ll be happy to consider your submission as a guest post.

I am not selling genealogical services. However, I do lead a genealogical group at the Scarborough Public Library. We meet the 4th Monday of the month learn more about it on the SPL-GG Facebook Page. participate with the I do participate in an affiliate program. Please, consider using my links when you purchase genealogical resources so I can help fund this site.

2018 Statistics.

I wrote 125 posts during the year, slightly up from 2018.  My goal is to post, at a minimum, once every three days. So, I made my goal by posting an average of once every 2.92 days.

The number of page views stayed virtually the same in 2019 over 2018 down 0.01%, So the average views per day stayed at 36.

I currently have 460 followers/subscribers – up from 409 at the beginning of the year. Besides direct subscribers, there are other individuals that follow my blog via Facebook, Twitter, and Google. If you do not subscribe to dontaylorgenealogy.com, please do so.

Referrals to my site are as I would expect, Google by far the greatest referrer, with Facebook a distant 2nd. The third was the WordPress Android App. My old Blogspot site dropped to sixth, so I guess I still can’t delete it.

Top Seven Postings for 2019

My number one post during 2019 was the same as my #1 post in 2016, 2017, 2018 “Why I’ll never do business with MyHeritage Again.” I guess people love reading rants.

My number 2 article for 2019 was number 2 last year as well it was the 2017 “OMG – Another Half-Sibling,” which spoke about learning of a half-sibling here-to-fore unknown for my mother. Quite the surprise for my mother and my half-aunt, Barbara.

Third, was my review of DNA Painter. I definitely need to do more reviews.

Number 4 was my “Surname Saturday” article about the Howell surname. I will try to do more surnames in that series.

Number 5, an “Ancestry ThruLines” posting about my second-great-grandfather, Asa Ellis.

Number 6 surprised me greatly. It was a 2016 memorial article regarding my uncle, Russell Kees. I received a touching comment from Lisa Emmert who indicated that Russ wrote a poem to her mother in the 1940s. The poem was “To Rosie.”

Number 7 was another review, Ancestry’s ThruLines.

Conclusion

Going through these statistics, I noticed that my “Surname Saturday” dropped off my radar for work. I need to resurrect that series. Like previous years reviews, My Heritage, Lost Cousins, DNA Painter, and Ancestry ThruLines were among my most read articles.

Next Year

I have found that I overextended myself during 2018.  As such, I have decided to reduce my activities in several areas and focus more on family and Scarborough activities. I have quit doing any kind of (paid) genealogical consulting activities. I will also greatly reduce my genealogical society volunteerism and will drop memberships in at least six societies and organizations. I plan to work more diligently on my five primary research areas, Brown, Darling, Howell, Roberts, and Donna’s Vaudeville and less on my other genealogical projects. I will continue efforts with the Scarborough Historical Society. I expect 2020 to be an exciting year for genealogy as more and more records become available online.

 

 

My Farmers in Sullivan County, Indiana

One of my favorite blogs is Genealogy à la carte. One of their regular features is “This week’s Crème de la Crème.” In it, Gail Dever provides a listing of what she thinks are the best genealogical blogs and articles of the past week. It focuses on Canadian genealogy and, although I have no known Canadians among my ancestors, I invariably find something that is of interest to me. This week’s edition included a notice of Miriam Robbins blog posting “New Page: Farm and Farmers Directories.”

I perused the entries in the blog post and saw that a new directory for Sullivan County, Indiana was listed. That link brought me to “Art Souvenir of Leading citizens and farmers’ directory of Sullivan County, Indiana” published by the Sullivan Times Co in 1896. I have ancestors who lived in Sullivan County, so I wondered if I could find any of my ancestors listed.

Map of Indiana showing location of Sullivan County
Sullivan County, Indiana

Using Family Tree Maker 2017, (My preferred genealogy software.) I went to the places tab and selected Sullivan County, Indiana, USA and discovered I have 88 individuals associated with Sullivan County. I started entering surnames in the search function and found six individuals that were ancestors of mine and were in the directory.

The following are entries I discovered. Facts new to me are Green bolded.

Beard, J. N. born in Crawford County, Ills., 1859. Came to Sullivan county 1894. Farming 120 acres, situated 7½ miles northwest of Sullivan, Turman township. Owner, A. Hopewell.
[A. Hopewell rented 120 acres to J. N. Beard.]

Hopewell, A., born in Sullivan County, 1847. Owns 336 acres, situated in Turman Tp, 6 Miles N.W. of Sullivan. Mr. Hopewell served the last six months in the Civil war, 53rd Ind. Vol Inf.

Nash, S. W., Assessor of Truman Tp., born in Sullivan county, 1853. Farming 40 acres situated 7 miles northwest of Graysville. Owners, Barnes Heirs. P.O. Hutsonville, Ills. There are several Barnes families that could have owned this property. [I would need to do a title/deed search to determine for certain.]

Taft, Alonzo, born in Sullivan County, 1870. Farming 65 acres, situated 2 miles southwest of Sullivan. P.O. Same.

Taft, William., Born in N.Y., 1842. Came to Sullivan county, 1849. Owns 20 acres, situated in Curry tp., ¾ mile east of Shelburn.

Thompson, Albert, born in Sullivan county, 1823. Owns 260 acres situated in Fairbanks Tp., 12 miles northwest of Sullivan. P.O. Fairbanks.

None of these individuals were direct ancestors, but several were uncles and aunts.

Future research:

Worth further investigation is the “Barnes Heirs” owning 40 acres. My 2nd great-grandfather, Nelson Barnes, died in 1884. Could this 40 acres be remnants of his estate? If so, why hadn’t the estate been settled in the ensuing 12 years? If not, whose estate was it that was owned by the “Barnes heirs.”

Sources:

  • Art souvenir of leading citizens and farmers’ directory of Sullivan County, Indiana – 1896 : Sullivan Times Co. Cn : Free Download, Borrow, And Streaming : Internet Archive.” Internet Archive. Accessed July 28 2019. https://archive.org/details/artsouveniroflea00sull/page/n7.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Carolina and Halifax County, NC Websites and Assets.

Howell/Vincent
General Help
Website Reviews (North Carolina)

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Background.

I have been researching my wife’s 3rd great-grandfather, Burkett Vincent. I really don’t know much about Burkett. He appears as the head of household in the 1810, 1820, 1830, and 1840 censuses. I also speculate that he appears in the household of Philip Vinson, his apparent father, in the 1790 and 1800 censuses. I have no birth record for him, although he was probably born between 1775 and 1780 in the North Carolina colony. I also have no death record for him, although he appears to have died before the 1850 Census.

He was apparently married twice. His first wife’s name is unknown and it appears that they had five children, 2 boys and 3 girls, between 1804 and 1820. I don’t know the names of any of those children. He was also married to Elizabeth Rose. With her, he appears to have had seven children. William, John, James, Elisha, Susan, Nancy, and Burkett. Born between 1814 and 1824.  It is possible some of the seven children were part of the initial five. I am pretty sure that Burkett was born, married, and died in Halifax County, North Carolina.

I have had several people ask that I share my research approach and some of my links.

Typically, my “first pass” uses I am familiar with and use for everyone. I use my various search tricks in doing so. For example, I might use “Vincent of Halifax” and North Carolina as a search term. For newspapers, I often use the individual’s address as a search term.

My regularly used “First Pass” sites include:

My Special North Carolina Links (Second Pass)

I had 29 Links in my North Carolina Bookmarks.  I went through them to clean them up and determine if any of them are particularly useful in my quest. Several links I moved to a separate subdirectory for bookmarks – Counties. I deleted several links as not being useful. I ended up with 11 North Carolina links I think are useful, and another four which are county sites, that make up my second pass.

Top 3 (In my opinion) – Non-Paid North Carolina Sites

  1. North Carolina – County Formation Maps – Interactive Slideshow. – Select a year and see the counties as they existed then.
  2. Digital North Carolina – Includes Yearbooks, Newspapers, Images, Memorabilia, City Directories & Audiovisual.
  3. North Carolina Digital Collections – Browse 26 separate collections or use a single search.

Top Paid North Carolina Sites

  1. $$ – North Carolina Pioneers – Databases for several states – $150.00 per year – I’m not currently a subscriber, but I’m thinking about it.

Other North Carolina Sites worth checking

  1. East Carolina Roots – Genealogy & History of Eastern North Carolina.
  2. North Carolina Encyclopedia (NCpedia) – Biographies, State Symbols, Counties, Geography, World War I, Digital Textbook.
  3. North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data – 216,000 land grants from 1663-1960.
  4. North Carolina State Government Publications Collection – Session Laws of North Carolina
  5. North Carolina State Historic Preservation – HPOWEB GIS Service (General Audience) – Note: This site requires Adobe Flash player to use.
  6. North Carolina State Library
  7. North Carolina State University Libraries

Counties – List of Counties

Finally, in my “2nd Pass” are county focused links. In my case, I have done research in the following counties and have these in my bookmarks.

  • Cabarrus County – Cabarrus Genealogy Society – Concord, NC.
  • Halifax County – NCGenWeb – Includes a list of resources. For GenWeb sites, I prefer doing a Google search of the county’s site.
  • Martin County – NCGenWeb
  • Martin County Register of Deeds – Full System, Includes Old Deed Books U (08/26/1866) thru 0XXXX; There are no “I” books, nor book N-05. Also, there are scanned index books for 1925 through 1984.

Review other potential sites (Third Pass)

For my “Third Pass,” I basically, review the following webpages for resources I haven’t used in my first and second passes. These are specifically for North Carolina; however, the concept works for any location. State and County resources recommended on these sites.

The Ancestor Hunt – North Carolina (for newspaper, obituary, and BMD suggestions.”

Family Search Wiki – North Carolina Online Genealogy Records.
Family Search Wiki – Halifax County, North Carolina Genealogy

Cyndi’s List – United States, North Carolina
Cyndi’s List – United States, North Carolina – Halifax County

$$ Ancestry – North Carolina (in the Card Catalog)
$$ Ancestry – Halifax County, North Carolina (in the Card Catalog)

Road trip or hire a genealogist – (This is a 4th step if needed).

  1. North Carolina State Archives. – Includes a listing of the various records held by each county by the County Offices. It is a very important document to review before a trip to the County Offices.
    1. The Halifax County Guide is here.
    2. The Martin County Guide is here.