Ancestor Sketch – Mildred R. Swain

Welch-Harris Project
Welch-Harris-Harmon-Swain Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Mildred R. Swain was born, married, raised four children, and died in the Greater Portland, Maine, area.

Welch/Harris – Ancestor #15

List of Greats

    • 1st Great-grandmother: Mildred R. Swain (1899-1984)
    • 2nd Great-grandfather: Milton N Swain (1867-____)

Mildred R. Swain Harmon (1899-1984)

Birth

Mildred R. Swain was born on 18 March 1899 in Portland, Cumberland County, Maine. Dr. N. M. Marshall was the attending physician. She was the third child of Milton N and Emma L. (Bunker) Swain.

Childhood

1900 Census

  • The 1900 U.S. Census found the Milton N. Swain household living at 326 Ocean Street, Portland (Ward 9), Maine. Thirty-two-year-old Milton was an insurance clerk and owned his home free. His wife, Emma, age 33, had had three children, but one had died by then. Milton and Emma had been married for nine years, so it appears that the one child was born and died between 1891 and 1900. Emma’s nineteen-year-old sister, Rossie Bunker, is living with the family, who is working as a dressmaker.
    • Household          Role          Sex Age Birthplace & Date
    • Milton N Swain     Head         M      32     Maine        Aug 1867
    • Emma L Swain    Wife           F       34     Maine        July 1866
    • Ruby L Swain       Daughter F       4       Maine        Nov. 1895
    • Mildred R Swain Daughter F       1       Maine        Mar 1899
    • Rossie Bunker     S-in-law    F       19     Maine        Feb 1881

1910 Census

Between 1900 and 1910, the Swain family moved from Portland to a farm on Brook Street in Westbrook, Ward 5, Cumberland County, Maine. The 1910 U.S. Census reported forty-two-year-old Milton was a stenographer at an insurance office. He owned his farm free. His wife, Emma, age 43, had had three living children, with little Esther born about 1905.

Fourteen-year-old Ruby and 11-year-old Mildred were attending school. Five-year-old Esther hadn’t started school yet. 

Marriage

Mildred Swain and Lawrence[1] Louis Harmon took out a marriage license on 19 September 1917 and were married on 1 October 1917 in Westbrook. John A. Ford, a clergyman in Gorham, performed the ceremony.

Mildred and Lawrence located to Portland and lived at 7 Grace Street when Lawrence entered the military service on 28 August 1918. He served until 5 December 1918, when he was honorably discharged. After his service, they began their family. They had four (known) children

    • Alton Swain         Born 11 May 1919
    • Ruth Marie           Born 19 July 1922
    • Louise Lucille      Born 2 January 1928
    • Vyra A                   Born circa 1932

1919 – Lawrence and Mildred lived at 62 Mobil Street, Westbrook, when Alton was born on 11 May 1919.

1920s

I have been unsuccessful in finding Mildred and Lawrence in the 1920 Census.

I did find Laurence and Mildred living in Westbrook in 1922. Laurance was working as an auto mechanic at 684 Congress in Portland. On 19 July 1922, their second child Ruth Marie was born. Also, on 2 January 1928, their third child Louise Lucille was born.

1930s

The 1930 Gorham City directory indicates Laurance ad Mildred lived on Home Bar Mills Road, near the Scarborough Line in Gorham.

The 1930 Census finds Mildred and Lawrence’s home in Gorham valued at $2,500; the Harmons own their home. Alton and Ruth are attending school, and Louine is too young for school yet.

Their fourth child, Vyra, was probably born in 1932.

The 1940 Census indicates that in 1935 they lived in the same house as they did in 1940.

1940s

The 1940 Census shows the Harmon family living on County Road in Gorham. It indicates that Mildred had one year of high school (previously). The household consisted of Laurence, Mildred, and their four children. Alton was working as a farmhand, and the three younger children were attending school.

Mildred’s husband, Laurance Louis Harmon, died on 4 April 1941.

Death

Marker – HARMON, Laurance L (1897-1941) & Mildred S. (1899-1984)

Mildred R. (Swain) Harmon died in December 1984. She is buried in the South Gorham Cemetery.

Events by Location

Mildred R. (Swain) Harmon lived her entire life in the greater Portland, Maine area, all within about 10 miles.

    • Maine, Cumberland, Gorham                 1930-1940, Burial
    • Maine, Cumberland, Portland                Birth, 1900 | 1918
    • Maine, Cumberland, Westbrook             1910, Marriage | 1919-1922

Further Actions / Follow-up

    • Census – Locate Mildred and Lawrence in the 1920 Census.
    • Education, Maine, Westbrook – Mildred attended School in Westbrook in 1910. Her schooling included one year of high school.
    • Education, Maine, Gorham – Look for school records for Alton & Ruth attending school in Gorham (1930 & 1940).
    • Education, Maine, Gorham – Look for school records for Vyra attending school in Gorham (1940)
    • News – Research Mildred Swain in Cumberland County, 1899-1917.
    • News – Research Mildred Harmon in Cumberland County, 1917-1985.
    • Probate – Look for Probate of Laurance’s will circa 1941-1942.
    • Probate – Look for Probate of Mildred’s property circa 1984-1985.
    • Property – Look for Real Estate Records for Lawrence Harmon (1920 Westbrook, 1930 & 1940 Gorham).
    • Religion – Mildred and Lawrence were married in a ceremony performed by John A. Ford, a clergyman in Gorham. What church was Rev. Ford the minister for, and are there any church records from this period.
    • Vital Records – Look for death record/obituary for Mildred R. Harmon.
    • Vital Records – Look for a birth record for Vyra.

Sources

    • “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMLF-W7C : accessed 30 July 2021), Milton N Swain, Portland city Ward 9, Cumberland, Maine, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 77, sheet 6A, family 124, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,591.
    • “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MR33-MP7 : accessed 30 July 2021), Milton N Swain, Westbrook Ward 5, Cumberland, Maine, United States; citing enumeration district (E.D.) ED 115, sheet 8A, family 163, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 540; FHL microfilm 1,374,553.
    • “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 (E.D.) 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.
    • “United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KMMW-WMH : 28 February 2020), Vyra A Harmon in the household of Lawrence Harmon, Gorham Town, Cumberland, Maine, United States; citing enumeration district (E.D.) 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, R.G. 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 1474.
    • Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/127906355/mildred-harmon : accessed 30 July 2021), memorial page for Mildred Harmon (1899–1984), Find a Grave Memorial ID 127906355, citing South Gorham Cemetery, Gorham, Cumberland County, Maine, USA; Maintained by Maine 101 (contributor 47130320).
    • Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q24N-7HYM : 2 March 2021), MM9.1.1/Q24N-7HYM: Birth 11 May 1919; multiple sources, Maine; FHL microfilm 10,133.
    • “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, 1 October 1917; citing Marriage, Maine, United States, State Archives, Augusta.
    • “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 August 1918; citing Military Service, United States, State Archives, Augusta.
    • 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)
    • “United States Social Security Death Index,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JBKZ-3ZD : 7 January 2021), Mildred Harmon, Dec 1984; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
    • S. City Directories, 1822-1989, Portland, Maine – 1922 – Harmon, Lawrence L. https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/791282728:2469.
    • S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry, Westbrook, ME – 1930 – Gorham Directory – Page 241 – Harmon.

Endnotes

[1] Laurence, Laurance, and Lawrence, are all spellings for Laurance. It is my practice to typically use the spelling used in the particular document that I am citing from. “Laurance” is the spelling used on his grave marker. As such, that is the spelling I prefer using.

William D. Hales – (1871-1943)

No Story too Small 

I decided to do some research for my stepdaughter. We know almost nothing about her 2nd great grandfather, William D. Hales, or his wife Katie. So, I thought he would be a good person to look at in much greater depth. My process it to use Ancestry.Com as a starting place. I have a subscription and it works well for me as a starting point. It provides quick and easy access to the various census records that can do a lot to determine a person’s life.

I was able to find and follow William through the 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 censuses with very little problem. I had to understand more about his life to find him in the 1940 census, because he was in another state that he apparently had no previous history. I was also able to find him in several city directories, but nothing definitive about his birth or his death and only an estimated year regarding his marriage from the 1900 Census.

My next step in the process is to use Family Search and see if I could find clear information about his Birth, Marriage, or Death — no such luck.

Newspapers then become my next source for searches. Thanks to Genealogy Bank, I was able to find his death date. I might have ignored the short notice if I hadn’t known that William was in Kansas City in 1935 and Independence, Kansas in 1940. I also found a couple other articles at Genealogy Bank regarding his life. Then I searched Newspapers.Com — Va-Va-Va-Voom! There were about 20 articles regarding his life — lots of great information. Once I assimilate all of that information from the newspapers regarding his life, I’ll be able to return again to further research. There is a lot of information to document and source. Here is what I’ve learned so far:

William D. Hales (1871-1943)
William D. Hales was born in Maryland in October 1871[i]. I do not yet know who his parents were. Nothing is known of his childhood, but when he was 19, in 1891, he married Katherine “Katie” Harmon[ii].

In 1900, William is an electrician renting a home at 2002 Walbrook Ave, Baltimore, Md., living with his wife and three young children, Mamie, Catherine, and Arthur.[iii] The family moved to Frederick, Md., and was living at 127 South Market Street.[iv] William worked for Frederick Gas & Electric, (FG&E) Company[v] and attended the Methodist Episcopal Church.[vi] In August of 1904, William left FG&E, and started his own electrical construction and supply office at 61 E. Patrick Street. Business was booming for William as he rewired Frederick City Hall and put in a new switchboard there. He also installed dental and medical equipment on West Patrick Street.[vii] He was a leader who presided over a special service held for men at the City Opera House.[viii] He was also a member of the Order of Knights of Pythias.[ix]

William was outspoken regarding individuals doing electrical repairs or installation who weren’t experienced or trained.[x] He was a registered voter and was selected to be on the Grand Jury for Frederick during September 1906.[xi] He was also involved in the community and was a baseball umpire.[xii]

2929 Walbrook Ave today
Thanks: Google Maps

By 1910, William and the family moved to 1819 Whitmore Ave in Baltimore where he continued to work as an electrician.[xiii] They moved again, this time to a three-story townhome at 2929 Walbrook Ave.;[xiv] a building that stands today although appears abandoned.

The family moved again, this time to Philadelphia, where William worked as an Engineer for a Casualty Company. In 1920, besides his wife, his daughter Mamie, her husband Ivan Snyder, and their six-year-old daughter, Mary K. lived with them.[xv]

By 1924, the family had moved back to Baltimore and lived at 4900 Liberty Heights Ave, in Gwynn Oak, (Baltimore).[xvi] The address is now a “Food Stop” grocery and fast food. His wife, Katherine, would live there until her death in 1935. William continued to working as an engineer for the Maryland Casualty Insurance Company and became a supervisor by 1929.[xvii] (Maryland Casualty Insurance Company is now part of Zurich American Insurance.)

Maryland Casualty Insurance Company headquarters

The 1930 census indicates the couple still living on Liberty Heights Ave. and William working as a mechanical engineer for the insurance company.

According to the 1940 census, William was divorced and living in Kansas City, Kansas in April 1935.[xviii] Meanwhile, Katie was still living at the Liberty Heights Ave house when she died in February of 1935, so, it appears that the two divorced sometime between 1930 and 1935. In 1940, William was still working, now as a safety engineer, at Casualty Insurance and living at the Booth hotel in Independence, KS.[xix] His time in Independence must have been short lived because he was back in Kansas City staying at the Snydorhoff hotel in Westport (Kansas City) when he died on 17 August 1943.[xx] His funeral was by Stine & McClure funeral home, however, I do not know, yet, where he was buried.

List of Greats

Catherine B Hales
William D Hales

Actions still needed

Birthdate: Determine William D. Hales exact birthdate.
Parents: Determine William’s parents’ names.
Marriage: Determine wedding date of William and Katherine.
Death: Determine where William is buried.
Children: the 1910 Census indicates that Katherine had had four children of which only three were living. Find out about the 4th, unknown, child.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – Disclaimer  – – – – – – – – – – – –

[i] 1900 United States Federal Census (Ancestry.Com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations Inc, 2004.), Year: 1900; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 17, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 616; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0227; FHL microfilm: 1240616.
[ii] 1930 United States Federal Census (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations Inc, 2002.Original data – United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626,), Ancestry.Com, http://www.Ancestry.Com, 1930; Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 871; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 0670; Image: 33.0; FHL microfilm: 2340606.
[iii] 1900 United States Federal Census (Ancestry.Com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations Inc, 2004.), Year: 1900; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 17, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 616; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0227; FHL microfilm: 1240616.
[iv] The News (Frederick, Maryland), Newspapers.com, 1902-05-30, Pg 3 – The Social World. http://www.newspapers.com/clip/1136210/surprise_party/?.
[v] The News (Frederick, Maryland), Newspapers.com, 1904-08-18, Pg 3 –  Brief Bits. http://www.newspapers.com/clip/1136389/brief_bits_william_d_hales/?.
[vi] The News (Frederick, Maryland), Newspapers.com, 1903-04-18, Pg 5 – Church News. http://www.newspapers.com/clip/1136232/church_news/?.
[vii] The News (Frederick, Maryland), Newspapers.com, 1905-06-28, Pg 3B – Brief Bits. http://www.newspapers.com/clip/1136421/brief_bitsmr_william_d_hales/?.
[viii] The News (Frederick, Maryland), Newspapers.com, 1905-04-03, Pg 3 –  Mass-Meeting for Men. http://www.newspapers.com/clip/1136413/massmeeting_for_menwilliam_d_hales/?.
[ix] The News (Frederick, Maryland), Newspapers.com, 1906-07-26, Pg 3 – PITHIANS TO HOLD A BAZAAR         . http://www.newspapers.com/clip/1136443/.
[x] The News (Frederick, Maryland), Newspapers.com, 1906-05-15, Pg 3 – Condemns Wire Tinkerers. http://www.newspapers.com/clip/1136314/the_news/?.
[xi] Baltimore American (Baltimore, MD, ), Genealogy Bank, 1906-08-16 – Pg 5 – Frederick County Court. http://phw01.newsbank.com/cache/ean/fullsize/pl_010102014_1527_42668_527.pdf.
[xii] The News (Frederick, Maryland), Newspapers.com, 1906-08-15, Pg 3 –  Eagles Play Ball
[xiii] 1910 United States Federal Census (Ancestry.Com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations Inc, 2006.), Year: 1910; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 15, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_558; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0252; FHL microfilm: 1374571.
[xiv] Ancestry.Com, U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations, Inc., 2011.Original data – Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page.  Check the directory titl), Ancestry.Com, http://www.Ancestry.Com, Baltimore, Maryland, 1914 – William D Hales. Hales, Wm D Supt h 2929 Walbrook Av.
[xv] Ancestry.Com, 1920 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.Com Operations Inc, 2010), www.Ancestry.Com, Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 24, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1627; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 733; Image: 1055.
[xvi] Ancestry.Com, U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations, Inc., 2011.Original data – Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page.  Check the directory titl), Ancestry.Com, http://www.Ancestry.Com, Baltimore, Maryland, City Directory, 1924 – William D Hales. Hales, Wm D (Kath) eng h4900 Liberty Hts av.
[xvii] Reading Times (Reading, PA, ), Newspapers.com, 1929-04-04, Pg 13  – Careful Driving Urged by Speaker. http://www.newspapers.com/clip/1136249/reading_times/?.
[xviii] Ancestry.Com, 1940 United States Federal Census (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations, Inc., 2012.Original data – United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627), Ancestry.Com, http://www.Ancestry.Com, 1940; Census Place: Independence, Montgomery, Kansas; Roll: T627_1247; Page: 81A; Enumeration District: 63-30.
[xix] Ibid.
[xx] Kansas City Star, Genealogy Bank, Kansas City Star – 1943-08-19, Pg 13 – Deaths – William D Hales. http://www.genealogybank.com/.