Ethel Wight Collection – Part 61

Hodgins, Hodsdon, Hoffman, Hoffses, & née Sholes

Photo Friday
Ethel Wight Collection
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week, for Photo Friday, I identify the people in five more envelopes from the Ethel Wight Studio Collection[i]. The envelopes contain the names who paid for the photos, not necessarily of the individual portrayed in the image. As such, it is vital to analyze the pictures and information to identify the individual therein.[ii] Ultimately, my goal is to reunite the photos with family members who may have never seen the image.

Lynette Hodgins, circa 1934

The envelope this negative was in says, “Miss Lynette Hodgins, 96 Morning St, #184.”

Miss Lynette Hodgins, circa 1934.

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The 1934 Portland City Directory lists Lynette G. Hodgins as a clerk who moved to Brewer. There was an Ardra Hodgins who resided at 13 Lewis.
  • The 1933 Portland City Directory does not list Lynette. I have been unsuccessful in finding Lynette G. Hodgins in any Census records or other documents in further research.

Neither Family Search nor Ancestry trees appear to include Lynette Hodgins.

I have uploaded one photo of Lynette to Dead Fred. 

Mildred Susanna Hoffses, circa 1936

This negative envelope says, “Miss Mildred Hoffses, Eye & Ear Infirmary #948.”

Mildred Susanna Hoffses, circa 1936.

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The 1934 and 1935 Portland City Directories list Mildred Hoffses as a student nurse at 79 Bramhall, residing at 804 Congress.
  • The 1936 Portland City Directory lists Mildred S Hoffses as an Assistant Tech at 79 Bramhall, residing at 792 Congress.
  • The 1937 and 1938 Portland City Directories list Mildred Hoffses as a supervisor at 79 Bramhall, living at 804 Congress.
  • According to the 1937 Portland City Directory, 79 Bramhall was the Maine Eye and Ear Infirmary address.
  • The 1930 US Census lists Mildred S Hoffses, a 17-year-old Maine-born woman boarding at 226 Capisic Street in the household of Henry and Marion Chapman.
  • The 1930 Deering High School includes a photo of “Millie” Mildred Susanna Hoffses, whose ambition was to become a nurse. She is noted as, “A girl who came from way down east to get an education at Deering.”
  • Ancestry family trees indicate Mildred Susanna Hoffses was born 10 August 1912 in Jonesport, Washington County, Maine.

This photo was taken about 1936 when Mildred graduated from nursing school.

Family Search identifies Mildred S Hoffses, born 10 August 1912, as ID L8MY-T3C. Thirty-three public trees at Ancestry refer to Mildred Susanna Hoffse.

I have uploaded one photo of Mildred to her Family Search Memories. 

Confirmed to be Mildred by a granddaughter.
Also confirmed to be Mildred by a grandson.

Empire Theatre Mural, c. 1934.

This photo is from the Ethel Wight Studio, Portland, Maine.

This negative envelope says, “Mrs. Helena Hodsdon, 217 Stevens Ave #71 – Mural for Empire Theater.”

In this case, the photo is not of a person; instead, it is the photograph of a mural of Portland Head lighthouse that was once at the Empire Theatre.

The Empire Theatre was at 68 Oak. Converted from a horse stable, which later became a roller skating rink, the Empire Theatre opened 8 October 1913. It was renamed the Paris Cinema. It was demolished in the early 1980s.[iii]

Helena Susan Hodsdon, 1935.

This negative envelope says, “Mrs. Helena Hodsdon, 217 Stevens Ave #547.”

Helena Susan Hodsdon, 1935

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The 1937 Portland City Directory lists Helena C. Hodsdon, the wife of Herbert S Hodsdon, living at 217 Stevens.
  • The 1930 US Census lists Herbert S Hodsdon, his 39-year-old wife Helena C., and his daughter seven-year-old Helena S. Hodsdon renting at 237 Brighton.
  • The individual in the photo is not in her 40s, so it must be their daughter Helena.
  • Ancestry Family Trees suggest their daughter, Helena Susan Hodsdon, was born on 8 September 1922 in Yarmouth. A photo of Helena from 1935 is clearly of the same young woman, she is even wearing the same dress.
  • This photo is of Helena Susan Hodsdon, from 1935, probably the same sitting.

Family Search identifies Helena Susan Hodsdon as ID L269-NN5. Also, eleven trees at Ancestry refer to Helena Susan Hodsdon.

I have uploaded one photo of Helena to her Family Search Memories.

Eldora May Hoffman, née Sholes, circa 1935.

This negative envelope says, “Mrs. W Leore Hoffman, 48 Allen Ave #228.”

Eldora May Hoffman, née Sholes, circa 1935.

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The 1934 Portland City Directory lists William L Hoffman and his wife Eldora M., living at 48 Allen Ave.
  • The 1940 US Census finds William L and his wife Eldora living at 203 St. John Street. Both were 32 years old in 1940.
  • Ancestry Family Trees include William Leon Hoffman and his wife Eldora May (née Sholes). Eldora was born 18 May 1907 in Portland, Maine.

This is a photo of Eldora about 1935 when she was about 27 years old.

Family Search identifies Eldora M Sholes, born 18 May 1907, as ID GM7V-NMX.  Eldora May Sholes (1907-1967) appears in 15 Ancestry public trees.

I have uploaded two photos of Eldora to her Family Search Memories.


Conclusion

  • I fully identified three of the four individuals. They had profiles at Family Search, so I uploaded their photos to Family Search
  • Other than the name of the person who paid for the photograph and name confirmation, I could not identify one of the individuals. I posted her photo to Dead Fred.
  • A fifth image was of a mural at the Empire Theatre and not the photo of an individual, so I only posted that photo here.

For all of the Ethel Wight Collection analysis, please see here.

Final Note

If any of these photos are of your family member, I would love to hear your reaction. Especially if this photo is of a loved one for whom you hadn’t seen this photograph before.


Endnotes

[i] The Wight Studio was in Portland, Maine. Many thanks to Ethel Wight’s family for access to and permission to use the collection of their great aunt.

[ii] These images were converted to positives using a lightbox, a Nikon camera and computer software.

[iii] Cinema Treasures – Paris Cinema, 68 Oak Street, Portland. Today it is the home of The Oak Street Lofts – 37 efficiency apartments designed specifically with local artists in mind.

Ethel Wight Collection – Part 45

Gardner (2), Garnett, Gass, & Giardino

Photo Friday
Ethel Wight Collection
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week, for Photo Friday, I identify the people in five more envelopes from the Ethel Wight Studio Collection[i]. The envelopes contain the names who paid for the photos, not necessarily of the individual portrayed in the image. As such, it is vital to analyze the pictures and information to identify the individual therein.[ii] Ultimately, my goal is to reunite the photos with family members who may have never seen the image.

Marietta Rachela Giardino, circa 1936

The envelope this negative was in says, “Miss Marrietta Gardner, 80 Moreland St., Roxbury, Mass #851.

Why I believe this to be the individual.

Marietta Rachela Giardino, circa 1936
  • I was unsuccessful in finding a Marrietta Gardner, of the appropriate age, in any records from 1930 to 1940.
  • I did find a Marietta R Giardino, a hairdresser who lived at 80 Moreland, Roxberry, in the 1936 Boston City Directory. The directory indicates that Nicola G. Deluca, Frank L Giardino, and Lilian Saia lived at the address.
  • Marietta R Giardino was born on 25 April 1913 in Boston. She lived in Portland, Maine in 1932, and married Melville Benjamin Young ib 12 May 1936,
  • Ancestry Trees include a 1939 photo of Marietta and her daughter. That photo appears to be of the same woman here. I am convinced this is a photo of Marietta Richela Giardino before she married Melville Young in 1936.
  • I believe the surname written on the envelope was incorrect.

Family Search identifies Marietta Rachela Giardino, daughter of Frank Louis and Concettina (Maggio) Giardino as ID GSRF-LCS. There are eight family trees at Ancestry.Com that refer to Marietta.

I have uploaded two photos of Marietta to her Family Search Memories.

This photo identity was confirmed by a niece of Marietta.

Sallie Gardner, R.N., circa 1937

The envelope this negative was in says, “Miss Sally Gardner, ME. Gen. Hospital #922.

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • Sallie Gardner, R.N., circa 1937

    The 1937 Portland City Directory lists Sallie Gardner, a student nurse at 22 Arsenal (Maine General Hospital).

  • The 1938 Portland City Directory lists Sallie O Gardner, a student nurse who married Samuel J. Oppedisano.
  • The Maine, U.S., Marriage Index, 1892-1996, shows Sallie and Samuel married on 25 December 1937.
  • The 1940 US Census shows Samuel and the 23-year-old Sally Oppedisano living at 95b Moody Street.

Family Search identifies Sallie Gardner, daughter of Benjamin and Sarah (Osgood) Gardner, as ID L14G-GT6. I am pretty sure this is Sallie about 1937 before she married Samuel. There are nine trees at Ancestry.Com that refer to Sally Gardner, born 23 February 1917 in Calais, Washington County, Maine.

I have uploaded two photos of Sallie to her Family Search Memories. I also uploaded one additional photo of her to my Flickr photostream.

Ralph Gardner, circa 1934

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mr. Ralph Gardiner, Woodfords, Portland, #45.

Why I believe this to be the individual.

Msd
  • Woodfords is a neighborhood in Portland, Maine.
  • The 1930 US Census lists 47-year-old Ralph Gardiner living at 66 Glenwood Ave with his wife Florence and son, Donald. That address is in the area that would be called Oakdale/Woodfords.
  • The 1935 Portland City Directory lists Ralph S Gardner as an accountant at 45 Forest Ave. and living at 104 Coyle. Again, 104 Coyle is in the Woodfords neighborhood.
  • Ralph Sidney Gardner died 30 June 1937 at the age of 55.
  • Based on the photo ID number (#45), I believe this to be Ralph Gardner about 1934.

Alternative individuals?

The 1930 US Census lists a Ralph Gardiner, age 28, living with his brother-in-law Ralph Bragdon in Westbrook. This Ralph Gardiner would be too young to be the subject of this photograph.

Family Search identifies Ralph S Gardner, husband of Florence Scott, as ID LBPR-BX4. There are 24 trees at Ancestry.Com refer to Ralph Sidney Gardner (1882-1937)

I have uploaded two photos of Ralph to his Family Search Memories.

Carol Garnett, circa 1936 (age 3 or 4)

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. Carroll Garnett, 301 Cumberland Ave, Portland #326.

Why I believe this to be the individual.

Carol Garnett, circa 1936 (age 3 or 4)
  • The only Carroll Garnett listed in the 1935 Portland worked at a barbershop at 1206 Forest Ave and lived at 111 Woodlawn Ave. His wife is Clarissa.
  • The 1936 Portland city directory is missing the page, which would include Carroll Garnett. However, in the address to name section of the directory, at 301 Cumberland Ave. lives Mrs. Lena Frost
  • The 1937 Portland City Directory lists Carroll L (and Clarissa M.) Garnett living at 17 Warren ave.
  • Likewise, the 1938 Portland City Directory lists Carroll and Clarissa still at 17 Warren Ave.
  • The 1940 Census finds Carroll and Clarissa Garnett living with their two children, 14-year-old Harry and seven-year-old Carol.
  • This photo was taken about 1936 when Carol was about three years old. The child in the photograph appears to be about three or four years old. Consequently, I believe this to be a photo of Carol

Family Search identifies Carol Garnett, born 3 August 1932 to Carroll and Clarissa (Whitney) Garnett, as ID LRQ9-7D1. I am pretty sure this is Carol about 1936. There are seven trees at Ancestry.Com refer to Carol M. Garnett (Rutter).

I uploaded one photo of Carol to her Family Search Memories.

Betty L. Gass, circa 1937 (age 7).

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. G. E. Gass, 25 Bolton St., Portland #842.

Why I believe this to be the individual.

Betty L. Gass, circa 1937 (age 7)
  • The 1937 Portland City Directory lists Garland E (and Bertha L) Gass living at 25 Bolton.
  • The 1940 US Census lists Garland and Bertha Gass living at 71a Whitney Ave. Living with them is their 10-year-old daughter Betty.
  • Based upon the Photo Number (#842), I estimate this photo was taken about 1937.
  • Betty L. Gass was born on 19 February 1930; I believe this is a photo of her when she was about seven years old.

Sadly, one of the two negatives I have of Betty is out of focus, and the second negative is a profile.

Family Search does not appear to have a profile for Betty L Gass; however, her father is Garland E. Gass, ID: L21Q-6MH. However, Betty L. Gass is found in six public trees at Ancestry.Com

Because Betty does not have a Family Search profile, I have added her photo to Dead Fred. I also uploaded the out-of-focus photo of her to my Flickr photostream.

Conclusion

  • I identified four individuals with Family Search profiles, so I posted their photos to their Family Search
  • I identified one individual who did not have a profile on Family Search, so I uploaded her photo to Dead Fred.

Final Note

If any of these photos are of your family member, I would love to hear your reaction. Especially if this photo is of a loved one for whom you hadn’t seen this particular photograph before.


Endnotes

[i] The Wight Studio was in Portland, Maine. Many thanks to Ethel Wight’s family for access to and permission to use the collection of their great aunt.

[ii] These images were converted to positives using a lightbox, a Nikon camera and computer software.

The Pride’s Corner Union Bible Society

Treasure Chest Thursday
Welch-Harris Project

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.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.

A colorized and enhanced version of the Pride’s Corner Union Bible Society photo, circa 1911. Photo courtesy of the Westbrook Historical Society.

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.)

Key features:
    • 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.

Follow-up

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.

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.

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.