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:
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.
By Don Taylor
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)
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.
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
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.
Mildred Swain and Lawrence 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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, 1822-1995, Ancestry, Westbrook, ME – 1930 – Gorham Directory – Page 241 – Harmon.
 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.