Friday, March 27, 2015

An Immigrant's Story - Fearless Females Series

Rebecca Williamson came from Ireland in 1821 with her father, John, mother, Ann, and brother, William. She was born in Manorhamilton, Ireland in January 1814. The family settled in the part of Bethel, Maine, known as Middle Intervale. Her father and his brother were shoe makers but her father became a farmer during his time in Bethel. Her brother, William, attended Bowdoin College and became a doctor. I don't have any immigration documents or photos of her or her family. The sketch of her father, in The History of Bethel, Formerly Sudbury, Canada, Oxford County, Maine, 1768-1890, by William B. Lapham, says that John never became a naturalized citizen of the United States. 

Rebecca married a neighbor, Elias Mellen Carter. Their first child was born in 1838 so the marriage is presumed to have taken place shortly before then. Elias was the son of Dr. Timothy & Frances (Freeland) Carter and was born September 11, 1811. He and Rebecca took over the family home known as the Brick End House. Dr. Timothy Carter was the first doctor in Bethel. 

Brick End House & Rebecca Williamson (Carter) Bailey on left with an unidentified woman on the right. Rebecca Williamson (Carter) Bailey was the great-granddaughter of Rebecca Williamson, the Irish immigrant.
Elias & Rebecca had a large family of eleven children, seen in the 1860 census below. Daughter Frances Ann, age 20 was already out of the household, but the other ten children were Augustus Mellen, age 19; Mary Elizabeth, age 16; William Lawson, age 15; Timothy Cullen, age 13; Emily Jane, age 11; Julia Elizabeth, age 10; Sarah Lily (listed as Lily S.), age 8; twins John Herbert and Helen Louise, age 6; and Anna Grace, age 3. 

1860 Census page 1

1860 Census page 2
However, in 1861, the family lost 5 daughters, between September 13th and September 30th, to diphtheria. Emily & Julia died on September 13th, Helen on September 20th, (Sarah) Lily on September 26th, and Anna on September 30th. The 1870 census shows the much smaller family. Rebecca also lost her mother in 1861 and son, Augustus went off to fight in the Civil War the next year. Fortunately, he survived the war and became the next to inhabit the family home. 

Rebecca was widowed later that year. Elias died on November 17, 1880. In the 1900 census, Rebecca is living with her recently widowed son, Augustus and his two children, Edward age 25 and Frances age 21. Augustus has also taken in his sister, Mary (Carter) Wiley and her son, William. 

Rebecca died on April 2, 1906 of cancer of the scalp. 
My line of descent from Rebecca is through her son, Augustus, to his son, Edward. My grandfather, Thomas Richard Carter, was the second son of Edward. The only daughter of Edward was named after his grandmother, Rebecca Williamson (Carter) Bailey. 

Tragedy Strikes - The story of the five daughters who died in 1861. 

Thank you to Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist, for providing 31 prompts celebrating Women's History Month. This is her 6th year and she has some great resources (with some discounts) for finding one's female ancestors. 

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