Sunday, September 3, 2017

Moving In An Oxcart - Updated

The migration of the Spurr family from Massachusetts to Maine

From A History of Otisfield p. 589 (see citation below). 
"They (the Spurr family) moved from Dorchester to Wrentham, previous to 1774 and lived there seven years. It is said they lived in Mansfield, Me. or Mass. for a time. They came to Maine in 1776 and lived one year in Saccarappa, a year and a half in Windham, and moved to Otisfield, September 3, 1779. They settled on lot 16 a little south of Spurrs Corner on the west side of the road. Some lilac bushes and the ruins of the old foundation remains (1930). John Spurr lived in the house afterward and then Joseph Knight moved it to his place on the opposite side of the road and occupied it for a woodhouse. It is said that the first night they spent in Otisfield, they camped beside a large stone near the road. (A portion of that stone has since been moved to Spurr's Corner and a memorial tablet placed upon it.) He is buried in the yard south of Spurr's Corner. Through a mistake of the stonecutters the name is spelled Spyrr, instead of Spurr. They had nine children living, all born in Dorchester, and all came to Maine unmarried. They came to Windham in an oxcart and were the fourth family in town."

**Going to Otisfield to photograph the stone and tablet is on my genealogy road trip list. I got a picture of this memorial in April 2016. 
"Spurr Memorial Sept 3, 1779 Joseph Spurr and his family spent their first night in Otisfield beside this stone and built their camp fire upon it."

Joseph Spurr was born November 19, 1731 in Dorchester, MA and died June 17, 1805. He married Miriam Lyon on September 13, 1753. They were my 5th great-grandparents. 

Enoch Spurr b. January 28, 1761 in Dorchester, MA married Abigail Wight b. May 31, 1767 in Wrentham, MA. 

Roxanna Spurr married Edward Stanley on November 2, 1815. 

Mary Frances Stanley married Augustus Mellen Carter. 

Edward Mellen Carter married Fannie May Capen. 

T. Richard Carter was my grandfather. 

Spurr, William Samuel. A History of Otisfield: Cumberland County, Maine from the Original Grant to the Close of the Year 1944 by William Samuel Spurr. Otisfield, Me.: Published by the Otisfield Historical Society, 1994. PDF.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

College Accomplishments of Rebecca Williamson Carter

My great-aunt, Rebecca Williamson "Becky" Carter, was named for her grandmother, Rebecca Williamson. In 1933, Aunt Becky graduated from Bates College with a degree in English. Her biography in the yearbook notes her activities and includes a little statement about her. "A delightful imagination in her creative writing and excellent debating ability combine to make Becky a puzzler to the professors. A good sport, a lover of literature, Becky is a delightful person to know."

I love the little blurb about her at the end! 

Her activities included the debate team, women's student government, Junior Exhibition, Ivy Day speaker, chairman of the Y.W.C.A. Bazaar and a member of the Class Day Committee. Becky also was part of the theater group known as 4-A. She was inducted into the Forensic Honor Society, Delta Sigma Rho. 

Becky is seated second from the left

Becky gave the prophecy. She is seated in the 5th seat from the left.

Rebecca Williamson Carter married Bruce B. Bailey in 1942. They lived on a beautiful farm that they called "Skyfields." She was my grandfather's only sister.

T. Richard Carter - my grandfather

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Barn Fire

Another great find from Chris Dunham, of The Maine Genealogy Network! If you have Maine ancestors, this site is a great resource. Chris has helped me several times before and is always willing to help brainstorm a genealogy conundrum. This snippet in the newspaper, The Oxford Democrat, published on May 20, 1864, describes a barn fire at the home of my third great-grandfather, Elias Mellen (E. M.) Carter.

Two barns with hay, grain, and farming implements were lost for a total estimated loss of $2000. One inflation calculator estimates that would be $30, 260 in today's dollars. The article says the fire was spotted by his son who spotted the light from the fire. There were several sons in the family. It could not have been my second great-grandfather, Augustus, because he was serving in the Civil War in 1864. It could have been Edward, age 20, Timothy, age18, or more unlikely, John, age 10. The Carters lived in Bethel, Maine in a section by the Androscoggin River, known as Middle Intervale.

The Oxford Democrat, May 20, 1864
In September 1861, the family lost five daughters in seventeen days to diphtheria.

Elias Mellen Carter
Augustus Mellen Carter
Edward Mellen Carter
Thomas Richard Carter - my grandfather

Friday, April 21, 2017

Funny Friday - Hungry Burglar - Ready

While researching my ancestors, I come across interesting stories that have nothing to do with my genealogy but they make me chuckle. This is one of those small stories. I guess the man must have been craving sandwiches since he stole bread and meat. Of course, he needed something to wash it all down and luckily, there was some beer handy.; Accessed April 26, 2015, p. 2
Biddeford-Saco Journal, Thursday, September 4, 1975

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Titanic Connection

By F.G.O. Stuart (1843-1923) - , Public Domain, Wiki Commons
Emily Borie Ryerson was born in Chicago on October 8, 1893 to Arthur and Emily (Borie) Ryerson. Emily was the third child of five in the family. Arthur Ryerson was a lawyer and president of a steel company. The family was on vacation in Europe in April, 1912 when they received word that their eldest son, Arthur, Jr., 22, had been killed in an automobile accident in Pennsylvania. They quickly boarded a ship bound for the United States. That ship was the ill-fated Titanic. Arthur, Sr. died when the ship sank after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage. The alarm was sounded around 11:40 pm on April 14th and the ship went under only a few hours later on April 15, 1912. However, Arthur's wife, Emily (Borie) Ryerson, and children, Susan "Suzette", 21, Emily Maria Borie "Millie", 20, and John, 15, were rescued by the Carpathia. The final sibling, Ellen or "Nell," 17, was not on the ship.

Heading of the manifest of Titanic survivors on the Carpathia

Ryerson survivors on the Carpathia

So what is my connection to this family? Emily "Millie" Ryerson married my 3rd cousin, twice removed, George Hyde Clarke, Jr.  George's mother was Mary Gale (Carter) Clarke, granddaughter of Rev. Lawson Carter (1793-1868). Lawson was the eldest son of Dr. Timothy & Frances (Freeland) Carter and big brother to my third great-grandfather, Elias Mellen Carter.

Findagrave Memorials
Arthur Larned Ryerson, Sr. - died in the sinking
Emily Maria (Borie) (Ryerson) Sherfesee - remarried and died in Uruguay
Arthur Larned Ryerson, Jr.  - includes a newspaper description of the automobile accident
Susan Parker "Suzette" (Ryerson) Patterson - survived the sinking but died at age 31.
Emily Maria Borie "Millie" (Ryerson) (Clarke) Cooke - Titanic survivor
Ellen Ashford "Nell" (Ryerson) Salvatore - not with the family on the Titanic
John Borie Ryerson - Titanic survivor

Dr. Timothy Carter
Elias Mellen Carter - Brother of Rev. Lawson Carter
Augustus Mellen Carter
Edward Mellen Carter
T. Richard Carter - my grandfather

Friday, April 14, 2017

Horse Shoots Rider - Funny Friday

As far as I know this Yates is not a relative. I found this while searching for Yates family members in old newspapers. 

Pack Horse Shoots Rider
Cave Creek, Ariz.  - Hubert E. Yates, 29, Phoenix, was shot by his horse on Sunday. Yates was unsaddling a pack-horse when it kicked his revolver from his holster, causing the gun to fire. Deputy Sheriff Lewis Forman said the bullet hit Yates in the leg. 

Biddeford-Saco Journal, Tuesday, April 17, 1962, p. 2; Clipped April 26, 2015

Thursday, February 16, 2017

George & Anna (Rowe) Hayes

George & Anna (Rowe) Hayes - 1915
George Herman and Anna Jane (Rowe) Hayes are my great-great-grandparents. They were married about 1880. The 1900 census says they were married for twenty years.

George was born on January 22, 1858. His parents were Sidney and A. Delphina (Cole) Hayes. George was a farmer in Greenwood. He died of apoplexy on May 16, 1920. Apoplexy refers to a stroke. A contributing cause is listed on his death certificate is laryngitis.

Anna was born on September 16, 1860. She was the daughter of Charles H. N. & Loan (Churchill) Rowe. She grew up in New Gloucester before moving to Greenwood after she got married. She died in 1949.

George & Anna are buried in the Upper Gloucester Cemetery in New Gloucester, Maine.

Their children were:

  1. Frank Herman Hayes, born October 16, 1882, and died September 13, 1968. Frank married Myrtle Etta Ring (1890-1972) on November 13, 1912. They had one son, Arnold, who died young. 
  2. Alma Etta Hayes, born April 23, 1888, and died in May 1974. Alma married Ara Marshall "Dime" Whitman (1880-?) on August 22, 1908. They had two sons and a daughter. 
  3. Eva Delphina Hayes, born September 27, 1897, and died September 19, 1982. Eva married Estes Gilbert Yates (1884-1977) on September 12, 1914.  They had eight children, four boys and four girls, including my grandmother, Linona Alice Yates, born March 20, 1920. 
  4. Roland Sidney Hayes, born September 20, 1899, and died October 24, 1980. Roland "Rollie" married Doris M. Cole (1906-2000) on October 16, 1926. They had four sons. 
  5. George Elmer "Bill" Hayes, born September 17, 1901, and died February 20, 1978. Bill never married. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

How Many Presidents? - Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Thank you to Randy Seaver on Geneamusings for his weekly prompt. 

1)  Which U.S. Presidents have held the office in your lifetime?  Your parents lifetimes?  Your grandparents lifetimes?  How many generations do you need to cover all of them?

2)  A list of the U.S. Presidents is in to help you out.

President Kennedy
In my lifetime: Pam Carter (1963-???) - Eleven so far
35. John F. Kennedy                                                              
36. Lyndon B. Johnson
37. Richard M. Nixon
38. Gerald R. Ford
39. James E. Carter
President F. D. Roosevelt
40. Ronald Reagan
41. George H. W. Bush
42. William J. Clinton
43. George W. Bush
44. Barack H. Obama
45. Donald J. Trump

My mother and father were both born in 1939 and are still living. - 14 so far
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt                                 
33. Harry S. Truman
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower

My maternal grandmother, Linona Alice Yates (1920-???) - 18 so far! 
28. T. Woodrow Wilson       
President T. Roosevelt
29. Warren G. Harding
30. Calvin Coolidge
31. Herbert Hoover

My maternal grandfather, Clayton Leonard Blake (1904-1979)
26. Theodore Roosevelt             
27. William H. Taft
28. T. Woodrow Wilson
29. Warren G. Harding
30. Calvin G. Coolidge
31. Herbert H. Hoover
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
33.  Harry S. Truman
34.  Dwight D. Eisenhower
35.  John F. Kennedy
36. Lyndon B. Johnson
37. Richard M. Nixon
38. Gerald R. Ford
39. James E. Carter
President Coolidge 

My paternal grandmother, Fern Lyndell Cotton (1920-2002)
30. Calvin G. Coolidge
31. Herbert H. Hoover
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt                                              
33.  Harry S. Truman
34.  Dwight D. Eisenhower
35.  John F. Kennedy
36. Lyndon B. Johnson
37. Richard M. Nixon
38. Gerald R. Ford
39. James E. Carter
40. Ronald Reagan
41. George H. W. Bush
42. William J. Clinton
43. George W. Bush
President Wilson

My paternal grandfather, T. Richard Carter (1914-2005)
27. William H. Taft
28. T. Woodrow Wilson    
29. Warren G. Harding
30. Calvin G. Coolidge
31. Herbert H. Hoover
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
33.  Harry S. Truman
34.  Dwight D. Eisenhower
35.  John F. Kennedy
36. Lyndon B. Johnson
37. Richard M. Nixon
38. Gerald R. Ford
39. James E. Carter
40. Ronald Reagan
41. George H. W. Bush
42. William J. Clinton
President Arthur
43. George W. Bush

I knew three of my great-grandparents, Estes & Eva (Hayes) Yates and Annie F. (Gibbs) Cotton. 
Estes Yates (1884-1977)
Eva Hayes (1897-1982)
Annie F. Gibbs (1892-1987)

This would take it back to the 21st president, Chester A. Arthur. 

I have to go back six generations to cover all the presidents. 
President Washington

Direct ancestors living when George Washington took the oath of office were: 

4th great-grandparents: Aaron Abbott Jr. & Sally Abbott
4th great-grandparents: Thomas Capen & Mary Abbott
4th great-grandparents: Dr. Timothy Carter & Frances Freeland
4th great-grandparents: John Williamson & Ann McClure (alive but not living in the United States)
4th great-grandparents: Enoch Spurr & Abigail Wight
5th great-grandparents: Dr. James Freeland & Mehitable Mellen
5th great-grandparents: Edward Abbott & Deborah Stevens
5th great-grandparents: John W. Ellingwood, Jr. & Zerviah Abbott
5th great-grandmother: Elizabeth "Betsey" Clark
5th great-grandmother: Hannah Keene
5th great-grandfather: Joseph Spurr
5th great-grandparents: David Philbrick & Ann "Nancy" Lyford
5th great-grandparents: Thomas Edgecomb & Hannah Prescott
5th great-grandmother: Margaret Flett Green
5th great-grandparents: Joseph Wight & Abigail Ware
6th great-grandfather: Snow Keene
6th great-grandparents: Gibbins Edgecomb & Rhoda Elwell
6th great-grandfather: Joshua Brooks
7th great-grandparents: Patten Simpson & Jane McClure

4th great-grandparents: William Yates & Martha Morgan
4th great-grandfather: Eliakim Emmons
4th great-grandparents: Micajah Blake & Nancy Ripley
4th great-grandparents: Rev. Edward Whittle & Elizabeth Higgins
5th great-grandparents: Josiah Churchill & Lydia Orr
5th great-grandparents: Joshua Ripley & Lydia Bartlett
5th great-grandparents: Samuel Morgan & Judith Dennen
6th great-grandparents: Samuel Dennen & Keziah Bray
6th great-grandmother: Alice (Briggs) Churchill
6th great-grandparents: Diman Perry & Susannah Lincoln
6th great-grandfather: Daniel Messer
6th great-grandfather: Thomas Shepard
6th great-grandparents: William Swan & Lucy Robbins
7th great-grandfather: Josiah Churchill
7th great-grandfather: Joshua Emerson

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Don't Be a Sloppy Genealogist

I remember the early days of searching for my ancestors. I used Ancestry before there were shaky leaves. About 12 years ago, there were still some really poorly constructed trees. However, most were at least close (the dates and names made sense) even if they were linked without sources. As I researched further, I've been had to correct a number of wrong turns from my early days. Even careful genealogists can make mistakes.

However since the shaky leaves came into existence, I'm seeing more and more obviously incorrect trees. These have links that are laughable because they defy the laws of nature. I understand the impulse to quickly fill out your family lines. I was once one of those overly excited to merge information without doing even a cursory investigation.

This week's "We're Related" app potential relatives provided an example of the sloppiest trees. See if you can catch it.  My famous possible relative is county music singer, Luke Bryan. My line according to the information Ancestry has compiled (not from my own research and tree) is:

Lott Whiddon (1729-1784) - Common connection with Luke Bryan - father of James W. Whiddon
James W. Whiddon (1770-1845) - father of James W. Whiddon
James W. Whiddon, Jr. (1790-1869) - father of Nancy Whiddon
Nancy Whidden (1830-1908) - mother of Robert G. Goff
Robert G. Goff (1853-1924) - father of William Yates
William Yates (1774-1868) - father of Moses Yates
Moses Yates (1805-1890) - father of Gilbert William Yates
Gilbert William Yates (1835-1925) - father of Estes Gilbert Yates
Estes Gilbert Yates (1884-1977) - father of Linona A. Yates
Linona A. Yates - my grandmother - the line from her to William Yates is correct according to my research. Did you catch the obvious error?

I don't think it's physically possible for Robert G. Goff, born in 1853, to be the father of William Yates, born in 1774!  Furthermore, despite the efforts of many researchers, the origins of William Yates are not known. He is possibly from Scotland, possibly from England and he either came to New Hampshire at a young age as an indentured servant or he came with his parents and was then indentured. Although his name is spelled two different ways, Yeats and Yates; it has never been Goff!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

We're Related (Maybe)

The We're Related app from is fun and interesting. It's not to be taken seriously though. I'm investigating some of the connections it's found that look promising. However, I've found almost an equal number of suggested connections that are implausible or impossible.

For me, the biggest frustration comes from incorrect lines where the mother of my great-grandfather, Ray Everett Cotton, is listed as Lillie Esther Shaw. I admit that I thought she was his mother for a long time before I figured out the truth. His mother was Lizzie Philbrick. She was only married to his father, Francis Llewellyn Cotton, for about two years before she divorced him for keeping company of "certain lewd women."

Other issues occur when the line has the child born after a parent is dead or born when the parents were much too young. Some go into the 16th century and I don't trust the "across-the-pond" connections.

One thing I'll explore this year with some of my blog posts are these POSSIBLE connections to famous people. Perhaps you'll recognize an ancestor of yours and we'll find a cousin connection!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

2017 Genealogy Goals

Time to do a reboot! My blogging really declined last year. I focused more on researching and didn't get much of it written into blog posts. I also did a lot more with helping other people, especially my students, with their research. I feel like I lost a bit of my passion for the writing part and I'm going to try to recapture it for 2017.

Last year, I only had 41 posts. This is in comparison to 109 in 2015, 79 in 2014, 76 in 2013, and 77 in 2012.  I may have had a bit of burnout after 2015.

Some highlights of 2016 were

  • My trips to the New England Genealogical and Historical Society for research 
  • My trips to the Maine State Library in Augusta. 
  • Renewed my membership in the Maine Genealogical Society AND attended two special events where I got to hear Joshua Taylor and Judy Russell impart their wisdom. I strengthened my connections with other Maine genealogists. I still haven't made it to a monthly meeting of the Greater Portland Chapter but perhaps I can do that at least a few times this year. 
  • Went to more cemeteries than any previous year, created Findagrave memorials for my ancestors and others and filled some photo requests. 
  • Took over as treasurer of the Middle Intervale Cemetery Association. This cemetery has many of my ancestors including 5 direct line generations of Carters. 
  • Two other events kept me busy this year will be of interest to future generations - my son, Josh, got married in June and my second grandson, Andrew Elias Taylor, was born in August. 


  1. 80 blog posts
  2. Attend more genealogy events, including monthly meetings of the local Maine chapter
  3. Continue to travel to cemeteries and photograph for myself and others
  4. Go to NEHGS several times for research
  5. Go to the Maine State Library several times for research
  6. Continue to add citations to my database 
  7. Learn more about DNA and its use in genealogy
  8. Get a genealogy club going at the high school/continue to help others learn about genealogy
Of course, I need to fit this all in around my work demands. That is definitely what puts the biggest obstacles up for me! 

Check out some posts that I didn't promote on Facebook because I got sidetracked and wasn't paying attention to my blog.