Saturday, May 31, 2014

History of Stroudwater Burying Ground


My favorite cemetery sits at the end of Stroudwater Street in Portland, just over the Westbrook line, near to where I was raised.  While I enjoy all old cemeteries, in all their spooky yet tranquil glory, this one has a beautiful amount of tree cover, yet is very friendly and walkable to the public, and the land's nearly 500 gravesites are still relatively unscarred by vandals.

I would like to use this post as a way to collect some research, share family and local histories, and create a place online where other researchers and historians can comment and contribute, since I see no evidence of it yet on the Net.

First, a bit of historical timeline about placenames in this vexingly labeled area of Southern Maine:

-1658 - The Town of Falmouth is formed, named for Falmouth England.  The neighborhood containing this cemetery (later known as Stroudwater Village), located at the spot where the Stroudwater River empties into the larger Fore River, is at this point part of Falmouth.

-1676 - The area was destroyed by Wampanoag Indians during King Philip's War.  While it's unclear if any English settlers yet lived in the Stroudwater Village area at this time, the massive rebuild of Falmouth extended to the area.  Numerous other later attacks and fires occurring at Falmouth Neck (now Portland) left this area intact, and therefore many historic Stroudwater houses remained.

-1727 - Stroudwater Village is formed as a hamlet located within Falmouth.  It is believed that the name of the Village (and the river flowing through it) stems from the town of Stroud of Gloucestershire, England.  Burials began on this hill, yet no reliable burial records were kept until beginning in 1739.

-1750 - Stroudwater Village becomes an important producer of timber for the production of masts for the ships of the Royal Navy.

-1755 - The Tate House is built, and today enjoys the distinction of being one of Portland's oldest standing houses. It's owner, George Tate, was a former Royal Navy captain sent to live in the area in order to oversee the burgeoning mast production industry in Stroudwater Village.

-1790 - The first national census occurs, and the Village is featured.

-14 Feb 1814 - this area was annexed from the greater settlement of Falmouth, and was named the City of Stroudwater, which then also included the boundaries of (a) the current town of Westbrook and (b) the Deering section of current Portland.

-1815 - The City of Stroudwater was renamed Saccarappa, after Saccarappa Falls, located in downtown Westbrook Village (also known as Cumberland Mills).

-1871 - Saccarappa was split into two towns, Westbrook and Deering.  The Cemetery of Stroudwater Village was located in Town of Deering, but just under a quarter mile away from the Westbrook border.

-1898 - The Town of Deering (which contains the cemetery) was annexed into today's Portland.

-1931 - The first flight took place at Stroudwater Field (now Portland International Jetport), a half mile from the cemetery.

-1973 - The Stroudwater District was added to the Register of Historic Places.

AERIAL VIEW
STROUDWATER BURYING GROUND AND ENVIRONS
In 1790, the First U.S. Census features Stroudwater Village:


Many of the families listed above are buried at Stroudwater Burying Ground, and the below is a modest history of a few of them (some photo credit goes to IHRP & Family, aka Stone Finders):

Captain Jesse Partridge (1742-1795)

Jesse Partridge was born in Holliston, Massachusetts to Preserved Partridge and Katherine Strong of Holliston.  His 2nd great grandfather John Partridge was an early settler of Jamestowne Colony.

At some point in the early 1750's young Jesse (along with his parents and his ten siblings) moved to the Falmouth area.

In 1786, after fighting in the Revolutionary War, Jesse moved to Stroudwater Village, with his wife Rebecca and his sister Rhoda, while the remainder of his siblings remained in the Gorham area to the northwest.  According to the Census, he appears to have had one son and two daughters, but I'm unable at this point to find out more about them.

Jesse worked in timber, particularly for the masts built for Royal Navy ships, and was a contemporary of English born George Tate.  He built his house which is adjacent to the cemetery, and the house is still standing today and in great condition, and cared for by folks who enjoy the history of this house and the cemetery next door..  The house itself has four bedrooms, two full baths and one half bath, an unusual large living room, dining room, office and a sitting room. Historic features include Indian shutters, wide pine floors, original pine molding, six fireplaces (and a bread oven) off one center chimney and two fireplaces off the ell chimney:

JESSE PARTRIDGE HOUSE
1346 WESTBROOK STREET
PORTLAND MAINE


Jesse and his family are buried at Stroudwater (when he died, his wife Rebecca married Andrew Titcomb from across the road, and later moved into the Partridge House):
GRAVE OF JESSE PARTRIDGE

GRAVE OF REBECCA PARTRIDGE-TITCOMB
MAIDEN NAME UNKNOWN

GRAVE OF RHODA PARTRIDGE
SISTER OF JESSE PARTRIDGE

GRAVE OF KATHARINE PARTRIDGE-DOLE
NIECE OF JESSE PARTRIDGE
GRAVE OF ANNE CONANT-PARTRIDGE
SISTER-IN-LAW OF JESSE PARTRIDGE
(HER DAUGHTER, KATHERINE PARTRIDGE-DOLE,
MARRIED DANIEL DOLE JR. SEEN BELOW)

Caleb Bartlett (1755-1820)

Caleb Bartlett was born in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts, one of eleven children born to Robert & Rebecca Bartlett.  At age 22, Caleb enlisted in Capt. Thomas MAYHEW's Plymouth company for the Rev. War, 1775, for a period of 3 mos. and 8 days.  At some point between 1776 and 1790, he and his wife, Elizabeth Holmes, moved to Stroudwater Village and had at least seven children.  They lived near the cemetery as well, and I'm not sure if Caleb also worked in timber.  A few of Caleb's siblings moved to the Norway, Maine area, but it appears the bulk of this family stayed behind in Plymouth.  Caleb's dad remarried twice after the death of his first wife, and ultimately settled in Maine himself.  Caleb, his wife, and several of their children and grandchildren are buried together at Stroudwater; at least 24 members of this family can be found here.

GRAVE OF CALEB BARTLETT
GRAVE OF ELIZABETH HOLMES-BARTLETT


Captain George Tate  (1700-1794)

George Tate was born in England, and senior mast agent for King George III as to the province of Maine, and his home below is a national landmark, and one of the oldest houses in Portland.  He was appointed by Peter the Great of Russia to buy spars for the Russian Navy, according to some sources.




GRAVE OF CAPTAIN GEORGE TATE
and WIFE MARY
George's wife Mary was killed by a booby trap set by her son William to catch thieves. William was convicted of her murder but was later pardoned by George III.  I believe William (along with his brothers George and Samuel) is buried in Eastern Cemetery.  Samuel's first wife Elizabeth is also buried at Stroudwater.  George Jr. was admiral for the Russian fleet.

George's son, Captain Robert Tate (1751-1804), his wife Martha (1751-1822), and daughter Catherine are also buried at Stroudwater.  Robert died in Berbice, Guyana. 

GRAVES OF CAPT. ROBERT TATE,
WIFE MARTHA AND DAUGHTER CATHERINE


There are an additional 11 known Tate gravesites, but it's not clear if they are related to Captain George, including one Eleanor Tate (1710-1770).  The rest are of younger generations.

Dr. Jeremiah Barker (1752-1835)

GRAVE OF DR. JEREMIAH BARKER

Dr. Barker, of Barnstable Massachusetts, was a descendant of Mayflower passenger John Howland.  He fought in the Revolution, where he served as a surgeon.  Afterwards, he relocated to Gorham by 1780 (becoming the Town's second Town Doctor), but relocated to Stroudwater Village by 1790, and returned to Gorham by the 1830s.   (p. 96, A History of Gorham, published 1862, Foster & Cushing).

He was a noted research physician and authored the book "Account of Febrile Diseases, as they have appeared in County of Cumberland, District of Maine," published in 1802, and other medical publications (according to p. 93 of Bibliography of the State of Maine, from the Earliest Period to 1891, Volume 1 published 1896, The Thurston Print).

According to Worth Point:
"Dr. Barker's chief service to medical history consists in a large number of interesting accounts of epidemics of scarlatina, malignant fever, measles and putrid sore throat occurring in Maine between 1790 and 1810. He also published meteorological sketches of great value to the historian.  At one time he planned a history of epidemics in Maine, and strove to interest his fellow physicians in his scheme, but no printed material or even manuscript remains to prove that his work was ever given to the public.  He was one of the famous "sixty-niners" of the year 1818, with which title he goes down into Maine liquor law history, meaning that he was one of the sixty-nine persons who attended in the Friends' Chapel in Portland the first temperance meeting ever held in Maine, the purpose of which was to prohibit the drinking of rum sold on the premises." 
Dr. Barker and his three wives are buried at Stroudwater Cemetery. 

Isaac Libby (1818-1885)



Carriage maker Isaac Libby of the Scarborough Libbys (son to Lemuel) fought in the Civil War, and later lived in Stroudwater during the time when it was renamed as part of Deering.  He and his wife Mahala are buried at Stroudwater Cemetery

Almon Libby (1816-1895)


Reverend Almon Libby, originally from Minot, and ordained in Poland, Maine, was a very distant cousin of Isaac's, and is also buried here with his wife and their sons Charles and Almon Jr. and daughter Annie Hawes.  Almon never lived in Stroudwater, however.


10 other Libbys, all younger than the two patriarchs above, are also buried at Stroudwater, including another of their distant cousins, Charles Libby (1804-1944) and his wife Ella Slemons.

All these Libbys are descended from initial Libby immigrant John Libby (1602-1682), and are well traced in the Libby Family in America family genealogy book.

Thaddeus Broad (1745-1824)

Thaddeus Broad was from Natick, Massachusetts, one of 16 children born to Thadeus Broad, and after the Revolutionary War, like many others, he migrated north to Stroudwater Village.  He and his wife Lucy had at least ten kids (Thaddeus Jr., Silas, Lucy, Thomas, William, Ephraim, Eunice, Joseph, Daniel and Amos), eight of whom are buried at Stroudwater with he and his wife.  A total of 18 Broad family members are buried together at Stroudwater.

Thaddeus was known for building the Broad Tavern in 1766 in Stroudwater Village, a famous hostelry.  Artist Herbert Milton Sylvester painted "Painting of Broad Tavern, Stroudwater, 1892"



GRAVE OF THADDEUS BROAD
Shadrach Chapman (1764-1812)



Shadrach Chapman was a Revolutionary War Patriot from Newmarket, NH.  He was, according to some sources, with General Washington at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778 but that would have meant he was 13 years old at the time (so perhaps the birthdate is off).  After the War he married Lydia Starbird and moved to Stroudwater Village, where had one daughter, Nancy.  This family, along with Nancy's husband and their three children (Michael is buried separately) is buried together at Stroudwater Burying Ground.  Shadrach passed, Lydia's application for Widow's Pension was rejected because he didn't serve the minimum six months.

The Cummings Children

GRAVE OF CUMMINGS BABIES

Many children were born to the Cummings family, and apparently they all died very young.  Such was the case with many families at the time.  Eight infants and one teenager are buried here, three born in the 1810s (possibly due to meningitis), and six born in the 1830s (potentially from the cholera epidemic), with a stone commemorating five of them.  I believe these were children of Methodist minister Reverend Cyrus Cummings (who was also Westbrook town Selectman), originally of Grafton, NH, who had many other children who survived to adulthood.  Cyrus, who died of typhoid, is buried with his wife Elizabeth and some of his other children at Western Cemetery in Portland.  I cannot verify this connection yet, because all online trees appear to omit these babies, yet the birth/death dates of the babies fit well into his list of children, and his published list of children includes Andrew Jackson Cummings, born a few years after the baby memorialized in the above photo had died.  Cyrus did have one famous son, Joseph Cummings, who was president of Wesleyan and Northwestern Universities.


Samuel Dalton (1777-1827)

GRAVE OF SAMUEL DALTON AND WIVES

Samuel Dalton and his two wives, Mary and Hulda, are buried here.  This may be the same Dalton family that lived in Parsonsfield Maine, and for which Dalton's Corner there is named.

Daniel Dole (1716-1803)

DANIEL DOLE HOUSE
BUILT AROUND 1770



Capt. Daniel Dole, originally from Newbury, Mass, fought in the Revolution, and afterwards moved to Stroudwater Village and started a family farm on Westbrook Street, across the street from the Jesse Partridge House (now Stroudwater Street).  Daniel and his wife Sarah, along with their many descendants, are also buried here.  There are 14 members of the Dole family buried here at Stroudwater Burying Ground.

Asa Fickett (1769-1835)

GRAVE OF ASA FICKETT
Asa Fickett was born in Cape Elizabeth to Jonathan and Bette Fickett.  He married Dorcas Plummer in 1792 and moved to Stroudwater Village.  When Dorcas passed, he married Eliza Edwards.  The three are buried together at the Burying Ground.

Nahum Fickett (1809-1866)


Nahum was a ship carpenter, and later a milk farmer, born in Stroudwater Village, but I'm uncertain of parentage (could be Asa's son or nephew).  He's buried near to Asa and other Ficketts.  He and his wife Elizabeth had at least five children, but only one, Franklin, appears to be buried here.

Charles Fickett (1845-1919)



Son to Martin and Sarah Fickett of Cape Elizabeth, Charles was likely a nephew or grandson of Asa.  He and his wife, Mary Libby, lived at 126 Westbrook Street, Stroudwater Village.

Several other Ficketts are buried here, but I'm having trouble linking them.

Captain Dexter Brewer (1795-1860)

Dexter Brewer was originally from Framingham, Massachusetts.  He and his wife Jane moved to Stroudwater Village just before 1830.  In 1833 his wife Jane died, and he remarried to a Mary.

GRAVE OF JANE FROST-BREWER

From the Portland City Directory of 1848:
February 11:  The dwelling house of Dexter Brewer, near Stroudwater Village, took fire this evening, and was with difficulty extinguished.
Dexter died in 1860, and I have yet to locate a stone for him.  His children are buried in other cemeteries in Portland and Wiscasset.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Inconvenient Burials

The recent discovery of King Richard III's remains underneath a parking lot in Leicester England led me to wonder:  How often has this scenario played out to the extent we can be made aware?

For starters, we must acknowledge that most every piece of land on earth has some human remains underneath.  There are countless numbers of ancient tribal burial grounds that have been paved over with nary a thought, in the name of 'development'.

But in some cases, we do have stories available to us...often times thanks to the wonders of ground penetrating radar...

1.  King Richard III (1452-1485)



The (in)famous skeleton was discovered using ground penetrating radar.

EXCAVATION OF RICHARD III REMAINS
FORMER GREYFRIARS MONASTERY SITE
2013

2.  Mary Ellis (died 1828)

The tragic story of Mary Ellis, who died in New Brunswick, New Jersey while waiting for her sea captain lover to come back to her, at least has a happier ending than many.  The grave she and her family were placed in grave was kept in tact while a discount store parking lot built around her in the 1960s.  The site is now a movieplex parking lot, and the new construction appears to have honored Mary's grave.


3.  Funtown USA!



In Saco, Maine, a 150 year old burial ground containing at least 17 graves was left intact while they built a theme park.  In 2006, however, it was discovered, by a descendant of one of the departed, that the themepark was built too close to the graveyard, a violation of State cemetery violation law.  Somehow the park owners were given the right to move the cemetery to somewhere else, instead of creating a greater setback.  The graves were moved to Laurel Hill Cemetery on Beach Street in Saco.  I think in this case it would have been fun to turn the area into an attraction for the park, by telling stories of the deceased, and finding a way to honor their memory, while creating the appropriate State-required 25' buffer around the cemetery.  But, it appears that the family of the deceased wanted it this way.

Here's a timeline of three aerial photos of the site:

MAY 2010
NOTE THE GRASSY CEMETERY AREA JUST SOUTH OF THE BLUE WATER SLIDE
MAY 2012
CEMETERY HAS BEEN RAZED AND GRADED
SEPTEMBER 2013
NEW BUILDING HAS BEEN PLACED ON FORMER BURIAL SITE

4.  Melvin-Lewis Cemetery, Colorado

A Wal-Mart and other stores have been placed very close to the old Melvin-Lewis Cemetery, pictured below.  Unfortunately, due to vandalism, no headstones remain. A local family had one new headstone placed there to honor all of the family members.


5.  University of Mississippi Medical School

One thousand bodies (and more to be discovered) were found underground of a future parking lot slated for UM Med School.  The bodies were believed to be those of inmates at the Mississippi State Mental Asylum a century ago.  The burials took place from between the Civil War to the Asylum's closure in 1935.  For now (as of Feb. 2014) the bodies are to be left alone and the construction to be conducted elsewhere (even though other potential sites might also be burial grounds).


6. The Home and the Bon Secours Sisters


A former Tuam, Galway Ireland home for pregnant women has been implicated in the discovery of nearly 800 babies having been buried inside a septic tank in the 1840s.  Money is being collected for dedication of a memorial to the deceased, thanks to the tireless work of one genealogist.

7.  Slave Burial Ground in the Bronx

The State of New York has donated $180,000 to help memorialize a forgotten slave burial ground in Hunts Point, Bronx.  The site is slated to become a National Landmark, thanks to the efforts of many schoolchildren in the area.

8.  Bradshaw Family Cemetery, East Houston, Texas

A parcel of land containing an old African American graveyard dating back to the early 1800s, which contains slaves and soldiers alike, has been bulldozed over in the name of development, and apparently resulting from a title defect.  The minimally markered land was sold in 2014, without knowledge that it contained a graveyard.  TX law states that the cemetery must be left undisturbed.  It is unknown at present who the true owner of the site should be, but the new intent appears to be to include involving an application for the land to be put up for historic preservation.

9.  Nancy Barnett of Amity Indiana

Road workers paved around this grave from the 1830s.

(MORE TO COME....)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Plummers of Raymond

The Plummer family of Raymond originally came from England just after the Mayflower, as part of the Great Migration.  The earliest settler appears to have been Joseph Plummer (sometimes spelled "Plumer") in 1633. Joseph and his son, Joseph Jr. (1654-1728), were early settlers of Newbury, Massachusetts.

The son of Joseph Jr was Aaron Plumer (1693-1755).  In 1728, Aaron Plumer received a land grant from the town of Scarborough, on the condition that he leave Newbury and settle in Scarborough permanently.  He arrived in 1730, and the area later came to be known as Plumer's Neck (now known as Winnock's Neck), but the name Plummer's Island remains at the end of Winnock's Neck:


Aaron's son Moses (1723-1798) was born in Rowley Mass, and migrated to Scarborough with his father, where he remained for the rest of his life.  He married Mary Dyer of Scarborough.

Moses' son was Jesse Plummer (1754-1822) who moved from Scarborough and was the first in the family to move to Raymond.  Jesse's son, William Plummer, Sr. (1782-1828), had ten children in Raymond, and is the patriarch of the very large Plummer family remaining in Raymond today.

William Plummer IV (great grandson to William Sr.) (1870-1943) married to Georgia Anna Edwards of Raymond, and had two children:  Hazel (who died at age four), and their only son, Elwin Herbert Plummer (1915-1973), who married my aunt Laura Clarke (1925-2009) (after Laura had divorced Elwin's cousin Charlie Bickford).  Elwin and Laura ran the Plummer Farm in Raymond (pictured below) until Elwin passed in '73.

ELWIN HERBERT PLUMMER

LAURA MATILDA CLARKE-BICKFORD-PLUMMER

LAURA IN FRONT OF PLUMMER FARM







The Edwards Family of Raymond Maine

Elijah Hamblen Edwards (1844-1928) came originally from Otisfield, Maine (which was founded by his Edwards ancestors) and moved to Raymond along with his brother Francis when they were just teenagers.  Elijah married Eliza Jane Cobb of Poland Maine, and had five children together:

1.  Sarah Frances Edwards (1881-1964) was nicknamed "Fannie".  She married Eugene Bickford of Naples, Maine in 1897, who was 17 years older.

EUGENE AND FANNIE BICKFORD
RAYMOND, MAINE
(ABOUT 1910)
Fanny was unable to have children, but she adopted her sister Nell's son, Charles Granville Varney, when he was a boy, renaming him Charlie Bickford.  In 1945, Charlie was first to marry my aunt Laura Matilda Clarke, after divorcing his first wife, Phyllis Cummings.

FANNIE AND CHARLIE BICKFORD
(ABOUT 1916)

2.  Nellie H. Edwards (1889-1985) married George Albert Varney of Naples, Maine at the age of 15. They had Charlie Granville Varney in 1913.  Nell and George divorced shortly afterwards, and Nell gave Charlie up for adoption by her older sister Fanny.  She eventually remarried to Charles W. Guptill in 1920, and had one daughter, Myrtle Guptill, who died as a young lady.

NELLIE EDWARDS
(ABOUT 1910)


NELLIE EDWARDS-VARNEY-GUPTILL
(ABOUT 1960)

MYRTLE GUPTILL
(1931-1963)

3.  Granville Edwards (1891-1970) was a fireman who lived in Naples Maine with his wife Edith Gardner and their four children (Ernest, Arnold, Mildred and Ann).

4.  Charles Clinton Edwards (1894-1983) moved up to Wilton with his wife Pearl and their four children, and worked in the woolen mill.  I believe his family called him Clayton.

5.  Georgia Anna Edwards (1895-1975) married William Herbert Plummer in 1914.  She was known affectionately as "Georgieanne".  She and Bill Plummer had two children:  Hazel (who died at age four), and Elwin (1915-1973).  Elwin was the second man to marry my aunt Laura Matilda Clarke of Scarborough, and Elwin named one of his daughters Hazel, after his deceased sister.

GEORGIA ANNA EDWARDS-PLUMMER
(ABOUT 1965)

NELL EDWARDS-GUPTILL AND GEORGIANNE EDWARDS-PLUMMER
(ABOUT 1965)