Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lorena Bell Fuller


My Nana, Rena Fuller, was a very kind lady who lived a hard life.  Born in Bangor in 1917 to Arthur Fuller & Lorena Murch, she lived in Portland most of her life.  In high school she enjoyed being a member of the Glee Club, and her senior quote in the yearbook was quite telling of her personality: 

"Dare to do your duty always".

At PHS, she met my grandfather, Thomas Edward Leonard, with whom she was a member of the Glee Club.  Upon her graduation, in May of 1936, they went to Portsmouth for a quick and easy marriage (Nana was already two months pregnant with my father).  Tom fibbed on the marriage record and claimed to be 21, when he was actually 19. 

Below is a photo of Nana with her mother Lorena, and her brother Harold (and his first wife Virginia), around 1934, just prior to Nana's marriage to Tom.


My grandparents' marriage was short-lived (not even 3 years).  They lived at 21 Spruce Street, then 94 State Street, where Tom ran a ham radio operation out of his house.  Nana filed for divorce based on desertion in March of 1939, and Tom joined the Navy, remarrying to another classmate Barbara Connell in 1942.  Several years after the divorce, in fact, just after Charlotte's graduation from high school in 1956, Nana stopped the car with all three kids inside, right on Tookey's Bridge overlooking Back Cove in Portland, took off her wedding ring, and threw it over the side.  My father was angry as he had his eye on that ring for a potential future bride of his own.

Nana worked as a secretary at Hannaford in their South Portland offices, back when Hannaford was a distribution company and before they bought out the Shop N Save grocery store chain.  She kept her married name all her life.  She raised her three kids (Thomas, Honey & Charlotte-named after her lifetime best friend Charlotte Hall) on Presumpscot Street in Portland, then later moved to Neal Street when the kids were grown up.  Her mother Lorena moved in with her after her Nana's father Arthur passed in 1940.  Nana lived with her and took care of her for 50 years, until Lorena died in 1990 of dementia.  Nana died four years later in a nursing home on Baxter Boulevard in Portland.  She had caught pneumonia (possibly from her daughter Honey visiting her in the nursing home), but also also of a pulmonary blockage caused by choking on her lunch, while strapped to a chair in the hallway.  A very sad ending to a life filled with sacrifice.  RIP Nana, you were cherished by your children and grandchildren for your lively and loving personality and sense of humor.  I can still smell her perfume, and hear her say "Jeekers!"

(ABOUT 1950)

Here's a picture of Nana holding me!

Below is the gravesite of Nana:

Below is her pedigree chart.  She was 6% German (through her 2nd Great Grandfather, Daniel Hollien), about 12% Scottish (accumulated royal blood through ancestors Mary Bean, John Jameson, and Jane Bell), less than 2% French (through the Sibley line) and the remainder 82% was English colonial.  Her ancestor Benjamin Burrill was a descendant of Mayflower passengers John Alden, Rebecca Mullins, William Mullins & Alice Atwood. Her ancestor John Fuller was a descendant of Mayflower passengers Edward Fuller and his wife.  Her ancestor Celia Cook was a descendant of Mayflower passengers Francis Cooke, Stephen Hopkins, Elizabeth Fisher and Constance Hopkins.  That's ten Mayflower passengers total for Nana.  Additionally, her ancestor, Susannah Martin, was hanged in the Salem Witch Trials, and accused by Ann Putnam, granddaughter to Thomas Putnam, yet another ancestor of Nana.  Finally, her ancestor John Jameson descended from the renowned Jameson Clan of Scotland, who fought in the Revolution and were among the first settlers of the early Maine towns of Cape Elizabeth, Rockland and Friendship.  This line also connects her to the Leonard Forge of Raynham Massachusetts, family of which are the ancestors of Celia Cook shown below.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Frank & Emily Clarke

Herbert Francis Clarke
Emily Iva Temm-Clarke
(abt 1980)

My mother's parents were Herbert Clarke & Emily Temm-Clarke. 

Herbert Francis Clarke, known to everyone as "Frank", was born in East Haddam, CT, one of ten chidren born to Niles Clark & Lizzie Tooker.  Upon the death of Niles, Lizzie released all five of her boys to orphanages.  Frank and his little brother James were raised on Opportunity Farm in New Gloucester, Maine.  When Frank was released from the orphanage in 1923, he worked on Black Point Road in Scarborough as a farmhand at the Fogg/Bornheimer farm (where, coincidentally, my brother's wife's ancestors lived).  The farm workers used to go down the road to Higgins Beach for lunch and a bit of fun from time to time.  In 1924, Frank met the love of his life on one such trip, when he stopped in to drop off the farm laundry at the Black Point Inn at Prout's Neck, Scarborough, where Emily Iva Temm had been working as a laundress since about 1918 (when it used to be called the Southgate Hotel).

They rented a house on Mussey Road in 1926, which they lived in for 10 years.  It was a very small one room house with a barn, which is still standing, surprisingly (see pictures below):

Emily gave birth to EIGHT of her twelve children in this room...two of whom didn't live a week.  Little John was born in 1930 without a rear end, and there were no doctors to fix it, so he died after nine days (and on his father's birthday).  Little Helen was stillborn in 1932.  John and Helen were buried in Dunstan Cemetery in Scarborough, by the 'old cherry bush' in what is known as the pauper's lot.  My mom wasn't pleased that the bush had been removed.  No plaques were created for them, so it's a guesstimate about where on this patch of pauper's lot F they are buried.


Below are some more pictures of Frank & Emily

They were married 57 years, and had 12 children, 38 grandchildren, 84 great grandchildren, at least 116 great great grandchildren, and at least 10 great great great grandchildren (and counting).  Their living descendants today (2020) number well over 260, mostly living in southern Maine, but many scattered all over New England, New York, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and California.

The 10 children whom survived to adulthood:











On St. Patrick's Day of 1936, Frank and Emily purchased the landlot on Payne Road (which prior to 1928 had been called 'Old Stage Road') from Mae Z. Tupper and built the Clarke Homestead and farm.  They had their four youngest children there.  It took until 1950 for the plumbing to be installed.  Until then, they had an outhouse in the back.

Frank worked as a stonemason for most of his life.  From what I hear of his work ethic, he didn't look for work until he ran out of money from the previous job.  Some of his work can still be seen today down at some of the houses on Prout's Neck.  He was a carefree sort, and also tended the Clarke garden and farm at their house on Payne Road.  He would take the horse and buggy, and later the car, filled with produce and meat, along with his own homemade root beer, and would drive down to Portland harbor, often with his friend Bill Gretz, and sell his wares to the boarding houses down on Fore Street.  He called these inns the "houses of ill repute", and he would also sell bottles of his homemade moonshine, also known as "white lightning", to the sailors down there.  He would tuck these bottles underneath the other produce for the journey, of course!

He also sold the home brew to the St. Regis Hotel on Middle Street in Portland, which was also known as the Windsor and the St. Julian at different times.


The hotel was situated on the same side of Middle Street as the Falmouth Hotel in Portland's Old Port.  Emily would help him store and bottle the moonshine, and it was kept as a family secret, mostly.  I recall being at their house as a boy, and being offered some moonshine by one of my cousins, who apparently drank gallons of the stuff.  Three of Frank's children worked in the liquor business, owning and managing several bars between them in Meridian Mississippi and Boston, Massachusetts.

Frank was quite the character.  He used to play a harmonica stuck inside half a glass of water, and would occasionally whip out his accordion and make up a silly song on it to entertain his kids and grandkids.  He also had a game he would engage the kids in, called "Fly Soup".  The kids were challenged to kill as many houseflies as possible, to supposedly put in a soup recipe.  Of course, nobody ate the flies, but it would be a way to get the kids to help rid the house of those pests!  He would sit on the stoop and tell us that the beans in the garden were ready to pick. He would say "Look at that I just saw another bean pop up!" Grammy Emily would say "Oh Frank, stop lying to those kids. Them beans ain't ready to come up yet for another few months".  Grampy would say "I'm not lying. I just saw that bean grow right now...and that's a fact!"  He would always end his tall tales with that. He said once "grammy can't make biscuits. Last time she made biscuits i couldn't even cut one. I threw one of them out of the hit a chicken on the head and killed it dead...and that's a fact!"  He would also often claim to have been a "world famous checker champion".  One would agree with him, given that he always won checker games against anyone in the family.  But the truth of the matter was that he used to cheat!  Anytime something happened, a distraction - anything, Grampy Frank would use the opportunity to move his checkers another turn.  Such is the way of a moonshine dealer who got his start during the Great Depression.

Emily worked a number of jobs, including housecleaning, but most of her time she worked as a laundress.  After leaving the Black Point Inn, she and her daughters worked at the New System Laundry on Parris Street in Portland, where she worked during the 40's and 50's.  The old building is still there, as of this 2010 picture:

The pictures at the top of this page show Frank and Emily inside the house on Payne Road.  But below is the only picture I've been able to find of the exterior of the old house.  This one was taken in the early 60's, and features my cousin Patty:

Emily suffered a fall down the stairs at her daughter Laura's house in 1980, and remained wheelchair-bound the rest of her life.  While hospitalized, in January 1981, the house on Payne Road burned down due to a wood stove fire.  The rebuild of the house was a monumental effort, with the help of many neighbors, townspeople, and charities, with special help from Ron Forest & Son, the lumber company next door.



BUILT 1932

Upon return from the hospital, and to her new house, it wasn't long before Frank got sick.  He passed in May 1982 after a long battle with pancreatitis, which along with anemia and gastrointestinal bleeding, contributed to hypoxemia, the ultimate cause of death.

Emily deeded the house to Sonny Jim a month after Frank passed, asking him to deed it to P-Nut when he was done with it.  Sonny Jim passed in 2015, leaving the house to his wife instead, who sold it in 2016.  While I'm saddened that the house and land didn't stay in the Clarke family, I'm pleased that the land wasn't sold to a developer who would seek to raze the lot and continue the spread of box stores down Payne Road.

Emily eventually took turns living with a variety of her children (John, Helen, then Laura), then she stayed for a time at John's daughter P-Nut's house, then Emily's daughter P-Nut.  In 1997, she was placed in the Barron Center.  She spent the last couple years of her life there, finally succumbing to dementia in April of 1999, at 96 years of age. She was otherwise in quite perfect health throughout her entire life.

Frank and Emily are buried together at Brooklawn Cemetery in Portland.

Pedigree charts for Frank & Emily are below.

Frank's heritage is entirely English colonial, with roots in Hertfordshire England.  All of his ancestors sailed to Massachusetts/Connecticut during the colonial era (early 1600s).  His ancestors include founders of various towns in old colonial Connecticut, with several early military fighters.  Of particular interest is John Clarke, one of the settlors of Jamestown Province in Virginia, who also was a steward on the Mayflower (but who had returned to England after the famed journey).

Emily's heritage is 50% English (from her mother, also of colonial stock), and from her father's side, she carries 25% Scottish, and 25% German.  The Scottish roots go back to several Scottish nobles (though none were rulers), and the German roots are of seafaring Catholic Bavarian Germans.

Neither of them had any Irish or Native American blood, contrary to family lore.

James Raymond Clarke

James Raymond Clarke

James Raymond Clarke was the youngest child of Niles & Lizzie Clark.  When James was only 8 months old, his father Niles died, and not long thereafter Lizzie placed James in the Opportunity Farm for Boys in New Gloucester Maine where his elder brother Herbert Frank Clark was living. These two brothers were the only members of the family that spelled their names Clarke with an "e", which leads me to believe that the orphanage made the name change.  Lizzie's nickname for James was "Jamesie", according a nephew of James.

The 1920 and 1930 Censuses show that Lizzie had moved from Connecticut to Scarborough, Maine, and had James living with her again, as well as his sister Geraldine Clark.  He stayed in Scarborough until around 1939.

James & Geraldine Clarke

The 1940 Census shows James living and working as a hired hand in Walworth, NY at the home farm of Murray Brian, who was originally from Pennsylvania.  Murray's farm also contained a steel mill upon it.  The census record indicates that James had been working there for half a year in 1939 as well, and that he earned $436 dollars in that half year ($7,421.38 in 2015 dollars).

According to James' son, James also worked as a farmhand at Wadsworth farm in Geneseo, and Tracey Farms near Ossian, NY.

In 1941, James enlisted in the Navy for WWII, while living in Rochester, NY.  He was stationed in Brazil for a portion of his service.  He saw no battles, and returned in late 1942.  James may be the same person who enlisted in the Navy from Buffalo NY, and who mustered out on the following Naval ships:  USS Fierce (August 1943), USS PC-491 (August 1944), and USS Livermore (June 1945).

James had missed the passing of his mother Lizzie in the summer of 1942.  He began work as a farmhand, and at some point in the mid 1940's he moved to Allegheny County, in western New York State, for work.  Through his friend and co-worker Howard Kemp he met Howard's sister (and his future wife), Jennie Mae Kemp from Ward, New York.  The Kemp family had previously lived in Hubbard, Ohio before moving to NY.

James & Jennie Clarke

Jennie was pregnant with another man's child at the time, but James married her and named the child as his own, James Jr.  Jennie also had six children of their own in their new home in nearby Livingston County, New York.  Each of the children had names beginning with the letter "J".  In February of 1960, James began working with the NY State Department of Transportation, where he stayed until he retired in July 1975.  He was also a member of the Dansville Moose Lodge.

Like his brother Herbert Francis, James was a natural musician.  Just like his grandfather, Leonard Sherman Clark (whom he never met), he could play the fiddle and harmonica.  He could also play piano, and accordion.  He had a very lighthearted disposition, and was much loved and admired by his children.

James passed away in 1979, and Jennie in 2000.  It's thanks to Facebook that I have been able to connect with James and Jennie's children, so that I could get more information.  His family is all still living in Livingston County as of 2015, and I had the distinct pleasure of meeting them.

James and Jennie are buried together in the family plot at Westview Cemetery in Ossian, NY.  James' sister Geraldine's ashes are interred on top of him (although the stone isn't marked).