Sunday, January 23, 2011

John Henry Temm


John Henry Temm (born John Henry Brown) (1853-1936) was, according to legend, born into this world in a boat in Portland Harbor in 1853.  He grew up in his uncle Robert's "Brownrig Boarding Houses for Seamen," on Fore Street in Portland, known by many to be the "houses of ill repute".  When JH was 11, the entire family moved to what was later known as the Temm Homestead in Scarborough (described at length in the Temm blog post).

In 1874, at age 21, JH was tried in superior court for assault and battery, but it's unclear who the victim was:

Portland Daily Press
Jan. 15, 1874

In 1891 and 1892, he had an apparently regular dispute with Martha C. Phinney, over a horse:

Portland Daily Press
Oct. 31, 1891

Portland Daily Press
July 27, 1892

In 1895, at age 42, just three years after his mother passed, he married Hattie Morgan-Downey, of Portland (although I found no official marriage record).  Hattie and her parents had briefly lived on the Beech Ridge Road when she was a teenager, so this is likely how they knew each other.  She had lost her husband James Downey to tuberculosis in 1894, and then within a year married John Henry (who was 13 years her senior).  She and her two daughters (Annie & Maggie) moved into the Temm Homestead in Scarborough and started their own large family.  John Henry farmed on the land inherited from his parents on the northeast corner of Beech Ridge Road and Dresser Road, mostly a dairy farm.  A funny story told to me by my Uncle Walter was that John Henry would head down to the potato farm further down on Beech Ridge Road (land later acquired by his youngest son Carl), and when buying your potatoes, you had to put them on the large suspension scale which dangled above the ground, and you'd pay according to weight.  John Henry would routinely stick his foot under the scale and lift it, causing the weight to read less, so he'd get his own discount! 

John Henry was a gardener, a butcher, and a water gatherer.  They said that certain people had a gift for finding water.  If a branch from an apple tree fell, certain people could see a fallen branch, and determine where the water well is located underneath.  According to legend, John Henry was one of these people.  It's likely that he participated regularly in the agricultural fair which was held in Scarborough at Nutters Field on Pleasant Hill.

According to my Uncle Sonny Jim, John Henry was a nice man, and a hard worker.  Sonny Jim was raised by him, and worked the farm day in and day out until John Henry's passing.  Sonny Jim remembers that John Henry one night had wandered out of the house, in his sleep, and walked down to the creek in the back of the house (a creek that never froze in the winter, to hear Sonny Jim tell of it).  He came back from the creek, and went back to bed.  Apparently in the dark, on the way back from the creek, he had stumbled and cut his legs up quite badly.  He died not too long after, in April of 1936, of bronchopneumonia.

The path to the creek...
Probably the route of John Henry's fatal sleepwalking

The Creek is quite far below this edge

The beautiful homestead
of John Henry Temm
Scarborough, Maine

John & Hattie had eight children on the homestead.  John Henry would give the kids chores to do, including gardening.  One day John Henry gave the kids specific areas of the garden they were supposed to weed while he was out for the day.  The kids didn't like the weeding, however.  He came back, and asked Hattie if the kids had done the weeding.  She said that they hadn't.  He went and woke all the kids up, and by lantern light they went out in the night and weeded the whole garden!  According to Sonny Jim, nobody on that farm enjoyed a day's work.

John & Hattie's kids gave them 37 grandchildren, 96 great grandchildren, and hundreds of descendants afterwards, most of them living their entire lives in Scarborough:

Clifford Henry Temm (1897–1973)
Clifford was the first Temm in the US Armed Forces. Drafted for WWI, he never left the States and it was his brother Carl, drafted for WW2 who would be the first to fight overseas in Germany.  He worked as a carpenter and volunteer fireman.  He married Susie Finney in 1926 and had 3 children, one of which died in infancy, and no grandchildren.  He ran a pine shingle business with his son Ralph.  The house he bought in County Road Westbrook in the 1926 is still in the family.  In 1927 he bought a square mile of Portland which now houses portions of I-295 and what was once Shopping Center on Marginal Way.

Adelaide May Temm-Ahlquist (1899–1980)
Front Row: Althea, Adelaide, Toy, Francis. Middle Row: Robert. Back Row: Olaf, Clarence, Leon
After graduating from Four Corners High School (later known as Scarborough High), Adelaide went to normal school and became a teacher.  She married Carl Erling Thorvald Ahlquist (aka "Toy") from Scarborough (but who was born to Swedish father and Norwegian mother), and they had 6 children and 21 grandchildren in their house on Beech Ridge Road.  Many of the children stayed on in Scarborough, but a few of them moved to the midwest.

Edwin Clinton Temm (1900–1900)

Edwin Clinton Temm (1901–1964)
Edwin married Marion Dolloff in 1928.  In 1943 he married Isabelle Butler, and bought a home on the Pope Road in Windham, where Aunt Isabelle (the family genealogist) lived the remainder of her life until 2011.  Collectively, Edwin had 5 children and 12 grandchildren.

Emily Iva Temm-Clarke (1903–1999)
(12 children, 40 grandchildren)

William Sanford Temm (1904–1975)
Bill Temm was married after both John Henry and Hattie's fathers.  He married Laura Barbour from Westbrook briefly in 1927.  In June of 1931 he married Alice Neault from Biddeford, born to French Canadian immigrants.  Alice and Bill (pictured above) and had 11 children and 23 grandchildren in their house on Beech Ridge Road right across the street from the old Temm Homestead once owned by his parents, on land once owned by the McLaughlins, who were founders of Scarborough and Cumberland County.  Bill's house is still in the Temm family.

Florence Ethel Temm (1905–1905)
(died in infancy)

Carl Albert Temm (1907–1974)
Carlie fought in WWII in Germany, and lived most of his life with his girlfriend, Fannie Varney, in their home and farm on Beech Ridge Road.  They had no children together.  Carlie worked at S.D. Warren in Westbrook, and died of a heart attack before he could retire.

Beech Ridge Road, Scarborough, Maine
TOP (L to R): John Henry Temm and his wife Hattie,
their children Adelaide, Clifford, and Emily
BOTTOM (L to R): Edwin, holding Carl
and another boy (possibly one of Hattie's grandsons,
Harold Dunn or Richard Brailsford),
and then William S. Temm on the far right.

(Clifford, Adelaide, Bill & Edwin, with spouses)
(ABOUT 1959)

An interesting note, I've been able to find marriage records for all the Temms and their descendants, except for John & Hattie's marriage (which was 1895 according to the 1900 Census).  1895 was actually a good year for record retention in Portland, so I'm not sure what happened.  I wonder if they ever were officially married?

According to the Town Report of Scarborough in 1922, John Henry suffered a fire at his homestead, and received $19.05 in abatement funds from the Town (which would be about $260 in 2012).

The Temms enjoyed the company of family friends Benjamin and Ida Shaw, who lived on the farmland property next door.  Ida passed on in 1928, while Benjamin died two years later.  Their son, Harold Wilson Shaw, died in 1932.  That left Benjamin's daughter, 45 year old Zelia Shaw, who never married, alone in the house.  She at this point moved next door into the Temm Homestead, then owned by John Henry's son Bill Temm, and stayed there until her death in 1969.  She was an honorary member of the Temm family.


John Henry's death certificate declared his father Marcus to be a Sea Captain.

(front and back)
Forest City Cemetery
South Portland, Maine
(John & Hattie, with son Carl,
Clayton, a deceased infant son of Clifford Temm,
and Alfred, a deceased infant son of Bill Temm)

Here's the pedigree chart for John Henry Temm.

He was 50% German and 50% Scottish.  His mother was of Scottish descent, and had noble roots (Blair Clan).

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Mystery of Little Edwin's Grave

Robert Browning, Jr. was owner of merchant seamen's boarding houses on Fore Street (aka houses of ill repute), and was also brother to my 2nd great grandmother, Sarah Jane Browning-Temm.  Robert had purchased for himself a plot in Calvary Cemetery, South Portland.  But he had also purchased a separate lot in Forest City Cemetery, South Portland, where a random mix of people happen to be buried, and it's a mystery I've yet to uncover the answer to. 

PLOT B-104

The three people with burial records for this plot are:

1.  Little Edwin Temm (who would've been Robert Jr.'s cousin) (1900-1900).  Edwin's parents were John & Hattie Temm.  Edwin's grandparents, Marcus & Sarah, were the only Temms to have died prior to him in Maine, and they were reported to have been buried in Forest City, so I suspect that they are also in this grave.  Little Edwin was not given a headstone, and is erroneously listed as Edward Temm.

2.  Augustus Clark (1823-1908), son to attorney Jonathan Clarke of South Berwick, Maine, and Harriet Allen of Sanford, Maine.  Neither of these Clarkes are connected in any way to the Clarke bloodlines I've been researching from my own family.  It's curious to me why this man was buried in little Edwin's grave.

3.  Esther B. Jones (1830-1860), wife to William Jones, died of consumption in 1860.  She was buried in Eastern Cemetery in Portland.  On 20 Nov 1873, Esther's body was removed to Forest City Cemetery, and was one of the first burials in this plot purchased by Robert Browning.  I have no clue why. 

Other potential dwellers:

1.  I'm guessing that Edwin's grandfather Marcus Temm was already buried here (since the lot was purchased just a few weeks after Marcus' death).  So why would Robert Browning Jr. have chosen to move the body so it could lie next to Marcus?

2.  Marcus' daughter, Elizabeth Temm-Smart (1857-1884), died while giving birth to her third child.  Her death record states that she is buried at Forest City as well, and the cemetery was unable to provide proof of burial there.  It's quite possible that this lot is home to Elizabeth as well.

3.  Marcus' daughter, Kate, seems to not have any available death or burial records.  I think she could also be in this lot.

4.  Marcus' wife, Sarah, died in Scarborough in 1892, and it's also unclear where she is buried.  I think this is the likely spot.

This is a mystery that will likely never be solved.  Review of all available records has gotten me only this far.

Robert Browning was buried at Calvary Cemetery, with his wife, Catherine Whalen, and some of their children.

I find interesting that there is a record of "Robo Browrig" having been buried on 29 March 1937 in the Pauper's Lot of Forest City, in Section Y, Lot 246 with no grave marker.


Forest City Cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in the Greater Portland area, and many times when I've called their offices, I've discovered that the records aren't very well kept.  Anyone buried prior to 1915, for some reason, may or may not be on their list of records.  To boot, when you visit Forest City, it's now a massive burial site with NO markers for the plots of land.  Anyone who is looking to find people buried there may spend many hours looking for them, like my mother and I did last summer.  You must call the offices of Evergreen Cemetery on Stevens Avenue to get the information, or better yet, stop by there and get a map.

The Brownings of Pictou, Nova Scotia

The name Browning is English, coming from Anglo-Saxon origins, meaning a person with brown hair or a dark complexion.  There are many spelling variations for this name, including Brownrigg and Brownridge.  However, the name Brownrigg/Brownridge has additional roots tied to the ancient Scottish Boernician clan.  I'm not certain which direction to take the research at present, but I can list what I know so far, in the event that other researchers can comment.

My Browning ancestors come from Nova Scotia (New Scotland), so I'm more tied to the idea that their original name was actually Brownrigg.  However, their names and their descendants' names all carry a variety of name differentials, including Brownrick, Brownsby and Brownrig (with one 'r'). 

William Brownrigg, my fourth great grandfather, was born around 1775 in Cumberland England, moved to Truro, Nova Scotia, and died around 1810.  He was a merchant marine and died at sea, according to family legend.  Apparently the Brownrigg family were original settlers of Pictou and Truro Nova Scotia.  Nobody appears to know much more about William, though.  He married Mary Jeffers (of French extraction) in 1797, and had five children:

1.  John Robert Browrigg (1799-abt 1860) (also known as Robert Brownrigg) and his wife Isabel Blair (1795-1869) (these were my third great grandparents), were both born in Colchester, Nova Scotia.  For the 1850 Census, John was serving time at the Maine State Prison in Thomaston for attempting to poison someone.  In the 1860 Census, John & Isabel were living in East Machias, Maine, with a Joanna (aged 30), and three young children.  It's possible that Joanna was a daughter, and the three kids grandkids (TBD).

2.  Jacob 1799-1864, married Janet Currier

3.  Jane (birth/death date unknown) married William Holstead

4.  Anne 1806-1880 married John Copeland

5. William, Jr. (1809-1895) married to Joanne Kitchin.

John & Isabel definitely had three confirmed children in Truro, Pictou, Nova Scotia, two of whom moved to the Greater Portland area of Maine in 1851:

1.  Isabel Browning (1821-1896) born in Truro, moved to Salem, Massachusetts with her husband, John Brown, and had at least one child (Esther Brown).

2.  Sarah Jane Browning (1825-1892), who married Marcus Temm, a merchant seaman from Hamburg Germany and settled in Scarborough Maine.  These were my 2nd great grandparents.

3.  Joanna Browning (1829- ), who may have had three children (James W., John and Isabella).  I'm only assuming the three children are Joanna's, since they are on a census with her along with John & Isabel in Machias in 1860, and since the children were much too young to be John & Isabel's own children.

4.  Robert Browning (1832-1905), who married Catherine Whalen (1838-1874) from Ireland (whom I believe was related to the Whalen family that intermarried with my Leonard family from Ireland/Portland, but I've yet to prove it).  They married in Portland in 1864.  In 1866, he was working as a provision dealer on 127 Fore Street under the name Robert Brownrig.  Also that year, his name was published in the Portland Daily Press for an unclaimed piece of mail.

In 1868, Robert was sued for wine ordered by his servant:

Portland Daily Eastern Argus
Dec. 31, 1868

In July 1869, he purchased several properties on Fore Street for $1,391.00, retained domestic servants, and called them the Brownrig Boarding Houses for Merchant Seamen.  They were located at 103, 125, 299 and 301 Fore Street.  103 & 125 were on the corner of Mountfort Street (125 was torn down to build a ship forge owned by Thomas Laughlin Company.  299-301 was on the corner of Pearl Street, next door to the Hub Furniture building across from the Customs House).  I wonder if Robert's sister Sarah Jane met her future husband Marcus at one of these boarding houses?  I also wonder what went on at these businesses...

101-103 Fore Street (in 1924)
(Corner of Mountfort Street)

299-301 Fore Street
(somewhere in this picture from 1924 City Planning Tax Records Collection)

Robert's niece Lizzie Temm worked as a servant at 103 Fore Street when she was a teenager.  Robert naturalized as "Robert Brownrig" in Portland Superior Court in February of 1876.  In December 1879, he sold off all the Fore Street properties to William Morton.  

In 1880, his name was published in the Portland Daily Press for failing to pay his 1879 taxes.  Interesting to learn that the newspapers routinely embarrassed or shamed folks who were delinquent.

By 1900, he was renting property and working as a day laborer, at 67 years of age.  I wonder how he lost all his money? 

Robert & Catherine had five children in Portland, and they chose the "Brownrig" spelling at some point after 1871, dropping one of the g's at the end.  Three of their children died in infancy (Isabella, John & Gertie), and the two who survived to adulthood were:

-Mary Elizabeth "Minnie" Brownrig (1865-1925).  Minnie also grew up on 103 Fore Street.  She never married, but lived with her brother Thomas for a time on 267 Congress Street (corner of India Street).  Each census showed her as having no occupation.  I wonder how she filled her days.

-Thomas A. Brownrig (1868-1950).  Thomas also never married, and was a saloon keeper and beer retailer at 39-49 Commercial Street (currently where the AutoEurope building is) and 342 Fore Street (currently Paragon Barber Shop).  He grew up in his father's boarding house on 103 Fore Street, and later lived and helped manage one of the other boarding houses on 299 Fore Street.  He also lived on 45 Commercial Street and 267 Congress Street.  He purchased a house on Sebago Lake in 1904.  In 1911 he was bequeathed the Commercial Street properties from the will of William S. Perry of Brunswick (not sure of the relation).  He kept the properties until 1921.

Minnie and Thomas share a gravesite at Calvary Cemetery in Plot N 349.

Robert (under the name Browning), his wife, the three deceased infants, and also Catherine's brother, Thomas Whalen, are all buried in Calvary Cemetery, South Portland, in Plot H 8.

However, in 1868, Robert had purchased an additional lot in Forest City Cemetery, South Portland, where a random mix of people happen to be buried, and it's a mystery I've yet to uncover the answer to...I firmly believe that his sister Sarah Jane's husband, Marcus Temm, was the first buried there, since the date of lot purchase was just weeks after Marcus' death.


In doing some research at the Mormon library, I was pleased to see that someone had saved a document that indexed all birth, marriage and death records from Nova Scotia newspapers in the 1800s.  Here is an abstract of the announcements I found as they relate to Brownriggs living in Nova Scotia:

-25 Dec 1829, by Rev. J . Waddell:  Alexander Archibald, Esq. married Ann, only daughter of late William Brownrigg

-27 May 1833, at Helstone:  Gen. Sir Robert Brownrigg

-9 Mar 1837, at Truro by Rev. Mr. Burnyeat:  Marriage of John Copeland of Musquodoboit & Miss Ann Brownrigg

Colchester Historical Museum Archives sent me an email with the following information:
"Hi Scott: The only Isabel Blair that I found in our records that married a Browning was born Jan. 17, 1795 in Onslow Township and died 1868. She was the daughter of James Blair, Esq. and Isabella Catherwood. She had a family of 2 sons, and 6 daughters. However, the Browning she married was not named Robert but John. John Browning apparently died sometime before 1868. If in fact the family we found is the right one then he would have died between 1860- 1868.  On we looked at the 1850 US census and put in Robert Browning born in Nova Scotia but only John turned up being born in Nova Scotia. He was in the Maine State Prison. It says he was born in Nova Scotia. In the 1860 US census he is in East Machias, Washington , Maine with his wife Isabella age 64 (he is 63) and 4 younger people - a couple could be children and two grandchildren maybe. Says he was a stone mason. Should see if they might be in the 1870 census. They shouldn't be if the above is correct for yours."

Here's a pedigree chart for Sarah Jane Browning.  Sarah was of 100% Scottish descent, and her mother was of a noble Scottish lineage.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sadie Temm-Edwards

Sarah Jane Temm ("Sadie") (1858-1935) was one of four children born in Scarborough to Marcus Temm & Sarah Jane Browning.  She spent her childhood on Beech Ridge Road.  At age 22 she was married in Salem Massachusetts to Dennis D. Edwards, a 3rd generation descendant from Welsh immigrants, from Raymond, Maine, who was 26 years older than her.  Dennis had divorced his wife Nancy and left her with the three kids (Ida - who became a watch maker, Franklin & Charles).

Dennis & Sadie bought property in Freeport, and had four children:

1.  Infant Son (1886-1886).  He lived two weeks, and is buried next to his parents.

2.  Pearl Estelle Edwards (1888-1912).  Pearl married Joseph Leonard Holbrook, of the noted Freeport Holbrook family.  Pearl died at 24 of pulmonary tuberculosis.  They had three children who grew up without their mother:

-Clarence L. Holbrook (1906-1992).  Clarence was raised by Sadie and worked as a packer at a local shoe factory.  He married Frances Fernald (1906-1987) of Freeport.

-Bertha E. Holbrook (1907-1922).  Bertha died like her mother did, of pulmonary tuberculosis, but at age 14.

-Lawrence L. Holbrook (1909-1977).  Lawrence married Gladys Wooton (1921-2009), and had two children and four grandchildren.

3.  Dana Dennis Edwards (1896- ).  Dana worked as a medical orderly, and lived in Toronto for a time.  He was drafted into WWI while living in Toronto.  No further information after that.  He doesn't appear on any WWI casualty lists that I've encountered.

4.  Pauline Jane Edwards (1899-  ).  Pauline was born 8 months after her father passed.  She married Clarence Fernald (of the Massachusetts Fernalds) in New Hampshire and settled in Augusta Maine, working as a laundress, while her husband got a job at the shoemill.  Clarence died after 1948, and Pauline died after 1962.  I don't believe this is the same Fernald family which her nephew Clarence married into.

In 1888, Dennis purchased a 60 acre plot of land, on Main Street Freeport, from Adelia & Whitley Frost, and built their house where they raised their kids.

In 1893, Dennis purchased an additional 8 acre parcel from Borudon Walker.

In the summer of 1898, Dennis died of a head wound stemming from an accident (a Brunswick train bound for Portland collided with his horse carriage at "Curtis Corner" in Freeport).  He likely didn't yet know that Sadie was one month pregnant with their fourth child.

12 AUG 1898

3 SEP 1898

Below is an aerial shot from 2010, which shows the approximate area of where the collision must have occurred.  Freeport Town Hall claims no knowledge of an area called "Curtis Crossing" today, but using old maps, we've determined the general area of the crossing to be on Upper Mast Landing Road.  Note that Main Street also used to have railroad tracks, and both routes served Brunswick and Portland (special thanks to Tam Ramsey, descendant of Sadie & Dennis), so either of these sets of railroad tracks could've been the fateful train route:

In January of 1899, Sadie bought the interest of her stepkids (as Dennis' heirs) in all the land above for $190.00.  Two weeks later, she immediately mortgaged the entire property to William Noyes for $250, with a requirement that Sadie purchase fire insurance.

In July of 1900, Sadie paid off the mortgage and then mortgaged the entire property again to William Noyes for $250.

On 7 February 1903, Sadie bought additional property in Freeport, at the corner of Cottage and Forest Streets.  Two days later she paid off the second mortgage.  I wonder where she got the money from that week?

In September of 1903, Sadie remarried to a farmer named John Brett, but then divorced him again within a year.

In August of 1904, Sadie mortgaged the Cottage Street property to a Mary McKenna of Boston for $200.

On 2 Nov 1906, Sadie entered into a $200 second mortgage on the Cottage Street property, with John Litchfield.  On 12 Nov 1906, Sadie paid off the mortgage on the Cottage Street property.  It appears she used the lent money to pay off the old mortgage.

In November of 1911, Sadie broke the mortgage, and lost the Cottage Street property.

In 1913, Sadie finally sold off the property to John Litchfield.  I'm assuming she still had been living at the other property on Main Street all this time.  Sadie raised Pearl's son Clarence, and worked as a scrub woman at a laundromat in Freeport.

In the summer of 1935, Sadie contracted streptococcus septicemia, and died a few days later in an Augusta hospital.    I'm guessing that she was relocated to Augusta, since her daughter Pauline had settled there.  Sadie's obituary reads:

Funeral of Mrs. Sarah J. Edwards
Funeral services for the late Mrs. Sarah J. Edwards were held Wednesday
afternoon at the Plummer funeral parlors, 16 Pleasant Street, with the Rev.
William R. Wood, D.D., of the Penney Memorial Baptist church in the presence
of a large gathering of friends. There were many floral tributes. Burial
was in the cemetery at Freeport.