Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Wymans of Winslow Maine

The Wymans in my family originally stem from Hertfordshire England.

Francis Wyman (1619-1699) was my 8th great grandfather, and he migrated to the New World with his brother John in 1644.  They settled in Woburn, Massachusetts.  John's son, John Jr., was killed in King Philip's War.

The Wyman family expanded throughout colonial Massachusetts for several generations, and I believe many traces remain there today.  Francis Wyman's grandson James (1702-1766) moved with his wife Bethia and their many children to Maine, eventually settling in Swan's Island in Pownalborough.

James' son William and his wife Love Chick (I verified that was her real name) were my 5th great grandparents, and they left Swan's Island for Bowdoinham in Sagadahoc County in 1765, and eventually settled in Winslow, Maine in 1770.  They ran the Wyman farm along the Winslow side of the Sebasticook River (now Kennebec River).  William possibly fought in the Revolution.  His wife, Love, was well known throughout Winslow as "Grandma Wyman".

According to Osborne family tradition, in March of 1783, William was felling a tree on his farm, and misjudged where he should be standing.  The tree fell on him, killing him (and supposedly another family member) instantly.  Grandma Wyman buried her husband (and possibly her son) at the spot where he died.  Family legend goes on to state that Grandma Wyman later buried her own father, Moses Chick, there as well (but according to some online trees, he had already died in 1738 in Berwick, in Southern Maine, so I'm not sure what the real story is here). 

According to Wyman genealogy site, a 1/4 acre reservation was made for the burial site, on a deed dated April 7 1806 by William's son Moses, who had sold to James Wall about 12 acres of the northwest corner of lot 36 of the property, reserving 1/4 acre 'near the Pond Hole where my father and others lie buried'.  However, this reservation was ignored in later deeds.  In 1891-3 Hollingsworth and Whitney Co. (now Scott Paper Co,) built a pulp mill on the land.  The 'Pond Hole' was filled in and the grave sites obliterated. The human bones unearthed were declared to be those of an ancient Indian burial ground.  Without further research, they were re-interred in a park near the town hall and marked with a commemorative stone.

Below is an excerpt from a letter from around 1910 written by Lydia Osborn-Fuller-Moody (my 2nd great grandmother) to Maud Maple-Miles (her husband's cousin):

"Your great grandmother's father [William Wyman] and, I think, her brother or uncle, are buried on the bank of the Sebasticook River in Winslow.  No one save these two were ever buried there and a few years ago, a man who owned the farm [at the time] said he should plough right over those old graves.  He was reported to the government.  The officer sent by the government to investigate found him ploughing the field.  Halted to talk to him a while, then asked 'What are you going to do with those graves?'  'Plow them under,' was the reply.  'Oh!  I wouldn't do that,' said he.  'Yes, I shall," said the owner of the farm.  The officer then made himself known, demanding in the name of the government not only that the graves be undisturbed, but that a substantial double fence be placed around them.  I was driving past there a few years since and was very glad to see a well-preserved double fence painted white."

Now, I'm curious as to the location of this mini cemetery, and if it's still around, 100 years later.  I doubt that the location is the Fort Hill Cemetery, which IS located along a southerly bank of the Kennebec, since that was an established area during 1910, and had hundreds of graves there even at that time.  But, there are several Wymans buried there, including grandchildren of William Wyman.

I also heard rumor that the Hollingsworth & Whitney Paper Mill (now owned by Scott Paper), when built, was the subject of some debate, since they had found bones at the construction site.   But that mill was built in 1892, so I don't think that it would be the same site as what I'm describing above, since again that was around as late as 1910.  But that mill is indeed along the eastern bank of the Kennebec, so it's possible.

Either way, William's death by tree left his wife Love with seven children to take care of.  She relocated to Waterville for the remainder of her years.  Her home was located at the site that was later occupied by the Elmwood Hotel (and is now a Rite Aid).

One of Love's children was my 4th great grandmother, Lydia "Martha" Wyman, who married Ephraim Osborn, and moved across the river to Fairfield, where the Osborns were already firmly established (especially thanks to the prosperous Osborn Farm run by Ephraim's nephew Timothy Osborn, who had married Lydia's sister Sarah).

(ca. 1860)

Lydia Wyman lived the duration of her life in Fairfield, and died in 1864 (aged 94) at the home of her daughter, Sarah Ann Osborn-Fuller (nicknamed "Ann"), just before Ann's family left Fairfield to start a dry goods business in Ottumwa Iowa.  During her later years, she would often go across the river by paddle boat with her daughter's family to the Winslow side of the river and visit the graves at the little Wyman site across the Kennebec, and also to get to her farm, where she had to milk her cows and manage the milking process.

Many of the Wymans grew to be successful in business (one founded Central Maine Power, another Wymans Dairy) and others more eccentric (Seth Fish Wyman who wandered off into the woods in Mattawaumkeag, Maine in the mid 1850s' to hunt and fish, never to be found again).

The pedigree of sisters Lydia & Sarah can be found below.  They are of 100% English colonial stock, with a very small percentage of Welsh (less than 2%) stemming from the John Day line:

Monday, August 1, 2011

Timothy Osborn (1805-1898)

Timothy Osborn (1805-1898), my 3rd great grandfather, was born in Winslow, Maine, located in Kennebec County, to sea captain Isaac Osborn & his wife Sarah Wyman

Timothy and his brother William tended to the primary Osborn farm in Fairfield after Isaac's retirement.  They had adjoining houses on the homestead.  William never married, and lived in his house alone until he passed. 

Timothy, on the other hand, had a large family.

Timothy married twice:

1.  First marriage was to his sister-in-law Lydia Burrill-Osborn-Osborn of Fairfield (who was recently widowed from marriage to his elder brother Jacob).  They raised Lydia and Jacob's son Milton as their own and had three daughters:  Mary Ann Osborn-Gifford (who had many descendants, but died of confinement in Palmyra), Emily Frances Osborn (died at age 4 of bowel inflammation), and their youngest, my 2nd great grandmother, Lydia Osborn-Fuller

2.  Four months after his wife Lydia Burrill-Osborn-Osborn had died in 1836, Timothy remarried on Christmas of that year to neighbor Olivia Noyes-Haskell, who was rumored to be part American Indian, and was herself a recent widow.  Her husband had been recently crushed by a boulder he was trying to wrangle (his death had been witnessed by poor Olivia).  Timothy had reached out to Olivia (who had four young boys) and created a 'marriage of necessity', joining both their families  and had an additional four children together (Eva, William, Mabel and Clara).  An old time "Brady Bunch", for sure.  According to family legend, one of their daughters, Mabel, was quite the seamstress, and died at 26 years of age, in September 1882, during a thunderstorm.  She was struck by lightning and it came right through the roof of the Fairfield homestead!  The bitter irony was that she had been safe in bed, but the family had beckoned her to come join them in her father's bedroom so they could all brave the storm together.  It was only while she was getting up to join the family, that she was struck while going through in the doorway!

Timothy & Olivia's only son together was named William Noyes Osborn (after Timothy's closest brother). 

Timothy purchased additional land in Fairfield from Samuel Bean Fuller (another 3rd great grandfather of mine) in January of 1844 for $225.  Timothy's daughter Lydia would later marry Samuel's son Charles in 1859.  Timothy's mother, the crazy Sarah Wyman, was sister-in-law to Samuel Fuller.

Interestingly, Fairfield has streets named Osborne Street and Burrill Street. I wonder who these streets were named after?  Both streets are mentioned as early as the 1900 Census, so it would have to be someone pretty far back.

At some point, Timothy purchased the home of Jonathan Emery (the "Emery House"), which was the headquarters of General Benedict Arnold in his October 1775 Quebec Expedition.  It was this house which he let his daughter Lydia live in when she returned penniless from Iowa, after her husband Charles had died.

Timothy & his brother William, both yeomen (non-slaveholding, small landowning, family farmers)  lent money to several people who failed to pay them back.  Timothy appeared to be quite litigious in general, as shown below.  He and William sued and won this case in November of 1836 against the Emery brothers (all images can be enlarged by clicking on them), who likely were descendants of Jonathan Emery:

In March of 1839, they won a claim against David Hudson & Increase Kendall:

Below, Timothy lost a land claim against George Fitzgerald in March of 1840:

In the summer of 1845 the Osborn brothers won a foreclosure proceeding against Rufell Ellis & Moses Whitten for some extra land in southern Fairfield:

In January of 1856, Timothy sued the Somerset & Kennebec Railway Company for some reason, but nobody appeared in the court room, so there is no record of why he sued them.

In April of 1857, sued his cousin Joseph Osborn for back rent (about $27):

In October of 1879, he sued his cousin William Osborn of Harmony, Maine for nonpayment of debt.  Timothy recovered the money owed him here.

In May of 1882, Timothy transferred the Homestead to his son William, who was then only 21 years old.  In December of 1885, Timothy sold the additional Osborn lot to William for $1600, a property that served William well, given the number of successful mortgages he had placed on it.

Death Record for Timothy Osborn

(as discovered in the trees across the street from the homestead):

(Maplewood Cemetery, Fairfield, Maine):


Here's a pedigree chart for Timothy.  It appears that he is 100% English descent, with one very distant Welsh line involved (Bethia Day's paternal great grandfather).