Skip to main content

A couple weeks ago, a friend and I were wandering a bit along the Maine coast. We were mostly interested in yarn and fabric (having met through a crafting group), but she's fairly recently started tracing her family tree, so we stopped at the courthouse in Wiscasset, the county seat for Lincoln County. I had ancestors there when it was still called Pownalborough, but unfortunately the multi-greats-grandfather who was the town clerk, in charge of recording marriages, forgot to record his own :-(

Her digging showed that some of her family likely lived in Alna, a couple towns away, so we headed that way for her to poke around a bit more and to get a feel for the area, as she's only been to Maine a few times.

Alna (settled earlier as North Pownalborough, incorporated in 1794 as New Milford, named changed to Alna in 1811; birthplace of EA Robinson and Dr. Fred H. Albee {who 'invented'bone grafting based on what he had learned on the family farm in Alna about tree grafting}) has an absolutely gorgeous old meetinghouse, built in 1789:

Alna Maine 2014

In 1812, the town selectmen voted to have Captain Abraham Walker keep dogs out of the meetinghouse on the Sabbath.

Alna Maine 2014

In 1823, there was a disastrous fire in the area of town west of the meetinghouse; a special tax was levied to provide relief to those who needed it.

Alna Maine 2014

As my friend was looking for her relatives, I decided to also wander around the burying ground. Who doesn't love a nice cemetery, right?

Alna Maine 2014

Some lovely older headstones:

Alna Maine 2014

But this set of four markers, all in a row, is what caught my attention.

Alna Maine 2014

Four children of Francis and Mary Turner, all four of whom died in a span of three weeks in the summer of July 1861.

Horace died 13 July, aged 5.

Alna Maine 2014

Clara died 26 July, aged 3.

Alna Maine 2014

Francis died 1 August, aged 1.

Alna Maine 2014

And then Samuel died 3 August, aged 7.

Alna Maine 2014

Their parents lived longer ~ Francis died in 1881, while Mary lived until 1901.

Alna Maine 2014

So, being the (addicted? obsessed?) genealogist that I am, the questions started flying in my brain....

So, I found them on the 1860 census, in Alna, all born in Maine:

Francis, 44, farmer
Mary, 38
Harriet, 9
Samuel, 6
Horace, 4
Clara, 2
Nancy, 29 (Francis's sister? The two of them were a household in 1850. She married Edward Cleaveland in 1869 and in 1880 they were living in Hardwick MA. By 1900, she was widowed and still living in Hardwick, this time with her sister Olive Palmer in the household.)

(Note: Francis was born in July 1860, so missed being recorded in the returns, which were supposed to reflect the population in 1 June 1860.)

So, poor Harriet.... the only surviving sibling after the other four died. A trip to the Maine State Library and Archives didn't produce any death records or other information about how the four children died. Whatever the cause, it makes me happy to live in an era of modern medicine ~ vaccines and anti-biotics can be quite helpful.

I did find Francis and Mary's marriage record ~ 16 March 1851. She was Mary Knight from Pittston, Maine (a nearby town).

Based on his children's marriage records, Francis was likely born in Bristol ME, the town on the other side of Wiscasset from Alna. He was born around 1817, and may have had older siblings (see more about his family below). If so, they had not moved to Alna when a census of families with school-aged children  (those ages 4 to 21) was done in 1821. On the other hand, he was too old (about 50) to be on the 1865 militia list for the town, which listed men from 19 to their mid-40s.

Side note: the Maine state archives and library ~ absolutely wonderful resources.....didn't intend to, as I already have lots of books out from both there and the local library, but there's so much good stuff I brought another eight books home to read ~ one of which is quite likely to become the starting point for my diary in this series two weeks from now ;-)

In 1870, the family looks like this, still living in Alna and all born in Maine:

Francis, 53, farmer (real estate $2500, personal estate $600)
Mary, 48
Harriet, 19
Mary Francis, 8
Flora Etta, 5
In 1869, Harriet (Hattie) married John Witham and they had five children (Horace Albert, Stella, Otis, Hattie May, and John Edgar), all of whom lived to adulthood (found marriage records for all five).

1880 census, living in Alna:

Francis, 63, farmer
Mary, 58
Mary F., 18
Flora E., 15, at school
John Witham, 28, farm labour
Hattie Witham, 29
Horace A., 1
Mary Francis married Matthew Moore in 1906, and Flora Etta possibly married someone named Johnston (no marriage record ~ name from gravestone next to the others).

Didn't find any definitive proof, but it's very likely that Francis's parents were Asa and Sarah (possible maiden name Longfellow) Turner, also buried in the Alna burying ground:

Alna Maine 2014

Nancy (Turner) Cleaveland's sister Olive married John Palmer, and the two widowed sisters are living in Hardwick MA in the same household in 1900. Olive's parents were Asa Turner (son of Starbird Turner and Olive Davis ~ so Olive was named for her paternal grandmother) and Sarah Longfellow (source ~ her 1906 death certificate in MA; Nancy died in 1913 but the informant for her death certificate left a fair number of blank spaces....). So, if Francis is their brother (he and Nancy are a household in 1850 and she's living with his family in 1860 ~ before relationships are stated on the census), he is the son of Asa and Sarah, who are buried very close to him in the Alna cemetery.

So, yeah, I sometimes get sidetracked from my own family....

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site