“Good deeds” can be taken a couple of ways – someone who does a good deed for someone else or it could refer to a deed, e.g. a land deed, that has good details in it. I’ve posted in the past about some of my best land deed finds and had to think for a bit about someone who did a good deed.
Since I would love to meet extended cousins from my Stewart-Stuart family who lived in the area around Calais, Maine, I am spotlighting William Stewart and his wife, Eunice. Adopting a child fits the category of doing a good deed. Besides bringing a child into their otherwise childless house, William was able to provide a more than comfortable home for a child.
William Stewart was the older brother of my 2x great grandfather, Charles Stewart, born 7 July 1817 in New Brunswick, Canada. The Stewarts are one of my Loyalist lines. and when they moved back to the United States about 1820, the family settled in Charlotte, a small town near Calais.
Very little information has been found about William. He was a naturalized U.S. citizen, having filed his papers in 1838. Sometime before 1850, he married a young lady named Eunice. Thanks to the 1850 census taker in the town of Baring, who did NOT follow directions, there are a few more bits of information known about the family.
Eunice’s maiden name has never been found, but she was born about 1825 in Portland, Maine. The census taker very helpfully included the Maine own of birth for his families. Either William didn’t want to admit that he was born in Canada and said Charlotte or else Eunice, who maybe only knew the family was from Charlotte, told the census taker that was her husband’s birthplace.
The most interesting part of this household is little Philemon Hurd, who was four years old, born in Lee, which is in Hancock County. (This census was taken on 23 August 1850.) Also with them was a 35 year old farmer named Perez Stoddard, born in Eastport, who appears to be a hired hand.
Little Philemon Hurd from Lee creates more questions than he answers. Since no marriage record has been found for William and Eunice, could he be her son by a first marriage? Definitely, as she is 25 years old in 1850. If so, that would mean that although born in Portland, she moved to Lee at some point.
A quick check of the 1840 census shows no Hurd families in Hancock County. In 1850, there is only one Hurd family, that of Jonathan Hurd and his family.
The ink is a bit faded, but we have Jonathan Hurd, 55, farmer, with Hannah, 38, Philander, 25, Maria, 18, Eveline, 17, Myra, 13 and Josephine, 7.
Is Philemon part of this family? I don’t know. If he was, why would he have been living with William and Eunice Stewart? Hannah, by her age, could be a second wife of Jonathan. Perhaps Jonathan had an older son who died who was married to Eunice. Or maybe there is no connection at all between Eunice and this Hurd family.
A check of the Hancock County probate records shows not a single listing for anyone by the name of Hurd.
In any case, by 1860, William, a well-to-do merchant, was living in Princeton, Maine, very near Baring wife Eunice, 35, and Charles P. Stewart, whose age matches that of Philemon P. Hurd, who was in the household ten years before. There are no other children living with them so William and Eunice apparently never had any surviving children of their own.
In any case, Eunice likely died before 7 August 1864 when William married widow Sarah L. (Crabtree) Lothrop in Calais, Maine. Their blended family was enumerated in 1870. The ink is even more faded on this census and is a bit hard to read:
There are some laborers and a maid living with them, but the family members are William Stewart, 52, Sarah L., 32, Charles Stewart, 24, Isabelle Lothrop, 12, George Lothrop, 10, and Carrie Stewart, 5. Carrie is the only child of both William and Sarah.
Charles P. Stewart married Augusta Gertrude Getchell on 8 December 1864 in Calais, Maine. They moved back and forth between Maine and Massachusetts and had several children:
1. Hester Inez, born about 1875, Maine
2. Walter Hurd, born 4 October 1878, Maine
3. William O., born March 1882, Massachusetts
4. Mary A., born July 1885, Maine
5. Frank C., born October 1889, Maine
I think the “Hurd” middle name given to his first son pretty much proves that Philemon Hurd is the same person as Charles P. (maybe Philemon?) Stewart.
I have not found a death record on line or a burial place for Charles P. Stewart. He and Augusta are found in a 1927 city directory in Attleboro, MA, but Charles was a widower in the 1930 census when he was living with the family of Edgar H. Redding in Wrentham, MA:
This last entry is interesting to me for two reasons. First, Charles and Augusta had five children of their own, but he is not living with any of them. Second, Edgar and Ethel Redding were living with Charles and his family in the 1900 census. The Redding children were orphans of George and Addie Coleman Redding, both of whom died in the 1890’s in Calais. This Stewart family is part of my grandfather Vernon Adams’s family; the Redding children are first cousins of my grandmother, Hazel Coleman Adams.
I will have to see if I can find a death certificate in Massachusetts for Charles P. Stewart. He obviously considered himself a Stewart, as that is the surname he used for his whole life. However, he also knew he was a Hurd by birth – I also wonder if his natural father was named Walter Hurd? His death certificate might also answer the question of who Eunice was and was she connected to the Hurd family.
If not, how did Philemon Hurd-Charles P. Stewart come to be the child of William and Eunice Stewart?