Final Days of Summer – Little Sebago Lake, c1950s

Labor Day weekend is here, which traditionally signals the end of summer and the end of the wonderful days spent on Little Sebago Lake.

Here are a few more of my photos documenting those unforgettable years.

This was always my first view of the water as we got very close to the cottage. My excitement was running high because we were almost there after an 8 hour car drive from New Jersey.

I remember being very disappointed when Dave and I visited in 1980. The trees had grown so high in two decades that the lake could no longer been seen from here.

Aunt Barbara, sitting on the cottage porch

Aunt Barbara spent many hours and days helping to keep me entertained. We picked blueberries together down near the water.

We played in the water – we had a great time.

Life was so simple and tranquil back then. Here is the cottage, seen from the woods.

Mealtime on the porch – every meal was taken on the porch, with the screened windows open when the weather was nice. I suspect I took this picture since I’m not in it. I would have been nine and Aunt Barbara taught me how to use a camera. She took zillions of photos of people and scenery.

Grandfather’s boat was tied up at the dock. It was painted light green and had a putt-putt motor on it, but I just loved all the boat rides we took in it.

This was the summer that Aunt Barbara took the train from Massachusetts to New Jersey to bring me to New England for a few weeks, as my brother was going to be born. Grandmother and Grandfather kept me busy at the lake.

I didn’t appreciate the lake view from the porch when I was little.

Aunt Barbara always took me shopping for a pretty dress and there was the obligatory photo op with me wearing my new outfit. I don’t remember this doll so I can’t tell you if she was an extra special gift with the dress or if she was one of the toys that made the car trip.

Grandmother, Aunt Barbara and Linda, c1955

The last photo in this year’s summer memories was taken from the Wetherbee’s camp, next door. They had a beautiful beach and allowed me to play there (with supervision, of course!) when they weren’t there, which was most of the time. When they were gone, their dock was pulled back out of the water, as it is here.

I was hoping maybe we would make it back to Maine for a visit this summer, but it didn’t happen. Perhaps next year, as I would really love to see it now.

John Smith’s 1803 Will, Muhlenberg County, KY; Releasing Milly, Batt, Charles & John

The will of John Smith of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky is found in Will Book 1:5-7, digitized and available on FamilySearch. Note by the handwriting that these records appear to be a hand copied transcription of the originals.

John Smith’s Will

In the name of God Amen.
The twenty sixth day of March 1803 I John
Smith of the County of Muhlenberg and State
of Kentucky Planter being very sick and weak
in body, but of perfect mind memory thanks
to God therefor Calling to mind the mortality
of my body and knowing that it is appointed
for all men once to die I do make and
ordain this my last will and Testament
that is to say principally and first of all I
give and Recommend my soul to God that
give it and my body I recommend to the
earth to be Buried at the Direction of my
Executors nothing Doubting but at the general
resurrection I shall received the same again
by the Mighty power of God and as touching
such worldly estate wherewith it has pleased
God to Bless me on this ways I give and dis-
pose of the same in the following manner
and form. First I do give to my well beloved
wife Mary I have her living on the plantation
that I now live on during her life. I also give
her a negro Called Milly and one called Batt
Also four cows during her life if she shall

need them one riding mare 1500 wt. of Flouer
500 wt. of Bacon her bed and household
furniture to Dispose of as she thinks proper
Next I give to my well beloved son Elias Smith
the place I now live on and mill also fifty
acres of Land a part of a survey Bought of
Saml Fulton also a survey of 68 acres
Joining the place I now live on also
a survey of 200 acres entered in the name
of Magdelena also I give him all the
rest of my property that is not mentioned
in this my will and Testament I also
allow him to keep Magdelena my well
beloved Daughter during her life next I
do give my well beloved Daughter Elizabeth
and my Stepson Jacob Keizer 400 acres of Land
100 acres of Military Bought Matthew Ham
100 entered in the name of John Moviller 200
entered in the name of John Bradley also
a negro called Charles and one called John
next I give my well beloved nieces Rachel
Tennett and Eve Tennett 200 acres of Land
Entered in the name of Elias Smith also one cow
to each of them I also give 200 acres of Land entered in my
name to my daughter Elizabeth and Jacob Keizer and
further I do constitute and appoint my son Elias and
John Vought to be the Executors of this my last will
and Testament I do hereby utterly disallow and Revoke
all former Testaments and Wills. By this in Witness
wherof I have hereunto set my name and seal
the day and date above.

John Smith (Seal)
Signed sealed published and pronounced
and delivered by the said John Smith as

his last will and Testament in the presence
of us subscribers. John Vought, John Hopkins
John Zimmerman Saml Weir
Muhlenberg County Sct.
May Term 1803
The last will and Testament of John
Smith Dec’d was exhibited into Court and
proved by the Oathes of John zimmerman
John Hopkins and Samuel Weir subscribed
witnesses thereto and Ordered to be recorded.
Att. C.F. Wing Clerk.

1870 Photo Mystery Solved – T. B. Ballard Is Going Home

c1870 Photo

Reverse Side

This is one of the several mystery photos I’ve inherited from the Tarbox side of my family. Every once in a while, I decide it is time to take another look at them to see if I can discover how and why my ancestors came to know these people.

This picture, which looks to be from around 1870, give or take a few years, is even signed on the back.

T.B. Bullard
Cushnoc House
Augusta Maine

At least, I thought it said T.B. Bullard, but Mr. Bullard had previously stumped me. This time, I decided to consider the surname Ballard – which was a reasonable effort given that the a at the end of Augusta was also open at the top.

Another clue is Cushnoc House, which I discovered was an early hotel established in Augusta in 1803.

I noted that Mr. Bullard/Ballard looked to be fairly well-to-do. His hair and beard are immaculately groomed and he is dressed to the nines in a very nice coat, shirt, tie, vest and trousers. Even though the photo is about 150 years old, his shoes still even have a shine to them.

The question here is how George Tarbox came to own this photo, when there are no known Ballard/Bullard family connections.

First, George traveled by land and by sea. He was a business man who commissioned a couple of sailing ships and he owned a granite quarry in Red Beach, Maine, which today is part of the city of Calais.

He married his first wife, Deborah Grover, in 1846 in Lowell, Massachusetts and married his second wife, Mary Elizabeth Scripture, in 1848 in Nashua, New Hampshire and they started their family in Newburyport, Massachusetts. His parents and grandparents settled in New Gloucester, Maine, where George was born.

The guy definitely got around! Here is my theory. On one of George’s trips, he stayed the night at the Cushnoc House hotel in Augusta and made the acquaintance of another businessman, Thomas Benton Ballard. Mr. Ballard offered George one of his business cards, which is the carte de visite pictured in this post. George eventually made his way back home, telling Mary about Mr. Ballard. The young Mr. Ballard must have made an impression on George since he held on to the CDV, which was passed on to his daughter, Nellie, then to daughter Pearl, to her son Charles and finally to me, his 3X great grandchild.

The distance from Calais to, say, Boston, is long – over 400 miles, but look at the city that sits directly along the highway:

Calais to Boston

Augusta, Maine is not quite half way from Calais to Boston, but it would be a convenient stopping over point for George Tarbox in his travels.

Now, back to the story of T.B. Bullard. I also decided I needed to guess at a first name for Mr. Bullard/Ballard, since initials don’t sit well with certain search engines. Thomas seemed to be the most reasonable guess, although the T could have stood for Timothy or Theodore or who knows what else.

My first search was for Thomas B. B*ll*rd, born 1835-1845 who lived in Augusta, Maine in 1870, which is about when I think the picture was taken. Up came Thos B. Ballard, born c1839, who was the head of a household consisting of himself, Carrie Ballard, aged 24, presumably his wife, and Phebe Ballard, aged 72, presumably his mother. Look at his occupation and the rest of the “household”:

Thomas B. Ballard, Hotel Keeper, 1870
Source: Ancestry

He is a hotel keeper and there is a list of the lodgers living there when the census taker came around!

My ultimate goal was to gift this photo to a descendant of Thomas B. Ballard so I searched for a marriage record for Thomas and Carrie.

Marriage of Thomas Ballard to Caroline M. Day, 1866, Boston, MA
Source: FamilySearch

Thomas P. (sic) Ballard, hotel keeper from Augusta, Maine married Caroline M. Day on 28 January 1866 in Boston, Massachusetts. It was a first marriage for both.

Next stop was the 1880 census, which produced one hit for Thos. B. Ballard, hotel keeper:

Thos. B. Ballard, 1880 census list

Wait a minute! This looks to be “my” Thomas Ballard and he is living in Augusta and is enumerated as a hotel keeper, but at first glance, this is some type of list, but not of families. Wife Carrie isn’t with him, nor are any other Ballards. Then I scrolled to the top of the page:

Page Header, 1880 Census

This enumeration took place at the Maine Insane Hospital, located in Augusta, and these people are all patients there!

What happened???

I don’t know and probably never will. However, there are three more records left by Thomas and wife Carrie.

Carrie M. Ballard, 1880 Boston, MA Census
Source: Ancestry

I only know that Thomas entered the hospital sometime between the 1870 and 1880 censuses. In 1880, Carrie was living back in Boston, boarding in a home. She was reported as married, so she and Thomas apparently didn’t divorce. Thomas was also enumerated as married.

By 1900, Carrie was living in a blended household that included her widowed sister and widowed mother in Malden, Massachusetts.

1900 Malden, Massachusetts

There is an indication in this census that Thomas and Carrie experienced a lot of heart break during their marriage. Carrie reported that she had given birth to four children, but none were living in 1900. Whether or not losing their children led to Thomas’s hospitalization is impossible to say.

Carrie never remarried. In fact, she died just a year later on 26 August 1901 in Malden of apoplexy, or a stroke. She wasn’t quite 55 years old.

What became of Thomas Benton Ballard? I wish this story had a happier ending, but Thomas died on 29 August 1881 in Augusta, presumably while still hospitalized.

Thomas and Carrie Ballard have no living descendants, but his photograph is being welcomed home by the Kennebec Historical Society in Augusta.

The Ballard family settled in Augusta, Maine very early on and there are still some descendants living in Kennebec County today. The historical society said they would love to have the photo of Thomas, so it has been mailed back to Maine after all these years.

Did you notice Thomas’s death date – 29 August 1881? He died 136 years ago today.

Thomas Benton Ballard, 8 August 1838 – 29 August 1881
Caroline Mary Day Ballard, 23 September 1846 – 26 August 1901

UPDATE: Mr. Ballard’s photo safely arrived at its new home with the Kennebec County Historical Society. The society librarian, Mr. E. Bruce Kirkham provided a bit more information about the Ballards and the Cushnoc House. Both Thomas and his brother, Jabez, actually owned the hotel. A notice in the Weeky Kennebec Journal. V41 N51, page 2, column 6 and dated 8 December 1865 noted that T.B. Ballard had assumed ownership of the Cushnoc House. Sadly, the old hotel burned down on 13 September 1892.