I am always sad when I find old photos abandoned in antique stores. It’s even sadder when I come across one on EBay that not only identifies the photographer and locality, the name of the person in the photograph is nicely inscribed on the back. I always want to adopt (read that as = buy) these pictures and try to find a living descendant who will love and cherish them.
Louisa J. Howland was featured in an EBay auction that turned up in my search of “Calais Maine,” which I do fairly often. Louisa is not at all related to me, but the photograph is in great condition AND we know who she is because someone (maybe Louisa herself) wrote her name on the back.
Louisa J. (Reese) Howland, 1850-1931
Yes, I did “adopt” the photo and set out to discover if she has any living descendants. A quick check for Louisa in the late 1800s and 1900 U.S. census didn’t turn up any trail leading to her. However, knowing that area as I do, I switched to the Canadian censuses for the same time period and found Louisa living in Queensbury, York County, New Brunswick, Canada. She was born in December 1850 in Canada.
I quickly filled in the Howland puzzle pieces to form a family group. George William Howland, or William as he was known, married Louisa J. Reese about 1872. William was born 10 May 1848, also in Canada; died 21 June 1931, York County, New Brunswick, Canada.
They soon were the parents of three little girls, Elizabeth (Lizzie), born c1873, Mary L., who went by Minnie, born in August 1874 and Viola Vesta, born in August 1880. However, all was not well in the Howland home, as William and Louisa divorced sometime before 1901.
Louisa took their three daughters with her and moved to the United States. They apparently spent some time living in Maine as Lizzie married John Eddie in Calais on 27 April 1898.
However, the Howland ladies eventually settled in Massachusetts. Just an aside, but I have to wonder if they chose the Plymouth County area because of their Mayflower surname?
What happened to Louisa and her daughters? Louisa never remarried, but lived with her girls for the remainder of her life. She died in 1931 and is buried at the Howland Cemetery in West Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Of the three girls, I have been able to piece together their lives:
- Elizabeth, aka Lizzie, born c1873, Canada; died 17 February 1907, Milford, Worcester, Massachusetts; married John Eddie, 27 April 1898, Calais, Washington, Maine. John was born c1870, Scotland and died in 1953. According to census records, he was a stone cutter! (I love this because my 3X great grandfather, George Tarbox, owned the Red Beach Granite Quarry. John Eddie would have had to have known my family if he worked at the quarry.) John and Lizzie were the parents of two daughters. (1) Hazel Beatrice, born 12 February 1899; died 1960; married Frank George Cool, c1918. The Cools had one son, Albert Charles Cool. More on Albert in a minute. Lizzie and John’s younger daughter was (2) Lillian Gertrude, born 19 March 1901, Milford, Worcester, Massachusetts; died 5 September 1983. Lillian married Nathan Irl Kendall. He was born 27 April 1893, Maine; died April 1967, Whitman, Plymouth, Massachusetts. However, Nathan and Lillian had no children.
- Mary L., aka Minnie, was born in August 1874, Canada; died 8 May 1950, Brockton, Plymouth, Massachusetts; married Edward W. Packard, 7 May 1910, Brockton, Plymouth, Massachusetts. Edward had been married once before, but his wife had died. Minnie became stepmother to Edward’s son, Elliott Raymond Packard, but Edward and Minnie never had any children of their own.
- Viola Vesta, born 28 August 1879, Canada; died September 1966; married Daniel Joseph Geary, 29 April 1908, Brockton, Plymouth, Massachusetts. Viola and Daniel never had any children.
Of the three Howland daughters then, only Lizzie had children and only one of her daughters had children, Hazel. Therefore, Hazel and Frank George Cool’s only child, Albert Charles Cool, became the next focus of my research.
Albert Charles Cool was born 26 February 1919, Rockland, Massachusetts; died 17 October 1979, Elmwood Park, Cook, Illinois. He married Helen Theresa Jakubowicz on 17 June 1944, Cook County, Illinois. Helen was born 15 November 1923, Cook County, Illinois; died 10 March 2015, Johnson County, Illinois.
Guess what! They have descendants, I have spoken to one and Louisa J. (Reese) Howland is going home to her family. 🙂