Previously, I have written about Emeline M. Adams and her reputed husband, William Seonnig, who, it turns out, never existed. Emeline Adams’ husband was Loring Benoni Bill.
I decided that it was time to take another look at the family, hoping that I might find some current descendants and fill in that branch of my family tree.
As I researched the Bill children, I quickly realized that a beginner would have quite a time finding them, as records name them as Bill, Bills, Vill and Bill Loring. Added to that is the difficulty that the family left Maine and settled in the Boston area, but moved frequently. Family members also used both given and middle names as first names, adding to the difficulty.
The census taker in 1920 omitted Loring Bill, who was 81 at the time and making his last census appearance, from the household of his son, Harrison, and tacked him onto the last page of the enumeration with a note to refer back to page 6B. That was the spot where he also reversed Loring’s name and turned him into Bill Loring.
I’ve also seen Loring Bill’s wife attributed as Emma Fountain, who lived on Deer Island, but that is incorrect.
For these reasons, it’s important to share the family story of Loring Benoni Bill and Emeline M. Adams.
Loring Benoni Bill was born perhaps c1842 in New Brunswick, Canada, according to most records in which he is found. However, there are only two Bill families in the 1851 New Brunswick census and both live in the West Isles, which includes Deer Island.
Benoni is a name often given to a child who survived birth but the mother didn’t. Elisha Bill has a son, Benoni, aged 14 in 1851. From the family structure, it looks like Elisha’s first wife might have died and he remarried.
Source: Library and Archives Canada
The second Bill family doesn’t have any male children who look like a possible match to Loring Benoni. This family hasn’t been found in 1860 in the U.S. or in 1861 in Canada. If this is “my” Benoni, then his father was likely Elisha, but his mother is unknown.
Emeline M. Adams was born c1840 on Adams Island, New Brunswick, Canada, the daughter of Daniel Adams and Sarah Ann Parker, the second of nine children.
Loring, as he went by for most of his life, and Emeline married in Calais, Washington, Maine on 22 November 1866.
Loring Bill & Emeline Adams, 1866 Marriage
Loring was a resident of Deer Island and the 1867 Hutcinson’s Directory of New Brunwick lists him as a fisherman living in Clam Cove.
The yellow road in Maine (left), South River Road, is the road up to Calais, so, as the crow flies, Deer Island is not far away.
Loring and Emeline soon changed their minds about living on Deer Island and moved back into Maine, but into Eastport, to the south of Calais, where their first two children were born.
Loring and Emma haven’t been found in the 1870 or 1871 censuses, but in 1881, the family was again living on Deer Island and “Banoni” was listed as a mariner.
Although the census says all were born in New Brunswick, that wasn’t true, as you will see in a minute.
The Bills lived in Eastport, Washington, Maine in 1900 with Children Lina and Harrison still at home.
Emma reported in 1900 that she had given birth to five children, with three surviving, so the family apparently lost a child in the 1870s.
The water-based economy in Maine had peaked by the early 20th century and Loring was enumerated as a day laborer. By 1910, the Bills had followed the path of so many of their family and friends and relocated to Massachusetts.
“Loren” and Emma now lived with son Harrison, who found work as a machine parts belt maker, and they were living in Boston.
What happened to their other children? Arlena, as she was called, continued to live in the Boston area, near her parents and siblings. However, she never married and is last found in 1940, as a lodger, aged 69, in Boston. She worked as a dressmaker for many years.
Horace, only found in one record – the 1881 census – apparently died young as no trace of him as been found afterwards and Emma reported two dead children in 1900.
Emma predeceased Loring, passing away on 11 July 1917 at City Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. She died of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Loring lived with son Harrison in 1920, but, as mentioned, isn’t on the same page because the census taker forgot him and added him on the last page of his district.
Loring died in 1926, probably in Cambridge, as noted in the Death Records Index for Massachusetts.
What of their descendants? Charles and William Harrison both married and had children. We’ll take a look at them in the next post.
1. Charles E., born 18 November 1867, Eastport, Washington, Maine; died 1954, Brighton, Suffolk, Massachusetts; married Martha H. Black, 10 September 1890, Eastport, Washington, Maine.
NOTE: I strongly suspect that Charles is Charles Edward, named for Emma’s brother who had died in 1865.
2. Sarah Arlena (aka Lina), born 10 March 1871, Calais, Washington, Maine; died after 1940; never married.
3. Horace, born c1873
4. Child, born and died c1875-1881
5. William Harrison, born July 1876, Deer Island, New Brunswick, Canada; died after 1940; married (1) Mary Ann Short, 15 March 1905, Somerville, Middlesex, Massachusetts (2) Emma Florence Moore, 17 October 1920, Brookline, Norfolk, Massachusetts.
Next, we will take a look at Charles E. and William Harrison Bill, their families and possible descendants.