Grace R. Symonds (1876-1904) of Norway, Maine

Recently, I came across a vintage photo of a very pretty young lady, Grace R. Symonds.

Grace R. Symonds, Norway, Maine

The back of the photograph named Grace and had a year of 1890 written on it. However, 1890 was crossed out and someone wrote above it 1897, perhaps Grace, herself.

Norway, Maine is not a big place and with this pretty lady looking to be in her 20s, it was quite easy to pick up her trail.

Grace R. Symonds was born in January 1876, the daughter of William C. Symonds (born in Raymond, Maine) and Martha Hall, born in the town of Norway. Grace was also likely born in Norway.

Grace married Josiah Heath in Norway on 14 October 1895 so the photo of Grace, if taken in 1897, shows her as a young newlywed.

Josiah C. Heath was born 22 April 1869 in Maine, the son of Alonzo and Sarah B. Heath.

The 1900 census shows Josiah C. Heath, Grace and their two children, Howard C. and Addison Josiah, living with Josiah’s parents in Greenwood, Oxford County, Maine. Norway is also in Oxford County, so the family hadn’t moved far from Grace’s parents.

Alonzo Heath Family, 1900
Greenwood, Maine
Source: FamilySearch

The census taker recorded this family on 5 June 1900 and there is no sign of the heartache that would soon befall the family. Josiah was quite ill by this time and just one month later, on 5 July 1900, Josiah succumbed to pulmonary tuberculosis.

Josiah and Grace had two sons:

  1. Howard Cecil, born 20 April 1897, Maine; died 1956; married Effie Christine Watson, 19 May 1920, Oxford County, Maine. They had one son, Cecil W., born 24 February 1921; died 19 September 2001. Cecil married Jeannette Gravel (1920-1976), 15 December 1945 in Norway, after serving as a PFC during World War II. He was a POW and awarded the Purple Heart. It is not known whether they had children.
  2. Addison Josiah, born 2 November 1899, Maine; died 1952; married Audress G. Bartlett (1901-1990), 13 June 1924, Norway, Maine. They had two children, Forrest Clayton (1925-2012) and Marion (1929-2013). Both married, but daughter Marion had no children. Forrest and his wife had three children.

What became of Grace and her boys after Josiah died? There was more sadness to come, as on 6 July 1904, four years and one day after Josiah died, Grace also died of tuberculosis.

In 1910, Addison was enumerated in the Norway home of Martha Symonds, Grace’s mother and his maternal grandmother. Grace’s father had died by then. Howard was also living in Norway, but with Frank and Emma (Noble) Packard and their blended family. He was listed as a nephew.

A descendant of Josiah and Grace Heath has been found and the photo of the pretty young lady who lived a short, sad life is going home.


South Dakota Genealogy Resources

South Dakota is another state big in area, but small in population. If you have family here and you know where they lived, I would highly recommend contacting the local public library and any local historical or genealogical societies for research help.

Here are some free resources to get started:

Access Genealogy – South Dakota

Black Hills State University – Special Collections

Cyndi’s List – South Dakota

Digital Library of South Dakota

FamilySearch – South Dakota

Linkpendium – South Dakota

Online South Dakota Death Records and Indexes


South Dakota Department of Health – Genealogy Resources

South Dakota Digital Archives

South Dakota Genealogical Society – List of affiliate societies wit links

South Dakota Genealogy

South Dakota Genealogy Trails

South Dakota State Historical Society

South Dakota State University Digital Archives