Sometimes You Don’t Know What You Have Until You Go Looking!

Sometimes, you don’t know what you have until you force yourself to rename 15,000+ images!

Charles and Annie Adams with son, Vernon, c1915
My personal family photo collection

I had known the story of how my grandfather came to be named Vernon Tarbox Adams (born in Calais, Washington, Maine on 3 May 1899), but I had completely forgotten this part of the story of his birth:

My family genealogy mentor, Grandfather’s first cousin, Charles Adams Chadwick (1923-2006), became the keeper of the family photos, stories and memories until I came along and he passed the job on to me.

Among my digitized images I came across the story above, written by his mother, Aunt Pearl, in response to my grandfather’s query as to how he came to be named Vernon.

Here is what all the notes on that image say:

Top – Vernon once asked my mother (Vera Pearl Adams) if she remembered how he came to be called “Vernon.” This is a copy of her answer, in her own handwriting, with some explanatory notes of mine. (Charles Chadwick)

I have been thinking about the day you were born Vernon & I remember it very clearly as I was somewhere around twelve years old. We were living in the side of the brown double house next to the Robinsons (1) on what is/was called Calais Avenue.

Dr. Webber was just starting his practice & had lost a lot of patients (2) – a woman across the hall from us died in child birth a few days before you were born. There were no hospitals in Calais. It looked as tho your mother would not live, & they sent me up to Uncle Charlie Tarbox(3) house on Lincoln St.

When everything was over they sent for me & in your mothers bed there was a beautiful blond baby with pink cheeks – not red. Charles was the same kind in regard to coloring.

Your mother was so fond of Namie (Nellie Tarbox Adams) that she asked her to name you – so that is how you got he name of Vernon as Namie loved Vern Wentworth (4) & the Tarbox of course was her family name. Uncle Low Adams (5) wanted me called Vera and my sister Lou (6) added Pearl which I never cared for. Uncle Low always called me Vera & Harold Murchie (7) did also, because he knew I never liked it. (8) This is quite a long story but I remember it very distinctly – & there is no one around who remembers it any more.

(1) Janie Robinson – a childhood friend of my mother’s.
(2) His skills improved as time went on!
(3) Charles Scripture Tarbox, Nammie’s brother
(4) Vernon Wentworth – husband of Nammie’s niece Mary Vickery, and son-in-law of Nammie’s sister, Elizabeth (Tarbox) Vickery
(5) Lowell Adams – Calvin’s brother (Calvin was Vernon’s grandfather)
(6) Lulu Adams, Calvin’s daughter by his first marriage – actually my mother’s half sister
(7) Harold Hale Murchie – a former classmate of my mother’s and lifelong friend of both my parents. He was best man at their wedding. A lawyer, he was to become Chief Justice of the (Maine) Supreme Court.
(8) He was also a great kidder!

I knew of all the family relationships here, but it never stuck in my mind that my great grandmother came close to dying in childbirth. It certainly explains why my grandfather was an only (much-loved) child.

Take the time to look once again at all the documents and images you have in your own collection. You, too, might find a surprise!




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.