Maternal Branches on the Family Tree: Sarah Moriah Crouse (1833-1930)

Sarah Moriah Crouse, my maternal grandmother’s grandmother, is another ancestor who I almost feel like I personally knew. That’s because Sarah lived to be 97 years old and Grandmother was 29 years old when her grandma passed away.

Let’s jump back in time to the 1820s. Peter Crouse married Rebecca Jones c1828, probably in York County, New Brunswick, Canada and settled down in the small town of Keswick, also in York County.

Peter and Rebecca became the parents of four children – three sons and one daughter, my 2X great grandmother Sarah Moriah Crouse. She was born on 7 May 1833 in Keswick.

The young family would have had a wide support network nearby since Peter Crouse was one of seventeen children born to Philip Crouse and Sarah Burt. That support became necessary when Peter died c1835, leaving his widow, Rebecca, and children Elias, Dean, Samuel and Sarah. It’s doubtful that Samuel and Sarah had any memories of their father. Elias and Dean were just enough older that they could.

Rebecca did what most young widows of that era did – she remarried. However, her second marriage must have been somewhat jarring for her four children because Rebecca married Benjamin Blyther of Red Beach (today aprt of Calais), Washington, Maine as his second wife and made the move across the border into the United States.

Benjamin must have been a loved stepfather because all three boys dropped Crouse as their surname and instead became Blythers. Sarah married on 6 February 1855 when she was not quite 22 years old and was recorded as Sarah Crouse.

Sarah Moriah Crouse, c1850

Although born in Canada, Sarah was so young when her mother remarried that she probably didn’t have any memories of her life there. However, the family kept in touch with relatives in Keswick and Sarah probably visited her uncles, aunts and cousins many times.

Benjamin and Rebecca had six children together – Mary Elizabeth, Martha, Helen Marr, Henrietta and Albert F. Blyther. Little Albert died when he was only 7 years old, but the girls all lived to adulthood and married. With ten children, Rebecca would have been a very busy mother and farm wife. Sarah was then able to grow up with many siblings.

However, Sarah didn’t look to Canada for her husband. Instead, she married the boy next door – William Coleman. William was about a year younger than Sarah, having been born on 10 June 1834. Besides growing up in Red Beach, William and Sarah shared another fact in common. William, too, was born in Canada, in the little town of Nelson, Northumberland, New Brunswick. His parents moved to Maine about the same time as Sarah’s mother. Their farms were adjoining so William and Sarah knew each other for most of their young lives.

William and Sarah began married life on a small piece of land in Red Beach, with William toiling as a farmer. Children arrived quickly with their first daughter, Mary Adelaide (aka Addie) arriving on 2 December 1855, just ten months after they married.

It wasn’t long, though, before William decided farming wasn’t for him. He decided to follow the occupation of many others in the Calais area. The sea called him, but he became a mariner rather than a fisherman. William wasn’t always home at night because part of his job was operating the tug that helped larger vessels navigate the Bay of Fundy and the St. Lawrence River.

It would have been Sarah’s responsibility to care for the small crops and animals and the children while William was at work. Family support was close by as not only Ben and Rebecca Blyther, but also William’s parents, Thomas and Mary Elizabeth Coleman, lived next door to them.

William flourished as a mariner. By the time he died on 30 May 1905, he was always referred to as Captain Coleman. Sarah outlived William by many years!

Children (All events in Calais, Maine unless otherwise noted):

  1. Mary Adelaide, born 2 December 1855; died 16 January 1895; married George Morton Redding, 5 November 1878. they had 8 children.
  2. Alvin D., born 27 November 1857; died 16 April 1858
  3. William Edgar, born October 1859; died 20 November 1931, Gardner, Worcester, Massachusetts; married Louise M. Gould, 9 June 1880
  4. Samuel Jones, born October 1863; died 9 January 1937, Newton, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married Lulu viola Rapley, 14 February 1885
  5. Hartwell Thomas, born 27 December 1869; died 30 March 1938; married (1) Anna Elizabeth Jensen, 14 July 1892 (2) Lydia J. Wilson, 12 September 1918 (3) Sadie Edna Staples, 30 March 1924, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts
  6. Ethel H., born 30 December 1873; died 15 March 1880

Although Sarah lost two young children and her eldest daughter only aged 39, Sarah had a remarkably happy life. She had 23 grandchildren, most of whom were born in Calais so she was able to see them grow up.

Sarah, in later life, c1890s

In her later years, Sarah lived with son Hartwell and his family, first in Calais, spent a few years in Massachusetts with him before they both returned to Calais. Hartwell, like his father, became a master mariner, working both the Calais waterways and Boston Harbor.

Sarah died on 18 October 1930 in Calais, where she had spent almost her entire life. Her obituary, from The Bangor News, provided only a small glimpse into her long life:

The “Union” Church was the Calais Unitarian Church and the obituary gave me this new fact, as her church membership wasn’t evident in any other record I have found.

This photo was the last taken of Sarah (Crouse) Coleman, not long before she passed away:

Sarah (Crouse) Coleman, seated

Sarah’s son, Hartwell, is directly behind Sarah with other family members surrounding them. Sarah not only lived a long life, but was very healthy if the onset of her final illness didn’t happen until March 1930!

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.