Category Archives: Calais

A Curious Mention in the Marriage Records – a Non-Marriage in 1859

While browsing the marriage returns for Calais, Maine, I came across one unusual entry in 1860:

Intentions to marry were entered in the Calais City Clerk’s office on 11 June 1860 for Samuel H. Grover of St. George, Maine and Hannah F. Woodcock of Calais.

I recognized the Grover surname. My great grand aunt Pearl, who I knew, married Perce Chadwick. Perce’s mother, and Aunt Pearl’s mother-in-law, was Margaret Grover, part of the Grover family of St. George, Knox, Maine.

However, Samuel and Hannah never married and the City Clerk entered the following comment: “Miss Woodcock changed her mind and married another man.”

That piqued my interest and I wondered what became of Samuel and Hannah. Well, first off, Samuel must not have been took broken up about his bride-to-be changing her mind because, on the very next page, there is an entry for 7 August 1880:

Samuel H. Grover of St. George filed intentions to marry Margaret Farthing of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, just across the bridge from Calais.

I browsed several more pages looking for Hannah:

I guess Hannah wasn’t terribly broken up about parting ways with Samuel either, as two months after Samuel married, Hannah Woodcock filed intentions to marry Martin D(insmore) Hayman on 7 August 1860.

Still curious, I dug a bit deeper.

Samuel Grover and wife Margaret settled in New Brunswick, Canada.

In 1871, Samuel, 35, wife Margaret, 31, and daughters Lydia M., 12, and Sarah, 5, were living in St. Stephen. Margaret was born in New Brunswick, but Samuel and his daughters were born in the U.S.

The 1881 census shows the family still in St. Stephen, living next door to John Farthing, of an age to be Margaret’s brother. At home with Samuel and Margaret are daughters Effie S., 14 (probably Sarah was 1871). Lucy G., 12, born N.B., and Laura E., 8, born New Brunswick.

Not shown in the census records are several children Samuel and Margaret buried.

Samuel H. Grover was born c1835, St. George, Knox, Maine and married Margaret Farthing, born c1840, New Brunswick, Canada soon after their intentions were filed with the Calais City Clerk on 7 August 1860.

Samuel is last found in the 1901 census of St. Stephen and he apparently died before 1911. Margaret signed as a witness at Lucy’s wedding in 1912, so passed away sometime after that.

Samuel and Margaret were the parents of six children:

1. S. Etta, born 17 July 1861; died 1 March 1869, aged 7 years, 8 months, 16 days
2. Andrew Stilman, born 1864; died 25 February 1869, aged 4 years, 7 months, 4 days
3. Effie Sarah, born 4 June 1866; died 2 July 1928, Milltown, Charlotte, New Brunswick, Canada; married Edgar “Adkins” Scott, 1 November 1883, Calais, Washington, Maine
4. Lucy G., born c1869; married Guerdon E. Maxwell, 30 October 1912. Lucy was called spinster, 43, and it appears she and Guerdon had no children. Her parents are named as Samuel and Margaret Grover.
5. Laura Etta, born 19 June 1872; died 12 April 1942; married Clement McKay, 11 October 1899, St. Stephen, New Brunsiwick, Canada
5. Harry A., born 6 February 1876; died 16 April 1881, aged 5 years, 2 months, 10 days

Effie and Laura both had children, so Samuel Grover and Margaret Farthing have descendants today.

What of Hannah Woodcock? I wondered if perhaps geography had anything to do with her hesitance in marrying Samuel, plus the fact that he was a mariner.

However, if so, Hannah’s life turned out quite differently than Samuel’s.

Martin Dinsmore Hayman and Hannah Woodcock married about October 1860 in Calais.

Martin was born 26 May 1838, Robbinston, Washington, Maine and died on 24 June 1906, far from home, in Sherman County, Oregon. In 1900, he was enumerated in Dayton, Columbia, Washington as a single man and was working as a hotel clerk.

Moving back in time, it appears that Martin and his new bride, Hannah Affa Woodcock, lived in Maine for about 10 years. However,  they were enumerated in 1870 in Portland, Multnomah, Oregon in 1870 with three children – Holmes, 6, Lizzie, 4, and Lily May 9/12 months, all born in Maine. By 1880, the family had removed to Meadows, Umatilla County, Oregon and son Harry, 8, had joined the family, having been the first of the family to be born in Oregon.

What happened to Hannah between 1880 and 1900, when Martin was called ‘single’ in the census? Well, on 1 March 1885, Mrs. Hannah Hayman married William K. Kirk in Umatilla County.

Nothing further has been found on William Kirk or Hannah Affa (Woodcock) (Hayman) Kirk, but Hannah reportedly died 15 August 1886, with no sources given.

Martin and Hannah Affa were the parents of four children:

1. Holmes VanBuren, born 1 March 1864; died 16 October 1941, Newburg, Yamhill, Oregon; married Mary Omsby, c1891. They were the parents of five children.
2. Elizabeth Isabel, born c1866; died 20 December 1837, Heppner, Morrow, Oregon; married Franklin Dee Cox, (an early Oregonian), c1882. Lizzie gave birth to 15 children, 10 of whom were alive in 1910.
3. Lillie Mae, born c1869; died 6 May 1930, San Francisco, California; married Josiah Thomas Boothby, 20 November 1898, Morrow, Oregon. Josiah had children by a first wife, but he and Lillie were also parents to their own three sons.
4. Harry Rideout, 14 August 1871; died 27 August 1953, both in Portland, Multnomah, Oregon; married Laura May Kellogg, c1900. They were the parents of four daughters and two sons.

The reasons for Hannah’s decision to not marry Samuel Grover will probably never be known, unless a descendant has heard and shares the story.

However, each went on to marry others and led very different lives. Both have a number of descendants today and I have to wonder if any of them know about the “almost” marriage of their ancestors.




Picturing Our Ancestors’ Neighborhoods Back in the Day, Part 1

Summer is almost here and it’s the season of the year that brings on nostalgia for me. Christmas does, too, but summer was the time when school was out and I got to visit with all the relatives in my small family.

As the stories of my ancestors’ lives unfold, I often wish I could step back in time and visit each place they lived when they lived there. it’s actually possible to do, if we are talking about after the invention of photography. The way to visit is through vintage postcards.

I occasionally write about my love of trolling EBay for genealogically related items and postcards is #1 on my list.

Today, I am inviting you to come along and visit Calais, Maine and the small towns around it where my maternal family was living at the turn of the 20th century. My Adams clan was right in Calais proper, the Stuarts were nearby in Meddybemps, the Tarbox family moved into town from Robbinston and the Colemans lived in Red Beach.

My 2X great grandfather, Calvin Adams, moved from the West Isles of New Brunswick, Canada to Calais with his family when he was a teenager, just before the start of the Civil War. Like his father, Daniel, Calvin was a boat builder, a trade which he followed until the era ended in the early 1900s. He built small sailing vessels and a schooner or two with his workshop down on the waterfront.

His children, my great grandfather Charles and great grand aunt Pearl, received their education at Calais Academy, later to be renamed Calais High School. The building that housed Calais Academy burned down many years ago.

As the Adams clan prospered, they bought a house on “The Avenue,” or Calais Avenue, which was “the” place in town to live.

What was a Calais winter like? Snow. Lots and lots of snow!

My grandmother, Hazel Coleman Adams, told me stories about going into “town” (Calais) from Red Beach, where she grew up, to go shopping along Main Street.

I’ve been to Calais and some of those buildings are still standing!

Newlyweds 2X great grandparents Charles Stuart and Elida Hicks settled in Meddybemps in1850 and the family continued to live there into the early 1900s. Meddybemps has never been much more than a village and I doubt it looked much different in 1900 than it did half a century earlier. My great grandmother, Annie Stuart Adams, was born and raised in Meddybemps.

By 1910, her brother, Harry, had a camp on Meddybemps Lake. This is one of my most favorite finds ever!

Heading down River Road out of Calais takes visitors to Red Beach, which today is part of the city of Calais. The Colemans settled in Red Beach in the 1830s and lived there well into the 1900s.

My 3X great grandfather, Thomas Coleman, was a small subsistence farmer. 2X great grandfather William and great grandfather Hartwell Coleman were drawn to sea life, both being boat captains. Hartwell actually became a master mariner.

After Hartwell retired from sea life, he opened a general store called Cappy Coleman’s. My mother said she and her sisters used to love to visit the store because he gave them candy.

3X great grandfather George Tarbox settled in Robbinston in the mid 1850s. He had several careers, first as a small farmer, later as a boat builder and finally became a manufacturer, as the family bought the Red Beach granite quarry and sold stone. 2X great grandmother Nellie Tarbox Adams was born in Robbinston and lived there as a girl until the family moved into Calais, likely because of George’s business concerns.

There is a soldier’s monument in Calais Park which is made of black granite. That granite came from the Tarbox quarry. There is also a small water fountain made from the quarry granite. I have a photo of it we took in 1980, but I haven’t yet found a postcard.

Calais, Maine was in its heyday during the second half of the 19th century and early into the 20th century. However, as ship building came to an end long before the start of World War I, it seems its residents left for more job opportunities in Massachusetts.

I’ve purchased all of these postcards on EBay and, with the exception of the Stuart cottage on Meddybemps Lake (for which I paid way too much), prices were almost entirely under $5.00 each and sometimes as little as a dollar or two.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that there won’t be any photo postcards from the places where your families lived. In 1850, Meddybemps had a whopping population of 254. By 1900, it was DOWN to just 154 souls. If there are Meddybemps postcards out there, there is hope for any place!

Each time I look at these images, I feel like I’ve been able to take a few steps in my ancestors’ shoes. I hope you felt that way, too.

Tomorrow, we will look at my paternal side of the family tree, who were living in a very different environment – industrial Passaic, New Jersey.


Mystery Photo of a Pretty Young Girl, Calais, ME, c1893

I’ve had a little bit of luck finding owners for some of my vintage photos and have even been able to identify people in a few more photos.

This picture, though, has me stumped.

Who Is This Pretty Young Lady?

I have absolutely no clue who this very pretty young lady might be. The photo was taken at the Eastern Portrait Company in Calais, Maine. One of my reference books has a cabinet card photo that is on the exact same type of card at this one with the scalloped edges (that don’t show very well in this scan) and it is dated 1893. My cabinet card is in absolutely pristine condition. There is no writing on the back of the photo.

This young lady also has her hair styled the same way as the woman in the reference book – hair pulled back with the poufy curls high in the front.

Not much of this young lady’s clothing shows in this picture, but the pleating on her sleeves also points to an early 1890s style.

If this photo was taken, say, 1893, and this young lady looks to be perhaps 12-16 years old, then she would have been born about 1878-1882.

I suspect that she was either a member of the Tarbox family that lived in Calais or else the daughter of a friend.

George and Mary Tarbox’s daughter, Elizabeth, married Charles Vickery. They had several children including daughters Lizzie, born in 1878 and Jeannette, born in 1882.

I wonder if this beautiful young lady is one of them?