Category Archives: Robbinston Maine

Graduation Program of Robbinston, Maine Grammar School, 22 June 1916

Exactly 107 years ago today, ten young people graduated from Robbinston Grammar School in Robbinston, Washington, Maine.

Robbinston is very close to Calais, Maine and I have many maternal roots in this area, including to robbinston itself as my 2X gret grandmother, Nellie Tarbox Adams, was born there on 28 June 1856.

While searching online for orphaned family mementos to return to descendants, I came across a unique find – this graduation program for the Class of 1916:

Class of 1916

I wasn’t able to find out much about Robbinston Grammar School, except that, as of the 2013-2014 school year, it was still open. I couldn’t find any information about when it first opened, but I doubt that it was a new school in the early 1900s. Just over 500 people live in Robbinston today.

Grammar school, at the time, had the meaning of a school that went to the eighth grade, but it seems that Robbinston provided a bit more than that, given that most of the graduates were around 16 years old.. In the Class of 1916, there were ten students plus the name of one young lady, Alice Poor, who did the Reading.

Who were these young Robbinston students?

Let’s begin with Alice Mildred Poor. She was a Robbinston resident, but was born 30 August 1892, the daughter of Henry and Emma (Bates) Poor. She was also a college student at the University of Maine, Orono, and likely was home on summer vacation.

Alice married Kenneth Albert Rollins on 30 August 1919 in Robbinston and the couple moved to Farmington, Franklin, Maine, where they spent the rest of their lives. Alice, astonishingly, lived almost to her 103rd birthday, passing away on 18 February 1995 in Farmington. They were the parents of three children.

Now for the graduates:

Gertrude Lincoln Cox was born 30 September 1903, the daughter of Stephen and Saide (Lincoln) Cox. She married George L. Campbell, 31 August 1935 in Lewiston, Androscoggin, Maine. She died on 3 August 1989. This couple had no children.

Mary Anna Diffin was born 15 December 1901, the daughter of Wesley and Edith (Pottle) Diffin. She married Gardner Parmenter, 6 July 1920 and they spent their lives close to home. Mary Anna died 30 December 1971 in Calais, Washington, Maine. They had one son.

Franklin Housman Leonard was born 2 June 1901 in Somerville, Middlesex, Massachusetts, the son of Henry A. and Emma (Housman) Leonard. He is the only student who didn’t have Robbinston roots and, although he was a veteran of World War I, he died unmarried at the young age of 22 on 5 June 1923. How he came to attend school in Robbinston is not known.

Lionel Edward Morrison was born 23 September 1903, the son of Edward and Carrie May (Hersey) Morrison. He married Kathleen Morrison. He died in Boston, Massachusetts on 17 March 1973. They were the parents of nine children.

Florence Belle Morrison was the older sister of Lionel, born 21 April 1902. She married Harold Beach, 18 June 1936. They were the parents of one son. Florence died in 1946.

Edith Gertrude Robinson was born 29 August 1900, the daughter of Charles and Mary E. (Welt) Robinson. She married Waldron Johnson, 30 October 1926. Edith died on 28 July 1976. They were the parents of three sons.

Richard Billings Robinson was born 14 December 1901, the son of George and Gertrude (Agnew) Robinson. He married Eva Bourdeau, c1926. He died about 20 December 1951 in Chicago, Illinois. They were the parents of three children.

Roscoe Burleigh Sweeney was born 22 February 1900, the son of Lewis W. and Mary E. (McGraw) Sweeney. He died in 1938, unmarried.

Grace Amelia Spearin was born 19 July 1899, the daughter of Oliver W. and Nellie Addie (O’Grady) Spearin. She married Ernest S. Morrell, 22 June 1920. She died January 1969. they were the parents of three sons.

Idella Suddy was born 20 April 1900, the daughter of Charles and Susan B. (Lyons) Suddy. she married (1) Mr. McCullough and (2) Wilmer A. Kierstad, 19 April 1942, Portland, Cumberland, Maine. She died 14 June 1970 in Portland. Wilmer had children by a previous marriage, but he and Idella also had one daughter.

If you are descended from any of these young graduates and would like a digital copy of the program, please leave a comment.

The original has been donated to the Calais Free Library in Calais, Washington, Maine.



Robbinston, Maine Photo, c1910, Going Home

My 2X great grandmother, Nellie F. (Tarbox) Adams (1856-1927) was born in the small town of Robbinston, Washington, Maine, just south of the big city of Calais, where much of my mother’s paternal family had lived since the 1830s.

Nellie’s father, unlike many men of the time, wasn’t a farmer. He bought up various businesses and ran them.

Although George and Mary Elizabeth (Scripture) Tarbox had originally settled in Robbinston, having migrated north from Newburyport, Massachusetts, they soon moved into Calais. I suspect that their move was precipitated by George’s need to be in Calais often to attend to his business concerns.

Robbinston had a population of just over 1100 residents back in 1860, when Nellie was a little girl. Today, the population is only half that – 575 souls.

EBay is a favorite shopping site for historical photos of the towns in which my ancestors lived.

When I saw the photo above up for sale, I knew I had to buy it and send it back home to its current owners.

Since this house was said to be on “Main Street,” which today is the state highway, I spent a few minutes meandering along the road via Google maps, until I reached today’s street view of the house.

Because I don’t know who owned this house at the turn of the 20th century and the address was only R.F.D. #3, Robbinston, Maine, I had no clues to follow. By the way, R.F.D. is Rural Free Delivery.

Since the photo was taken, the road has been widened considerably and it looks like much of the added roadway came from the front yard of this house.

However, I asked a contact who lives in the Calais area if it would be possible to knock on the door to find out who lives in the house today so this photo can go back home.



Henry P. Lowe, Civil War Soldier from Robbinston, Maine

Henry P. Lowe, born February 1844

I have this wonderful photo of Henry P. Lowe of Robbinston, Washington County, Maine. My Tarbox family lived in Robbinston before they moved to the “big” town of Calais and it is likely the Lowes were family friends. I was hoping to track down a descendant who might enjoy having this picture back in the family.

I’d say this photo dates from the 1870s when Henry would have been in his late 20s and early 30s.

However, as I researched the Lowe family, it doesn’t appear that Henry or his siblings have any descendants today.

Here is what I found:

Daniel G. Lowe was born c1819 in Maine and died on 21 August 1895 in Rockport, Massachusetts. He married Sarah M. Kaler, c1842, who was born February 1821, Maine and died after 1900, probably in Robbinston, Maine, where she lived with son Henry. Her son Daniel and his wife lived next door at the time.

1. Henry P., born c1844, Robbinston, Washington, Maine; died 23 August 1906, Waltham, Middlesex, Massachusetts; unmarried.
2. Elvira L., born December 1845, Robbinston, Washington, Maine; married George F. Rand, 3 June 1875, Pepperell, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
3. Charles W., born c1847, Robbinston, Washington, Maine; died before 1860
4. Daniel G.M., born c1849, Robbinston, Washington, Maine; married Emma J. Maloney, 18 May 1884, Calais, Washington, Maine. They had no children.

George F. Rand and Elvira had one son, Charles Henry Rand, born 10 September 1876, Waltham, Middlesex, Massachusetts. Charles married (1) Jessie Eleanor Gaines, 7 March 1902, Worcester, Worcester, Massachusetts and they removed to Seneca Falls, New York before 1910. I don’t know if George and Jessie divorced or if she died. (2) Ruth H., before 1925, when they are listed in a Holyoke, Massachusetts city directory. However, Charles apparently had no children with either of his wives, leaving no descendants of Daniel and Sarah Kaler Lowe living today.

That would be the end of the story, except for Henry Lowe’s military service during the Civil War. When he was just 17 years old, he enlisted in the Maine 1st Light Artillery and served from 18 December 1861 until 15 July 1865, when Henry would have been all of 21 years old.

I looked up the history of the 1st Light Artillery. The Civil War Archive has the following information about it:

Organized at Portland, Maine and moved to Lowell, MA until February 1862, then to Boston and sailed for Ship Island, Mississippi. Next, they went to New Orleans until September 1862. Further service was had in La Fourche District, Labadieville, Thibodeauxville, covering the time period to January 1863. They continued on with an expedition up the Teche, saw action at Bayou Teebe, were at Camp Stevens, Brashear City and Bayou Boeuf and in other places in western Louisiana. The Artillery was at the surrender of Port Hudson and Thompson’s Creek and in Donaladsonville before moving on to Baton Rouge. Service in Louisiana continued until they  were moved to Annapolis, Maryland in April 1864 and then to the defense of Washington. From there, they moved to Monocacy, Sheridan’s Shenandoah Vally Campaign and marched to Middletwon, Winchester, Berryville and Halltown in the summer of 1864. They remained in Virginia until July 9, 1865, when they returned to Portland, Maine where they were mustered out on July 15, 1865.

Luck must have been with the Artillery, as they lost only 2 officers and 13 enlisted men killed in battle and 28 enlisted men by disease. Those numbers are very low for any units that served in the Civil War. Disease alone killed thousands.

There is no one today who can say if Henry enlisted in the army because of political beliefs or if, at only 17 years old, he was drawn to the excitement of war. Normally, I would think it a bit unusual for a 17 year old from the Calais area to muster into a unit organized in Portland, which is quite a distance away. However, Calais was a ship building town and many of its residents sailed often to ports in Maine, Massachusetts and, in my own collateral lines, actually made it to San Francisco and China in the 1870s and 1880s. I do wonder, though, if Henry had parental permission to join up or if he ran off to Portland on his own.

Either way, he was a brave young man who served during what must have been four very long years of a horrendous war.

RIP, Henry P. Lowe
You aren’t forgotten.