Category Archives: Scripture

Maternal Branches on the Family Tree: Mary Elizabeth Scripture (1872-1866)

Mary Elizabeth Scripture, another of my 3X great grandmothers, begins her life story in the small town of Mason, Hillsborough, New Hampshire.

Mary was the daughter of Oliver Scripture and Mary Goddard Bucknam, born 2 December 1827, the fourth of eleven children born to her parents.

Unusual for the time, nine of Mary’s ten siblings lived to adulthood. The only child who died young was last born Abigail, born in 1845 and who died sometime between her 5th and her 15th birthday.

Mary’s father was a farmer, like many of my other ancestors, and tended his land surrounded by family and friends.

For an unknown reason, about 1835, when Mary was about 6 years old, Oliver decided to uproot the family and move to Glenburn, Penobscot, Maine, which is the place where Mary’s four youngest siblings were born.

Mary was old enough to have some memories of the move, which might have been prompted by the deaths of Mary’s paternal grandmother in 1835 and her maternal grandfather in April 1835. Her paternal grandfather had passed away in 1810, long before Mary was around, and her maternal grandmother, Abigail (Hay) Bucknam, made the move to Glenburn with the rest of the family.

Both of her grandfathers, James Scripture and Joses Bucknam, served in the American Revolution, as did a number of other old timers in Mason.

Land may have been cheaper, but aside from that, other possible reasons for Oliver’s decision to move are unknown. Given Mary’s age when the family left new Hampshire, she likely considered Glenburn as her “hometown.”

How Mary met her future husband, George Rogers Tarbox, is a mystery. The Scripture family stayed put in Glenburn, but George was a man of the road.

George Rogers Tarbox was born in New Gloucester, close to Portland, Cumberland, Maine. He married (1) a local girl, Deborah Elizabeth Grover, 8 March 1846, in Lowell, Middlesex, Massachusetts.

Farming didn’t seem to be the life for George and, as he later was a businessman, I’ve no doubt that he was in Lowell, perhaps working in an early mill or for a store keeper. Sadly, Deborah died just 13 months after marrying and had no children.

Perhaps in his travels, George happened to pass through Glenburn and met the Scripture family. In any case, he and Mary married on 29 November 1848, not in Maine, but in Nashua, New Hampshire. [Back in the 1980s, I was stumped when looking for their marriage record. It was only by chance on my only visit to the New Hampshire State Library that I decided to search state records. There it was! The missing marriage record!]

Mary’s life definitely changed after marrying George. In 1850, they were living not in Glenburn or New Gloucester, Maine or in New Hampshire, but in Newburyport, Essex, Massachusetts, where George worked as an overseer in a mill.

The family was enumerated on 10 September 1850. Also at home with them was daughter Mary Elizabeth, aged 7 months. It’s important to know the rest of the story, though, because infant Mary died on 23 September, just 13 days after the census taker came knocking.

Mary was pregnant again in October 1850 and daughter Elizabeth was born in Newburyport on 19 July 1851. Elizabeth was aware that she had been born in Massachusetts, but would have had no memory of life there because the young Tarbox family moved once again, this time to Robbinston, Washington, Maine, a small village next to Calais.

George was doing well in the business world and was noted as being a “manufacturer” in the 1860 census. The value of his real estate was $1200 and $500 for his personal estate. By 1860, there were four children in the home, Elizabeth, George R. Jr., Nellie and Charles. The three younger children had all been born in Maine. Mary had two more children born between 1860 and 1870 – sons Horace and Oliver.

However, the 1860s were difficult for the family and not because of the Civil War. George Rogers Jr. died on 10 July 1864 in Calais. He was recorded as being 10 years old, but no cause of death was mentioned.


1. Mary Elizabeth, born 24 November 1849, Newburyport, Essex, Massachusetts; died 23 September 1850, Newburyport, Essex, Massachusetts
2. Elizabeth, born 19 July 1851, Newburyport, Essex, Massachusetts; died 27 May 1928, Calais, Washington, Maine; married Charles Stiles Vickery, 23 September 1871, Calais, Washington, Maine
3. George Rogers, born c1854, Robbinston, Washington, Maine; died 10 July 1864, Calais, Washington, Maine
4. Nellie F., born 28 June 1856, Robbinston, Washington, Maine; died 23 December 1927, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts; married Calvin Segee Adams, 1 February 1875, Calais, Washington, Maine
5. Charles Franklin, born 13 May 1859, Robbinston, Washington, Maine; died 25 June 1941, South Attleboro, Bristol, Massachusetts; married Cleantha (Cannie) Cochran, 19 October 1881, Milltown, Charlotte, New Brunswick, Canada
6. Horace W., born 20 April 1861, Robbinston, Washington, Maine; died 8 June 1914, Sharon, Norfolk, Massachusetts; married Elizabeth Eugenia Lane, 13 June 1881, Calais, Washington, Maine
7. Oliver Scripture, born 2 July 1863, Robbinston, Washington, Maine; died 15 January 1924, Calais, Washington, Maine; married Jenny Deborah Mingo, 1 June 1887, Calais, Washington, Maine. They had no children.

Mary didn’t live long enough to see any of her children reach adulthood. She died on 11 March 1866, cause unknown, but only 39 years old.

There is one surviving photo of Mary. Look closely at her. Mary’s eyes are closed, her hands are posed in an unusual manner and the chair back looks odd, like it’s a brace. There is also something covered the front of Mary’s dress, although she appears to be wearing her finest clothing.

I believe this is a post-mortem photograph, taken on 11 or 12 March 1866, before Mary was buried. This was probably the only photograph ever taken of her and the family wanted a keepsake memento of a loved wife and mother. While the idea of photographing our dead loved ones might seem morbid today, it was a very popular practice during the Victorian era with the advent of photography.





A Mourning Photo? Questioning a Photo of Mary Elizabeth (Scripture) Tarbox

Thanks to Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge this past weekend, I took a much closer look at another very old family photo in my collection.

I am quite sure this photo of my 3X great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Scripture, because I have a couple of other tintypes of her husband, George Rogers Tarbox.

There is a second reason I believe this is Mary. Years ago, when I first saw it, there was such a similarity in the facial appearance to my 2X great grandmother, Nellie Tarbox Adams.

Nellie was Mary’s daughter, but this definitely isn’t Nellie. The woman’s clothing is very 1860s in style and Nellie was just a little girl at the time.

However, I mentioned that I took a really close look at this photo this weekend and I now a definite idea of exactly when this photo was taken.

Let me point out a few things about this picture:

  1. Mary’s eyes are closed. Today, we end up with lots of pictures taken with our eyes closed, but not so back then. The photographer would have taken several pictures and I doubt anyone would buy a picture of themselves with eyes closed.
  2. Look in the area of Mary’s right elbow. That looks like a wooden brace, not the back of a regular chair.
  3. Next, look at how straight (and somewhat unnatural looking) her left hand is as it is placed on top of her right hand.
  4. Lastly, look at the bottom of the photo. There are no legs to be seen or even the bottom of her dress.

In typical photos taken during the Civil War era, ladies showed off their stylish clothing by standing up, often in profile view, with an arm on a podium, or touching some other pieces of furniture.

There is one more detail to share – Mary Elizabeth (Scripture) Tarbox was born on 2 December 1827 died on 11 March 1866 in Calais, Washington, Maine, at the very young age of 38.

I am thinking that this may have been taken within a day or two of her death and that this is a mourning photo.

Please leave a comment – what do you think?

Benjamin Shattuck & Lucretia Scripture of Calais, ME, 1800s

Benjamin Shattuck and Lucretia Scripture are a collateral branch of my family tree, connected by Lucretia, who is the sister of my 3X great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Scripture, who married George Rogers Tarbox and settled in Calais, Washington, Maine.

Benjamin and Lucretia married on 18 November 1858 in Robbinston, Washington, Maine, which borders Red Beach and Calais.

I believe the above photos are Benjamin and Lucretia (Scripture) Shattuck, taken at different times.

Mary Scripture Tarbox died at the young age of 39 years of an unknown cause. However, my 2X great grandmother remained close to her aunt and uncle, who also lived in Calais.

I am sure of this because I have inherited several family photos of the Shattucks and even a couple that I believe are Scripture uncles, who lived in Glenburn, Penobscot, Maine.

I’ve written about the Shattucks in the past, but only in dribs and drabs. Today, it is time to take a much closer look at Benjamin, Lucretia, their children and descendants.

Benjamin Shattuck was born on 16 February 1833 in Maine and died on 27 October 1900, in Calais. The 1900 census provided their address – 53 Shattuck Road – but it’s a rural road and Google hasn’t made it down there, so I have no idea what their home looked like. In their day, Red Beach was a small community near the “big city” of Calais. Today, it is part of Calais.

The census taker visited on 23 June 1900 and Benjamin died just 3 months later. He was enumerated as a farmer and was only 67 years old, but likely in fragile health at that time. His cause of death is listed as hepatitis in the left lung for 8 months with pneumonia as a contributory cause.

Lucretia predeceased Benjamin. She was born on 25 April 1837 in Glenburn, Penobscot, Maine, the daughter of Oliver and Mary (Bucknam) Scripture. She likely met Benjamin after her sister, Mary, married George and moved to Calais. She died on 15 September 1892, aged 55 years, of heart failure or mitral insufficiency with a note that it was possibly caused by acute rheumatism, suffered many years before.

Benjamin and Lucretia were the parents of five known children and might have lost several in childhood, based on gaps in the birth years.

This family is buried at Red Beach Cemetery, but Find-a-Grave has only 63% of it photographed.


1. Annie G., born 8 November 1858; died 16 June 1896, Calais, Washington, Maine. Annie was a teacher who didn’t marry. Cause of death was phthisis, which was tuberculosis. Note that Annie is 6 months old in 1860, enumerated with no age in 1870 and aged 11 years in 1880. I originally thought that Annie in 1860 died young and a second daughter was given the same name. However, her death certificate gives an age of 37 years, 7 months and 8 days.
2. Benjamin, born 17 August 1863; died 25 January 1929, Perry, Washington, Maine; married Minnie Noble, 26 September 1888.
3. Edgar Scripture, born 11 December 1866; died 21 January 1910, Calais, Maine; unmarried
4. William Henry, born 8 November 1872; died 1936; married Ethel Jane Johnson, 5 March 1913, Perry, Washington, Maine
5. Mary Ella, born 21 September 1877; married John A. Sprague, 1 July 1915, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada; had no known children

Therefore, of the five known children of Benjamin and Lucretia, only two sons married and had children – Ben, Jr. and William Henry.

Ben Jr. and wife Minnie Noble had two children:

1. Benjamin Isaac, born 29 November 1894; unmarried in 1930, when he was a boarder in Pembroke, Washington, Maine and died sometime later that year.

2. Lola Noble, born 19 August 1899; died 17 February 1984; married Austin Calvin Humphries, 24 December 1912, Calais, Washington, Maine. Austin was born in 1889; died 1975.

William Henry and wife Ethel Jane Johnson were the parents of one child:

1. Leonard E., born 8 February 1916; died 24 May 1968; married Norma Isabella Diffin, 25 December 1949, Perry, Washington, Maine. Norma was born 27 February 1923; died 26 August 2017. Both are buried at Red Beach Cemetery.

Both Lola and Leonard have descendants today. I would love to get in touch with these distant cousins. 🙂