Category Archives: Tarbox

New Information on the End of Life of William Tarbox (1779-1860): 12 for ’22

As I mentioned early this past summer, one of my projects was to collect census records for all my direct line ancestors. Although I had quite a few, I knew my record set wasn’t complete.

Working backwards through my family tree software, William Tarbox, my 4X great grandfather, popped up. There were actually no census records attached to his file, probably because I worked on the line decades ago and town records provided birth, marriage and death dates for his family.

William Tarbox was born 21 March 1779 in New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine, the 9th and youngest child of Samuel Tarbox and Deborah Sayward, who migrated from Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts to New Gloucester in the 1760s.

William married Judith Haskell, the daughter of Nathan Haskell and Judith Witham, on 25 November 1802, also in New Gloucester.

[Last spring, you might remember the major tree pruning necessary when I discovered that there were two Judith Haskells, only a few months difference in age and cousins, growing up together in New Gloucester at the same time. The wrong Judith’s line was in my family tree!]

Back to William’s story! The 1850 census of New Gloucester shows William and wife Judith living with their son Benjamin Franklin Tarbox and his family.

William’s occupation was given as “farmer,” not unexpected.

William Tarbox died 22 May 1860 and I think maybe because he has a gravestone still standing and legible in the New Gloucester cemetery that I didn’t look for him in the regular census schedule or even in the mortality schedule.

Checking the mortality schedule index, William Tarbox was indeed there.

The problem was that he didn’t died in New Gloucester, as I thought. Instead, he shows up in Augusta, Kennebec, Maine on a page where every single person is called insane; his cause of death was erysipelas, a skin infection caused by strep.

Maine Insane Hospital

I correctly surmised that he died at the State Hospital, but had yet another surprise waiting. When I contacted the Maine State Archives, I learned that not only were the patient medical records from the 1840s until 1910 still in existence, they have been digitized and are accessible for free on DigitalMaine!

I knew that William lived at home in 1850 and died in the hospital on 22 May 1860. Given that he was 82 years old, I guessed that he probably hadn’t lived there for many years.

An index of patient admissions confirmed my theory. William Tarbox was admitted to the hospital by the town of New Gloucester on 2 May 1860, just 20 days before he died.

Delving further, I found the volume of patient records covering 1860. It’s a PDF that downloads and opens VERY SLOWLY. It took me about 10 minutes to get to page 432 out of 560.

Because William’s stay was so short, his patient record is only one page long. However, it documents the very sad end to a man loved by his family.

William Tarbox, New Gloucester
Adm May 2.

Age 81 years. Carpenter
Married – This is his first attack – Came on about one year since. The difficulty is supposed to be owing to the metastasis of a humor [tumor?] with which he has been afflicted about fifteen years. His son thinks that he as been somewhat depressed during the period above named. To now melancholy. Is not destructive –
Appetite is poor. Bowels are now regular. When the attack first came on was quite [costive?]. the disease is not hereditary.
Address P.C. Tarbox Danville Junc.

May 4 – He is quiet but indisposed to communicate his thoughts to others.

May 20 – Has progressed comfortably until today; an erysipelas inflammation began to manifest itself upon the face and he refuses all nourishment & medicine. We succeeded however in getting him to take a cathartic which operated favorably.

May 21 – No better. A friend called to see him, but he would say nothing save “Get out of my room.”

May 22 – Died about 12M.

It sounds like it was believed that William suffered from some type of tumor and his behavior became more and more unwieldy during the last year of his life.

Although not stated, I think it can be inferred that William was aware that his family had placed him in the hospital and he had determined that he was not going to live much longer, given that he refused food and medicine.

P.C. Tarbox is William’s youngest son, Plummer Chase Tarbox, who lived in Danville at the time. Danville is just north of New Gloucester and about 37 miles south of Augusta.

Knowing that William Tarbox was hospitalized in Augusta in 1860 made me rethink why his son, my 3X great grandfather George Rogers Tarbox might have had a photo of the proprietor of Cushnoc House, a hotel located in Augusta.

I had dated the photo of Thomas Benton Ballard to around 1870, but it could have been taken in the 1860s.  His photo is just himself; he didn’t marry until 1866.

Oddly enough, Thomas Benton Ballard also died at the Maine Insane Hospital on 29 August 1881.

Could George Tarbox have gone to August to visit his father one last time in May 1860 and stayed at the Cushnoc Hotel? MIght he even have been the “friend” who William told to get out of his room?

It might explain why a seemingly unimportant photo was kept by George and his daughter – “Oh, that’s where I stayed when I visited Dad just before he died.”

It’s an interesting – and possible – explanation for the photo.

As for William, it was a very sad ending to his long life. His family must have been heartbroken, too, having to send him away to the hospital, but they brought him home to New Gloucester for burial.

Many of the 11,000+ patients who died at the Maine Insane Hospital never returned home again.

What did the hospital look like? Read this 2018 article by Michelle on Only In Your State – 21 Staggering Photos of An Abandoned Asylum Hiding in Maine.

The ending to William’s life was nothing I ever expected!





William & Phillippa Stevens of Gloucester, MA 1600s

It is definitely worthwhile to go back and review past research. In the case of my ancestors, William and Phillippa Stevens who lived first at Salem and then Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, it was most worthwhile. I don’t think I’ve looked at this family for years, no, make that decades, and long before the internet was around.

I was able to clean up this family, but it cost me a place of origin in England , William and Phillippa lost a few few children along the way and their probably birth years were pushed forward quite a bit.

I won’t repeat the information I deleted for fear that someone might see it, copy and paste and perpetuate unsubstantiated data.

Instead, here is the family of one of my immigrant ancestors, William Stevens.

William Stevens was likely born between 1600-1610 and married c1630 in England. Phillippa, his wife, was probably born in the same time frame, also in England. No trace of her maiden name has been found. they likely married c1630.

Phillippa passed away on 31 August 1681 in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts. William Stevens, shipwright, is last mentioned in a deed dated 31 December 1667 and filed on 25 January 1667/68 in Essex County when he and his wife sold land to Francis Willoughby. He left no will or probate record. (Essex County, MA Deed Book 3:32-33, Source: FamilySearch)

The only important information in the deed is the 1667 date, proving William was still alive at that time and this small section, as it names William and his wife “Phillip”:

Exactly when William and Phillippa arrived in New England is uncertain, but it is thought that two children, Mary and Isaac, both baptized 2 January 1639 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, are probably their son and daughter. Therefore, they would have settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony no later than 1638.

No further record has been found for Isaac, but Mary married both her husbands in Gloucester, which is where William and his wife were living at the time.


1. James, born c1631, probably in England; died 25 March 1697, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts; married Susannah Eveleth, 31 December 1656, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts.

2. Mary, born c1632, probably in England, but baptized 2 January 1639, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts; died 7 November 1692, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts; married (1) John Coit, 21 September 1652, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts (2) John Fitch, 3 October 1667, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts

3. Isaac, baptized 2 January 1639, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts; no further record.

4. Ruth, baptized 7 March 1641, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts; died 16 August 1664, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts; married Steven Glover, 7 October 1663, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts. Ruth’s baby died a few days before her and she likely died from birth complications.

Samuel Tarbox & Deborah Sayward of Gloucester, MA & New Gloucester, ME

Samuel Tarbox and Deborah Sayward were either adventurous souls or else Massachusetts was getting too crowded for them, as they were the first of this branch of the family to head north to live in Maine (still Massachusetts at that time.)

Samuel Tarbox was baptized on 23 May 1731 in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts and was the son of Joseph Tarbox and Susanna Stevens. Deborah Sayward was also born in Gloucester, baptized on 10 April 1737, the daughter of Joseph Sayward and Sarah Giddings.

Samuel Tarbox married Deborah Sayward on 19 June 1755 in Gloucester, where they lived for several years. On 21 September 1761, Samuel Tarbox of Gloucester purchased land from William Stevens of Gloucester in Cumberland County, Maine (DB 4:461). The family likely moved to Maine in the spring of 1762. (Cumberland County, ME Deed Book 4:461-462, William Stevens to Samuel Tarbox, both of Gloucester, MA, Source: FamilySearch)


1. Deborah, born 25 July 1756, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts; died after 1810; married Joseph Woodbury, 15 August 1778, New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine. Joseph (aged 45+) appears in the 1800 census with a female over 45 and several younger people. He isn’t found after that time.
2. Samuel, born 5 August 1758, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts; died after 23 November 1801 when they sold land with other Stinchfield heirs in Cumberland County, Maine. (DB43:456-457); married Rebecca Stinchfield, reportedly 26 April 1785, Cumberland County, Maine
3. Susannah, born c1761, probably New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine; married William Royal, reportedly 15 November 1783, New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine. The death record of their son, William, born in 1788, gave his birth as Pejepscot. Susannah was head of household in 1800, living in New Gloucester, but not found after that time. William apparently died before that census.
4. Sarah, born 28 October 1763, probably New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine; died 13 April 1863, New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine; married John Maxwell Morgan, reportedly 19 April 1787, New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine. Sarah’s original gravestone still stands in Lower Corner Cemetery and gives her age as 99 years, 7 months and 16 days.
5. Mary, born 2 May 1766, probably New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine; died 19 January 1813, Norway, Oxford, Maine; married John Pike, reportedly 7 January 1786, New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine. both are buried in Pikes Hill Cemetery in Oxford County, Maine. Their original gravestones are still legible.
6. Abigail, born c1768, probably New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine; married William Nash, 26 April 1790. However, they are not in the 1790 Maine census, but they are living in Norway, Cumberland, Maine in 1800. William hasn’t been found after that time.
7. Rebecca, born c1773, probably New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine; married John Frank, 19 January 1794, New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine. In 1800, they lived in Falmouth, Cumberland, Maine.
8. Deliverance, born c1776, probably New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine; no further record.
9. William, born 21 March 1779, New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine; died 22 May 1860, New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine; married Judith Haskell, 25 November 1802, New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine

My line of descent continues through William and Judith (Haskell) Tarbox, but this family and later generations have already been discussed in my Haskell posts.

Here is my complete line of descent:

  1. John Tarbox & widow Andrews
  2. Samuel Tarbox & Experience Look
  3. Joseph Tarbox & Susannah Stevens
  4. Samuel Tarbox & Deborah Sayward
  5. William Tarbox & Judith Haskell
  6. George Rogers Tarbox & Mary Elizabeth Scripture
  7. Nellie F. Tarbox & Calvin Segee Adams
  8. Charles Edwin Adams & Annie Maude Stuart
  9. Vernon Tarbox Adams & Hazel Ethel Coleman
  10. Doris Priscilla Adams & George Michael Sabo
  11. Linda Anne Sabo Stufflebean – me!