Category Archives: Tarbox

Maternal Branches in the Family Tree: Nellie F. Tarbox (1856-1927)

With today’s post, we move to the 2X great grandmothers in the maternal branch of my family tree.

Nellie F. Tarbox was born on 28 June 1856 in Robbinston, Washington, Maine, just down the road from Calais, the fourth child and third daughter born to George Rogers Tarbox and Mary Elizabeth Scripture.

Nellie’s life was decidedly different than those of the Rusyn side of my family as her father was the first businessman, as opposed to farmer, in my family and they lived a very middle class lifestyle.

All wasn’t rosy for the family, though. Nellie’s father, George, had married (1) Deborah Elizabeth Grover, who died of an “inflammation of the stomach,” aged 25 years, just a year after they married.

George married (2) Mary Elizabeth Scripture a year and a half after Deborah’s death. George and Mary buried their first daughter when she was ten months old, their first son when he was ten years old and Mary herself passed away away when she was only 39 years old.

Nellie, then, lost her mother when she was only nine years old and her father never remarried.

Although Nellie died 25 years before my birth, I feel like I knew her, for several reasons. First, my cousin Charles not only knew her (Nellie was his grandmother), but his own mother told him many stories about Nellie, which he shared with me. Second, I have a couple of photographs of Nellie, so I know what she looked like.

I also know many more facts about her life. One fact I have never learned though is about her name. She is always recorded as “Nellie” and sometimes as “Nellie F.”  I have never been able to determine if Nellie was a nickname for, Say, Eleanor or Helen, nor have I ever discovered what her middle initial stood for. I suspect Frances, as Nellie Frances seems to have been a somewhat common girl’s name at the time, but I don’t know for sure.

As I mentioned, Nellie’s father was a businessman. He, with a couple of partners, bought up the Red Beach Granite Quarry, which produced granite used in the construction of public buildings.

George even dabbled in the maritime trades, as he commissioned a schooner, during the Civil War, named the Nellie Tarbox, which sailed up and down the East Coast, all the way south to Cuba and back.

Nellie began life in Robbinston, but in the 1860s, the family moved into the city of Calais. Nellie and her siblings attended school, although the highest grade she completed is unknown. I have a letter she wrote to her son-in-law Perce which demonstrates legible cursive with some spelling errors (e.g. seams for seems). From that, I’d guess she completed some elementary school, perhaps 4th or 5th grade.

Nellie’s Signature in a Wedding Guest Book, 1915

Nellie married Calvin Segee Adams, as his second wife, on 1 February 1875 in Calais, Washington, Maine. Nellie was only 18 years old and Calvin was 13 years older than her. One of the stories that has been passed down is Nellie’s answer when asked why she married Calvin – “Well, there weren’t many men around [after the Civil War.] I have to wonder, too, if Nellie was ready to leave housekeeping in her father’s home. She had three younger brothers and her only sister, Elizabeth, had married in 1871.

In any case, Nellie became a mother upon marriage as Calvin had a four year old daughter, Martha Lurene, called Lulu, by his first wife and Nellie gave birth to her first child, my great grandfather, on 11 January 1877. Her second child, my great grand aunt Vera Pearl, wasn’t born until ten years later on 18 September 1887.

Child of Calvin Segee Adams and Martha Maria Tillinghast:

1. Martha Lurene, aka Lulu, born 8 July 1870, Calais, Washington, Maine; died 14 April 1918, Medford, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married Alton Lynwood Payne, 24 April 1900, Calais, Washington, Maine. They had no children.

Children of Calvin Segee Adams and Nellie F. Tarbox:

1. Charles Edwin, born 11 January 1877, Calais, Washington, Maine; died 24 January 1922, Calais, Washington, Maine; married Annie Maude Stuart, 21 September 1898, Worcester, Worcester, Massachusetts
2. Vera Pearl, born 18 September 1887, Calais, Washington, Maine; died 29 September 1973, Fall River, Bristol, Massachusetts; married Perce E. Chadwick, 21 June 1916, Calais, Washington, Maine

Nellie had joined the Calais First Congregational Church in 1873 and continued to attend services and events there after her marriage. She settled into life as a mother and housewife, raising Lulu, Charles and Pearl,  while Calvin worked down at the docks building boats.

The Calais Advertiser has not, much to my dismay, yet been digitized, but Nellie made a couple of appearances in the social column of The Bangor News, mostly noting when her son and daughter-in-law or grandchildren came to visit. It is quite remarkable and a testament to her character that Nellie’s siblings, children and, especially her daughter-in-law, Annie Stuart Adams, remained close to her throughout her life.

In fact, Annie inherited one of Nellie’s prized possessions – her rocking chair – which has been passed down through the family to me:

Nammie’s rocking chair, c1958

By all accounts, Nellie, called “Nammie” by her grandchildren and great grandchildren, was a much loved family member. She and Calvin, a trained and well respected boat builder, lived comfortably in Calais and eventually owned a home on tree lined “The Avenue,” e.g. Calais Avenue, which was apparently “the” street on which to live.

Nellie faced more sadness before she passed away. Lulu, who was like her own daughter, married Alton Paine in 1900 and moved to Massachusetts, where Lulu died on 14 April 1918 of endocarditis. She and Alton had no children.

Two of her younger brothers, Horace and Oliver, predeceased her in 1914 and 1924.

On 15 January 1921, husband Calvin died and then, completely unexpectedly, her son Charles came down with a strep infection and died less than 48 hours later on 24 January 1922. [Penicillin wasn’t invented until a few years after Charles died.]

In later life, Nammie enjoyed spending time in the summer with her grandson, Charles, and her great granddaughters, Barbara and Doris.

Charles, Nammie, Doris & Barbara, c1925

By 1927, Nammie was spending part of the cold New England winters down in Boston with her daughter Pearl, son–in-law Perce and grandson Charles. During the warmer months, Nellie lived in Calais, sharing a home with daughter-in-law Annie, and her funeral was held in their home. She died in Boston two days before Christmas on 23 December 1927.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning Selections Read at
Nammie’s Funeral

I suspect that this paper was saved by Nammie’s daughter, my Aunt Pearl, who likely is the person who wrote out these verses to be read.

I know more about Nellie (Tarbox) Adams, by far, than any of my other 2X great grandmothers and I am lucky to be the keeper of several items from her lifetime.









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.