Tag Archives: Elida Ann Hicks Stewart Stuart

Maternal Branches in the Family Tree: Elida Ann Hicks (1833-1914)

Elida Ann Hicks, my 2X great grandmother, and her family are one of my more interesting family lines because they represent American colonial ancestors who removed to Canada as pre-Loyalists, came back to Maine, and with a brick wall or two mixed in, just for genealogical fun!

No record has been found with the exact date of birth of Elida, but every census record and her death record indicates a birth sometime in 1833.

She appears in the 1850 census, aged 17, and then 27, 37 and 47 in the 1860, 1870 and 1880 censuses. On 25 April 1910, she was 77 and she was aged 81 years when she died on 20 February 1914. From that, it seems likely she was born either in January or early February 1833.

Her parents, Israel Hicks and Abigail Carlisle, lived in Buctouche, Kent, New Brunswick, Canada and Elida was the seventh of eight children born to the couple.

Elida never knew her father as he died in 1835, not long after her youngest sibling, Valentine, was born in December 834. Her mother, Abigail, must have been a strong, independent woman as she raised all eight children and never remarried after Israel’s death. Even more surprising is that Israel had been married before and also left four young children by his first wife. That must have been one busy household.

I had often wondered how Elida came to meet her future husband, Charles Augustus Stewart, as he lived in Charlotte, Washington, Maine. However, I discovered with a bit more research that Charles and Elida were first cousins, as his parents were John Stewart and Catherine Carlisle. Abigail Hicks and Catherine Stewart were sisters!

For a reason known only to himself, the Calais City Clerk only recorded marriage intentions in the 1850s, rather than also recording the exact date of marriage. Charles and Elida filed intentions on 6 July 1850 and likely married soon after because the census taker came around to Meddybemps, Washington, Maine and recorded the young married couple, Charles and Elida Stewart living there.

Charles was a farmer and Elida was a hardworking farmer’s wife. They had eight children, but, like many other families faced much heartache when several children died young.

All vital life events took place in Meddybemps, unless noted.


1. Wallace Newmarch, born May 1851; died 20 April 1882; married Annie M. Seymour, 4 May 1878, Lawrence, Essex, Massachusetts
2. Permelia, born December 1852; died 22 June 1854
3. Felicia, born September 1854; died 22 August 1861
4. Harry Weston, born 15 June 1858; died 20 July 1911; married Nancy Gilman Aldrich, 6 August 1879, Pembroke, Washington, Maine
5. Melissa E., born 4 August 1859; died 11 May 1921, St. Stephen, Charlotte, New Brunswick, Canada; married Frederick Austin Findley, 22 November 1882, Melrose, Middlesex, Massachusetts. They divorced before 1900 and had no children.
6. Carey M., born November 1866; died 18 February 1869
7. William Charles, born March 1868; died 21 December 1947, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts; married Josephine May Sadler, 23 September 1896, Washington County, Maine
8. Annie Maude, born 24 June 1874; died 10 September 1940, Ridgewood, Bergen, New Jersey; married Charles Edwin Adams, 21 September 1898, Worcester, Worcester, Massachusetts

As can be seen, Elida buried three young children – Permelia, Felicia and Carey – and lost two more sons who predeceased her – Wallace in 1882 and Harry in 1911.

She also lost her husband, Charles, suddenly when he came in early from his farm work and died of a heart attack when he laid down on the sofa.

I found it very interesting that, up to and including Charles’s death in 1894, the family was always recorded as “Stewart.” However, Annie married as “Stuart” and Elida’s few records in later life also called her “Stuart.” Bertha, Elida’s granddaughter, had the answer. She said her grandmother felt that Stuart sounded more French, so she changed the spelling!

I was fortunate to know Harry’s daughter, Bertha, and her daughters. One of the items her daughters shared with me was the biography that Bertha wrote about her grandmother, Elida. Bertha was also the valedictorian of her high school class and her daughters also shared her speech. Between Bertha’s two stories, a clear picture of life in Meddybemps, which hadn’t changed much from 1850, when Charles and Elida married, until 1910, near the last year of Elida’s life.

Somewhat surprisingly, no photograph of Elida has been found. Calais was a thriving city at the turn of the 20th century and there were multiple photographers in business and there are surviving photos of Elida’s children, taken in the 1800s. Whether Elida chose not to be photographed or whether any photo of her has been lost to time is unknown.

Elida traveled back to Canada multiple times to visit relatives. She hasn’t been found in the 1900 U.S. census or 1901 Canadian census, but she likely was in New Brunswick when the 1900 census taker arrived in Calais, Maine in the summer of 1900. Unfortunately, that is the only U.S. census record that recorded the exact month and year of a person’s birth and would have corroborated, or disproved, my belief that Elida was probably born in January or February of 1833.

Elida knew she didn’t have much time left and on 16 February 1914, she wrote her one-age will, signed with an X, likely because of weakness. The 1880 census indicated that Elida and Charles could both read and write.  Elida made several bequests:

1. Nellie F. Adams, $100.00 [Equivalent to well over $3500 today]
2. William C. Stuart and to “my grandchildren,” $1.00 each
3. Daughters Annie M. Adams and Melissa E. Findley, the remainder of the estate in equal shares
4. Annie M. Adams appointed executrix

Her will is interesting for several reasons. First, the #1 bequest was to Nellie (Tarbox) Adams, my other 2X great grandmother, who was still married at the time (husband Calvin didn’t die until 1921), so I have to believe that Nellie and Elida were close friends, on top of the fact that Nellie’s son and Elida’s daughter had married. Second, I don’t know whether Will Stuart had already received his share of the estate, but Elida took care to mention that he plus “her grandchildren” were only to receive a dollar. Lastly, Melissa was the elder daughter, but her last born child, Annie, was named executrix.

Elida passed away on 20 February 1914, probably very early in the morning because her obituary appeared the same day in The Calais Advertiser:

Elida was buried in the little Meddybemps Cemetery next to her husband, Charles, and her three little children who had all died so young.



1861 Deed by Elida Stuart: Help Needed!

UPDATED TRANSCRIPTION – Scroll down to the bottom!

Sometimes, we win the handwriting lottery in old documents and, other times, we don’t. I definitely didn’t win with this deed, created in Calais, Washington, Maine, but filed in Kent County, New Brunswick, Canada.

All I can say is the county clerk shouldn’t have been fired, he should never have gotten the job!

This deed is mercifully short, but there are still a handful of words I haven’t been able to figure out, even though I’ve worked on this for three days!

If you are challenged by hieroglyphics, this is your chance to test your skills!

Here is my transcription, but see below for a crop of the above deed:

Know all men by these presents that I Elida Stuart of the Town of Meddybemps in the County of Washington in the State of Maine for and inconsideration of the sum of twenty pounds lawful money of New Brunswick to me paid by Mariner Hicks of the Parish of Wellington in the County of Kent and Province of New Brunswick the receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge have granted bargained and sold and by these presents do grant bargain and sell unto the said Mariner Hicks his heirs and assigns one certain piece or parcel of Land situate lying and being on the West side of the Little Buctouche River in the County of Kent aforesaid being all my right title share and interest of in and to all that certain (?) and (?) Land owned by my late father Israel Hicks and bounded on the Westerly Lands occupied by Andrew (Jenet?) and on the East by Lands occupied by the heirs of the late Ira Hicks and containing in the whole ninety acres more or less. To have and to hold the same Lands and premises with the appurtenances to the said Mariner Hicks his heirs and assigns and (?) every (?) who of forever and I do for(?) and (?) with the said Mariner Hicks his heirs and assigns that he is seized of the premises as a (?????) estate of inheritance in fee simple free of and from all manner of encumbrances whatsoever and that I have a good right (?) power and (?) (?) to (?) bargain and sell the same in manner and form as (?) within.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this third day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty one.

Elida Stuart (seal)
Signed sealed and
delivered in presence of
ER Chase

State of Maine – Calais June 3rd 1861

Personally appeared Elida Stuart the person who signed (?) and of her own free will acknowledged that she understood the meaning of the above written instrument and that it was her own (free will?) and deed.

Before me ER Chase Mayor of the City of Calais

Here is an enlarged crop of the second half of the deed, where I am missing the most words:

The text (updated after K made several suggestions with which I agree). Note that I have looked for this Andrew in the 1851, 1861 and 1871 censuses of Kent County, New Brunswick. I can’t find him OR any surname that looks anything like what is written in this deed. I also figured out a couple more words.:

occupied by Andrew (Jenet? Gand?) and on the East by Lands occupied by the heirs of the late Ira Hicks and containing in the whole ninety acres more or less. To have and to hold the same Lands and premises with the appurtenances to the said Mariner Hicks his heirs and assigns and with every (?) (who of?) forever and I assign my heirs executors and administrators (???) with the said Mariner Hicks his heirs and assigns that he is seized of the premises as a good indispensible estate of inheritance in fee simple free of and from all manner of encumbrances whatsoever and that I have a good right with power and lawful (?) to (?) bargain and sell the same in manner and form as (?) within.

I would appreciate any help you can provide – even if it is only a word or two. It takes a village and the indecipherable words are being decoded bit by bit. Thank you! 🙂

Life of Elida Hicks Stuart in late 1800’s Meddybemps

Last year, I took the lazy way out and just posted some jpgs of a biography written about the daily life of my 2x great grandmother. Recently, I read a post from a blogger who wished that more journal and diary entries could be shared by bloggers because they are a resource that is difficult to find for most families. I don’t have any long journals or diaries, but I do have that one biography.

I decided that I had done a disservice to Bertha Stuart Eldridge, who wrote about the daily life of her grandmother, and my 2x great grandmother, Elida A. Hicks Stuart. Bertha passed away at the advanced age of 95 years in 1987, but she had written this short biography many years before that and shared a copy of it with me.

If you have roots in the Calais, Maine area and your family lived outside of the “city” in the late 1800’s, this is probably an excellent reflection about your ancestors, too.

The Biography of Elida Stuart – Grandmother

I have promised for a long time to write about what a remarkable and inspirational character my grandmother, Elida Stuart, was. I lived with her from age 22 months to 5 years when I had to return to my own big family to start school. Considering my tender age I must have been very observant and possessed an almost photographic memory, for to this day I can see her performing the thousand and one tasks that were demanded of a farmer’s wife.

After the cows were milked, I can see her pouring milk into shallow pans and putting them on open shelves in the cellar. Cream would rise to the top overnight which she would skim off and place in cans in the spring house, where it would keep sweet and clean ready for her to churn into butter in a day or so. The spring house was a bubbling icy cold spring housed over to serve as a refrigerator for dairy products. The skim milk was fed to hogs and even chickens and some was put way on the back of the iron cook stove where in time, it became curds and whey.

To get farm products ready to take to market, there would be a chicken killing day. Somehow it didn’t bother me a bit to watch Grammie cut off the heads of the chickens and hang them upside down on the outside shed door to bleed. Next she would plunge them into boiling water to loosen the feathers and pluck them clean as a whistle. With the chickens killed, she would have butter, eggs, and chickens to take to market to exchange for tea, coffee, sugar and flour.

I mustn’t forget the soap making day. She had a big iron kettle like a cannibal kettle under which she would build a fire outdoors. Into it she would put dryed (sic) out fats she had saved for months. She added lye in the right proportion and boiled it all to the exact minute. This boiling concoction was ladled into pans spread out on the ground to cool and I was cautioned to keep strictly away from them. When the pans of fat had congealed to the precise stage, they were cut into bars and put away for drying to be used through the year for washing clothes and for hard cleaning.

Some months in the Fall, there was the apple drying ritual to have apples all ready to make pies and other recipes. Apples were pared, cored and cut into eighths. They were then strung on strings and stretched clear across the kitchen ceiling out of the way. Apples that would ordinarily rot before getting used were preserved in this fashion.

I used to look forward to the huge kettle of hulled corn she would make. For this she used the big kernels of corn usually fed to horses and cows. This corn was cooked all day with a bag of wood ashes. The lye in the ashes softened the hulls so they would rub right off between the hands.

Then there was jelly and preserves to be put up. the berries needed were all at hand: strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, currants, etc.

She was the family doctor and short trips were made into the pasture and fields gathering herbs to be dried for winter colds, rheumatism and sprains. I can so well remember seeing her gather mullen, pennyroyal, tansy, checkerberry, etc., bringing them home and placing them close to the brick chimney in the attic to slowly dry. On hand, there were cans of lamb tallow for sore chapped hands, goose grease to rub on for chest colds, and believe it or not, bear grease perfumed to use on hair and scalp.

When Fall came, it was hog killing time and she was fit and ready to undertake the task of making use of every part of the hog. She would smoke hams, make hogshead cheese, pickle the feet and even the curly tail was put in the grate in front of the stove to get all crisp and tasty for me. That left only the squeal and with that she could do nothing.

In spite of all this hard work, Grammie was a lady. She took great pride in her slender form and her narrow shapely feet and hands. Every night, her hair in the front was woven on large hairpins and in the morning she had waves resembling marcel waves.

Each week an afternoon was reserved for visiting. She would be dressed in her best dress and there were lace mitts to finish off the wardrobe. There was an open carriage, a dressy robe and a driving horse just cleaned and curried out of this world. I almost never was taken into the house she was visiting but would sit in the wagon and wait. The flies would drive the horse and me almost crazy.

She loved to read – not classics, but good old rousing love stories which she said rested her after a hard day’s work. She would often sit up most all night reading.

I suppose I might include here how she was left alone to manage that huge amount of farm work. On stormy days when there was no outside work to do, the men folk would work in the barn mending wagons and harnesses. On this particular rainy day, Grandpa came in from the barn to lie down saying he didn’t feel good. Pretty soon, he made another try and went out again. In a short time, he was in again and while approaching the couch, fell dead on the kitchen floor. I was just little and didn’t realize the enormity of it but I can remember Grammie half-lifting, half-dragging him to the couch. She tried to revive him by pouring liquor down his throat, but all to no avail. He was dead.

Well, a son, Uncle Will Stuart, came home and took over with her to run the farm and to my young mind, things went on as before. I can realize now what a blow that all must have been to Grammie. After a while, Uncle Will got married and another family of Stuarts was raised in the old farm house.

Elida Ann Hicks was born in 1833 in Buctouche, Kent, New Brunswick, Canada. At the age of 17, she married Charles Stuart, her first cousin, in Calais, Maine. They first lived in the next town over, Charlotte,  and even lived for a short time in nearby Princeton, but the “old farm house” was in Meddybemps. Charles was born on 1 July 1822 in Charlotte and the rainy day on which he died was 24 November 1894. Elida survived him by quite a few years, passing away in Calais on 20 February 1914.