Tag Archives: Nellie F. Tarbox Adams

Turn of the 20th Century: Vintage Robbinston, ME & My Family

I don’t believe I’ve ever shared any stories about Robbinston, Washington County, Maine.

First, here are a few facts about the “big city” of Robbinston:

Exactly where is Robbinston? Robbinston is roughly ten miles from Calais down Hwy. 1, which meanders along the coast in a southeasterly direction.

Next, Robbinston’s population was at an all time high when the 1860 census was taken. There were 1, 113 souls living there, including my 3X great grandparents, George and Mary Elizabeth (Scripture) Tarbox.

Today, there are about 500 residents in Robbinston, which covers about 28 square miles. You can live quite a ways from your closest neighbor. Even in 1860, there was space to be had for farming.

I’ve known for many years that my 2X great grandmother Nellie F. Tarbox Adams had been born in Robbinston. Her parents married in New Hampshire and then lived in Newburyport, Massachusetts for a few years, which is where her sister, Elizabeth, was born.

Between 1851 and Nellie’s birth in 1854, the little Tarbox family moved way north to Robbinston. By 1870, they had moved into Calais proper. George owned a granite quarry and made tombstones. He likely found the 10-12 mile commute taking up way too much of his business day since most of his clients would have been based in Calais or even over the International Bridge in New Brunswick.

What did Robbinston look like when Nellie was a little girl there? I doubt that it looked much different than at the beginning of the 20th century except that fewer people lived there. I imagine that produced quite a few abandoned buildings scattered around the countryside.

Of course, I had to check out EBay for some postcard possibilities. Here is what I found (and ended up purchasing):

Sleepy Hollow, Robbinston, ME

Road Through Robbinston

I suspect that the two roads above might be the same road because there just aren’t that many roads in Robbinston!

If this little road is along S. River Road, the main road between Robbinston and Calais, then this might be what it looks like today:

Source: Google Maps

This is the only area I could find where the road touched the waterway and had a squarish appearance.

If this isn’t the same spot, then the neighborhood in the third postcard is down off a side road where the Google car failed to travel.

Whether it’s the same place or not, the old postcards give me a feeling of what Nellie’s birthplace was like during her lifetime.

And this is one of the few buildings I saw with Google Earth that looks like it could have been there a century ago!

Cox Store in Robbinston

This is my most recent eBay treasure. The Cox Store also served as the Robbinston Post Office, so it is very likely that my 2X great grandmother, Nellie Tarbox Adams, and her family were in this store a number of times during their lives. It’s a very similar style to the abandoned building seen above it, but I highly doubt the two buildings are one and the same.



George Rogers Tarbox Family

Tarbox is one of those unique names, worthy of a One Name Study. Most people in the United States with this surname are all descended from John Tarbox, who was settled in Lynn, Massachusetts by the 1640’s.

My 3x great grandfather, George Rogers Tarbox, born 14 December 1818 in New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine, married Mary Elizabeth Scripture, born 2 Dec 1827 in Mason, Hillsboro, New Hampshire on 29 November 1848 in Nashville, Hillsboro, New Hampshire.


       George Rogers Tarbox                           Mary Elizabeth Scripture

They were the parents of seven children, five of whom lived to adulthood, including my great great grandmother, Nellie F. Tarbox, born 28 June 1856 in Robbinston, Washington, Maine and died 23 December 1927 in Boston, MA. Her mother Mary died on 11 March 1866 and is buried at Calais Cemetery in Calais, Maine. Mary’s cause of death is unknown, but as her last surviving child was born in1863 and she was only 39 when she died, it is possible she died giving birth with neither she nor the baby surviving.

George owned a granite quarry in Red Beach, next to Calais. His sons and son-in-law Charles Vickery all worked as stone cutters and quarrymen. George died 27 January 1895 in Calais and, like many others in my family, is buried at Calais Cemetery.

I was given a treasure trove of old family photos in 1981, including the tintypes above of George and Mary and these below:

Here is my great great grandmother, Nellie, who married Calvin Segee Adams:

Nellie F. Tarbox Adams

Although this photo is from the side, Nellie has the same long oval shaped face as her mother. Nellie had an older sister, Elizabeth (called Lizzie) born 19 July 1851 in Newburyport, Essex, Massachusetts. Lizzie married Charles Vickery and they, too, lived in Calais.

Here are photos that my cousin thought were of Lizzie and Charles when we viewed them together in 1981:

ChasVickeryMaybe     LizzieTarboxVickeryMaybe
Charles Vickery and Elizabeth Tarbox Vickery

Charles died at the young age of 53 on 22 January 1900 of tuberculosis; Lizzie outlived her sister Nellie by only five months, passing away on 27 May 1928.

Nellie and Lizzie’s youngest brother, Oliver Scripture Tarbox, was born 2 July 1863 in Robbinston and died 15 Jan 1924 in Calais. Oliver was named for his maternal grandfather. Here he is as a child:

OliverTarbox                                                   Oliver Scripture Tarbox

Oliver married Jenny Mingo, but they had no children. I have no photo of Oliver as an adult, but there is certainly a family resemblance to his brother, Charles:

Charles Franklin Tarbox

Charles, born 13 May 1859,  married Cleantha (Cannie) Cochran, born 23 April 1864, on 19 Oct 1881 in Milltown, New Brunswick, Canada, right over the border from Calais. They had four children and have numerous descendants today.

Here is Aunt Cannie (on the left) with a friend:

Cannie Cochran Tarbox (left)

Family lore is that Aunt Cannie was the first woman to have cataract surgery at Boston General Hospital, but I have never searched out records to determine if that is true!

The last Tarbox sibling is Horace W. Tarbox, born April 1861 in Robbinston. Horace died on 8 June 1914 of bronchial pneumonia in Sharon, Massachusetts. He married Elizabeth Eugenia Lane about 1880, probably in Calais. She was born 26 June 1859 in Calais and died 9 April 1947, also in Calais.

Horace and Elizabeth moved to Massachusetts shortly after the birth of their daughter, Elsie Venner Tarbox, in September 1881. They lived in Everett and Sharon and possibly in some other towns. I have no photo of Horace to share.

George and Mary Scripture Tarbox had two other children who died young. Mary Elizabeth, their first child, was born 24 Nov 1849, in Newburyport, Essex, MA. She died there on 23 September 1850. The other child they lost was a son, George Rogers Tarbox, born in 1853 in Maine and who died in Calais on 10 July 1864. There are no surviving photos of either of these children.

If there are other descendants of George R. Tarbox who read this post, I would love to share information and photos with you. Please post a comment.

Tomorrow, I will share a few photos of George Tarbox’s brother, Benjamin Franklin Tarbox, and his family.