My Great Grandmother’s Eldest Sister

Thirza J Getchell. I have her book of music, her zither, and two of the hats she made. Thurza J Getchell is engraved on the cover of the music book. A misprint?  I believe it is since my grandmother Harriet called her Aunt Thirza in her 1908 letters. And, Drisko’s History of Machias (the bible for Machias history) documents her name as Thirza.

Thirza had a millinery store in downtown Machias and was a successful businesswoman. She married George W Flynn. They had one son, Ossie C. Flynn, who sadly died at the age of 10 months. Thereafter Thirza remained childless.

Thirza’s velvet and feather hats. Imagine these hats were made and sold in Machias!

Thirza’s zither.

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Thirza’s music book, the hats she made, and zither she played, were in the attic of my ancestors home at Broadway in Machias, Maine, the house where I grew up.

After her second husband’s death, Thirza lived with and cared for her mother, Martha Jane Getchell, in a downtown apartment in Machias, likely above Thirza’s store.

Thirza died March 4, 1913. Her mother, Martha Jane, died two days later. Thirza was 69 years of age, her mother was 88 years old.

This is a photo of my great grandparents William and Nellie Means at their home on Broadway. Her mother, Martha Getchell and sister Thirza sit on the porch.

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