Hannah Weston Chapter DAR. Burnham Tavern Open Every Saturday During Summer.

Machias Valley News Observer, Wednesday, June 3, 1936. The Burnham Tavern is a historic landmark of the Revolutionary War.

My maternal ancestor, Joseph Getchell Jr., fought the British in the rebellion for independence of the American colonies to prevent the British from taking their primary resources: timber for ships and their hard-earned money, taxation without representation. Once British demands were made, residents of Machias not only refused to comply by providing timber or paying their taxes, they erected a “liberty pole” in the town square. And then, they set out to seize British ships that entered their harbor.

A group of townsmen met to decide on their plan of action. Once agreed upon at the Rubicon, the brook they all jumped across to seal their pact, these men collectively captured the British ship “Margaretta” and hid her upriver. Joseph Getchell Jr. was among the first men who jumped on board the Margaretta in the assault. The captured British ship captain died. His blood remains in the Burnham Tavern where they took him after their assault. It was the first naval battle of the American Revolution.

The preservation of the Burnham Tavern is overseen by the Hannah Weston chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), as a reminder to future generations never to yield to tyranny.  The DAR chapter in Downeast Maine is named for Hannah Weston, a Revolutionary War heroine who carried ammunition through sixteen miles of wilderness for the men who were engaged in the first naval battle of the war which took place in Machias Bay. I am proud to be a member of the Hannah Weston chapter of the DAR, as was my mother, Louise Johnson Rier. It is the second largest DAR chapter in the state of Maine, second only to Portland.

My great grandmother, Nellie Getchell Means, was the great grandchild of Joseph Getchell Jr., Revolutionary War soldier at the age of 18. His father, Joseph Getchell Sr., was the first Getchell settler at Machias in 1769. My great grandmother’s father was Marshfield Getchell, son of John who was the son of on Joseph Jr. Thus, Joseph Getchell Jr. is my 4X great grandfather.

Reference: History of Machias, Maine by George W. Drisko. Press of the Republican. 1904.

The Burnham Tavern, beautifully preserved, as it is today.

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This summer, the Tavern will be open from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM, Monday through Friday, beginning on Tuesday, July 5th and continuing through Friday, September 2nd.  In addition, it may be possible to arrange visits at other times if a docent is available.  Please call 207-733-4577 or e-mail <info@burnhamtavern.com> for further information.

 

 

 

 

 

My Dad, James “Gene” Rier and Phil Watts. Just Kidding Around.

July 23, 1963. The trio publicized the celebration of the 200th anniversary of Machias that year.  Men in town grew beards, sported top hats, and dubbed their group “Brothers of the Bush.” Dad and Phil failed to achieve the 10-inch length of Mr. Goat’s whiskers, the original member of the group.

It was the only time my Dad had a beard. I recall it well because he had dark brown hair but his beard was red, revealing his Irish ancestry.

10 Survival Tips That Kept Your Great-Grandparents Alive

Written by: Kathy Bernier Extreme Survival [ repost: http://www.offthegridnews.com/extreme-survival/10-survival-tips-that-kept-your-great-grandparents-alive/ ] Unless you are fairly young, chances are your great-grandparents already have passed on. But if they were around in today’s tenuous times, our great-grandparents might have a few words of advice for us. Survival was something most of our ancestors did well, and a few […]

via 10 Survival Tips That Kept Your Great-Grandparents Alive — How to Provide

Mom and Friends. Rotary Anns Bowling Team Trophy. 1959.

If you lived in Machias, Maine in the 1950s and 1960s, you went bowling at Machias Valley Bowling Lanes. As kids practiced their skills, our parents were on teams in the bowling league, part of the social fabric of Downeast Maine.

My Mom, Louise Rier, is in the back row on the far left of the photo. I was seven years old at the time. She is 39 years old, a lot younger than I am now.

Good memories, good times.

When I married and left Maine in 1970, I learned how to bowl with big balls.  Today, I learned that candlepin bowling was primarily practiced in the Canadian Maritime provinces and New England in the US. The history of the sport is interesting and this version of bowling is still promoted in Maine.

Related posts:

Mom Keeps Men at Stewart Field Air Force Base on High Alert. 1944.

Mom’s Adventures in Portland: Horse Back Riding. 1942.

Mom Hanging Out with Friends.

Mom at 16. High School Graduation. 1936.

My Mother Louise Adele Johnson.

What Objects Will You Leave Behind For Your Descendants?

 

“The few worldly possessions she left behind, accumulated over the course of more decades than you or I will probably live, didn’t take up much space in the tiny two-room church-owned apartment where she spent the last 27 years of her life.”

“We have too many things, too many distractions, too many items offered to us, too many messages, and a person like Emma struggles to emerge,” the Rev. Giuseppe Masseroni, who himself is 91, said at Ms. Morano’s funeral on Monday.”

Repurposing My Ancestors’ Boot Box

I found the wooden box in the barn of my great grandparents home where I grew up. It was covered with faded and frayed upholstery fabric. I stored it for seven years. When I moved into my home, I began to work on it. I tore the fabric off and removed the stuffing of straw and old coats of children from under the top.

Underneath the once pretty upholstery material, I found brown burlap with a unique embroidered pattern in red.

I had red burlap in mind for a cover.

I realized I should have been documenting the process. The embroidery pattern was a part of family history. My ancestors were making use of whatever they could lay their hands on, more than once. They needed storage and another place to sit. I did too.

I began to take photos of the old burlap, decided to hang it in my shed for contemplation. Then I discovered the box was originally used to ship boots from Boston to CW Vose and Sons in Machias, Maine. I expect my ancestors bought their boots there, then put the box to use in their home, more than once.

Now the boot box sits in my living room next to a child’s rocker of my great grandparents and a lamp as old as I am. The box contains material for sewing projects that I want handy for use. And, it’s another seat on metal wheels that are in remarkably good condition. You won’t find metal wheels like that anymore.

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Old, Old Photo Albums. Circa Late 1800s.

The cover detail of these albums is intricate. When I first pulled them from a trunk in the attic of my parents ten years ago, I didn’t recognize anyone. I wondered why no one wrote any names in these family albums. Who did they belong to?

I expect the owner/collector of these photos did not envision a time when no one would know the family members in the photos. It was a reminder not to make the same mistake in my lifetime. Have I written on the back of my memorable photos? Rarely. Are photos collected in my lifetime organized? Not yet. I’m working on it.

This year, I open the ancestors’ albums again while sitting in the old rocker my grandmother rocked me in. I gingerly remove the photos to look at the back. There are no names written there; some have the photographer’s stamp. I decide to investigate one album at a time, beginning with the smallest leather-bound one with the clasp, pictured in the front above.

In this album, I find photos of ancestors I now recognize for I have been immersed in them for a time now. The first two photos are of my great-great grandparents, Otis and Elsie Fuller Berry Means by photographer E. Vose in Machias, Maine. The same photos were in the Grace Means’ photo collection sent to the family in 1924. The next two photos are of a young woman that I cannot identify. I turn the page and find my great grandfather William, nearly the same photo is in his autograph book. The photographer was J.M. Goins, South State Street, Chicago. Was William doing business there I wonder?

Most of the album pages are empty, either never filled or distributed among the family. I do not recognize ten of the photos in the album. Are most of these men, women and babies William and his four brothers and sisters at different ages? Perhaps one of the women is William’s eldest sister Harriet, for she was not included in the Grace Means’ photo collection. Whoever she is, she does not resemble William’s other sister, Francis. The photos of this woman were taken in Boston where Harriet lived, as did William’s eldest brother, Andrew Means. I don’t see his two brothers’ likeness in these faces either, Andrew or Eliphalet. But then, I didn’t recognize William’s younger self in the autograph book at first. The elders in the album may be members of the Berry family.

I ask myself questions, think about the research required to find answers. I suppose it will help to just hold each album in my hands and ask whether I have spent enough time with my ancestors to answer these questions.

From the age of my great-great grandparents in the photos, I estimate the date as 1870s. The photographer, Ezekiel Vose, was listed in the 1876 Briggs’ Maine Business Directory. The photo of my great grandfather William is from 1875 or 1876 as the photographer, JM Goins, was located on State Street in Chicago for those two years. William’s age was 20 or 21 years old at the time, as he was born in 1855. The tintype photo of the baby in the carriage could range from 1855 to 1870s. My grandparents, William and Nellie Means were married in 1880. It seems likely that this one album originally belonged to William’s parents, Otis and Elsie Means of Machiasport, Maine and was handed down and stored in the attic where I discovered four old albums over 120 years later.

I’ve explored and documented one album. What might I discover in the other three?

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My great-great grandparents Otis and Elsie Means; My great grandfather William Means.

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Photos that I cannot identify. Yet.

Related posts:

1913. The Means Family.

The Means and Getchell Families.

Dad’s Graduation from US Army Air Corp Advanced Flying School.

Brooksfield Texas. Saturday, March 7th, 1942.

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Dad’s card is on the inside of the announcement.

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He wrote to my mother on the back:

To Louise, In memory of all the lovely times we spent together. If I ever get home again I’ll drop in. I’m sure a long way from Maine now. With regards, “Gene.”

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Soon, Dad received his assignment to West Point.

Dad sounds homesick. He used to tell stories about Texas. He hated the weather, infernally hot to a man from Lubec, Maine. His dating experiences were not good either. He and a buddy took two women to a restaurant for dinner.

“They were so stuck on themselves. Puffy hair and all. They thought their s#^t was ice cream.” Dad said.  After a boring conversation, the two men quietly paid the bill, went to the restroom, and crawled out the window to escape a nightmare double date. I expect they wanted these women to know they were not impressed with their highfalutin attitudes.

Dad missed that woman from Machias, Maine, Louise Johnson. He must have decided to propose as they married less than a year later, February 15th, 1943.

Related posts:

Mom Keeps Men at Stewart Field Air Force Base on High Alert. 1944. 

My Dad James Eugene Rier