Visiting the Gravesite of My Great Great Grandparents

Ingraham and Mary Rier. They were laid to rest in the Lubec Cemetery, not far from Grammy Rier’s home overlooking Johnson Bay. My paternal grandparents were Frank and Elizabeth Keegan Rier. Grandfather Frank’s parents were Burpee and Emma Batron Rier. My Great Great Grandparents, Ingraham and Mary Rier, had four children born between 1860 and 1868. Alice, Burpee, Bertha E, and Ida May. Ingraham and Mary were born in Nova Scotia as were their children. They immigrated to Lubec, Maine between 1868 (the date their last child Ida May was born) and 1876, the year Alice died in Lubec. Ida May died there in 1883.

When I arrived at the Lubec Cemetery on a sunny day last week, I was not sure where the gravesite was located. I had memories of Dad driving by the cemetery when I was young, pointing to a tall grayish white obelisk-like stone beside a tree.

“That’s where my great grandfather Ingraham Rier is buried,”  he would say.  “He was the first Rier to come to Lubec.” In my memory, Dad never said where Ingraham came from and I don’t think he knew. It was a mystery.

I searched the cemetery in quadrants beginning at the far side toward downtown Lubec and toward the front, closest to Rte 189. Many gravestones were hard to read, if at all, but I noticed that there were large family plots. If I could read a few of the stones in a plot and see the family surname, I moved on. About one third of the way across the front of the cemetery, I was almost ready to give up and cover the rest on other days.

As I looked toward a towering tree beside the road, I wondered if my memory could possibly be accurate. Something or someone urged me on.

Then. There it was. The gravestone that Dad pointed out so often in bygone years, stood before me.

“I found it!” I shouted in the wind. I wondered if Dad heard me. I hoped so.

ingraham.rier.closeup

Ingraham E Rier

1840 – 1904

His wife, Mary

1842 – 1915

Bertha E

1862 – 1952

On the side of the stone closest to the tree, the names of their two daughters who died as teenagers were engraved.

ingraham.children

ALICE A

DIED

May 14, 1876

13 yrs 2 mos

IDA M

DIED

Oct. 26, 1883

15 yrs 8 mos

Dau’s of I.E. and M. Rier

There is an inscription underneath that I cannot read. I will need to come back another day in different light.

There is a discrepancy in the age at death of Alice A. from the Maine death record which listed her year of birth as 1860. I can only guess that this was inaccurate since she was born in Nova Scotia and suspect that her parents knew exactly how old she was when she died, 13 yrs 2 months, not 16. The birth year for Bertha E on the stone (1862) doesn’t match her estimated year of birth from the 1880 census (1865) which recorded her age as 15. It is time to search vital records in Nova Scotia.

My great grandfather Burpee Rier is not here. Perhaps he is buried with his wife Emma Batron. It will take more research to find his grave. There is always more to discover!

 

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It had been a good day. Earlier, I had visited the Chapel Hill cemetery in nearby Trescott and located the gravestones of my great and GG grandfathers Keegan, Grammy Rier’s father and grandfather.

Related posts:

My Paternal Great Great Grandparents. Ingraham and Mary Rier. 1880 Census.

My Paternal Grandfather Frank Rier and the Rier Brothers from Germany.

 

 

 

 

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Visiting the Gravesites of My Great and Great Great Grandfathers

James Keegan Sr (1812 – 1879) and his son James H Keegan Jr. (1847 – 1927) were laid to rest in Chapel Hill cemetery in Trescott, ME. James Sr. immigrated to Trescott from Ireland in 1836. I had seen their gravestones on the findagrave.com website but I wanted to go there myself. I had hit a roadblock in tracing James Sr in Ireland. My cousin Teresa had visited Ireland and requested information about him from the Meath Heritage & Genealogy Centre in Trim, Ireland, County Meath. The Centre found one listing for a James Keegan born March 27th, 1812 to Pat Keegan and Elizabeth Keating. But the birth date for this James did not match the birth date on his gravestone (October 6, 1812). I noted that County Meath was misspelled on his gravestone as Meade, perhaps the date of birth was not accurate either. The Centre’s search covered 1812 +/- 5 years and found two other James Keegans:

(1) 8th November 1814 – James born to John Keegan and Elizabeth Camble (Oldcastle).

(2) 25th July 1816 – James born to Thadeus Keegan and Mary Newman (Kildalkey).

With no other information to go on, such as James’ parents names etc in Ireland, the Centre wrote that there was no way to know which James Keegan was our ancestor. It occurred to me that I did not know the name of James’ wife and emigrating from Ireland in 1836 at the age of 24, he may have been married in Ireland. If I visited his gravesite, perhaps I could find his wife and her name there too.

I strolled around Chapel Hill Cemetery looking for his gravestone. It is a small and beautiful cemetery nestled against the woods, now bright with the reds, yellows, golds and greens of Fall.

chapelhill

Among a carpet of red cranberries and green moss were stones that marked the graves of many Irish/Scottish immigrants and their descendants: Sullivan, Murray, Kelley, McCarty, McQuaige, McCurdy.

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I found James Keegan Sr.’s gravestone in the front corner close to the corner of Rte. 189 and Chapel Hill (Timber Cover) Road. I was so pleased to find it, followed by disappointment that there was no other stone close by, nor his wife noted on his gravestone.

james.sr

Beside this gravestone was that of his son James Jr. There were no other Keegan gravestones or markers. Engraved on the front of this stone was his date of birth , no date of death, his wife Margaret (1857 – 1897). Their daughter Winnifred, born in 1887 and died in 1918 (the year of the great flu pandemic) at the age of 31, was buried with her parents.

james.keegan.jr.grave

Then I looked at the back of James Jr.’s stone. Names were engraved there, difficult to see under the lichen and moss, but I knelt and read:

James                  1812                  1879

Elizabeth            1809                  1889

William               1836                  1880

Anne                    1841                  1897

The birth date on the back of the stone of James Sr. looks like 1814 but closer inspection reveals 1812. Elizabeth is likely James Jr.’s mother, William and Anne, his brother and sister. James Jr. had a brother named Thomas who lived in Lubec with his family in 1910. He must be buried elsewhere. I don’t know the names of the rest of the family.

The photo of the back of the stone is not very clear but I will try another day in different sunlight.

gravestone.james.keegan.jr.back

Back home on the computer, I began to search for Maine vital records about James Keegan Sr. and his wife Elizabeth. I hadn’t found much about him before, except a photo of his gravestone and the record of his US naturalization in 1843.

An entire page of records popped up on the computer screen.

The 1840 census didn’t hold much information, just the name of heads of households, the number of individuals in the house and their age range. His name is spelled James Kegan, male between 20 and 30 years of age. One female between 20 and 30. One male child and one female child under the age of five. If I am reading this census correctly, the household consists of James Sr. (about 28 years old), his wife Elizabeth about the same age, a son and a daughter under the age of five.

The 1850 census yielded more information. Since arriving in Trescott in 1836, James Sr. and Elizabeth had seven children.

James Kegan, age 41, a farmer, value of real estate 300″ (?), place of birth, Ireland.

Elizabeth Kegan, age 40, place of birth, Ireland.

William, age 12, born in Maine and attended school in the last year.

Mary, age 10, born in Maine and attended school in the last year.

Ann, age 9, born in Maine and attended school in the last year.

John, age 8 and attended school in the last year.

Eliza, age 6.

James, age 3 (my great grandfather).

Catherine, age 1.

1860 Census. The spelling of Kegan is now Keegan. Mary, about 20 years of age that year, is no longer in the household and their last son Thomas was age 9.

James Keegan, age 48, born in Ireland.

Elizabeth Keegan, age 48, Ireland.

William Keegan, age 22, born in Maine.

Anne Keegan, age 18, Maine.

Elizabeth Keegan, age 18, Maine. (Eliza in 1840 census).

John Keegan, age 16, Maine.

James Keegan, age 13, Maine.

Catherine Keegan, age 11, Maine.

Thomas Keegan, age 9, Maine.

It is apparent that ages do not exactly coincide between each census.

One year after James Sr. died in 1879, there were four that lived in the Keegan household according to the 1880 Trescott census.

Elizabeth, age 74, mother, widowed, keeping house, born in Ireland. father and mother born in Ireland.

James, age 32, son, single, farmer, born in Maine, father and mother born in Ireland (my great grandfather).

Thomas, age 29, son, married, farmer, born in Maine, father and mother born in Ireland.

Catherine, age 28, daughter-in-law, married, housekeeper, born in Maine, father and mother born in Ireland.

The search yielded two more documents. The records of death for Annie and Eliza Keegan, daughters of James (Sr) and Elizabeth Keegan.

Annie died in Machias on September 15, 1897 at 55 years of age. Place of birth: Trescott. Widowed. Occupation: Housework. Cause of death: Chronic spinal meningitis. Her mother’s maiden name is written as: Elizabeth Morran.

Eliza (Keegan) May died in Lubec in 1920 at 76 years of age. She was a resident of Lubec for 17 years, previous residence Trescott. Date of birth: March 22, 1844 in Trescott. Occupation: Housewife. Maiden name of her mother: Elizabeth Morris. Eliza is the deceased was the wife of James May. Cause of death: Valvular Endocarditis. Duration: Indefinite. Contributing cause: Lobar Pneumonia. Duration: One week.

 

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What discoveries! I found the names of the children of my great great grandfather James Keegan Sr. At last, I know my great great grandmother’s name: Elizabeth. Her surname is either Morris or Morran (Moran?). They were surely married in Ireland as they came to Trescott in 1836 and their first child William was born the same year in Maine.

That should be enough information to search Irish records and go back further in time.

What is particularly precious is that I can begin to see them, envision their lives that began in Ireland and came so far to live off the land and settle in Trescott and Lubec.

My ancestors peek through the mist of time.

Related posts:

My Great Great Paternal Grandfather, James Keegan.

Searching for Grammy Rier’s Parents and Siblings.

References:

United States Census, Trescott, ME, 1840.

trescott.census.1840

“United States Census, 1850,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M6VC-TSD : 12 April 2016), James Kegan in household of James Kegan, Trescott, Washington, Maine, United States; citing family 56, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

trescott.census.1850

“United States Census, 1860”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MDHL-7P5 : 26 July 2017), James Keegan in entry for James Keegan, 1860.

trescott.1860.census

United States Census, Trescott, ME, 1880.

trescott.1880.census

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tintype Photographs in the Old Family Albums

I recently looked again at the tintype photographs, seeing more information about dating them at phototree.com. The photo above is of J. Frank Robinson, Boston Mass. and dated October 31st, 1866. The studio was Richardson’s Ferrotype, Ambrotype and Photograph Rooms, 120 Hanover Street, Boston.

robinson.back

Beside this photo in the album is another of a man taken at the same studio, but there is no name on the back.

man.1866

In this old, old photo album of my ancestors, there are more tintype photographs of the same era, a woman in braids in Sioux City, Iowa and two children with no studio stamp on the back. The embossed window frames on the children’s photographs indicate that they are circa 1869s, early 1870s.

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The woman appears to be of native American heritage. I do not know who she is, whether she an ancestor, friend or relative, nor do I know the identity of the children. I do know that my ancestors in the Getchell/Means/Berry families migrated from Maine to Boston, California and many other states across the country.

Perhaps it is time for me to have my DNA analyzed for an ethnicity profile?

Learn more about TintypeAmbrotype and Daguerreotype photographs.

I am a proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

My mother, Louise (Johnson) Rier, was a member. I joined in 2012. Last year, my daughter, Monica Snowdeal Stone, became a member. It’s important to pass down our history for generations to come. Our qualifying ancestor to join the DAR was Joseph Getchell Jr.

The DAR is a women’s service organization dedicated to promoting historic preservation, education, patriotism and honoring the patriots of the Revolutionary War. DAR members come from a variety of backgrounds and interests, but all share a common bond of having an ancestor who helped contribute to securing the independence of the United States of America. Any woman 18 years or older, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution is eligible to join.

The Hannah Weston Chapter of the DAR is located in Machias, Maine. Established in a rural Downeast community, this chapter has over 90 members, second in size only to the chapter in the largest city of the state, Portland. Hannah Watts Weston was a remarkable 17-year old heroine of the first battle of the American Revolution who walked through the woods for 16 miles carrying 40 pounds of household pewter to be melted down for ammunition.

Anyone who grew up in Machias knows that their home town was the site of the first naval battle of the American Revolution that took place June 11 and 12th, 1775.

Joseph Getchell Sr. and his wife immigrated to the British colony of Massachusetts from Hull, England and settled in Scarboro in 1749 (then a part of MA, later the state of Maine). They had three children: Benjamin, Mary, and Joseph Jr, born in April 1757. Joseph Sr. and his family came to Machias in 1869 or 70. In 1776, Joseph Getchell Jr. married Sally Berry. They had eleven children: Westbrook, Abagail, Betsey, John, Marshall, Benjamin, Mary, Simeon, Jane, G. Washington, and George Stillman.

Joseph Jr.’s son John had two children: Marshfield and Thomas. Marshfield married Martha Jane Holmes. They had seven children, their youngest was my great grandmother Nellie Getchell Means.

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, the residents of Downeast Maine 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 jumped across to seal their pact, these men collectively captured the British ship Margaretta and hid her upriver. Among the first men who jumped on board the Margaretta in the assault was my ancestor, 18 year old Joseph Getchell Jr. The captured British ship captain died. His blood remains in the Burnham Tavern where they took him after their assault. The Burnham Tavern is now a museum under the care of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a reminder to future generations never to yield to tyranny.

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

Burnham2a

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.

The Foster Rubicon Plaque.

Foster Rubicon Enlargement

Reference: History of Machias, Maine. George W. Drisko. 1904.

Related posts:

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

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Partnership Agreement With the US National Archives.

 

A Rier Family in Robbinston, Maine. 1850 Census.

My great great grandparents, Ingraham and Mary Rier, immigrated to Lubec, Maine from Nova Scotia in 1870. To trace the Rier family back in time, I must search Nova Scotia records. By accident, while searching for information on the Rier family in Lubec, I found a Rier family in the Robbinston 1850 census. Head of household: Stephen H. Rier. Occupation: Carpenter. Age: 43? Wife: Mercy. Age: 48. There are three laborers in the household: Freeman, age 27; Amos, age 24; John H., age 18. Children: Mary, age 16; Geo. E., age 14; Lucy A., age 11; Stephen, age 9; Elizabeth, age 6.

The transcribed census listed the place of birth for each family member as NY. I was confused as I was unaware of any Riers in NY but perhaps it is an extended family that immigrated to the US before my ancestors. Then, I combed the original census document. The place of birth for family members sure looks like N.S – Nova Scotia – not NY. I looked up 19th century cursive writing. Again, it looks like N.S., not N.Y to me.

What do you think? Is anyone out there an expert in handwriting of this period? A closeup of the census and an example of 19th century handwriting are shown below. I notice that the Y goes below the line.

Version 2

handwriting

I contemplated the enormity of a mistake in census transcription. It could be repeated hundreds, if not thousands, of times in genealogy records by those of us striving to document our families. Is this a mistake in transcription?

Well, when I gain access to Nova Scotia records, I will keep my eye out for this family and see if they are related to Ingraham and Mary Rier. It is just another genealogy mystery waiting to be solved!

Related posts:

Searching for Grammy Rier’s Parents and Siblings.

My Paternal Grandfather Frank Rier and the Rier Brothers from Germany.

My Great Great Paternal Grandfather, James Keegan.

My Paternal Great Great Grandparents. Ingraham and Mary Rier. 1880 Census.

My Great Uncle Charlie and Aunt Louise.

The Children of Uncle Charlie and Aunt Louise.

My Paternal Great Great Grandparents. Ingraham and Mary Rier. 1880 Census.

Lubec, Maine. My Paternal Great Grandparents were Burpee and Emma (Batron) Rier. I found Burpee’s family in the Lubec 1880 census. His parents were Ingraham and Mary Rier. In 1880, Ingraham was 40 years old, Mary was 36. Three children lived in the household: Burpee age 18, Bertha E, age 15, and Ida May age 12. Ingraham’s occupation was hotel keeper, Burpee was listed as a hostler. All five family members were born in Nova Scotia.

burpee.1880.census

Maine birth records show that Ida May was born in 1868 and died October 26, 1883, at age 15.

Another daughter of Ingraham and Mary Rier died before the 1880 census. Alice Rier was born in 1860 and died May 15, 1876 at age 16.

Bertha E Rier married Norman Gavaza in Lubec, September 30, 1889. There is no document available but the marriage record is referenced below.

Ingraham’s death record states that he died May 12, 1904 at age 64. His estimated date of birth is 1840 in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. Cause of death, organic heart disease. His occupation noted at death was a carpenter. His father’s name is Ingram (Ingraham?), a carpenter who likely lived and died in Nova Scotia. There is no mother listed.

The findagrave website states that Ingraham was buried in the Lubec cemetery. I will need to visit and perhaps I will find his wife Mary there, and his children, Burpee, Bertha E, Ida May and Alice.

References:

Ida May Rier, death record. Maine Deaths and Burials, 1841-1910 Indexing Project (Batch) Number I00666-4 System Origin Maine-EASy GS Film number 11527.

Alice Rier, death record. Maine Deaths and Burials, 1841-1910 Indexing Project (Batch) Number I00666-4 System Origin Maine-EASy GS Film number 11527.

Marriage, Bertha E Rier. Maine Marriages, 1771-1907. Indexing Project (Batch) Number. I00601-0System Origin. Maine-ODM. GS Film number. 11527

 

Ingraham Rier, death record.

ingraham.death

 

The Children of Uncle Charlie and Aunt Louise

that I never knew.

Their son was Morton. I had seen Morton Rier, a handsome young man, in Dad’s Lubec 1934 yearbook and had no idea who he was. Now I know.

Today I began to search for more information on the family of my grandfather Frank Rier and his brother, my great uncle Charlie. Their parents were Burpee and Emma (Batron) Rier.

I refined how I search for records on familysearch.org and had more success than usual.

The 1920 census records showed Charles and Louise Rier and their household in Lubec, Maine. There were two children living in the house with Charles’ father Burpee, age 57, widowed. Charles was 31 and head of household; his wife Louise was 28.  In 1920, their daughter Austina H was seven, their son Morton A was four 10/12.

charlie.children.1920.census

Why did I not know about their children? Most likely because they died before I was born. I am learning that the elders did not tell stories about their lost loved ones. And, although I spent much time with Aunt Louise and Uncle Charlie, their children were never mentioned.

I soon learned that Morton died at age 20 in 1935. As yet, I do not have the vital record, but the findagrave website noted his burial in the Corey cemetery in Lubec. I will need to visit his grave site and verify his date of birth and death. It makes sense, why I was never told about Morton. Why talk about grief?

And, there was their daughter Austina, born August 26, 1912. She was married March 21st, 1951 at the age of 38 to Horace G Roman, born in Meridan, CT. Where did they live? Did they have children? As yet, I cannot find where she lived and died. But, I did know my Uncle Charlie and Aunt Louise. When they gave me the family silverware when I was 12 years old, they had no children, or perhaps no children that they were close to? Whether Austina had died by my 12th birthday, or had somehow separated herself from the family, I do not know. If the Lubec library has old High School yearbooks, I might find her photo in one of them, likely 1932. It would be a start.

I will search for more information about Austina Rier Roman and visit the Corey Cemetery in Lubec, where Uncle Charlie, Aunt Louise and their son Morton are buried.

In memoriam:

Charles Purdy Rier. Born September 6, 1888, Lubec. Died July 11, 1971, Lubec.

Louise H Thaxter Rier. Born July 1, 1891, Dennysville. Died January 3, 1982, Lubec.

References:

Maine World War I Draft Registration 1917 – 1919 Index. Digital Folder Number 004390174 Image Number 01067.

Maine Death Index 1960 – 1996.

United States Social Security Death Index.

Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921 GS Film Number 000010181 Digital Folder Number 005011861 Image Number 00245

Maine, Marriage Index, 1892-1966, 1977-1996,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KCNK-4QQ : 27 November 2014), Horace G Roman and Austina H Rier, 21 Mar 1951; citing Marriage, Maine, United States, State Archives, Augusta.

Birth record for Austina Rier.

austina.birth

Update:

My cousin sent me Austina’s obituary, kept by my Aunt Pat. The name of Austina’s husband does not match the vital record I found and there is no date. But, it’s a bit more information about her. She died in Meridan, CT, the place of her husband’s birth.

austina.obit