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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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

 

My Great Uncle Charlie and Aunt Louise

They lived in Lubec, Maine in the winter and on Indian Lake in nearby Whiting for the summer. My family had a camp at Indian Lake from the year I was born, so we visited each other often. I have many warm memories spending time with Uncle Charlie and Aunt Louise. Since my grandfather Frank Rier died before I was born, his brother Uncle Charlie was special and so was Aunt Louise. They were my other grandparents, as my maternal grandmother Harriet died before I was born too.

uncle.charlie.IL

 

 

The summer home of Charles and Louise Rier at Indian Lake, circa 1960s.

 

 

 

 

 

When Uncle Charlie and Aunt Louise got older, they stayed at our family home in Zephyrhills, FL for the winter. Every day, Uncle Charlie went to town with other men in the neighborhood, sat, chatted, and watched the morning go by. Chairs lined the sidewalk outside a restaurant, especially for these men. I can see Uncle Charlie sitting there now, smiling in the sun.

The Rier family home in Zephyhills (L) and Uncle Charlie posing for a photo with a man I do not recognize but he may be from Lubec and visiting FL (R).

My family stayed at the “little pink house” for a month each winter from the time I was five years old until my brothers went to college. Mom collected our homework for the month, so there was school time, and lots of fun time. When we arrived, Aunt Louise and Uncle Charlie stayed in a travel trailer in the back yard so we could all be together for that month.

On my 12th birthday, they came to visit at our home in Machias. Uncle Charlie carried a chest to the dining room table. Aunt Louise smiled and said, “This is the family silverware. I want you to have it and take care of it. Happy Birthday, Sherry.”

I picked up the lid of the old chest and looked inside. My eyes grew wide. There was a beautiful antique set of silverware for 12, complete with forks in four different sizes, carving knives, and serving spoons. I thought of objecting to this large gift but knew that Aunt Louise and Uncle Charlie had no children. I was the girl they chose to keep that silverware safe for the future. I was honored. “It’s beautiful! I will always treasure this gift,” I said as I hugged them.

I still treasure that silverware as I am filled with memories of Uncle Charlie and Aunt Louise, and my 12th birthday, when I bring it out for special occasions.

When I researched my grandfather Frank’s family history, I found that Uncle Charlie and Aunt Louise (Thaxter) married in October 9, 1908. She was 17 and worked at the (sardine) factory; he was 20 and a laborer. Charles Rier’s parents were Burpee Rier, a merchant in Lubec and Emma Batron, a housewife there. Louise’s parents were Charles Thaxter, a laborer in Lubec, and Mary Preston, housewife.

I also found that Uncle Charlie and Aunt Louise had a son on October 14, 1910, stillborn. How sad.

I had heard the name of Dad’s grandfather Rier, Burpee, when I was growing up. I thought it must have been a nickname, possibly dubbed on a baby with chronic colic. Evidently, it was his name legal name, at least as an adult, as shown by these records. Months ago, I had searched Maine vital records for more information on Burpee Rier. I could find no birth record, he was not listed in the 1910 Lubec census.

Yesterday, I searched again, but not in vital records of Maine. I found this site, which may or may not be accurate. It lists Burpee Rier’s parents as Ingraham and Mary Rier, both born in Nova Scotia. Dad always told me the first Rier to arrive in Lubec was Ingraham. He used to point at his tombstone in the Lubec cemetery as we rode by. Then there was the family story about the Rier brothers from Germany who fought in the Revolutionary War as Hessian soldiers and “jumped ship.” One brother went to Nova Scotia and one to Lubec. My theory was both brothers went to Canada after the war, along with other Loyalists, soldiers, and servants hired by the British. If this site is accurate, Ingraham came to Lubec long after the Revolutionary War.

Now I had a lead to search Nova Scotia records for the family of Ingraham Rier, that started with this story about Uncle Charlie and Aunt Louise. Very exciting!

And now, there is much more research to be done to track down the Rier ancestors. I am not yet a member of ancestry.com so it will take awhile. I’m also a novice at obtaining census and vital records in the US and certainly in Nova Scotia. Any advice and tips are greatly appreciated!

Related post:

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

The California Branch of the Getchell/Berry Families

In the third old, old photo album, there are many photographs taken at studios in California. According to this online document on Berry/Getchell genealogy, my great grandmother Nellie’s eldest brother Osgood Getchell re-located from Marshfield, Maine where he was born, to California. Osgood was a farmer, owned 109 acres along the Pacific coast in redwood country, and built a large family home overlooking the coastline.  This document also shows that Getchell members had lived in California or decades, from the time of the gold rush. I want to get in touch with the family that posted this online, and seek their documentation for this branch of the family.

The first San Francisco photograph that I found was in Thirza Getchell Flynn‘s album. I began to search for a connection between the Getchell, Berry or Means families to California. This is the photograph in Thirza’s album that may be Osgood Getchell. The photo was taken at Edouart & Cobb, a studio located at No. 504 Kearny Street, in San Francisco, California. In 1869, Alexander Edouart joined David Cobb and opened a studio on Kearny Street. Their partnership lasted until 1881. Thus, this photo dates between 1869 and 1881.

In the third album, the gentleman below was photographed at the Newark Gallery at 31 Third Street in San Francisco, L. Richardson, Proprietor. A Google search revealed no information about the photographer or studio.

This couple, perhaps husband and wife as they are side by side on a page, were photographed at Vaughan’s Photograph Gallery, 18 Third Street in San Francisco. This studio was established at that location in 1869 until 1878 when the photographer, Hector William Vaughn, died.

The Vaughan studio also photographed a child who may be this couple’s daughter or son.

This lady was photographed at the Charles Lainer studio at 31 Third Street, San Francisco. I featured her photo in a post about the mystery necklace found at my great grandmother Nellie’s home, since this woman wore a similar one. She may also be a member of the California branch of the family.

necklace

The Wing & Allen studio at 342 Kearny Street in San Francisco photographed these two women and one child. One of the women and the child have names written on the back of the photo, Alice and Ethie Hamer. I can find no information on the relationship of the Getchell or Berry families with the Hamer family. It will require more investigation. But Alice Hamer and the other woman may be friends of the family. The photos date between 1873 and 1876 when Wing & Allen’s Ferrotype Gallery was at that location.

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Two boys were photographed at the Brown & Otto studio, 28 Third Street, San Francisco. I can find no information of the dates that studio was at that location.

The Getchell/Berry family document, mentioned above, notes that direct descendants of my ancestor Joseph Getchell III, who fought in the first naval battle of the American Revolution in Machias, Maine, relocated to California. How interesting! One new discovery, leads to more research…

Related post:

Old, Old Photo Albums. Circa Late 1800s.