I love learning about the colorful history of Lubec. My great great grandparents Ingraham and Mary Rier immigrated to Lubec from Nova Scotia in the 1870s with their four children. My grandparents Frank and Elizabeth (Keegan) Rier lived most of their lives there. Growing up, I visited Grammy Rier often at her home overlooking Johnson’s Bay, and my aunts, uncles and cousins who lived nearby.
In this photo, they were in Lubec, Maine with Marion, Dad, and Paul the newest baby. Frank’s garage is in the background.
From Frank’s World War I draft registration in June of 1917, I gleaned that he worked at the FA Whitney Carriage Co in Leominster as a “striper.” This company sold English carriages and go carts. No wonder Dad said he never saw anyone run a stripe to detail cars like his father! But, I never knew that Frank gained experience as a striper of baby carriages and used that skill to detail cars.
I believe that Grammy’s sister, Mary, lived in Leominster and opened the way for the young couple with a growing family to earn a living. In 1917, my grandparents lived at 15 Spring Street, not far from where FA Whitney was located.
My father’s older sister, Marion, the first child of Frank and “Lizzie” Rier was born in Leominster on January 15, 1913. Dad (James Eugene), the second child, was born September 9, 1914 in Trescott, ME. A third child, Lewis Edwin, was born in Leominster on November 26, 1916 and died there just over a month later, on January 2, 1917. Cause of death: Natural Causes, Premature Birth.
It seems that Frank and Elizabeth Rier moved around, or perhaps Grammy returned to her family’s home in Trescott for a brief period of time to give birth to Dad. Their fourth child, Paul, was born in MA on January 5, 1920. In the family photo shown above, Paul was the baby in Grammy’s arms and they are in Lubec. He looks to be about eight months old dating the photo to the summer of 1920. Were they visiting their families? Was the work in Leominster seasonal and they returned to Lubec for the summer season or longer, Frank working in his garage as he did when Dad was growing up?
Francis was born in Leominster October 21, 1921. Evelyn W, their sixth child, was born November 12, 1923, also in MA.
It appears that my grandparents lived in Leominster between 1911 and 1923 when Evelyn was born. The rest of their children were born in Lubec: Julian Vernon on September 16, 1926; Raymond G born on February 27, 1929; Patricia Ann on November 29, 1931. Carolee E was born about 1936. The only record I found for her was in the 1940 Lubec census when she was four years old. Interestingly, Julian’s name was noted in this census as Vernon, an error. It did cause me some confusion at first, I thought there might be another child I did not know about. In my memory, Dad told me that a brother had died as a young boy, Patrick, but I found no evidence of another child’s birth and death. I may have missed it.
Growing up, I knew all my Aunts and Uncles, spent time with them and my cousins, especially the families in Lubec, not far from Machias where I lived. My Uncle Paul and his wife Alice (Aunt Winkie) moved to California before I was born. They had four children. I remember one visit they made to Maine and I visited them once when I had a science meeting in Anaheim. Grammy went to California for an extended visit most winters well into her 80s. Aunt Evelyn and her husband Stan lived in Lexington KY but they visited Maine often in the summer with their growing family (eight children). Aunt Carolee and her four children lived in NY also visited. Aunt Pat, her husband Vernon, and their six children lived in Machias. Whenever I begged my mother for a little brother or sister (I have two older brothers), she told me to go visit Aunt Pat to get my fill of holding babies – which I did often. I was always jealous of the large families of many of my Aunts and Uncles and that led to my wanting a large family too – and my five children.
The rest of my Aunts and Uncles lived in Lubec: Marion who never married or had children; Uncle Babe (Francis), his wife Betty, and their two children; Uncle Barney (Julian), his wife Rebecca, and their six children; Uncle Raymond, his wife Pat, and six children.
It will take a lot of time to document all of my grandparent’s descendants. A rapid count of cousins and my family puts Grammy Rier’s grandchildren count at 39. I couldn’t even begin to number her great, GG and GGG grandchildren. In tracing the Rier family back in time, I realized that now is the time to document her descendants. I have enlisted my cousins in the effort!