at Stewart Field in Newburgh, NY.
My Dad’s brother, Paul Rier, served in the US Army Air Corps at West Point, Stewart Field, NY during World War II, as did Dad (James Eugene Rier) and their brother Francis (Babe) Rier. They were from Lubec, Maine. This photo was found among my parents’ old photos of those years. Dad and Mom often posed for each other and developed the photos in a dark room. This pair of photos was taken in my parent’s apartment on a lounge chair my father built.
Uncle Paul was so handsome and my Aunt Alice was beautiful. We called her Aunt Winkie but I’m not sure why. Another story to discover!
My Mom, Louise Johnson Rier, graduated from Machias High School in 1936. This photo was taken at her class reunion in 1986. I love seeing my Mom with her high school classmates, smiling, with so many familiar faces. Elizabeth Johnson was Mom’s cousin, who was dearly loved and owned Johnson’s Jewelry in downtown Machias for many years.
This photo and names were provided by Irene Vose Robinson.
From my mother’s old photo album. Circa 1920s. At the Edgemere cottage, Roque Bluffs.
Zeke was born in 1885 and died in 1968. I remember my grandfather well, and his stories. He was a barber – and an inventor.
His parents were Jesse Warren Johnson (1857 – 1924) and Sarah Jane Marston (1856 – 1937). To my knowledge, Zeke had three brothers: Percy W (1880 – 1932), Charles E (1882 – 1971), and Adin L (1896 – 1972); a sister, Effie M (1889 – 1985).
To his granddaughter (me), he was quite handsome and debonair. I can understand why my grandmother, Harriet Means, eloped with Zeke in 1908. She didn’t tell her parents, William and Nellie Means, because Zeke was from the wrong side of the river. You can read more about that saga here.
If you look carefully, you will see the sign below the shuttered windows upstairs on the right. Miss Means was my grandmother Harriet Means Johnson. Photo courtesy of Michael Hoyt.
A close up of the sign.
There is a woman in the upstairs windows on the left. She is not my grandmother. I expect the upstairs was divided – or perhaps she is a parent waiting for a child to finish their piano lesson.
This is the first photograph I have seen of Harriet’s studio in Machias, Maine. Before today, I did not know the location of her studio above the Machias Lumber Company on Main Street. The building is still there.
Harriet studied piano under the renowned Frederick Mariner who had a summer home on the Penobscot River. Mariner’s studio was in NYC but he accepted gifted students at the Bangor Piano School.
Harriet Putnam Means 1906: Graduation from Bangor Piano School
Later Harriet moved to Bangor, opened a piano studio there, then eloped with Ezekiel “Zeke” Johnson in February of 1908 – without telling her parents.
Read the Harriet stories, gleaned from her 1908 letters, here.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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…