Miss Means. Piano Instruction.

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.

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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.

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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
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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.

 

 

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An Ancestor Break. Watching A Handsome Pair of Hooded Mergansers

cavorting and courting in my front “yard” on a lake in Downeast Maine. They dove and danced around each other, fluffed their wings, wagged their tail feathers and chased each other. They were so excited, intent on impressing their mate, it was a joy to watch. Spring love!

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Visiting the Gravesites of My Great and Great Great Grandfathers

Celebrating my Irish ancestors today!

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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…

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Find Your Maine Mason Ancestors

In Maine, when a man petitioned to join Freemasonry, a three by five membership card was created.  You will find links to the nearly 200,000 cards that record deceased members who joined between 1820 and 1995 at mainemason.org. There are some newspaper clipping obituaries included.

I found my great grandfather William Means Sr. who was initiated August 19, 1878. His eldest son, Otis, was initiated in June of 1906. His youngest son William Jr. (Billy) was initiated in November of 1918. William Sr. and his sons were all members of Lodge 91 in Machias.

Dates of death are included, as well as notations if your ancestor moved to another state.

A great resource!

Dad and Aunt Evelyn. Circa 1943.

Stewart Field, Newburgh, NY. Dad‘s “little” sister Evelyn visited when he was stationed at West Point during World War II. There Evelyn met her husband, Stanley Marcinek and they raised their family of eight children in Lexington, KY. Aunt Evelyn and her family visited Lubec and Machias often when I was growing up and I got to spend time having fun with my cousins.

They are cute together. Love their smiles!

This is another photo of Dad and Aunt Evelyn. L to R. Evelyn, Aunt Lillian, Dad, my grandmother, Harriet Means Johnson, her son, Uncle Bob. Kneeling: Uncle Warren Johnson (married to Lillian) with their son, William (Bill) Johnson.

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I’ll be an Ancestor One Day

Even though I don’t like talking about myself, here’s a story about me.

Tampa Tribune. June 20, 1994. Front page: “Illness Turns Life in New Direction.” It’s a story about a young mother with five children, who lived in Whitneyville, Maine, pursued a Biology degree at University of Maine at Machias, became very ill with a disease called endometriosis, and then found a career in medical research.  To learn more about my career after 1994, click on the “Author” link above.

In my life, the worst of times, led to the best of times. And, I’m proud to be from Downeast Maine.

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Note: There have been many advances in the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis since this article was written.

Related post:

What Will Our Descendants Say About the Earth We Leave Behind? Part II. 

Resources:

The Endometriosis Association

Endometriosis and Dioxins

Endometriosis: Complete Reference for Taking Charge of Your Health by Mary Lou Ballweg 

Endometriosis: A Key to Healing Through Nutrition by Dian Shepperson Mills