Whenever our family visited Dr. Bob and Noni at their home in Lubec, there often was fresh blueberry cake in the kitchen this time of year. Mom made it too over the years. Now when I make this cake and the delicious smell wafts through the air, I am filled with memories. Noni’s blueberry cake recipe was published in my favorite old cookbook of Lubec recipes (1988). It’s one of my most valued cookbooks.
I made this cake for family visiting this week. There will be another before August is over.
Of course, I alter recipes a bit for the times. I use real butter, not oleomargarine, and substitute organic sugar for white. I cook it in an 8″ x 8″ pan so it’s nice and thick, wicked moist, adjusting the cooking time.
In my family, great recipes must be handed down. I taught my grandchildren how to make this blueberry cake. This is my eldest granddaughter, Hayley, learning how to make Noni’s cake in August, 2012. She was eight. Hayley won a blue ribbon and first place in the cake section at the Machias Blueberry festival.
Hayley baking 2012.
My grandson Odin, age six, won a blue ribbon for a two-crusted blueberry pie in 2010 and for several years afterwards. See that awesome story here.
From the book 200 Hundred Years of Lubec History, 1776 – 1976 by Ryerson and Johnson, published by the Lubec Historical Society. It can be found at the Lubec Memorial Library. It includes the history of all the churches in Lubec.
This summer, the Lubec Historical Society will be selling this book. It’s a great resource!
Saint Mary’s Catholic Church was built at the corner of Rte 189 and Chapel Hill Road in 1852 when there were about 50 Catholic families in Trescott. My great great grandfather, James Keegan Sr., and his family attended church there. The church was razed in 1882. A new church, Saint Patrick’s, was built at the corner of Rte 189 and Crow Neck road, two miles away from the Keegan home. The people had begun to move into West Lubec and Lubec and it was necessary to centralize a church. In 1887, Reverend Cornelius O’Sullivan became pastor of Machias and traveled to Lubec for 35 years.
Saint Mary’s Church At Chapel Hill Cemetery in Trescott. Painted by Bertha Calkins Walton from memory.
Visiting the Gravesites of My Great and Great Great Grandfathers. James Keegan Sr. and Jr. families.
Bringing Your Ancestors to Life: The History of Irish Immigration into Maine.
My Dad, James “Gene” Rier is standing in the center posing with his Lubec friends. He was about 16 yrs old. I am hoping that someone else will recognize the other boys in the photo!
by Eleanor Roosevelt (who spells his name Bennett). Dr. Bennet began practicing medicine in Lubec and surrounding villages in 1876. He died in 1944 at the age of 96 when the First Lady wrote this tribute in her syndicated newspaper column “My Day.”
Dr. Bennet delivered Franklin and Eleanor’s son, Franklin Jr., on the island of Campobello in 1914. When Roosevelt was fell ill with poliomyelitis while on vacation at their Campobello cottage in 1921, Dr. Bennet accompanied Franklin and Eleanor back to New York City. His son Dr. DaCosta F. Bennet followed in his father’s footsteps and practiced medicine in Lubec almost until his death in 1975.
I was surprised to find that Dr. E. H. Bennet delivered my grandmother, Elizabeth Keegan Rier, in 1892!
My grandfather Frank Rier was born in Lubec and lived there most of his life. My grandmother, Elizabeth Keegan Rier, was born in Trescott and moved to Lubec at age 13 to work in the sardine industry. Grammy married Frank Rier on October 12, 1911 in Leominster, MA. They lived in Leominster until around 1924 – 1926, when they returned to Lubec. Grandfather Frank had a garage in Lubec and was an auto mechanic. The family story told was that Grammy’s sister Mary lived in Leominster and her sister Teresa lived in Boston. I assumed that Mary married before Grammy did and lived in Leominster opening the door for my grandparents to re-locate there; Frank worked at the FA Whitney Baby Carriage Company in Leominster as a striper, a skill he learned while detailing cars, or perhaps it was the other way around.
Yesterday I found that Grammy’s sister Mary lived in Lubec in 1920 and worked in the sardine factory as a packer, as did Teresa (who I thought had moved to Boston by then). Mary and Teresa were single and in their 30s at the time.
Does anyone else have family from Lubec/Trescott area that re-located to Leominster, MA to work around 1911? I’m doing a little detective work to find out how my grandfather Frank found a job and married there. Just when one believes you have the family history coming together, something new turns up!
Featured photo: Frank and Elizabeth Rier circa 1940s.
Below: Circa 1920. L to R. Frank, Elizabeth holding their son, Paul, daughter Marion stands beside Grammy, and their son James “Gene” Rier, my Dad, is on the far right.
This article is an excerpt from the book 200 Hundred Years of Lubec History, 1776 – 1976 by Ryerson and Johnson, published by the Lubec Historical Society. It is a great reference book to learn more about my family history and can be found at the Lubec Memorial Library.
A Short History of the Sardine Industry in Lubec, Maine.
A Story about My Dad’s Home Town.
and Jabez Pike. Lubec, Maine is rich in history. After the Revolutionary War, the location of this village on the sea, close to Canada and the Maritime provinces, offered a key location for smuggling goods that escaped American and Canadian/British customs officials. It was a land, a sea, and a people set apart from the inland regions of both countries. The residents worked the land, the seas, and all the valuable resources offered, as a means to survive and prosper. The artificially drawn lines of two separate countries and their taxes on imports and exports made no difference to these hearty people. This is story of Jabez Pike as written by his grandson Sumner Pike. It is an excerpt from the book 200 Hundred Years of Lubec History, 1776 – 1976 by Ryerson and Johnson, published by the Lubec Historical Society. It can be found at the Lubec Memorial Library.
To read more about smuggling off the coast of Maine and the Canadian Maritimes: