My Great Grandparents 25th Wedding Anniversary.

William and Nellie Means celebrated with family and friends on July 1st, 1905 at their home at 24 Broadway. The event was reported in the Bangor Daily News July 5th.


The bride and groom wore their wedding attire. Their wedding clothes are on display at the Gates House in Machiasport.

The Means home circa 1896. 1896. L to R. William Jr., Elsie, Otis, William and Nellie, Harriet. Descendants of William and Nellie Means lived in this home for 120 years.


Merry Christmas 2019! Me and My brothers

L to R. Sherry, David and Jim Rier. Christmas circa 1955 at 24 Broadway, Machias, Maine.

Jim is smiling. It seems that David and I are surprised by the camera!

My Mom’s 50th Class Reunion

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.

Version 3

Related posts:

Mom and Brother Robert on a Sleigh Ride. Postcard 1920s.

Mom’s Adventures in Portland: Horse Back Riding. 1942.

Mom at 16. High School Graduation. 1936.

Mom Hanging Out with Friends.

Mom Keeps Men at Stewart Field Air Force Base on High Alert. 1944.

Mom and Friends. Rotary Anns Bowling Team Trophy. 1959.

Mom and Dad. Halloween Rotary Party. 1976.

“Voices of Ancestors” 2nd Anniversary

was December 8, 2018. The blog has had over 25,000 views from over 13,000 visitors from 62 countries!

All Time Top 10 Blog Posts

1. This Old House: Secrets in the Attic.


2. Businesses in Lubec, Maine. 1861.


3. Bringing Your Ancestors to Life: The History of Irish Immigration into Maine.


4. My Ancestry DNA Results Arrived Yesterday!     


5. Visiting the Gravesites of My Great and Great Great Grandfathers.    


6. 1913. The Means Family.   


7. My Dad James Eugene Rier.   


8. Mom Hanging Out with Friends.   


9. A Strange Burial.   


10. Me and Muriel Watts.   


Top Ten Visitor Countries/Number of Views

United States/23,303


United Kingdom/259


Hong Kong SAR/151







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 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!

The First Naval Battle of the American Revolution.

A newspaper article in the Boston Post dated June 12, 1934 recounts the battle of the Margaretta.

Today, up at Machias, Me., they will tell you this is the 159th anniversary of the first naval battle of the Revolution. 

Let it not be forgotten!

There was in port at Machias an armed British schooner, the Margaretta, convoying two sloops loaded with lumber. (This is the Yankee version of the story.)

Inspired by the news from Lexington, the Maine folks determined to capture the King’s schooner.

The British captain fired several shots over the town, then took his vessel down stream some distance and anchored under a high bank. 

Thirty five Machias volunteers seized and armed one of the lumber sloops and sailed down to attack the Margaretta. 

Shots were exchanged, and the Machias men, armed with scythes and pitchforks, boarded the British schooner.

Twenty men were killed, including Captain Moore of the Margaretta, and the schooner’s crew surrendered.

Two armed British vessels were then sent down from Halifax to arrest the Machias fighters, but the Maine men captured both of them, sailed them down to Boston Harbor and up the Charles River to Watertown and turned them over to the Massachusetts Bay colonists. 

Now I’m not sure about the accuracy of all the facts in this newspaper article. I know that many men in Machias had guns, not just scythes and pitchforks. Their women aided the war effort. After all, 17 year old Hannah Watts Weston traveled through the woods for 17 miles with powder, lead, even pewter spoons, to be melted down for ammunition.

For generations, everyone who grew up in Machias, knew this story, retold countless times with great pride. The men of Machias fought the British in the rebellion for independence of the American colonies and 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 townsmen of Machias, 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 had met to decide on their plan of action. Once agreed upon at the Rubicon, the brook they all jumped across to seal their pact, these men collectively captured the British ship “Margaretta” and hid her upriver. My ancestor, Joseph Getchell Jr. was among the first men who jumped on board the Margaretta in the assault. The captured British ship captain died. His blood remains in the Burnham Tavern where they took him after their assault. It remains there today in the Tavern which is under the care of the Hannah Weston Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, as a reminder to future generations never to yield to tyranny. It was the first naval battle of the American Revolution.

An engraved stone marks the spot where the the men of Machias jumped across the Rubicon.

The Foster Rubicon


Wear this spot, in June 1775, the men of Machias confronted by a peremptory demand backed by armed force

That they should furnish necessary supplies to their country’s enemies, met in open air council

To choose between ignoble peace and all but hopeless war

The question was momentous and the debate long

After some hours of fruitless discussion

Benjamin Foster a man of action rather than words

Leaped across this brook and called all those to follow him

Who would, whatever the risk, stand by their countrymen

And their country’s cause

Almost to a man the assembly followed 

And, without further formality

The settlement was comitted to the Revolution.

Erected by the Hannah Weston Chapter DAR 1917

The Historic Burnham Tavern in Machias, Maine. Read more about the Tavern and Revolutionary War history here.


From the Maine Historical Society

Lura Beam, in A Maine Hamlet (1957), wrote about the effect of the heroic Margaretta story on people who lived in Marshfield/Machias in about 1900.

“This long-ago conquering of the enemy had somehow stiffened the life of every individual in the hamlet,” she wrote. “The blaze still held over, burning in adult pride and endowing children with haughty self-confidence. … The single Battle was in everybody’s bones: the Liberty Pole, the oppressor’s hand, the leap over the brook, the bullets and scythes, the night sail up the river…[all] were part of the local calcium.”

George Drisko, in his Narrative of the Town of Machias, written and compiled in 1904, writes in more explicit historical terms how we should think about the place of the Margaretta incident in history: “Taking all the circumstances of the occasion into view, especially the remote position of Machias from any place where assistance could be obtained, the capture of the Margaretta must be considered as one of the most bold, energetic and extraordinary occurrences of the times.


Square Dancing and Gatherings in the 60s.

Downeast Maine. Pictured above L to R. Vivian and Vernell Leighton, Lorna and Carroll Gay, and my Mom, Louise Johnson Rier.

Who else remembers when our parents went to Square Dances? When I was in Grammar School, I went along with them and learned to allemande left and other steps called out that I know longer remember. But I vividly recall that a good time was had by all!


The same group except Dad is sitting between Mom and Lorna Gay.

Version 4

A buffet dinner after or before the dance. I believe that is Millard Whitney in the grey sweater beside his wife Dot?

Version 3

A gathering at my parents home. I recognize Burt and Marion Bagley on the couch. Could that be Dot May Whitney in the blue dress?

Related post:

Mom and Friends. Rotary Anns Bowling Team Trophy. 1959.