Thursday, September 27, 2012

Miss Serena Libby - identified

Miss Serena Libby was, according to records of the Home for Aged Women, 50 at the time of admission, although she was actually a couple of years younger. She was blind and despite the home's age limit which at the time was 60 or older, the board unanimously agreed to admit her due to her disability, general frailty, and her not having family who could provide for her.

In 1850 she was enumerated with Hannah Thompson, 60, probably a widow, with twin sons. There is no known relationship between her and the Thompson family.

Serena or Cyrene Libby or Libbey was born in Scarborough, Cumberland, Maine 27 Mar 1809, the first of four children of Sewall and Sarah (Libby) Libby. Her father was born in Scarborough 6 Mar 1779, the son of Daniel and Dorothy (Hasty) Libby. He was a sea captain involved in the West Indies trade, sailing out of Portland where the family moved while she was young. Capt. Sewall died 29 Apr 1830 and his widow, Sally, was found living on Danforth Street in the 1831 Portland City Directory.

In 1834 the city directory lists Sewall Libby, mariner, with a home on Danforth, and widow Sarah at Sewall Libby's. This Sewall was the oldest of Serena's brothers who died in about 1833 of smallpox. The next available city directory, 1837, does not list widow Sarah, although she lived until 1842, but does list the middle brother, Cornelius M., mariner, home on Pleasant, but boarding at Park and High. The next directory, 1841, has widow Sally, home on York but boarding at Fore and High, and Cornelius M and Alvin B., mariner, both at Sally Libby's. Alvin was Serena's youngest brother. In 1844 Alvin B, mariner, has a home on Danforth; the others are not mentioned.

According to the Libby genealogy, Cornelius was injured "by a blow from a falling spar" and lost his hearing; he became a house painter and moved to California where he died. Alvin B. was last heard from in New York. None of the family is found in any subsequent Portland city directories until 1858 when Miss S. Libby is at 15 Elm Street (the Home for Aged Women).

Sarah "Sally" Libby, Serena's mother, was born in 1774 in Scarborough, the daughter of Phineas and Sarah (Libby) Libby. She died in September 1842 although her death is not recorded in Portland.

Serena had a cousin who was blind and who had a son also born blind, suggesting that the condition was congenital within part of the family, although the Libby genealogy stated she was blind for many years, not that she was blind from birth, it may still have been a related genetic disorder.

Source for information on her family: Charles T. Libby,  The Libby Family in America, 1602-1881 (Portland: Charles T Libby; Printed by B Thurston & Co, 1882), 195.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Miss Ruth Jordan - identified

Miss Ruth Jordan was 69 when she was admitted to the Home for Aged Women according to their records, which is consistent with her age on the 1860 census (73) and her age at death (79). She may actually  have been a few years younger unless the birth date noted in secondary sources was actually a baptismal date.

She was born about 1787 or 24 Jun 1791 in Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland, Maine, the youngest child of Tristram and Hannah (Lassell) Jordan. She never married, died in Portland 23 Feb 1867, and was buried is Western Cemetery. Portland.

Ruth had one sister and six brothers:
  • Barthomolew, b. 1765; lived in Denmark and Bridgton, m1)  Portland 1787 Rhoda Cox (5 children), m2) an unknown wife, m3) 1808 Priscilla Lord of Denmark (3 children).
  • Mial, b. 1768, m. Bridgton 1793 Ruth Jewett (no children).
  • Tristram, b. 4 Nov 1770; d. 4 Sep 1826; m. Thomaston 1798 Rebecca Hayden (1774-1835; 5 children). He was a tanner and shoemaker (as was his father); became a Baptist minister serving in Thomaston and Denmark.
  • Nathaniel, b. 1774, lost at sea, unmarried.
  • Simon, b. 1778. d. 30 May 1843, lived in Farmington; m. 1808 Hannah Walker, d. 1870 (5 children).
  • Hannah, v. 1783; res. Sweden; m. Ephraim Jewett of Denmark (Jordan Memorial does not list children).
  • James K. b. 1786; res Dover NH; m 1823 Nancy Carson (1790-1872; 2 children).
 Source: Tristram Frost Jordan, The Jordan Memorial: Family Records of the Rev. Robert Jordan and his Descendants in America (Boston: Press of David Clapp and Sons, 1882), p. 205-210.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mrs. Joanna Farrington - partially identified

Mrs. Joanna Farrington was born in Portland in 1785, and she died there 20 Aug 1874 at the age of 89. She is buried at Western Cemetery in Portland. When she was admitted to the Home was a a widow without any children.

She was a member of High Street (Congregational) Church.

In 1812 (the intention date was 15 Aug 1812) Joanna Tyler was married by Rev. John Lindsey to Eliphalet Farrington who was born in Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts 15 Dec 1778, the son of Benjamin and Sarah (Fuller) Farrington. According to one source, he may have been previously married to Anne Baker and had by her a son Nathaniel born in Dedham in 1801.

There was no one with the Tyler surname enumerated in the 1810 Portland census, although there were some in nearby communities; there was also no Eliphalet Farrington with a household in either Portland or Dedham that year.

In 1820, Eliphalet is found in Portland, with two males, one 16-18 and the other 26-44 (this would be Eliphalet who would have been about 42), and two females, one 10-15, the other 26-44 (Joanna would then be about 35). Perhaps the two younger people were children of Eliphalet's first marriage.

By 1829 they had moved to his hometown of Dedham, where she admitted as a member of the First Parish Church by letter from High Street. They were enumerated in Dedham in 1830 (one male 50-59; one female 40-49) and in 1840 (one male 20-29, one male 60-69, and one female 50-59).

Eliphalet died in Dedham 17 Oct 1840 and is buried in the First Parish Church cemetery with his parents and siblings. After his death, Joanna transferred back to High Street Church in Portland. She was not located in the 1850 census, but was found in the 1851 city directory, working as a seamstress.

Eliphalet Farrington's ancestry is well documented, but the Tyler line is style a mystery.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mrs. Esther Davis - unidentified

Mrs. Esther Davis was born about 1784 or 1785 based on death and census records and on her age at the time of her admission to the Home for Aged Women.
Information from her brief record at the Home provide a few additional clues:
  • Born in Bridgton, Maine
  • Lived in Portland from early childhood
  • Widowed many years
  • children not able to support
  • Member of Chestnut Methdodist Church

She died 10 Apr 1875 at the age of 90 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery. Neither her parents nor her husband are included in the death record.
She was enumerated at the Home in both 1860 and 1870 but no new information is learned from those censuses. In 1850 she was living with Horace Harvey Sr and Jr, but there is no indication of what, if any, relationship they had; she may have been boarding with them, or they with her, and she may have been providing homemaking services for them in exchange for board.
In 1840 widow Esther Davis is found in the 1840 census, living in Portland's Ward 7. One other person is in the household, a female aged 20-29, perhaps her daughter. She is not found in 1830 and only one of the Davis families had a female the correct age--Solomon--however he does not appear to be related to Esther, so she may have been enumerated in a household with a different surname than hers.
In 1820, Esther is found in Portland; in the household is also found two males under 10 and one female under 10, suggesting three living children, and that she probably was widowed from 1815-1820. There is no death recorded in Portland of a male Davis of the right age nor are their any children with a mother named Esther during that decade. There were two marriages recorded in Portland during the right time frame that might be this Esther:
  • Stephen Davis m. 12 Nov 1807 Esther Gibans, by Rev. Elijah Kellogg (Congregation Pastor).
  • David Davis m. 7 Jan 1810 Esther Sawyer, by Rev. Edward Payson (Congregation Pastor).
In 1820 there was a Stephen Davis and family enumerated in the census in Portland. He is not found there in 1810, but David Davis is, with a male and female aged 16-25 and a female under 10.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mrs. Esther Ingalls - partially Identified

Mrs. Esther Ingalls was born about 1792. She was admitted to the Home for Aged Women in August 1856, but did not stay long at the Home as she was dismissed in November. Home records stated: "after three month stay at the home it was not deemed desirable by the managers that she should continue a member of the family, as she would not conform in any way to the rules of the institution." Her death is not recorded in Portland. The Esther Ingalls who died in Portland 23 Jun 1879, was born in Bridgton 3 Jan 1794, the daughter of Isaiah Ingalls by his second wife, Phebe Curtis. That Esther never married.

Isaiah Ingalls mentioned about was the son of Francis and Elizabeth (Stevens) Ingalls. Another son of Francis was Nathan Ingalls who was born 12 Jun 1755 in Andover, Massachusetts and died 8 Jan 1835 in Bridgton. Nathan married Lydia Griffin 15 Apr 1778 in Andover. Lydia was born 26 Mar 1751 and died 28 Dec 1843. Nathan and Lydia had twelve children born in Wilmington and Andover, MA and in Bridgton. The second child (and second son) was Nehemiah who was born 17 Sep 1780 in Wilmington (recorded in Bridgton) and died 9 Feb 1819.

Nehemiah Ingalls married Esther whose maiden name may have been Conant, but neither her birth record nor their marriage record has been located. They lived in Westbrook where their four children were born:

  • William Ingalls, born about 1807
  • Lucy Ann Ingalls, born about 1809, married Allen Williams 28 May 1828 in Portland
  • Henry Ingalls, born about 1811
  • Charles Ingalls, born about 1813

Nehemiah was enumerated in the 1810 census in Portland, with one male under 10 (William), one female under 10 (Lucy Ann), one male 26-44 (Nehemiah) and one female 16-25 (Esther). In 1820 widow Esther Ingalls was enumerated in Westbrook with two males under 10 (Henry and Charles), one male 10-15 (William), one female 10-15 (Lucy Ann) and one female 26-45 (Esther).

This family was not found in any subsequent census records.

Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson - partially identified

Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson was born about 1771 based on her age at admission the the Home for Aged Women and her age at death. She died 6 May 1861 aged 89 years and was buried at Eastern Cemetery.

At the time of her admission to the Home for Aged Women she had one living son who was not able to make a home for her. He has not been conclusively identified.

David Colby Young's preliminary draft Portland Early Families (29 Mar 2007), in the USGenWeb Maine archives, lists a Thomas Thompson who died 1 Jan 1847 aged 87 and is buried in Portland's Eastern Cemetery and his wife Elizabeth Hanes, whom he married 11 Sep 1787 in Portland. Portland marriage records (delayed returns), however, give the date as 22 Jun 1786 (with the intention recorded as 23 Jun 1787), her name is given as Elizabeth Hance. The record indicated that they were married by Samuel, Esq., Justice of the Peace. Thomas' death was also published in the 6 Jan 1846 issue of the Portland Advertiser.

In the 1790 census Thomas Thompson's household included one male 16 or over, one male under 16, and one female.

The 1840 census of Portland has only one Thompson family with a female aged 60-69 (Elizabeth would have been 69 that year). The family of Thomas Thompson had 4 people: 1 male 30-39, 1 male 70-79, 1 female 30-39 and 1 female 60-69. One of those people was employed in navigation of the ocean. Perhaps the son and his wife were living with them that year.

Elizabett was enumerated in the 1850 census in Ward 1, in a separate household of a two-unit dwelling. She was born in Maine and had neither an occupation listed nor any real estate. She may be the same Elizabeth Thompson, widow, listed in the 1851 Portland City Directory as living near Old Fort Sumner. In the other household was Joanna Jordan, aged 72, also listed in the 1851 Directory at the same place.

The parents or Thomas Thompson and of his wife Elizabeth Hance or Hanes have not yet been identified, nor has the unnamed son or any other children the couple may have had.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Home for Aged Women

In 1854 a group of women from local Protestant churches in Portland, Maine, established the Association for the Relief of Aged, Indigent Women. They opened their first home in a house on the corner of Elm and Oxford Streets in the city's Bayside neighborhood in 1856. I have a list of the residents, and am trying to identify their families: their parents, husbands, and children. The information on this blog is preliminary and some of it is speculative. If you run across a familiar name or can prove (or disprove) any of the information here, I would appreciate hearing from you. I would especially be interested in hearing from descendants of these women or of their near relatives as many of the women never married and others never had children, or their children did not live to adulthood.
This is the first home as it looked in the 1924 Portland Tax Records. It is the only image of the home I have been able to locate. The largest number of residents it held was nine, although that required doubling up on rooms and they appear to have only done that once. Generally the house had eight, although before their move to Emery Street they let the number drop to three.
Six women moved into the home in the first month it opened, at least four of them on the same day. The women admitted in August 1856 were:
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson, 85
  • Mrs. Esther Ingalls, 63
  • Mrs. Esther Davis, 72
  • Mrs. Joanna Farrington, 71
  • Miss Ruth Jordan, 69
  • Miss Serena Libby, 50

The next month, two more women were admitted to the home:
  • Mrs. Hannah Carr, 65
  • Mrs. Eliza Noble, 84

Those would be the only women admitted in 1856. Mrs. Esther Ingalls was dismissed after only three months, so at the end of 1856 there were 7 women living at the home.