Naturalization [citizenship] Papers and their Importance


Arriving in Boston Harbor in June 1891, Mary Dolly [Fowler] did not become a citizen until 1932 when she went back for a visit to her ancestral home in Anbally, Co Galway.
As a child, I remember the room where I slept at my grandmother’s house on Brackett Street. The room had 3D type wallpaper which looked like buttons on upholstery. I used to stare at it until I fell asleep, that is ONLY after I made my grandmother remove all the holy statues, like the Bishop of Prague with his satin robe, and the 5 foot long thunder and lightning beads made of wood which hung on the back of the door. Of course, I did not want that crucifix on the wall above my head either. These things were very scary to me even though I was raised a Catholic. I think somehow I believed they belonged in church, where we were supposed to be scared. Anyhow, back to this room of many memories. There were many things which belonged to my great grandmother in there. The hope chest also had some weird furs that had fox heads on them which she wore when they were fashionable. I remember the smell of that old button box and I recall the picture on the bureau of her in a tiny frame. The photo from the above document had been cut out and put into the frame. When I was a teenager, I taped it back together. Then I began to wonder where this great grandmother of mine lived when she was in Ireland. I was lucky enough to also have her passport from 1932.
 If you should ever find any Naturalization Papers also called Citizenship Papers, hold onto them as they hold valuable information. Under US Government in the phone book, you will find an address for that department in most major US cities, such as Boston, or NYC. I actually wrote to the office in Portland, Maine to request information about her. I received an informative letter full of details. I found the name of the ship she embarked upon and the Date she arrived as well as the Port where she entered the United States. I also found the Date of her marriage and the births of her daughters. I was seventeen when I received this information, much to the delight of my grandmother as she wasn’t familiar with the name of the town land of Anbally. Many of these town lands are so tiny (a couple of blinks of an eye) that it is best to buy survey maps which cost between ten to fifteen dollars. These survey maps show all the holy wells, and many other details of the land. Only after I purchased some of these maps was I able to locate Anbally which was halfway between Galway City and Tuam on N17, near Claregalway. Since 2002, I have visited this area a few times.


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The Life of Martha Roberts-Westbrook, Maine 1863

Photo courtesy of Polly Carmichael

This story will be the first of a short series entitled Saccarappa Cemetery: Voices from Beyond the Grave. My aim is to tell the stories of so many who lie there. I hope there will be a heightened awareness about respecting the sleeping places of the dead.

 Martha was born to Joshua D. and Ellen Babb Roberts in 1842. The family lived on 342 Saco Street in the present day home of the Usher family. Joshua Roberts was a well respected farmer and known to have excellent orchards. A relative of mine owns an old powder horn made by Joshua D. Roberts when he was just 13 years old, dated 1828.It was carved with his initials, J. Roberts. It was fashioned from a bull horn and was never finished. I am told it hung over the fireplace across the street at 341 Saco Street in the brick house, where Martha lived her adult years, married to her 2nd cousin, John L. Roberts. I have read throughout many family diaries that Joshua sometimes would travel to Limington to buy a yoke of oxen. His daughter, Martha, was named for his sister, Martha who lived from 1800-1837. The first Martha is buried at Saccarappa Cemetery. The only testament to her life is an early needlework sampler with her name and birthdate at Falmouth in May 1800. Her gravestone is still intact, which is amazing, since Saccarappa Cemetery has been desecrated numerous times over the years.
             I had the opportunity to study her diary on 1863, in depth. It is also owned by a relative, but the transcription is at Westbrook Historical Society. Martha writes of thirty people, including some children, that year alone who died in Westbrook. A woman never went unaccompanied to town, after dark, whether by sleigh, or horse or wagon. Her world was small as she usually writes of visiting relatives and taking tea. All the relatives she mentions, I have found cross referencing marriage records, Babb’s and Roberts from early Westbrook, mostly from Rev. Caleb Bradley’s books. Since I have spent a great deal of time at the cemetery, I have stumbled upon many stones of the people she wrote about in her diary. 
            As for life on the farm, she is alone this year as her husband in enlisted in the 25th Me., Co. E, and is away in Arlington Heights near the Nation’s Capitol. She notes that the hay pressers came, usually for 2 days. She has a great deal of family support and is busy with her daughter, Flora, who is three. Many women in Westbrook are working in the mills, but she is able to stay home. She fills her time with knitting stockings for her husband, making so many garments for her family. As a homemaker, she writes of making cornstarch pudding for supper. She attends many church meetings on Sundays, many denominations as well.
News in the town was often noted. Pauline Woodman was married today. Later she writes  Temple Snow married today. There was even mention of Mary M. Marrett getting married (She married Westbrook’s Fabius Ray, historian and lawyer) She, too, is buried at Saccarappa, but not Fabius Ray as he married another when Mary died. Lewis Edwards opened his store today, another newsworthy entry. One February day she wrote about Father traveling to Portland on wheels with hay. Evidently the sleighing was not so good on that day. Most of her entries regard her neighbors, The Quimby’s, The Partidge’s, The Trickey’s and The Hatches and her relatives along Saco Street. They all helped each other and helped with chores when someone became ill. There were some entries mentioning a circle held at Father’s where 50 people attended. Recently, I learned The Circles referred to various organizations which were in place to help those in need. The Martha Washington Society was one such group which had roots in Westbrook. There is a ledger at Westbrook Historical with names of members and other interesting information.
            One evening a peddler stopped by her home and left three boxes of pills. Maybe this alleviated the terrible headaches she so often wrote about in her diary entries. She often wrote of the Hatch girls visiting, all of whom are buried at Saccarappa. They would share slips of flowers and make crafts together. The Hatch family included Josie, Mellie (Melvina), and Harriet and a brother Sylvanus. They lived in the brick home which later became known as the Libby House at 477 Saco Street. Martha writes of going into the woods with her sister-in –law and gathering cones to make picture frames. Her mother helps her mend and often they sit together to do such work. One day she wrote her mother had made her a pair of breastplates. Travel was slow. It was a big event to go to Portland, usually consisting of shopping, and visiting relatives, sometimes taking dinner with them. In the event the weather turned, an evening spent with family was not unusual.
One evening Martha writes of Uncle W’s barn burning. I believe it was her uncle William Roberts, actually a Great Uncle, as he was brother to her grandfather, Benjamin. He built the home at 547 Saco Street, present home of Polly Carmichael. I think the barn that burned was in this vicinity. At one time, there were three Roberts Brothers on Saco Street. William lived at 547 Saco Street. Benjamin lived on the land where Joshua D, his son later lived (342 Saco Street). I also believe a house existed before the present brick house at 341 Saco Street. In this location, a brother John lived, but he died a young age of 57, I believe. I believe William bought that parcel. Incidentally, all this land previously had been owned by Stephen Longfellow, on Longfellow Street in Gorham. William Roberts came to Westbrook from Fort Hill Road, Gorham and boarded at the Hatch Home when he married Rev. Nathaniel Hatch’s daughter, Betsy, who was an ancestor to all the future generations of Hatches who lived in the same household. Martha writes throughout her diary of events such as General and Mrs. Tom Thumb visiting the area. She relays the great excitement in “P” (Portland, I believe) as a ship is burned by the Rebels. She remembers her family and friends who have passed years ago, noting Grandfather Roberts been dead 5 years today.
             Martha’s life included much socializing. She attended usually two church meetings on Sundays and wrote of various Westbrook Regiments coming home from the Civil War. One day, she wrote that her husband had arrived home at midnight and the following day, she prepared a meal for some men from his Regiment who would be continuing their journeys home. He served with his brother William in the same Regiment.
             Christmas was not highlighted like it is today. She wrote of visiting and mending on Christmas. Life was simpler but not without hardship. One entry referred to the death of a Haskell Boy, named Frankie. At Saccarappa, I found his lichen covered gravestone, beside another sibling whose death was an early one. Upon reading the stones of his family plot, his parents suffered great loss, maybe five siblings in all.
Martha died at the age of 57. Her death was unusual as there was a certain amount of folklore that I have heard my whole life. She was dug up and her body thrown into Beaver Pond. It was never verified until I read the diaries of William Roberts, her brother in law (and 2nd cousin). He wrote one entry describing that he would be going to the cemetery to check to see if her grave was empty. He found in fact that it was an open grave. The following day, he was asked to go meet the sheriff. A body had been found and William was asked to identify it. William wrote that he could not identify it positively, however he had no doubt that it was her body. This was about eight weeks after her death. Perhaps he recognized the clothing. Someone had tampered with the body, but no person had ever been charged. I think it must have brought great distress upon the family. For those who may have had Eva Roberts as a teacher at Bridge Street School, this story relates to her mother. The cemetery is filled with many such stories. This is only one story but many people mentioned are at Saccarappa Cemetery. There will be more to follow.


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Redbank was Home

Redbank was home to all my earliest memories. It was where my siblings and I all developed from babies to teens and where we made lifelong friendships. This past weekend, I was visiting my parents over near Cash Corner. I wanted to see what was in their attic for pictures. We found a suitcase full of slides taken by my grandmother from 1958 up until the late 1960’s. I am very anxious to look through them as I am sure there must be many Redbank pictures in that collection. Until then I found a few to post here.
Living in Standish, I constantly run into old neighbors from Redbank. The other day, I ran into three people I knew from our Village. Take notice when you are out and about just how many people you will know from your neighborhood. This picture was taken at Easter near St. John’s Church in Thornton Heights. Loved those patten leather shoes with purses to match, especially when we got them scuffed up and used lighter fluid to clean the scuffs [not us, but our parents] I think my grandmother helped outfit us each Easter. That is me in the blue, Carol beside me and Sharon with her foot turned in (she was shy) and my brother David. The Christmas picture was taken around 1968 when we were allowed to open one gift Christmas Eve. It was always a pair of pajamas and then we posed for a picture. My Dad lettered our names on the stockings. Hope you all enjoy.

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Little Marietta

 Cousin Steve(back), Little Marietta (seated), Baby Cousin Alice, On blanket, Aunt Marietta, Pat Roberts(my mom), Aunt Thelma 1967

It wasn’t until Tuesday, January 15th, that I knew who I wanted to feature on my “People I know (or have known)” category of this blog. I was on my way to South Portland Historical when I drove by my cousin’s old home on Broadway near the South Portland Armory. I noticed a wheelchair ramp outside and I was immediately overcome with tears and memories of my cousin who once lived there. Now that my son also uses a wheelchair, the whole issue of what is involved with disability is all too familiar.
  I was flooded with memories of going to visit my dad’s brother and his family. My dad and his brother have always been very close and I have always been close to these cousins. On occasion, my Uncle and Aunt would go away for the weekend and they relied on my cousin Steven to help with her basic needs. I was there to make lunch and keep her company. She was nine years older than me and her name was Marietta. She was born with Hydrocephalus, commonly called ‘water on the brain’. She endured many long surgeries throughout her life and lived longer than doctors anticipated. She had a kidney removed and had shunts. She never walked. My sisters and I would play card games for what seemed like hours and she would let us listen to her 45 rpm records with her old time record player. She was very close to her mom, who was her primary caregiver. I often think of my aunt especially since her role is now mine: the caregiver.  I think of her when I need strength from time to time. I remember thinking when I was a kid that she was tough as nails… maybe I have become a little of the same as there is nothing I would not do to make sure my son gets what he needs.
  We called her Little Marietta as we also have an aunt with the same name. Little Marietta preferred to be called ‘Sis’ and we obliged. She was a huge fan of Wayne Newton and we used to think he seemed so far removed from our generation. We knew who he was but we were a little out of touch with his music. She is the one who introduced me to the song, “To Sir with Love” from the movie.
 Over the years, Sis survived being seven, the year she was supposed to die. She survived being twelve, another fateful year supposedly. In fact, I never really thought of her as anything other than our cousin. She joined us every year camping. She only had a manual wheelchair, though an electric wheelchair would have given her great independence. I am not even sure if these were available back then. Only when one’s arms are no longer able to propel a manual wheelchair, is one able to get an electric wheelchair prescribed. Sometimes Aunt Thelma would put her on a lawn chair in a few inches of water so she could feel the water across her legs. We would all swim around her. As I look back, we were a big part of her life as there was no inclusion at school. She attended Cerebral Palsy School in Portland. Life has changed in many great ways for those with disabilities today. Imagine if my cousin had the internet!!! I think about that often especially that her world of friends was very limited. I think how amazing it is that my son, who has very limited hand use, can set the accessibility function so that a tiny keyboard is displayed onto the computer monitor and he uses a mouse to type. With these capabilities, he has communication with his friends through Instant Messaging. How I wish my cousin could have seen all of this. Her world would have been so different.
 Sis joined us on many family outings. When we were little, we all took a trip to Bar Harbor where we were able to witness some shipbuilders building a wooden ship. Sis sat in the van and waited as we walked up to the building. When I look back, I am certain that the building was not accessible as that may be why she was in the van. Also pushing a wheelchair in the snow and the fact it was cold may have not been in her best interest. It was winter. I have a picture from that day of my brother and me wearing our winter coats. Sitting in the van was also not in her best interest that day. At the time, I was maybe five years old, and my brother four. We began our walk to the building when my brother nagged my father nonstop to go back for his mittens. My brother nagged and nagged until my father, frustrated, turned around to run back to get the mittens. He discovered that the emergency brake had let loose in the van and my cousin was inside hollering. My father ran and jumped into the moving van to stop it in time before it slipped into some water. My father was beside himself that had he not gone back, the outcome would have been much different. He credits my brother’s cold hands with changing the outcome of that day.
Anyway, my cousin had some enjoyment in her life as she was a camper at Pine Tree camp in Rome, Maine. Each year, I look at all the photos across the camp walls and look for her in at least three of the pictures [1960-1963]. My own son is a camper there as well. See  if you want to learn more about the camp and the tree house they have built for wheelchairs.
Once when I was maybe 7 or 8, we were on a visit to see Sis at her home on Broadway. I walked down the long hallway to her room. I told her how I had seen the movie ‘Heidi’ and that Heidi helped Clara to walk. Clara was the girl who used a wheelchair. Miraculously, Clara was able to walk. Well if it was good enough for Clara, I wanted my own cousin to walk too. I would help her so she would not be afraid to fall. She was shocked that I would mention such silly things. I think I scared her a little as she yelled at me and told me that she could not walk. I really just wanted her to be ok and when I think about that, I suppose it was all out of love for her, as kooky as that seems.
When I was in High School, my Aunt became very sick with cancer and she had to place her daughter in a nursing home. It was a very sad time. My cousin Steve was away in the military. When I look back, it was especially sad that Sis would no longer have her mom. I remember wishing that I had a car or a way to get around, as I would have loved to see her more often. She lived there a few years and then she became very ill. She died at age 31. Her life was a difficult one, but she had lots of love. She struggled and she was triumphant in her will to live. I was most sad to think of all she had been through in her short life and these were my thoughts at her funeral. I was grateful to have her as a cousin and I think she taught me many things, one of them the courage to love and accept her. There is not a day that passes when I don’t think of the bond between Sis and her mom. I will always be close to her brother, Steve, as he was a good brother to her. Sometimes siblings have great difficulty when another sibling needs so much medical attention. I hope to devote more stories on how my own family has coped with the challenges along the way, in the event the stories may help others.
Yes, a drive by her old home brought back many memories. I wish that she could have had her own ramp.


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Ireland : A Brief Story about My First Visit


The Burren, County Clare: This area is fascinating; filled with Megalithic tombs, Holy Wells, underground Caverns, Ring Forts and disappearing lakes. I would have to say that this area was my favorite area of Ireland. This was also my favorite picture from my trip in 2006.


Ireland. I have been thinking about the land across the sea since I was very little. My grandmother always said she would like to take me there. It never happened in her lifetime but I did have the good fortune of traveling there twice.
 In 2002, I went with my mother-in –law, and her sister. Also on the trip was a family named Martin who have been several times and have also rented cars so we really saw the countryside. Their family consisted of six altogether. We rented a small van which held 7 of us comfortably and we also rented a small car. Before we left, we decided which places were most important to us so we could plan our trip accordingly. What I found interesting was that we stayed in hotels each night, and only had accommodations the first night. From there on, we had the hotel clerk make our arrangements for the following night for us. I am not certain this was customary, but the clerks had no problem with the request. We wanted to try to find places that could hold all nine of us. Our trip was for 10 days. Many of the hotels had bars inside them which stayed open all night if you were a guest there. In Killarney, we stayed at The Brooks which I highly recommend. It was quaint and the clerk went into his kitchen to get us a pint as we chatted by the fire. Many of the hotels only have hot water in the morning and late in the evening. They are very much into conserving energy and in some places I was told they had a meter outside where you deposit your change to have electricity. I did not see many paper items such as matches, napkins, condiments in the restaurants. There is not much waste there and that was impressive. I would also recommend to frequent pubs with signs which advertise Traditional Irish Music. This is where you will experience the pub atmosphere. If you go in October like we did, it was very chilly, lots of rain and the pub was a welcome place where we could stand by the fireplaces and smell the turf and feel its warmth.
 We landed in Limerick at Shannon Airport, and headed for Killarney, a manageable drive after a long flight. We headed for Blarney Castle where none of us kissed the Blarney Stone, much to the dismay of the fellow who wanted to hold our legs. The trip was one adventure after another as by the end of our trip, we had visited 30 pubs. That is 3 pubs each day. We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at the pubs.
 One day we went to Ballyvaughn near the Burren and stayed at a very nice hotel with a restaurant and pub. While eating dinner, I penned a song onto a napkin. I told everyone in our group that I had written a song about our trip. They all wanted to hear it. I sang it to the tune of an Irish song. We stayed there about 2 hours when the entertainment came for the evening. He got all set up and the room was filling up. The microphone was turned on and he introduced himself. He tells us a bit about the songs he will play and thanks us all for attending. Then he said as he looked at me, “I hope before the evening is over that my friend in the back row will come up later and sing us the song she wrote.” My mouth dropped. I had no idea how he knew I had written a song and looked to my friends to see who the rat was. They swore they told him nothing. He was waiting for an answer from me……. OK I could do it, I nodded, but a bit unsure about the whole thing. Later he called me up to the stage. First I asked him how he knew I had written a song. He said he had been there all afternoon. It was a comical song I had written about Guinness all that goes with a pint of Guinness. I asked the audience for permission to sing this song as it had 2 objectionable words. They were not terrible words, just descriptive. I told them and they said, “Sing us your song”. As I sang, looking like a nut of course, the whole crowd was very quiet. They were truly a good audience. After I finished, applause broke out and the dancing commenced. I had a fellow ask me to dance and a few pints were sent to my table, which I gave away. That was a fun time.
 The most exciting part of that trip was a visit to Corrandulla to Clarke’s Pub. It was a very cold and rainy day. There were a few older men at the bar and they were very happy to see these visitor’s from away. They asked what brought us to Corrandulla. I told them my family had lived there many years ago and I wanted to go to check out the cemetery nearly. We had a drink and a bite to eat and sat by the fire. One fellow sang to us in Gaelic. He was very involved with theatre and gave me a copy of a play called ‘Thy Will Be Done” which was excellent. I read it on the plane ride home. Tim Martin and I drove down to the cemetery in the rain and he watched me run all over the cemetery to see if my ancestors were there. I found a few of them and took many photos in the rain. That was the highlight of my trip. I was thrilled to be there, rain of not. It rained every day we were in Ireland. Some of our group had gone to the Beleek factory in Co. Donegal, near Northern Ireland.
 We also visited Dingle Peninsula which I highly recommend. I think the scenery took my breath away especially the drive around Slea Head. If you want to find good areas to shop, I think Killarney, Co. Kerry and Galway City, Co. Galway are probably the best places to find Irish goods such as jewelry, linens, maps and music which is where I spent most of my money. Keeping in touch was difficult by phone. I had a phone card, however always had to go through an operator. A card for 1 hour maybe was really good for 10 minutes. I don’t think cell phones are too practical as you would need to convert the voltage, same as if you had a video camera. I bought a digital camera with a couple of memory cards and lots of batteries. The Internet cafes are excellent. I had no problem finding them and they cost about 1 Euro for 15 minutes. This trip was a blast….much different from my second trip where I rarely visited a pub. My second trip was spent in hostels for the most part and the experience was very interesting.

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Portland ,Maine to Portland ,Oregon- The Conscientious Objector-1918

Miss M. Louise Hunt, Assistant Librarian
Central Library
‘Conscientious Objector’
April 1918 / Portland, Oregon

Elanor Catharine (Kit) Hunt on left, with sister, Marietta Louise Hunt – circa 1886
Photo courtesy of Polly Carmichael

Marietta Louise Hunt was born in Portland, Maine in 1876. She lived in 1880 at 22 Beckett St., now O’Brien St. She was born to George Albert Hunt [from Unity, Me] and Annie Rebecca Roberts [Saco St., Westbrook, Me.] She had two older brothers, Edward Marshall Hunt and William Payson Hunt. She also had a sister named Anne Roberts Hunt [Mrs. Frances] Fassett who lived in Washington State. There was also a brother named George Fessenden Hunt. George A. Hunt ran a dry goods business with the same name on Commercial Street, near the bottom of Moulton Street in Portland. Marietta Louise Hunt graduated from Portland High School in 1894 as a classmate of Governor Percival Baxter’s. According to the records from Drexel Library School, she may have taught at Portland High School for two years. She graduated from Drexel Library School, Pennsylvania in 1901.
I have been a genealogist for 34 years and often wondered what happened to the Hunt’s of Portland/Falmouth, Maine. (M.) Louise Hunt was a first cousin to my great grandfather. She used her middle name as there were many women named Marietta in the family. It was not until I discovered more details of her life did I know that she died the year that I was born, 1960. I found this info through the diary transcriptions left by William Roberts, her uncle. One entry in 1913 stated that M. Louise Hunt was on a visit from Portland, OR.
I performed a search on the Internet search engine, Google, using M. Louise Hunt and Portland, Oregon.  Much to my surprise, a web page from the Oregon Historical Society popped up onto my screen. Captivated by this fascinating find, I read to find that she had lost her job in 1918 for a ‘crime’ that she committed. She finally resigned after public outcry and hysteria fueled by her refusal to participate in the purchase of Liberty Bonds, which helped to fund World War 1. The position she held as Assistant Librarian, under Miss Isom, paid $175.00 per month, a substantial income for that time period. Immediately, I contacted the Oregon Historical Society which was eager to assist me in my quest for more information. I asked about newspapers as I had to have copies of anything regarding the whole ordeal. I was not prepared at the amount of info. I would receive. There were two newspapers and they both carried articles everyday regarding the story for about eight days. I even have an editorial cartoon about the incident. Also included was a very long article in the Oregon Historical Society’s Quarterly, dated 1970 entitled, “The Conscientious Objector”.
Interestingly enough, I checked the month of April’s newspapers for Portland, Maine after she returned to Maine, only a week later and there was NO mention of the ordeal. The newspaper pages were filled with advertisements reminding readers of their obligation to support the War by their purchase of Liberty Bonds. I also read a short write-up about a man who was tarred and feathered in Michigan as a result of his refusal to purchase Liberty Bonds. The country had four Liberty Bond Campaigns, two in 1917 and two in 1918. At this time in History, there was overwhelming pressure to remain loyal to government and to become active with the War Effort.  One of the largest efforts on the home front was to ‘Sell’ the War to Americans, through public advertisements, speeches and public art. There were many relief organizations and the War Bonds helped support those, including the American Red Cross. It was a time of great patriotism which swept across the Nation. Liberty Temples were built in some cities as a place to support the need for the marketing of the War.
‘Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America’ written by Sara M. Evans is filled with information from that time period. The book explained how Socialists, Radicals and Pacifists, all who opposed the war suffered unprecedented loss of civil liberties as well as freedom of speech. There were many who were incarcerated. [See Montana Sedition Project]. Susan B. Anthony’s successor, Carrie Chapman Catt, believed the Women’s movement would risk a great deal by opposing the War, so she asked that they diligently for Suffrage and also the War relief. This group supported a hospital in France, knitted socks for the soldiers and collected canned goods. They joined efforts with the Red Cross and they participated in the Liberty Bond Campaigns by purchasing them. I found this particularly of interest since M. Louise Hunt was a single woman, as many were in my family at that time; she was alone in her outspoken opposition at the Central Library. Only one person on the Library Board voted to terminate her. The rest supported her right to not participate in the Liberty Bond Campaign.
The book by Sara M. Evans stated that nearly half of all college educated women in the late nineteenth century never married. Women had greater opportunity than before to be self sustaining. Economic Independence was an option for many educated women and many chose that route.
A brief summary of events that week in April 1918 was that a Librarian, an employee on the public payroll, was forced to resign from her position as a response to public pressure towards the Library Board. There was a meeting to discuss the incident where Miss Hunt had been approached by Mr. William Bryon, Special Agent from the U.S. Dept. of Justice, and President W.B. Ayer from the Portland Library Association at the library. This matter came to light when Mr. Locke of Lang & Co. and Mr. Wilson of Hartman & Thompson were detailed by the Liberty Loan executives to ascertain why Miss Hunt had failed to subscribe to any of the Liberty Bond issues. The Following Incident transpired after Liberty loan fellows reported the incident to the Liberty Temple. The Head Librarian, Miss Isom, referred all questions to be directed towards Miss Hunt regarding her refusal to participate in the Liberty Bond Campaigns. In Miss Hunt’s office, she was interrogated by the legal firms mentioned above. Questioned why she had not participated in the 1st and 2nd campaigns, she replied that she was ill. Asked about the 3rd campaign, she replied that she did not believe in war and refused to support it. She was then interrogated about her citizenship. She answered that she came from Portland, Maine. She was asked if she did not think it was every citizen’s duty to support the War and keep our Army in France to defend her freedom. Her response was that she did not think she put patriotism above her personal feelings and that she had spoken to her attorney, Richard Montague who advised her that she was not obligated to buy Liberty Bonds. She then asked her interrogators if they were trying to coerce her into buying Bonds. They denied coercing her but they replied that it was every citizen’s duty to support the War. The Government was only asking for a loan from her at a good rate of interest. Her reply was that the rate of 4 ½ %, that some people were subscribing to the Bonds for the sole purpose of a business investment rather than a patriotic one. She was asked if she knew what the Huns were doing in France and Belgium, the cruelties they practiced with women being ravished and did she not think she should protect OUR BOYS who were fighting to protect her?
Her reply was that she was willing to suffer anything rather than buy a Bond… and if the Government wanted it, they could come and take it. She would never give them any money or loan them any voluntarily. When the incident was reported to Liberty Temple, the U.S. District Attorney, Bert Haney, was notified.
Haney’s reply was written in the newspaper.(4.12.1918)” You can quote me directly as saying emphatically that no person with such unloyal and unpatriotic tendencies, as the woman in question, should be permitted to hold a public office, irrespective of whether he is in his legal rights or not.” Mayor Baker said, “The library board must act quickly to clear the stain from the name of otherwise a loyal State.” The library held an initial meeting to deal with the serious charge against Miss Hunt. The board’s vote was 14-1, with the majority voting to support her right to refuse the purchase of Liberty Bonds. One person, Mr. Woodward, wanted her terminated from her job. Mr. W. B. Ayer, president of the library board claimed he had a conversation with Miss Isom regarding Miss Hunt. Miss Isom stated that she never heard Miss Hunt utter any disloyal or unpatriotic sentiments. She was highly efficient and this was the first complaint against her. When the public outcry became so great, various meetings were held around the city, in support of termination from her position. As a result, the Liberty Loan Committee pressured the Central Library to hold another vote. The meeting was chaos with accusations flying around the room. In the end, Miss Hunt handed in her resignation as she did not want the Library to suffer the consequences of her actions. She had great respect for that Institution and what it represented to the Community.
To give an example of the public outcry, one meeting was held which was largely attended by Men of wealth and stature. It was unanimous that steps should be taken immediately to oust Miss Hunt from her position. The paper reported one banker as saying, “If the Library officials refuse to take action, I am in favor of taking legislative or other action to Deprive the Institution of any financial support by taxpayers.” Liberty Loan Headquarters received many calls and complaints, in person, regarding her refusal to buy Bonds.
Some folks wondered how she could be a Conscientious Objector and still be on the government payroll. One article stated that the place for Miss Hunt to hold her beliefs were in the privacy of her closet. Upon further reading, I have found that some of our Country’s learning institutions even stopped teaching German during this period in time. Supporting the War was a moral issue. One newspaper article mentioned that she was a native of Maine and she had an unyielding and tenacious New England conscience and was most offensively UN-American. Some felt that she could not go anywhere, that she would be known and her record would follow her. She left Oregon forever but did secure employment at a library in Michigan and later retired from a library in Racine, Wisconsin in 1940.
 The last few articles from the Oregon newspapers that week were filled with terrible comments about her. One columnist wrote,”What patriotism is in normal Americans is, in Miss Hunt, a perfect vacuum.” The journalism reflected opinion rather than fact that week. She was compared to “A Man without a Country” and some felt she was guilty of treason.
One newspaper dated April 16th, 1918 stated that, “By tending her resignation at once, the assistant librarian rescued the library board from a very unpleasant and uncomfortable situation. In taking her leave, Miss Hunt praised the library board for its ‘brave stand for freedom of conscience’. Miss Hunt having separated herself from public service, the incident, so far as she is concerned, may be considered closed. The library is under severe criticism in most quarters-for refusing to reverse or modify its ‘brave stand for freedom of conscience’. It was also written that all involved from board members to well respected community members all acted in what they believed to be sound principles of political freedom.
The Hunt incident incited a series of events where every public servant’s patriotism was questionable. It became a’ witch hunt’ of sorts. The County Commissioner’s office planned to have all public employees demonstrate their 100% allegiance to ‘Uncle Sam’. The Oregon Journal (April 18th, 1918) reported that, “It was gratifying and reassuring to witness the intensified spirit of almost universal loyalty and Americanism that has been displayed in Portland in the library case” In the end, Miss Hunt continued to travel and was very independent. Her obituary of Oct.1960, revealed no mention of her troubles in Portland, Oregon that year in 1918, but rather her academic accomplishments and her love of travel, having visited Europe several times. I cannot help but wonder what sort of headlines she would make today, if any at all. Portland, Maine was the home to such a woman of interest, and to think it was a marvelous discovery with the use of the Internet. I also contacted the Central Library and was sent a brief note explaining they had no information for me. That was a disappointment . Recently, I found that she is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Portland, Maine.


  Sources include the newspapers of Portland Oregon [The Evening Telegram/The Morning Oregonian /Oregon Journal] from the week of April 13th, 1918. Oregon Historical Society Quarterly, Sept. 1970, vol.212 pages 212-245 also ‘Born for Liberty’ by Sara Evans and lastly Portland, Maine newspaper [April 18th, 1918 edition]

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A Lesson from Fourth Grade

A Lesson from Fourth Grade
Redbank School


 This story is one I submitted back in 1997 to SPCASA Connector Newsletter.
It was published Oct. /Nov. 1997- Volume 14

Fourth Grade was the year I remember best. I was in Mrs. Schofield’s class at Redbank School. The academic year was 1969-70. We had a new boy join our class that year who was visibly different from the rest. He needed crutches to get around. I noticed that he was very shy and spent recess alone. I chose to befriend him.
By summer, he moved. I thought about him often and wondered how he was doing. We were both in High School now. Once while driving in Portland, I saw him outside his home. He was now using a wheelchair. I knew I needed to write to him.
To my surprise, I received a letter from him. He remembered me. I’ve carried him in my heart all these years as a gentle reminder of the strength of the human spirit. Two years ago, he passed away. [I have a memoriam and his letter still] I realized that I had been a good friend to him and I found comfort in that. I still think of him.
I thought of him when I found my son had Muscular Dystrophy. I knew that my son would experience the same struggles. I am grateful for that fourth grade memory because it taught me that people are just people. They all want acceptance and friendship.
With that memory of my grammar school friend, I know the importance of talking to children. As I push my son around in his wheelchair for a walk around my neighborhood, I answer the children’s questions. One child asks, “Why doesn’t he know how to walk?” My reply always includes a smile and an honest answer. “He does know how to walk. His legs won’t let him walk. It is the same if you need glasses because your eyes won’t let you read without them.” They are always satisfied with my answer. This, I feel, will be beneficial to my son because he will see that I am dealing with the questions. I am trying to model for him the power he will need in life. He will need to rise above his disability, and show the world who he is. If we as adults talk to our children about these issues, we can instill in them the importance of being a friend and having compassion for others.

Suzan Roberts Norton
In memory of my childhood friend, Dana Rush

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Diaries reveal Life in Westbrook , Maine -1870’s


                                                                 William Roberts [1843-1913 ]                                         
                His mother warned him that he could catch a cold after he got his whiskers shaved and a Haircut.
                                                This photos was taken after he got his hair cut in Waterloo, IA.
                                                        Photo Courtesy of Polly Carmichael

Often I drive from Saco Street in Westbrook, Maine for a three mile distance across  Route 25 in Gorham. I am thinking about this road as William Roberts, an ancestor of mine who wrote a lifetime’s worth of diaries that spanned from 1867-1913. He lived on Saco Street near present day Eisenhower Road and traveled this road to visit his sister, Mrs, Randall [Frances] Elder. Frances lived across the road from the municipal building in Gorham in a farm built by the Elders in the late 1700’s. This farm was burned in 2002 by Gorham FD. I am interested in this stretch of road as I believe that there is not much today that William would recognize.     

            As he is traveling down Saco Street, heading for Gorham, he passes the Old Conant Place which is still occupied by descendants of the original family. The next familiar home is the house was most recently occupied by Century 21 Real Estate, formerly the Dewitt Manor, and originally owned by the Rines family. A half mile down the road is the Mosher Farm which is on the corner of the road which heads to Sebago Lake and Route 25. Today Beal’s Ice Cream is across the street from Mosher Farm. The Old Richardson Place is the next recognizable farm today that William traveled past on this stretch of road. There are no trees on this road that were here when William was alive. In fact the whole population of the world has changed nearly twice since his birth in 1843.

            He was one of seven siblings with six reaching adulthood. He lived in the same house nearly all his life. The world that William lived in was a different world in many ways. Farmers were tied to agriculture, watched the seasons, annual waterfall, and the heavens were watched closely. Everyone knew how to use their animals to help with labor, from using horses to help with lumber and getting it out of the woods, to using oxen to help move buildings.Chopping wood, tending crops, harvesting hay which took all of August, consumed a great deal of time. William even grafted trees and did so for  man named Skillins down by Long Creek in South Portland. Life was filled with chores, family duties, and there was little idle time. Each Sunday, William attended Church, sometimes twice and usually two denominations. Reading the newspaper and visiting were also reserved for Sundays. Superstition was not uncommon. The infant mortality rate was very high. My family had an antidote for scarlet fever, and smallpox and other ailments. One of the ingredients was foxglove. Neighbors and family relied on each other because that was how they survived. Life was very slow indeed.

            It is fascinating that he wrote his diaries with the intent that one day someone would read them as he left us a window to his life. Reading the diaries was not comparable to reading a book, as a book is much faster. As I read, I had to remind myself that he did not know what his future held, or what hardships lay in store for him: He did not know the ending. It was just like life, however if I wanted to look ahead to reference a death date, I usually became upset afterwards because I really should not have read ahead as I felt like it was as if I wanted to know my own future. One example was when his friend Sylvanus S. Hatch, a new father, lost his baby at the age of three months.. I had an emotional attachment to the characters in William’s story and it brought a tear to my eye.

William was most interested in world events, having gone Westward twice in his life. Written on Sept . 5th, 1869-Waterloo, IA, “ Didn’t go to meeting but read some in the Bible. Went up to where the bridge went off and saw two horses come near to drowning that they both died .” Once he wrote in his diary bout the huge Fire in Boston in 1872. Within a week he went to Portland and boarded a boat with his brother John [Both men served 9 month voluntary enlistments in 25th Maine Co. E, Civil War- 1862-63] While on this trip , he visited his friend George Browne from Westbrook, who was admitted to the hospital in Boston, before William left for Portland. In fact, William wrote that he accompanied George to the hospital. George died a few days later from Smallpox. His body was sent back to Westbrook for burial in Saccarappa Cemetery and the grave overlooks Beaver Pond. William writes that he becomes concerned he may have Smallpox as he is not feeling right. He starts off with an excruciating headache from the back of the head and he calls the doctor. The doctor is not sure he has Smallpox but confirms later as the headache is followed with severe vomiting. The diary entries were empty for two weeks or so and then he begins to feel better. He details how his mother also comes down with Smallpox and she survives. On Jan. 3rd, 1873, William wrote,

“ We washed some of our Smallpox clothes. Father did most of it but Mother and I helped a little and Charley helped hang them out”  [Charley was his brother who married Ella Whitney in later years and  moved to Edes Falls Road in Harrison.]

William’s diaries detail his time as Overseer of The Poor one year. The Poorhouse was also on Saco Street next to the John Roberts’ farm. He tells how one person at the Poorhouse was sent back to Canada at the town’s expense of a few dollars. He was very curious about people from different nations. He wrote of working side by side with a Frenchman and once wrote of meeting a  ‘Prussian by birth’ on one of his trips out West. His world was changing very fast. I know he marveled at his changing world but not sure he knew the full extent of how the Industrial Revolution and the Westward Expansion [Manifest Destiny] would change the world around him. Reading the paper once a week is so much different than being bombarded with images 24/7 on television, radio, and the internet. Our ever changing world could be a cause of more anxiety.  I am not sure we can keep up with all the stimulation.

The diaries have revealed more family clues than I ever imagined I would find. I have found ancestors in Australia, relatives on the West Coast and even the whereabout of William’s father’s sister, Harriet who was age seven in the census of 1820. One diary entry mentioned he had witnessed a man named Gustin digging up the remains of Uncle Otis’s wife[above mentioned Harriet] and child in 1888. She had been dead for 40 years. Her daughter had been eighteen months at death. The remains were buried in Saccarappa Cemetery overlooking the ravine. I was fortunate to find the burial location and an early transcription which had dates as the dates were illegible when I finally found it.

   One day, a diary entry gave a vivid description of his cousin Daniel Dole driving his wagon hurriedly from Stroudwater [near the burial ground], anxious to get some help as his father ,Moses Dole, had shot himself. William left his duties on his farm to assist his cousin’s family for two weeks, noting that Uncle Moses was buried two days after the incident. I am not sure if it was accidental or not. He also helped  care for his sick nephew for three weeks at his sister’s home on Beckett Street, Munjoy Hill which is now O’Brien Street. He went where he was needed. William’s father Charles worked until he was nearly 92 years, cutting trees and doing heavy manual labor. One article said he cut and stacked six cords of wood in one day as he was an expert ax man and skilled with a saw. Concerning Charles’ old age, William wrote, “Father is in bed with old age” Charles never sat alone at night during this time, as family and friends kept vigil by his bedside for three months. William recorded all their names.He wrote of his wife having a stroke and could not move in her bed. The doctor came and told him that she would be dead in two days. The doctor was right. She died at home. William’s world is gone but I am fortunate to be a witness to his diary entries he left behind.

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Remembering Redbank School


My name is Suzan Roberts Norton, and I was born the eldest child of John and Patricia O’Donnell Roberts in 1960. I lived for a short six months with my grandparents on Anthoine Street and then to my parents’ first home at 34 Powers Road, South Portland. We moved in 1965 across the street to 160 Devereaux Circle [3 bedroom, top floor] as my mother was expecting her fourth child. I recall the move as everything was put into a station wagon and moved across the street. I sat on the open back door of the station wagon as my dad inched across the street. We lived in Redbank from 1960-1980, when my parents bought a house on the corner of Dawson and Broadway. My dad started his own business in 1974 down at Long Creek which is where the present Home Depot is in South Portland. While I was in High School, I worked with him whenever I could. I would walk over there after school. He was there maybe five years when he became adamant about buying a home. I was one of four children, my brother David born in 1961, my sister Sharon born in 1964 and my sister Carol born in 1965. We have very strong roots and we were all brought up in Redbank.

I married in 1985 and decided I would like to move back to an affordable rent in a nice neighborhood with lots of kids. You guessed it…Redbank would be my choice. I moved upstairs from some folks I knew very well, Mr. and Mrs. Wendell Lewis, as I attended school with their children and my brother played sports with their sons. I was familiar with many of the neighbors already, like the Murphy’s and the Waterhouse’s. We stayed a year or so when my husband enlisted in the US Navy after a short separation from the Navy. This took my husband, my baby Michael and me, to Panama City Beach, Florida. This is where our other son John {J.T.) was born. After that tour was over we came back to Maine briefly and then my husband joined the US Army and I was thrilled to find we would be going to Bad Kissingen, Germany and later to <st1Fort <st1Bliss, El Paso Texas. Eventually we came back to Maine and we moved back to Redbank, only this time we lived across the street from the Lewis family at 36 Wainwright Circle East. I chose to stay home with my kids and do some side work, signs, calligraphy and I even babysat my sister’s kids and my cousin’s kids. I was very involved in scouting also.

 I took a position at <st1Redbank <st1School only mornings and during recess, maybe 10-15 hours per week. I have wonderful memories of the staff there. They were an exceptional group of people, a real team. It must have been very difficult for them when the school closed. It was a privilege to work at the school each day and the school was dear to my heart. Perhaps a year passed when Mary Marsh asked me if I would be interested in a full time position at <st1Kaler <st1School, working as an Ed Tech. I interviewed for the position and was delighted when they wanted me to join their staff. Kaler was also an old school with many families not unlike our own families in Redbank. The parents were very involved in their children’s education and it was also a small school, maybe only 108 children were enrolled that first year I was there [1995] It was nice that some of the Redbank families I remembered as a child were parents of children who attended Kaler. I worked at Kaler from 1995-1998 and I enjoyed every minute of it. The kids are wonderful; our investments and our treasures. All the time I was there, there was talk of four elementary schools closing sometime in the near future and Redbank and Kaler were on that list. The closing of these little neighborhood schools was met with great resistance. I heard 2008 would be the year, but I did not know it would happen so fast. Who would have ever thought the <st1Skillin <st1School would be accommodating all the Redbank Kids? I heard a great deal of opposition to this as well. The neighborhood as we all knew it would be forever changed as the schools closed. Never again will kids be so close the first twelve years of their lives to be mainstreamed into middle school together. Will we ever have those close bonds with elementary friends again? I still have many friends from elementary school and I call them on their birthdays. Anyhow a change was about to happen, and sometimes change is good, but I did not feel that way when I saw the empty lot where our school once stood.

I saw the news one evening and saw Jim Dow being interviewed about the school’s closing and demolition. He is the manager at <st1Redbank <st1Village and gave a nice interview. I immediately drove over there twice that week to take pictures. My real motivation came when I “googled” <st1Redbank <st1School  and saw ONLY Jim’s interview. I was shocked I could find nothing else regarding our neighborhood. I did find one story at the Maine State Archives website regarding a recollection by Bob Dyke who lived on a farm where present day <st1Country <st1Gardens is located. He was a witness to the plane Crash in the 1940’s down behind the gas station at Redbank near where <st1Olde <st1English <st1Village is located. See [Ruth Conner’s site] for more info on this plane crash. I felt an overwhelming responsibility to do something about collecting some sort of living history of our neighborhood of Redbank. I posted all my grammar school pictures on under South Portland. At first, I thought the folks at would think I was nuts and so would all the readers. Anyhow something wonderful happened. Ruth Conner posted a comment and we began to talk about what we could do. I told her that maybe it was up to us to start preserving something that is representative of the neighborhood. With the help of everyone, it has been a huge success. So here we are today, keeping friends in touch and sharing recollections. What could possibly be better than that? Our school may be gone, but I am forever grateful that we have started something so that we are all keeping the neighborhood memories alive.<st1Redbank <st1School stood for Community, Family Life, Education, and it was where we learned life’s earliest lessons. In our neighborhood, not only did we all live together, but we went to school together and we played together outside of school. As years passed, many generations of families stayed in Redbank, a place where people relied on each other and felt safe in their homes. Today I live on 114 in Standish, near <st1Sebago <st1Lake , but it is not comparable to the place I grew up in, as I do not know my neighbors, because the world is different today. Most families have two parents working, have busier lifestyles and the world is driven by technology. Let’s stay connected and continue to contribute to our blogs. 

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Finding that Needle in a Haystack : Ways to search the Internet


Photo courtesy of Polly Carmichael

  redbankmisc247.jpg australian cousins picture by fiddlinsuz

This picture was one of several in one of the old family leather hinged albums which sat in the parlor in the Roberts’ Family Homestead built early 1800’s on Saco Street , in Westbrook, Maine. Had it not been for the marking on the back of the photograph, combined with information I found in William Roberts diaries dating from 1867-1913 and clues painted on some old handpainted portraits of children dating mid 1800’s, along with an old letter dated 1925…. I might never have known that I had relatives go to Australia in the 1830’s roughly.
        This photograph could be a former Westbrook native, since the back is marked  A. Wooley Studio, 42 MacQuarrie Street, Hobart, Australia, I am almost certain it could be William Roberts who was born in 1807 to William and Betsy Hatch Roberts, both buried in Saccarappa Cemetery in Westbrook, Maine.  I had seen a mention of him in the 1820 census. After that, it was as if he disappeared. He ‘disappeared’ until I contacted my relative who still lives in the family homestead. She gave me a few items that I found extremely interesting. She also allowed me to copy all the family pictures in the albums.One item was a letter dated 1925 sent from Australia to cousin William Roberts, author of the diaries. This William would have been a nephew to the William in Australia. The letter was penned by a thirteen year old grandchild of a woman who was dictating the letter. The old woman who was dictating the letter was a Harriet and I could not read her last name ,as it looked like Gergison or Ferguson. A depiction of this Harriet is above in 1846 when she was only 6 months old. {Odd how her brother Charles is shown wearing a dress at age 3}
        So the mystery unravels and I become obsessed with finding out who the letter is from especially since it never was read by the recipient as he had been dead for two years when it arrived. I believe the recipient’s daughter felt the letter was important enough so that it remained in the family papers until I was fortunate enough to have it given to me, along with two handpainted miniature paintings of children named Charles and Harriet Roberts. On the backs of these portraits were penned the birthdates and the dates the portraits were painted. I had seen those family names before but the dates did not match with the people I knew.
        The diaries indicated that William had received letters on occasion from a cousin Harriet in Australia and along with his diary entry, he posted her address. Now I was not too familiar with what resources were available in Australia regarding genealogy, however I did find that there exists a resource called the Sands Index. This is a reverse directory in which you can look up an address to see who lived at a certain location in a certain year. The world wide web is a fascinating place as there are so many who will help you. I was very fortunate to find a librarian who answered one of my queries. I would also like to say that I have on many occasions taken photos for folks from around the world of cemetery pics and even looked things up for them. It is not uncommon that others will help you in your quest for information. The librarian told me the name was Gergison, not Ferguson and that the woman was listed as a dressmaker. This was a great find. After receiving this info, I immediately went to and clicked on the message boards. I searched for the surname Gergison and found only one worldwide and it was in Australia. After sending a few queries, I told the person I may have something they would be interested in(Portraits and Letter) Finally after two months, I received a reply from a woman who said that her sister in law was the genealogist and she would forward her my name. A friendship began as the woman who was the genealogist had copies of many old birth records, in fact one matched the exact date on the back of the miniature portrait of the little boy named Charles Sefton Roberts born 1843. I have never been so excited to find this sort of information and to think a little detective work and the use of today’s technology, we were able to solve the mystery. The diaries also mentioned a visit in 1869 by a Charles S. Roberts to the family home on Saco Street. William was told by his father, Charles, to give Charles S. Roberts a bank draft for 250 dollars, which I believe was his inheritance money. His diary entry was rather short and I sensed he was annoyed. Charles S. Roberts, the recipient of the 250 dollars, was the son of William in Australia ,whom I found later through my Australian friend had died in 1860. This Charles S. Roberts did not stay in Westbrook very long as the following day, he and a Saco Street neighbor, Sylvanus S. Hatch (from the Hatch/Libby House) headed West. I think ‘West’ was in and around the Ohio area as Sylvanus married a woman from Ohio. Sylvanus died in 1914 and is buried in the Hatch lot at Saccarappa Cemetery. William , of the diaries was most interested in the world around him and wanted to head West also. He left his duties on the farm and headed West exactly one week after Sylvanus and his cousin Charles left for the West. I often wonder what happened to Charles S. Roberts as I never found him anywhere in the US Census after the diary entry. (I saw some Charles. S. Roberts’ however none matching the age or nationality) William stayed in Waterloo Iowa for six months and headed there a year later and spent another year out West. He came back home to the family farm on Saco Street and was the caretaker of the farm. He was also a veteran of the Civil War(25th Me. Co E) and he is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Westbrook, Maine. He had one Daughter, Eleanor Roberts Waterhouse.

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History, Advocacy, Inspiration & Stories of Long Ago

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