Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Anthony Sawyer's Legacy


     If has taken me much longer than I anticipated to compete this final section on the Sawyers of East Deering Village, perhaps because mysteries and new revelations abound.  It is clear that Anthony Sawyer can be claimed by a large number of people as a fore-father.  It's been my privilege to meet some of them, either in person,  or through the internet,  because of this reclamation project.  That has been such a big help in trying to create a picture, albeit, a fuzzy one, of people who lived in the 18th and 19th century, and to commemorate  their lives,  here at the Grand Trunk Cemetery; their final resting place.

     Anthony Sawyer, was the second oldest son of Isaac Sawyer Jr., born on January 21, 1734/5.  The mysterious date is due to the fact that the United Kingdom and the Colonies used the Julian calendar until 1752 when it switched to the Gregorian calendar.  So most genealogies show a date of 1735 today. Anthony married Susanna(h) Marston on November 7, 1755 at the 1st Church of Falmouth.  His grandfather, Isaac Sawyer, Sr. is noted to be the founder of the church, and as you may recall, membership in the church assured citizenship in Old Falmouth and a right to property ownership.

     Anthony and Susanna produced eleven children; nine  boys and  two girls.  Some genealogies list another child who may have died at birth or early on.  When Anthony died on December 21, 1804, at the age of 69,  his wife and his off-spring, along with their spouses sold his farm to one Simon Davis, a trader from Boston on December 31, 1804.  In my last post,  I printed out  that document for its value in showing all of the familial relationships, and,  because it also shows the occupation of Anthony's sons. 

     One mystery still exists for me: Who or which Isaac Sawyer, merchant, and his wife Susanna was present and participated in this transaction?  I'm assuming that it may be a cousin, the son of Zachariah Sawyer, Anthony's brother.  This Isaac would also figure in a later transaction involving the sale of a vessel.  More of this to come!

     What happened to Susanna Marston Sawyer after her husband's death?  Did she go to live with a relative; one of Anthony's brothers' families, or  with one of her daughters or sons?  She died fifteen years after Anthony's death, on August 31st, 1819, but there is no listing of where she was buried, with her husband or in another location?  Another mystery!


Here are the obituary notices printed for both Anthony and Susanna Sawyer.

     You'll note that Susanna Marston Sawyer died in Westbrook.  I believe at the time of her death, that East Deering,  part of what we have previously referenced as Old Falmouth, may have then become part of Westbrook (Sacarappa), adding to the mystery.  

     The Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder, Volume 4 (1887) contains a list of cemetery inscriptions recorded by Isaac Cobb.  This is only a partial list accounting for a few of the over one hundred burials at the Grand Trunk Cemetery.( I have made a few handwritten notes on the page.)

You will note that the man we know as Lieut. Crispus Graves is referred to as

 Christopher and his wife, as Hannah Graves.

    Thomas Sawyer was the first born son of Anthony and Susanna Sawyer, born July 14, 1758 and died in Westbrook on April 11, 1833. On January 31st, 1784, he married Susanna Barton at the 1st Church of Falmouth.  Susanna Barton was born in 1765 and died on February 6, 1805 at the age of 40.  You'll notice that her inscription reads:  wife of Captain Thomas Sawyer.  Thomas Sawyer married a second wife, Mary David, on May 31st, 1806.  After his death, Mary David applied for a pension since Thomas served in the Revolutionary War.  

     Thomas and Susanna gave birth to four children:  Dorcas, born 1783 and died June 23, 1803, Thomas Jr, born December 15, 1785 and died on April 21, 1807 at the age of 22 years, George, born in 1790 and died on June 13, 1808 and Daniel, born in 1798 and died on October 17, 1820.

     Thomas and his second wife, Mary David produced two other children:  Susan M. born in 1807.  No date of death is listed for Susan.  Another child, Aaron G. was born in 1812 and died in 1895.

     Susanna Barton Sawyer and her son, Thomas Sawyer Jr. are interred in the Grand Trunk Cemetery.  Captain Thomas Sawyer is buried in Westbrook.  His widow, Mary David Sawyer married a second time to  Moses Roberts.  On examining the pension record, provided by our friend, Mike sawyer, we discovered that Thomas's widow received payments for his rank as a private during the Revolutionary War.

     Another mystery to solve?  Where did the title Captain come from?  Clearly, it was not a military rank in Thomas's case.  Taking a look at the document from the sale of Anthony Sawyer's property, I noticed that both Thomas and his brother, Ephraim bear the title mariner after their names.  An 'Ah  ha! moment.  Could Thomas have been a sailor or even a ship's master?  With the persistence of Mike Sawyer, we made a discovery that would lend light.  Mike discovered a document for the sale of a sloop, called the Cyrus to Harvard College dated February 2, 1793 by Thomas Sawyer, Mariner in partnership with Isaac Sawyer, Merchant and Jacob Adams Cordwainer.  The document clearly list Thomas Sawyer as the Master of the Cyrus; thus, the title, Captain Thomas Sawyer.

     I wrote about two of Anthony Sawyer's other sons, John and William in my post regarding the connection between the Graves family and the Sawyers.  Both brothers married daughters of Lieut. Crispus Graves, Abigail and Tabitha.  Both brothers served in the militia during the War of 1812. John was 54 and William 51 when they served as militiamen.  Here is a bit more about them.

     John Sawyer was born on November 13, 1760 in Falmouth and died on December 6, 1842 in Westbrook at the age of 82.  He married Abigail Graves at the 1st Church of Falmouth on April 22, 1790.  John and Abigail has five children:  Susannah, born in 1794, but who died at the age of six years on January 16, 1800; a second daughter, Nabby, was born in 1796, also appeared to have died on January 25, in the same year, at the age of four.  A son, John was born in August, 1801, but died  at the age of 14 months on October 2nd, 1802.  Another daughter is named Dorcas, but there is no other information.  Only one son, Joel, born in 1805, lived a long life, and died at the age of 69 in 1874.  Abigail Graves, born on August 13, 1765, died on March 10, 1848 at the age of 82, is interred with her husband at the Grand Trunk Cemetery. 

     William Sawyer was born in Falmouth in 1763, and died in East Deering on May 14, 1825.  He married Tabitha Graves at the 1st Church of Falmouth in 1793.  Their union produced four children.  A son,William was  born in 1794 and  is listed in the Westbrook census as a laborer.  There is no other information.  Joseph Merrill Sawyer was born in August 1795 and died on June 1st,1875 at the age of 79. Crispus Sawyer was born on March 28, 1804 in Falmouth and died on August 24, 1873 at the age of 69.

     William Sawyer and his son Joseph M. served in the militia during the War of 1812.  Joseph was 19 at the time.  Joseph M. married Dorcas Whittam on November 18, 1832.  Dorcas was born in 1801 and died at the age of 55, on December 15, 1856.  A little son, Joseph Merrill Sawyer, Jr. was born to the couple on October 10, 1832, but died just before his third birthday on September 27, 1835. 

     William Sawyer and his wife, Tabitha Graves Sawyer, their sons, Joseph Merrill Sawyer and Crispus Sawyer, along with their daughter-in-law, Dorcas Whittam Sawyer, and their grandson, Joseph M. Sawyer, Jr. are buried at the Grand Trunk Cemetery.

     My attempt to create a picture of the Sawyers of East Deering Village has been an interesting and challenging adventure, and so worthwhile.  I have gained a great deal of knowledge and a bit of understanding about life during the 18th and early 19th centuries, and, a tremendous respect for those early settlers.  My picture will remain incomplete and fuzzy, but I hope that descendants of Anthony Sawyer and his brothers, children and grandchildren will find some of this valuable.  For the rest of you who read this blog, I hope it peaks your interest enough to inspire you to take a walk into the Grand Trunk Cemetery to remember those folks who are a part of our history and whose lives inform our present; Portland, Maine today.

     Happy Thanksgiving to all!  More discoveries yet to come, after the holidays!