Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Father, Daughter and Niece: The Barbour's Buried At The Grand Trunk Cemetery

     The existing city records for burials at the East Deering/Grand Trunk Cemetery are sparse and only show that three members of the Barbour family were buried here:  Frances Jane Barbour, in 1846 at the age of 15 years, Mary Ann Barbour, in 1855, age 27 years, and John Barbour, in 1869, age 67.  Before sharing what I have learned about these individuals, I'd like to share a bit of the history of the Barbour family and how they came to be part of the foundation of the city we know as Portland, Maine.


     "In July, 1716, the inhabitants who had already gathered upon the Neck, being probably the disbanded soldiers, were fifteen men, besides women and children."
    taken from The History of Portland by William Willis (A New Edition of the 1865 History)

  William Willis was a passionate writer of history; particularly about the history of the city he loved.  He was an active participant in city government and business and continued writing and contributing to 'the daily press and scholarly journals until the day he died' on February 17, 1870.   His History of Portland  continues to be an important historical resource to researchers and history buffs alike.

  The following order was passed by the General Council, July 20, 1716, allowing "Capt. Samuel Moody, late Commander of His Majesty's fort at Casco Bay to build a small fortification, with stockades, at the town of Falmouth, commonly called Old Casco, about his own house, on his own land...... that he might furnish arms and ammunition at his own charge for himself and the inhabitants being in number, fifteen men, besides women and children."

     "Among the men listed are John Barbour, father and son":  the father came a year later with his son James, his daughter, and her children.  John Barbour, the elder was drowned at sea in January 1719.

     Willis explains that the Barbour's were from the "Scotch/Irish emigration."  New transplants to the northern territory of Maine were expected to establish their families within a home and on land that might eventually be granted to them.  The earliest land proprietors had been driven off and expelled from the region by the natives who saw the English as intruders.  In the early, 1700's, after the 1st of the Indian Wars, some of the old proprietors and new immigrants came to resettle the area.  William Willis focuses on John Barbour, the son, because he apparently built a house on Middle Street, on land which was eventually granted to him and passed on to succeeding generations for many years.


The family crest shows the Scottish and northern Irish occupational name from Old French barbeor 'barber'.  The possible meaning of the surname is 'one who cuts beards'.

     It appears that all of the Barbour's and Barber' can trace their lineage to the first John Barbour, born c. 1645 in Ireland who arrived in Old Falmouth in 1718 with his wife and children.  Our John Barbour and his family members are descended from the son, James Barbour.  I am grateful to Mike Sawyer who passed on the genealogical history of the Barbour's of Maine.  This proved to be a tremendous help to me in my research and what I hope readers will find interesting.

Genealogical Path

James Barbour (2 ), born 1690, married Mary Nelson of York and resided in Westbrook, to John (Cap)Jr. (3), born 1737, married Mary Noyes in Falmouth, to John M. (4) born 1773,  married (1) Anna Wilson, died 1850, married (2) Sarah Hamlin, to John Barbour(5), born October 12, 1801, married Jane Moses Morse, and brother George Barbour (5), born 1804, married Emma Knight, both resided in Deering/ Westbrook, Maine.

An Interesting Side Note

     John M. Barbour, our John and George Barbour's father served in the militia for the defense of Portland during the War of 1812 as seen in the pension record to follow.

     While rooting through family trees and records, I happened on a rare photograph of a John Barbour, a cousin no doubt, who was born around 1804 and lived in Portland.  Perhaps there is a family resemblance to our John.  I thought it was worth including.

     The union of John Barbour and Jane Morse Barbour produced twelve children.  Mary Ann Barbour is not listed here.  You will also note that this record indicates he was born in Scotland.  Several family trees show Scotland as his birthplace, however, I have not find any supporting evidence to verify this fact.   You will also note that he died in Lycoming, PA.  His death record indicates that he was removed to the Presumpscot (East Deering cemetery.  This record also lists the cause of his death.

 Census records also show John's occupation as a carpenter.  Jane M. Barbour lived for nearly 20 years after John's death.  Although, her year of death is recorded as 1881, she appears in a later census.  It also appears she lived in Portland on Munjoy Street after her husband's death with some of her children and their spouses and children.

      Mary Ann Barbour, daughter of John and Jane, was born c. 1827 and died on October 7, 1855.  No cause of death was indicated for this young woman of 27.  She was unmarried and lived with her parents until her death.

     Another very young woman, Frances Jane Barbour, cousin to Mary Ann, niece of John and Jane Barbour and beloved daughter of George and Emma Knight Barbour died at the age of fifteen in 1846.  Frances Jane was the second of four children born; a sister Emily was born in 1825, married Osgood Knight and had four children.  Two other children followed; brother, George Edward in 1834 who later married Sarah G. Pennell, and Amanda Ellen, born in 1840 who later married Moses G. Woodman. 

     George Barbour, younger brother of John Barbour,  worked as a freight conductor on the Maine Central Railroad.  Although George and Emma Barbour and other family members are interred in Evergreen Cemetery, I thought I might include some of the information I found interesting to help to create an image of these folks who were part of the fabric of early Portland. 

 Here is the death record for Frances Jane Barbour

     An old record of burials at the East Deering Cemetery mistakenly list her name as Frances Jane Boothby, but here is proof that she was the daughter of George Barbour.

     I found this interesting that George and Emma were married by Elder Samuel Rand, pastor of the First Free Baptist Church in Portland.

     The original, handwritten records always reveal so much more than you expect.  I've enjoyed searching in order to create a picture of these people who lived and are a part of our history that should be remembered and cherished.

     On a final note:  Mike Sawyer shared a connection to the Sawyer family.
Anticipating your next dive into the Barbour's I looked into my family tree, but my Barbour's are much earlier.  Adam Barbour (1748-1826) -> Rebecca Barbour(1776-1852)m. Benj Sawyer(179-1825) -> Lewis Bean Sawyer(1798-1858) -> Sophia Knight Sawyer(1823-1910) -> Eugene Sawyer(1855-1926) -> Ted Sawyer (1919-2002)

     I hope that others who follow this blog might share their connections and information.  I also want to express my excitement that three Junior Girl Scouts want to carry on the legacy begun by Samantha Allshouse and Kayla Theriault who undertook the reclamation of the Grand Trunk Cemetery.  The girls have asked me to be their mentor as they undertake a Girl Scout Bronze Award project at the cemetery.  This Wednesday, they and their parents will meet Joseph Dumais, cemeteries coordinator to discuss some of their ideas.  And so the work continues!