Saturday, November 15, 2014


     Timothy Galvin was born in County Clare, Ireland located in the Mid-West Region,  also part of the province of Munster, on February 2, 1776.  Unfortunately, no records exist regarding his parents or family.  According to our resident expert on all things regarding the Irish who emigrated to America in the 18th and 19th century, Matt Jude Barker, records were not kept until much later, making it nearly impossible to find much pertinent information.  

An Aside

     The Galvin name seems to be somewhat controversial as to its origin. According to Ancestry: the Irish (version)  is a reduced Anglicized version form of Gaelic O' Gealbhan'; a personal name for:  'geal' bright  and 'ban' white, French: nickname for a 'cheerful drunkard'.  The family crest is somewhat more revealing:
I added this for those of you who may be interested in pursuing more information regarding the Galvin clan.
     Shortly after arriving in America, and settling in the East Deering area, Timothy married Joanna Illsley, born on February 14, 1769,a member of the prominent Illsley family on March 12, 1795.   Timothy was nineteen and Joanna, seven years his senior.  Idle curiosity, perhaps, but I wondered if this might have been an arranged marriage.  Timothy was young and possessed education and skill and I'm sure, would have been well received by the Illsley family.  
     Joanna and Timothy would produce at least six children, although,  because there is such scant information listed in the census records of 1810 and 1820, little is known about the children;  who they were and what became of them.  My hope is that any living descendants may provide some insight.

     Harriot Galvin, born in 1800, died at the age of five years and is interred at the Grand Trunk Cemetery.  The Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder, vol 4, lists the inscription on her memorial stone.  It reads: 

       The census record of 1810 indicates that there was one male child under the age of ten, another boy, between 10 years and 15 years of age, a female child under 10 and another girl between 10 and 15 years of age.  However, Timothy's age is recorded as over 45.  He would have been 34 years of age, and Joanna, age 41.  Harriot had died five years before.

     In 1820, the record indicates that there were two boys under 10, and one boy between the age of 10 and 15.  There were also two female children between 10 and 15 years of age.  Tim's age is recorded again as over 45 years of age.

     If you recall from Matt Jude Barker's talk, there is some information about one of the Galvin children, George Illsley Galvin whose estate received the proceeds from the sale of his father's home and property. George died in 1841.  Again, only bits of information about this George have surfaced.  Apparently he moved to Calais, Maine where he was involved in the building of a church.  His name appears on this  document,  and in one of a court proceeding.

     While attempting to find out more about Timothy Galvin, I wondered if he may have been Catholic since the Galvin surname is one associated with that faith.  I did however, come across other information in the Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder, Vol. 3 which indicated that Tim Galvin was a subscriber, along with several of his neighbors,  to Rev. Caleb Bradley's church.  The document is dated Falmouth, June 24, 1799.

     I've highlighted several familiar names of citizens of East Deering Village that I've previously written about in this blog:  Crispus Graves and Joseph Merrill stand out,  as well as several members of the Sawyer family.  Clearly, Timothy Galvin was an involved member of the community in many aspects of his life as a teacher and a surveyor, 'lawyer', husband and father.

     Theodore Sawyer's Back Cove to Quaker Lane continues to be a wonderful source of information and insight into the East Deering community at this period of history.  I am including two pages from his manuscript because of the wealth of information it contains regarding Tim Galvin's skill as a surveyor, his transactions with other citizens and information regarding his home in relation to the layout of the village.  

     Today, if you drive up Washington Avenue,  over the bridge into East Deering, you'll cross over Veranda Street.  Apparently, before Veranda Street existed, Tim Galvin's home was at the corner of Meadow Lane (now Washington Ave,)  I've been told he also owned a small shop.  To the left of the avenue, just past Bates Street, is 'Galvin Street'.  I imagine the street is named for our Timothy Galvin.  A bit further down the road, off West Presumpscot Street is 'Illsley Street', named, I'm sure for Capt. Isaac Illsley and the Illsley family.

     Timothy Galvin died on January 21, 1838 at the age of 61, just prior to his 62nd birthday.  His wife, Joanna Illsley Galvin died just two years later,  on April 4, 1840.  To date, we have been unable to find out whether Joanna was buried beside her husband.  In all probability, she was.  

     I hope that readers of this post about Timothy Galvin and his family will find it interesting,  as we continue to uncover more about those early citizens of East Deering Village,  and the story of how they  contributed to the history of our city of Portland, Maine.  Hopefully, readers may have clues and facts that they can add to the story so that the Remnant, that is the Grand Trunk Cemetery, and its inhabitants,  can be preserved in memory for years to come.

     Thanksgiving and the holiday season is fast approaching.  I wish each of you the very best of celebrations with family and friends.  I plan to resume my research and 'story telling' after the holidays.  Peace to All!