Friday, January 22, 2016

Master Timothy Galvin, A Household Name

A New Year  New Discoveries


19th Century School Master

     Of course, this is not a photograph of The Timothy Galvin.  As far as I know, to date, no photographs exist.  However, Leonard Bond Chapman, editor and publisher of the Deering News (1894 - 1904), provided some marvelous images of the man that I want to share so as to add to the story of the souls interred at the East Deering/Grand Trunk Cemetery.

     You may remember my writing about Leonard Bond Chapman in previous posts as the 'unofficial' caretaker of the ancient cemeteries in Portland until his death in 1915, but he was so much more.  LB Chapman was a prolific writer and invaluable caretaker of the history of Deering which is preserved in Grampa's Scrapebook.  In November, in my last post, I mentioned that our friend, Herb Adams loaned me his copy of the reformatted and indexed book, by Thomas Shaw Henley,  particularly for the  article about Tim Galvin. 
Since that time, 'Santa' brought me my own copy and it has provided many genealogical tidbits. I recommend this book to those of you doing your own genealogical detecting; no doubt you will find it helpful.

     William David Barry and Patricia McGraw Anderson in their book Deering:  A Social and Architectural History , p. 111, said this:
....the News' great impact (was the) minute coverage of events, political spice
             and peerless historical and genealogical columns, providing Deering 

             with a relevant and useful written legacy. 

From the book:  Deering, p.69

A very early photo of LB Chapman

     LB Chapman devoted an entire article to Timothy Galvin on page 21 of Grampa's Scrapebook.  Although I'm unsure of the date it was published, he references:
 Ninety years ago and later,  the name of Timothy Galvin was a household word hereabouts.  He was an Irishman, born in Ireland, February 2, 1766 married, March 12, 1793, Joanna Ilsley.  The Ilsley's lived where Hawkin's shoe factory is located on Ocean Street.
      In my earlier post about Timothy Galvin, I listed the year of his birth as 1776 taken from the Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder, vol. IV which contained the inscription from his tombstone. I also listed his marriage to Joanna Ilsley as having taken place in the year 1795, the year he arrived in Maine from Ireland, not as Chapman indicated as 1793.  If the year of Timothy Galvin's birth is accurate, then he was three years older than Joanna and not,  as I had written, nineteen at the time of their marriage and she, six years older.   He would have been twenty-nine which seems more in keeping with the 1810 census I included in the earlier post.  Much more interesting and intriguing to me and, I hope to you,  is Chapman's description of the man known as Master Galvin.  He write:
He was short in stature, quick in motion, an excitable temper, full of wit, slight brogue, stood high as a mathematician, a surveyor of land, shopkeeper and schoolmaster.  His name, however, is seldom found in historical research.
In 1810, the two story schoolhouse was commenced that was located on the site of the present one at Stroudwater, and Master Galvin was notified that when finished, another teacher would be employed as he did not understand grammar sufficiently well to teach it, whereupon he obtained a grammar and went to work on it.  When the schoolhouse was ready, he was also ready to teach grammar as well as other branches of study.

The Bradley Meeting House and School House

     Timothy Galvin received $115. 37 for 'keeping winter school in Stroudwater" in 1815 from Mr. Charles Pierce, on behalf of the School Committee at that time.  In 1816, he received a payment of $33.00 per month for teaching in the first district of the Stroudwater parish.  LB Chapman also alludes to Timothy's propensity for humor with his students and his sayings and little speeches which have faded over the years.
If the boys were in swimming or sliding, or engaged in any other amusement and discovered by Master Galvin, he joined them, and fifty years ago, his little speeches were repeated, and acts described, but now allusion to him is seldom heard.
      Mr. Chapman relates two stories that are worth telling.  One was told to him by a woman, a Mrs. Eleanor (Tate) Jordan who lived at the time of their meeting in Gorham, but as a girl was a student of Timothy Galvin. Mrs. Jordan was born and lived in Stroudwater Village and described the School Master's 'pranks.'  

     It seems the class was having what we know as a spelling bee, but before beginning, Master Galvin took her aside and told her how he wanted her to spell the word 'grape'. When the time came, Master Galvin asked the class to spell the word 'grape' in Irish. When they all failed. he called up Eleanor to spell the word, and she did:  "po-ta-to; potato!"  "That's right," said he "take the head of the class."

I learn that he (Master Galvin) once informed his scholars that when a person stands back to a stove, with hands back of himself, palms out, with fingers turned up like fish hooks, it is no harm to place a coal of fire in them.  So he was observed in the position and one of the large boys crept up behind him stealthily, dropped a live coal in one of his hands and returned to his seat.  He said, "The teaching justifies the example. 

I am so delighted that these stories survived for the telling.  Over the last few years of writing this blog with the purpose of preserving what little remains of the life stories of the residents of that early East Deering Village, finding "Grandpa's Scrapbook"  in this re-formatted version is a gift.  

     In my earlier writing I was only able to find two names of the Galvin children:  Harriot 1800 - 1805, and a son, George Ilsley Galvin c. 1797 - 1841. Leonard Bond Chapman includes the names and a bit more about three others.  They are Eliza, Edward and Thomas P. Galvin.  I will write more about what I've learned about these off-spring in another post as well as information about Timothy's property and his activities in the town.

I'd like to end this bit by sharing a personal story of an event  that took place right before Christmas.

     Our daughter Rachel was visiting for the holidays with her husband and their three children.  I had prepared two wreathes to take to the GTC, but decided to wait until the family arrived so that the girls, Alaina, seven and Joelle, 4  might help with the placement. So on the 22nd, we set off for the cemetery for the task at hand.

     Upon entering the gate, I pointed out the newly planted garden behind Zoe's bench. Zoe Sarnacki had been a little girl and student at Presumpscot School years ago, before her untimely death at eighteen.  As a child, she and her classmates engaged in a special project to restore the cemetery and, wanting to remember her, Samantha Allshouse and Kayla Theriault along with the other members of their Girl Scout Troop obtained a memorial bench to honor her as their final gift as graduating  Girl Scout members.

     As I was relating this story, I noticed that Alaina immediately left us and walked directly to the grave of Harriot Galvin.  Apparently, she remembered my pointing out the site with the broken  stone from an earlier visit to the cemetery.  She must have remembered what I had related about Harriot, that was just a little girl of five years old when she died, and that she was buried next to her Daddy.  

     I  noted Alaina's demeanor. She was solemn and very quiet; a rare moment for a lively and curious seven year old.  When she turned away after two or so minutes, still very serious, she asked: "Nana, why did that little girl die?"

    Touched by her concern, I said:" I don't know, Honey.  I suppose she had a very bad sickness and the doctor couldn't help her to get well."  As if on cue, from behind us, the four year old, Joelle piped up with: "The little girl is in Heaven, Alaina.  She's OK!
The inscription of Harriot Galvin's stone reads:
                                      "Of such is the kingdom of Heaven.".