Friday, March 4, 2016

Picking - up Threads In The Tapestry

     Perhaps I am a bit obsessive, but I am always surprised to stumble on these obscure bits of historical threads to weave into the story of the early citizens of the Back Cove community; people whose  final resting place is our East Deering/Grand Trunk Cemetery. 

     Perhaps it is the fact that, the cemetery, all but obliterated as early as the 1950's, offers a perpetual challenge with its scattered and broken pieces of gravestones,  and the never ending shards of broken glass that crop up in the earth whenever we cleanup or plant. None- the-less, the remnant is worth preserving as a memorial to the men and women who lived and died in the early days of a new city, state and nation.  So, I keep searching, always with the hope that some others, distant relatives perhaps, sleuths of family genealogy of these ancients,  might find a connection and offer other threads, from family remembrances kept in family bibles or diaries or stories passed down through the generations.  The invitation to contribute to the search is always issued and welcomed!

     I have a new acquisition, a book published in 1985, and written by Myrtle Kittridge Lovejoy, entitled , This Was Stroudwater, 1727-1860, which I recommend especially to those of you interested in the early history of the village and of the parish of the same name.

      I love reading this book,  and would  loved to have met this lady and thank her for her persistent and meticulous detailed research.  Of course, the Back Cove community has some relationship to the Stroudwater parish and our Timothy Galvin, school master at the Stroudwater School is of particular interest.

The second Stroudwater school house expanded to meet the needs of the growing community

  Mrs. Lovejoy refers to him as Timothy of the Brogue and shared vignettes of his time teaching  in the first and second schools where he was known for both his strictness in the classroom and his sense of playfulness with his scholars outside. 
"In school, I am master -- out of school I am one of you."
     In her book, Mrs. Lovejoy says Timothy was in favor of corporal punishment only in so far as it was administered to the area of the anatomy "where there are no brains."   It was very clear that Timothy was loved and well respected by his students and the community. 

     She alludes to the fact that the distance from East Deering where the Galvin family resided and the school where he was employed for a number of years,  must have presented quite a challenge, particularly in the winter months.  She indicates that he would have traveled on horseback, if, of course,  he was able to afford a horse, or he would have boarded with a local family in the village.  In all probability, his family would have run the store he owned during these periods of his absence.  It is also possible that the family moved to the Stroudwater village at some point after 1822,  when he sold his house and property to his son, George I. Galvin.  There are several other references in her book regarding Timothy Galvin, however, some present interesting questions.  For example: exactly when did Timothy Galvin die?  According to Myrtle Lovejoy, Timothy Galvin's small white gravestone was broken in 1950, but could still be read. 

     You will note the date of death as 1835.  Other records, including LB Chapman and a record from the Maine Old Cemetery Association inscription project indicate the year as 1836.  To add further confusion to the mystery; an old death record cropped up showing yet another date.
Date of death:  1834

     You will also note that my original post about Tim Galvin showed his date of birth as 
1776 and his marriage to Joanna Ilsley as 1795.  Both Mrs. Lovejoy and LB Chapman list his birth as 1766 and his marriage to Joanna as having taken place in 1793.  This appears to coincide with what I've discovered recently about the eldest son, George Galvin.

    George Ilsley Galvin was forty- four years old when he died of yellow fever in Galveston Texas from his home in Calais, Maine leaving behind his second wife, Mary Tremain Galvin in the hope of recovering from his health issues.  It appears his companion may have been a brother of his wife, whose maiden name was Baker.

     On Tuesday, December 3, 1839, an article published in the Augusta, Maine paper also spoke of George's untimely death:
"Our esteemed fellow citizen, Geo. I. Galvin, Esq, who left here an invalid, in search of health, has recently died.  Capt. Gould, the master of the vessel in which Mr. Galvin sailed, and Mr. Hodgdon, a passenger in the same vessel, have all fallen victims to that scourge of the climate, the yellow fever.  Mr. William Baker, who left here about one year since, has died from the same disease. ----Calais Journal."

     George Galvin's death at the age of forty- four helps to confirm he was born in 1795 to his parents Joanna and Timothy Galvin.  George resided with his parents in East Deering and also served in the militia during the War of 1812. A record from the U.S. Adjutant General Military Records, 1631 - 1976, for Geo. I Galvin indicates that George Galvin served as a private in Capt. J. Valentine's Company, Col. J. Hobb's Regiment from September 8 to September 20, 1814. Raised at Westbrook.  Service at Portland.

     Sometime after the War,  he moved to Boston where he married his first wife, Mrs. Mary Gardner.  The couple were only married a short time when, Mary died at the age of 29.  He would take a second wife, Mary T. Baker who moved to Roxbury, Massachusetts after his death in 1839 and died herself in 1841.

List includes Geo. I Galvin and his first wife, Mary who died in Boston.

The following pertains to Mary Tremain Galvin, wife number two.
      George Ilsley Galvin did return to the Portland area where he went into business and appears to have been successful before finally moving to Calais.

 The is a great resource and has provided pieces of information that I would probably not have found otherwise, and added some interesting perspective on life in 18th century Portland.  The advertisements show the range of products that Attwood and Galvin sold and that their business was in a rather nice building on Union wharf.

The George Ilsley Galvin and BC Attwood Firm
   In my earlier post, I wrote about George Galvin's  business in the lumber industry and his role in the building of the Unitarian Church.  He was clearly well respected and made significant contributions to the community during his brief life-time.  He also suffered loss both in his business pursuits and ultimately, his health.  The following is an article about the fire in Calais which took place in 1833.

      In 1837, two years before his death, George Ilsley Galvin sold his father's property to his brother Thomas P. Galvin.  It appears that the brothers experienced financial difficulties resulting in the sale of the property to cover some debts.  According to LB Chapman Timothy Galvin's home, barn and shop were ultimately sold by Thomas P. Galvin in 1841, after Mary Tremain Galvin's death, I presume, to Abraham W. Whitman and William Adil of Portland.  Thomas P. Galvin then moved with his family from Calais, Maine to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he resided until his own death.

     I hope that readers of this blog will find these additional threads interesting and of some benefit to their own adventure into family histories.  Many treasured and well-kept cemeteries read like the pages of history books.  For the East Deering/Grand Trunk Cemetery it is more like digging for a long, lost buried treasure without a map.  To me, at least, the treasure is worth finding!