Wednesday, July 20, 2016

SO CLOSE, BUT SO FAR AWAY!

Dear Readers and Followers,
     
     Sadly, as they say, "The best laid plans of mice and men", often go unfulfilled.  Those of you who are friends, know that I hate to give up, especially when there is the slightest possibility of restoring dignity and honor to one of the identified Veterans interred at the East Deering/Grand Trunk.

     Unfortunately, I have hit a brick wall where William Blake is concerned.  I received a letter from the Veterans Administration Memorial Project on Monday asking for more specific documentation as to where William was buried, otherwise, no stone can be issued.  The problem is that to date none exists.  The only copy of a record of death does not match what I have researched regarding William and his wives.  The dates given simply do not correspond to what I've learned.  Whether the dates copied from an ancient tombstone were incorrect, or they apply to the 'other' William Blake; I have no idea.

     I do know that William Blake,  declared non com pos mentis in 1844,  was appointed a guardian, his property sold or mortgaged, and he was probably admitted to the hospital attached to the Portland Alms House.  We know that the census of 1850, lists him at the Alms House, and the the final disposition by the Court of his property was in 1853; in all probability he had died.  He was not buried at the Alms House; he is not among the persons listed.  Since both of William's wives are interred at the GTC; he was,  in all probability,  buried at the family plot upon his death.

     After searching through the very well documented Alms House Records at Maine Historical Society hoping to find an answer, I learned that the hospital or asylum records were not included.; in all probability, kept separately.   Thanks to Nick Noyes and Jamie Rice for their patience and help in looking for other resources for this quest!  

    Even the Rev. Caleb Bradley's diary led no where.  Although Dr. Bradley performed over 100 funerals at the Alms House over a six year period, the names and dates of those whose services he conducted from 1853 - 1861 are missing.

     So, although we have obtained William's record of service as a Veteran of the War of 1812, and the letter of Thomas Frank was accepted, at this time there is no adequate proof of his burial place; therefore; no memorial marker will be issued.

     I have said many times since beginning this blog, how acutely aware I am of how much history has been lost because of the neglect and vandalism to the East Deering/Grand Trunk Cemetery over the last century.  Even though so much has been accomplished since 2010, and a lot of good was done, and continues to be done;  today I'm sad that we can't achieve the goal of honoring William Blake in this well deserved manner.

Marianne