52 Ancestors: Post #5: Isaac L Dunton, “a noted edge tool manufacturer” (abt. 1822-1868)

Who ARE you, Isaac L Dunton?

My great-great-great grandfather, Isaac L Dunton, was one of a large family of Duntons born in Liberty, Maine. He worked as an axe maker. When I began genealogical research, I didn’t realize the importance of documentation. Since Isaac was one of the first ancestors I knew anything about, I found and hand-copied some information that he was “a noted edge tool manufacturer”. I wish I knew where I got that information.

In doing some research on “edge tools”, I found that toolmaking was a large industry in Maine alongside the shipbuilding industry. My g-g-g-grandfather may have been associated with Dunton, Copp & Company of Liberty, Maine. One reference states that this was the only toolmaker working in the area of Liberty and Montville (Maine) prior to the Civil War. (The Davistown Museum at http://www.davistownmuseum.org/publications/volume2.html information retrieved February 1, 2014).

In 1868, Isaac died of consumption. He was 46, and left behind a wife Eliza (Burkmar/Buckmore) Dunton and several children, the oldest of which was 20. He is buried in Grove Cemetery in Belfast, Maine. When he died, his oldest son (my g-g-grandfather, about age 16) took over the family business, at least for a while. He later became a barber, as did his son (Byron Dunton – Post #3) and his grandson (my grandfather). From edge tools (axes) to barber tools (razors). Interesting….

52 Ancestors: Post #4: Another short life: Mary Ann McGovern Dunton Crowley (1873 – 1910)

Who ARE you, Mary Ann McGovern Dunton Crowley?

Mary Ann McGovern was my great-grandmother.  Married to Byron Dunton (see Post #3) in 1895 and left a widow with three children under the age of 4 in 1900.  In 1903, she married Timothy Crowley and had two more children – Norman in 1904 and Dorothy in 1908.  Then – illness.  Mary Ann contracted tuberculosis, suffering for several months and then dying on January 31, 1910.  She was 36. Norman was 5, Dorothy 20 months.  Her other children were 13, 12 and 10.

Timothy and the five children moved in with Mary Ann’s parents and siblings, and my grandfather, her 13-year-old, was sent to live with his grandfather (Byron’s father) and apprenticed to him as a barber.

52 Ancestors: Post #3: the short life of Byron Dunton (1872 – 1900)

Who ARE you, Byron Dunton?

Here’s another of my great-grandfathers.  Born in Belfast, Maine, in 1872 to Robert V Dunton and Sarah A Cottrell, he married Mary Ann McGovern on 25 October 1895.  Here’s another “you do the math” — my grandfather was born on 4 March 1896.  Hmmm.

Byron and his father Rob ran a barber shop on Central Street in Milford, Massachusetts.  Byron was a big guy.  The family lore says he couldn’t find a belt to fit him, so he used a trunk strap as a belt.  The other family story is a quote “If I can’t eat what I want, then I’ll die.”  And he did.  The death record says the cause of death was Cardiac Degeneration.  He was 28 years old.

He left a wife and three boys, ages 3 years 11 months, 2 years 11 months, and the youngest, just three months old.

County looks for gravesite families – Richmond Times-Dispatch: Regional News From The AP

Article in today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch —> Accomack County, Virginia, is looking for the families of David Byrd Miles (1836-1926), Mary Jane Taylor Miles (1842-1931) and their daughter, Olivia Miles (1872-1901). Their graves need to be relocated. Contact information in attached article.

County looks for gravesite families – Richmond Times-Dispatch: Regional News From The AP.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

I love to read, and here’s a new novel that I would like to recommend to anyone who’s interested in family history and genealogy: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. I picked it up this morning and finished it this afternoon. It grabbed my attention and held it for hours. I didn’t want to put it down! So I didn’t put it down until I finished it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS BOOK!

You should go to the author’s website and read more about this book. http://christinabakerkline.com/novels/orphan-train/

52 Ancestors: Post #2: John Robinson (1861? – 1894)

Who ARE you, John Robinson?

Another great-grandfather about whom I know very little.  John is one of the ancestors who got me hooked on genealogy.  Growing up I was told he was a ship’s carpenter out of Liverpool who died of Black Water Fever off the coast of Africa, forcing at least one of his three children to spend time in the Seamen’s Orphanage in Liverpool.

John Robinson married Rebecca Jane Pughe in West Derby Parish, St. Mary’s Edgehill, Lancashire, England, on September 3, 1883.  Both were 22.  Seven months later, my grandfather was born in Liverpool.  You can do the math. 😉

John and his wife and three children appear in the 1891 Census of England, living in Tranmere, Cheshire, England.  That’s the Administrative County of Birkenhead, Civil Parish of Tranmere, Municipal Borough of Birkenhead, Municipal Ward of Egerton, Urban Sanitary District of Birkenhead, Parliamentary Borough or Division of Birkenhead, and Ecclesiastical Parish or District of St. Catherine’s.  The address looks to be 2 Elin Road.  John’s occupation in 1891 is Shipwright.  The children are ages 6, 5, and 2.  He won’t be around for the 1901 Census of England.

A few years ago, I wrote to the Seamen’s Orphanage and received a copy of my grandfather’s intake papers.  From those I learned that John Robinson died on March 22, 1894, at the age of 33, on the SS Shenandoah, from “blood poisoning through inhaling chloryde of lime from cargo”.  I think I like Black Water Fever better.

By October of that year, my grandfather was placed in the Royal Liverpool Seamen’s Orphan Institution.  He was 10 years old.

52 Ancestors: Post #1: James Henry Lee

Who ARE you, James Henry Lee?

My great-grandfather, if my great-grandmother’s report is to be believed. My great-grandmother led an interesting life [the stories I could tell!]. “Boy crazy” was the phrase I heard. But this post is not about her; it’s about the father of her first child. Seems the Tewksbury (Massachusetts) State Almshouse was THE place to go when you were expecting a child without benefit of a husband in 1895.

In case you missed it:

In each case the mothers residence is State Almshouse, fathers unknown.

In each case the mothers residence is State Almshouse, fathers unknown.

So here is the one fact that I have: my great-grandmother reported that the father of her child was James Henry Lee, a farmer, born in Salem, Massachusetts.

Who ARE you, James Henry Lee?

Henrietta Abby Morreau…Parents: Leah Morreau, James Henry Lee

I’m left with nothing but questions…is this the truth? Truth or not, can I ever find out any more about this man? Do I have to accept that this is a dead end in my ancestry? There’s a big UNKNOWN there and I don’t like it one little bit!

Source Information
Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.
Original data: Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.