Going through the three pages of names, I decided to research each family in the order they appear on the list, and try to determine just how they are related to each other and to me. This required searching a number of different genealogical sites and sources, as many of the families were unfamiliar to me.

We have turned the page and are now on Page 2 of the Grant & Lilley Family Reunion Guest List. Who and/or what will we encounter here.

21. Mr. O. B. Porter

We first learned of Mr. O. B. Porter of Houlton on the last Blog – he was the professional photographer who attended the Reunion and took what I believe was the photograph that hung on the wall of my grandparents sitting room.

Oscar Bryan Porter was born on 13th of February 1885, the son of Leonard & Nellie Melvina (Rand) Porter. He was the oldest of eleven children, all born in the area around Island Falls, Aroostook County. Oscar B. Porter has no direct personal connection to the Grant or Lilley family, he can be thought of as simply the photographer, who was hired to take the group photograph.

However, he did have a connection to both the Grant and Lilley family through his wife, Emily Inez (Robinson) Porter. She was the 2nd cousin of Lewis Leavitt and his wife Pauline (Soule) Leavitt. They also attended the reunion and are listed on the guest list as family #3. It makes you wonder if this connection is why he was chosen as the group photographer.

Although Emily did not attend the reunion with her husband and his assistant, she is related to me indirectly through her Lilly and Grant Ancestors.

Emily Inez Robinson was born the 6th of November 1886 in Sherman, Aroostook County. She was the daughter of Cyrus Elmer and Martha Edwina (Leavitt) Robinson. Her mother, Martha Edwina was the 2nd cousin of Lewis Leavitt. Emily married Oscar on 8th of October 1905 in Island Falls, Aroostook. They were the parents of five children: Nathaniel, Halbert, Sadie, Laureston and Quenton. It appears that neither Emily or any of the children attended the reunion, as they do not appear on the guest list.

It was after the reunion, but on 31st of May 1926, Oscar B. Porter married Ina Ellen Hand, his photographic assistant.

22. Mr & Mrs. Asa Hall

I recognized this name on the guest list immediately. I have done quite a bit of family research on Mr. and Mrs. Hall. You see, Mrs. Asa (Hannah) Hall is the former Miss Hannah Gardner, my 2nd Great-grandaunt. The daughter of George Washington and Tabitha (Roberts) Gardner, the younger sister of my 2nd Great-grandfather, John Henry Gardner. Asa, her second husband was Hannah’s 1st cousin. He is the son of Samuel and Mary Lee (Roberts) Hall. His mother, Mary Lee is the younger sister of Tabitha. Hannah is one of the closest relatives I have that attended the reunion, yet I have and her connection to the Grant / Lilley family currently is through her 2nd husband, Asa Redington Hall. He is my 1st cousin 4times removed. I have a feeling that Hannah is also directly related to the Lilley family, and I’m actively searching for a connection, but in the mean time, I’ll settle for her being the wife of Asa Redington Hall.

Asa Redington Hall was born on 23rd of September 1851 in Unity, Waldo, Maine. He was the 4th child and 2nd son of Samuel Hall and his second wife, Mary Lee (Roberts) Hall. When Asa was born the Hall family consisted of the 4 children of Samuel and his 1st wife, Harriet, along with Asa’s older sister, Martha Matilda . An older brother, John Quincy Adams Hall and older sister Hannah P. Hall had unfortunately not survived.

Asa was 14 years old when his mother passed away, leaving Asa to strike out on his own. Although no exact date has been found yet, on the 1880 US Federal Census, Asa is listed as HEAD of the family with his wife Nina A. Hall. She was the former Nina A. Randall, daughter of William Randall and Lavonia Longly Clough. By 1900, the couple and their son, Irwin Eldrich, had relocated to Dyer Brook, Aroostook County where Asa bought a farm.

The 1900 US Federal Census has Asa and Nina, along with their son on the family farm in Dyer Brook. Living with the Hall family was Hannah L. Gerrish, Asa’s 1st cousin and her son Owen T. Gerrish. Hannah’s husband, John Gerrish was a close friend of Asa’s and had partnered with him on the running of the farm. John passed away in 1894 and Hannah and her youngest son had moved in with the Halls, allowing Owen to assist with running the farm.

By the 1910 US Federal Census, Owen Gerrish had become a full-fledged partner with Asa Hall. Owen was now married with a 3 year old son, William. Also living on the farm was Herbert and Addie Hughes and their 4 children. Addie Hughes (nee) Gerrish is Owen’s older sister. Herbert worked as a farm laborer. Hannah Gerrish is now listed as HEAD of the family on the farm next door.

Tragedy struck on 10 May 1912, when Nina A. Hall passed away. On 28 June 1913, the 65 year-old, Widow Hannah Gardner Gerrish married her 1st cousin, the 64 year-old Widower Asa Hall. The 1920 US Federal Census has Hannah and Asa living on the smaller neighboring farm that Hannah had occupied prior to their marriage. Hannah’s son Jesse and his family (wife Hattie and their 5 children) are living on the larger farm.

None of the Gerrish or Hall children appear to have attended the Grant & Lilley family reunion in 1922. Mr. and Mrs. Asa Hall of Dyer Brook are listed as the 22nd family on the Guest List. As of the time of this writing, I am still looking for a direct connection for either Asa or Hannah to the Grant or Lilley family.

23. Mr. & Mrs. Walter Lane

Family #23 on the list of attendees is “Mr & Mrs. Walter Lane and family of Smyrna.” According to Ancestry.com, Walter is husband of sister-in-law of nephew of husband of 1st cousin 3x removed. His wife Guilda was the sister of Shirley (Ingalls) Marley, who has a convoluted connection to my 2nd Great Aunt, Hannah (Gardner) Garrish’s daughter May Viola. It seems a rather shaky connection, and perhaps there is a closer one for Walter that I have not yet discovered.

Walter Eben Lane was born on 21st of September 1887 in Litchfield, Kennebec County, Maine. He was the 2nd child and eldest son of Francis E. Lane and Caroline “Carrie” Deering. His childhood was spent in Litchfield, where his father was a farmer.

On 28th of August 1916, Walter was married to Guilda Ingalls, daughter of Ross Ingalls and F. Maude Lakeman. She was the sister of Shirley Ingalls Marley, wife of Benjamin Marley and will appear in a future listing. By 1918, Walter, Guilda and their son Craig Ingalls Lane had moved from Litchfield to Smyrna, Aroostook County. Walter at this time was Superintendent of the Smyrna Schools. It was here that their next three children (Elizabeth 1919, Margaret 1921 and Albion 1922) were born. At the time of the reunion, Albion was barely one month old and may not have accompanied his parents and siblings to the reunion.

24. Mr. & Mrs. J. W. Hall

The 24th name on the guest list is “Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Hall of Whittier, California.” Jesse Whitmore Hall was the son of Samuel and Mary Lee (Roberts) Hall, the younger brother of Asa Redington Hall (Family #22 above). Jesse is also my 1st Cousin 4times removed, but he has a very clear link to the Grant/Lilley family. Mrs. J. W. Hall is the former Annie Mary Grant, the daughter of William Burt and Esther (Travis) Grant. Mrs. Angie Soule is Annie Mary’s sister.

Jesse Whitmore Hall was born 3rd of November 1856 in Unity, Waldo County. He was the seventh of the Hall’s nine children. Like his brother Asa, he was born on the family farm, but unlike his brother, he did not remain in Maine. He appears with his family on the 1860 US Federal Census, but with the death of his father and mother by the time he was 14 years of age, he set out on his own.

Jesse is found in the 1870 US Federal Census working as a farm laborer on a farm in Presque Isle, Aroostook County. He appears to have remained here until prior to his marriage on 27th of November 1879 to Miss Annie Mary Grant. They were married in Dyer Brook, Aroostook County, which is where a number of his siblings had settled. His bride, Mary Ann Grant was born Jun 1863 in Dyer Brook, Aroostook County, the daughter of William Burt Grant and Mary Ann Lilley. The Hall family remained in Dyer Brook for the birth of their first three children; daughters Eva, Mary Ann and Winnie. By 1887 and the birth of their 4th child and first son, Raymond, the family had relocated to New York State. They did not remain here long as their 5th child, Mattie Edna was born in Oregon as was their youngest two children, Harry and Emma.

Jesse is listed as a Sawmill Laborer on the 1900 Census, explaining his move out West. They left Oregon and ended up in Nevada, as seen on the 1910 US Federal Census. In Nevada, Jesse is working as a Teamster on a Freighter and Annie is working as the Keeper of a Mine Boarding house. Their youngest two children, Harry and Emma are living with them, with Harry working in the mine.

The 1920 US Federal Census shows that the Jesse and Annie make their final move, to Whittier, Los Angeles County, California. Here Jesse is listed as working as the Janitor at an oil company. It was from here that Jessie and Annie traveled back to Dyer Brook to attend the Grant & Lilley Family Reunion on 26 August 1922. It appears that none of the children made the trip back East.

25. Mrs. Percy Lougee & Children

The 25th name on the Grant & Lilley Family Reunion Guest List is “Mrs Percy Lougee & Children of Dyer Brook.” It didn’t take long to locate Percy Lougee and find the maiden name of his wife. She is Marjorie Velma (Lilley) Lougee, the daughter of Sidney Joseph Lilley and Frances Pippin Grant. Listed by Amazon.com as wife of 1st Cousin 4times removed, she can also be listed as a the niece of the husband of Second Great-grandaunt. Because her parents were 1st Cousins and were so closely related to both the Grant and Lilley families, I’m sure she can be listed as a number of different relatives to me.

Marjorie Velma Lilley was born 23rd September 1898 in Island Falls, Aroostook County, the youngest child of Joseph and Fannie Lilley. As their youngest child, she remained with her parents until her marriage in 1916. On 26th of October of that year, Marjorie married Percy Oscar Lougee, the son of Oscar and Carrie (Stevens) Lougee. Married in Smyrna, they settled in Dyer Brook. The 1920 US Federal Census lists Percy and Marjorie, their two sons, Howard and Ralph, along with Percy’s widowed mother Carrie. The two boys, aged 5 and 3, are the “& children” included on the reunion attendance list.



Going through the three pages of names, I decided to research each family in the order they appear on the list, and try to determine just how they are related to each other and to me. This required searching a number of different genealogical sites and sources, as many of the families were unfamiliar to me.

As I get further into the list of names, I am finding more and more Grant and Lilley family members that are related to my Gardner family. Unfortunately it still hasn’t answered my question as to why my Grandparents LeRoy and Nancy would have the photograph displayed in such a prominent place in their sitting room. The search continues…

16. Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Grant & daughter

The next family on the Guest List is “Mr & Mrs. Arthur Grant & daughter of Smyrna, Aroostook County.” Arthur Walker Grant was the 13th child born to George Washington and Alice Maud (McGinley) Grant. He would be the second son named Arthur born to the couple, his older brother Arthur having only lived eight months. Like his siblings, Arthur is listed on Ancestry.com as the Uncle of the wife of my 2nd cousin 2x removed.

Arthur Walker Grant was born on 8th of February 1899 on the family farm in Oakfield, Aroostook County, Maine. He will first appear on the 1900 US Federal Census as a 1 year old. Like his siblings before him, he would remain in the Oakfield area for much of his life. With the death of his father in 1918, Arthur would move with his mother and siblings to the nearby town of Smyrna, where on the 23rd of January 1920, Arthur would marry his first wife, Edna Alice Fitzgerald. Edna was the daughter of James F. Fitzgerald and Cora S. Perkins. They would have one child, daughter Jeanice Arline Grant, who was born 28th of July 1921. The one-year-old would attend the Grant & Lilley Family Reunion with her parents.

17. Miss Geneve Grant

“Miss Geneve Grant, the 32-year-old, unmarried daughter of George Washington and Alice Maud (McGinley) Grant is the 17th name found on the guest list for the Grant / Lilley Family Reunion. Like her brother listed above, she is related to me as the Aunt of my 2nd cousin 2x removed.

Alice Geneve Grant was born in Oakfield, Aroostook County on the Grant family farm on 19th of December 1889. She is found with her family on both the 1900 and 1910 US Federal Censuses. On the 1900 US Census, she is listed as Alice G. and is listed as a student, who attended school for 5 months of the year. On the 1910 US Census, Geneve is listed as Geneve A. Most likely this is to distinguish her from her mother, Alice.

Unlike her siblings, she did not remain with the family on the farm. The1910 US Federal Census shows that the 31-year-old Alice was living with Harry and Beaumont Marley and their two children as a live-in servant. (Note: Harry and his family will appear on the Reunion list a bit later.)

I can’t help but wonder if Ms. Grant attended the reunion with her mother and siblings or with her employer and his family?

18. Mr. & Mrs. G. F. Lilley

The next family named on the Reunion list is “Mr & Mrs. G. F. Lilley of Island Falls.” This was another of the challenges I faced in my research, as there are a number of G. Lilleys living in the area. However. it turns out that G. F. Lilley is in fact George Frederick Lilley. He was the second husband of my 2nd Great-Grandaunt Nellie Orend Gardner. This is one of my strongest connections with the Lilley Family, as Nellie was the younger sister of my 2nd Great Grandfather, John Henry Gardner.

George Frederick Lilley was born on 11th of June 1848 in New Brunswick, Canada the 2nd son and third child of James E. Lilley and Elizabeth Jane Grant. The Grant family emigrated from Canada to Aroostook County, Maine sometime between 1848 and 1850. By the 1850 US Federal Census, they can be found living in Linneus, Aroostook County. George’s brother Samuel and his wife Hannah are living on the farm next door.

The 1860 US Federal Census shows that the family is still living in Linneus and the family having grown to seven children. By 1864 and the birth of the families eighth child, Lizzie V., the family had moved to Dyer Brook, Aroostook County. But the family didn’t remain in Dyer Brook for very long, because the 1970 US Federal Census shows that the family has moved to Township 5, which would shortly change it’s name to Merrill Plantation. Just before the Census was taken, the Lilley’s nineth and final child, Effie T., was born.

Meanwhile, in Township 6, Nellie Orend (Gardner) Keith, newly widowed, is living with her parents, brothers and sisters and 5 year-old son, George.

Nellie Orend Gardner was born on 19th of October 1844 in Corunna, Penobscot County, Maine, the eldest daughter and 3rd child of George Washington and Tabitha (Roberts) Gardner. The Gardner family would move from Penobscot County to Waldo County by 1860 and would then relocate to Township 6, Aroostook County by 1870.

Unlike George, Nellie was married twice. Her first marriage, to Isaiah B. Keith, occurred on 28th of August 1865 in Smyrna Mills, Aroostook. Isaiah was the son of Samuel Stillman and Thankful N. (Ellis) Keith. They would remain in the Smyrna Mills area until Isaiah’s untimely death on the 27th of October, 1870. Their son, George was born 17 Nov 1865.

Although an exact date has not yet been found, George Frederick and Nellie Orend were married in 1871/1872. Their daughter Edith M. was born in November 1872. Four more children were born to George and Nellie; Ray O., Guy Raphael, Merle Ainsley, and an unnamed infant that did not survive.

The Lilley family remained in the Merrill, Aroostook area for the remainder of their lives, as seen on the 1880, 1900, 1910 and 1920 US Federal Censuses As all of the children were married and living separate lives by the time of the Family Reunion. They do not appear to have attended with their parents.

19. Mr. & Mrs. John Stephenson

The next family on the Grant / Lilley Reunion Guest list is “Mr. and Mrs. John Stephenson of Houlton.” Mrs. Stephenson is the connection to the Grant and Lilley families, as she is the daughter of Chelsey O. Grant and Frances Lilley. Ancestry.com states that she is the paternal first cousin of the husband of my 2nd Great-Grandaunt. In other words, she is the cousin of George F. Lilley, on her father’s side.

Lucy A. Grant was born on the 18th of January 1858. Based on the different vital records found for her, she could have been born either in New Brunswick or Maine. She was the 6th child and 4th daughter of Chelsey and Frances Grant.

When examining the Federal Census for Lucy and her family, you will find that they appeared to migrate across the US-Canadian boarder multiple times. According to the US Federal Census, a number of Lucy’s older siblings were born in Maine, while a few of the younger ones were born in New Brunswick, Canada.

Lucy’s father Chelsey Grant was a farmer all of his life, and his daughter Lucy would continue to live on a farm with both her parents, and then with her husband for a total of approximately 45 years. Lucy A. Grant married John Stephenson, son of John and Anne (Ervin) Stephenson on 26th of March 1879. John was an immigrant who arrived in Canada and then crossed the border into Maine at the age of 3 on 1856 from his native Ireland. The family relocated in Littleton, Aroostook, Maine where they would remain the rest of their lives. After their marriage, John and Lucy remained in the Littleton area. It wasn’t until the 1920 US Federal Census do you find that the Stephenson family relocated to Houlton, Aroostook, Maine, upon the retirement of John from active farming. John and Lucy did not have any children.

None of Lucy’s siblings appear on the Guest List, and it appear that the couple attended the Family Reunion alone.

20. Miss Ina Hand

When I read the name “Miss Ina Hand of Houlton,” who is next on the guest list, I was quite baffled. The last name of Hand had not come up in any of my previous research of my mom’s family. So when I found Ina on the 1920 US Federal Census and read that her occupation was “Assistant in Photo Studio”, I figured she was just there to help the photographer. It was quite obvious by the photo that hung on my grandparents wall, that a professional photographer was used for the full gathering shot.

Looking for a connection to Ina and the Grant and/or Lilley families took some time. At the time of the reunion, she was simply the assistant to Oscar B. Porter, a professional photographer, based in Houlton. He was also the husband of Emily Inez (Robinson) Porter, who was related to the Lilley family through her 2nd cousin Lewis Leavitt, who was the husband of Pauline (Soule) Leavitt, who was the sister-in-law of Ray O. Lilley, the son of Nellie O. (Gardner) Lilley, my 2nd Great-Grandaunt.

It was after the reunion, but on 31st of May 1926, Ina Ellen Hand married Oscar B. Porter, linking her to me as the 2nd wife of the husband of 2nd cousin of husband of sister-in-law of the 1st cousin 3x removed.



Going through the three pages of names, I decided to research each family in the order they appear on the list, and try to determine just how they are related to each other and to me. This required searching a number of different genealogical sites and sources, as many of the families were unfamiliar to me.

11. Mr. & Mrs. Carlton O. Grant

The 11th family found on the Grant / Lilley Family Reunion guest list is that of “Mr. & Mrs. C. O. Grant” of Houlton, Aroostook County. Carlton O. Grant is the son of Joseph and Margarett (Grant) Grant. Joseph and Margaret were first cousins, their mothers Phoebe White and Margaret White were sisters.

Carlton Otis Grant was born on the 21 November 1858 in New Limerick, Aroostook County to Joseph and Margarett (Grant) Grant. He was the eldest of their three children. Carlton was only 5 years old when his father, Joseph died of Typhoid Fever 06 Jun 1864 in Alexandria, Virginia. Joseph had volunteered to serve as a private in Company E of the 31st Regiment of the Maine Infantry during the Civil War.

The 1870 US Federal Census shows that Margarett Grant, widow, and her son Carlton, 11 years old, were living in New Limerick, Aroostook County. She is listed as the Domestic servant for Mr. & Mrs. Moses Drew and their sons Moses, Jr and Augustus. Her other two children, Winfield S. and Ella May both passed away in 1865 and were buried with their father in East Hodgdon Cemetery.

The 1880 US Federal Census has the 21 year-old Carlton living alone on a farm in New Limerick, Aroostook. On the farm next door is listed his mother, Margaret, step-father Augustus Drew and their three children: Harry, Madeline and Lenora. Carlton’s mother married Augustus Drew, son of Moses Drew on 06 Jan 1874.

In 1884, Carlton married Mary Eliza Cole, daughter of Oliver Cole and Hulda Eliza Bower. They were the parents of six children: Percy Otis, Perl I., Effie L., Harry F., Oliver Cole and Carlton Augustus. The 1900 US Federal Census indicates that the Grant family has relocated to Houlton, with Carlton working as a Dry Goods Salesman. Four of their children are listed: Perl, Effie, Harry and Oliver. Percy Otis passed away on 30 Apr 1893 from Meningitis. He was 8 years and 4 months old.

Tragedy again struck Carlton’s life when his beloved wife Mary Eliza passed away on the 23rd September 1909 in Houlton. She died of Pernicious Anemia and Chronic Nephritis, Her death left Carlton with 5 children at home, the youngest being Carlton Jr, aged 6.

The 1910 US Census shows that Carlton and his family have relocated to Houlton and Carlton is now employed as a Real Estate Agent in town. Acting as homemaker was Pearl, Carlton’s 24 year-old daughter. Also living with the family as a Boarder was Norris C. Estabrooke, who would marry Pearl in 1911. Later that year, Carlton married Annie C. Chase (nee Sheppard) on the 11th of October 1910. She was the widow of Benjamin F. Chase. Benjamin died on the 10th of May in 1905 and Annie moved to Houlton, Aroostook County, Maine in 1907. On the 1910 US Census she is listed as working as a Dressmaker.

By 1920, Carlton and Annie had settled in their home on Franklin Avenue in Houlton. With the death of Harry F. in 1919, the remaining 4 Grant children had married and started their own families. Pearl and Effie both married in 1911, Oliver married in late 1920. Carlton, having returned from serving in the US Army during WWI, was living in his own home. He would marry in 1922. This left Carlton and Annie living alone.

Carlton and Annie would attend the Grant & Lilley Family Reunion on the 26th of August 1922 without any of the children.

12. Mrs. Angie Soule

The next family on the Guest List is “Mrs. Angie Soule,” of Smyrna. Angerona ‘Angie’ F. (Grant) Soule is listed on Ancestry.com as the mother-in-law of my 1st cousin 3x removed (Ray O. Lilley). She can also be listed as a distance cousin as she is the daughter of William Burt and Mary Ann (Lilley) Grant, who are both related to me separately.

Angerona F. Grant was born on October 26, 1851 in Linneus, Aroostook County, Maine the 3rd child and second daughter of William Burt and Mary Ann (Lilley) Grant. Angie, as the family called her, was born on the family farm, as were her siblings.

Angie’s mother, Mary Ann had passed away in 1869 and her father had married Esther Travis, the daughter of Ebeneezer and Elizabeth Travis. In 1870, Angie, now 18 years old, is living in Lincoln, Penobscot County, working as a School Teacher. It was while she was living in Penobscot County that she met her husband, Benjamin Franklin ” Frank” Soule. Frank and Angie were married in Lincoln, Penobscot County on 25 Sep 1874.

By the time of the 1880 US Federal Census, Frank and Angie and their family had made their final move. They relocated to Oakfield, Aroostook County, where the family purchased their farm. According to the census listing, Frank was working the farm with his brother John, who lived there with his wife and young son. There was also a farm worker living with the family. By this time, Angie and Frank were the parents of three children.

The 1900 US Census shows that the Soule family has grown to include 8 children, of which 7 were living at home. Their eldest living child, Jessie A., was living in Portland with her aunt and uncle and working as a Milliner. Unfortunately by 1900, the 2 eldest daughters of Frank and Angie (S. Ethelyn and Mary) and eldest son (Frank) had passed away.

The family was still on the farm in 1910, but consists on only Angie, Frank, sons Clinton and Fritz and granddaughters Aleda Lilley and Evelyn Lilley. Aleda and Evelyn were the daughters of Jessie A. and Ray O. Lilley. Jessie having passed away in 1905.

Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Soule passed away on 30 May 1916, leaving his grieving widow Angle on the farm with her youngest son Albert and her two granddaughters, Aleda and Evelyn.

It was with her son Albert that Angie (Grant) Soule attended the Grant & Lilley Family Reunion on 26 Aug 1922.

13. Mr. Albert Soule

The thirteenth family listed on the handwritten guest list is “Mr. Albert Soule”. As listed in the above profile, Albert was the 10th child and youngest son of Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Soule and Angerona F. “Angie” Grant. At the time of the reunion, Albert was assisting his mother with the running of the family farm. He would go on the marry Josie Mae Kelley, daughter of Elijah A. and Lucy M. (White) Kelley. Josie is related to the Lilley family through her mother Lucy, but does not appear to have attended the 1922 Reunion.

By 1917, Albert is living in Musselshell, Montana and working as a farmer, as seen on this US World War I Draft Registration card. Albert would go on to serve in the U.S. Army as a Private from 12 Dec 1917 until 09 Jun 1919. He served overseas from 25 Sep 1918 until 28 May 1919.

Upon his discharge in June 1919, Albert returned to Oakfield, Maine and helped his mother run the family farm.

Albert attended the Grant & Lilley Family Reunion with his motehr on 26 Aug 1922.

14. Mrs. Alice Grant

The next family on the Grant / Lilley Reunion Guest list is “Mrs. Alice Grant”. Mrs. Grant was a challenge to find, as there were a number of “Mrs. Grants” living in the area at the time of the reunion. By looking at the families named below Mrs. Grant, and checking for an “Alice Grant” in the 1920 and 1930 US Census, I was able to determine that this Mrs. Grant is Alice Maud McGinley Grant, daughter of William McGinley and Margaret Graham and the widow of George Washington Grant.

Alice Maud McGinley was born 1st of December 1864 in Houlton, Aroostook County, the 3rd child and 2nd daughter of William McGinley and Margaret Graham. Alice remained with her family in Houlton until her marriage. On 30th of January 1882, Alice married George Washington Grant, son of William Burt Grand and Mary Ann Lilley. Alice and George would go on to have a total of 21 children born, 15 of whom survived infancy. Alice and George raised their children on their farm in Oakfield, Aroostook County and it was here that she would remain after George’s death in 1918. He would leave behind Alice and 15 children to continue running the farm.

On the 1920 US Census, Alice is listed as living in Smyrna Mills, with 5 of her children, Frank and his wife, Andrew, John, Bubbie and Doris. I wonder if 4 younger children (Andrew, John, Bubbie & Doris) attended the reunion with their mother and married brother. The attendee list doesn’t have “& family” or “& children” listed with Alice, so it’s not at all clear if they attended or not. Based on a brief review of the names listed, 6 of the Grant’s 21 children did attend the reunion in 1922. They were: Frank G., Harold E., Charles C., George H., Alice G. and Arthur W.

15. Mr. Frank Grant & son Herman

The 15th family listed on the guest list is “Mr. Frank Grant & son Herman.” According to Ancestry.com, Frank is the Uncle of the wife (Phyllis Grant) of my 2nd cousin 2x removed (Mark E. McDonald. This translates to mean that Phyllis was the daughter of Frank’s brother Harold and Mark was the Great-grandson of George Washington Gardner, my 3rd Great-Grandfather.

Frank Grover Grant was born on 8th of August 1884, the eldest son and 2nd child of George Washington Grant and Alice Maud McGinley Grant. Frank remained on the Grant family farm his entire life, taking over the running of the farm at the death of his father. Frank married Eldora I. McPhee, the daughter of James and Malvina Baglow McPhee on 16th of July 1919. Frank was 34 years old and living with his mother, Alice; brothers, Andrew, John and Bubbie; and sister Doris. Eldora was 17 years old.

Frank and Eldora’s son Herman Frank Grant was born on 26 April 1920. Tragically, his mother passed away shortly after his birth, leaving her husband with their newborn son. Herman accompanied his father to the Grant & Lilley Family Reunion in 1922. He was 2 years old at the time.

As I continue my search through the names on the Grant / Lilley Family Reunion guest list, I’m finding that I am related to some of the attendees in more ways than one. But that’s a blog for another day…..



Going through the three pages of names, I decided to research each family in the order they appear on the list, and try to determine just how they are related to each other and to me. This required searching a number of different genealogical sites and sources, as many of the families were unfamiliar to me.

6. Mrs. Lucy Clark

The 6th name on the Guest List is Mrs. Lucy M. (White) Clark of Dyer Brook, Aroostook County. She was the daughter of Charles and Elizabeth “Betsey” (Lilley) White and the younger sister of Harrison White, making her the paternal 1st cousin of the husband of my 2nd great-grandaunt.

Lucy M. White was born 24 July 1863 in Littleton, Aroostook County. She was the 5th child and 2nd daughter of Charles and Betsey White. Like her older brother Harrison, Lucy was born in the United States, on the family farm in Littleton.

Lucy first appears on the 1870 US Federal Census, living with her parents and 6 siblings. By the time of the next Census, 1880, Lucy is now a marriad woman. She married Elijah Kelley, son of William H. & Mary Jane (Fields) Kelley on the 3rd day of May in 1879. Lucy was 18 and Elijah was 24. The marriage produced 6 children, Clara Estelle, George Ambrose, Eddith Etta, Harry Newell, Charles William and Josie Mae.

Lucy’s first husband Elijah passed away on th 23rd of Nov 1897 at the young age of 41, leaving Lucy a widow with 6 children, the youngest being only 11 months old.

On 31 October 1899, Lucy married her second husband, John I. Clark. She and John would have two children together, Millie Bearle and Ora William.

Lucy attended the Family Reunion alone, according to the list of guests.

7. Mr & Mrs. Joseph Lincoln Hawksley & daughter

The next family on the Guest List is “Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Hawksley & daughter from Dyer Brook. It took some searching, but I was able to identify the attendees as Joseph L.Hawksley, his wife Dorothy (White) Hawksley and their daughter Sylvan / Feneda . Both Joseph and his wife are members of the Lilley family, as Joseph is the son of Lucy Thomas (Lilley) Hawksley and Dorothy is the daughter of Elizabeth “Betsey” (Lilley) White. Dorothy is Lucy M. White’s younger sister. Joseph is listed on Ancestry as the paternal 1st cousin of husband of my 2nd great-grandaunt. Dorothy is also listed as the paternal 1st cousin of husband of my 2nd great-grandaunt, making Dorothy and Joseph first cousins as their mothers (Elizabeth & Lucy) were sisters.

Dorothy L. White was born on the 28th of January 1865 in Lewiston, Aroostook County. She was the 6th child of Charles and Elizabeth (Lilley) White.

Joseph Lincoln Hawksley was born on 15th of August 1865 in Mars Hill, Aroostook County. He was the 9th child of John Goodwin and Lucy Thomas (Lilley) Hawksley.

Joseph and Dorothy were married on 02 April 1896 in Smyrna, Aroostook by Clergyman George F. Lilley, who is 1st cousin of their mothers.

They first appear as a family in the 1900 US Federal Census, living in Smyrna with their 2 children: Sylvan and Feneda. They are still living in Smyrna according to the 1910 US Federal Census, but have moved to Dyer Brook some time before the 1920 US. Federal Census.

Both of their daughters, Sylvan and Feneda were living at home in 1922, but it is unclear which of them attended the family reunion with their parents.

8. Mr. & Mrs. Roger L. McGary

The eight family listed on the handwritten guest list is Mr. and Mrs. R. L. McGary. It took a little searching, but I was able to find Roger Lilley McGary and his wife Cora (Whiting ) Sargent. With a middle name of Lilley, it’s obvious which member of the family is the Grant / Lilley connection. Roger is listed on Ancestry.com as father-in-law of nephew of husband of 1st Cousin 3x removed, May Viola Gerrish. But I have found a second, closer connection between Roger and I. Through his mother, Lucy Caroline Lilley, he is the paternal 1st Cousin 1x removed of husband of my 2nd great-grandaunt, Nellie O. Gardner.

Roger Lilley McGary was born on 28th of July 1877, the 4th child and 3rd son of Thomas and Lucy Caroline (Lilley) McGary. Born on the family farm in Smyrna, Aroostook County, Roger would live in the area his entire life, living with his parents on the family farm until his marriage.

On Christmas Day, December 25, 1901, Roger took the young widow, Cora (Whiting) Sargent as his wife. She was the widow of Fred P. Sargernt, and the mother of a 6-year-old son, Arthur.

The 1910 US Federal Census lists the family as Roger, Cora, their two children, Florence and Clifford, along with Arthur. There is also a farm laborer living with them, Francis Wood, a live-in housekeeper, Geneva Ireland and a boarder, Nellie Brown.

By 1920, the family had grown to 3 children, with the birth of Raymond in August, 1910. Roger’s 5-year-old nephew, Herbert, is also listed with the family. Herbert was the son of George B. McGary, Roger’s youngest brother.

Based on the guest list, it doesn’t appear that any of the children attended the family reunion.

9. Mr. & Mrs. Crawford William Marley & family

The next family on the Grant / Lilley Reunion Guest list is Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Marley & family. The Grant / Lilley connection in this family is strong. Mrs. Marley is Electra Grant, the daughter of Henry and Electra (Lurvey) Grant. She is listed on Ancestry.com as the sister-in-law of my 1st cousin 3x removed (May Viola Gerrish).

Electra W. Grant was born 10th of March 1878 in Smyrna, Aroostook County, to Henry Allen Grant and his 2nd wife Electra (Lurvey) Grant. Her mother tragically passed away 19 days after her birth. The 1880 US Federal Census reflects this, as Electra, her older brother Leon and her father Henry are living with Henry’s parents, William and Esther Grant.

The 1900 US Federal Census lists Electra as a Boarder at the home of Clifford Marley and his sister Lottie. Electra married Crawford W. Marley on 12th of December 1900. Electra and Crawford were blessed with 3 children during their marriage: Benjamin, born in 1901; Donald, born in 1910 and Phyllis, born in 1916. This is reflected in the 1920 US Federal Census.

Benjamin married Shirley S. Ingalls on 24th of June 1921. Although Benjamin did not attend the reunion, his wife Shirley is listed as an attendee. I will explore her connection to the family at a later date.

Donald, who was 12 years old and Phyllis, who was 6 years old at time of the reunion most likely can be counted as the “& family” on the guest list.

10. Mr. & Mrs. Jesse Gerrish & family

When I saw the name “Mr. & Mrs. Jesse Gerrish & family” on the Grant / Lilley family reunion guest list, I immediately recognized it. Jesse Gerrish is my 1st Cousin 3x removed, the son of Hannah L. (Gardner) Gerrish. Hannah is the younger sister of my 2nd Great Grandfather John Henry Gardner. She is also the sister of Nellie O. (Gardner) Lilley. However, I have yet to find a connection between Jesse Gerrish and either the Grant or Lilley family other than through his aunt Nellie.

I am setting this brick wall aside for the time being and continuing to work through the attendance list. Hopefully a clue will appear to assist me with this family connection.



Going through the three pages of names, I decided to research each family in the order they appear on the list, and try to determine just how they are related to each other and to me. This required searching a number of different genealogical sites and sources, as many of the families were unfamiliar to me.

  1. Mr. & Mrs. Henry Vivian Grant

The first family listed is “Mr. and Mrs. Vivian Grant of Patten, Maine. It turns out that according to Ancestry.com Henry Vivian Grant was the stepson of my 1st cousin 3x removed (May Viola Gerrish Grant)

Henry Vivian Grant was born on the 21 August 1899 in Readfield, Kennebec, Maine, to Leon Miles and Caroline “Carrie” (Knights) Grant. He was the eldest of 4 children.

Record of a birth for Henry Vivian Grant

His parents having been married on the 22 of October 1898 in Readfield, Maine, the family moved to Peru, Oxford, Maine prior to the 1900 US Federal Census. Here the family lived on a acre farm with Leon as the primary farmer.

By the 1910 US Federal Census, the family had re-located again, this time to a farm in Crystal, Aroostook, Maine. By this time the family had grown to include 3 children, Henry V., John Harold and Corrie May. There had been born a fourth child, who did not survive.

The 1920 US Federal Census finds Henry as a 20 year old, still living with his parents, brother Harold and sister May. The family has yet again relocated, this time to Patten, Penobscot, Maine. No longer living on a farm, both Henry and his father are listed as Laborers, performing general work.

On 26 Dec 1921, Henry Vivian Grant took Mildred Rachel Boynton as his wife. They were married in Patten, Maine by I.H. Lidstone, Clergyman. It was the first and only marriage for each of them. Mildred was the 4th child and 2nd daughter of Ernest and Mary A. (Seales) Boynton.

On the 26th of August 1922, the newlyweds attended the Grant & Lilley Family reunion.

2. Mr & Mrs. Charles Grant

The next family listed is “Mr & Mrs. Charles Grant of Oakfield, Maine. I did not find them on my family tree and had to research to learn the family connection. Ancestry.com has listed Charles Cleveland Grant as the brother of my 7th cousin 1x removed, which seems like a strange connection to me. I have a feeling that he is related to me in a closer connection, so I set out to learn what I could about Mr. and Mrs. Charles Cleveland Grant.

Charles Cleveland Grant was born the 25 May 1887 in Oakfield, Aroostook, Maine. He was the fourth of 21 children born to George Washington and Alice (McGinley) Grant. (note: several of his siblings appear later on the list of names)

Not much can be found on Charles Cleveland prior to his marriage to May Annie Clark on 5 Jun 1912. They were married by the Rev. H.G. Kennedy in Oakfield and by the time of the 1920 US Federal Census, they were settled in a home in Oakfield with Charles working at first as a farm laborer, but later obtaining a job as a mechanic.

Charles and May were the parents of 3 children: Priscilla, born in 1923, Catherine, born in 1925 and Robert, born in 1928.

At the time of the Grant / Lilley family reunion in 1922, they were still living in Oakfield, without any children.

3. Mr. & Mrs. Lewis Leavitt & family

The third family on the list is Mr. & Mrs. Lewis Leavitt & family of Smyrna, Aroostook County. Before I could determine how they are related to me, I needed to determine what was their Grant /Lilley connection.

Lewis Leavitt was born on 18 May 1882, the son of Artemas Moses and Mary Anne (Clement) Leavitt. Pauline Soule was born 25 Aug 1885, the daughter of Benjamin Franklin and Angie F. (Grant) Soule. Pauline, also known as Polly, is listed in Ancestry.com as my sister-in-law of my 1st Cousin 3times removed (Nellie Orlend Gardner-Lilley) and is the apparent connection to the Grant / Lilly families.

Another fun fact is that Mr. & Mrs. Leavitt employed a young woman by the name of Nancy Ella Gerald as a live-in housekeeper for several years. It was during her time as their housekeeper that she met her future husband, LeRoy George Gardner. My maternal grandparents remained in the Smyrna/Merrill area their entire married lives.

As stated earlier, Pauline “Polly” Emma Soule was born on 25 August 1885 in Oakfield, Aroostook County. She was the 6th child of Benjamin Franklin and Angerona “Angie” (Grant) Soule.

The 1900 US Federal census is the first one Polly appears on. She is living in Oakfield, Aroostook County with her parents and 7 siblings on the family farm. She is listed as having attended school 6 months of the previous year. It was not unusual for the elder children of a family to also work on the farm, as seen by the fact Polly’s younger brother Clinton is listed to have only attended school for 4 months.

Polly and Lewis were married on 16 Jan 1903. They went on to be the parents of 8 children, all girls: Alva, Arleen, Helen, Erna, Winnifred, Joyce, Anita and Gloria.

Ranging in age from 9 years (Alva) to 4 years (Anita) it is safe to assume that all of the children were also in attendance at the reunion.

4. Miss Evelyn Lilley

The fourth name to appear on the guest list is Miss Evelyn Lilley of Smyrna, Aroostook County. She was the niece of Pauline (Soule) Leavitt, the daughter of Jessie A. Soule and Ray Orsoe Lilley. My connection to her is strong: her paternal grandmother, Nellie Oreno (Gardner) Lilley was my 2nd Great-Grandaunt, making her my 2nd Cousin 2x removed.

On the 1910 US Federal Census, you will find Evelyn and her sister Aleda living with their maternal grandparents, Benjamin and Angie (Grant) Soule. This is because Jessie A. (Soule) Lilley passed away on 05 November 1905. Her cause of death is listed as Septicemic sore on face. Evelyn was only 2 years old and her sister Aleda was only 3.

Ray Lilley went on to marry twice more, to Martha Etta Bolstridge and Winnfred I. Labbe, but his 2 daughters by his first wife remained with their maternal grandparents, as seen on the 1920 US Federal Census.

On 26 August 1922, Evelyn was still single and most likely living with her grandmother, Nellie. She attended the family reunion alone.

5. Harrison G. White

The fifth name on the Guest List is Harrison G. White of Dyer Brook, Aroostook County. According to Ancestry.com he is the paternal 1st cousin of the husband of my 2nd great-grandaunt. In other words, he is the cousin of George F. Lilley, who was married to my 2nd Great-Grandaunt Nellie O. Gardner.

Harrison G. White was born on 20 Dec 1859 in Littleton, Aroostook County to Charles and Elizabeth (Lilley) White. He was the 4th of the couple’s 9 children and the first to be born in the United States. His parents and three older siblings emigrated from Richmond, New Brunswick, Canada in 1858.

The 1860 US Federal Census shows the family living on a farm in Littleton, Maine with Charles & Betsey White and their four children. Also living with the family is Aaron Lilley, Betsey’s younger brother, who is working as a laborer on the farm.

By 1870 the White family had grown to include 7 children. Although they are still living in Littleton, it appears that they have moved from their farm. Charles is no longer listed as a farmer, simply a Laborer.

Between 1870 and 1880, the family relocated to Dyer Brook, Aroostook County and again are living on a farm, with Charles’ occupation listed as “farmer.” Harrison, now 20 years old has the occupation of “working on farm.” Harrison’s younger sister Lucy has married and she and her husband are living on the family farm. Enoch White, their eldest son is shown living with his family on the farm next door.

Charles White died 15 May 1894. The 1900 US Federal Census reflects this and his 2 unmarried sons, Harrison and James are now shown as running the family farm in Dyer Brook. William, also unmarried, is working as a Carpenter, but still living with his mother and brothers.

In 1910 on the US Federal Census, Harrison is again shown as the Head of the family, still single and living on the family farm with his mother and elder brother, William. James, who has married Jennie M. Parker in 1901 has moved to his own farm in Dyer Brook.

The 1920 US Federal Census shows no change; Harrison is listed as the Head of the family, working as a farmer. Living with him is his 87 year old mother Betsey and his brother, William.

Neither Betsey nor William appear on the list of Guests at the Grant / Lilley Family reunion.


26 Aug 1922 – Grant & Lilley Family Reunion

On 26 Aug 1922 in Dyer Brook, Aroostook County, Maine a Grant & Lilley family reunion took place. Attending this reunion was 60+ families who were related to either the Grant Family or Lilley Family, or in many cases, both families!

A Little History

I’ve been given a number of boxes containing photographs that belonged to my Aunt Ellen, my mom’s elder sister E. Ellen Gardner, who was the family historian of her family. I periodically go through these boxes and wonder if I recognize some faces, guess at others and find unseen photos of my parents and siblings. Sometimes I also find other documents, such as birth records, newspaper articles and occasionally a hand-written family history document.

Such was the case when I found the Guest List from the Grant & Lilly Reunion, held on 26 Aug 1922. Some of the names I immediately recognized as cousins. Some names I recognized as names I had encountered in the building of my family tree and yet others I had never seen before.

This is a small portion of the photograph in question, cropped from a photo my Aunt took of her Sitting Room wall.

I remember a photo that used to hang on the wall in my Grandfather LeRoy’s sitting room – a photo that had to be at least 4 feet wide. It was of a LARGE group of people of varying ages. Seeing it as a child, I marveled at the size. I didn’t realize until I found the Grant/Lilley Reunion Guest List that most likely the photo was taken on 26 Aug 1922 and everyone in the photo was a Grant/Lilley relative. I never found my grandparents in the photo, but then again, they are not listed on the guest list.

I’m not quite sure if I am directly related to the Grants and Lilleys (and I am actively searching to confirm/deny connection) but I do know that several of my 2x Great Grandfather’s siblings married into both the Grant and Lilley families.

Why would my Grandfather have this photograph?
How am I related to the Grant / Lilley Families of Maine?
Where is the photograph today? – The last time I saw the photograph was at my Aunt Ellen’s funeral, where it was displayed next to her coffin. That was in June of 1999.

Over the course of the next few months, I hope to answer these and other questions I have regarding the Grant / Lilley Family reunion.


Henry Cranston and Sarah Jane Baggerly were the parents of six children. Their youngest son, Fred Franklin Bliven, was my Great-Grandfather. He was born on the Bliven family farm (see LAND OF MY PEOPLE – PART 2) on 08 Sep 1874. He was raised on this farm, working for his father until his father’s death in 1892.

On 01 January 1896, Fred married Maude Houghtaling, eldest daughter of Lafayette and Diantha (Fisher) Houghtaling, a farmer from Cohoctah, Livingston County, Michigan. Maude had been born in Brighton, Livingston County and her family had lived in Brighton before settling in Cohoctah Township.

Published in Livingston County Daily Press and Argus – 08 Jan 1896, page 1

Sometime between their marriage and the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, the newly created Bliven family left Livingston County and located in neighboring Shaiwassee County.

The 1900 U.S. Census lists that Fred and Maude are living in Burns, Shiawassee Co. Michigan with two of their three children; Martin and Mildred. (Their youngest daughter Florence was born in 1901.) The census indicates that Fred’s occupation is a farmer and that he owns his farm. On 29 Sept 1909, it is listed in the newspaper that “Fred Bliven and family have moved away from here” [Shiawassee County].

This move is reflected in the 1910 U.S. Census which now lists Fred, Maude and the three children back in Cohoctah Township and are renting the farm that they are living on. Fred did eventually buy the farm and the family remained here until 1917, when they sold the farm to Chris. O. Ludke and wife for $1,200.

It was this farm in Cohoctah Township that I have been able to locate on the 1915 U.S. Indexed County Land Ownership Maps. In section 32 of Cohoctah Township, Fred is listed as occupying 60 acres. Although I have located this land on Google Maps, I have yet to personally travel to the area and photograph the actual land. That is planned for later this month (pandemic willing).

But, I have a question? Having been a farmer all of his life, why did Fred, at the age of 43, sell the farm? Where did the family move to?

There are a number of documents that allow me to trace where Fred, Maude and the family went upon selling the farm in Cohoctah. The U.S. World War I Draft Registration Card for Fred, dated 02 Sep 1918, has him living at 815 North Cedar Street. He is listed with a present occupation of City of Lansing Policeman.

U.S. World War I Draft Registration Card, 1917-1918

The 1920 U.S. Census has Fred and Maude still living at 815 North Cedar Street, but now his occupation is listed as a Motorman on a Street Car. All three of the children have grown, married and moved into their own places.

When I first learned that Fred and Maude lived on Cedar Street, I wondered how close they might be to where my Great-grandparents, Charles and Christina Elizabeth lived. I knew that Cedar Street was very near Center Street, as my father attended Cedar Street Elementary School as a boy.

So I looked up 815 North Cedar Street on Google Maps, and found the following:

Apparently, I had driven past this home numerous times and not realized that it was also a former residence of my family. Below is what came up when I asked Google Maps to give directions from 815 N. Cedar Street to 808 Center Street.

My grandmother Margaret (aka Peggy) married Fed and Maude’s son Martin on 26 Jun 1920. This photo was taken after the wedding, in the front yard of 808 Center Street.

So, I’m glad that the Bliven family left the farm and moved to Lansing, as this led to my grandparents meeting, my father being born and, therefore, ME!

Lansing was not the last location that either Fred or Maude lived, but that’s a story for another time.


As I mentioned in my last blog, I have had four different times when I’ve been able to locate the actual land that my ancestors lived on. The first story was my 3x Maternal Grandparents, John Henry and Martha Gardner. THE LAND OF MY PEOPLE

The remaining three stories are all from branches of my Paternal ancestors.

Unlike my Gardner ancestors, I grew up not knowing anything about my Paternal Grandfather, other than his name: Martin Henry Bliven. Over the course of years that I have been researching my family tree, I have learned many, many things about the Bliven branch. Two of the following stories are from this branch.

Henry Cranston and Sarah Jane (Baggerly) Bliven

Union Plains Cemetery, Byron, Michigan. This is the burial plot of Henry C. and Sarah Jane (Baggerly) Bliven

Henry Cranston Bliven was born 27 Nov 1822 in Phelps, Ontario, New York, the eldest son of Benjamin Barber and Palmira (Eggleston) Bliven. He was raised with his three brothers and three sisters on the family farm in Phelps.

By 1850, the 25 year old Henry had left his parents farm and was living and working for others. The 1850 U.S. Federal Census has him in Hopewell, Ontario New York, working as a farm laborer for Charles P. Maynard. Sometime in October 1855, as a 30 years old, he moved to Alfred, Allegany, New York to work as a farm laborer on the Almond Crandall farm.

On 11 May 1856, Henry C. Bliven united in marriage with Sarah Jane Baggerly, daughter of Henry and Dalinda (Welcher) Baggerly Jr. She was also born in Phelps, Ontario, New York. By the time of the 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Henry, Sarah Jane and their son William had moved to Potter, Yates, New York, where Henry was working as a Farm Day Laborer. The 1865 New York State Census shows that Henry owned his own farm in Jerusalem, Yates, New York. But the family would not remain there long.

1860 U.S. Census – H. C. Bliven and family, Potter, New York State
1870 U.S. Census – H. C. Bliven and family, Antrim, Michigan State

Between 19 September 1866, when Henry and Sarah Jane’s daughter Palmyra was born in New York State and 11 Dec 1867 when their son George was born in Michigan, the Bliven family, consisting of Henry, his wife Sarah Jane and their daughters Delia, and Palmyra, (their son William having died in January 1863) migrated to Shiawassee County, Michigan. Here in Antrim Center, Henry would purchase 40 acres for his own family farm. On this farm, his three youngest children, George B., Irma Isabell and Fred Franklin were born.

I was thrilled to locate on the 1875 U.S. Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, the land that Henry C. Bliven owned. I was also thrilled when I was able find the 1915 plat map showing the land that George B. owned.

1875 U.S. Indexed County Land Ownership Maps

But nothing was more thrilling than, when in September of 2009 I was able to locate and photograph the land in person.

A Barn on the farm land, unclear if on what used to be the Bliven Farm
Field of Corn
Recently plowed field

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the road that the farm was located on is “Bliven Road”, named for my 2x Great Grandfather Henry C.

At the death of Henry Cranston Bliven, his son George B. inherited the family homestead. Over time he would increase the number of acres from 40 to 80.

1915 U.S. Indexed County Land Ownership Maps

This land would remain in the Bliven family until October 1946, when George B. Bliven, who was moving to Florida for his health, would auction the land and all of the physical contents of the farm, including:

Ad for Bank Auction of Bliven Farm, published in the Livingston County Daily Press and Argus, Howell, Michigan 23 Oct. 1946.

George B. Bliven died in 1954 in Lakeland, Polk County, Florida. He was buried in Oak Hill Burial Park in Lakeland, having never returned to Michigan.

Although the Bliven family has not owned this land since 1946, as of 1975, it was still being considered the “Old Bliven Farm”, as seen in this Auction Ad from Livingston County Daily Press and Argus, Howell, Michigan 15 Oct 1975

This was not the only land owned by the Bliven family in Livingston or Shiawassee Counties. (to be continued …)



I have always found it exciting to see the physical places where my ancestors have lived. My Mother’s family was from New England – almost exclusively from Maine, with a scattering of ancestors from the other states, i.e. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and since it was so close, New Brunswick, Canada. If you follow the lines back, you will end up in Great Britain.

Dad’s family origins depends upon the branch – his mom came from Guernsey, his dad from Michigan. Tracing the two lines back, they both started out in England, but there’s branches found in France, the Netherlands and other European countries.

I have visited a number of places where my Grandparents have lived. I was only able to meet my maternal Grandfather, as my other Grandparents either died before I was born, (paternal grandmother and paternal grandfather) or I was too young to remember them (maternal grandmother) before she died.

I’ve been able to visit the house where my father grew up – 808 Center Street, Lansing, Michigan.

I’ve been able to visit the house where my Mother grew up – Merrill, Maine

But I haven’t always been able to visit the places where my Great-grandparents came from.


It’s exciting to find my 2x Great-grandparents and their children (including my Great-Grandmother) listed in the 1880 U. S. Federal Census. It’s another thing to see what looks like your 2x Great-Grandfather on a Plat map for the town he lived in and then using that map to find the actual land on Google Maps.

And that’s exactly what I’ve been able to do with four of my ancestor’s land/homes.

There’s as story behind each of these searches and finds. To best tell the stories, I will publish each one separately.

John and Martha Gardner

John Henry and Martha ( Colby) Gardner

John Henry Gardner was the second son of George Washington Gardner and Tabitha Roberts. He was born in Brooks, Waldo, Maine on 15 Mar 1842. He served in the Union Army during the Civil War, Co. E 4th Maine Volunteer Infantry. He enlisted from his home town of Brooks, Maine on 11 Oct 1862 and was mustered out on 17 Aug 1883 in Bangor, Maine. After the war, rather than returning to his parents , who had relocated during the war to Aroostook County, he chose to live in Waltham, Hancock County, Maine, where he worked as a Mill laborer. It was here that he was married on 04 Mar 1869 to Miss Martha Pearson Colby, daughter of Eli and Lorinda (Giles) Colby. It was here that their four daughters ( Alice Mae, Carrie E. Susan E. and Bertha L.) were born. They remained in Waltham until at least 1900, when they are found in Merrill Plantation, Aroostook County, living next to his parents and elder brother Enoch’s family.

And it was here in Waltham, Hancock, Maine that I was able to locate the John H. Gardner family on a Maine County Plat map.

In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, John H. Gardner, his wife and 3 of his daughters are living in Waltham, Hancock, Maine. In the Census, Alfred M. Hastintgs and family, and Manter A. Roberts and family live nearby. John is working as a Mill Laborer.

I was able to find the 1881 plat map of Waltham, Hancock County, Maine in the U. S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps 1860-1918 on Ancestry.com.

When I zoomed in on the center of town, I found who I was looking for.

There was J. Gardner. Across the street was A. Hastings. Directly south of the Gardner home was listed “Mill Privileges”, after which I saw M. A. Roberts, just like the 1880 Census said I would.

There was a small paragraph which described the village of Waltham next to the map.

Unfortunately, it looks like the water power in Waltham was not “properly utilized”, as there is no thriving village to be seen on the Google Map image I took. Most of the houses shown on the 1881 map appear to have been torn down, and I was unable to locate a mill in the area.

According to the 1881 map, the town population was 296. As of the 2010 census, the population is 353.

This is one of the locations I have yet to visit in person. I will drive down ME-179, cross the bridge over Webb Brook, and see for myself, where my 2x Great-grandparents once lived, even if the house no longer exists.

Oh goody, another reason to take a trip to Maine!!

This wasn’t one of my Childhood Family Stories

Back when I first started researching my family genealogy, I created a list of the “family stories” I could remember my Mom telling me when I was young. There were items on the list that included :

  • Great Aunt/Uncle that died as a child and buried in the Mediterranean Sea, along with a red ball.
  • Xth Great-grandmother (unknown which one) was supposedly captured by Indians and raised as an Indian princess.
  • Grandma Liz [Christina Elizabeth (Nicolle) Vincent] wanted to live to be 100
  • Cecilia (Still) Vincent’s first husband died on the Titanic – his name was unknown.
  • There was an Irishman who was a horse thief, came across on the Mayflower (or Mayflower II) as a stowaway, changing his name when he arrived in the new world (dropping the Fitz- from FitzGerald)

In my 25+ years of research, some of the stories have been easily proven true. For example, my Great Aunt Florence Vincent, second child of Charles and Christina Elizabeth (Nicolle) Vincent [my Dad’s aunt] died of a fever on board the R.M.S. Crocodile, while her father and his family was traveling from Gibraltar to East India. She was buried at sea in the Mediterranean and her death reported when the ship arrived at port.

Frederick and Cecilia (Still) Ware on their wedding day

Another story I was able prove, was learning the name of Cecilia (Still) Vincent’s first husband – Frederick Ware, who did indeed die while traveling back from England to New York, when the Titanic sank. His body was never found, but evidence of his passage is found on the ship’s manifest.

Grandma Liz probably did want to live to be 100, but actually died at 94, not 97 as my Mom used to say. She lied about her age on every record I have for her, except one – her birth record! She was born in 1855, not 1852-3, as stated on her marriage record, death certificate, headstone, Census forms, etc.

Christina Elizabeth Nicholls (Nicolle)’s Birth Record

Other stories will most likely never be proven, such as the Great-grandmother who was captured and raised by Indians. I do know that no Native American DNA appears in either my AncestryDNA sample or my 23andMe sample, but the story was she was captured, not born, so there wouldn’t be DNA present.

But the one story I have worked on the longest is the Irish stowaway – did he arrive on the Mayflower / Mayflower II?
Maybe, maybe not. One thing is very certain, I have Mayflower ancestors on my Mom’s family tree – in fact, at last count, I have FOUR of them: Elder William Brewster and his wife, Mary Wentworth Brewster and John Alden and his wife, Priscilla Mullins Alden. I am a descendant of the Brewsters via my maternal grandmother (and namesake) Nancy Ella (Gerald) Gardner and a descendant of John and Priscilla Alden via my maternal grandfather, LeRoy George Gardner.

Nancy Ella and LeRoy George Gardner on their wedding anniversary

I’ve known about the first Mayflower Ancestors since August, 2018, when I learned that my newly discovered 4th Great-Grandmother, Lydia (Burrill) Gardner was a descendant of John and Priscilla. The brick wall separating my family tree from the Burrill family took me many, many, many years to break through. I was overjoyed when I learned the connection via Lydia to the Mayflower.

My discovery of my connection with William and Mary Brewster is much more recent – March 28th of this year, when I learned due to a potential ancestor on the new
ThruLines feature on Ancestry.com – of my 5th Great-Grandfather Joseph Greenleaf and his wife Dorcas (Gray) Greenleaf. Subsequent research on that line gave me the connection between my Grandma Nancy and the Mayflower.

Since none of these four Mayflower ancestors are of Irish descent, I can’t say that this answers the question about my Irish horse thief. I’m still trying to find the elusive connection between my Gerald Great-grandparents: Rose Ellen (Gerald) Gerald and her husband Orrin Fitz Gerald. I have a new hypothesis that asks if Rose’s Great-Grandfather George (1748-1825) and Orrin’s Great Grandfather David (1740-1820) were brothers, who separately came over the the USA from England in the 1770s and fought in the Revolutionary War? Could one of them be my Irish horse thief, since they both emigrated from the Emerald Isle?

Only Time (and a lot more research) Will Tell.