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GRANT/LILLEY FAMILY REUNION – Part 1

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.

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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.

LOOKING FOR MY COUSINS

In the summer of 1964, my family took a 3-week vacation and drove to Denver, Colorado to visit my Dad’s HART and SPAULDING Cousins. Christine (DeVaney) Spaulding and Kathleen (DeVaney) Hart and their families both lived there.  The two women were the daughters of Ivy A. (Vincent) DeVaney and her husband Michael, who helped raise my Dad after his mother passed away.

I was only 7 years old at the time, and my memories of the trip are now limited to just the moments that were captured by photographs. And oh, what photographs I have:  Mountains, Plains, Continental Divides, Buffalo Bill’s Grave and so many photos of my Mom, sister Margaret, 2 brothers, Chuck and Lee and me.

I inherited all of them after my parents passed away, and have over the years scanned them, so I have an electronic copy and can relive the memories. 

But…

Some of these photographs have puzzled me for decades.

Backyard of the home we stayed at in Colorado, overlooking the hills and meadows.


This is a photo of the backyard of where the Bliven family stayed while in Colorado.  I don’t remember which of the families we stayed with – was it with Mr. and Mrs. Gus Hart?  Was it with Mr. and Mrs. Jay Spaulding?

What I do remember is that there were horses living in the field behind, and I was photographed with 2 of my young cousins and several of the horses.

My mystery cousin and I and one of the wild horses.
More of the wild horses come to visit.
My cousins, me and the horses.

Who are these cousins? Are they still living in Colorado?

I know that at least one trip into the Rockies included Jay and Christina Spaulding, my parents and older brother and sister, because several photos exist to support this.

Jay Raymond Spaulding ( 1909-1970) married to Christina R (DeVaney)
Looking closely at the car, I can see both my Mom and cousin Christina in the back seat.
Again, looking in the car, I see my Mom, my older brother and my sister
A classic shot – “Snowball fight in the middle of summer” – participants are Mom and Margaret
I’ll bet this happened a lot on this road trip – “Stopping for photos” Participants: Jay Spaulding, Margaret Bliven

I vaguely remember the day of this trip, as my younger brother and I got to stay behind and play with the family dog. There was only room for 6 in our family station wagon and in reality, both my younger brother and I would most likely not remember the trip, since we were 7 ½ and 4 ½ years old at the time. So, it’s possible we stayed with the Spaulding’s and the Hart’s came to visit.

Perhaps one of my Hart/DeVaney/Spaulding cousins will also remember the visit in that Summer of 64, when the Bliven family came to Colorado to spend time with cousins. Perhaps they will be in contact with me.  Perhaps, I’ll never know the names of the cousins I spent time with.

I’ll end this here, with a few more photos from the trip to and from Colorado.

Traveling with my Aunt Ivy – I believe somewhere between Michigan and Colorado
Golden, Colorado – Gravesite of “Buffalo Bill” William F. Cody
Another Classic photo op “Children in front of scenic marker” Participants, Nancy and Leroy Bliven (I believe this is located in South Dakota)
Apparently there were occasional breakdowns on the road to and/or from Colorado. Then again, what’s a vacation without an occasional breakdown?
Another Historical Marker, another Classic picture
You HAVE to take a photo of children in front of markers. Participants: Nancy, Leroy and Chuck
The Majesty of the Rocky Mountains!
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Montana
Cemetery at Little BigHorn Battlefield National Momunent
Battlefield photo
Walking the Battlefield. Led by Leroy, then Mom, Nancy , Chuck, Margaret trailed by Dad
“Children in front of beautiful lake” Participants: Nancy and Leroy
If my memory is correct, this is a mountain view of the area in Colorado where we were staying. Supposedly, you can see our trailer from here. I’ve never found it.
Another mountain top view
Somewhere in the Black Hills of South Dakota
Buffalo in the Black Hills
A Family Favorite Spot – Prairie Dog Town. You may not see them, but the field is filled with Prairie Dogs peeking out of their burrows.