FAMILY TIES

1888 baptisms — same family, different ‘church’?

Posted May 20, 2011, at 11:48 p.m.
Last modified May 22, 2011, at 12:46 p.m.

Two baptism certificates with the same last name, same handwriting, same year — 1888. But one baptism was held in “the Baptist House of Worship” in East Blue Hill, the other in an Episcopal church in Northeast Harbor.

Baptized on July 23, 1888, in East Blue Hill, was Christopher Binder, son of Frank H. and Eliza A. Binder. Sponsors or witnesses were Major Chas. A. Appel, Mrs. Chas. A. Appel and Harry W. Binder. The priest was LeBaron W. Fowler. The baptism was recorded in Parish Register No. 52, pages 48 and 49, Northeast Harbor Church Register.

Two months later, Frank Harold Binder was baptized on Sept. 16, 1888, “the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity,” at Saint Mary’s by the Sea, Northeast Harbor, Mount Desert. His parents were Christopher and Martha A. Binder. Sponsors or witnesses were James D. Dunford and the Rev. LeBaron W. Fowler. The word “priest” was crossed out, and the certificate was signed by Wm. Crosswell Doane, Bishop of Albany. The baptism was recorded in Parish Register No. 58, pages 48 and 49.

The two certificates were together when I received them. Is this a conundrum? Probably not.

The word “priest” was actually a printed part of both certificates, and it’s not generally a word used in reference to Baptist churches I know of. Further, both certificates were recorded in Northeast Harbor, one as the location of baptism, the other in connection with the parish register.

So who are these people? With most of the U.S. Census for 1890 unavailable because it was burned, I checked the 1880 census for Maine, with no real results.

The 1870 Census, however, lists Christopher Binder, 40, a builder, and wife Martha, 34, living in Philadelphia. Children are Frank, 16; Lillie, 11; and Henry, 6. This Frank Binder would have been about 34 if he is the one baptized in 1888 in Northeast Harbor. The parents’ names are right.

If we move to 1900, we find Frank H. Binder, born June 1854, living in Stone Mountain, Ga., with wife Eliza, born May 1862. Moreover, their children include Christopher Binder, 18, born September 1881 in Maine. The parents’ names are right for the Christopher Binder baptized in 1888 in Blue Hill, and he would have been about 7 — unless his grandfather Christopher was the one baptized.

In 1920, the census for Mount Airy, N.C., lists Christopher Binder, born in Maine, manager of a granite quarry, and wife Lou, with several children. The older ones were born in Pennsylvania, the next two in Georgia, and the two little ones in North Carolina. The 9-year-old son is Harry W. Binder, named possibly for the Harry W. who was a witness on Christopher’s baptism certificate in 1888.

Now for the clergy. William Croswell Doane was in fact the first bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, N.Y., 1869-1913. I found him on the Internet as having a “cottage” in Northeast Harbor as of 1881, and he was the impetus for a chapel being built there.

The Rev. LeBaron W. Foster, who came to Maine in 1886 from Fredericton, New Brunswick, was in Northeast Harbor by 1887, and also served in Dexter 1890-1895. But of course, if a bishop is in town when a baptism or other sacrament is celebrated, he or she often is accorded that honor.

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The Hancock County Genealogical Society is working on a project to create a directory that will tell researchers where to find store records, business ledgers and personal diaries kept by early inhabitants of Hancock County.

“Business ledgers and diaries provide fascinating insight into the actual daily lives of our ancestors,” says the request for help. “This information can tell you the days they went to market, the goods they bought and how much they paid. From this information, you might infer that your relative was married, owned horses or operated a small quarry. Even if your own forefathers (or foremothers) did not leave a diary, the diary of a neighbor might tell you about a drought that affected the farm crops, or an epidemic that swept through the community.”

The hope is that a directory will serve as a “treasure map” leading researchers to documents held by historical societies and other organizations that are open to the public. The directory will be in a form that can be reproduced easily and made available to other repositories in Hancock County.

The society is not asking for a donation of these items — only to identify their location. If you know the location of old ledgers or diaries, contact the Hancock County Genealogical Society:

president Patti Leland, 276-5305; pattileland@roadrunner.com; vice president Charlene Clemons, 667-7210; foxtail994@roadrunner.com.

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The Belfast Historical Society will present “Working in Belfast — Chickens and Sardines” at 7 p.m. Monday, May 23, at Belfast Free Library, Abbott Room. After the slide show will be a discussion about the industries moderated by Jay Davis with several women who worked in the plants. Meetings are free and open to all the fourth Monday of the month, April through October.

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The Unity Historical Society will present “Old Houses,” particularly in Kennbec Valley, with Dan Mitchell of Sidney at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, at the society house on Depot Street. All are welcome.

Anyone has who questions about cemetery or genealogy records in Unity may email history@UnityMaine.org. Let me suggest that questions should be as specific as possible, as historical societies don’t have time to do your whole genealogy.

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The Historical Society of the town of Hancock, upstairs in the Hancock Town Hall just off Route 1 and Point Road, is open 10 a.m.-noon Tuesdays in May and June; and 10 a.m.-noon Tuesdays and Wednesdays in July and August. Or make an appointment by calling 422-3080.

Collections and memorabilia date from 1843 with extensive historical information about the lineage of many area families.

Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, PO Box 1329, Bangor 04402; or email familyti@bangordailynews.com.

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