FAMILY TIES

Sailor’s middle name key to muster rolls database

Posted July 24, 2011, at 3:45 p.m.

It may be a big world, but the Pacific was a small ocean in 1944. I remember my dad saying years ago that he had gone to visit Jimmy Brown on his ship during World War II and that Jimmy’s ship was larger — not that that means much when your own home away from Abbot is a 157-foot Landing Craft Infantry.

I had found my dad, Gayland Moore Jr., on ancestry.com’s U.S. Navy Muster Rolls for World War II, a new database of enlisted men. So I looked for James F. Brown, of which there were many. None of the ship names rang a bell.

I checked with Jimmy’s nieces — who are also my dad’s cousins — Joyce Eggleston and Joann Bennett, and they said they’d find out the name of his ship. It was the USS Lindenwald, LSD 6, a dock landing ship of 457 feet 9 inches.

With the ship’s name, I easily found the right James F. Brown in a muster roll of more than 200 enlisted men for the quarter ending July 1, 1945. It seemed strange there was only one muster roll, but I photocopied the page, knowing that I would be seeing Jimmy soon at the graveside service in Abbot for his sister, Norma (Brown) Bennett Lussier Herring.

I took the page with his name on it to Jimmy, who told me the Lindenwald was stationed off Leyte in the Philippines when my dad had come to his ship.

Did everybody on the ship go over? I wanted to know. “Just him,” Jimmy told me.

Both the Lindenwald and my dad’s LCI 565 were at the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944, at Luzon in January 1945 and at Okinawa in April 1945, so it would have been late 1944 when two Abbot boys reunited. The Lindenwald also had been in earlier battles in the Pacific.

I was interested to hear that Jimmy, one of several musical siblings, had taken his fiddle to sea with him, though he found that the good salt air was not kind to wooden instruments.

After I came back from Abbot, I checked ancestry.com again, this time for “James Brown” and key word Lindenwald, without using a middle initial.

Guess what. I found more references this time, for a sailor listed as “James Franklin Brown” rather than James F. Brown, including a Sept. 1, 1945, muster roll record of transfer to R/S (Receiving Station), San Francisco, Calif.

I chatted with Jimmy last week on the porch an Abbot landmark, the Brown family homestead on West Road in Abbot. During the 1930 census, I knew, Joseph P. Morse had visited the home and enumerated the Roy and Evelyn Brown family with children Norma L., C. Willis, Thomas G., Anton E. and James F.

That’s James Franklin, as the U.S. Navy usually recorded him.

•••

The Maine Old Cemetery Association will hold a public meeting on Saturday, July 30, at the VA Medical Center, Building 210 Theater, in Togus. Featured speakers will be Carolyn Kelley, state historian for the Maine Daughters of the American Revolution; and Lorna Hatch, acting chief of voluntary services at Togus, who will give an overview of the history of Togus.

Hatch also will answer questions about Togus cemeteries. Silence Hayden Howard Chapter, DAR, is the hosting group. From 8:30 a.m. there will be exhibits and displays on cemetery projects. In the afternoon there will be a brief tour of the two cemeteries at Togus, then a tour of cemeteries on Winthrop Street in Augusta. Registration is $3 at the door. Lunch reservation deadline was July 20, so those interested should email shhdar@gwi.net immediately to see if lunch is still available. For information on the meeting, visit rootsweb.com/~memoca/moca/htm.

•••

The Maine Society of Mayflower Descendants, founded in 1901, will hold its summer meeting,

led by Gov. Lynde C. Randall, on Saturday, Aug. 6, at Captain’s Galley Restaurant, Old Orchard Beach. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m., with luncheon at noon. Reservations must be received by July 30.

Jeanne Wright, a volunteer for the Alliance for American Quilts, called “Quilters S.O.S. — Save our Stories,” will tell about the project that takes quilts to independent, assisted and nursing homes to tell residents stories about the history of the quilts and hear some of their stories.

Those joining the Mayflower Society must prove descent from any passenger on the Mayflower voyage that terminated at Plymouth, Mass., in 1620. For information, call 846-0616.

•••

The Violette Family Association, membership available to anyone who is descended from Francois Violette, will hold its triennial family reunion Aug. 5-7 in Van Buren.

Francois Violette came to the New World from France as a 5-year-old in 1749. He was brought to Fortress Louisbourg in Acadia by his parents. While the family returned to France in 1758, Francois stayed and moved to lower New Brunswick and married Marie-Luce Thibodeau there in 1770. From there they relocated to the Upper St John Valley in 1789.

Information on the reunion and a draft of 12 chapters of a book on the Violettes, a collaboration of Guy Dubay of Madawaska, Rod Violette of California and David Violette of Texas, may be viewed at VioletteFamily.org.

•••

A reunion for Hannan, Hannon, Boynton, Morse, Lermond, Marriner, Heal and Heald will be held at midday on Saturday, Aug. 13, in the backyard of Robert and Isabel Morse Maresh of 169 Howard Rd., Belmont.

Last year’s 100-plus attendees ranged from 5 months to 91 years old, coming to Belmont from many Maine towns, New Hampshire and Florida.

Bring something for the potluck meal, a chair, photos, records and something for the mini-auction, which helps with expenses. Help is appreciated with setup. Plates, baked beans, beverages and potato salad will be provided. For information, call 342-5208 or email mareshme@fairpoint.net.

Interested in reading past Family Ties columns? Visit bangordailynews.com, click on Living, then Columnists, then Family Ties. For obituaries, 2004 to present, visit bangordailynews.com, click on Obituaries, then Archive/In Memoriam.

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

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