Just shy of her 90th birthday, Rowena Abby (Walden) Nelson died on April 1 in Greenville. A woman who in her youth admired strong women such as golfer Babe Didrickson and pilot Amelia Earhart, Rowena for many years led the physical therapy department at Maine Medical Center in Portland.
Though I never met her, I’ve been thinking about Rowena’s family tree and my connections to both her parents, Harold Walden and Bessie (Cummings) Walden. I don’t have Walden ancestors, but the Greenville Waldens and I are cousins four times through the Cummings family.
Moreover, I’m a cousin to the Waldens by way of the Haskells. Deborah (Haskell) Walden Young, the first white woman in Greenville, came to the area as the widowed daughter of first settler Nathaniel Haskell, who was the son of my Nathaniel Haskell, the Revolutionary War veteran.
On Saturday, Aug. 13, I’ll give a talk on “My Greenville Cousins” for Moosehead Roots at the Center for Moosehead History, formerly the Community House, on Pritham Avenue in Greenville. Handouts will include a copy of a Cummings family record that belonged to the late Paul E. Bennett of Freeport.
Speaking of strong women, on July 7, we lost my aunt, Joyce (Clark) Moore, the daughter of John and Mary (Schofield) Clark.
Since my mother, Joyce (Steeves) Moore, has the same first name and they both lived in Abbot for many years, you can imagine the mix-ups. Both were married to electricians, my Uncle Carroll operating his own business as C.W. Moore, and my dad, Gayland, an electrician and millwright at Hardwood Products in Guilford.
I tried to keep it all sorted out for my sons, except when I didn’t. Stopping in at Trafton’s recently on my way to my sister’s camp, I paused to sign my name and my husband’s on a condolence card for Aunt Joyce’s family at the front counter.
Then I signed my mother’s name, Joyce S. Moore, because she was in Abbot that day — and then the names of my son and his wife, Scott and Amanda Saucier, because they were there also and with four children on board, surely they would be too busy to stop.
You guessed it. Scott stopped in at the store and saw not only the card for the “Joyce Moore family,” but my signature on it — and (supposedly) his and Amanda’s signatures, too. So much for good intentions.
Speaking of signatures, my Aunt Joyce signed hers to more than a few Letters to the Editor at the Bangor Daily News over the years. Her letters weren’t long, but they sure got her point across, whatever the subject.
She included her middle initial, which was helpful in letting readers know which Joyce Moore was writing. Except once in awhile, the BDN forgot to include the middle initial. Honest, I had nothing to do with it.
Aunt Joyce was active in the Abbot Historical Society, and made my day when she came to hear me speak about my Abbot ancestors years ago. The same was true of my Great-aunt Norma (Brown) Bennett Lussier Herring, who died at 98 on July 16.
When Aunt Norma was in the room, with two of her daughters, twins Joan Bennett and Joyce Bennett Eggleston, that was history for me, knitted together by people who loved Uncle Mike Bennett.
Alvarus Frank Bennett, the son of Walter and Rena (Bennett) Bennett, principal of Abbot High School, was just 32 when he died in 1937. Though we never met him, the children of my dad and his siblings certainly grew up knowing Uncle Mike and his place in the family.
A little more than a half-century ago, the Bennetts and Moores welcomed three baby boys at about the same time — Joyce Eggleston’s son, my dad Gayland Moore’s son (my brother), and Uncle Roddy Moore’s son. Three boys, all named Mike.
A fourth strong woman who also loved the history of my neck of the woods was Ruth Herrick Hamlin, who died on July 17.
In the 1990s, Hamlin had helped her daughter, Nancy Hamlin Davis at Bingham Union Library, compile lists of cemetery inscriptions for the Upper Kennebec Valley, available online at the Old Canada Road Historical Society website at www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~meocrhs/cemeteries.htm
On the website are:
• Bingham: Bingham Cemetery, Fall Brook Cemetery on Mahoney Hill, Route 201 south of town, Owen’s Field Cemetery and Route 16 toward Mayfield.
• Brighton: Brighton Cemetery, York Cemetery.
• Caratunk: Moore Cemetery across from schoolhouse, Rte 201 between Caratunk and The Forks, and Caratunk Cemetery Route 201 south of town Part II.
• Concord: Concord Cemetery on Route 16 (Cassidy Cemetery), Concord Corner Cemetery, Huggins Cemetery, and Felker Cemetery on Savage Hill.
• Embden: Pleasant Dale or Murphy or Boothby Cemetery.
• Gilman Corner: Gilman Corner Cemetery.
• Jackman: Holden Cemetery, compiled and submitted by Sean Dubois, Moose River.
• Mayfield: Clark Cemetery, Old Stage Road.
• Moscow: Sugar Town Cemetery; Union Cemetery, transcription completed by Deborah Burt; Pierce Hill Cemetery.
• Pleasant Ridge: Pleasant Ridge Cemetery.
• Solon: Solon (Pierce Hill) Cemetery, Route 201, fairly close to picnic area; cemetery by Embden Bridge.
• South Solon: South Solon Burial Ground, est. 1835.
• The Forks: Durginville Cemetery; Bean Cemetery on Mountain Road, contributed by Frances Durgin Stuart.
Marilyn Sterling-Gondek did the electronic transcription of these listings.
Trish Mason, author and innkeeper from Arundel, will tell the story of her Gooch family ancestors through the generations at the meeting of the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 29 Ocean House Rd., Route 77, Cape Elizabeth.
From pre-colonial Maine, the family purchased an inn-keeping business that continues today and is operated by a member of the current generation of Gooches. “The Seaside House” tells of trials and triumphs each generation encounters while providing for its family.
For information, call Deb at 329-6438.
Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402; or email queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.