Most of us have known that painful moment when we pick up the newspaper and see an obituary for a classmate. There were 82 of us in the Class of 1969 at Piscataquis Community High School in Guilford, the last class to graduate from the old high school on School Street. Several class members are gone now.
Stuart Perkins was in most of my classes from seventh grade on, and it didn’t surprise me to learn that he was in the fire department in Guilford and a volunteer for hospice after moving to Florida.
It was probably my Steeves grandparents who told me years ago that we were some kind of cousins through Stuart’s dad, Alvin Perkins. Stuart and I had emailed back and forth about our Steeves ancestry in recent years.
As I wrote last week, Heinrich and Raechel (Regina) Stief came over in the mid-1700s from Wurttemberg, Germany, to Pennsylvania. The colony didn’t seem to offer enough land for the family of seven sons, so they signed on with the Lutz family and several others to settle the Moncton area in New Brunswick. Heinrich and his wife are buried by the church in Hillsborough, where it seems that every other mailbox has the name Steeves.
Stuart and I both descend from son John (Johan) Steeves, who married Margaret Lutz. Their son was Henry Steeves, and his son was Nathaniel Steeves.
Nathaniel and Olive (Taylor) Steeves had eight children: William Cyril, 1849; Rebecca, 1850; Ruth Ann, 1851; James A., 1855; Margaret, 1858; Herbert; Bertha; and Elizabeth, 1866.
Stuart descended from Ruth Ann Steeves, who married Stephen B. Wilson. They moved to Maine in 1897 and lived in Sangerville. Their daughter, Robina Wilson, married Louis Perkins.
Their son was Alvin Perkins, a well-known attorney in the area. Alvin and first wife Barbara (Weymouth) had Karlyn Perkins. With second wife Phyllis (Pemberton), he had Stuart, Alan and David Perkins.
I am descended from Ruth Ann’s younger sister, Margaret Steeves, through her son, Harry James Steeves, born 1875. We don’t have a name for Harry’s father. His obituary and other sources list Harry’s father as Nathaniel Steeves, who was actually his grandfather. I can understand that someone was trying to help the situation by putting in a name for the father, but it only made things more complicated.
Anyway, Harry and Thressa (Given) Steeves moved their family to Sangerville in 1911, coming into Bangor by train from Saint John, New Brunswick, shortly after the Great Bangor Fire.
Their son, Stanley Steeves, was my grandfather. He and Edith (Roberts) Steeves were parents to my mother, Joyce (Steeves) Moore.
So how were Stuart and I related? Ruth Ann and Margaret Steeves were siblings. Therefore, Robina Wilson and Harry Steeves were first cousins. The next generation down, Alvin Perkins and Stanley Steeves were second cousins. Stuart Perkins and Joyce (Steeves) Moore were third cousins.
I am Stuart’s third cousin, once removed, because I’m a generation away from his cousinship to my mother.
Stuart’s son, Christopher Perkins, and I are fourth cousins.
As it happens, Ruth Ann and Stephen Wilson are buried in the Sangerville cemetery very near my grandparents Stanley and Edith Steeves. It’s a small world.
Those who have German ancestry in New Brunswick will be interested in “New Voices on the Shores: Early Pennsylvania German Settlements in New Brunswick,” by Rainer L. Hempel. The book is available at Bangor Public Library.
The 79th Moody reunion will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at North Nobleboro Community Hall in Nobleboro. Mary Sheldon, one of the authors of the Arcadia book “Damariscotta Lake,” will give the program. Lunch will be provided. Those attending are asked to RSVP to Gail Kennedy, 715 East Pond Road, Nobleboro 04555, firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-771-8217.
The Union Historical Society will hold its annual meeting and potluck supper at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, in the Old Town House, Town House Road. Bring a main dish or salad to share, plus a place setting. Hostesses Suzi Barbee and Betty Nims will provide beverages and dessert.
The program at 7:10 p.m. will feature a slide presentation of stereo views from the 1870s to the 1890s by outgoing President Dave Shaub and curators Suzy Shaub and Nick Santorineos.
After the annual meeting, the Old Town House will be closed for the winter. The Dec. 7 meeting of Union Historical Society will be held at the society’s headquarters, the Robbins House on Union Common. All society meetings are free and open to all.
For more information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at http://bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties/. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402 or email email@example.com.