Family Ties: Old city directories can help solve family mysteries

By Roxanne Moore Saucier, BDN Columnist
Posted Feb. 04, 2012, at 5:07 p.m.

I wonder what happened to the Battles family that lived on Fern Street in Bangor’s Ward 7 at the time of the 1920 Census.

The census record tells us that Francis P. Battles, the head of household, was 50 years old in 1920, that he was born in Maine to parents who both were born in Ireland, and that he was a stone cutter in the granite industry.

Wife Lillian was 48, born in Delaware to a father from Italy and a mother from Ireland. Also born in Delaware were son John M. Battles, 27, a telegrapher; and daughter Florence M. Battles, 26, a teacher.

Born in Maine were son Francis L., 23; son Eugene T., 21; son Canderson (not sure about this name) J., 18; son George S., 16; son Albert W., 14; daughter Frances P., 13; and daughter Elsie E., 11.

So it appears that the family was in Delaware 1893-1894, and in Maine by 1897. But we don’t have to wait until the 1930 Census for news of the Battles family.

The “Bangor and Brewer Directory 1921-1922” lists five people named Battles: Eugene, a clerk; Florence, a schoolteacher; Frank A., employed with Eastern Manufacturing Co., pulp and paper industry; John M., telegraph operator; and Leo F., clerk. All five were listed as “moved to Virginia.”

The directory also tells us that Richard E. Barnard, egg candler, had moved to Worcester, I presume in Massachusetts. Volney F. Hawes, a car repairer, moved to Northern Maine Junction (Hermon). Gracia Herrick, a bookkeeper, moved to California. Leroy M. Herrick, an osteopath, moved to Foxcroft. Frank L. Holmes, a civil engineer, had moved to Greenbush. Ivan Holmes, an auto repairer, had moved to Olamon. William Hough, a suitcase maker, moved to Boston.

Sometimes we also find news of who survived whom. Bethia Barnes, widow of Perry Barnes, lived on Essex Street. Susie Barnes, widow of Marcellus Barnes, was a music teacher with a house on Hammond Street. Bridget M. Cahill, widow of Cornelius Cahill, lived on Third Street.

Mary E. Cannon died March 16, 1920. Warren C. Hass, a clerk, died May 8, 1921. John C. Herlihy died May 27, 1921.

I don’t believe I had any close relatives who lived in Bangor, but there were cousins who lived here, among them Charles M. Hayford, a millman for Morse & Co.; and Mary H. Hayford, a music teacher. My Revolutionary War ancestor, William Hayford Sr., came from Pembroke, Mass., and lived in Hartford, Maine.

Other cousins included Hayford Peirce and artist Waldo Peirce, both of whom lived at 214 Cedar St. The house was owned by Mellen Peirce and his wife, Anna Hayford Peirce.

My husband and I have lived in the Bangor area for nearly 40 years, though we are not from here. It’s interesting to see what used to be where.

The Bangor Daily Commercial, owned by J.P. Bass Publishing Co., was located at 81 Main St. The Bangor Daily News, owned by Bangor Publishing Co., was at 170 Exchange St.

With a new auditorium under construction in front of the current one on Main Street, built in the 1950s, I wanted to look up the address of the old auditorium. It wasn’t listed under the city, but as “Auditorium (The)” at 505 Main St.

The directory also listed the mayors for Bangor and Brewer over the years. Occasionally a business would have an actual ad inserted into the listings by surname, rather than in the ad sections.

These included the family of the late Marjorie Marsh Quigg. The ad accompanying the listing for grocer Forrest B. Marsh and wife Queenie reads: Forrest B. Marsh, Fancy Groceries, Heavy Western Beef only. We are earliest with the latest in fruits, vegetables, etc. Fresh fish a specialty, fresh every day. We buy direct and by so doing give you best quality and price; 17 North Main St., Brimmer Square. Good Gulf gasoline, oils, greases, etc. Tel. 2492.

Bangor Public Library has a wonderful collection of old city directories in the Bangor Room on the third floor, 145 Harlow St. Use the entrance to the children’s department on the right to use the elevator.

Happy browsing.

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 familyti@bangordailynews.com.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/02/04/living/family-ties/family-ties-old-city-directories-can-help-solve-family-mysteries/ printed on July 26, 2014