Family Ties May 27
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul…”
The 23rd Psalm, beloved over the years by so many, was especially appropriate when five daughters, 12 grandchildren and a couple of hundred friends and family gathered on May 20 in the pastoral setting of Jackman Corner Cemetery in Sangerville to lay to rest Kenny Johnson, the Parkman farmer who fought melanoma as long as he could.
One of the Johnson girls told the gathering she was sure that her dad would find Heaven to be a farm “where the cows never get out.” I hope that she and her sisters who spoke will write down and make copies of what they said about their father, memories that will mean so much to the grandchildren and future generations.
That reminds me that I still have Johnson-Elderkin-Austin genealogy to work on and enter in my computer, the better to make copies for my nephews, Mark Johnson Moore and Erik Johnson Moore, and their Johnson cousins.
At 19, Mark and Erik Moore don’t walk around with notebooks full of pedigree charts, but they have “published” their heritage in their own unique way. Each has a tattoo honoring their paternal grandfather, my dad Gayland Moore Jr., — one tattoo incorporating an anchor and the name of his ship, LCI 565, the other a spark plug.
More recently, these identical twins got identical tattoos honoring their Johnson grandfather’s heritage, one on his left arm, one on his right. The words, “Twillig Bror,” are Swedish for “Twin Brother.”
Kenneth Francis Johnson, who died at 70, was the son of Francis J. and Priscilla (Parker) Johnson. Francis was born on Sept. 25, 1919, in Mercer to Frank G. and Ida A. (Peterson) Johnson.
Frank and Ida were both Swedish immigrants, according to the 1930 Census. Frank, age 66, told the census enumerator in Mercer that he came to this country in 1882. Ida, 45, came from Sweden in 1915. Frank owned his own farm in Mercer.
In addition to being two of the Johnson grandchildren, Mark and Erik were the youngest of three generations of the Moore family attending the May 20 service. So yes, I did mention to them that the earliest of our Moore ancestors who came to Parkman, Jotham and Lovina (Leighton) Moore, also were buried at Jackman Corner, Jotham having been born in 1800 in York.
I did not know where every Johnson, Moore, Elderkin and Austin was buried at that particular moment, so I was able to resist the urge to organize a tour of Jackman Corner Cemetery on the spot.
But thanks to an online cemetery database for Sangerville available through the Sangerville Library at www.sangerville.lib.me.us/cemfiles/cemindex.html, we can identify easily several family members buried at Jackman Corner, a cemetery which is actually located close to Parkman.
In fact, Kenny Johnson’s dad, Francis J. Johnson, 1919-1946, is buried in Lot 7 at Jackman Corner, according to the database.
Most of the relatives I noted on the website were ancestors and other relatives of Kenny’s wife, Patricia (Elderkin) Johnson, to whom he was married for 50 years.
Those buried in lots 41-42 include Pat’s parents, World War II veteran Maynard W. Elderkin, 1917-1980; and wife Winona (Austin) Elderkin, 1920-1969. Immigrant ancestor John Elderkin came to Lynn, Mass., in 1637.
Winona’s parents, Glen A. Austin, 1896-1970; and Vonnie F. (Stevens) Austin, 1898-1984, are buried in Lot 74. Glen and Vonnie lived on Mill Street in Sangerville during my childhood, and I knew them as friends of my Steeves grandparents.
Also buried there, in Lot 83, are Glen’s grandparents, Alfred Austin, 1828-1905; and wife Lucinda C. (Moore) Austin, 1831-1906. Glen’s parents were Charles Perl Austin and Lula Mae (Chadbourne). Elaine Chadbourne’s “The Chadbourne Family in America” is available for use at Bangor Public Library and Maine State Library. The family came here from Tamworth, England.
Alfred Austin was the seventh generation in the family of immigrant Samuel Austin who came to Massachusetts, Alfred’s lineage being Jacob, Jacob, Jacob, Thomas, Thomas and then Samuel Austin.
The Austin Families Association of America has a wonderful website at afaaoa.org.master.com/texis/master/search. It is indexed so that you can look up a name or a couple of names even if you don’t know which Austin family is yours to begin with. For instance, you could enter just first names such as Alfred and Lucinda.
What you won’t find in any database is the quilt which is part of the heritage of all descendants of Jotham and Lovina Moore, including the Austins who can claim Alfred and Lucinda as ancestors. That’s because Lucinda (Moore) Austin was one of several children of Jotham and Lovina Moore.
I have the Moore ancestry through two of Lucinda’s brothers, John Colby and Gaylan Harrison Moore. And, I have the quilt that was finished off from the quilt top made by Lovina Moore for her granddaughter, Hattie Moore, my great-grandmother.
Do you think we need a diagram or something to explain all these connections? No doubt. Someday I’d love to take Lovina’s “crazy quilt” to share at a local family reunion of the Johnson girls and their relatives. They could call it Five Daughters — and Twillig Bror.
Bangor’s Memorial Day Parade, which on Monday will go up Main Street to Davenport Park, begins at 10:30 a.m. on Exchange Street. I will join volunteers from Cole Land Transportation Museum beginning at 9 a.m. in front of The First bank on Exchange Street in placing reflective red-white-and-blue stickers on walking sticks of veterans who march or ride in the parade.
Look for retired Marine Col. Clifford “Bruz” West, a Bangor native, 92, who served with the Marines at Peleliu and Okinawa, as one of those carrying the WWII banner in the parade.
Afterward, come hear the Bangor High School Band give a concert of patriotic music at noon at the museum at 405 Perry Road. Lunch will be available for sale, and the program at 1 p.m. will feature Maine’s new Adjutant General, Brig. Gen. James Campbell.
Genealogical sources “in granite” at the museum include two of the outdoor monuments — the Maine Vietnam Memorial, listing Mainers killed in that war, and the new Bangor World War II Memorial, listing 114 Bangor men killed in WWII.
Those who attend the program will have free admission afterward to the museum, where displays include the Eastern Maine General Hospital School of Nursing Roll of Honor, the Bangor Hebrew Community Center, the museum’s Purple Heart collection, and the wall of 945 names of soldiers from the 5th Armored Division who were killed in WWII.
For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.