Hello from Falmouth, Maine!
I grabbed Barbara's laundry facilities this morning, we downloaded photos to her computer and ran a few errands. By 12:30 we were off to Augusta to explore the Maine Archives. As with many of the research efforts, we are looking long enough ago that the records are not plentiful. Barbara and I wrestled with the microfilm machines. Hers seemed to be fine once loaded (however, that was an interesting effort). My machine had a mind of its own. The film moved back and forth through the rollers challenging my spatial efforts to center the film. The speed knob had three speeds only - fast forward, clunking glass plates on the film, and blurry one frame at a time. At times I resorted to moving the reels by hand - GRR. For all that effort you would think I would find something wonderful. NO.
Both of us found listings for Tukeys and Sweetsers in the Maine militia, the Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812. However, the Archives does not have the actually military records. Those are in Massachusetts since the federal government was fledgling as was Maine's. We at least have the regiments, companies, and volume numbers. I will add these to my to do list in Boston.
I then went down to the Maine State Library and looked at a two volume published genealogy on Seth Sweetser (Seth - Benjamin - Benjamin - Benjamin - Abigail who married John Tukey). The first 40 pages of this volume go into wonderful detail on the Sweetser family (and yes, it is with an "ser" since that is the way both Seth and Benjamin I both signed their wills). The book includes copies of the wills plus information on their lives and buriels.
Seth was born in Tring, England in 1606. He and his wife Bethia Cooke came to America (Charlestown, MA) by 1637. Both he and Benjamin were in the shoe business with Benjamin making heels and lasts. He later became a farmer. He also served in King Philip's War, one of the last efforts to clear the Indians from the northeast. Seth died in 1660 and his gravestone is in the Old Phipps Street Burying Grounds in Charlestown. Benjamin was 86 when he died in 1718. His grave is in the same cemetery but the stone has disappeared.
The family records provide little information on Benjamin Jr, other than indicate he had property in Mystic Side, provide his will, and note that he died at age 55 only 2 years after his father. He is buried in Bell Rock Cemetery. The research does confirm that there are 3 Benjamins. Many of the family trees on Ancestory.com combine Benjamin II and III into one person. Yes - the previous research done by our family members rules and matches the historical records!!
Benjamin III was born in 1695 and died in Falmouth (Portland), Maine in 1754. He was a bricklayer and mason by trade spending much of his youth in Massachusetts before moving to Maine. Much of the Sweetser "tracking" has been through community sales/job records and church affilitations. Benjamin's 5th child, Abigail, was born in 1730. Unfortunately, the book lists her spouse as John Tucker instead of Tukey. However, there is plenty of other evidence (including their grave sites and church records) that corrects this error.
At the end of the day, I made my way to the Falmouth Inn. It is a 2-star motel but has a bed, bath, and air conditioning. Just fine for the next few weeks. Grocery stores and restaurants are within walking distance and Portland is 15 minutes away. Tomorrow is a regular work day. I have 3 SBIR grants to finalize and upload early next week. I think my blog will be minimal tomorrow.