Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 38

I have arrived in Tukey country. You know you are in your ancestral home when:

1. Your gggggg grandparents are resting on a sunny hillside amongst their children and grandchildren. John Tukey (1722-1803) and Abigail Sweetser Tukey (1730-1827).

2. You have a weird last name and the town of Oakland, ME still names a road for you.

3. You have relatives you have never met but they too are hard workers and proud of their heritage. They know they are descended from John and Abigail's second child (Benjamin) while we are descended from child #4 (Stephen).

Yes, Barbara and I spent the day tooling around Portland and the Maine countryside. We found a number of Tukeys in the Eastern Cemetery. Years ago, Barbara and Aunt Louise paid for John Tukey's grave to be "glued" back together (you can see it was in 3 pieces). Thank you for preserving our heritage! Everyone else looks in pretty good shape.

The cemetery has no shade but after some lunch and lots of water we continued to central Portland where John and his children lived. Thanks to some records from Nathan Goold written in 1897 plus a translation of old street names to current names, we managed to locate 7 or 8 Tukey home sites and businesses. The Tukeys and Sweetsers lived on adjacent lots at Congress and Franklin Streets. Various Tukey children lived across the street or just a couple blocks over. Portland is built on hills that slope down to the harbor. Most houses were built on the hills while businesses were closer to the wharves. Lemuel Tukey who collected the tolls at Tukey's Bridge lived near the water (now a sewage treatment plant) before moving "up town." George had his blacksmith shop down near the harbor. John Tukey donated the land across the street from his home for what is now Lincoln Park. Of course, all the homes are long gone. Businesses, parking lots, and government buildings take up what were grassy knolls, common fields, and, in John's case, a two-story home for his wife and 13 children.

Barbara gave me a wonderful overview of Portland including the lighthouse and a tour of the Henry W Longfellow house (just next to the Maine Historical Society). We then mosied our way back towards Waterville, stopping for fresh seafood at a local bistro on the waterfront. A terrific day!

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