Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 53

Today was a golden day when you get a week's worth of information in one fell swoop (and pay a lot of gold for it). I arrived at the County Courthouse at 8:30. I spent several hours in the hall with large index books. My initial expectation is that I would peruse them all and copy most of them. WRONG - there are 9 pages of Tukey deeds (40 per page), 21 Sweetser pages, 43 pages of Richardsons, plus assorted Densmores, Chicks, and Cries. Needles to say I looked for the most interesting deeds and ones that focused on estate distributions. Since few, if any, wills are available in Cumberland County due to fires, the deeds create a viable link between family members.

My next reality check was when I went to the copy room. Here you use a computer to pull up a scanned copy of the deed by volume and page number. You can request a printed copy of any page - @ $1.50 per page. I swallowed hard and decided this was my once in a lifetime trip and when else was I going to copy these records. I felt a bit like putting my credit card in a slot machine and gambling for hours. $100 later .... here are some of the highlights.

1. George Richardson, a merchant, moved his family to Michgan in 1837. In 1840, there is a series of sales of real estate and property to his cousin/brother Elisha. George did retain some timber rights but had obviously decided that the move to Michgan was permanent.

2. Benjamin Sweetser III got into some sort of argument/legal hassle with his father, Benjamin Jr. B III took his father to court and won a judgment for $1,050.93 (this was in 1806). His father had to have his lands and property valued plus take out a loan for $181. The cash and land went to Benjamin III. There were some later transactions involving his mother as well. - not nice.

3. Several land deeds connected John Tukey and Abigail Sweetser Tukey directly to Benjamin III, establishing the spousal and father-daughter relationship.

4. I found out that Stephen Tukey was a blacksmith.

5. We were able to directly connect Ezekial Cushing to his sons Jeremiah and Loring plus many other members of the family.

6. In land transactions, Hannah Cushing Tukey is often listed as wife of Stephen Tukey, in her own right. Which I take to mean she was considered as able to participate in business transactions on her own, without the signature of her husband. Forward thinking for the early 1800s.

Many other interesting tidbits as land changed hands, people lived and died, the community developed. For Mainers - there are some interesting land dealings with property on Cushing Island in Casco Bay. Obviously, none of us ended up with this choice property.

I finished about 1:30 - dying for food and liquids. I then spent a couple of hours at the Maine History Library but with no particular luck. Tomorrow I will leave my nest at Falmouth Inn and head towards Salem, MA for a couple of tourist days before descending on Cynthia and Doug Sunday.

Thanks for all the great phone calls and emails!

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