Category Archives: Day

Seek and ye shall find….the missing children of Benjamin and Cynthia (Day) Bursley

My great, great grandmother, Lavina (Bursley) Stanwood, was the sixth child born to Benajamin and Cynthia (Day) Bursley.  Pictured with her above are her living siblings, beginning with John Morris Bursley (left), Susan (Bursley) Schelefoo Smallen, Lavina (Bursley) Stanwood, and Martha (Bursley) Orrock.  Another brother, Aaron Day Bursley, lived to adulthood, but photos of him have not yet been identified.

Grandma Lavina’s three oldest siblings, Julia, Arlette and Benjamin Jr., have always been a bit of a mystery.  Their births were recorded in the Lagrange, Penobscot County, Maine town records.

BURSLEY_Julia_b1835_birth_001

Julia A. Bursley Born Nov 18th 1835

BURSLEY_Benjamin_b1839_birth_001

Benjamin Bursley Jr Born Sep 16th 1839

BURSLEY_Arlette

Arlette Bursley, born Oct 5th 1837

However, none of the older children were listed on the 1850 census:

1850 census

Benj Bursly with Cynthia, John W., Susan H. and Lorina (sic)

Those of us researching the Bursley family have always wondered what happened to Julia, Arlette and little Ben Jr., but for years we were left to ponder.  That is, until GenealogyBank added issues of the Gospel Banner to their database.

BURSLEY_Benjamin_b1810_death_announcement_children

The Gospel Banner reprinted the above from the Bangor Democrat, and  recorded the deaths of young Arlette, Julia and Benjamin Jr., who died with ten days of eachother.

Died in this city, August 22d, Arlette Bursley aged 11 years 10 months; August 29th, Julia Augusta Bursley aged 13 years 9 months; and August 31st, Benjamin Bursley aged 10 years, children of Benjamin and Cynthia S. Bursley.  Thus within a very brief time these parents have been called to part with their three elder children, cut down by the same disease, the scarlet-fever, and are bowed down in affliction and sorrow.  The eldest, a daughter, was a most excellent girl, kind and faithful to her trusts and duties wherever she was placed.  Deeply will their parents and especially her mother mourn her loss, and many hearts will sympathize with her in her grief.  God sustain them in this hour! – Bangor Democrat.

Scarlett fever occurs as the result of an infection with a group A Streptococcus bacteria, and it is most often spread by those who cough and sneeze. Children, aged 5 to 15 years, are the  most often afflicted; however, only a small number of those with group A Strep infections go on to develop Scarlett fever.  The first signs and symptoms of an infection include a sore throat, fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes and red or scarlet-colored rash.

Unfortunately, there were no antibiotics when Julia, Arlette and little Ben were diagnosed with “the scarlett-fever.”  Those life-saving medicines were not be discovered for another century.  Had they had the advantage of penicillin, photos of Julia, Arlette and Ben could have been added with their siblings above.


Nathaniel Lord, the 3rd great grandson of Robert Day

On 27 November 1742, twenty-eight year old Elizabeth Day (daughter of Thomas Day and the great grand daughter of Robert Day of Ipswich) published intentions of marriage to Nathaniel Lord.  The two continued to reside in Ipswich, where they died and were laid to eternal rest in the Old Burying Ground.

Joint gravestone for Nathaniel and Elizabeth (Day) Lord

Nathaniel died 16 January 1800; however, he was likely in ill health for some time, as his will, dated 8 August 1796, was written nearly four years previous to his passing.  Included in the will was provision for the education of his grandson and namesake, Nathaniel Lord.  He wrote:

I bequeath to my Grand son Nathaniel Lord son of my son Isaac Lord a sum of money which [shall] be sufficient to pay the expenses & complete his Education at Harvard College to be paid by my said Executors at such Times as the Expenses and cost of his Education shall become due.

The younger Nathaniel, born 25 September 1780, was 16 at the time his grandfather was putting his affairs in order, and was likely already enrolled at Harvard; he graduated in 1798, and began a brief career in teaching before his appointment as the Register of Probate.

Nathaniel Lord, the son of Isaac and Hannah (Day) Lord, was the third great grandson of Robert Day, who emigrated to Massachusetts Bay in 1635.

From the History of Essex County, Massachusetts we learn:

Too much praise can scarcely be awarded to Nathaniel Lord for the fidelity, thoroughness and courtesy with which he performed the duties of register during his incumbency of thirty-six years.  Very many now living have cause to remember his kindness of heart, his timely counsel and his honorable deportment, both in business and social life, and the admirable method and system of the office under its present management is largely due to the high standard which he set up, while it was occupied by him.

Nathaniel Lord is buried with his grandfather in the Old Burying Ground, where his gravestone reads:

NATHANIEL
son of ISAAC and SUSANNA
LORD
Born 1780 September 25,
A graduate of Harvard College 1798.
Died 1852 October 16
For more than thirty [illegible] years
Register of Probate for the
County of Essex
Always faithful and conscientious
in the discharge of all his duties
as a Christian and a Patriot.
A kind and devoted father, this stone
is raised by the gratitude
and [illegible] of his children

While Nathaniel was beloved by his family and was respected for his work as Register of Probate, his success also served another purpose; it provided the means for the portrait shown above, likely one of the earliest portraits to found of a descendant of our progenitor, Robert Day.


Harriet Luzetta Day Arithmetic Book

Harriet Luzetta Day was the sister of my third great grandmother, Cynthia Sears Day.  She was born about 1812 in Industry, Somerset County, Maine, and became a teacher, probably giving up her occupation when she married Rowland Freeman in 1834.  Shown below is an arithmetic book owned by Harriet L. Day which I recently purchased off of eBay – another stroke of genealogical serendipity!

Cover of the Arithmetic Book owned by Harriet L. Day, born 1812 in Industry, Maine

Cover of the Arithmetic Book owned by Harriet L. Day, born 1812 in Industry, Maine.

We know that Harriet was raised by her aunt and uncle, Nathaniel Day and Sarah Day, who were both unmarried and lived at home their parents.  Therefore, she would have known both her grandparents, but especially grandmother Sarah (Day) Day, who lived until 1845.  (Harriet would have been about 33 when her grandmother passed away.)

Inside the cover of Harriet's arithmetic book is written Brownville, Milo, Kilmarnock, [-?-], and Kirkland

Inside the cover of Harriet’s arithmetic book is written Brownville, Milo, Kilmarnock, [-?-], and Kirkland

Harriet clearly loved her grandfather, and we know she painted a memorial for him when she was about sixteen years of age.  The arithmetic book gives us another glimpse into Harriet’s life – she dated it 1825, when she was about thirteen years old.

In the upper right corner Harriet wrote her name and the year, 1825.

In the upper right corner Harriet wrote her name, town (“Hallowell x Road”) and the year, 1825.

 

Exercises fill the arithmetic book.

Exercises fill the arithmetic book.

It appears this family treasure was likely passed down to Harriet’s grandson, Rowland Pease.  Rowland married Mary Martha Wilson, who was the daughter Harriet L. Maynard.  Included in the book is the teacher’s certificate for Miss Harriet L. Maynard, and three Rewards of Merit for Harriet Maynard, Henry Maynard and Cyrus Maynard.

Miss Harriet L. Maynard teacher's certificate.

Miss Harriet L. Maynard teacher’s certificate.

Rewards of Merit for Harriet L. Maynard and her brothers, Henry and Cyrus.

Rewards of Merit for Harriet L. Maynard and her brothers, Henry and Cyrus.


I toppled my self-created brick wall!

Cynthia (Day) Bursley death certificate

Cynthia (Day) Bursley death certificate

Death certificates are great sources of info – but the one above was frustrating to me.  I wanted to see the original death register from which the data had been taken.  However, I was told that privacy laws prohibited me from viewing the nearly 150-year-old book containing the death of Cynthia (Day) Bursley, my 3rd great grandmother.  After contemplating this dilemma, last week I found my nicest, kindest voice and called the County Recorder.  I followed my call up with a sweet-as-pie email thanking the Recorder for her time and asking for additional clarification as the state statutes showed that death records in Minnesota are actually public.  My persistence paid off.  Today I received the following:

Copy of the death register showing Cynthia (Day) Bursley's parents: Aaron and Martha Day!

Copy of the death register showing Cynthia (Day) Bursley’s parents: Aaron and Martha Day!

Talk about Christmas in July!  Since the certificate above completed by the Clerk of Court did not list Cynthia’s parents, I assumed the register also did not have this info.  I was wrong!  After 2 1/2 years of working on a proof argument for Cynthia’s parentage, I finally have the smoking gun:  a piece of paper clearly stating Cynthia Bursley was the daughter of Aaron Day and his wife, Martha.  That brick wall wasn’t so thick after all!

Yup, it’s Christmas in July.  🙂


Alson L. Day’s Civil War Letters Home

The American Civil War, or War of the Rebellion, was a long, bloody war.  Certainly many deaths were the result of combat, but just as significant is the numbers of soldiers who died due to disease.  Such was the case for Alson L. Day, who was drafted into the 16th Maine on 30 September 1864.  It appears that he did not actually begin his service until the beginning of the following year.  What follows are letters written by Alson to his family:

24 February 1865 - Page 2

24 February 1865 – Page 1

24 February 1865 - Page 2

24 February 1865 – Page 2

24 February 1865

Camp of 16th Maine

Dear Father

Having a few leisure moments I will [write] a few lines to let you know where I am[.]  I left Camp Distribution the 18th and arived at the Regiment the 21st, I was paid three months pay yesterday.  I shall send home about twenty dollars.  If you have a chance I wish yo would exchange my bounty money for green backs.  I should lik[e] to know what Osgood has done about paying that note.  Uncle George [Grover] went to the Hospital before they started on this last move[.]  I don’t know what Hospital he is in[.]  you can send me a pair of stockins by mail by puting on about six cents postage you can roll them up in a news paper or do them up snug and put a wraper around them.  I don’t think of any thing more now to write so I will bid you

Good By

Alson L. Day

Please write as soon as you get this.

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A tribute to Jonathan Day of Starks, Maine

Jonathan Day, son of John and Elizabeth (Skillings) Day

Jonathan Day.  Photo courtesy of Margaret Bienart.

Jonathan Day was born 3 September 1820 to John and Elizabeth (Skillings) Day.  He was beloved by his family.  Lucy Hutchins, the granddaughter of Jonathan Day, wrote:

It was 23rd of February in the year 1851. Young Jonathan day tiptoed carefully into the newly finished room parentheses built in the southern end of the addition to the little old house.

There his Aunt Sarah Nichols with his baby daughter into his arms. Smiling into the tiny face he laid her down tenderly beside her mother, sweet Lucy Sherburne Day. Telling of it long afterward he said, “I did just as Aunt Polly (with whom he lived) told me to do.”   She had said that to do that instead of handing the child back to the nurse meant that he owned her as his. And how happy he was to greet his firstborn!

In his old age he wrote as an acrostic on her name:

Feb. 23, 1908

Ere the short day was gone
My little girl was born.
My sakes! How proud we felt
And full of sweet content

Long years have passed since then.

Days weeks and months have flown,
And does this woman live?

Yes with her husband lives.

How great our mercies are
Under our Makers care.
Then let us pass our days
Considering wisdom’s ways
Homeward our steps we’ll bend
In heaven our troubles and.
Nearer to Him we’ll be,
So near to Thee.

Jonathan and Lucy had been married nearly a year. She had come in the winter of 1849-50 to visit her mother, who years after her first husband’s death, had married, second “Uncle Ira Young” and was living in the Starks neighborhood.

That was a winter of much sickness. Aunt Polly’s husband sickened and died. She herself was ill and Jonathan needed help. Lucy Sherburne came the stranger but the acquaintance quickly ripened from mutual respect and when she left it was with the promise of returning as a bride. She went down to Mount Vernon her former home and returned in late March with her sister and a “pung” load of her possessions. The going was “breaking up” that is, the hardpacked snow in the road was softening making traveling hazardous and the young women had a hard time near the end of the journey.

The sister Sarah after they were safely arrived got to laughing hysterically over their mishaps and “couldn’t stop” for a long time.

They went to their mothers and their on the 27th of March 1850 Grandpa Jonathan went to claim his bride. He had lived with Aunt Polly and her husband Uncle Wm. Sutherland since 1825, they having no children of their own took him when he was a child of five.

So now the whole care of the farm came to him and he built an addition to the old house. In the southern part of this he finished off the best room where the baby was born. Here was grandmother Lucy’s bureau, her Boston rocker and stand, etc.  The bed was cleverly contrived so it could be lifted up and fastened to the wall by hooks when not in use.

There was a passageway from the old house extending the length of the addition. A door from it opened into the best room- beyond that led to the woodshed part

On the very day that little Emma was two years old another great event came to the family. A little boy was born and a happy mother gave him the name of her own father, Samuel Sherburne. He was called Sherburne, mostly abbreviated to Sherb. In later years he signed himself S. S. Day except in family letters when it was “Sherb” or perhaps “Uncle Sam”.

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Petition for incorporation of Milo, Maine provides signature of Aaron Day

A visit to the Maine State Archives last week provided the following priceless document:

Signatures of those petitioning for the incorporation of Milo, Maine

Signatures of those petitioning for the incorporation of Milo, Maine

To the honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Maine in Legislature assembled January 1823. Continue reading