Sunday, November 21, 2010

American Psalm

I am directly related to at least two families that took the famous ship across the sea and into the history books; one on my mother's side; one on my father's side.  Despite what you might think, this having a Mayflower ancestor business isn't much of an exclusive club.  There are millions of Americans that can make the same claim.  After all, every generation expands exponentially.  Ten generations in from my Mayflower ancestors and you end up with a whole lot of cousins.  For example, should you stop to get your oil changed in say, Quincy MA, chances are fair that they guy putting the oil in your car is also a grandchild of one of those Pilgrims.

People have a mistaken notion about those that arrived to America in those early years.  They are considered, "blue bloods," "America's first families," and other colorful and if not historically accurate terms.  

I don't wish to sound disparaging but no one that was a gleaming success in their Motherland was about to take their lives in their hands and hop onboard a ship to come to a wilderness filled with people that didn't necessarily want them there.  Leaving a life as you know it and taking a leap into the great unknown isn't a choice people readily make; certainly not when they are wealthy, comfortable, and well fed.  It's a ballsy move, deserving of accolades; packing up what little you can carry and getting on a ship to take to you somewhere else based entirely on a belief.

"I am willing to risk everything on the chance that it's going to be better for me in America."

If there is an American Psalm, this is Chapter 1; Verse 1.

We are all the children of Pilgrims. 

Happy Thanksgiving. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ida Mabel Nickett Blye and Freeport Odds and Ends

I received this photograph via email today.  This is my great (x2) aunt Ida Nickett Blye; the sister of Rose, Gerry, Mary, and Hannah Towle.  Her great-grandson, Chris, recently found me through and we've been sharing information.  Chris was unaware that his grandmother Ida had siblings; half, or otherwise.

I find it interesting to note that Ida is still wearing a wedding ring.  Her husband passed away in 1907.  I'm not sure when this photograph was taken but her clothing suggests the Edwardian Era (roughly 1890's-1914). 


In other news, on different branch: Today I saw that the former residence of my final sea captain grandfather, Captain James Creech, is up for sale again (still?) in Freeport, Maine.  He built the house in 1848 and my great (x3) grandmother, Frances Creech lived there from the time she was 12 until her marriage to my grandfather, Justus Richardson Brewer.   It's at 181 Main St - within walking distance of the village proper.  Presently, it's a B&B.  

Grandfather Captain James Creech's Former Home

During my trips to Maine, I've driven by but have never stayed there.  The original asking price back before the market fell was in $850,000 range.  I seriously doubt that they'd get anywhere near that price now.  Either way, it's still quite a lovely home.  

A map of Freeport, circa 1870 hangs on a wall in my house.  Homes from both sides of this branch are depicted living down the street from one another.   Both my Creech and Brewer grandparents are found buried nearby one another in the Woodlawn Cemetery.  Grandmother Frances Creech Brewer is there as well, having died during childbirth in 1869.

My master ship building grandfather, Charles Brewer's house is now a craft store in Freeport that sells beads and whatnot.  It's called Abacus.  

Former home of Grandfather Charles Brewer 

Life moves on, kids.