In Memoriam: A Maine Family

by Alden Cole on June 1, 2015 · 0 comments

“The best way to keep your friends is not to give them away.” – Wilson Mizner (1876-1933)

WhenFarAway900“When far away – think – think of this friend who will ne’er forget thee.” – S.G.G. • “after sunset 8 o’clock” in the upper left corner, dated “June 28, 1834″ in the upper right.

I was given the tiny 4″ x 5” original of the watercolor at left many years ago by my grandmother Edeth Belle Waterhouse Cole (1880-1979). On the last day of May 2015 I finally put newly available information together to figure out that S.G.G. is Sally G. Gordon (1801-1849) an older sister to my great-great-grandmother Betsey Pierson Gordon (1814-1866) who married Dr. Eben Hurd (1816-1895), the grim bearded gentleman in the photo lineup of three men four pictures below. Possibly the reason he looked so severe was that by the time the photo was taken, three of his five children had died and probably his wife Betsey as well, a much more common occurrence in that century, despite his being a doctor.

1890?Dr.EbenHurdsHome900“The cradle of the future is the grave of the past.” – Franz Grillparzer (1791-1872)

At left, the house in Goodwins Mills, Maine where Eben and Betsey Hurd tried to raise their family. As indicated on the photo in my grandmother’s hand: “Home of Dr. and Mrs. Eben Hurd. Here 5 children were born. Two lived to grow up. They were Belle Pierson Hurd Waterhouse and Byron.” The oldest sibling of the five was Wilbur who only lived into his 9th year. Younger sibling George only lasted the six months of spring and summer 1856, and the youngest Lizzie Octavia, only thrived for three months beyond her third birthday in 1862. Such was life and death in the 19th century America where life expectancy was always questionable.

1885WaterhouseFarmC900“Heaven gives its glimpses only to those not in position to look too close.” – Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Isabelle, aka Belle, the first child mentioned above as a survivor into adulthood, became one of my four great-grandmothers; she married James Nason Waterhouse on October 12, 1879. The following September 1st she birthed my grandmother, Edeth Belle Waterhouse (1880-1979). At left, a photo of the farmstead in Dayton, Maine where Isabelle settled when she married James. She only lived into her 39th year, dying in 1890 when my grandmother was in her 10th year. She was survived by only one sibling out of the original five – Byron Hurd (1849-1913) – and her husband James, who remarried after her death, to S. Anna Whitehouse (1859-1910) and fathered Carlton Waterhouse (1900-????) who became my grandmother’s baby half-brother. Upon Anna’s death, JNW took in Anna’s sister Lucy Whitehouse (1879-1938) as his ‘housekeeper.’

1885WaterhouseFamilyWPIn the cropped version at left of the above photo which was taken around 1885, Isabelle and James are the individuals pictured standing on the front lawn; my grandmother Edeth is the child sitting on the grass on the right; beside her on the left is first cousin William Frederick Hill Waterhouse. In back, neighbors Mark Proctor and Octavius Hill stand at either end of a team of oxen, while James’ older brother William Henry Waterhouse relaxes and watches the proceedings of the family farm being photographed. This could make a stunning painting!

EbenClarkLutherWP“Unless one is a genius, it is best to aim at being intelligible.” – Anthony Hope (1863-1933)

Three of my oldest forebears: great-great-grandfather Dr. Eben Hurd (1816-1895) my father’s mother’s mother’s father who is mentioned above; great-grandfather Clark Remich Cole (1841-1915) my father’s father’s father; great-great-grandfather Luther Weymouth (no dates) my father’s father’s mother’s father. All, hardy New England souls. Below, an earlier picture of great-grandfather Clark Remich Cole in his Civil War uniform; a photograph taken shortly after he signed up on April 19, 1861, a week after the war began.

1861CRCinUniform72CRC was assigned duties as a wagoner in Company A of the 12th Regiment of the Massachusetts Infantry. So why did a Maine boy just turned 20-years old join a Massachusetts regiment? When the war broke out he was in Roxbury outside Boston visiting his older married sister Eliza Durant Cole [Ziegler] (1836-1914). He probably joined on a patriotic impulse, possibly even seeking adventure away from life on the farm. After some initial basic training and a quick trip home to Maine to say goodbye to his parents and older sister Sarah, and younger brother Owen, he was off to war in Virginia. There he was put in charge of a mule team which carried supplies to the front, then transported the dead and wounded back to the morgues and hospitals awaiting them. He survived Gettysburg among other battles. Downed by malaria, he was honorably discharged July 8, 1864, returning to Maine to recover. However he was soon back in the thick of it as a volunteer with the Maine 3rd Division, 5th Corps, not returning home until the end of July 1965, over three months after the official end of the war on 9 April. A diarist, he maintained the discipline throughout the war, providing an intelligible but terse account of his war experiences. His life through progeny is a story in itself.

1930?RichPlus3ViewsWP“A man knows when he is growing old because he begins to look like his father.” – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-2014)

CRC, Civil War veteran, was my dad’s grandfather, and passed much of his good looks onto my father Richard Lee Cole (1910-2009). Above three pictures of my dad as a young man: with his sister Charlotte (1905-2005); with his father Weymouth Harris Cole (1879-1973) fifth son of CRC, and his mother Edeth Belle Waterhouse Cole (1880-1979) grand-daughter to Dr. Eben Hurd, pictured and mentioned above; in the third photo he’s with an unidentified young cousin.

1920sRichard&Helen900At left, pictures of Richard, aka Rich or Dick or even Johnny, Cole as a model-handsome teenager, with first-cousins Elinor Gertrude Cole [Rundgren] (1921-2005) and Helen Frances Cole [Hirschy] (1915-2012),
1921?Ginny,Pris,Rich900the two older of three daughters that were his dad’s older brother Lee’s children. The next photos go back even earlier, to the early 20s; the top one picturing him at around age 11 with two of his twenty-one first cousins, sisters
1920?Rich&Virginia900Evelyn Virginia Cole [Gay] (1908-2003) and Priscilla Sherman Cole [Proctor] (1913-2006]. In the second he’s down by the Saco riverside with just Evelyn, aka Ginny, who was less than two years older than he. To be continued…

“What a man knows at fifty that he did not know at twenty is for the most part incommunicable.” – Adlai E. Stevenson (1900-1965)

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: