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Monday, February 11, 2013

Edward Cole’s Family, Dorchester NB (Continued)

Edward and Catherine Buck Cole settled into the home built by Ebenezer Cole at Cole’s Point, Dorchester, NB. They lost their first born, Ebenezer in 1867 at age 24, their third child, David, in 1863 at age 13 and their fourth child, Phoebe, in 1869 at age 18. This left Lucinda Jane (1845-1919) as the oldest surviving child. In my previous blog, I dealt with Lucinda’s life separately, but now I’ll continue on with the other children of Edward and Catherine.

After Lucinda Jane, came my gt. grandmother, Rebecca Ellen Cole, b. Dec 11, 1854 in Dorchester, NB.  Although I’ve never found any reference to Rebecca attending school, she must have had a few years in school as she could most definitely read and write. I know virtually nothing about her life until she married in 1878. I can guess that she and Lucinda had to help out with the cooking, cleaning and caring for the younger children, as most older siblings did in that era. By 1847, her father had taken on the subsidized ferry between Dorchester and Hopewell, across the Memramcook River in Albert Co. One wonders if farming was abandoned except for growing food for their own needs. It seems unlikely that Edward would have enough time to operate the ferry and run a farm on a full time basis.

So at the age of 23, Rebecca married Alexander Scott Chambers. Alex’s father was a shipbuilder, who had moved his family from Wallace, Nova Scotia to Dorchester, NB in the mid 1850’s. Alex was soon to follow in that path. The 1880 U.S. Census shows him living in Bath ME, another large ship building area and he is called a shipwright. It is believed he went there to find work while Rebecca stayed home in Dorchester. The Canadian 1881 census shows him back in Dorchester. It isn’t certain just when Alex became a seaman instead of a builder. His brother-in-law, Capt. William E. Buck, Lucinda’s husband, may have talked him into joining him. That William owned shares in a few ships is on record, some of them he sailed himself. It doesn’t take a huge leap of faith to believe that William talked Alex into sailing with him.

My grandmother, Alvina May, was born in Nov. 1880, in Dorchester. They lived on the road that led to Lucinda’s house at Cole’s Point. Another child, a son named Percy E. Chambers was born in 1886. Since there was such a gap between the two children I have often thought there may have been other unsuccessful pregnancies. Then in the fall of 1887, the Arabella set sail for New York City with a full load of lumber and a passenger. On the return trip, we know the Arabella left NYC was hailed and warned about a storm off the coast of Cape Cod and then sailed on into eternity.  The two sisters, Lucinda and Rebecca, now had the dreadful time of waiting. Many ships used the same shipping lanes the Arabella had taken, so many eyes were looking for signs of wreckage. But after several months, the ship was declared “Lost at Sea.” Lucinda is down the road with two children and pregnant with another and Rebecca had her daughter and son and neither of them had husbands who would be returning home. Nothing is known of Lucinda’s financial circumstances. There may have been insurance policies in place for her family. But for Rebecca, there was no insurance policy and no means of income. Rebecca may have become a cleaning lady as this is what she did a few years later. It seems unlikely that this would bring in enough income to maintain this small family, but there was little or no other types of opportunities for women in that locality. But then disaster struck again. Rebecca’s younger sister, Maggie, came to visit and was playing with Percy. Little did they know that she was coming down with Scarlet Fever and then, so did Percy. Maggie recovered but Percy did not. He died Apr. 19 1889.

Sometime in the 1880’s, the Chambers in-laws had moved to Bath ME, a large ship building and iron works port. James Chambers followed the industry, which was slowly dying in Dorchester, but was flourishing in Bath. Rebecca and her daughter went to live with the Chambers in Bath, but it’s uncertain how long they remained there. My grandmother remembered living in Bath but not much else. Rebecca eventually moved on to East Boston MA and lived with her younger sister. Rebecca’s next move was to Winthrop MA, a peninsula in Boston HarborHere the next two generations of Edward Cole’s descendants would be born and would live. Rebecca never remarried but lived with her daughter. She passed away Jan. 1, 1944.

 [Location of Rebecca's 1st home. That's the ocean on the horizon.]

Edward William Cole was born May 30, 1857 at the house Ebenezer built at Cole’s Point.  He assumed the title of Captain when his father died and also continued to run the ferry business between Cole’s Point and Hopewell Cape.  He married Alice Dooe, Oct. 15, 1881. They had 7 children. They were:

Mabel (1882-1929) m. 1904 James Dooe (1877- 1954) – 5 Children
Harley (1885-1906)
Catherine (Cassie) (1888-?)  m. 1910 Leon Houghton (1888-?) 6 children
Edgar William (1891-1972) m. 1920 Catherine Ellen Shea (1896-1978) – 1 child
Alice Grace (1894-1988) m. 1914 Claude Marney (1892-1971) – 7 children
Margaret Luella (1898-1970) m. Randall Elder - 3 children
Marion Frances (1904-1975) m. George Morine (1901-1973) – 3 children

Capt. Cole died suddenly after falling from his ferry in Jul 1908. A newspaper article stated that he made a misstep as the ferry was pulling away from the dock and he fell overboard. He was rescued after about 5 minutes in the water, his breathing was restored and a Dr. was brought to the scene almost immediately. Edward remained in semi-conscious state, giving incoherent answers to questions. He passed away about 11 PM, from heart failure, never having regained full consciousness.

Next in line of Edward’s children came Mary Abigail (aka Mame), (1859-1925). In 1882 Mame had a child out of wedlock. Walter Cole was raised by his grandparents, Edward and Catherine Cole. Even Walter’s marriage record states Edward Cole as his parent. Mame married John Muldoon in 1886 but where that event occurred hasn’t been established yet. We do know they lived in East Boston, MA for several years. Walter remained in Dorchester with his grandparents and John Muldoon was never informed of his real connection to his wife, Mame. It’s unclear how much Walter knew about his birth but he stayed in Dorchester, married Etta Cook in 1901 and had a family of 5 children. My grandmother told me that John Muldoon was a hard man and liked his drink, so it appears the information was withheld from because they weren’t sure what his reaction would be. John Muldoon died in 1922 and soon after Walter Cole and his family (2 children had died earlier) moved to Framingham. Now, finally Mame could enjoy her son and her grandchildren. But not for long – in 1925 she died from pneumonia. In a strange twist of fate, Walter and his wife died within four days of each other in Jan. 1929, both from pneumonia. Another son, Harley died in 1930 leaving Albert and Fred as the two sons to carry on the family. Albert had 4 children and Fred Cole had five. I’m sure that a few people knew who Walter’s biological father was, but, to the best of my knowledge, that was kept a very tight secret. Any of those with the knowledge never passed it on.

Emma (1863-1948), the second youngest of Edward and Catherine’s children remained in Dorchester, but through diaries and social announcements in the newspapers, we know that she visited East Boston, Winthrop and Framingham many times. Emma married (1881) her 2nd cousin Edmond Cole. They lived next door to Capt. Demille Buck, who was married to Edmond’s sister, Martha. Edmond worked for the railroad. As the story goes, during a blizzard in 1918, he left his home for the railroad. The tracks swung behind his house, so in the dark, with a lantern, he attempted to hail the train to let them know the tracks were blocked. He was not seen by the engineer and the train hit him, causing his death. Emma and Edmond had one son, George. George ran a hotel in Minto, NB and was also the postmaster there. He married Lillian Osborne in 1902.  They had two sons.

[Two sisters, Rebecca and Emma Sept. 15, 1926]

Margaret (Maggie), the youngest of Edward and Catherine’s children was born in 1866. She married William Mitton in 1885. Four sons were born to them, the youngest one dying at the age of two. They lived in Bayfield, New Brunswick. Sadly, Maggie died in 1899, at the age of 33, after a long illness with tuberculosis. William died in 1903, leaving the three boys without parents. I have never heard or found out who raised the boys. The oldest, James Percy, married Bessey Allen and they had 6 children. There were many, many Mittons in New Brunswick so I have not been successful in finding out more details about this family. They were one of the Yorkshire families who came to Canada to restart their lives in the 1770’s-1780’s.

Several things have become apparent in researching these earlier ancestors. They all wanted the same things we do today, to live free, to prosper and to be able to worship in the manner they chose.  They didn’t marry young, often times they were in their mid-20’s. Families were large, but there were many deaths, leaving the women with hungry children and no income or leaving many men with a houseful of kids and no one to care for them while they worked. It was a society of yours, mine and ours. But they worked hard, long hours and needed to remarry again to keep the family unit flowing. There didn’t seem to be many, if any, divorces. Schooling usually ended around the 8th grade for girls. Physicians were spread pretty thin and there were no antibiotics. Death was something they all faced nearly every day from almost any direction. Childbirth was probably the scariest thing any woman had to face and so many died from sepsis, leaving newborns to be raised by older brothers and sisters, until a grandparent or a new wife stepped in to help. Sometimes the baby didn’t survive either so mother and new born were buried together. In a day with no electricity, little private and no public transportation, no indoor plumbing, no grocery stores, no refrigeration, epidemics, no central heat or air conditioning, etc., etc., etc., it appears that a good percentage of them lived to a ripe old age. There were a few who lived to be 100 and even my gt. grandmother, Rebecca Cole Chambers and her daughter Alvina May lived to their 90th year.

Family diaries, accounts, news clippings, photos

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