Tombstone Tuesday: John and Rebecca Johnson


John Johnston
June 11, 1813
Aet. 71 yrs. 11 mos.

His Wife
July 19, 1831
Aet. 75 yrs. 11 mos.

This headstone is interesting in that it should say “Johnson” rather than “Johnston.”  I’m not sure why the T crept in there, but every other reference to this family, including many more stones in this cemetery, spells it “Johnson.”  This photo in the Pownalborough Court House cemetery was taken in 2007.  A later photo found on John’s memorial page indicates that the headstone is now lying on the ground.

Rebecca Goodwin Johnson was the youngest daughter of Major Samuel Goodwin and Elizabeth Willard.  She was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, probably November 8, 1755, if her sister Mercy’s family notebook is to be believed.  Other sources give October 9 as her birthday.  She married John Johnson on January 2, 1777, in Pownalborough.  Not much is known about him or his parentage, but his brother Thomas married Rebecca’s older sister, Abigail.

John and Rebecca’s immediate family information can be found in Volume 7 of Maine Families in 1790 edited by Joseph Crook Anderson, II.  It was mainly their descendants who occupied the Pownalborough Court House throughout the 19th and into the 20th century.



Tombstone Tuesday: Samuel Austin Twycross


In memory of
Samuel Austin
son of E. Austin & Sarah A.
who died Apr. 4, 1847
aged 2 years, 4 mons.
22 days

There is some confusion on dates with this child.  His death date is listed as March 4, 1847, in the Dresden town records which differs from the month on his headstone.  The extracted data in the “Maine, Births and Christenings, 1739-1900” database gives his birthdate as 1839, but my personal notes from having gone over the original Dresden town records say that no birthdate is given. So perhaps an age at death was included, but if he was born in 1839,  his mother would have been more likely to be his father’s first wife Caroline rather than Sarah, so I’m inclined to go with the age of 2 as inscribed on the headstone which would indicate a birthdate in late 1844 or early 1845.

His father Ebenezer Austin Twycross (Samuel Goodwin Twycross, Lydia Goodwin, Major Samuel) married his second wife Sarah Ann Goodwin (Benjamin, Samuel Jr., Major Samuel), who was also his second cousin, in August 1843.  Samuel Austin Twycross was the eldest of their four children, though lived but a short time and is buried in the Pownalborough Court House cemetery.


Tombstone Tuesday: Lewis Houdlette Goodwin


In memory of
Lewis H.
son of
George & Sarah Goodwin
Dec. 22, 1820
aged 14 yrs.

Again, I can’t even begin to decipher the verse at the bottom of the stone!

Lewis (or sometimes spelled Louis) Houdlette Goodwin (George, Samuel Jr., Samuel) was born January 12, 1806, in Dresden, Maine, the third son of George Goodwin and Sarah(Sally) Houdlette.  His birth and death dates are both recorded in the Dresden Town and Vital Records.  He is buried in the Pownalborough Court House cemetery.

Tombstone Tuesday: Abigail G. Twycross


Abigail G.
Dau. of
Capt. Stephen &
Lydia Twycross
July 29, 1895
Aet. 90 ys. 5 ms.

Abigail Goodwin Twycross was born Feb. 22, 1805, as recorded in the Dresden, Maine, town records.  She is the daughter of Stephen Twycross and Lydia Johnson, who were first cousins.  Their mothers, Lydia Goodwin Twycross and Rebecca Goodwin Johnson, were both daughters of Major Samuel Goodwin.  She never married and passed away July 29, 1895, from inflammation  or “meningis” of the brain.  She is buried in the Court House Cemetery.

There is a transcription of the Dresden town records prepared by Georgianna Hewins Lilly which records Abigail’s death as being in 1832.  That gave me no end of trouble at one point until I realized I had this photo of Abigail’s headstone sitting in my files which led me to her death certificate, which can be accessed through the link below.

“Maine, Vital Records, 1670-1907 ,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Jun 2013), Abbie Twycross, 1895.

Mystery Monday: Goodwins in Fairfield, Maine

Mystery solved?

A few months ago I was working on the Bodfish line.  Major Samuel Goodwin’s daughter Mercy married Nymphas Bodfish in 1774, and in her family notebook she lists a number of her children’s and grandchildren’s births and marriages as happening in Fairfield, Maine, some 44 miles to the north of Dresden.  After doing what research I could online, I finally made it to the Family History Library a few weeks ago to look at the original Fairfield town records on microfilm.

The name of Bodfish actually doesn’t appear too often beyond a few marriage records, but I was running into Goodwins all over the place and that sparked my curiosity as several of the marriages corresponded with names in my records.  Bodfishes forgotten, I returned to researching the name of Goodwin, which is typical of my research.  It really doesn’t matter where I start, I inevitably end up somewhere completely different.

Samuel Twycross Goodwin, a grandson of Major Samuel, and his wife Elizabeth Holland were married in Pownalborough Aug. 11, 1792.  They had eight children according to Dresden town records:

  1. Samuel b. 16 Nov 1793
  2. David Speare b. 31 Dec 1794
  3. John b. 9 May 1797
  4. Benjamin b. 21 Jan 1799
  5. Edward H. b. 16 Nov 1800
  6. Randolph b. 8 Apr 1803
  7. Ann Frances b. 12 June 1805
  8. Abiel Varon b. 13 Dec 1809 (who is my husband’s direct line ancestor)

We know a lot about Abiel, and quite a bit about David, John, and Randolph, and their spouses and children.  But we’ve had very little success searching out the other four and their families.  Most of what I have is information submitted to FamilySearch way back when by one of my husband’s uncles.   This half of this family was mostly blank spaces and question marks.   Samuel may have married a Lucy, but was it Lucy Covel?  or Lucy Theobald?  or someone else altogether?  Ann Frances supposedly married an Allen Covel, and Benjamin may have married a Covel as well.  Or not.

So I was excited to see Goodwins (especially marrying Covels) in Fairfield town records along with births of their children which helped me to match them up to 1850 census records.  The dates all match the birthdates in Dresden for Samuel, Benjamin, Edward, and Ann Frances, but I don’t put a lot of stock in birth years according to the census.  All marriage records listed them as being from Fairfield, rather than Dresden.  I wanted something definitive to say yes, these are four of the children of Samuel Twycross Goodwin of Dresden, Maine.

A very interesting tidbit was that in the household of Samuel Goodwin in Fairfield in 1850, there is an Elizabeth H. Goodwin, age 86, born in Massachusetts.  Elizabeth Holland was said to be from Boston when she married Samuel Twycross Goodwin.

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In recent months I’ve noticed a lot of small cemeteries in Maine have been photographed and added to  I was finally able to find Samuel T. Goodwin’s headstone in Forest Hill Cemetery in Dresden.  He died in 1848 which explains my not finding him anywhere on the 1850 census and his wife Elizabeth is listed as dying June 23, 1850, at age 88.  What’s interesting is that the Fairfield 1850 census wasn’t taken until August 1, but the official census day was June 1 that year, so if this is our Elizabeth Holland Goodwin living with her eldest son Samuel in Fairfield, she would have still been living there on the official census day.

Since I now knew Samuel T.’s death date, I searched Lincoln County probate records, but to no avail.  And what a pain!  I really do love my easy access to the Family History Library with its millions of microfilmed records, but I can’t wait for the day when said records are all finally digitized.  There were at least 12 rolls of microfilm that covered the period when his probate could have shown up.  Each roll had two volumes with an index at the beginning of each volume.  So I’d check the first volume then crank through half a roll of microfilm to get to the index on the next roll, and then either wind forward or all the way back.  It’s not work I completely mind doing, but it is time-consuming.  I found lots of other documents relevant to the Goodwin family (which I still need to sit down and analyze) so it wasn’t a wasted evening at the library, but no probate for Samuel T. was to be found.

Meanwhile I continued to research the families and descendants of the four Goodwins in Fairfield, hoping I wasn’t spending a lot of time for nought. My gut feeling told me they were my family, but gut feelings aren’t accepted proof in genealogy.  Then a friend suggested looking at land records.  I haven’t delved into land records much (my self-education in genealogy is showing here) but I’m a definite fan now!

Again, I was intimidated by the number of rolls of microfilm I might have to crank through, but Somerset county had a nice and neat index in one volume for all the land records and I found many references to my Goodwins.  Apparently land included in the Kennebec Purchase was more extensive than I first realized and Major Samuel and his descendants owned quite a bit of land up and down the Kennebec River including acreage in Fairfield.

In Volume 26 of Somerset County Deed Records, I found the following, beginning on page 186:

(and yes, my images still leave something to be desired which is why I transcribed the document, see below)

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Whereas Samuel T. Goodwin of Dresden in the County of Lincoln, a deranged and insane person, is lawfully seized of a certain lot of land, situate in the town of Fairfield in the County of Somerset, containing about one hundred and thirty acres bounded as follows. beginning about five hundred and sixty poles from Kennebec River, and running a west Northwest course ninety five poles, to land owned by Obed Paddock, then turning South, Southwest and running two hundred and twenty six poles by land now owned by Benjamin and Arnold Gifford, then turning East, South East and running ninety five poles to cross lot No. 1, thence turning North North East, and running two hundred and twenty six poles to the bound first mentioned,the same being now in possession of Samuel Goodwin and Edward Goodwin, which lot of land, if not sold, would at the decease of the said Samuel T. Goodwin, descend to Samuel Goodwin, Benjamin Goodwin, Edward Goodwin of said Fairfield yeomen, Allen Covel of said Fairfield, yeoman and Ann Frances his wife in her right, David S. Goodwin, John Goodwin, and Randolph Goodwin of said Dresden, yeomen, and Abiel Goodwin of said Dresden, a minor, being all the Children, and heirs of said Samuel T. Goodwin, and the said Samuel Goodwin being Guardian of said Samuel T. Goodwin, and also, Guardian  of said Abiel Goodwin, and having contracted with said John Goodwin to maintain his said Father during life–  Now, therefore we the said David S. Goodwin, John Goodwin, and Randolph Goodwin, Benjamin Goodwin, Allen Covel, and Ann Frances Covel, in consideration of the premises, as well as one dollar paid as, the receipt whereof we do hereby acknowledge, do hereby release, remise and quitclaim unto the said Samuel Goodwin his heirs and assigns, forever, all the right, title, interest and estate which we have in and to the above described lot of land, containing about one hundred and thirty acres, and we for our selves, and our heirs, do herby covenant and agree that we will never make any claim or demand for said premises or any part thereof forever.  In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and seals, this nineteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord, one thousand, eight hundred and twenty eight.

Signed, sealed, and delivered David S. Goodwin, Seal
in presence of us                        John Goodwin, Seal
George Houdlett                         Randolph Goodwin, Seal
Francis Houdlett                        Benja Goodwin Seal
Silvanus Covel                             Allen Covel, Seal
Samuel Covel Jr                          Ann F. Covel, Seal

Lincolnss  April 13th 1828.  Then the above named David S. Goodwin, John Goodwin & Randolph Goodwin, appeared and acknowledged the above instrument by them subscribed to be their free act & deed.

Before me George Houdlett Justice Peace

Somersetss Oct 28th 1829.  Then the within named Allen Covel, and Ann F. Covel his wife personally appeared and acknowledged the within instrument by them subscribed to be their free act and deed.

Before me Ellis Burgess Justice of the Peace, Somersetss April 5th 1830  Then the written named Benjamin Goodwin, personally appeared and acknowledged the within instrument by him subscribed to be his free act and deed.  Before me Ellis Burgess Justice of the Peace.

Somersetss Recd June 30, 1830 Entered and compared by Asa Clark, Regr.


So, interesting facts I did not know–Samuel T. Goodwin was declared insane and deranged, had his property seized, and his eldest son Samuel given guardianship of both his father, Samuel T., and his youngest brother, Abiel.  What I love about this document is that it lists the eight children and heirs of Samuel Twycross Goodwin.  Samuel, Benjamin, and Edward Goodwin, all of Fairfield, are indeed the sons of Samuel T. Goodwin of Dresden, Maine.

Other interesting land documents were also found, but those will have to wait for another post.

Tombstone Tuesday: Emeline Curtis Goodwin


to the memory of
Obt. March 19th 1838
Aged 1 Year & 10 months

Farewell sweet bud of innocence
In all thy beauty sleep.
Twas not for eyes as breight as thine
Life’s bitter tears to weep.
Who would recall thy banished smiles
And all thy nameless grace.
That wrapt thee with a mantle bright
And lift its heavenly trace.

Emeline Curtis Goodwin was the daughter of Thomas Jefferson and Angelina E. Goodwin, whose headstones we saw last week.  She is a descendant of Major Samuel Goodwin thus: Thomas J., George, Samuel Jr., Samuel.  I do not have a reference for her birth, but her death on March 19, 1838, is listed in the Dresden town and vital records on page 102.  She is buried in the Court House cemetery.

Tombstone Tuesday: Thomas Jefferson and Angelina E. Goodwin

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASacred to the memory

Thomas Jefferson Goodwin
Obt. May 28, 1838
Aged 34 yrs. & 10 mos.

Farewell thow loved & cherished one farewell
Thou hast not lived in vain or died for naught
Oft of thy worth survivors longue shall tell
And thy long cherished memory shall be fraught
With many a theme of fond and tender thoughts
Which shall preserve it sacred what could years
Or silvered locks of added good have brought
Unto a name like thine even the tears
Thy early death has caused……early worth endears

I had to rely on another photo of this same headstone posted on to help transcribe the lower verses.  When I took these photos back in 2007, I must not have been thinking about how hard it would be later on to transcribe the stones with plants in the way!

Thomas Jefferson Goodwin (George, Samuel Jr., Samuel) was born July 1, 1803, in Dresden, Maine, the son of George Goodwin and Sally Houdlette.  Dresden town and vital records record his birth and later list his death as May 26, 1838, Staten Island, New York, which date conflicts with the headstone.  He married an Angelina E. and they had two daughters:

  1. Matilda Coolidge Goodwin b. 4 Aug 1833
  2. Emeline Curtis Goodwin b. about May 1836

I have never been able to confirm Angelina’s maiden name, but she is buried next to Thomas in the Court House cemetery:


Angelina E. Goodwin
Oct. 12, 1839
Aet. 32

Freed from its earthly home
Her body…………………….

And that’s about all I can make out; even zooming in, the discoloration of the stone makes reading the words very difficult.  This is when I wish I didn’t live 2000 miles from Maine so I could go back and get a better transcription!