Carrie Evelyn Hawkins, my great-great-grandmother, was born on January 13, 1869 in Wesley, Washington County, Maine. Her mother, Mercy L. Hawkins was about twenty-one when she was born and living with her parents, Samuel Melville Hawkins and Jane Towers Hawkins. Carrie’s father is unknown. After much digging, a scrawled note in the border of a document in the Washington County Archives next to her birth notation states “result of an assault”. Meaning, Mercy was raped and Carrie is the result of that. The family story is that it was either an Indian or an Indian trader that committed the assault. No one will ever know for sure.
Carrie grew up in Samuel & Jane’s household her whole life. Her mother married Fred Hayward sometime before 1880 and they had a son, Albert. In 1883, when Carrie was fourteen, her mother, stepfather and half brother were killed in a house fire.
On July 24, 1886, Carrie married John Milton Roberts in Wesley, Maine. In August of 1887, she gave birth to the first of thirteen children – Nora Mae. Nora was followed by Gertrude in 1889, Nellie in 1890, Annie in 1892, Fred in 1894, Walter and his twin sister who did not survive in 1896, Ethel in 1897, my great-grandmother, Hazel in 1900, Ruth in 1901, Evelyn in 1903, Kenneth in 1906 and John Milton Jr. in 1911.
In 1936, she celebrated her fiftieth wedding anniversary to John and all of their surviving children were there. All of the children, except for Walter who was killed in an accident in 1917. John died three years later, in 1939.
She lived to see her fifty-eight grandchildren and many of her great-grandchildren born – living her whole life in Washington County, Maine, dying on September 3, 1949 at age 80. I never got to meet her – but my mother has vague memories of her sitting on the porch of the house in Danielson, CT. The wheel of her spinning wheel, hangs on a wall in my house – a tangible connection to this strong, beautiful woman.