52 Ancestors 2015: #5 Jane Towers – a lot to ‘plow through’

Week 5, Plowing through — We will likely be plowing through a lot of snow by this time. What ancestor had a lot of struggles to plow through? Or take it more literally… It’s up to you 🙂

Jane Towers Hawkins

Jane Towers Hawkins

My fourth-great-grandmother, Jane Towers, had a lot she plowed through, as the wife of a trader, town official and likely blueberry farmer as it was blueberry farming and lumber that are the two main businesses in Wesley, Maine.

Jane Towers was born May 17, 1824 in St. David Parish, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada to William Towers and his wife, Anne Staples. According to her death certificate, her father is listed as William Towers, her mother is unnamed and supposedly born in England. That doesn’t fit with the William Towers in New Brunswick that married Anne Staples of Maine. In the 1900 census, she lists her mother’s birthplace as Massachusetts.  (Maine was part of Massachusetts until 1820.)

William was born in Sterlingshire, Scotland and came to New Brunswick with his brothers. He married Anne Staples from York, Maine and Jane is the tenth of ten children.

When Jane was nineteen, she and one of her sisters – likely Mary “Polly” – came down into Maine to find work. What Jane found, was Samuel Melville Hawkins. On July 4, 1847, Samuel and Jane wed in Wesley, Washington County, Maine. Samuel was born, according to his death certificate, in Machias, Maine.

Mercy Laura, my third great-grandmother was born in 1848. Laura in 1852, William Albert in 1854, Moses P. in 1855, twins Clarence and Hannah B. in 1859, Samuel Jr in 1865 and Fredrich H. in 1869.

The Civil War raged from 1861 to 1865. Samuel registered for service but was denied service based on some disability according to the Civil War Draft Registrations Records for the 5th District of Maine.

They were listed in the Wesley census in 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 and 1900.

The following was given to me by Ivan Hawkins, grandson of Samuel Hawkins Jr. Maine (letter dated March 10, 2000)

“First of all, it is not clear where Samuel Sr., B 1824 originally came from, possibly from the Machias area. It is believed that he might have been taken in and raised by a family, which as a common practice at that time. Possibly the Blakes, which could explain the close friendships of the family.

As for Jane Towers b. 1824, sometime during the 1840’s, two sisters by the name Towers came from Towers Hill, Charlotte Co., New Brunswick and settled in Wesley. One sister, who’s name I don’t remember, possibly Mary, married a Gray. The other sister, Jane, married Samuel Hawkins.
Samuel and Jane had several children. Mercy, I don’t have much information on. Laura b. 1851 d. 1873 at age 22 years. Hanna B, I have some information, but need more research on. Clarance, b. 1859 d. 1891 at age 33 yrs.
As the story has been told to me, which I may not be fully correct on, William, Frederich, Moses and Samuel Jr. all went west in and around the late 1890’s or early 1890’s. Moses settled in Sourthern Maine in the Town of Wells. Samual Jr. stayed with him for awhile.
Frederick and William traveled to Minnesota logging and farming. One brother stayed in that area and one traveled to California logging. Not much about them is known after that.
Samuel Melville Hawkins Jr., who liked to be called Mel, stayed with Moses in Wells for awhile. He wrote his father and told him if he could find a place for him to live, to buy it for him because he was moving back to Wesley.
In 1893, Mel bought the so called Rollins lot from Blake. Its quite possible Blake sold the house because he traveled west lumbering.
In June 1893, Mel married Idora Day b. 1873 d. 1950. They have 9 children; Mina (Mira?) Bella b. 1894, Clarence Melville b. 1896, Thatcher Bert b. 1897, Edna May b. 1899 died 1916 at age 16 of pneumonia, Chester Elihse (sp?) b 1901 d. 1912 age 11 of blood poison, Effie Maude b. 1903, Georgia Anna b. 1906, Mildred Angeline b. 1907 ? and Wesley Milton b. 1917.”

Taking this letter into consideration, we know that in June of 1865, Laura B. died.
-In 1868, Mercy was attacked at the trading post the family owned and operated, and gave birth to Carrie, out of wedlock in January 1869.
-Mercy marries Fred Hayward sometime between 1870 and 1880.
-Mercy, her husband and infant son died in February 1883 in a house fire.
-William Albert marries Mary Rebecca Doke in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 12, 1883. (He stays in Minnesota)
-Carrie wed John Milton Roberts in July of 1886.
-In the 1890’s, Samuel was the treasurer for Washington County.
-Somewhere around 1880 through the 1890’s a mass exodus of about one hundred people left the Wesley area to head west for logging and lumber trades. Some came back, most stayed out there.
-On June 11, 1893, Samuel Junior married Idora Bernice Day.
-On October 17, 1893, Hannah B. “Effie” married James McComb in Wesley, Maine.
-On March 26, 1908, Fredrich H. married Hilma Amanda Carlson in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (He moves to California in 1935 and dies there in 1952.)

In the 1900 census, Jane and Samuel are living with their daughter Hannah “Effie” and her husband James McComb.

Samuel died on December 13, 1902 in Wesley and Jane died on April 21, 1905 in Wesley, Maine.

Hawkins Gravestone

Hawkins Gravestone

Jane Towers Hawkins Death Certificate

Jane Towers Hawkins Death Certificate

They say that love and loss are parts of life that we just have to deal with – and I say that Jane not only ‘plowed through’ the losses that life dealt her, but her love sewed together a family that grew in spite of it all.

Jane Towers (1824 – 1905) is your 4th great grandmother

Mercy Laura Hawkins (1848 – 1883) daughter of Jane Towers

Carrie Evelyn Hawkins (1869 – 1949) daughter of Mercy Laura Hawkins

 Hazel Pearl Roberts (1900 – 1990) daughter of Carrie Evelyn Hawkins
 Helen Adelaide Reynolds (1920 – 2003) daughter of Hazel Pearl Roberts

About T.K. Eldridge

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