Week 37 (September 10-16) – Large Family. So let’s feature an ancestor who had a large family or who was a member of a large family.
My great-great-grandparents, John Milton Roberts & Carrie Evelyn Hawkins had thirteen children between 1887 and 1911. He worked as a farmer and lumberman his whole life, supporting his family.
Carrie was 17 when she married the 29 year old John Milton on July 24, 1886 in Wesley, Washington County, Maine. Her first child was born on August 1, 1887 when she was 18, and he was 30 – Nora Mae (1887-1974). Gertrude Bradbury (1889-1977) was born on January 31, 1889 when Carrie was 20. Nellie Grace (1890-1968) was born on December 14, 1890, and Annie Laurie (1892-1963) was born December 24, 1892. Their first son was born October 14, 1894 when Fred Oscar (1894-1959) arrived, followed by Walter Roscoe (1896-1917) and his twin sister who died at birth on November 2, 1896. Ethel (1897-1992) was born on December 20, 1897, Hazel Pearl (1900-1990) – my great-grandmother- was born April 4, 1900. Ruth Eva (1901-1988) was born on July 31, 1901, Evelyn Marie (1903-1987) was born August 8, 1903 and another son, Kenneth Paul (1906-1977) was born on September 21, 1906. The last child, John Milton Jr. (1911-1989) was born on December 10, 1911 when Carrie was 42 years old.
When Carrie & John were having their second to last child, Kenneth Paul, their eldest daughter, Nora, was having her first son, William Elliot McLain (b. June 1, 1906) and Gertie, the second daughter, had three children by the time their last son was born – Eva Belle (1908-1945), Georgia Louise (1909-2008) and Forrest Paul (1910-1998). Third daughter, Nellie Grace, had her first son, Osmond Filmore Alley Jr on March 12, 1911 (1911-1993) just a few months before her youngest brother was born.
Before Carrie died in 1949, all of her 63 grandchildren were born, and several of her great-grandchildren were born. Six of those grandchildren died young. Two of her own children – Walter Roscoe at 17 and his twin sister at birth – were also gone.
Most of the children and their families were in the same area in Maine – some moved to Massachusetts, others to Connecticut. Imagine the holiday gatherings! Eleven living children, their spouses and fifty-seven grandchildren…some of their spouses and great-grandchildren… I’m guessing that there were more than a few family ‘gatherings’ but the “Roberts Reunion” didn’t start until after John & Carrie died – as a memorial and celebration of their life. The first one was in 1953 or 1954, depending on which source you ask. This link will take you to scans of the “Reunion Book” my mom kept. I remember one reunion I attended had over 350 people – but I can’t remember which year that was. And yes – they still have reunion gatherings