Sunday, July 11, 2010

1879 seaman's discharge certificate for William B. Ayer, born Bangor Maine abt 1855

This post was amended on 25 June 2013 thanks to information supplied by a reader.

February 13, 1879 Seaman's Discharge Certificate for someone whose name was, I think, William B. Ayer, who indicated he was born in Bangor, likely Bangor, Maine, and that he was 23 years old, which would give him an approximate birth year of 1855. 

If you perceive his name as something different, please leave a comment.

He had been working on the vessel Motley, whose port of registry was indicated as Machias [Maine], since September 13, 1878, on a voyage to Palermo, presumably Sicily, Italy. The discharge certificate was signed in New York, rather than Machias.

Reader-supplied information on the Mobley:

William B. Ayer may have been William Bowen Ayer born 20 May 1854, at Bangor, Maine, son of John and Lydia A.(Bowen) Ayer, as noted on the record of his marriage to Minnie E. Draper at Bangor, Maine, on 14 December 1882, and the record of his death on 31 January 1911.  

Minnie, born in 1863 in Maine, was the daughter of Charles and Emma Draper; Charles may have been the son of James Draper of Old Town, Maine. William B. Ayer and wife Minnie had a son, Harris Charles Ayer, and two daughters, Lydia and Marion.

The 1870 Census of  Bangor lists a Willie Ayer living in the household of William and Lydia Small, along with sister Anna Ayer. 

Out of the many possibilities, I can't pinpoint our William in the 1880 Census. By the 1900 Census, the William Ayer who married Minnie was working for the Railroad and living in Bangor, Maine; working on land would not be surprising since being a seaman was a young man's game in those days.

There was a William Ayer born about 21 February 1851 at Charlotte, Maine, son of Wellington and Sophia (Coates) Ayer, but I don't know what his middle initial was.  Charlotte is not far from Machias, Maine.  Like William Bowen Ayer, he seems a couple years older than the fellow named in the certificate, though the age on the form could have been approximate.

As for the other signatures on the certificate, thanks to the reader's comment, I now know the name of the "Master" to be H. E. Plummer, not Sherman as I had originally thought. The signature of the Shipping Commissioner is, I believe, D. S. Holton, but it could be P. S. Holton or something else entirely.

H. E. Plummer was Master Mariner Harland Evander Plummer, born about 1840, son of Amos Bucknam Plummer and Phoebe Coffin (Wass) Plummer, who were both born at Addison, Maine.  

Harland married Judith A. Tobey, daughter of Charles and Lydia (Gardner) Tobey, on 14 May 1860 at Machias, Maine. They had at least two children, daughters Asenath M. Plummer, who married Willard D. Coffin, and Geneva Adeline Plummer, who died unmarried.

Coincidentally, Harland Evander Plummer died just a few months after signing the discharge certificate, on 15 May 1879, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

If you feel that the fellow named on the certificate is another person entirely, or if you have information on Harland E. Plummer and/or the brig Motley, please leave a comment or contact me directly.  Thanks!

Machias, Maine (Happy 250th Birthday, Machias!]

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