Friday, August 5, 2011

1920 Commencement Program of Dixfield High School, Dixfield, Maine & Genealogy of Graduates

1920 booklet, approximately 3-1/4" x 5-1/4" with 4 interior pages, comprising the program for the graduation exercises of Dixfield High School, Dixfield, Maine.  

See an earlier post featuring a graduation program from the Class of 1919 at Dixfield High School, Dixfield, Maine.

There were four graduates in the Class of 1920:
  • Mildred L. Foster
  • Helen T. Child
  • Ethlyn M. Kidder [Her name was printed as Ethelyn in the 1919 program.]
  • Grace O. Coburn

Graduation Exercises
Dixfield High School
Tuscan Opera House
June 30, 1920
at 8 o'clock

Music, Orchestra
Invocation, Rev. R. E. Gilkey
Music, Orchestra
*Salutatory, Mildred L. Foster
History and Class Will, Ethlyn M. Kidder 
Music, Orchestra
Prophecy and Presentation of Gifts, Grace O. Coburn
Music, "Maine, My State", High School Chorus
Valedictory - Helen T. Child
Presentation of Diplomas
Class Ode, High School Chorus


Class Motto, "To-night we launch, Where shall we anchor?"
Class Colors, Pink and White

Class Roll
Mildred L. Foster, President
Helen T. Child, Vice President
Ethlyn M. Kidder, Secretary
Grace O. Coburn, Treasurer

From online research, hopefully correct - corrections requested:

Rev. R. E. Gilkey was Rev. Ransom Eugene Gilkey (1857-1924), born 21 March 1857 at Sharon, Vermont, the son of John and Ann Tabor (Currier) Gilkey.  On 9 July 1881 at Norwich, Vermont, he married Mabel Augusta Luce, who was born 6 June 1855 at Norridgewock, Maine, the daughter of Elisha and Mary (possibly Perkins, though I have yet to find any information on her) Luce.  

Rev. Ransom Eugene Gilkey and wife Mabel Augusta had a daughter Ida, born 18 May 1888.  Her name may possibly have been Idella, as she had a paternal aunt by that name.  In the 1910 Census, Rev. Gilkey and wife Mabel Augusta were living at Jackson, New Hampshire.  Mabel Augusta (Luce) Gilkey died sometime before 1913.

Rev. Gilkey married a second time on 23 July 1913, to Chestina (Marsh) Edwards, widow of Philip Waldo Edwards, who had two children from her previous marriage.  Chestina was born 21 July 1875 in Dixfield, the daughter of Abel and Matilda A. (Newton) Marsh.  

Rev. Gilkey died 23 February 1924 at Dixfield.  His widow Chestina died in 1930.

I found a photograph of a middle-aged Rev. Gilkey and brief bio of him in Dover, New Hampshire: its History and Industries Descriptive of the City, compiled by A. E. G. Nye for the 25th anniversary of Foster's Daily Democrat, in 1895.


Transcript of brief bio:

Rev. R. E. Gilkey
R. E. Gilkey was born in Sharon, Windsor Co., Vermont, March 21st, 1857.  He is the son of John and Ann T. (Currier) Gilkey.  He was brought up on a farm where he had the advantages of a common school education. At the age of eighteen he entered Lyndon Institute, Lyndon Centre, Vt., to prepare for college.  In the fall of '77 he entered Bates College, Lewiston, Me., graduating in '81.  For three years he worked as a druggist, one year in Audubon, Iowa, and two years in Saco, Me..  He then entered Cobb Divinity School in Lewiston, Me., graduating in 1887.  He has held four pastorates.  The first of one year in New Gloucester, Maine, the second of two years in the Corliss Street Church, Bath, Me., the third of four years in the Brown church, Richmond, Me.  He entered upon the labors of the fourth and present pastorate May 1st, '92.  

The students:

Salutatorian Mary Thalia Andrew was born 2 August 1901 at Dixfield, Maine, the daughter of Philip M. and Cora May (Dorr) Andrew.  On 23 November 1921, Mary Thalia Andrew married Harold M. Blaisdell, who was born 6 June 1901 in Jay, Maine, the son of Frank and Rossie (Blaisdell) Blaisdell.  

Harold M. and Mary Thalia (Andrew) Blaisdell lived at Dixfield, Maine, and had at least one child, a son.

Kathleen Works was born Mary Kathlyn Works on 18 July 1902 at Dixfield, Maine, the daughter of Villroy Burton Works and wife Inez M. (Starkey) Works.   I'm not sure why her name appears at Kathleen Works on the graduation program; perhaps it was a mistake, or perhaps she preferred that spelling.

On 4 June 1938 at Dixfield, Maine, she married Victor Abbott Mayson Staples, who was born 19 October 1885 at Carthage, Maine, the son of Eugene Hale Staples and wife Pamelia (Sanborn) Staples.  

Victor and Mary Kathlyn made their home at Dixfield, Maine. Victor died at Dixfield in 1963, and Mary Kathlyn died at Vacaville, California in 1987.  Victor had children from before his marriage to Mary Kathlyn, but I don't know if he and Mary Kathlyn had any children together.

Helen Thelma Child was born 12 February 1903 at Peru, Maine, the daughter of William Walter Child and wife Etta E. (Card) Child.  Helen was working at a clothes pin mill and living at home in Dixfield with her parents at the time of the 1930 Census.

There's a listing for a Helen Childs of Dixfield in the Maine Marriages database, so it's possible that this is she.  In fact, I found several records where the family's last name was spelled as Childs.   If so, our Helen married Roger N. Swan, also of Dixfield, on 23 April 1932.  Roger was born about 1908 in Maine, the son of George H. and Linnie M. (Reed) Swan.  

I'm not sure whether Helen and Roger Swan lived at Dixfield after their marriage or if they had children.  They may have lived at Rumford, Maine, as Roger died there in 1988 and Helen died at Dixfield in 1991.

Ethelyn Kidder [or Ethlyn Kidder, as her name is spelled in the program above.] was born 1 May 1901, the daughter of Irving Charles Kidder and wife Hattie B. (Holman) Kidder. On 30 September 1925, Ethelyn Kidder married Glendon O. Babb.  He was born 31 December 1901 at Dixfield, Maine, the son of William Ordway Babb and wife Ida M. (Brackett) Babb of Dixfield.  

Ethelyn and Glendon were living at Dixfield at the time of the 1930 Census, and they had a daughter.  They may have had more children later.  Glendon Babb died in 1967 in Florida.  Ethelyn (Kidder) Babb died in 1999.

Grace Olive Coburn was born 25 May 1902 [although there is a strikeout on the birth record, and it could be 1903] in Weld, Maine, the daughter of Henry Wheeler Coburn and wife Minnie E. (Holt) Coburn.  On 4 January 1922 at Dixfield, Maine, Grace Olive Coburn married Robert Eugene Ames.  He was born 6 September 1898 at Dixfield, Maine, the son of Charles H. and Alice M. (possibly Fisher) Ames.  

I think Robert and Grace are the couple enumerated in the 1930 Census of Lowell, Massachusetts, but I'm not positive.  If so, they had two daughters by that time.  Robert died at Rumford, Maine in 1970. Grace died at Dixfield, Maine in 1972.

Mildred Louise Foster was born 9 March 1902 in Dixfield, Maine, or Wilton, Maine, the daughter of Charles Sherbrook Foster and Birdena M. (Whittemore) Foster.  On 16 June 1926 in Oxford County, Maine, Mildred married Peter Daniel Matheson, who was born 10 June 1904 in New Hampshire.  I haven't yet found information on his parents.

In the 1930 Census, Mildred and Peter were living at Dixfield, Maine, in a household with Mildred's parents, Charles and Birdena Foster.  I don't know if they had children after that.  Mildred (Foster) Matheson died at Dixfield, Maine, in 1980.  Peter died at Boston in 1995.

1919 Valedictorian Mary Gordon was born 3 February 1902 at West Peru, Maine, the daughter of Grafton Bradbury Gordon and wife Flora A. (Wyman) Gordon.  On 29 June 1920 at Rumford, Maine, Mary Gordon, who was then a teacher, married pastor Chester Bradford Oliver.  He was born 15 September 1895 in Portland, Maine, the son of William Sprague Oliver and wife Hannah Alvena (Perry) Oliver.  
In the 1930 Census, Chester and Mary were living at Livermore Falls, Maine; there were no children listed with them.  Chester died in 1970 at Oakland, Maine; Mary died in 2000 at Peru, Maine.

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Thanks for stopping by!


  1. FindAGrave notes that Ethlyn M Kidder Babb died in 1999, not 1982.

    See memorial and headstone at:

  2. My grandparents were Grace Coburn Ames & Robert Ames. Parents Jeanne Ames Luce & Richard Luce. Brother Franz Luce. Children Richard Morton &
    Ryan Morton. I now live in NC. Very interesting, thank you. Marianne Luce Morton, class of 1965.