Tuesday, April 9, 2019

1909 Diary of Carrie E. (Farnham) French (1845-1919) of Glenburn, Maine; wife of Abner Taylor French (1846-1926)

1909 diary of Carrie E. (Farnham) French (1845-1919) of Glenburn, Maine.

Carrie was the wife of Abner Taylor French (abt 1846-1926) and mother to several children, only three of whom survived childhood.  The family lived on Pushaw Road in Glenburn close to Pushaw Pond, in a house known in its day as the Taylor Stand, presumably named for the family of Abner's mother, Ann Sophia (Taylor) French.

Although not discussed in the diary, Abner served Glenburn as a selectman and school supervisor.

Note the initials C. E. F. on the first end paper.

The entries are set into an 1873 diary that Carrie drafted into service for 1909.  She changed the days of the week to fit the 1909 calendar.

The diary, which measures approximately 4-3/4" by 3", contains a calendar, general information pages, Memoranda and Cash Account sections, in addition to the diary pages, which cover three days per page.

An alphabetical surname list and an alphabetical list of people mentioned in the diary appear late on in this post.  If you have information on the French family or any of the other people mentioned in the diary, please leave a comment or contact me directly.

Carrie described the weather daily and noted chores, both household and farm, as well as meetings, visits, a birth, a Golden Wedding reception and deaths and burials.  She stayed mostly in Glenburn, with occasional visits to Bangor and Old Town.

It took a while for me to unlock Carrie's identity, since she didn't spell out her name and location at the beginning, and I had no idea of the locale of the diary until I had transcribed far enough into it.

To start, I made the assumption that the diary came from Maine, and, if a dead end, I'd expand my search.  As I transcribed, I came across the many times that Carrie's husband made trips to B - could it be Bangor, Maine?

The first real clue was the burial of a Mrs. Goodin on January 27, 1909.  It wasn't until I checked Goodwin rather than Goodin, that I found a record of the death of Angeline (Leighton) Goodwin on January 25, 1909 at Glenburn, Maine.  Once I'd identified Glenburn, which, nicely enough, abuts Bangor, Maine, I could check other people, mentioned only with their first names, to cement Glenburn as the diarist's home.

Upon checking for an Abner living in Glenburn in 1909, I found Abner Taylor French, whose wife, appropriately enough, had the initials C. E. F. - Carrie E. French.  Living in or near the French household in addition to Carrie and Abner (usually called A), and mentioned many times in the diary by first names:

After a reader told me where the home of Abner Taylor French and Carrie E. (Farnham) French was located, I took a photograph, shown below.

The house is located across from the intersection of Pushaw Road and French's Point Road.  It's set back a bit from Pushaw Road.

Surnames in the Diary

? [16]GGoodin or Goodwin [2]PPalmer
AAdams ? [2]HH ?Parker
Allen [2 or 3]HartParker ?
BBallardHaseyParks [2]
BoyingtonHaslamPegg [2]
BryantHunt [2]Pratt
CooksonLoomisSSanford [3]
DDolanMM ?Speed
DudleyMansfield [2]Staples
DuntonMarstonTTaylor ?
Dunton ?McCarty ?Thurston
FFarnham ?MorrellVVickery [2]
French [7]OOlen or AllenWilson ?
Wright [2]

Among the Events noted in the Diary:
  • "Harold breaks the Sabbath hauling ice." - Sunday, January 3, 1909
  • "Annie burned her hand this morn...Maud came running to tell us H had cut his foot. A went down to L and telephone for Dr. Milliken." - January 13, 1909
  • "breaking out the roads" - January 1909
  • 22 at the Sewing Circle at Mrs. Charles Willey's - January 22, 1909
  • "Ned and Florence had a baby born the 21" - January 23, 1909
  • "It is now very good sleighing." - January 25, 1909
  • "Mrs. Goodin was buried yesterday." - entry of January 28, 1909.  Not Goodin, but Goodwin - Angeline (Leighton) Goodwin, who had died on January 25, 1909
  •  "Mrs. Marston is quite sick with the Grippe." - entry of February 7, 1909
  • "Sun sat North of the barn tonight."... "Mattie went to Milford today." - entry of February 12, 1909
  • "Pleasant and warm like April. It is 54 above at 4:30. Abner went to B today. Did not wear anything on his hands until he got up to Mr. Boyington's." - entry of February 13, 1909
  • "Mattie came home from Newtonville, been gone 17 weeks." - entry of February 25, 1909.  Mattie was a home care nurse, it appears.
  • "H went to Orono. It is Field Day" - entry of March 9, 1909
  • "Planted my tomatoes today." - entry of March 11, 1909 - seedlings started inside
  • "Mr. Allen died this morning." - entry of March 21, 1909.  John H. Allen. The death date on the FindaGrave memorial is apparently in error, unless the date changing on the diary, printed for 1873, confused Carrie.  The entry of March 24, 1909 notes Mr. Allen's funeral.
  • "Mrs. J. Sanford died this morning." - entry of March 25, 1909.  Her burial was noted in the entry of March 27, 1909. Lizzie Ann (Vague) Sanford, wife of John Wesley Sanford.  In 1913, Carrie's daughter Mattie would marry widower John Wesley Sanford.
  • "March came in like a lamb and will go out like a lion." - entry of March 30, 1909
  • "Mattie came home from Newport last Friday; her patient died." - entry of April 7, 1909
  • "Went down to the Leightons to their Golden Wedding Reception, very bad traveling." - entry of April 19, 1909.  Presumably Elbridge J. Leighton (1838-1926) and Abigail Janette (Eastman) Leighton (1840-1921)
  • "Ice went out yesterday or today." - entry of April 20, 1909
  • "Phil carries the scholars this term." - entry of April 25, 1909
  • Reports come in of a big snow and electrical storm all over the Western country and loss of life and damage to property." - entry of May 1, 1909
  • "Mattie went to Dr. Bryant's for a few days." - entry of May 2, 1909
  • "Charles birthday" - entry of May 4, 1909. Carrie's son Charles F. French (abt 1872-1947)
  • "Turned the cows out today." - entry of May 16, 1909
  • "Bion Goodin came today to do the plastering and make the hearth..." - entry of May 20, 1909
  • "Abner planted the garden today. Pas, carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips." - entry of May 31, 1909
  • "Abner set tomatoes today." - entry of June 3, 1909
  • "Harold planted potatoes today." - entry of June 4, 1909
  • "A fine day, just like summer, warm enough to sit on the piazza." - entry of June 6, 1909
  • "Very smoky from forest fires. Need rain very much." - entry of June 12, 1909
  • "Mrs. Toole raised her barn today." - entry of June 23, 1909
  • "Mrs. Toole came up for the summer today." entry of July 3, 1909
  • "... in the evening we went down to the vestry to a strawberry festival and entertainment." - entry of July 9, 1909
  • "Henry is very sick and know [sic no] hopes of his recovery." - entry of July 24, 1909
  • "Henry has been taped and is relieved temporarily." - entry of July 27, 1909
  • "Abner and Harold went to the fair and said it was a failure and wished they had their money back." - entry of August 24, 1909
  • "Hauled in the first load of grain today." - entry of August 25, 1909
  • "The ground white with frost." - entry of August 31, 1909
  • "Charles went back to Beverly today." - entry of September 6, 1909
  • "Went down to Vickerys' and organized the U.N. W. A. Club" - entry of September 8, 1909
  • "Pullets layed their first egg today." - entry of September 9, 1909
  • "Went over to Old Town to visit Hannah." - entry of September 21, 1909
  • "Did not go to Kenduskeag to the Pomona." - entry of September 25, 1909. Pomona Grange
  • "Went down to Nettie Dunton's to the U.N. W. A. Club." - entry of October 6, 1909
  • "Commenced to dig potatoes today." - entry of October 9, 1909
  • "...finished digging potatoes today; had 869 bushels." - entry of October 13, 1909
  • "Mattie and Abner went to the Grange Fair." - entry of October 27, 1909
  • "A fine day but very frosty and cold. It looks as if winter was very near." - entry of November 1, 1909
  • "Went down to Addie Parker's to the U.N. W. A. Club" - entry of November 3, 1909
  • "Charles hurt his finger today and will come Monday." - entry of November 5, 1909
  • "Mattie went down to Marie Adams. Harry is going to be operated for Appendicitis tomorrow." - entry of November 30, 1909
  • "Went up to Emley Vickery's to the U.N.W.C. Came home in a snow storm." - entry of December 1, 1909 - Emily Vickery (
  • "Charles went back to Beverly today. His finger does not seem to be improving very rapidly." - entry of December 5, 1909
  • "Annie is sick and Dr. Mansfield came out to see her." - entry of December 6, 1909
  • "Abner has gone to the State Grange at the City Hall." - entry of December 321, 1909
  • "Not enough snow for sleighing." - entry of December 26, 1909
  • "Went up to Mrs. Morrell's to the U.N.W.C." - entry of December 28, 1909

People mentioned in the Diary, aphabetically; some many times
  • Mary and Hattie
  • Sam
  • Willard
  • Mary, presumably living at Bangor, Maine
  • Nettie - perhaps Nettie Allen, wife of Jeremiah Allen
  • Josefer - Josephine ? - Mattie went to care for her on May 8, 1909
  • Addie - came up to do work for Carrie's daughter, Mattie Beulah French, 
  • "Mary and Hattie came up with Annie on the 3-5 car this P.M."
  • Henry
  • Walter and Hon [?]
  • Sam and Clare
  • Hannah in Old Town
  • Hiram - had a boat to take on the pond - Pushaw Pond?
  • C. B. T. or C. B. Y; mentioned in Memoranda section
  • Elizabeth; mentioned in Memoranda section
  • Patrick and May; mentioned in Memoranda section
  • Cynthia -- presumably Cynthia Pickering (Taylor) Adams (1844-1943), widow of William Henry Adams and sister of Laura Curtis (Taylor) French (1856-1944), widow of Abner's brother William Hammond French
  • Marie Adams
  • Allen family
  • "Mr. Allen died this morning" - entry of March 21, 1909 - John H. Allen, born about 1838; died at Glenburn, Maine, on March 21, 1909; his funeral noted in entry of March 24, 1909
  • Ballard; mentioned in Memoranda section
  • Mr. Boyington
  • Mrs. Brown on Broadway, presumably Bangor, Maine; Carrie's daughter Mattie Beulah French is staying with her, probably because Mrs. Brown needs nursing care.
  • Dr. Bryant - Mattie has gone to work for him for a few days in May 1909
  • Miss Clapp
  • Mr. and Mrs. ? Cookson; mentioned in Memoranda section
  • Ellen Dolan; mentioned in Memoranda section
  • Dudley family, presumably neighbors
  • Dunton Family
  • Orrin, possibly Orrin Dunton
  • Eaton place - a farm or establishment where the French family bought grain 
  • "Leta & Marie came up on the 4-5 car and will stay until Tuesday"; perhaps Leta Irene Farnham (1891-1911), daughter of Henry C. Farnham and Laura (Hodgkins) Farnham
  • Mrs. Farris - perhaps the mother of Addie (Farris) Parks, whose daughter Ida Adelia Parks (1878-1966) would become the second wife of Carrie's son Harold Francis French (1881-1961)
  • Abner Taylor French (1846-1926), "Ab" or "A" of Glenburn, Maine; husband of diarist Carrie E. (Farnham) French (1845-1919); he and Carrie and son Harold operated a cow farm.  Read more about Abner and his ancestors here.
  • Carrie E. (Farnham) French (1845-1919) of Glenburn, Maine, the diarist; wife of Abner Taylor French (1846-1926)
  • Charles F. French (1872-1947), then living in Beverly, Massachusetts, but visited home several times; birthday noted on May 4, 1909. Son of Abner Taylor French (1846-1926) and Carrie E. (Farnham) French (1845-1919)
  • Geneva Maude (Richardson) French, "Maude", first wife of Harold Francis French (1881-1961); they divorced and she later married Charles Clarence Collicutt at Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1914.
  • Harold Francis French (1881-1961), "H", of Glenburn, Maine; son of Abner Taylor French (1846-1926) and diarist Carrie E. (Farnham) French (1845-1919) and husband of Geneva Maude (Richardson) French at the time of the diary, 1909; they would part sometime before 1914 when Maude remarried.  Harold later married Ina Adelia Parks.
  • Helen French 
  • Martha Beulah French (1870-1946); "Mattie" or "M", daughter of Abner Taylor French (1846-1926) and diarist Carrie E. (Farnham) French (1845-1919); Mattie would marry John Wesley Sanford (1858-1940) in 1913.
  • Angeline (Leighton) Goodwin - not Goodin, as spelled in an entry of January 28, 1909 noting that she was buried on January 27, 1909
  • Bion Goodin - presumably Bion Bradley Goodwin (1863-1948) of Hudson, Maine
  • Dr. H. - presumably Dr. Walter L. Hunt
  • Hart; mentioned in Memoranda section
  • Mrs. Hasey
  • Howard Haslam - presumably the Howard Haslam who married Agnes Budge at Bangor, Maine, in 1915
  • Ellen Hayes [?]; mentioned in Memoranda section
  • Dr. Hunt - perhaps Dr. Walter L. Hunt
  • The Hunts - presumably Dr. and Mrs. Walter L. Hunt
  • Elbridge J. Leighton (1838-1926) and Abigail Janette (Eastman) Leighton (1840-1921) - the Golden Wedding Reception, noted in entry of April 19, 1909 was probably for them.
  • Loomis; mentioned in Memoranda section
  • Dr. M. - perhaps Dr. Harris J. Milliken or Dr. Mansfield
  • Miss Mansfield
  • Dr. Mansfield
  • Mrs. Marston
  • Manda McCarty ?
  • Dr. Milliken - perhaps Dr. Harris J. Milliken (1877-1933)
  • Mrs. Morrell
  • Mower Family
  • Olen home - perhaps Allen
  • Annie Maria (Farnham) Palmer ( (1839-1916), widow of Edwin K. Palmer (1842-1885) and older sister of diarist Carrie E. (Farnham) French (1845-1919)
  • Addie Parker
  • Phil; neighbor who frequently helps the French family on their dairy farm; noted in entry of April 25, 1909 that he "carries the scholars this term". Perhaps Philip S. Parker
  • Addie Parks - presumably Addie (Farris) Parks, mother of Ina Adelia Parks, who married Carrie's son Harold Francis French in 1920.
  • Ina Adelia Parks (1978-1966) - became the second wife of Carrie's son Harold Francis French (1881-1961) in 1920.
  • Fannie Pegg; mentioned in Memoranda section
  • Mrs. Pegg; mentioned in Memoranda section
  • Pierce; mentioned in Memoranda section
  • Frank Pratt - he finished whitewashing - presumably the ceilings - on May 15, 1909
  • Vivian Richardson (1885-1971), sister of Geneva Maude (Richardson) French, wife of Harold F. French and future wife of Edgar C. Reed (1883-1854); "Vivian came up to Maud's today."
  • Lizzie A. (Vague) Sanford (1863-1909), wife of John Wesley Sanford (1858-1940), who would subsequently marry Carrie's daughter Mattie Beulah French in 1913.  "Mrs. J. Sanford died this morning" - entry of March 25, 1909. Lizzie's burial was noted in the entry of March 27, 1909. "Mrs. J. Sanford died this morning" 
  • John Sanford; perhaps John Wesley Sanford (1858-1940) of Glenburn; his first wife died in 1909 and he would subsequently marry Martha Beulah French (1870-1946), "Mattie"
  • Mary Sanford
  • Speed Family
  • Staples Family
  • Laura - possibly Laura Curtis French, widow of William Hammond French, brother of Abner Taylor French
  • Marie Thurston
  • Mrs. Toole; mentioned several times, including "Mrs. Toole raised her barn today", entry of June 23, 1909
  • Ellen Vickery, presumably Ellen Marie Vickery (1836-1915), daughter of Stephen Thayer Vickery and Betsey W. (Gibbs) Vickery
  • Vickery Family - perhaps the family of Edward William Vickery (1842-1922); his sister Ellen Marie Vickery (1836-1915) was living with him.
  • Mrs. Charles Willey, hostess of sewing circle
  • Ned and Florence had a baby, born January 21, 1909 - perhaps Charline Sarah Wilson, daughter of Edwin S. Wilson and Florence Mertie (Jameson) Wilson
  • Mr. Wright - Harold helped dig his potatoes
  • George Wright [?]; mentioned in Memoranda section


  1. Wondering if Marilyn French who graduated from ECA in 1953 is related?.

    1. Marilyn French was Byron French's daughter--her family lived on the Ridge Road in Corinth in the 1950s, next door to Gene Sweet, my grandfather. She was Alberta Greatorex's sister, if you knew her. Marilyn was the last of nine kids.

    2. You must have heard me say, all roads lead to Corinth (close enough)...! When I started transcribing the diary, I didn't know where it came from, and slowly it started to reveal itself. The house is huge, especially for two people - I wonder if it had been an inn at one time. Since it was known as the Taylor Stand, I assume it came from Abner's maternal family.