Guest Column by Brenda Bourgoine
I have been searching for information on my great great-grandfather Aaron Jackson’s roots for decades now. This is my/his story time-line with notes.
The earliest record I know is 1850 CENSUS Hancock Plt. [Ft. Kent, Maine] Aren Jackson age 28 years, single born Maine. He is with a group of laborers working in C.R. Bodfish lumber mill. Did research on him (C.R.B.), know that he owned sawmill in F.K. He is buried in Bath, Me. His wife is not a Jackson.
Later that year Aaron married Marie Thibodeau age 20 years, single born Maine who is in that same census, in the next household living with her sister Angele and husband Jerre Pelkey’s family. Marie and Angele Thibodeau are two of six children of Simon Thibodeau and Marie Claire Violette. Baptism record of Marie/Mary on 15 July 1830, her name is given as Dorothee, but I never see the use of that name again. In a document in Northern Registry of Deeds dated July 12, 1845 titled “To Heirs of Simon Thibodeau”, Marie’s name and lineage is confirmed, when she and her four surviving siblings inherit her father’s property, all of them made their mark.
APRIL 17, 1854 Land transaction:
The only land transaction in Aaron’s name is on April 17, 1854 when he sells land to Joseph Nadeau. He was unable to sign his name and made his mark. Marie is not named nor does it say where he got the land or where he is from. It is not the land that Marie inherited.
Did extensive work to try to find the original owner, more on Joseph Nadeau, and what possible land grant it may have been awarded, no clues there.
1860 CENSUS T17 R9 [St. Francis, Me.]
Aaron 45y b. Me. Mary [Thibodeau] 30y b. Me.; Benjamin 10y; Aaron 8y; Daniel 6y; Roseanna 5y; Richard 2y; George 1/12
Note: On March 21, 1861 these children were all baptized at the same time at St. Luce Catholic Church, Frenchville, Maine. Record says of an “illegimate marriage” which I’m told means the parents marriage was not recognized by the priest, not a valid Catholic marriage. It only gives an age in years not a date of birth for each child. In later records for the next children’s baptisms in St. Francois, New Brunswick and Ft. Kent. Maine, it also says illegimate marriage.
1870 CENSUS Unincorporated Plt. on Upper St. John above St. Francis [Allagash]
Aaron 60 y b New Hampshire; Mary 45y b. NH; Aaron 18y; Benjamin 16y [Daniel’s age]; Rose 15y; Richard 14y; Nat. 13y [George]; Finley 11y [David’s age- Finley would have been 6y]; Mary 9y; Here the census is messed up- these children don’t belong here- Thomas 6y [Finley’s age]; Andrew 5y; Sarah 4y; James 1y.
I have looked at the families around them in this census, and no one has children with these names. In no census have I seen a Nat or Andrew in Allagash Plt. Marie’s birthplace is listed as NH, this also is not correct. Aaron is listed as a male citizen of US over 21 years of age. The census taker was Isaac Page who was from Ft. Kent. Ages should have been Benj.20; Aaron 19; Daniel 17; Roseanne 15; Richard 13; George 10; Mary 8; Finley 6; David 2.
1880 CENSUS T17 R11 [Allagash]
Mary 46 widow; Aaron 24; Richard 22; Daniel 20; Mary 15; George 13; Catherine 11; Finley 10; Emma [Esther]8.
Notes: A last child Helene was baptized at St. Louis, FK on Jan 13, 1876. I have never seen her again or find a death record for her. In this record there is no indication that Aaron is deceased. [I would have expected to see of the “late” Aaron Jackson] I have never been able to find Aaron’s death record or what cemetery he was buried in. His burial record is not in any area Catholic records, which I have searched.
An elderly lady in Allagash said he was taken to Ledges, New Brunswick near Connors for burial. There was an Anglican and a Baptist church there at that time. Both church buildings still exist but are no longer active. I have checked all the headstones at the Baptist Cemetery there; I have never been able to locate their records. Where do these records go when a church closes?
There is a Protestant church in Ft. Kent where some of the earliest families are buried in the adjoining cemetery. It was first a Presbyterian, later Congregational and today is called Christ’s Church and is still an active church. The church secretary checked those records for Aaron or any Jackson and there were none in early records.
1900 CENSUS Allagash, Maine
David Jackson Nov 1868 31; Lizzie June 1871 28; Sarah June 1897 2; Lucy Feb 1899 3m; Mary Sept 1834 65 years had 12 children 10 are living widow.
Aaron Jackson born between 1810-1822
died between 1876-1880.
Marie 1830-1910 [nothing on her death record concerning
Aaron, I have seen both church and municipal]
1. Benjamin never married, died by drowning the
week of May 12, 1879 –burial?
2. Aaron died 1928 buried St. Charles Cemetery, St. Francis,
Me. No clues on his church record he married Christianne
Emery widow of Angus Campbell. 4 ch. & Easter
Mullins 0 ch.
3. Daniel died 1935 buried St. Charles Cemetery, St. Francis,
Me no clues on his death record he married Louise
Sirois. 11 ch
4. Roseanne died 1906 buried St. Charles Cemetery,
St. Francis, Me. no clues on her death record she married
Steven Bishop [Etienne Levesque] 10 ch. & Samuel
Nicholson 0 ch
5. Richard died 1902 buried St. Louis Cemetery, Ft Kent, Me
he married Sarah Ellen McBreairty 5 ch.
6. George died 1929 buried Allagash, Me. No clues he married
Bertha Pratt [Plourde] 2/3 ch & Emily Gardner 2 ch.
7. Mary died before 1900 buried?? never found a death record
she married John Gardner
8. Finley died 1941 buried St. Charles Cemetery, St. Francis,
Me he married Catherine “Kitty” McBreairty 0 ch
& Amanda Mullins 6 ch.
9. David died 1928 buried Allagash he married Elisabeth
Gardner 9 ch.
10 .Catherine “Kitty” died @1926??? she married Hugh
Lyden 0 ch
11. Esther died @1894??? she married
John McBreairty 2 ch.
12. Helene died before the 1880 census
The naming pattern of the children doesn’t seem to give a clue.
Does anyone recognize a naming pattern from what I have listed for these children? None of the names are used in Marie’s family. Aaron, Benjamin, David and George are repeated in succeeding generations. Aaron Jackson has a direct line, my father being Aaron IV, then my brother and his son. He has ended it, enough he said.
I have researched every birth, baptism, marriage and death record that I could find. No clues as to where Aaron came from. Noted that the only occasions that say Aaron I was born in New Hampshire is the 1870 census and some in David’s family; most say they “don’t know” or it is blank on the question of their fathers’ birthplace. Mary lived with David’s family the last years of her life. My thought has been that Aaron was born in Maine but his father or grandfather was born in New Hampshire.
Municipal records for this entire area do not go back this far and are very sparse. Newspapers were non-existent; some items were occasionally reported in papers published in Caribou, Ft. Fairfield and Presque Isle but of persons of prominence.
There was one Protestant church in Ft. Kent and two in Connors, New Brunswick but it was a very French Catholic area and many death records of persons of other religious denominations have not been located. There are rumors of small non-denominational burial grounds which were “lost” by well meaning farmers etc and try as I might I have not been able to find proof.
Research has included: on a county-by-county basis:
I have recorded every Jackson family in the 1850 census looking for a family whose head of household is old enough to be father of Aaron then compared that family to the makeup of the same family in 1840 looking for a missing son. Began this search with Aroostook and have done Washington, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Lincoln and parts of other counties.
I have visited Registry of Deeds and Probate Courts in all the above named Maine counties, and in Strafford and Rockingham in New Hampshire, State Archives of Maine & NH, State Libraries of the same, American Canadian Genealogical Library, Manchester, NH. and Portsmouth Public Library, NH and numerous other public libraries, genealogical societies, and college libraries in Maine.
In addition cemetery searches in person and on-line MOCA records, New Brunswick Provincial Archives, Fredericton, NB. & I have pursued military records.
DNA has been done by others; I do not know the results.
Along the way I have had assistance from many people and several family members are also doing research, I say this brick wall is a large as the Great Wall of China.