I am pretty much as much in the dark as you! But I do have a little glimmer of light! Please bear with me as I tell this rather over long story. Here it goes...
I am researching the Keen/Keene family that came to Mass. on the ship Confidence. I have been at this for years.
My great grandfather Fred Keene was a writer. He wrote for many, many newspapers, including the N.Y. Times, the Boston papers etc… and he was the editor of our local paper the Lubec Herald, here in Maine. He especially wrote about the past and his life growing up. I have always been very interested in everything that he wrote. On a recent visit with my Uncle, who is turning 80 this year, I discovered that he had in his possession a scrapbook filled with Fred’s writing and other family stuff. He let me photocopy the scrapbook.In the scrapbook were two pages of family lines that listed the family. Then I found a letter that was published August 4, 1909 in the Calais Advertiser, Calais Maine. Below you will see it: I typed it as it is difficult to read.John you are not going to believe this but in reading the part I wanted to highlight for you I am just now discovering that the Josiah Hill (not Hills as I posted!)that I am looking for was from Maine! I am an idiot! I have been frantically trying to find all these siblings and who they married! And because I was just going down the list and posting all the couples on various surname websites I overlooked the rest of the writing. An of course he would be the only one who is listed as having been from somewhere else! Please forgive me sometimes in my haste I overlook the obvious. However maybe this will shed some light on your research as well. Or it might help you point me in the right direction. (I will fix this on the Hill website.)
First let me say that I am descended from Lucy Keen’s (who married Josiah Hill) brother Jarius Keen. Jarius came from Duxbury, Mass. to Calais, Maine. I have been trying desperately to connect Jarius with his father Isaac Keen. Jarius died in 1844 and all of the records prior to 1899 were destroyed in a fire at the Calais City Hall. So this has been a nightmare to prove this one missing link! So the only thing that I could think of was to try and track down his siblings and their marriages, etc… And yesterday I actually found one of them: Elanor who married Metzer Sprague. Who is listed in the letter directly above Lucy Keen and Josiah Hill.
Let me tell you that the Keen line I am researching is well documented down to Isaac Keen. They lived in or around Duxbury, Plymouth, or Marshfield. That is why I thought that most of the Isaac’s children probably married people from the same area. I came up with the dates based on Jarius date of birth and figured that his mother was probably of childbearing age for approximately 35 years.
I hope I haven’t totally confused you. Any light you can shed on this Josiah Hill would be greatly appreciated.
Please note that in the beginning of the letter it is stated that they came over on the ship "Fortune" this is a mistake. I was the ship "Confidence."
1446 County Road
Lubec, Maine 04652
Here is the letter:
The following was published Aug 4, 1909
In the Calais Advertiser, Calais, Maine.
An Old Time Letter
The writer of this was and early settler of Calais. His emigrant ancestor came and the "Fortune," that followed the "Mayflower," 19,1621. His name was Josiah. His oldest son, Isaac 2d, was succeeded as follows: Isaac 3d, Isaac 4th, Isaac 5th, who was born 8th May, 1737, married Bethiah Toby of Sandwich, Mass. Isaac 5th died 22d March, 1830; his wife 3d June, 1810; aged 72 years. Their children were Abigal 6th, married Henry Baker; Martha 6th married Josiah Hatch; Lydia 6th, married Nathaniel Pratt; Isaac 6th married Lucy Church; Elanor 6th, married Metzer Sprague; Lucy 6th, married Josiah Hill, who lived at Machias or near there and was descended from Hills of York county, Me., who went to Machias from Scarboro, Me; Diana 6th, married Rufus Curtis; Sylvania 6th, married Peleg Thomas. The sixth child of the ten (two sons and eight daughters) was Jarius 6th, who came to Calais in the early part of this century (1803) and married Lucy Knight, a sister of the late Mrs. Capt. Seth Emerson and Mrs. Wm. Goodwin. He was prominent in the affairs of the plantation and town in its early history, serving as assessor, selectman and school committee. He built vessels, and the letter throws light upon that subject. The first board of selectmen were Wm. Pike (father of Hon. F.A. Pike), Jarius Keen and Francis Pettigrove. His allusion to the shooting of Mr. John Downes brings up an old-time crime. Mr. Downes was a brother of the late Hon. George Downes, who were the sons of Shubal Downes. One Ball was a coiner, and Mr. Downes was a sheriff. He had a warrant to arrest him, and Ball fired upon him, mortally wounding him. Ball was executed at Castine for the Crime. Strange it is to relate, the Portland papers were silent in regard to it. The letter is postmarked Calais, Feb. 21. Postage 20 cents. Directed to Isaac Keen, Taner, Duxbury, County of Plymouth, Mass. Its contents are as follows: -
CALAIS, February 19th, 1811.
Dear Brother, - Sir,- I take this time to inform you that I am well and my family injoying the same blessing from God. My children hav the hopping coff but I am in hopes they air gitting Bitter. My youngest child has Been sick but it is getting Bitter by the help of God. I received a letter from Mr. Amos Sherman informing me that you was sick and mother was quite unwell which I was very sorry to hear. But I hope you will be restored to health by the blessing of God and my Dear Mother.
I suppose you heard the death of Mr. William Sherman and he has left a wife and six children to mourn for him. Sir I think very hard that you have not rote to me. So long time when I have rote to you so many times. I think you hav entirely forgot me and my family. I was in hopes to come home last fall but I launched a brig of 250 tons and now have agreed to build another 275 tons, Which I expect to launch next fall and then expect to come home, if I do not undertake any other Job. There was an unfortunate afair hapened in this place about Twenty Days gone. There was three apprehended for making money and one of them fired on Mr. John Downs and Killed him, and afterwards was taken in irons to the fort at Eastport where they air safely keep( Page missing the words)
… honored rather and loved mother, Loving Sisters and Brothers and inquiring friends. Lucy remembers her love to you all and wishes to see you all. I am in hopes you or some of the family will com and see me this next Summer. If possibel. Don’t fail in writing to me as soon as possibel. So I must conclude with a heavy heart Thinking of your sickness and remain a patient brother,
Mr. Isaac Keen.
Direct you letter to me at Calais
Districk of Main.
We have used Mr. Keen’s way of spelling, and would remark that we have perused many old letters and his is better writing than the average. The love and reverence paid by men to their parents in those days are recommended to this generation. In our boyhood we were taught to raise our cap and bow to aged people whom we met. We wish our schools and homes would teach those old time courtesies. To our (can’t read word) a deportment class would be a good think to have in our schools. When Mr. Keen wrote this his loved mother had entered into that rest prepared for all good mothers.
To many this letter may seem of no importance. We think different. It shows that love of home and filial reverence shared by our New England ancestry. There are many old letters in our State that ought to be printed. We love to see them in print as written, quait spelling and all.Wm. H. SMITH
In connection with the above, interest account of Mr. Jarius Keen, one of the early settlers of Calais, furnished the Times by Mr. Wm. H. Smith, of Portland, Mr. Atkins Keen, a son, of the late Jarius Keen, furnishes the following additional particulars concerning the family;
Jarius Keen, the 6th generation was born in Duxbury, Mass. in 1776.At the age of 14 he went to learn the trade of ship carpenter, and served seven years.In 1798 he came to St. Andrews, N. B. Canada, to build a vessel.In 1800 he came to Calais.On Sept. 9, 1801 he married Lucy Knight, daughter of Paul Knight.They then went to Duxbury, and remained there one year. -In 1802, they returned to Calais, and remained here until his death, which took place Dec. 8, 1844.His wife Lucy Keen born Dec. 5, 1785 died Jan. 17, 1866, in the 81st year of her age.Her grandfather, it is claimed fired the gun in the Revolution, and helped to capture the British armed schooner Margaretta, in the Machias River.They had fifteen children, eleven sons, and four daughters.
Jarius the 7th married Mary Brooks of Robbinston. Isaac the 7th, died unmarried, Truckston the 7th died unmarried; Mary Ann, the 7th, married Capt. Andrew Hinkley of Blue Hill, Me.;
William, the 7th,died in infancy.
Harrison the 7th, married Mary Ann Bassett of Calais.
Atkins Keen, the 7th, married Sophia Hill of Calais;Robert the 7th married Melissa Brown of(word missing)Springs, L.I., N.Y.
George the 7th married Charlotte Smith, of Digby, N.S., Canada
Sylvina , 7th, died in infancy;
Lorenzo , the 7th, married Josephine Dougherty, of St. Andrews, N.B.,
Fredrick married Mary Ann McPherson of Calais; Lucy Thirza the 7th, married Adrean Vandine, of Houlton; Edward married Martha Morton of Portland.
For many years Mr. Keen was the principal ship builder on the river and gave employment to a large number of men.
The first vessel he built was the Liberty in 1803. In 1810 he built a brig of 250 tons. In 1811 he built another of 275 tons. In 1812 he was appointed Captain of a military company, and held the position till the close of the war in 1815.
In 1818 he built a vessel in St. Stephen called the Unity. In 1820 he built a schooner called the Boston, in Calais.
In 1823 he built a brig called the Calais Packet of Calais. In 1825 he built the brig Zepora and the schr. Sarah. Same year in St. Stephens, he built a Brig called the Kaziah, for John McAllister, grandfather of E.H. McAllister. In 1829 he built the Schr. Resolution in Calais. In 1830 a schr. called the Janette Grant, in St. Stephen. In 1831 he built a bark called the Royal William. In 1832 he built a brig called the Eliza Ann, for Robert Lindsay. In 1833 he built the schr. Governor Robbins. In 1835 he built the schr. Caribou. In 1837 he built the brig Heber, on Grand Manan. In 1838 he built the brig Gertrude.
In 1839 he built a brig for George C. McAllister. In 1840 he built the bark Stephen. In 1842 he built the schr. Freeport.