Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thinking About My Grandmother, Edith Rae Giberson Crabtree

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I've been thinking a lot about my grandmother, Edith Rae, since starting this family history project. I never got to meet her, as my parents moved from Maine to California when I was three months old, and Edith died two years later in Houlton, Maine, where she is buried.

She was the fourth child born to her parents, and she had three older brothers, Randolph, Hanford, and Stanley Giberson. According to a letter from my Aunt Alma in 1973, [Edith's] father was William Giberson, who left the family before my mother was born and she never knew where he went. My mother's mother [Martha Grant Giberson] died when [Edith] was 8 years old, so she was an orphan.

It was sad enough to think of little Edith and her brothers as orphans, but then I found that they were apparently sent out to different households. This comes from Wiley Waugh's book, John Giberson, Loyalist (Bristol, New Brunswick: Books of Waugh, rev. ed. Dec. 1999). Mr. Waugh notes that the entire family was found in the 1881 census in the Parish of Gordon, Victoria County, New Brunswick. He did not find William or Martha after 1881 but located the boys listed as servants in different households in the 1891 census, and didn't find a record of Edith after 1881 until her marriage in 1899.

I remember reading an account by one of Edith's daughters saying that her mother worked as a housekeeper in various places until her marriage. I will document the source as soon as I locate it.

After Edith's marriage to David, they lived in New Brunswick and Maine. Edith gave birth to 13 children starting in 1900 with Alma, and ending in 1928 with David Jewett, Jr.

I hope to be able to add more memories of Edith from various sources.


  1. It's actually amazing that none of her children died in infancy. Wasn't that still happening back then? Strong breeding stock!

  2. As far as disappearing relatives go, I remember mum telling a story about 3 (I think) of the family men (not sure which family) came to California during the gold rush. I seem to remember her saying something to the effect that they had found a gold vein (maybe) but later disappeared....Died? Murdered? Something like that. If I'd have had half a brain back then, I would have been writing it down and asking more clarifying questions. Boy...20/20 hindsight, eh? There was also the story I heard from Glenn Crabtree's wife, Grace, about how somewhere along the line, a Crabtree intermingled and we are somehow related to the Jesse James Gang. Also, we can't forget. At Knott's Berry Farm, there used to be a theater and in the foyer was a travel trunk belonging to Lotta Crabtree, a theater performer/dancer. That lends credence to Grace 's story about the James Gang...same era. Of course, no upstanding (snort) Crabtree member will admit Lotta was a true Crabtree, such a business, how dare she? But, if you put all these stories together, all from the same era....California Gold Rush....give pause to think maybe there may have been a wild and woolly side to our family, not all the stuffed shirts from Assemblies....


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