Thursday, April 17, 2014

Aunt Sadie: Separated from the Family

This is the third installment of my Aunt Sadie's Memoirs. (See Part 1 and Part 2). There's a large cast of characters here and I've done my best to clarify who is who. You will want to note that there are three Sarahs:
1. Sarah Norma Crabtree Ayotte Ariel (my Aunt Sadie), who is the namesake of...
2. ... her father's sister, Sarah Ermina Crabb/Crabtree Thomas (Aunt Sadie's "Auntie"); and
3. Sarah Ermina's mother, Sarah Ann "Annie" Kinney Crabb/Crabtree (Sadie's "Grammy").

Click on any family member's name to see a profile and all sorts of ancestors and descendants that are linked, in turn, to more profiles. 

I am sorry that I don't have a picture of Sarah Thomas. If anyone reading this has one, I would love to use it for this post.

I am indebted to Patricia Parkhurst Gee Pickard, Pentecostal historian and author of some of the books that you will find listed by clicking on the "Books and Publications" tab at the top of this blog. She has answered my questions patiently and kindly. 

Aunt Sadie continues:  

Pa's sister, Sarah Thomas [Sarah Ermina "Sadie" Crabtree Thomas], was widowed and caring for her aged mother [Sarah Ann "Annie" Kinney Crabtree]. She prevailed on Papa  [David Jewett Crabtree] to let her take her little namesake home. I was seven years old and lived with her until my marriage except for the two years I went to high school in Houlton [Maine].

Sarah Ann "Annie" Kinney Crabtree, 1842-1935
Sadie's "Grammy"

Richard Wayman Kinney, 1856-1932
Sadie's Great Uncle Richard Kinney, brother of Annie.

When she was dying, I was in the hospital having Dick [Dickie Ayotte] and I have the last letter she ever wrote asking me to name my baby after "Uncle Richard Kinney," Grammy [Annie Kinney] Crabtree's brother [Richard Wayman Kinney].

"Auntie," as I will refer to her henceforth, lived on a beautiful estate in Milo, Maine called "Pleasant View Farm." You could sit on the veranda and see the lakes around Mt. Kahtahdin. The house was so vast I would get lost exploring. By the way, she brought up several children besides me. If one of her brothers or sisters died and left a child, she took that child in.

She bought a lovely piano and gave me music lessons. I took to that like a duck to water. She was a seamstress by trade and could make a man's tailored suit. I developed a love of sewing just from watching her.

Now I will go into her religious affiliations. This was in the heyday of the famous evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. Pap was converted to Pentecost under her and Auntie followed suit wholeheartedly. She decided there must be a Pentecostal church in Milo. She bought a schoolhouse and refurbished it. She imported young ministers from the Glad Tidings Institute in California. She fixed beautiful apartments for them. Her motto was "If someone said 'Praise the Lord' it was hang up your hat and make yourself at home."

I think I met most of the ministers in the early Pentecost movement. Sister [Christine] Gibson, the Bickfords [Harold, Don, and Sunny], the Dearings [Rev. John and Anna], a Mrs. Duly, the Grovers [Rev. Fred and Jennie], Gene Kimball, and numerous others. I know Auntie and I went by train to all the camp meetings: Bridgewater, Marshall, Pea Cove... I remember one at Moosehead Lake (this must have been after Grammy Crabtree's death, my memory fails me on that). A lot of the zealots were barely literate. I heard a lot of fire and brimstone preaching. I didn't like it then and I don't like it now! My God is loving and forgiving.

At this point I would like to give a little background on my education. When I was four, I cried to go to school with the older children and Papa said, "Let her try it." So, I attended school in Canada for three years and learned my lessons by rote.

When I was enrolled in school in Milo, I was promoted to the fifth grade. Consequently, I started high school at 12, graduated at sixteen, married at seventeen, had Richard at eighteen. Would you believe the school bus at that time in Milo was a covered wagon drawn by a team of horses?

Next: Life with the Thomas family

1 comment:

  1. I wish we had photos of Pleasant View Farm, especially the grand house. I'm sure your expert sleuthing and networking will turn something up. Of course, as you've said, we can only imagine seeing it through a child's eyes - especially a child from limited means.

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