Saturday, August 9, 2014

My Grandfather, David J. Crabtree, Sr.: A Timeline

Back in November 2013, I wrote down what I knew then about my Grandfather David J. Crabtree, Sr. (A Little About My Grandfather). I've done a lot of research and found out more about his life since then. 

Since my mother always said that, although she was born in New Brunswick, her family moved back and forth a lot between Canada and the United States, I thought it might be useful to show a timeline for her father's life. Since these facts all come from official documentation, there are plenty of gaps and, I'm sure, lots of stories missing about the family's moves from one country to another. 

A very brief summary of his life: When David Jewett Crabb was born on June 20, 1875, in Florenceville, New Brunswick, Canada, his father William was 38 and his mother Sarah was 32. (David was born a Crabb, but became a Crabtree when the family name was legally changed in 1910 in Maine). He married Edith Rae Giberson on April 29, 1899, in Easton, Maine. They had 13 children in 27 years. He died on April 17, 1954, in Belfast, Maine, at the age of 78, and was buried in Houlton, Maine.

I have more information, including a physical description, photos, and a pretty good story about Grandfather, and will put all that together in the next post. In the meantime, here is the timeline. 


A couple of notes: 

I have used the ages written down by the census takers, and you will see that sometimes the ages for individuals are off from one census to another

Although some census takers thought Jesse was a girl when he was little, I kept him among the sons!

I like to imagine these big households, bursting with teenagers and toddlers.

In 1881, David Crabb was 5 years old and lived in Carleton County, Canada. Also listed in the household: Parents William H. (age 45) and Sarah A. (35); siblings John F. (18), Aaron C. (15), Sarah E. (14), Henry A. (13), Adelia (11), Elizabeth (8), Charles W. (7), Talmage (6), and Wesley D. (3). This screen shot (click for a larger version) of a page from the 1881 Census of Canada shows the family.

April 29, 1899
David J. Crabtree married Edith R. Giberson on April 29, 1899, in Maine. He was 21 and she was 18; his occupation was farmer, and hers was housekeeper. His parents were also a farmer and a housekeeper, as were her parents. All of the parents were born in New Brunswick. Here is a copy of the record from Maine.


In 1900, David was 22 years old and lived in Easton, Maine with his wife, Edith (age 18); they are listed here in the 1900 U.S. Census. You will see that they are living next door to David's widowed mother, Sarah (age 53), and David's brothers, Talmage (24) and "Everard" (actually Everett, age 14), and sister Annie (Anna, age 16). 


In 1910, David J. Crabb was 32 years old and lived in Dover, Maine with his wife, Edith (age 26), 3 sons (Clifford, age 7; Beecher, age 5; and Jesse, age 3), and 2 daughters (Alma, age 9; and Hope, age 1 month); they are all listed in the 1910 U.S. Census:


On June 1, 1921, David J. Crabtree was 40 years old and lived in Victoria County, Canada with his wife, Edith, 3 sons (Clifford, age 17; Beecher, age 15; and Jesse, age 13), and 6 daughters (Alma, age 21; Hope, age 10; Bessie, age 7; Elva, age 6; Anna, age 4; and Sadie, age 1). Here they are in the 6th Census of Canada, 1921:


On April 1, 1940, David A. Crabtree was 64 years old and lived in Ludlow, Maine with his wife, Edith, 3 sons (Beecher, age 37; Jesse, age 25; and David, Jr., age 11), 2 daughters (Lois, age 16; and Faith, age 14), and a grandson (Alma's son, Ivan McLellan, age 4). They lived next door to David and Edith's daughter, Gladys, her husband, Murray Victory, and their son, Wayne (spelled "Wane" here). They are listed in the 16th Census of the U.S., 1940:


On Sept. 26, 1946, Edith died in Houlton, Maine at the age of 65 or 66, depending on which birth date you go by. She was buried in Houlton, Maine. 


David died at age 78 on April 17, 1954 in Belfast, Maine. He was buried with Edith and with their son, Jesse (who had died in 1950) in the Evergreen Cemetery in Houlton, Maine. 


One more note: Thank you to Sheila Lafferty for showing me a better way to do screen shots!


  1. The census is so important to family research, isn't it? And one has to wonder how many research threads are lost for so many family historians when a name is spelled wrong, like Everard. Of course, something like that wouldn't daunt a dedicated determined researcher like you. Every family should have a Clair!

    1. Well, thank you, but I have to say that does a lot of the work with name spelling variations. They pull up names that might match in any search. As a point of illustration, in one of these census transcriptions the family name was indexed as "Brable" instead of "Crabb," but Ancestry included it in the search results. In the old days, a family historian would have to figure out the soundex code for a name and search for possible variations that way. There is a soundex converter down on the right side of this page for nostalgia's sake.


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