Showing posts with label Thomas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thomas. Show all posts

Friday, August 22, 2014

More About My Grandfather, David J. Crabtree, Sr.

Grandfather David in the field with his youngest son, David, Jr. 
c. 1940
From our family's photo collection

My grandfather, David J. Crabtree, Sr., was born David Jewett Crabb in Florenceville, New Brunswick, Canada in 1875; the ninth child of thirteen born to William Henry Crabb and Sarah Ann Kinney. He had five sisters and seven brothers. 

The family name was changed from Crabb to Crabtree in 1910 in Maine. See A Family Changes its Names for the details and the text of the legal document.

I had always heard that the Crabtrees came straight from England to Canada, so it was a great surprise to find that the truth was quite different. David was descended from both Loyalists and Pre-Loyalists. During the American Revolution, the Loyalists were the folks who remained loyal to the King of England, lost their lands, and left America to resettle in Canada. The Pre-Loyalists were those who had come to Canada from America prior to the Loyalist immigration of 1783. The story of the Loyalists is a dramatic one and full of hardship, and I hope to tell it eventually on this blog. 

David's maternal great-great grandparents, Israel Kinney and Susannah Hood, moved in 1767 from Topsfield, Massachusetts to Maugerville, in what would later become New Brunswick, Canada. Another set of great-great grandparents, John Crabb, Sr. and Elizabeth Bassett (who show up on both sides of David's family tree--David's father's grandfather, John Crabb, Jr., and David's mother's grandfather, Richard Arnold Crabb, were brothers), left Dutchess County, New York for New Brunswick in 1783.  

I never met my grandfather; what I know about him is the result of research, reading books, correspondence, and interviews. I haven't learned anything about his younger days, but I know that one of his sisters, Gertrude, died at the age of two; another sister, Elizabeth, died at the age of 24 of tuberculosis; and his brother, Aaron, died in the goldfields of Alaska in 1897. His sister, Sarah Ermina "Sadie" Kinney Thomas, was  the "Auntie" in my Aunt Sadie's memoirs (see Separated from the Family, etc.). Another sister, Anna Thursa Crabb, married Charles Field and I met them when I was a child and they visited our home in San Francisco in the 1950's. 

However, I have read about the grown and married David as both a farmer and neighbor. His neighbors called him Dave, and knew they could call on him for help with cutting ice, cutting brush, sawing wood, threshing, and moving machinery. I read about his hard-working farming days in Sheila Antworth Lafferty's blog, Diary of an Aroostook Farmer; The farm journals of Milton Lloyd Flewelling (1901-1996), a farmer from Easton, Aroostook County, Maine. "Dave" and "Cliff" (my uncle Clifford Crabtree) are mentioned frequently in Milton's journals, and Patricia Pickard's booklet (No. 5 in the Bibliography, below) on Clifford Crabtree tells us that Clifford worked on Milton's farm in Easton, Maine. Milton mentions a great deal of going back and forth between his farm and Dave's place in Beaconsfield, New Brunswick.

These next three quotes are from Pat Pickard's booklet, and are used with her kind permission. 

[Dave] was a farmer, plus he was busy at the local Baptist church where he was Sunday school superintendent. With godly parentage, the children of this family learned to love the things of God. David never failed to take his family of 13 children to church, even trudging on foot through snow at times. (Page 1)

Evelyn (Allen) Crabtree shares a bit of history on the Crabtree family: "Clifford's parents owned a nice home in Easton, [Maine] and they had an opportunity to sell it, which they did. They moved from Easton to Beaconsfield, New Brunswick--just over the border from Easton [some time after 1905]. The move to Beaconsfield seemed to be a mistake. Clifford's father, David, found that the soil was full of rocks and it caused him a lot of grief. He worked and worked to clear them out, only to find more rocks the following year. It was a hard life on that farm." [NOTE: The writer of this book had the opportunity to visit this farm in the 1970s, and wonders how they managed to farm at all. It was a beautiful spot--high on a hill, overlooking the town of Easton--but not for farming]. (Pages 1-2)

Donny Ladner used to butcher hogs in the Easton/Beaconsfield area, and whenever someone had a hog that they wanted to have butchered, they would call him up, fill a barrel full of water, and put it on to boil so that they could dip the hog in it for easy removal of its hair after it was slaughtered. One day David had a hog to be butchered, and Donny came to the Crabtree home in Beaconsfield and did the job. After he got the hog killed, it was time to put it in the hot water. David looked at his wife and said, "Ede (as he called her), we forgot to boil the water!" (Page 7)

Form for replacement of lost naturalization papers

Dave left behind a physical description of himself. This is a copy of an undated form requesting replacement of lost naturalization papers. It was apparently used as a draft or kept at home as a record of the completed form. Dave tells us that he is male, white with a medium complexion, has blue eyes and brown hair, is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 148 pounds. He "kept papers in pocket. Lost while working in the field."

David is mentioned several times in the book, Prevailing Westerlies; The Pentecostal Heritage of Maine. It seems that David was often on hand to help with building and maintaining the churches of the area. His grandson, Charles T. Crabtree (see photo below) remembers: When the new sanctuary was built, I remember my dad talking to my grandfather, David Jewett [Crabtree], about getting permits to remove a big elm tree. He went on and on about the danger and expense. My grandfather just snorted. It was a thrilling sight for me to watch as the men began to ax away. They tied great ropes to guide the fall. It was a great victory to watch that monster fall in the exact spot my grandfather had planned. The only fly in the ointment was when Billy Washington sawed off a limb he was sitting on. He fell a long way but, miraculously, was not hurt. (pages 169-170).

Another church-building memory from the same book: Let's go back to the summer of 1947. The work on our new church on Court Street had been completed, and a group of us went down to Cape Jellison [Maine] to work on building a new church. Grampie Crabtree; Pastor [Clifford] Crabtree; [Clifford's] son, David, and I [author James Peters] traveled back and forth most of those days. We tore down an old barn for the lumber, which we hauled half way around the Cape to build the church... we tore the old building down and built the church... We had a few nails in our feet and bloodblisters under our nails from time to time, but we worked for the Lord and He blessed our efforts. I recall some of the antics of Charlie [Charles Flewelling, a missionary just back from Africa] and Grampie (David) Crabtree--who says Christians can't have fun? They were always playing practical jokes on each other and on anyone who happened to be in the vicinity. I considered it a great privilege to work alongside these men who, as we look back on our heritage, made such an impact for the Lord, both at home and on the foreign field. (Pages 171-172)

The late Rev. David J. Crabtree assisted greatly in the work of this church. [He] laid the foundation. (Pages 175-176)

Grandfather "Grampie" David and his grandson, Charles Talmage Crabtree (son of Clifford Crabtree)
All three served as ministers in the Pentecostal Church (David started out as a Baptist)
As Charles was born in 1937, I am guessing that this photo was taken c. 1952,
or two years before Grampie's death in 1954
(Photo courtesy of Patricia Pickard)

Undated photo of Grandfather David
Courtesy of Patricia Pickard

Undated photo from Patricia Pickard

This is an indirect (and not very flattering) story about Grandfather. My mother (Elva Crabtree Harris Rodriguez) told me about a time when her mother, Edith, was in labor with her last baby, David, Jr. My mother's older brothers were out with the horse and wagon and stopped to talk with a neighbor who asked after Edith's health. He jokingly asked that since they already had kids named Faith and Hope in the family, were they planning to name this new baby-to-be Charity? One of the brothers, no doubt feeling great sympathy for his mother's labor with her 13th child, said "'Twould be a great charity if he [David, Sr.] would leave her alone so's she'd have no more babies!"

Here are the last two stories that I have about my grandfather. The first was received in an email from Patricia Pickard, 4 May 2014:

I just came across a typescript that has a story about David Jewett Crabtree:
"A former neighbor from Beaconsfield, N.B., Handy Nevers, recalls that many a time David J. Crabtree and Frank Nevers (who became very good friends) walked twelve miles to Perth to attend Pentecostal meetings there. David lived in Beaconsfield, N.B. with his family, and Frank's family lived nearby in Dover Hill.
"David J. Crabtree had a terrible accident while living in Beaconsfield. He fell off a load of hay and broke his neck. He was prayed for and God healed him completely."

And from my cousin, Cheryl Blakely (via Facebook, August 11, 2014): I very rarely heard my mom [Faith Crabtree Blakely] talk of her dad. She did say he was like an old banty hen, tough and stubborn. She said he fell off the roof and broke his neck. She said it didn't kill him the first time. The second time did. Whether that's true or not, I have no idea.

Copy of David's obituary, courtesy of Patricia Pickard

embeddable family tree updated live from WikiTree


1. Bell, Edwin Wallace: Israel Kenny; His Children and Their Families. [Vancouver, B.C.], 1944. May be borrowed from Open Library for reading online:

2. Kinney, Fern Gallup: Kith and Kin of the Kinneys. [nd]. PDF file available for download:

4. Peters, James E. and Patricia Pickard: Prevailing Westerlies; the Pentecostal Heritage of Maine. Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image, 1988.

5. Pickard, Patricia P.: Rev. Clifford A. Crabtree, Called of God. Prepared for the 90th anniversary celebration of Glad Tidings Church, Bangor, Maine, November 24, 2013. Published by Glad Tidings Church, 1033 Broadway, Bangor, Maine 04401. 2013. (A copy may be purchased from Glad Tidings Church for a suggested donation of $10.00 or more).

6. Pickard, Patricia, from a typescript, "Notes taken during a phone conversation that Pat Pickard of Bangor, Maine had with Handy Nevers of Brockville, Ontario on April 26, 2013."

7. Smith, Louise Elizabeth, compiler and editor: Grandma and Me; Family Stories, Information, and Photos of the Crabtree and Higginson Families of Amanda Myrtie Crabtree Briggs. Cave Creek, Arizona: Austin-Smith Books, 2007. (May be purchased from at

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sadie's "Pleasant View Farm" Found!

Pleasant View Farm
28 Sargent Hill Drive in Milo, Maine

When my Aunt Sadie remembered her Aunt Sarah Thomas' house where she spent so many of her childhood years (see Aunt Sadie: Separated from the Family), she made us all want to find that house so that we could see what it looked like. 

She said: Auntie...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. 

One person took her desire to see the house a step further--she went exploring in Milo, Maine. From the Town Offices, to the Registry of Deeds, to an exploration of the roads of Milo, Pentecostal historian, Patricia Pickard and her husband, Carroll, spent a day talking to officials and record keepers and possible neighbors. Of course she found the house, she's a family history detective!

Along the way, she also found the real estate deed from when William Thomas bought the property, as well as his will, leaving it to his wife for her lifetime.

Pat said, in an email to me: 

I have a copy of a real estate deed drafted on the 12th day of February, 1910, conveying to William G. Thomas the homestead farm....situated on "Sargent Hill" so called, containing 127 acres; also another parcel of land....excepting and reserving from this deed a certain parcel of land, measuring 100 feet by 105 feet, by 100 feet by 105 feet. 


I have a copy of a portion of William G. Thomas' will, probated on the 17th of August 1923. This portion covers fourth and fifth parts of the will:

Fourth, I said beloved wife, Sarah E. Thomas, for and during the term of her natural life, the homestead farm in Milo, being the same conveyed to me by Sarah A. Bradeen, and known as the "Sargent place,".....I also give and devise to my said wife for and during the term of her natural life, the eleven acre bog or muck lot.

Fifth, At the decease of my said wife, I dispose of my said estate as follows, viz: After the payment of the legacies named in paragraphs second and third, then all the rest, residue and remainder of said estate I give, bequeath and devise to my five children, their heirs and assigns forever, in the following proportions: To Hayward S. Thomas and John P. Thomas, one fourth part of said estate or residue to be divided equally between them. To Annie M. Thomas Kinney, William E. Thomas and Bernice C. Thomas, the remaining three-fourths of said residue and remainder, share and share alike. By the term estate meaning to include real, personal and mixed, wherever situated and however and whenever acquired.
Recorded 18 August 1923.

With all this information in hand, Pat and Carroll drove to Sargent Hill Road in Milo. There they found and photographed two houses that were possibilities. 

Pat said: 

Both of these places could easily be called "Pleasant View," because they do offer a very pleasant view (one, east; and the other, south). On one of the locations, I was told by the neighbor lady, that in the early years, one could see clear to the town of Milo from Sargent's Hill, but now the trees have grown too tall for this to be done. Sargent Hill is just one mile away from town. 

I really feel that the last place I took a picture of would be the place. It is a large, large old home. Today, it is very well kept, and the architecture is beautiful. I don't think they could have raised 5 kids in the other house picture that I took. 

Route 16 is the county road between Milo and Dover-Foxcroft, and Sargent Hill is "off" this county road (to the north). I have a feeling that the area was so called because Mr. Sargent owned all the land in that area, and he had a large, impressive set of buildings. I think Mr. Sargent may have been wealthy. There are slate quarries not too far from Milo, and part of this house has slate siding. The house is really beautiful. I would say that the barn is gone, and now they have a two-car garage. 

On the following day, the rest of the mystery was solved. In Pat's words:

I just got a call from a lady (Gwen Bradeen; husband is Paul Bradeen) that lives on Sargent Hill. She confirmed to me that the house that I hoped was the Thomas place IS in fact the Thomas place.

She has been in touch with a lady whose family bought this house in 1940. The father's name was Earl Ingerson. His daughter, Dearle Ingerson Flint, still lives in the general area, and she has pictures of the place. Her husband is just getting out of the hospital, but she will bring the pix over to Gwen and Gwen will be in touch with me. 

Dearle states that the barn was across the street. It burned in 1958.  The black that you see up in the peak on the left are slate pieces that came from the nearby quarry.

By the way, the Ingersons paid $3,000 for this homestead! I need to get a copy of the deed where it was sold so as to see how the description reads in 1940. Without a doubt, not all 127 acres were sold with the house.

Gwen told me that, in later years (1970s), one of the owners used to have Pentecostal revivals out back on this property. Gwen asked me if Mr. Thomas was a Pentecostal minister and I told her that I did not know that he was. 


I do not know either if William Thomas was a Pentecostal minister, but we already know from Sadie that Sarah Thomas was a strong supporter of the Pentecostal movement, and at least one of their sons, Hayward, was a clergyman. Sadie wrote about Sarah:

Now I will go into [Sarah's] 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."

It would be no surprise that, after Sarah Thomas' death in 1938,  the house would be sold to others of the Pentecostal church, and that revivals would continue to be held there.

I owe the energetic Patricia Pickard (did I mention that she is 82 years old?) and her patient husband, Carroll,  a great debt of gratitude for their successful search to find Pleasant View Farm.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Aunt Sadie's Memoirs, Part 6: Marriage, Motherhood, and Losing Dickie

This is the sixth and final excerpt from my Aunt Sadie's Memoirs. Previous posts were: 
Part 1 and Part 2 (Life on the Farm)
Part 3 (Separated From the Family)  
Part 4 (Life With the Thomas Family)
Part 5 (Brother Lindholm, Uncle Jesse, and Grammie Crabtree).


My next memory [was] in 1933, in the middle of the Great Depression. My family had moved from Canada to Ludlow, Maine, and Papa [David Jewett Crabtree, Sr.] had also brought [Sadie's oldest sister] Alma's family over. 

Ludlow had no high school so if your family could not pay for your board in town, you had to work for it. I spent my sophomore year with a family with three small children. I had to get up very early in the morning and feed and dress them before I went to school. 

In my junior year, I got lucky. The entire Middleton family had migrated to the U.S. from Canada, to Hatfield Point, I think. Anyway, John Middleton [father of Eugene, who was to marry Sadie's sister, Anna] made arrangements to have his sister Louise Murphy board his daughter Geraldine and I was sent along to work my board and help "Aunt Louise." Louise was diabetic and had to have an insulin shot daily. Her widowed daughter Pearl (a nurse) lived with us and took care of that. Geraldine and I had fun going to school together. Pearl and I became close friends. 

Now, the plot thickens. Across the street lived the Ayotte family and that's how I met Joe Ayotte. He had beautiful eyes and looked like Bing Crosby. Besides, [Sadie's sister] Anna and Eugene were getting married, and [Sadie's sister] Gladys was marrying Murray Victory, and I wasn't about to let them get ahead of me. So we planned to be married when I finished school. I do know I went back to Milo High for my senior year and he came to see me once and Auntie [Sarah Ermina Crabb Thomas] liked him. 

So, immediately after my graduation I returned to Houlton and we were married from Aunt Louise's house. Pearl and her brother George stood up with us.

One Sunday evening [in February 1938], I was listening to Charlie McCarthy on the radio when my water broke and I started hemorrhaging and was taken to the hospital by Joe's brothers. I wasn't due until March and he [Richard "Dickie" Ayotte] weighed just five pounds and wasn't quite finished. Anna sat with him in the palm of her hand and I started to cry. I said, "He looks like a little rat." Nobody thought I would ever raise him. The first year was touch and go with ear infections, swollen glands, high fevers, etc. I would climb into his security bed with him. I only weighed 110 pounds after his birth. 

After 11 years, I got a divorce [about 1948]. I refused [any] help and went on my own. I became a divorcee. A divorced woman was considered fair game by the men and a threat to the women. 

My first job was washing dishes in the Woolworth's Cafeteria in Houlton. It was very popular with the Canadians and we did a thriving business on Canadian holidays. I worked up to be the manager and was offered the opportunity to travel New England and help other stores that might be in trouble. What a great life, living in hotels. But I had a little girl [Jane, born in 1944] I would never leave. So I came to Connecticut with Jane and lived with Alma until I got situated. 

Dick came down to Connecticut one winter and utterly despised it. He was deeply attached to his friends and classmates [in Maine] who he had been with since kindergarten. I arranged for him to stay with relatives and I sent him $15 a week. It was very painful to be separated from him because I worshipped the ground he walked on. But, I think if he had been forced to stay in Connecticut it would have ruined his life. 

Dick had two brushes with death before the final one. During the winter he stayed with me in Connecticut, one night he came home with intense pain in his stomach that turned out to be a ruptured appendix. He was gravely ill in New Britain Hospital. 

The night he graduated from high school he was in the car with a dear friend whose father had given him a new car for graduation. They ran into Rockefeller's Wall in Bar Harbor. The friend was killed instantly and Dick suffered a broken neck. He didn't want me to know about this but Dan Ayotte [Dick's uncle] informed me. Anna and Eugene took me to Bar Harbor immediately and I stayed with him a week. You would never believe the cards and letters he received. One lawyer from Houlton wanted to help him with medical expenses. His visitors were standing in line. He never rode in a car with a drinking driver again. 

[After Dick married Martha Jellison] he developed a passion for skiing and they moved to Carrabassett, Maine, and he is credited with being a pioneer in the development of Sugarloaf Ski Resort. He was called "The Mayor."

On October 5, 1981, Martha called with the terrible news that Dick and Jud Strunk had been killed in a plane crash. Jud was a TV personality who had been a regular on "Laugh-In" where he satirized the Maine native. He also wrote a hit song, "A Daisy a Day." He was a buddy of Dick's and came to Sugarloaf in a vintage World War II plane and asked Dick to go for a spin with him and see the foliage. Jud had a heart attack and they crashed in the woods. 

Janey and I [went] to Maine immediately. I know the funeral was very big with a lot of prominent people but I don't remember much. I died inside and stayed that way for the next 25 years. 

Martha and Dick's daughter, Aimee, was ten when her father was killed and right after she graduated high school, Martha developed cancer and passed away. Aimee was alone in the world except for her half sister, Holly. She was married and when she had a baby girl, she started bringing the baby to see me twice a year and my broken heart started to mend. I celebrated Christmas last year (2004) for the first time since Dick's death. 

Sarah Norma "Sadie" Crabtree Ayotte Ariel

Sadie's family
Back row, left to right: Sadie, Joey Cichon III, Christine Cichon Bolduc, Marcel Bolduc, Anita Cichon Simmons, Bill Simmons
Front, left to right:Jane Ayotte Cichon, Joseph Cichon, Jr.; Krystel Simmons
(Thanks to Joey Cichon for sharing photos)

I lived alone in my house on Pine Street with tenants on the first floor. But expenses kept increasing and my income was decreasing until I could no longer make ends meet. Then, in June 2005, I had surgery for colon cancer. I have a treatable heart condition but my heart doctors said I could not live alone. So, here I am, living with my daughter, so I guess I have to come to the end of my story. 

May I say that not one sister ever withheld their love and support for me. They just loved me and prayed for me. This has been very painful for me to write and I cried a lot because I can't go back and correct my mistakes. I have to go forward. I have had a miraculous recovery and I am getting stronger every day. 

Stay tuned; there might be a sequel. 

Love to all, 

Aunt Sade


Sadie died in 2009, four years after writing this memoir. This was her obituary:

Sarah N. Ariale
MERIDEN - Sarah N. Ariale, 89, lovingly known as Nanny by her family and friends, passed away peacefully, Oct. 3, 2009, at MidState Medical Center. Born Jan. 14, 1920, in Andover, New Brunswick Canada. She moved to Meriden in 1951. She worked in several area restaurants, until retiring in 1975. She enjoyed spending time with her great-grandchildren and enjoyed family games and playing the piano. She is survived by her daughter, Jane Cichon and her husband, Joseph Jr. of Meriden; five grandchildren, Anita Simmons of Meriden, Christine Bolduc of Kensington, Joseph Cichon III of Meriden, Aimee Case of Boothbay Maine and Holly Behre of South Carolina; five great-grandchildren, Krystel and Cassandra Simmons, Kyle and Luc Bolduc, Evy Case; and several nieces and nephews. Sarah was predeceased by her parents, David and Edith Crabtree; her beloved son, Dick Ayotte; four brothers; and eight sisters. She was also predeceased by her late husbands, Joseph Ayotte and Joseph Ariale. Friends and relatives are invited to attend a funeral service to be held on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 11 a.m. at Family Christian Worship Center located at 53 Coe Ave. in Meriden. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her name to the American Cancer Society , 538 Preston Ave., P.O. Box 1004, Meriden, CT 06450-1004, or the charity of your choice. Arrangements are under the direction of the John J. Ferry & Sons Funeral Home, 88 East Main St., Meriden, CT 06450
Published in The Record-Journal on Oct. 11, 2009

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Aunt Sadie's Memoirs, Part 5: Brother Lindholm, Uncle Jesse, and Grammy Crabtree

This is the fifth excerpt from my Aunt Sadie's Memoirs. Previous posts were: Part 1and Part 2 (Life on the Farm), 3 (Separated From the Family),  and 4 (Life With the Thomas Family).

Sadie's school: Milo High School, Milo, Maine
Source: Contributed by Jim Degerstrom
(be sure to visit Jim's blog by clicking on his name) 

Aunt Sadie continues:

Well, it is 1933 and I am a freshman at Milo High. The resident minister at the time was Brother [Ernest Paul] Lindholm. He was a really dedicated man and very solemn. He said he was called to be a missionary to Africa but he needed a wife before he could go. He was very sweet on Hope [Hope Crabtree McLeod, 1910-1993] when she visited but I guess his feelings were not reciprocated. I considered him a "stuffed shirt." He eventually married a nice Pentecostal girl from the Dover Foxcroft Church, went ot Africa, and was gored to death by a wild buffalo.*

From Clair: This is the only photo I have
of Sadie's brother, my
Uncle Jesse Hayward Crabtree, 1908-1950

I am going to relate a funny anecdote that is my "Jesse" story. Every one of us had their own "Jesse" story.

Our brother Jesse was retarded because he ate raw beans as a toddler and had numerous convulsions. Mama [Edith Giberson Crabtree, 1880-1946] never forgave herself for this tragedy and her dying wish was "Take care of Jesse."** He was part of our childhood and we all cared about him. He would sing folk songs to us and sit on the porch and [swing his feet] and sing his way through the hymn book. He was good-natured as long as he was fed and was a wonderful worker. Sometimes ignorant people teased him. He would get wanderlust and run away and hitch hike to Milo to see Auntie [Sarah Crabb Thomas, 1867-1938]. He was most welcome because of the work he would do and Auntie loved him too. 

We were ensconced at the dinner table with Brother Lindholm preaching when Auntie broke wind (commonly called a fart). Well, all the Aunts vanished into the adjacent pantry until they could stop giggling. Lindholm remained solemn and eventually the Aunts came back and the dinner resumed. Jesse spoke up and said, "Oh well, everyone makes a mistake once in a while."

I would like to mention some of my impression on living with Grammy Crabtree [Sarah Ann Kinney Crabtree, 1842-1935]. She was all but blind with cataracts and I would stay with her if Auntie had to go out. My main job was to help keep her away from the stove. She was "feisty" and we had many battles, which we both enjoyed. Her wit was keen and I could never get the best of her. Everyone who knew her has a funny story to tell about her sharp rejoinders. 

I went [home to the family farm in] Beaconsfield [New Brunswick] every summer vacation with a dozen or so pretty dresses, which I happily shared with Anna and Gladys

Next: Losing Dickie


*From The Pentecostal Evangel, Dec. 21, 1940, page 8 (


The announcement made in the last issue of the Evangel concerning the death of Ernest Paul Lindholm, missionary under our appointment to the Belgian Congo, will have come no doubt as a shock to many friends of our beloved brother who was young both in years and in missionary service.

Brother Lindholm was born in Turlock, California, August 24, 1907, and passed away in the Congo on November 26, 1940. He was a graduate of Glad Tidings Bible Institute and for four years prior to sailing for the field held a license with the New England District. For some time he pastored a church at Milo, Maine.

In June, 1939 he was united in marriage to Grace Wallace. A few months later the couple sailed for the Belgian Congo, locating soon after arrival at Nobe together with Gladys Taylor and Angeline Pierce. At this new station Brother Lindholm has taken charge of building construction, in addition to language study and other missionary activities. 

The cable sent to us from the Congo conveyed no further information other than the brief message, "Ernest Lindholm with Jesus." We sorrow not for our departed brother, but we do think of the one out on the foreign field who has been left a widow, with the care of a six months old baby. Our sympathy is extended to Mrs. Lindholm and our prayers surround her, that through the deep waters of affliction
she may realize that comfort which the God of all comfort and grace alone can supply.

**Jesse died four years after his mother, and four years before his father. He was buried with them in the Evergreen Cemetery in Houlton, Maine.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Aunt Sadie: Life with the Thomas Family

Bird's-eye view of Milo, Maine, where the Thomases lived.
From a c. 1910 postcard
Source: Wikimedia Commons

This is the fourth excerpt from my Aunt Sadie's Memoirs. The previous posts are: Parts 1 and 2 (Life on the Farm), and Part 3 (Separated From the Family).

Aunt Sadie continues:

Now I will tell you about life with the Thomas family. The Thomases were wonderful people and welcomed me with open arms and hearts. Auntie [Sarah Ermina Crabtree Thomas] had six children and I would like to introduce you to each of them individually.

1. Eddie [William Edgar Thomas, 1892-1956]:

Eddie was not religious. (I think he was bitter about losing his beloved brother Blair in the War [World War I]). I adored him because he always laughed at my jokes. He lived in Abbot Village, Maine with his wife, Ina, and two children, Grace and Blair [named for Eddie's brother]. Grace was my playmate and I still hear from her. She is married to a rancher and lives in Nebraska. I think her brother Blair is dead. (By the way, Grace looks a lot like Auntie).

2. Blair [Blair Frazier Thomas, 1894-1918]:

Blair had passed on and I did not know him.

3. Hayward [Hayward Stanley Thomas, 1889-1956]:

Hayward was a Harvard graduate and a Methodist minister in Presque Isle, Maine. He was a delightful man with a wonderful sense of humor. He and his wife, Marian [Marian Whitaker, 1890-1982], had three children, Ruth, Esther, and Stanley. [There were four more children who died young]. I visited them a lot and loved to be there. They had wonderful toys and books for me to enjoy. Marian always told me she wanted to keep me but she had three children of her own. She lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire with her daughter Ruth after Hayward's death. And I wrote and visited her until her death.

Hayward said he would rather spend a day talking philosophy with Papa [David Jewett Crabtree, Sr., 1875-1954] than anyone he knew. He loved what he called Pap's "horse sense." Do you know Pap prophesied exactly what is happening with China today? He knew China would be our ultimate enemy. I lost track of Esther, but I know Stanley died quite young and Hayward was devastated.

4. Perry [John Perry Thomas, 1890-1961] :

Perry lived in his own little home very near us. Auntie and I could walk over and play Parcheesi in the evening. Perry was a staunch Methodist. I think he helped Auntie with the farm. He was a dear sweet man. I spent many happy times with him and his wife, Effie [Effie Mae Gourlie], . One of [their] neighbors was fortunate enough to have a radio and we would all make a trek to their house to hear "Amos and Andy" in the evening. They had no children but took care of Effie's little nephew because his mother was sickly.

5. Annie [Anna Maria Thomas, 1888-1962]:

Annie was a little uppity and bossy. I suppose being the only girl she usually got her way. She married Charles Kinney [Rev. Charles Lewis Kinney, 1882-1977], no blood relation. He was a Methodist minister. They always vacationed with us. She declared the Crabtrees were on the Mayflower and I am inclined to agree with her as I have read several historical novels that mentioned an Abby Crab who was very fertile. That sounds like a Crabtree to me! [Note: The family name was changed in court in Milo, Maine from Crabb(e) to Crabtree in 1910].

6. Bernice [Bernice Clifford Thomas, 1899-1947] :

Bernice was the baby of the family and he didn't like me much. I gave him mumps when he was a grown man and he nearly died. Also, I was exploring the vast attic region (I never did see all of it) and I found a still. He was making home brew. Of course, I asked Auntie what it was. I don't think that endeared me to him. He just sort of ignored me.

Auntie's sisters Annie Bolster [Anna Thursa Crabb Bolster Field, 1883-1964] and Addie Anderson [Adelia Mae Crabb, 1871-1944] were around a lot. They behaved exactly like us. Lots of giggling and very jolly. Their favorite pastime was playing Parcheesi.

Next: Sadie's "Jess story"

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