Monday, September 20, 2010

The White Settlement of Hodgdon, ME

I've been finding out a lot of interesting things about my paternal ancestors. Not least the fact that my Grandmother Hughes's family, the Whites, sided with the Loyalists during the American Revolution and wound up living in New Brunswick, Canada. After that, the Whites became important people in the hamlet of Hodgdon, Maine. This is from Edward Wiggin's 1922 History of Arostook County:
In the earliest years settlement was made in the east part of the town, many of the pioneers of that section having moved from the Province of New Brunswick. The eastern part of the town of Hodgdon has always been known to the citizens of the town and vicinity as the White Settlement, as people of that name settled in that portion of the town in the earliest days of its history.

Mr. Jacob White came from Keswick, N. B., about 1826, and first made a clearing on the lot afterwards known as the Patrick Ferry farm. He built a log house on this lot, but soon after bought two lots still further east — lots No. 3 and 4, Range 2, where he cleared up a large farm, upon which he lived for many years and was a well known citizen of the town. Mr. Wm. White came from Douglas, N, B., about the same time, and took a lot immediately north of the one upon which Jacob White first settled. He cleared a farm and lived on it until his death some thirty years ago. […]

Many of the descendants of the White and Grant families formerly lived in this portion of the town, but nearly all of them have now removed to other portions of the country and elsewhere.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Franciszka Julianna (Nygowska) Bambenek 1871-1896

Another emotional memory from my years-ago trip with Uncle Jim and Aunt Phoebe was visiting the grave of my great-grandmother, Franciszka Bambenek (1871-1896) at St. Mary's Cemetery in Winona. I knew that Grandpa Bambenek's mother had died very young, and that he was raised by his father Charles (1866-1937) and stepmother Anna Malotka (1877-1943) Bambenek. The only other thing I really knew about my great-grandmother Bambenek was her maiden name, and even that was complicated: it could be spelled Negowska, or Niegowska, or Nygowski, or even Negler. We Poles have some strange ideas about orthography.

Uncle Jim and Aunt Phoebe had paid to have Great-Grandmother Bambenek's grave marker restored. The cross on top and the inscription were restored. The inscription has since faded somewhat, but is still quite legible. "Here lies Franciszka, of holy memory, wife of Karol Bambenek. Died 25 July 1896, aged 25 years. Please, believers, say a Hail Mary for her soul." It so happens that I had been looking for her grave on and off for half an hour and was in fact saying a Hail Mary when I found it. Thanks to the Pomorskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne, I have since been able to trace the 1871 baptism, in Koscierzyna, Poland, of one Francisca Julianna, daughter of Jacob Nygowski and Josephina (Burant) Nygowska. An exact match!

Francisca Julianna joined two older brothers, Valentine (b. 1864) and Joseph Andreas (b. 1865). Grandpa Bambenek had an uncle named Valentine Negler, (1864-1949) who lived at the Bambenek home at 578 East Fifth Street in his last years, and actually died there. Again, an exact match. I have also since found that Jacob Nygowski died on February 8, 1872 in Koscierzyna, aged 33. Josephina Burant Nygowska also died in Koscierzyna, aged 42, in 1883. According to a 1929 article in the Winona Daily Republican, Valentine came to the United States in that same year. Franciszka followed him to Winona two years afterward. Joseph remained at home and became the postmaster of Elbing, Germany; however, Joseph's children Teofil, Lucille, and Martha migrated to Winona in 1922.