Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Edwin Martin Currier - Part 3, Family Matters

My search on Edwin Martin Currier continues.  Edwin's sister, Emma Currier (named Dorothy Emeline Currier at birth but somewhere along the line became known as Emma), was the first in Edwin's family to pass away. That was in 1889 at the age of 53. Her obituary published in THE LOWELL SUN, a weekly newspaper appearing on Saturdays, describes the ordeal Emma must have endured for a lengthy period of time.


The illness of "long duration and a very painful nature" was cancer and noted accordingly on the Deaths in the city of Lowell in the year 1889, as recorded by Lowell's city clerk office. There's nothing to indicate where on Emma's body the cancer attacked but wherever it was she must have been miserable if her family felt it was important enough to describe her ordeal in her death notice.  In today's vernacular Emma would have been eulogized for her courageous battle against the disease. The language chosen for this death notice are every bit as descriptive and heartbreaking as any words we might apply today.  I feel bad for Emma every time I read this obituary.


The city record of deaths was my first clue as to where the Currier family members were buried listing "place of interment" as Edson Cemetery, including the lot number,  #1803.  The remaining members of James Hale Currier's Lowell household in time all followed Emma and are buried in the same lot at Edson Cemetery in Lowell.  Emma's 1889 passing precluded her seeing her parents celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in 1890.  The following announcement appeared in The Boston Journal on October 15, 1890, one day after the elderly couple's anniversary date. 

Three years later in 1893 Edwin's father passed away. The Lowell Daily Courier published on Friday, May 12, 1893 posted the obituary for James Hale Currier. 

Again, the city clerk's office of Lowell provided detailed information in the Deaths in the City list for 1893.  I found it interesting that, according to this list,  James Currier's mother was born in Dracut, Massachusetts, a town adjacent to Lowell.  So perhaps James' move in 1867 from Pelham to Lowell was a returning to his roots sort of thing? That might be a stretch but considering Edwin's documented interest in genealogy,  it might be reasonable to conjecture that his father had a similar interest in family history.  More than likely the move was motivated by economic reasons; a search for improved income by relocating from a small New Hampshire farming community to the thriving industrial center that Lowell had become in the mid 1800's. And truth of the matter is, Pelham, NH was only about 10 miles north of Lowell so everything was pretty much in the same general area .  But I think it's fun to wonder about what motivated my ancestors to work as they did and live where they did while at the same time understanding I'm just guessing and will never know the truth. I don't want to stretch things beyond reason but at the same time, who's going to tell me I'm wrong? 

The death list cites cause of death to be "heart disease."  There are other deaths on the same page attributable to the same cause but for people much younger. There is one cause of death noted "old age" for an Elizabeth Kimball who died at the age of 93.  I'm not sure what the Lowell clerk's office determined to be the cut off age for an "old age" death vs. heart disease but if James indeed suffered from heart disease and made it to 83, disease or no disease,  I think he must have had one pretty strong ticker. Again, who's going to tell me I'm wrong?  

The Lowell City Directories offer a consistent record of Edwin and his parents throughout the 1890's. In the year following Edwin's father's death, the directories started listing Edwin's mother as "widow of James H." at the "house 4, rear 57 Willow" address along with Edwin at the same address.  Same holds true for 1895 but in 1896 the directory lists both Edwin and his mother at "house 95 Ludlam."  Obviously, Edwin and his mother, Dorothy R. Currier, have moved to a new Lowell address. 

This address change is not the only significant revision in Edwin Martin Currier's life.  In 1895 on September 11th,  50 year old Edwin married a 47 year old woman named Caroline E. Brownell who described her occupation as "domestic."

Caroline, born Caroline Elizabeth Brownell, was a daughter of John and Amy Davis of Northport, Nova Scotia.   In subsequent documents she was called "Carrie" including the 1900 Federal Census Report for Lowell listing Carrie residing at 95 Ludlam Street with her husband Edwin and her mother in law, Dorothy.  The city directories continued to list Edwin and Dorothy each year from 1896 through 1899.  But per the directory's standard format, Carrie was not listed. Carrie's year of immigration from Canada to the United States is reported as 1883 with 17 years in the USA. 

Edwin, still listing occupation as shipping clerk is the head of the household but rents the property at 95 Ludlam Street rather than owning it. Neither Carrie nor Dorothy list anything for occupation so I assume they both stayed at home keeping house. Dorothy was listed as age 87 which might be a good indication that whatever housekeeping responsibilities were performed probably fell on Carrie's shoulders.  Especially so when you consider that Dorothy was born in September of 1811 and the census was enumerated in June of 1900...I calculate she was a few months shy of 89!  And, indeed, Dorothy's advanced age caught up to her two years later...she died in May, 1902.  The town clerk record of Lowell deaths in that year showed her cause of death to be "old age." 

Dorothy's remains were interred in lot # 1803 in Edson Cemetery in Lowell with her husband James and daughter Emma.  

I photographed the Currier headstone on July 18, 2013.  The monument is in excellent condition and the grounds are well maintained.  Edwin paid for perpetual care of the lot in 1901 as verified by the registration card I obtained from the office at Edson Cemetery. His $100 investment appears to have been a good bargain...the cemetery grounds show signs of good care taking over the last 112 years. 

I will continue my search on the life of Edwin Martin Currier in my next post, Part 4 - The Author.