A family history research trip to Maine
May 16, 2006

Connie and I returned yesterday from a whirlwind trip in our car. Leaving on April 26, we drove from California to Maine and back.

In Casa Grande, Arizona, we had dinner with Don and Claire Davis. Claire was godmother at Connie's baptism, when they were students at St. Mary's Academy in Nauvoo, Illinois.

In Rock Island, Illinois, we joined the Benedictines at St. Mary Monastery celebrating Sister Estelle's 99th birthday. Sister Estelle had been Connie's dormitory prefect when she was a first year high school student in Nauvoo.

In Chicago, we enjoyed lunch with Connie's cousin Annette Risoff. We had planned to take photos of the graves of their maternal great-grandparents Wilhelm Liepe and Marie (Wasserman) Liepe at Wunders Cemetery. But we learned that the burial location is unknown. A cemetery employee told us the grass cutters will look for the graves, and they will post the location for future researchers.

In Troy, Michigan, I shared wine and cheese one evening at the home of Tony and Polly Chung. They had been our neighbors 35 years ago, when Tony and I were co-workers at Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Detroit.

In Clinton, Maine, we spent a few hours in the public library. The skilled and friendly librarian, Edna, brought books about local history to the table where she seated us. We found many references to Connie's great-grandfather Orrin Eastman and his family. Edna copied pages from the books for us. She even brought us tea and cookies.


We learned that Orrin Eastman and his wife Sylvia had owned a farm just north of Clinton, "on the east side of Mutton Lane, adjoining Henry Webber's north line." We drove there but couldn't identify the location. The next day I took some photos in the village cemetery, at the graves of Orrin's sister Betsey, his brother Gardiner and Gardiner's wife Abbie. Gardiner Eastman had served in the Civil War, in the 13th Maine Regiment and later in the 30th Maine Regiment.


The next morning in Augusta, Maine, we did some research at the Kennebec County Registry of Deeds. We obtained copies of several documents. In 1845, at age 17, Orrin Eastman bought 90 acres at auction for $46. In 1847, he bought another 100 acres for $32. In 1848, he bought several more acres for $20. In 1851, he sold six square rods to the school district for $6. In 1863, he sold the remaining property, together with his one-fourth interest in another farm, for $700.

Later that day at the public library in Salisbury, Massachusetts another helpful librarian led us to several shelves of books about local history. Nicholas Eastman was born in 1564 in Downton, England. He and his wife Ann Barbara were married in 1600. Roger Eastman, born in 1610, was their fourth child. Roger left Downton and sailed from England on the ship "Confidence." He arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638, and settled in Salisbury.

Below: Salisbury, Massachusetts
southwest of downtown, 21st century

Roger Eastman and his wife Sarah, also from England, were married in 1639. Phillip Eastman, born in 1644, was their third child. Phillip and his wife Mary Margaret were married in 1678. Ebenezer Eastman, born in 1680 or 1681, was their second child. Ebenezer and his wife Sarah were married about 1710. Jeremiah Eastman, their seventh child, was born in 1722. Jeremiah and his wife Dorothy were married about 1744. Timothy Eastman, their sixth child, was born in 1765. Timothy and his wife Margaret were married about 1784. Henry Eastman, their eighth child, was born in 1806. He and U.S. statesman Daniel Webster, both descendants of Roger and Sarah Eastman, were fourth cousins. Henry and his wife Lydia were married in 1825. Orrin Eastman, their second child, was born in 1828.

Orrin Eastman and his wife Sylvia were married in 1855. With their four children, they left Clinton, Maine and homesteaded near Clinton Falls, Minnesota. Lydia Eastman, their fifth child, was born in 1865. Frank Arthur Roberts, born in England in 1858, came to this country in 1879. Frank and Lydia, Connie's paternal grandparents, were married about 1889. They raised their family in Albert Lea, Minnesota.

In Hartford, Connecticut, we had lunch with Mike Dunne and his wife Nuala. Mike and I had been seminary students together in the 1950s. We hadn't seen each other since 1965, not long before Mike met Nuala and I met Connie.

We drove home through Pennsylvania, Iowa and Nebraska. We spent our last night on the road in Evanston, Wyoming. In Park City, Utah, we stopped to visit my sister Letty. But Letty answered her cell phone in Moab, Utah, where she and her husband Robbie were on a bike trip with friends.

We had dinner that evening in Las Vegas, and we arrived home about 10:00 p.m.