Saturday, October 3, 2009

Coming home

We have been having so much fun in Yarmouth, it has been hard to find time to sit down and write.
Thursday we went to Port Maitland, my grandparents and great grandparents birthplace. We walked on the beach where my grandfather once was able to find lobster under rocks after storms, where he picked blackberries in the hills and helped his father, Bowman Goudey, harvest potatoes. Bowman was a farmer, but four of his brothers were sea captains, later making their homes in Yarmouth.
After the walk we went searching the cemeteries. I knew that two generations of Goudeys, at least, were buried at Port Maitland Cemetery, but we discovered two older cemeteries first. I was a little confused about where they might be. Later we would discover that graves had been moved from a cemetery across the street, from the oldest cemetery. I asked Ben to drive up a sideroad. When he stopped on top of a knoll I got out of the car and spotted two moss-covered headstones and walked to them. As I walked around to look at the front, I was stunned to discover that I had walked directly to the grave of my great great great grandfather, Stephen Goudey, and his wife, Mary Haskell. What a rush! I took photos and then we started looking for Stephen and Mary's son, Thomas Goudey. I went off one direction in what is a cemetery that holds about 600 graves. Ben took off another direction. I walked down the other side of the knoll and walked directly to my great grandmother Porter's grave. Mary Alice Perry married Titus Hurlburt Porter. She died at age 50 and was buried in the Port Maitland cemetery. I did not know she was buried there, so that was a great surprise.
We kept searching for Thomas. I walked down to the main road coming into the cemetery to search there, when a car drove in. A very English looking woman got out of the car. From a distance she hailed me and said, "Do I know you?"
"I don't think so," I replied.
I told her why I was there and she said her name was Lynda Churchill Denton, and her husband, Greg Denton. They were there because her parents are buried in that cemetery. We had just been reading about her ancestor Aaron Churchill, who had been famous for a daring sea voyage upon which he repaired a rudder under a ship in a storm. I told Lynda about my ancestors being buried in the cemetery and that I couldn't find Thomas or Bowman, my great grandfather, father to Stanley, my grandfather.
She said she remembers her grandfather talking about Bowman Goudey. She gave me the name of a man in Port Maitland who might be able to tell us where Bowman was buried.
We had a great conversation with them and then they left. We continued our search for Thomas. Finally, after another 30 minutes we discovered Thomas, and wife Abigail, directly across the road from Stehen and Mary. Tangible evidence that these ancestors walked the earth.
Bowman remained a mystery, which I will share in an update to this post as soon as I can.

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