52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Post #1: Tina M. Hutchins (1874-1949)

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Post # 1: Tina M. Hutchins (1874-1949)

Amy Crow issued a challenge this January, 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks. Her premise was to write about a specific ancestor each week. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, or a research paper as long as it focused on one ancestor.

I am coming late to the challenge that was posted four weeks ago.  This challenge falls into several of my New Year goals I set for myself:

  1. To LEARN as much as I can about my ancestors
  2. To LEARN the best way to organize that research
  3. To LEARN how to publish my findings
  4. To CORRECTLY document that research

No story is to small is Amy’s Crow’s motto. I agree with that motto with a caveat; the story needs to be accurate as possible.  The story that is Tina’s was started several years ago when I was attempting to write about the Women in my life that gave me strength.  I have included an excerpt from my first draft below. It is my way of introducing Tina to you. The story was based on an interview I had with my mother before she died in 2001. I loved listening to her tell me about my ancestors over the years and decided to write those stories down for our family history.

Now to the caveat part and the reason for my blogging in this manner about my ancestors. A story should entertain you with the facts to the best of your knowledge. This story was based on my mother’s knowledge as she believed it to be. You will find after you read the story why this is a research blog posting. In other words my “To Do List” for Tina M. Hutchins.

Women of Strength-My Legacy: Part One

Through the years I have been taught a lot from the strong women in my family my great-grandmother, mother, my aunt, and from my daughter. I will tell the story of these strong women in four parts. I will start with my great-grandmother Florena-Tina Marie Hutchins

Although the strength I learned from my great-grandmother was from verbal telling of her story by my mother and letters to her. The letters were lost in house fires over the years. I will do the best in the telling of Florena-Tina’s story as I remember it.

She was the second child of ten born to a Welsh mother, Sarah Abbey and English father, Benjamin Hutchins in the small rural town of Corinna, Maine on the one hundred twenty-third day of 1885. 3 May 1885 was a typical early spring day. Light frost in the morning, localized mist and patches of fog slowly departing making way for the sun by days end.

She spent her childhood on a farm five miles from her school. The elder children learned how to carry and shoot a gun for food and protection from local wildlife as they walked their siblings to school. The school was located in the center of town so that all families had equal access. The chief industry of the town was a manufacturer of cotton wrappings.

When she started school in 1881 the school was a boxed shaped 10 x 20 foot unadorned cabin with a fireplace at one end, a raised platform at the other for the teachers’ desk overlooking the student benches. The benches were placed by younger grades in front to older ones in back. The firewood was kept outside as was the outhouse. Over the years more rooms and teachers were added but the aroma of damp musty wood smoke and stinging of the eyes remained.

She was a progressive woman of her time. She continued her studies and received her Register Nurse degree in 1893. It was not common at the time for women to receive professional training to assist with birthing. She loved being a midwife but also enjoyed assisting the doctor in his full practice using instruments of the trade. She went on to work in a hospital. Later in life she provided care for her crippled daughter.

Around that same time she started practicing as a midwife she met and married her first of four husbands, Sidney Towle. They moved to a five acre farm in Dexter, Maine. Less than a year later she asked Sidney for a divorce.  He had an affair with one of her younger sisters who he married a few years later. They had five children. The story is told that my great-grandmother harbored not ill feelings towards them. She believed in forgiving and moving forward with her life.  I believe her strong religious conviction of turn the other cheek helped her make this decision.

About a year after her divorce she met, courted and married her second husband, George Spooner in 1895. They moved to the forest surrounded mud flats of the Casco Bay area in Freeport, Maine. George was an attorney who provided legal advice in both criminal and civil matters. She was happy there continuing her nursing practice establishing friendships, becoming an active member of her Baptist church. As an attractive young woman in her early twenties with soft long flowing black curls she made friends easily. She was of short stature measuring five feet. Her family teased her she was fifteen hands high and as strong as a horse. This gave her confidence in herself.  She travelled everywhere by foot and didn’t hesitate to help with any task needed.

One of the first thing you might say to yourself is why the name are different; Floren-Tina verses Tina. That was my first clue that maybe the information I thought was correct is not. I started verifying dates, marriages and family connections before I published my story. I named my daughter after my great-grandmother I thought. It turned out that Florentine was my great-great grandmother and Tina was my great grandmother. When my mother referred to Tyna Marie being named after her great grandmother, Florentina, she was referring to hers, not mine, as I had thought. My story has not been published because I found several other differences of information with the facts. The sense of who Tina M. Hutchins doesn’t change but the facts do.

My To Do List for Tina Marie Hutchins includes:

  1. Find the original her birth certificate
  2. Find marriage records- done
    1. Married George B Spooner on 8 May 1893 in Dexter, Penobscot , Maine by Fred E White, Clergyman
    2. Married Sidney B. Towle on 3 Dec 1899 in Garland, Penobscot, Maine under the name Tina May Spooner not Hutchins
    3. Married Arthur W. Place on 26 Dec 1907 Lowell, Penobscot, Maine under the name Tina M. Towle
    4. Married William Doyle on 4 Nov 1923 York, York, Maine under the name Tina Place
    5. Find documentation that she worked as a midwife
    6. Find death certificate
    7. Find verification of residence; partially completed
      1. 1874 birth in Corinna, Penobscot, Maine or Topsham, Sagadahoc, Maine
      2. 1880 United States Federal Census Brighton, Somerset, Maine age 6 dgtr
      3. 1893 marriage certificate Dexter, Penobscot , Maine as residence age 19
      4. 1899 marriage certificate Dexter, Penobscot , Maine as residence age 25
      5. 1900 United States Federal Census Dexter, Penobscot , Maine as residence age 26 wife
      6. 1907 Marriage certificate Lowell Penobscot, Maine age 33
      7. 1910 United States Federal Census Kittery, York, Maine age 36 wife
      8. 1920 United States Federal Census York, York, Maine age 46 widow
      9. 1923 United States Federal Census York, York, Maine age 40
      10. 1928 City Directories Eliot, York, Maine  age 54
      11. 1930 City Directories Eliot, York, Maine  age 56
      12. 1940 Untied States Federal Census Sutton, Merrimack, New Hampshire age 65 wife
      13. 1949 Heaven Found Millwoods Cemetery, Sutton, Merrimack, New Hampshire
      14. Is there a Last Will in testament documentation
      15. Land records

My goal is to answer some of these questions this week. Next week I will post about my Great grandfather, Tyna’s third husband, Arthur W. Place.



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