Sep 162012
WM Sears Will

On our recent visit to the Moosehead Lake area of Maine, I located the will of William Sears, father of Emily Sears Templeton, and my wife’s great-great grandfather.  The  will was executed in 1885, about three years before his death.   William left eight of his nine surviving children one dollar each.  The tenth child, Melinda, died in 1882.   The remainder of his estate he left to son, Charles H Sears in trust for his wife Edith.   Charles was also entrusted with the care of the two minor children, Allen and Hiram, until they reached the age of 21.  Charles died in 1890, providing some context for his mother’s marriage the following year to William Huff.

William died in 1888 and is buried in the Riverside Cemetery, Willimantic, Piscataquis, Maine.   His tombstone gives his birth year as 1810, although his census records imply a birthdate in the 1820’s.   His census records along with those of many of his children list his birthplace as Maine.  However, some of his children’s later census records list his birthplace as Canada English.   I have not found any information about him prior to the 1860 census.

The most significant fact from this document for our family research is the listing of daughter, Emily Templeton, confirming that this is our Emily’s family and that she had not remarried as of 1885.


Sep 072012

Click on image to open document

At the Registry of Deeds for Penobscot County, Maine I also found a deed dated 4 Nov 1854 by which Samuel Templeton transferred property to Eben W Robbins for $1.   This is the same 50 acres that Samuel purchased from his father, Adam for $400 18 years earlier.  From the deed we see that Ebenezer Robbins is living on the property in Kirkland (now Hudson) Penobscot, Maine.

What’s the story?   Eben W. Robbins married Samuel’s sister, Mary Ann Templeton.   It is very likely that Samuel and Mary Ann’s mother, Barbra (Barbary) Templeton was living with the Robbins, since there is a record of her death in Hudson in 1859.

Note, too, that an Amiel Robbins was a witness to this transaction.   Most likely this is the son of Amiel Robbins who died in this area in 1833.  The questions are:  Is Amiel Robbins the brother of Susannah Robbins, Samuel’s wife?   Is Eben a brother as well?    Food for thought and more analysis – a good subject for another post.

Sep 062012

Click on image to see document

In the records of the Probate Court of Penobscot County, Maine I found this inventory of the estate of Amiel Robbins, who died, as stated here, on 20 July 1833, in Milton, Penobscot County.  Why do I find this of interest?   Ruth’s 2nd great grandparents were Samuel Templeton and Susannah Robbins.    We know that Samuel was the son of Adam Templeton, but to this point the family has not been able to identify the parents of Susannah.   In the probate records Amiel Robbin’s wife’s name is listed as Susannah.   Also of note is that Samuel and Susannah Templeton named a son Amiel.

The Amiel Robbins family was listed in the 1830 census in Boydstown, Penobscot, Maine, a household of 7 members with the male head between the ages of 50 and 59.  Boydstown  is now Orneville Township, located just south of Milo, Piscataquis, ME.   This area of Penobscot County became part of the new Piscataquis County when it was created in 1838.

Sep 052012

Click image to open pdf of deed

Having just returned from a wonderful vacation to Greenville, ME , we delight in the time we were able to spend with Ruth’s mother in the town where she grew up.   I also had an opportunity to  visit the courthouses in Bangor, Penobscot County and Dover-Foxcroft, Piscataquis County.    Over the next several days I look forward to posting several of my discoveries, i.e. more pieces to the puzzle that makes the stories of our families.

At the Registry of Deeds in Bangor I found a deed from Adam Templeton to son Samuel dated 29 March 1836 for 50 acres of land in Kirkland (now Hudson), Penobscot, Maine.   We also discover several additional pieces of information in the details:

  • Adam Templeton acquired this property on 31 Jan 1831 from Richard Lancaster as “fulfillment of certain payment.”   This places Adam in the area by 1831.   Since he appeared in the census of Swanville, Waldo, Maine in 1830, we can pinpoint the time of migration to Kirkland.
  • The deed is also signed by “Barbra” – Adam’s wife.  Note:  in most other documents we find Barabee.
  • The deed is witnessed by Charlotte Templeton, their daughter.
  • Samuel paid his father $400 for the piece of property.
Nov 172011
HC Templeton

Several weeks ago I posted about my ongoing search for more of the story of Emma (Emily) Sears Templeton Jenkins.  More detail on my search for Emma is found on this page which explains our search for the missing 53 years of of the story of my wife’s great grandmother.  One of the tasks I listed was to request the Social Security application for a Harry Templeton, who was living with an Emma Templeton in Waterville, Maine in the 1900 census.

A copy of Harry Templeton’s Social Security Application  arrived in today’s mail.   Indeed Harry was a brother of Fred Templeton (my wife’s grandfather) since he lists his parents as Emma Sears and Frank Templeton.   The Emma living in Waterville, Maine is indeed Fred’s mother.

From his WWI Draft Registration card we know that he was living in Wyoming in 1918.  At the time of his Social Security application (1937) he was living in Sedona, AZ.  He died and was buried in Yavapai County Cemetery on November 13, 1968 according to records found at the website of the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott, AZ (   There is no marker.

Another piece of the puzzle and a new member of the family.   We hope that we can learn more about Harry’s life.

Oct 022011

Emma Jenkins died in Guilford, Maine on August 24, 1932 at the age of 76.  What I find sad about this obituary is what it doesn’t say:  anything about her first husband, John Frank Templeton and their two sons, Hermon Orman (b. 1874)  and Fred Frank (b. 1876).

Her first husband died in 1879, leaving her with two sons 5 and 3.   From the Templeton side of this family we do not know much about what happened to Emma in the next 53 years.  By 1880 Fred went to live with his aunt and uncle; Hermon with their aunt’s parents.

For more about the search for the rest of this story of Emma Sears Jenkins click here.

 Posted by at 3:47 pm
Sep 232011

During our recent trip to Moosehead Lake, Maine, we visited the Moosehead Historical Society in Greenville Junction.    This was just a short walk from where Ruth’s mother grew up.   Following an excellent guided tour we stopped in the office to see what they might have about the Templeton family.   Several files!    One treasure was this clipping from the Moosehead Gazette, July  4, 1952 about Ruth’s grandfather, Fred Templeton.  The headline reads: “Fred Templeton Still Making Canoes at Age of 76 Years.”

In the story Fred recounts experiences from his years (1898 – 1945) as a guide at Kineo (see Memories from Kineo).   He remembers seeing as many as 84 moose in a day.  The last caribou he saw was in 1899.   He had other stories to tell, but he had to get back to work to finish the canoe.    Fred died on 9 Oct 1952, just four months after this interview.  Templeton canoes are still known in this part of Maine.

I am so happy that we found this article.  Thanks to organizations such as the Moosehead Historical Society for the work they do to preserve these memories.

Sep 222011

We just returned from a wonderful trip to Maine.  Last Thursday I went to the Maine State Archives and State Library looking for information about the Templeton Family, especially Fred and Hermon Templeton’s mother, Emily Sears.   The Templeton family lost contact with Emily after the death of her husband, John Frank Templeton in 1879.  What happened during her next 53 years?

I was very happy when I found her record of death in 1932.   I was even more delighted in finding an obituary in the Bangor Daily News.

Emily (Emma) Sears

However, like many puzzles: pieces found  and now new questions to ask.  I have laid out the story and questions in much greater detail on  a new page focused on her story.   This is the first time I knew that she spent some of her last few years in Bangor, Maine.   Her obituary says that she was the widow of Frank Jenkins.   That’s also new information.    That’s what makes these quests so interesting!

We also had a chance to visit her grave in very rural Willimantic in Piscataquis County, Maine and see this very tiny community where Ruth’s grandfather was born.

Emma (Emily) Sears (1856-1932)


Emma (Emily) Sears – Looking for the Rest of Her Story

Emily (Emma) Sears

We are missing 53 years of the story of Ruth’s great grandmother.  Can we fill in some of the blanks? For our family there are large gaps in what we know about Emma (Emily) Sears.   Known to the Templeton family as Emily, she was born to William Sears and Edith Kirk on 12 February 1856 in Monson, Piscataquis, Maine.   On 29 June 1873 she married John Frank Templeton in Guilford, Piscataquis, Maine.   They had two children, Herman Orman Templeton, born 14 May 1874, and Fred Frank Templeton, b. 15 Feb 1876.   Both children were born in Willimantic, Piscataquis, Maine.   When Herman was only 5 and Fred 3, their father, John Frank died, leaving Emily a widow at the age of 23. The next part of Emily’s story is not known to the Templeton family.  What we do know is that shortly after his father’s death Fred went to live with John Frank’s brother, Enoch Templeton and his new bride, Calista Ridley.  Hermon went to live with Calista’s mother and father, Joseph and Mary (Robbins) Ridley.  To the best of our knowledge the Templeton family had little, if any, further contact with Emily.   There is a family story that at some point Emily tried to make contact, but that these overtures were rebuffed by Calista.  Calista remained a part of the Fred Templeton household until her death in 1949.

William Sears, Edith his wife and daughter Emma Jenkins

Family notes passed down say only that Emily later married a man named “Jenkins,” that she died in 1932 and is buried with her parents at Riverside Cemetery in Willimantic, Maine.  Indeed a tombstone at the cemetery confirms that “Emma Jenkins” 1856-1932 is buried with William and Edith. A search of records at the Maine State Archives in Augusta, Maine produced a record of death for Emma E Jenkins.  Emma died on 24 August 1932 in Guilford, Piscataquis, Maine, where she had been a resident for 2 weeks.  Her previous residence was Bangor, Penobscot, Maine.   The record stated her parents as William Sears and Edith Kirk.   Her marital status is listed as “widow”.


A search of the Bangor Daily News for 27 August 1932 produced an obituary for Emma Jenkins.  It states that she was the widow of Frank Jenkins.

Emma Jenkins Obituary, Bangor Daily News, 27 August 1932

She died at the home of her sister, Lillian Wise; that she was a native of Monson; that she previously lived in Bangor and Waterville. The big question:  what more can we learn about Emily’s story during the 53 years following the death of John Frank Templeton? Additional pieces of the puzzle:  Do they fit and how?

  • M.  E. Templeton married a Dennis Jenkins in Willimantic, Piscataquis, Maine on 14 Jun 1890   (Maine Marriages, 1771-1907 from
  • A 1904 town census from the Guilford and Sangerville (Maine) Town Register shows that Edith Kirk Sears’ daughter Emma (Templeton) living in Waterville.
  • At the time of the 1900 US Census an Emma E. Templeton is living in the household of William Chipman in Waterville, Maine.  Her relationship is listed as “housekeeper.”   Also in the household is Harry C Templeton, b. Mar 1880 in Maine.
  • In the 1910 and 1920 US Census an “Ella” Templeton is living in the household of William Chipman in Waterville.
  • A WWI US Draft Registration Card dated 12 Sep 1918 for Harry Carl Templeton shows his nearest living relative as Mrs. Emma E Templeton of Waterville, Maine.  His birth date is listed as 29 Apr 1880.


  • The 1904 town census record (above) places Emma Sears Templeton in Waterville.
  • It is interesting that she is using the name Templeton from 1900 – 1920.  In 1910 she states her marital status as divorced.
  • Is Emma this M. E. Templeton that married Dennis Jenkins in Willimantic in 1890?   Was it a short marriage?   I have not found any record of a divorce.   If she was divorced, that could explain why she returned to the name Templeton.
  • Who is the father of Harry Carl Templeton?   John Frank Templeton died in 1879 (date unknown).  Harry was born in April of 1880, which means that the father could be John Frank.  Or his father could be someone else, which could be one reason the Templeton family did not choose to maintain a relationship with Emily.
  • I just found the obituary.  It is interesting that at the time of her death she (or her family) was using the name Jenkins.  Who was Frank Jenkins?  Could it be Dennis Frank Jenkins, or is the 1890 marriage record not Emma?
  • There is no mention in the obituary of any children.   What do we conclude from this?

Next Steps

  • Check out the Social Security application for Harry Carl to see if I can find any other clues.    Based on that information continue looking for more information about him and any family.  (See what I found on the SS Application at this link.   Harry Carl was a brother to Fred and Hermon!)
  • Explore the Bangor, Maine period – after 1920 until 1932.
  • Explore other Sears family lines, especially the family of Lillian Wise to see if there are any clues, or researchers who may have information.
  • Solicit comments, questions, and information
Sep 162011

Tomorrow we leave Moosehead Lake (Greenville, ME) to begin our journey home.   On Tuesday we traveled with Ruth’s mother to Kineo, where she told us about her experiences as a child living on the island each summer while her father worked as a guide (see Memories from Kineo).   On Wednesday we visited the Moosehead Historical Society in Greenville.  It has to be one of the best small town museums in America.  It was also great to find some newpaper clippings about the Templeton family.

On Thursday I went to Augusta to visit the Maine State Archives and State Library, making some progress, along with developing some new questions about what happened to Emily Sears Templeton after her husband, John Frank Templeton, died.   I will update this information when I get back home.

Today I visited cemeteries in Willimantic and Milo, both here in Piscataquis County.   Found the grave markers I was looking for. It was a great, memorable week with lots of pictures to process and information to organize and ponder.  It will be good, too, to get back to a warmer place.