Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Dear Little Sweet Babe

That's how this letter from my great-great-grandmother, Mary Frances (May) Bunker, to my great-grandmother, Beulah Holt Bunker, begins. At the time, Beulah had recently started her course to become certified as a teacher at the State Normal School, what would later become the University of Maine at Farmington. According to my grandmother, it was a 2 year program at the time and was the only credentialing a young woman (or young man, for that matter) would need to become a teacher for life. First the photos, and afterward there's a transcript. Although her handwriting is lovely, May's grammar and spelling weren't quite perfect, and I've left the transcript unredacted.

At the time this letter was written, my great-great-grandparents were living in Bar Harbor, away from their own house across Frenchman Bay in South Gouldsboro, and working for the Rockefeller family. Henry was a groundskeeper, as my grandmother recalls, and May was an "upstairs seamstress", meaning that she sewed and hand-embroidered the bed linens, pillowcases, and towels used by the robber barons. My grandmother recalls some of the excess pieces that May was allowed to bring home, but none survive to her knowledge.






Bar Harbor Oct. 3 - 1915
Sunday 7 P.M.

My Dear little sweet babe:

well another week has gone and I suppose you have written to us this afternood Uncle Nate is still hear going to stay until the middle of the week and then he is going to Winter H after making Clara and Enos a visit Clara & Enos has been down to day and stayed till after dinner.

Clara said He said coming down we shant see Bubber to day. and after he had been hear a while he said Bubber makes a big hole in the house and he missed you. well that is all about them. suppose you got your check all right. we are having nice weather now after the storm. had a letter from Aunt Flo yesterday. said she had sent you your ring.

Have not see Miss Latham yet Harry and Minnie has gone to Cherryfield dont know when thay are coming back thay have bought a farm down there. probly you will have a letter from them I hope thay will stay here this winter.

everything is just the same as it was the day you went away. am awful glad you like so well. Barbar comes after the milk every night. I should think Howard Emery would fill some, with all of you girls.

did you have a letter from Goldie. Mr. Cummings has got Typhoid Fever I guess that is the way it is spelled. papa is going home sometime and paint the house but I don't know when

well I must write to Flo and hope I will get a good long letter from you this Wednesday. so good night with lots of kisses.


Monday Morning

I got your letter this A.M. and it was a good one am glad you are having such a good time and am well. hope Hazel wont have a sick spell. I am washing wish I could wash and Iron in a hour. good bye.

Monday, August 24, 2009

An Introduction

My name is Emuel Edward Vassey IV, or Mel for those who know me. I was born and raised in South Carolina, but I currently live in Maine, where my roots go back over 360 years, when my first European ancestor to come to the Americas, James Bunker, was living in Kittery, the town that I now call home.

My paternal grandmother, Elinor Blance Vassey, has long been the keeper of the family history and has quite a large collection of photos, letters, and other documents chronicling our past, and I decided to start this blog as a way to compile that history and make it accessible to both family members and the general public. As Roots author Alex Haley said, "In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future."

I hope to be able to do justice to the past and will work on updating this, perhaps not frequently, but diligently. As the bulk of my grandmother's collection covers the Blance and Bunker families, I expect that they will be the most heavily represented here, but I hope also to be able to share history from the Vassey, Merchant, Goudelock, Crowder, Baird, and other families in my own lineage as I find them. Or, perhaps, as they find me.

I also hope that you enjoy my little endeavour here, and if you have information that I could use, don't hesitate to e-mail me.