Spent the whole day following the red bricks of the Freedom Trail in Boston. We took the green line subway from near our hotel and got off right at the beginning of the trail on Boston Common. I am just going to show a few of the pictures we took along the way from the Boston Common to Bunker Hill.
On the next leg of our journey we spent 3 nights in Bangor, Maine with two full days of visiting Acadia National Park. Well, almost two full days, minus the time it took to head back on day one to Bangor to have our rear brakes fixed.
On day one in Acadia we did the park loop trail with lots of short stops here and there. Especially nice was the ride up to the top of Mount Cadillac and the stop at Sand Beach.
Day 2 in Acadia was nicer than day 1 for a couple of reasons. The first being that the car felt much better with the new brakes. The second being that we went on the west side of Mount Desert Island (where Acadia National Park is located) which had much less traffic and people. First we hiked to the top of Acadia Mountain.
Then we did another two mile hike on the Ship’s Harbor Trail at the southern shore of Mount Desert Island.
After the hikes and a quick stop to see the Bass Harbor Light Station we ended our day in Bar Harbor checking out the shops and having some lobster rolls.
Sunday morning, upon leaving Bangor, Maine, we first stopped to see the big statue of Paul Bunyan in the downtown area of Bangor. Then we went and worshiped with the folks at Essex Street Free Baptist Church, founded in the 1850’s. This was a very small church currently looking for a Pastor, with very friendly people who made us feel right at home. The church was founded in the 1850’s so it has been around a long time.
A genealogy rabbit trail that was fun to go down. After dinner tonight (lobster roll, mmmm good) we took a quick trip up to Bradford, Maine where my genealogy records had some history of the Blake family. Our plan was to just get a picture of the sign for the city (which was hard to find as there is really not a city to speak of) and as we drove past the one intersection in the town we came to the “Corner Cemetery”. So we stopped to look at the headstones to see what we could see.
We did not find any Blakes, but we did find one headstone with the inscription of “Mary wife of James Speed”. Those names definitely rang a bell, so I took a few pictures and I checked out what I had on those names. It turns out that this Mary is my 4th great grandmother. First, the headstone.
The death date matches exactly with the death date in my records. I also had her birth date as November 19th, 1799 which agrees exactly with the information on the headstone with her age as 81 yrs. 11 mos. & 8 ds. This headstone is probably the source of the information as I did not have a good source for this date, just information from some other persons tree.
Her headstone was way in the back of the cemetery with none others nearby.
From Ancestry I was also able to get pictures of Mary and her husband James Speed, which I show below.
The family connection is as follows:
James Speed (b. 1803, d. 1892) and Mary Elizabeth Reeves (b. 1799, d. 1881) (married 6 Feb. 1823 in Bradford, Penobscot County, Maine, USA)
3rd Gr. Grandmother – Harriet (Hattie) Speed (b. 1828, d. 1897)
Hattie married Alonzo Blake (b. 1835, d. 1902) in 1855 in Bradford.
2nd Gr. Grandfather – Wesley A. Blake (b. 1856, d. 1885)
Wesley married Kate (Catherine) Jean O’Melia (b. 1859, d. 1911)
Gr. Grandmother – Nora O’Melia Blake (b. 1883, d. 1979)
Nora married Hudson Dexter Mead (b. 1868, d. 1950)
Parents of Hudson Dexter Mead II (m. Mary Esther Magill)
Parents of Gloria Jane Mead (m. Frank Davenport II)
And voila, the parents of me. Do you see the resemblance?
Day 3 we spent driving through the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.
We stopped at a lot of sites and even did about a mile or so stretch of the Appalachian Trail near Hanover. The pictures below are from the trail. Another couple thousand miles and we could have done the whole thing.
Spent the night in North Conway, New Hampshire. On day 4 we went to Mount Washington (the highest peak on the east coast) and rode the Cog Railway train to the top.
The view at the top was spectacular. The Appalachian Trail actually goes to the top of the mountain on it’s way to Maine.
After the trip to Mount Washington we made our way to Maine where we will spend day 5,6 and 7. But before Maine I present a sample of our selfie’s along the way.
Our first anniversary celebration trip is underway. We will be checking off six more states on our quest to stay in all 50 states. The first two days was a lot of driving to get to Vermont via New York. We did stop at Niagara Falls for a bit and stayed overnight in Rochester New York.
Day two was still mainly in New York traveling through the Adirondack Mountains, eventually staying overnight in White River Junction in Vermont. Finally took a good selfie by the Sacandaga River along highway 8 in New York.
A little before getting to Vermont we needed a quick stop to attend to the call of nature. Mary decided to take a picture of my meditation time.
And so our Northeaster journey begins.
I think I just discovered that my great grandfather Louis Thomas and great grandmother May (Fultz) Thomas were the inspiration for the painting “American Gothic”. The painting was done in 1930 and the picture shown below of my great grandparents was taken in 1942. I guess I will let you be the judge. Now I know that the painting was done in Iowa, and supposedly the woman is the daughter in the picture even though we normally assume she is his wife. But maybe the artist took a vacation to Halifax Nova Scotia and was inspired there, took a picture of my grandparents, and then did the painting back in Iowa.
Spent a day visiting a couple places in Michigan’s thumb that I had never visited before. We spent a few hours at the Octagon Barn (https://www.thumboctagonbarn.org/) just outside of Gagetown. Did not take any pictures there but the website can fill you in.
Then we traveled about another ten miles and spent some time at the Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park. Just a small place with about a 2 mile hiking trail and the site of Michigan’s only known native American Indian rock carvings. You can visit the DNR website here for information on this state park: http://www.michigandnr.com/ParksandTrails/Details.aspx?id=490&type=SPRK
The website has the better pictures, but here are a few I took along our walk:
We were able to spend a few hours (between raindrops) taking a small hike in the Hocking Hills State Park which is about 45 minutes southeast of Columbus Ohio. This area is rated #1 or #2 for the best hiking trails in all of Ohio. We only saw a small portion of the trails available. There are seven major hiking areas and it would take many days to see them and travel them all. I am not in the shape needed for a hiking trip like that.
Below are a few pictures of the area we visited, which included a short hike to Cedar Falls and part of a hike to Dead Man’s Cave. If you want to see more then head over to https://www.thehockinghills.org/
Day 13 – Traveled from Chadron to Yankton, SD. This trip crossed off another state on our list and was also located near Springfield Township in South Dakota which is a location that Hudson Dexter Mead (my great-grandfather) appears on an 1880 census.
Day 14 and 15 – Traveled to Urbandale, Iowa and visited for two days with our niece Amy and her family. We had a great time visiting (except for the rain out of a baseball game), playing some games and going to church with them. Amy gave me a copy of a report she did on my father in which she interviews him about his life growing up. Learned a couple things and also need to verify a couple things, but that is for another day.
Day 16 – Traveled to Illinois for a day to see my brother David and his wife Julie, who is currently recovering from serious shoulder surgery. As always, we enjoyed our stay there and David and I always have some great conversations.
Day 17 – 19 – Traveled to Columbus and visited my daughter and her family. Lot of games, finished a jigsaw puzzle, soccer practices and good food and company.
Day 20 – After 4,728 miles, we make it back home. It is nice to sleep on your own mattress!
P.S. – Once home I received a package from my friend I made in North Dakota, which included copies of “The North Dakota Sheaf” (the “Official paper of the Bishop and District of North Dakota Protestant Episcopal Church”) from the years that my grandfather Frank was a minister in North Dakota (from 1922 to 1928). I will do more later on grandpa Frank as I put together a short biography of his life, as I know it anyhow.
One thing I did learn that I will share now, is that he went to St. John’s College (now a part of the University of Manitoba, go U of M!) for his theological studies. This college is located in Winnipeg, Manitoba which is where he married grandma Muriel. Since Muriel was from Halifax, Nova Scotia, I wonder now if she went to the same college and possible met grandpa Frank there.
Day 12 saw us off to Nebraska. Our first stop was in Kimball Nebraska, where my mother, Gloria Jane Mead, was born on March 12, 1931. Kimball is about 50 miles east of Cheyenne or a couple hours northeast of Denver.
Once in Kimball we were able to take a few pictures of the house where my Grandpa (Hudson Dexter Mead II) and Grandma (Mary Esther) lived when our mom was born. The address was from a 1930 census. They were married in 1927 in Chadron, Nebraska but later moved to Kimball. Sometime before 1936 they moved to Oklahoma where my mom’s brother Hudson Dexter Mead III was born.
We also stopped at the offices of the Western Nebraska Observer, a paper that has been around since 1885. They were kind enough to bring up all the archived editions of the paper for the year 1931 and allowed us to look through them. We found a birth announcement and an announcement of a trip they made to Chadron after the birth. The coolest thing I learned is that my mom was born at home!
Then off to Chadron, with a stop to see Chimney Rock on the way there. Chimney Rock was used as a sign post for the travelers heading across country in the 1800’s.
Once in Chadron, Nebraska, (where I was born) we went house hunting. I had the house number of 601 Ann Street which was listed on my birth certificate, and 259 Chapin Street from the 1920 census listing where Grandpa Mead lived (14 years old) and also just a street, Shelton, from the 1910 census when Grandpa was 4 years old.
I was born in Chadron during the time my dad went to college there, at least for the fall semester in 1951. He went to what was called Chadron State Teachers College, but is now called Chadron State College. They are a division II school (go Eagles!) and they compete in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.