This weeks prompt, “Maiden Aunt,” is a subject I’ve written about before in my post on my maternal grandfather Donald’s Aunt Lily. My maternal grandmother had Aunt “Nennie,” the family’s name for Helen Eugenie Melcher, daughter of Burdus Redford Morse Melcher and Margaret Fulton Richards and sister to her father Carol.
While reviewing my research for Aunt Nennie’s post, I realized that I had no death date for her. She was born in 1876, so the chances she was still alive was slim. I quickly messaged a cousin who told me she died about 1958.
Helen/Aunt Nennie was born in Kennebunk and lived with her parents in Saco, Maine. By 1887, the Melcher family had moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts and then her father died in 1888. For the rest of her life she lived part-time with her mother and step-father in the Boston area and part-time in Kennebunk in the house her father had build in 1850. That house is still standing and belongs to family members related through the Richard’s side.
My grandmother was seven years old when her sister Violet was born in 1913 in Boston, MA. Aunt Nennie brought her to live with her in the family house in Kennebunk, Maine for the year. Aunt Nennie was a school teacher and taught school in a one-room schoolhouse in West Kennebunk. At the time, New England towns were connected by electric cars called interurbans, so that is what they took to get to school and back. The Netherlands still have similar trains that they call trams.
As an aside, I found an article and map on the Portland/Lewiston Maine Interurbans. It is too bad they don’t exist anymore; I found the Dutch tram a scenic and relaxing way to travel between small towns.
“United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MFQC-VY4 : 15 August 2017), Helen N Melcher in household of Burdus Melcher, Saco, York, Maine, United States; citing enumeration district ED 204, sheet 506B, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0491; FHL microfilm 1,254,491.
“United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M9YL-XRL : accessed 24 February 2018), Helen C Melcher in household of Geo A Watkins, Precinct 8 Boston city Ward 20, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 1469, sheet 8A, family 139, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,686. .