Monday, April 21, 2014

Unexpected Finds in a National Park
It can be an interesting experience hiking in a national park that is the result of conveyed lands upon which people once lived and businesses operated. Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, ME is one of them. An observant hiker can often see old roads, paths and even homesteads. Their discoveries can be exhilarating.

One such recent discovery was a tombstone, surrounded by woods and bordered by a wetland to the southeast. Coming across a tombstone in such a remote location causes the hiker to halt. Questions immediately arise. What is a grave doing in such a lonely, out-of-the-way spot? Who is the person buried there?
Some answers follow.

The tombstone, now separated from its base and once bordered by sunken 7-foot tall granite posts at the corners and enclosed with chain, states that buried there is George Newman, who died on April 21, 1887 at the age of 92 years and 5 months. By examining such documents as local newspapers, deeds, censuses, maps, genealogies and vital records, we learn a few things about him and his family.
George Newman gravesite
George, born in 1794 in nearby Gouldsboro, was the owner of the property where his grave is located.  The property abutted the McFarland property to the west, after which family the McFarland Field and McFarland Hill are named.*1  He married widow Mary H. (Higgins) Fitzgerrell (1811-1898) of Bar Harbor on July 28, 1839. They had six children, three sons and three daughters, all born in Bar Harbor between 1840 and 1852.
George Newman tombstone
The oldest son, Henry H. (1845-1864), a private in both E Company, 26th Regiment, Maine Infantry and L Company, Maine Heavy Artillery, died in the Civil War. He is buried in Salisbury Cove Cemetery beneath a military headstone.
The middle son, George Warren Newman, born in 1850, continued to own the father's property, where he operated a dairy farm and from which he delivered milk.*2

George W. married Amanda Higgins in 1878; she died in 1906. He then married widow Emily (Richardson) Sargent in 1907. She died in 1917 and George W. died two years later. He and both wives are buried in Hillside Cemetery in Mount Desert, where the Higgins, Richardson and Sargent families are buried. Apparently having no children by Amanda and Emily, George W. left his properties to Alice Rodick, his will's executor. She subsequently conveyed the properties during the 1920s to George B. Dorr and John D. Rockefeller, Jr.  Dorr at the time was superintendant of Lafayette National Park (Acadia NP's predecessor). He and Rockefeller were actively acquiring land for the purpose of expanding the newly created park's boundaries.

Newman lot on 1881 MDI map

The youngest son, Asa Willis Newman, married Clara Hamor Rodick in 1876. They divorced in 1880. The following year Clara married Linwood E. Parsons; she and Linwood are buried in Hillside Cemetery, Hulls Cove.

Nothing at present is known of the three Newman daughters, Martha Jane (b. 1840), Charlotte (b. 1842), and Eleanor (b. 1847). Perhaps an interested reader will pick it up from here and pursue the histories of these women.

Today George Newman's isolated grave sits on Acadia NP property.*3  Should you go to the grave, be respectful of it and mindful of the laws protecting it. And leave no trace of your visit.


1 For another reference to McFarland Field and Hill, see my blog post Skiing on Mount Desert Island -- a Look Back, February 24, 2014.
2 It is poignant to note George W.'s milk route, along with seven cows, young stock and three horses, were advertised for sale within a few months of his death. Bar Harbor Times, December 3, 1919, p.4.
3 Newman grave GPS coordinates: N44° 22.674'  W068° 15.473'.