Genealogical and Family History
of the

Volume III

Compiled under the editorial supervision of George Thomas Little, A. M., Litt. D.

New York

[Please see Index page for full citation.]

[Transcribed by Sandra Boudrou]

[Many families included in these genealogical records had their beginnings in Massachusetts.]


The records of Essex county, Massachusetts, have this name under many forms, such as: Aars, Aers, Aier, Air, Aires, Ares, Ayeres, Ayer, Eayer, Eayre, Eyer, Eyers, Eyre.

(1) The ancestors of most of the name in New England, and the earliest in Essex county was John Ayer. It is supposed that he came from England, and was living in Salisbury, Massachusetts, in 1640, removed to Ipswich in 1646, next year to Haverhill, and died there March 31, 1657. His wife Hannah died October 8, 1688.
John, Rebecca, Robert, Thomas, Peter, Mary, Obadiah, Nathaniel and Hannah. The eldest received the homestead by will.

(II) Cornet Peter, fourth son of John and Hannah Ayer, was born about 1633, perhaps in England, and was a freeman in Haverhill in May, 1666. He was a farmer, member of general court 1683-85,89-90, and active in town affairs and in the Indian wars. He married, November 1, 1659, Hannah, born June, 1642, in Salisbury, daughter of William and Hannah (Goodale) Allen. She died December 22, 1729. He died in Boston in January, 1689.
Children, born in Haverhill:
Ruth, Hannah, Abigail, Mary, Martha, Samuel, William, Rachel, Ebenezer.

(III) Captain Samuel, eldest son of Cornet Peter and Hannah (Allen) Ayer, was born September 28, 1669, in Haverhill. He was a man of property, and owned a negro slave named Lot. He succeeded his father as member of committee for control of common lands of Haverhill. His efficient leadership in the Indian wars did much to prevent savage outrages. He died January 2, 1744. He married, November 21, 1693, Elizabeth Tuttle of Ipswich, who died November 29, 1752.
Hannah, Peter, Samuel, William, Ebenezer, Elizabeth, Simon and Sarah.

(IV) Lieutenant Ebenezer, fourth son of Captain Samuel and Elizabeth (Tuttle) Ayer, was born in Haverhill, February 18, 1705, and settled in Methuen, Massachusetts. Upon the establishment of the province line in 1741 his homestead became a part of Salem, New Hampshire, and the following inscription is found on his tombstone in that town: "Here lies ye body of Lieutenant Ebenezer Ayr; he departed this life March 3, 1763, aged 57 years."

He married (first), March 29, 1726, Susanna, daughter of Robert and Susanna (Atwood) Kimball, of Bradford, Massachusetts. She was born May 25, 1707, and died September 26, 1749; five children died young, the others being:
Ebenezer, Peter, Timothy, Joseph and Isaiah.
Lieutenant Ebenezer married (second) Elizabeth _____, born 1715, died January 2, 1786; children:
William, Elizabeth, Samuel, Philip and John.

(V) Peter (2), second son of Lieutenant Ebenezer and Susanna (Kimball) Ayer, was born in Methuen, Massachusetts, May 12, 1737. He lived in that part of Methuen set aside as Salem, New Hampshire, in 1741, removing to Buxton, Maine, about 1776. He was a soldier of the revolution. He married (first) Rebecca _____, who died October 28, 1795;
Benjamin, Jonathan, Benjamin, Sarah, Ebenezer, Elizabeth and Philip.
He married (second) January 19, 1796, Widow Sarah Jenkins, of Pepperellboro (Saco).

(VI) Benjamin, third son of Peter (2) and Rebecca Ayer, was born in Salem, New Hampshire, November 23, 1763, and died in Unity, Maine, July 29, 1844. Besides cultivating a farm, he was an itinerant Methodist preacher and resided in Falmouth, now Portland, and Freedom, Maine. He enlisted in the war of the revolution at the age of sixteen, and served with bravery.
He married, April 2, 1785, Rachel, daughter of Abner and Rachel (Shaw) Sanborn, a direct descendant of Rev. Stephen Bacheler, one of the founders of Hampton, New Hampshire, July 19, 1762, and died at the home of her son Peter, in Freedom, Maine.
Annis M., Lydia S., Peter, Benjamin, Rachel, John, Sanborn, Rachel and Thomas Burnham.

(VII) Thomas Burnham, youngest child of Rev. Benjamin and Rachel (Sanborn) Ayer, was born in Portland, Maine, June 1, 1800, and died in West Waterville, April, 1864. Owing to the frequent change of residence of the family, rendered necessary by the preaching of Rev. Benjamin, the education obtained by the children was chiefly dependent upon the teaching of the father, with short intervals in local schools. These terms were mainly obtained in Freedom, Maine, where Thomas Burnham worked upon the farm of his father and subsequently became its proprietor. Later he removed to West Waterville, now Oakland, Maine.
He married, April, 1823, Sybil, daughter of Job and Jane (Potter) Chase, and a cousin of the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy, the noted Abolitionist. She was born in Unity, Maine, September 10, 1801, and died in Oakland, September 21, 1884.
1. Benjamin, born in Unity, 1824, became a New York tea merchant. 2. John, see forward. 3. Mary Jane, 1827, married Dr. Francis Manson, of McDonough, and died in Atlanta, Georgia, 1873. 4. Parrish L., 1829, died in Astoria, Oregon, 1891. 5. Elsie P., 1832, married Joel Whitney, and died in Atlanta, Georgia, 1876. 6. Betsey Ellen, 1834, died in Oakland. 7. Sarah C., 1836, died in Unity, 1850. 8. Augustus, 1841. 9. Augusta, 1844.

(VIII) John, second son and child of Thomas Burnham and Sybil (Chase) Ayer, was born in Freedom, Maine, November 1, 1825. His preparatory education was obtained in the district school of Unity and at the Maine Wesleyan Seminary at Kents Hill, following which he matriculated at Bowdoin College. He did not complete the classical course, preferring to take up mathematics and civil engineering, and subsequently made the latter his profession for many years. He was the civil engineer and superintendent in charge of the construction of the Portland & Kennebec and the Penobscot & Kennebec railroads, 1851-56; was employed in the railroad surveys in Wisconsin and Minnesota, 1857-59; in the employ of the Dunn Edge Tool Company, manufacturers of scythes, Oakland, Maine, first as traveling salesman, then as treasurer and general manager of the corporation, since 1860; director of the Somerset Railroad Company since 1858, and president since 1872; trustee of the Maine Wesleyan Seminary since 1869; trustee and first president of the Cascade Savings Bank from 1869; built the Cascade Woolen Mills in 1883, was made director of the corporation at the time of its organization and became treasurer in 1889. He continued in the offices of treasurer and manager of the Dunn Edge Tool Company and president of the Somerset Railroad Company until the time of is death. His most marked characteristics were strong individuality, incorruptible integrity and tenacity of opinion; he was reserved and reticent in manner, forbearing toward his enemies and charitable almost to a fault. His political affiliations were with the Republican party, but he was neither an office seeker or holder.
Mr. Ayer married (first), April, 1855, Olive A., born March 22, 1836, daughter of B. F. and Dolly (Lancy) Furber;
1. William Madison, see forward. 2. Mary F., born in Oakland, Maine September 4, 1868, whose education was acquired in the best schools of Massachusetts and completed in Paris, France; she married David K. Phillips, of Phillips Beach, Swampscott, Massachusetts, president of the National Grand Bank of Marblehead, Massachusetts, 1892.
Mr. Ayer married (second), September 12, 1880, Annabel, daughter of A. F. and Lizzie Holt, of New Sharon, Maine;
1. John Jr., born April 30, 1883. 2. Benjamin, November 17, 1885. 3. Paul, November 8, 1887.

(IX) William Madison, eldest child and only son of John and Olive A. (Furber) Ayer, was born in Bangor, Maine, March 22, 1856. He was less than a year old when his family removed to West Waterville, and his education was acquired in the public schools of that town, the Maine Wesleyan Seminary, Westbrook Seminary, Dean Academy at Franklin, Massachusetts, and Tufts College. He pursued a course of study which fitted him for the same profession followed by his father, civil engineering, and was engaged along these lines for many years. He was a member of the engineering corps employed in the survey for the construction of the Somerset railway; from January, 1876, until December, 1879, he was a general ticket agent and since that time has been manager of the Somerset Railroad Company, and extended the line from Bingham to Kinco. He is senior member of the firm of Ayer & Greeley, dealers in coal and wood, of Oakland; superintendent of the Dunn Edge Tool Company, manager and treasurer of the Dedlin Granite Company, president of the Oakland Woolen Company, of which he was one of the organizers and first president, director of the Madison Woolen Company, has been president of the Cascade Savings Bank of Oakland since 1901, and is connected with a number of other business enterprises of importance. He was appointed a member of the staff of Governor Hill in 1902, served four years and has the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He was a member of the house of representatives, 1891-92, and in November of the latter year was a delegate from the third Maine congressional district to the convention at Minneapolis which nominated Benjamin Harrison. Member of Maine senate, 1904 to 1909, serving as chairman of interior waters, labor, towns, federal relations, and member of military affairs both terms and on various other committees. He is a member of Messalonskee Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Drummond Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, Mount Lebanon Council, Scottish Rites; St. Omar Commandery, Knights Templar. He served as grand representative from Maine to the General Grand Chapter, held in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1889, and in 1904 was appointed grand representative of the Grand Chapter of Minnesota to the Grand Chapter of Maine. He is widely known by reason of his business connections and his activity in the Republican party.
Mr. Ayer married, October 3, 1883, Lizzie E., daughter of Benjamin F. Otis, late of Oakland.

(For early generations see John Ayer I.)

AYER (V) Major Ebenezer (2), eldest son of Lieutenant Ebenezer (1) born March 22, 1727, in that part of Methuen which is now Salem. He settled in Pepperellborough, now Saco, Maine. In early life he was one of Captain John Lovewell's men in the memorable Indian fight at Pequaket, and was engaged in other expeditions. He was in the ill-fated excursion of Benedict Arnold, through the wilds of Maine, in the winter of 1775-76. After the revolution he did not return to Saco. He was married July 4, 1754, to Hannah (Plaisted) Scammon, widow of James Scammon. They were undoubtedly the parents of the next mentioned.

(VI) John Ayer, of Standish, Maine, married Elizabeth Pike, of Salisbury, Massachusetts, she being a descendant of John Pike, who came to America from England in 1630. John and Elizabeth were admitted into membership of the Congregational church in Standish, May 11, 1777. Some time after 1777 they settled in Hiram, Oxford county, Maine, as in volume one, Eastern deeds, etc., of Massachusetts, it appears that Nathaniel Wells deeded (in 1791) to John Ayer and Joseph Bean, "settlers within Cutler's grant, so-called, in the county of York, husbandmen, who settled within said Cutler's grant and made separate improvements thereon before the first day of January, 1784." John Ayer was evidently of strong religious convictions, for he is spoken of by historians of the period as an exhorter and itinerant preacher, and the first religious services of which we have any account in the town of Hiram were held by him.
He was industrious and enterprising, and is said to have built the first saw and grist mill in the town of Hiram, which was located on his property "on the thirteen mile brook, so-called, just above the 'red mill'." He and Captain Charles Wadsworth built the first bridge across the Saco river in Hiram, about 1805. The names of his twelve children were :
Timothy; Humphrey, mentioned below; John Pike; Betsey, married Joseph Chadbourne; Sally, married Thomas Barker; Nancy, married David Morrill; Susan, married Thaddeus Morrill, of Berwick, Maine; Lydia, married a Jackson; Jacob and Mary, died in youth; Hannah, married Nathan Hilton, of Bridgton, Maine.
They conveyed all of their property in Hiram to their son Humphrey, in June, 1797. It would appear that they remained in Hiram for a time thereafter and then removed to Cornish, Maine, in 1798 or 1799, for the name of John Ayer appears on the Cornish tax list for the years 1801-1802-1810-1811, and the name of Humphrey Ayer appears on said list from 1799 to 1813, inclusive, subsequent records having been burned. The date of the deaths of John Ayer and his wife is unknown. They were buried in the old burial lot in what is now the pasture of W. W. & F. B. Pike, on Towle's Hill, so-called, in Cornish, nearly opposite the Wedgewood place, so-called, but there is nothing left to mark their resting place.

(VII) Humphrey Ayer was born in Standish, Maine, in 1775, second son of John and Elizabeth Ayer, and died in Cornish in 1828. He married Patience Chadbourne, who died January 7, 1864, aged eighty-six years ten months. She was the daughter of Francis Chadbourne, of Berwick, Maine, and was a direct descendant of William Chadbourne, from whom the Chadbourne family of America descended, and who came to this country in 1634 and settled in what is now South Berwick, Maine. (Detailed information of the Chadbourne line may be gleaned from the Chadbourne genealogy published by William M. Emery, A.M., of Fall River, Massachusetts.) Humphrey's family consisted of eight children, as follows;
Isiah, married Hannah Eastman, of Cornish; Jacob, married Abbie Sargent, of Cornish; Humphrey, married Betsey McLucas, of Brownfield, Maine; Patience, married Wyer Pike, of Cornish; Asenath, married Simeon Pike, second husband, Joshua D. Small; Olive, married Wells Larrabee, of Sebago, Maine; Francis, married Lucinda Libbey, of Porter, Maine; James Monroe, mentioned below.

(VIII) James Monroe Ayer was born in Cornish, Maine, January 9, 1819, where he resided until his death, May 23, 1886. He married Adeline Hubbard Thompson, daughter of Deacon Isaac Thompson, who was one of the first settlers of Cornish, and a brother of Joseph M. Thompson, also one of the first settlers of Cornish. James Monroe was a carpenter by trade, but later in life took up the occupation of farming and was a successful business man. The children born to James Monroe and Adeline Hubbard Ayer were:
James Curtis, mentioned below; Mary Ella, and Emma, who died in infancy. Mary Ella married Howard Brackett, of Cornish, and they have two children: Marcia E., wife of Fred Robinson, of Dorchester, Massachusetts; and Ardelle Genevieve, wife of William H. Hatch, of Cornish.

(IX) James Curtis Ayer, born in Cornish, Maine, December 4, 1846, was educated in the public schools of his native town, where he has always resided. He worked on his father's farm in his youth and has followed the occupation of farming all his life. He is one of the leading citizens of his town. In politics he is a Republican and has been a deputy sheriff of York county since 1886, excepting the year 1893-4, when he was a member of the Maine legislature. He was for many years town clerk, and is now chairman of the board of selectmen, which position he has held twelve years, and has held many other offices of public confidence too numerous to mention. He is prominent in the Masonic fraternity, being a past master of Greenleaf Lodge, No. 117, a member of Aurora Chapter, No. 22; of Aurora Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, all of Cornish; of Maine Council, Royal and Select Masters of Saco; of Bradford Commandery, Knights Templar, of Beddeford; and of Kora Temple, Order of the Mystic Shrine, of Lewiston. He is a past district deputy grand master of the Grand Lodge of Masons of Maine, a past junior grand warden of said Masonic Grand Lodge, and grand representative of the Grand Lodge of Quebec, near the Grand Lodge of Maine. Being greatly interested in all that pertains to farming, he is on the roll of Cornish Grange, Patrons of Husbandry.

His wife, Mary Armine (Bennett) Ayer, was born in Parsonsfield, Maine, April 22, 1845, and was the daughter of John P. and Armine Bennett. The family consists of:
Harry B., mentioned below. Fred J., born December 25, 1875, merchant at Cornish. Frank Percy, November 2, 1878, an attorney at law. Leon Malcolm, November 26, 1881, residing on home farm. Lester Curtis, April 8, 1888, student.

(X) Harry B. Ayer, born in Cornish, April 14, 1871, was graduated from the Cornish high school. He worked on his father's farm in summer and taught school in winter for several years. He began the study of law in the office of George F. Clifford, of Cornish, and was admitted to the York County bar in 1895. He opened an office in Westbrook, Maine, and engaged in the practice of his profession about one year, when he formed a partnership with the Hon. Abner Oakes, of South Berwick, Maine. He continued in practice until January 1, 1901, when he assumed the duties of register of probate for York county, to which office he has since given his entire time and attention. He is a past master of Greenleaf Lodge, No. 117, and a member of Aurora Chapter, No. 22, both of Cornish; a member of Maine Council; of Bradford Commandery, No. 4; of Kora Temple, Order o the Mystic Shrine; also a member of Patrons of Husbandry, No. 22, of Alfred; and of Portland Lodge, No. 188, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

On April 5, 1899, he married Susan E. Bacon, granddaughter of the late Dr. Horace Bacon, of Biddeford, Maine, and since 1903 has made his residence in the city of Biddeford.

(For early generations see John Ayer I.)

(VIII) Jacob Ayer, son of Hunphrey Ayer, was born in Cornish, Maine. He settled in Westbrook, Maine. He was a carpenter by trade and throughout his active life followed that trade.
Wyer P.; Edwin W., mentioned below; Albion, Patience, Abbie A.

(IX) Edwin W., son of Jacob Ayer, was born in Cornish in 1840 and died at Westbrook in 1890. He was educated in the public schools of Westbrook. He began to work in his youth in the paper mill at Cumberland Mills, Maine, and won his way by successive promotions to the position of superintendent of the S. D. Warren Company's mills at the town of Cumberland Mills and elsewhere. He filled this responsible and trying position with credit all the remainder of his life. He was a member of Warren Philips Lodge of Free Masons; Eagle Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; Ammoncongin Lodge of Odd Fellows, all of Westbrook. He was a Congregationalist in religion.

He married Maria Bacon, born in 1839 at South Windham, Maine, and died in 1892, daughter of John and Eunice Bacon, of South Windham. Their only child is William Edwin, mentioned below.

(X) William Edwin, son of Edwin W. Ayer, was born in Westbrook, December 2, 1863. He attended the public schools of his native town and State Normal school at Gorham, Maine, where he was graduated in 1883. During the next four years he taught school in Westbrook. He then became the purchasing agent of the S. D. Warren Paper Company at Cumberland Mills and continued in that position for a period of twelve years. He embarked in business on his own account in 1900 as a manufacturer of basswood veneer for electrical work, and for carriages and sleighs, at Foxcroft, in the firm of Ranger & Ayer. He bought out his partner's interest in the firm of Ranger & Ayer Manufacturing Company, of which he is the principal stockholder, treasurer and manager. In a few years the business has increased from a plant using eighteen hundred feet of lumber a day to its present capacity of ten thousand feet made into veneer daily.

In politics Mr. Ayer is a Republican and he has been a member of the school committees of Westbrook and of Foxcroft. He was at one time his party's candidate for mayor of the city of Westbrook. He is a member of Warren Phillips Lodge of Free Masons, Westbrook; Eagle Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, Westbrook; St. John Commandery, Knights Templar, of Bangor. In religion he is a Congregationalist. He married, January 25, 1889, Louise, daughter of Freeman Brown, of Raymond, Maine.
Children: 1. Florence Erminie, born in Westbrook, May 14, 1891. 2. Doris N., April 11, 1896.

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