Genealogical and Family History
STATE OF MAINE
Compiled under the editorial supervision of George Thomas Little, A. M., Litt. D.
LEWIS HISTORICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY
[Please see Index page for full citation.]
[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]
[Many families included in these genealogical records had their beginnings in Massachusetts.]
According to the best preserved records in the family, Homer appears to be an old Saxon name, derived, in all probability, from the manor of Homer, which now bears the name of Hummer, in the county of Somerset, England. As "hob" signifies high, and "mere" a pool or lake." "Mere," however, also means a boundary, or a ridge of land. The "Mere" at Hummer is not large enough to be styled a lake, but is a large pond where much fishing is done. The manor of Homer is not mentioned in the Domesday Book, but is mentioned as many as eight times in the Inquistion, a Post Morten, from Richard II, 1381, to Henry V, 1414, as Homere means "t-ten," that is Homere massuage, or manor and lands, the name was always spelled the same way.
The first of the Homer name on record is Thomas de Homer, lord of the manor of Homer, to whom lands in the neighboring county of Dorset were granted A. D. 1338, by Lord Moltravers. His name appears in two deeds, both of the same year, written Thomas de Homere and Thoman de Homere.
According to the traditions preserved by the Homers of Staffordshire, England, their ancestor left his native country on account of a duel, and settled in the county of Staffordshire, while he built the house of Ettings Hall, in the parish of Sedgeley. Ettings Hall was an old half-timbered structure of the so-called Elizabethan type. It was in such a state of decay that it was taken down about the year 1868. The fact that it was constructed of wood showed that it was probably much older than the time of Queen Elizabeth, when buildings of stone first began to be erected. Before the Reformation there was built a mortuary chapel beside, and forming part of, the chancel of the old Church of Sedgeley, and the family vaults were under this, the entrance being from the inside of the chancel. This church was taken down and rebuilt by the Earl of Dudley in the year 1829, at which date the vault was rebuilt and left upon the outside of the church, the chapel not being reconstructed at that time. Edward Homer erected a pew in this church in the year 1626, which was occupied by his descendants until the demolition of the church, at which time the oaken seat from this pew was given to Earl Dudley, who, to preserve that sacred relic, had it built into the wainscot of one of his houses, called the Park, Wiran's, West Hill, near Dudley, in 1887.
Through all their long lines of history the Homers of England preserved with glowing luster their fame as a family of truest honor, holding high positions in the most worthy manner, and showing a talent for various kinds of work of a high order which leaves its proofs to inspire others through scores of generations. The branch of this strong old family which early emigrated to America bore with it the best characteristics of the family in England, and the descendants have kept well the honor of a noble name. They have often been entrusted with positons which required great energy and the display of the truest worth, but these places have been held in a most priseworthy manner. Many memorials of such faithfulness may be found, among which are two towns in the north which bear this family name, while the south has its busy city of Homer, Louisiana.
The pictures of the famous water-color painter, Winslow Homer, bear witness of what the family has achieved along such lines of work. It has been truly written of him, "He is one of the ablest and most original of American artists, whose works are notable for a fine sense of color, great truth to nature, and virile sentiment."
(I) Captain John Homer emigrated to Boston, Mass. about the year 1690, and became a very helpful and worthy citizen of that city, where he died on the first of November, 1717. He married July 13, 1693, Margery Stevens, a woman of great refinement and energy.
John, Mary, Benjamin, William, Michael, Robert, Frances and a second Mary.
(II) Benjamin, son of Capt. John and Margery (Stevens) Homer, was born in Boston, May 8, 1698. He was of a high sense of honor, great zeal, and withal a readiness to help others in every stress and care of life. When quite a young man he removed to Yarmouth, Mass., where he purchased a large farm which he cultivated in a very skillful and successful manner. Here he built a two-storied house, which for a long time was one of the best houses in all that section. It was built in the sturdy fashion of the castles and manors which his ancestors had erected, for it was still a strong-walled place in 1850.
Benjamin Homer was a magistrate whose wise and faithful work was known far and wide. He was also one of the most worthy representatives to the Massachusetts general court. His true and upright life inspired many others to good and worthy deeds.
He married Elizabeth Crowe, or Crowell, as her name is spelled in its more modern form. She was the daughter of John Crowe, one of the original grantees of Yarmouth, and of Bethiah Sears.
Among their children were:
Bethia, John, Margery, William, Benjamin and Stephen.
(III) Stephen, son of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Crowe) Homer, was born in Yarmouth, April 15, 1736, and was a man of great force of character and truest uprightness. He married Elizabeth Chapman, of one of the strong old families of Yarmouth, who was born in Dennis, Mass., Oct. 15, 1736.
Chapman, Joshua, Stephen, Joseph, William, Zenas, David, Benjamin, Elizabeth, Bethia, and four others whose names have not been preserved in history. It was a family whose worthy deeds were known far and wide.
(IV) William, son of Stephen and Elizabeth (Chapman) Homer, was born in Yarmouth, Dec. 11, 1766, died at Bucksport, Maine, April 22, 1839. As it stated in the old family Bible, which is still preserved with great care, that his children were born in Bucksport, it is clear that he removed to Maine when quite a young man. He brought to the beautiful shores of the Penobscot river a large inheritance of the best qualities of his long line of ancestors, and amid the rugged forests and the trying scenes of a pioneer settlement these brightened and glowed with a new luster. He was a man whose quick, wise and kindly advice on many subjects was eagerly sought for.
He married, Sept. 20, 1791, Jane Lowell, born in Searsport, Maine, Feb. 17, 1773, and who was a noble wife and mother.
1. William Jr., born June 14, 1792.
2. Betsy, born Nov. 16, 1793.
3. Sally, born June 8, 1795.
4. Polly, born June 14, 1797.
5. Harriet, born Dec. 22, 1798.
6. John Chapman, born Oct. 11, 1800.
7. Louisa, born Nov. 6, 1802.
8. Elmira, born June 23, 1804.
9. Jane, born April 14, 1806, died in infancy.
10. Lucy, born March 12, 1808.
11. Stephen, born March 27, 1810.
12. Zenas, born 1812.
(V) Zenas, son of William and Jane (Lowell) Homer, was born in Bucksport, July 18, 1812, died in that town Jan. 18, 1900, having lived a most honorable and useful life. He married, July 18, 1839, Cynthia Hill Lake, who died Jan. 18, 1900. Like her husband she was descended from some of the strongest and most patriotic families, being the daughter of Colonel Sewall lake, of Rindge, New Hampshire, and wife Hannah (Peabody) Lake, of Topsfield, Mass.
1. Cynthia Lake, born July 2, 1840, married, Sept. 24, 1881, Henry C. Fish, of Denver, Colorado.
2. Zenas Morton, born Jan. 12, 1843, was lost at sea.
3. & 4. Hannah Jane and William Sewall, twins, born Sept. 1, 1844, the latter died July 10, 1903.
5. James Albert, born Dec. 4, 1846, married 1884, Marion L. Gould, of Stillwater, Maine.
6. George Alpheus, died in childhood.
7. Carroll Cleveland, born April 16, 1850, has been in the grocery business in the village of Bucksport for over forty years, serving at first as a clerk with his father, and being taken into partnership with im in 1874. Since 1897 he has been the sold owner of this large business. He was a most efficient postmaster of Bucksport from 1895 to 1899. He is a very prominent worker in the Democratic party and was delegate to the Chicago National Democratic Convention which nominated Grover Cleveland for president. He has been secretary of the Bucksport board of trade for fourteen years, and president of the Bucksport Loan and Building Association for over ten years. He is a most active member in many secret socities, and has held many important offices in these. In 1879 he married Etta Jane Crockett, of Prospect, Maine. Children: Guida Cleveland, Morton Leslie and Frank Pilsbury (deceased).
8. Leslie Clinton, born July 21, 1852.
9. George Peabody, born Feb. 5, 1856, resides at Bucksport, having been clerk in his father's grocery store and engaged in that business until 1902, when he became the proprietor of Homer's Livery and Boarding Stables. He is a very efficient member of the Democratic party. he is a member of the board of trade at Bucksport, Lodge. No. 14, Ancient Order of United Workmen. He is also a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. On Dec. 6, 1881, he married Julia Etta Smith, of Bucksport, daughter of Joshua Smith. children: Ruth Peabody (deceased), Florence Hill and Horace Zenas.
(VI) Leslie Clinton, son of Zenas and Cynthia Hill (Lake) Homer, was born in Bucksport, July 21, 1852, and has long been one of the leading and most worthy citizens of his native town. For over twenty years he was at the head of Homer's Express Company, running to Bangor, Maine. He is also owner and sole proprietor of the Bucksport and Prospect Ferry, and a large owner in real estate in the village. He is a trustee of the New England Building Association. He is a very enthusiastic worker in the Lodge of Odd Fellows and of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, as well as of the New England Order of Protection. He is a Democrat, and a member of the Congregational church.