THE HIRED MAN 1900 - 1930




We should note that we define ‘hired man’ as one who works and lives with a family for a period of time. Groups of men might be hired to get in a crop or perform some other job, but they were not part of the family, thus were not hired men as defined for these articles.

I researched these hired men by looking for names that didn’t belong in each family as listed on the censuses of 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930. Most were the sons and daughters of neighbors. I chose not to research them because they were part of their own community, just working out for a few years. However, I have included a few locals whose stories might be of interest to readers, Lida Hunnewell and Annie Sullivan. Most were strangers, single men, or women, with no known family connections to the area. I created lists of men and women that will be the core of the article.


Leonard Greenlaw, 75 and single resided in the home of Susan and Aaron Colson on Robb Hill Road. He is listed as a boarder and farm laborer, not as a servant. A 3X5 card in our files was apparently copied from an obituary. It states that ‘Eva May Scott (died? April 14, 1933) born at Machias a child of Aaron Colson and Elizabeth Greenlaw. Aaron was born in NB and died at Calais on June 18, 1907. Elizabeth was born at St Andrews NB.’ The 1910 census of Alexander gives Aaron as alive and married to Susan. Anyway, Leonard Greenlaw probably is connected to Aaron Colson’s first wife.

Lida Hunnewell, 41, had been divorced by her husband Charles Sidney Hunnewell. She, her 19-year-old son Howard Morton Hunnewell and her 21-year-old nephew Andrew Hunnewell, Jr, all born in Maine, were servants for Charles and Lizzie Brown. Charles Brown owned the store and the big farm on Townsend Hill on the Cooper Road. Lida’s son Orrin headed a household on the South Princeton Road that included seven of his siblings, ages from 3 to 16. Wilson Frost, 18, and Fred Harriman, 22, were sons of local families. They, too, were hired men of Charles Brown, Wilsie as a grocery store clerk and Fred as a farm laborer. They are listed to give a picture of Charles Brown’s wealth.

Frank Southard, 25, was born in Maine and was a farm laborer for John W. Dwelley whose farm and sawmill were at the foot of Pleasant Lake.

Ernest Wilson, 23, was born at Machias on March 19, 1876 and was a farm laborer for John W. Dwelley. In 1880 he was living with Mary Ann (Lane) (Howe) Strout at the Four Corners. He was a Spanish American War veteran and thanks to Carleton Brown A-CHS has Ernest’s discharge papers and pension approval. Ernest married Blanche Seamans on November 26, 1904 and they had two children, Colin and Pauline. They later resided in Woodland.


Stillman Dodge, 26, was a farm laborer with the Horatio Averill family on the Airline. Stillman was from Wesley.

Sadie McDowell, 18, born in Canada was a servant for Jacob and Lucy Davis.

William Huffsmith, 54 of Pennsylvania was a day laborer living with James Durling. He was married but his wife does not appear on the census list.

Darius Williams, 34, a widower from Vermont was a stage driver boarding with the Andrew Grover family. His two children, Frank (7) and Alice (4) were boarders at the Edwin Hatt home.

William Creamer, 36, was a widower. He was a day laborer boarding with John Waterhouse on what is called Great Pine Point.

COOPER – 1900

Lillian Berry, 20, was born in Maine and was a housekeeper for widower Jason Doten. Neighbor Harland Vining, 20, was a farm laborer in the same household.

Martha Purington, 38, a servant in the home of George Reynolds worked as a house keeper. George, 37, is married but no wife is listed. His household includes his 9-year-old son, and four lodgers, likely related. NFI on Martha.

Fanny Lund or Lamb, 22, is a housekeeper in the home of widower Frederick Smith, 45. It appears that Fanny’s three young children are listed as boarders. Frederick has four older children. On February 24, 1902 Fred Smith and Cora M. Lund of East Machias were married (pg 69 Cooper marriage book.) Cooper Vitals “Birth of Paul Smith on February 18, 1900; eighth child of Hannah Lamb and Fred Smith; mother born Dennysville, father born Cooper; mothers maiden name Hannah Annis” Read this entry again. Pay close attention to names and dates. How many women are being described?

Mary Flood, 45, is a servant doing housework in the home of widower John Sullivan. Mary was born in New Brunswick a daughter of Irish immigrants. She was the widow of Civil War veteran Levi Flood.

Tom Tobin, 75, is listed as a boarder and farm laborer at the home of John Sullivan. Besides Tom and Mary Flood, the only other person in John’s home was his 11-year-old son Lawrence.


Leonard Greenlaw, 85, is still at the home of Aaron and Susan Colson.

Gladys Hussey, 15, is a servant in the home of Josiah Bailey and his mother Mary. She was born in Maine in 1895. Guy B. Hussey, born 1896, was listed as an adopted son of Thomas Robinson on the 1910 census of Crawford. Robinson was 77 and his wife 68. Was he a grandson? Gladys and Guy must have been siblings. Gladys married Albertus Legacy of Princeton on June 28, 1913. NFI

Harvey Niles, 28, was from Meddybemps and a boarder and Farm laborer for Jasper Bailey. We shouldn’t list Harvey because he was a brother of Jasper’s wife Mary.

Addie Perkins, 51, was a servant in Delmont Dwelley’s home. Addie, single daughter of Elisha and Rhoda Perkins, had been hired to look after Mort’s three children (ages 3 – 11) after their mother had died. We shouldn’t list Addie, but this shows another part of life a hundred years ago.

Marcia Strout, 15,

Tom Tobin, 90, is living with John and Esther Lowe on the Green Hill Road. The census sates that he immigrated in 1850 and has no occupation. Must be nice to just take it easy!

Oscar West, 29, is an employee of Earl Varnum’s. He is single and born in Maine. He was a soldier during WWI.



James R. Roix, 18, is listed as a hired man living with Horatio Averill.

Eliza Sawyer, 58, and a widow, was a housekeeper for James Durling, a 77 year old widow.

Julia Logan, 57 and a widow, was a housekeeper for Darius Williams and his two children. Also living in the household on the Arm Road was Darius’s father Marshall, age 74, also a widower.

COOPER – 1910

Martha Purington, 25, is a servant in the home of Thomas Sullivan. Is this the same Martha listed at George Reynolds home in 1900? NFI.

Interesting to note that Tom’s sister Annie Sullivan is a servant in the home of Theophilus Gillespie in 1910. His wife Nellie had died leaving him with two young children. His wife was Nellie Sullivan, sister of Tom and Annie. Annie apparently didn’t stay because she feared Theophilus would want to marry her. Annie became a nurse and was featured on the cover of Issue 124.



Otis Bridges 74 is a servant in the home of Harvey Niles on the Arm Road. Otis was a widower and born in Maine. NFI

Grace Dixon, 38, is a servant in the home of Harvey Niles. Grace was born in Maine and listed as married. NFI

CRAWFORD – 1920: No person was listed on the census who was not part of each family.


COOPER - 1920

Allan Durgin, 19, is listed as a boarder at the home of Susan Keene who was 82. In the household was her son James E. Keene, 38, and her granddaughter Violet, 20. Durgin ‘s occupation was as a laborer. NFI

Mary Flood 65, is a servant and laborer at the home of William Sadler. Mary, a widow of Levi, was at John Sullivan’s home in 1900.


Mabel Rodgers, 15, was born in Maine. She was with the Earl and Carrie Varnum family as a housekeeper. On page 33 of Darrell Keene’s book we find Mabel Arlene Rodgers born May 11, 1914, third child of Harry and Clara (Keene) Rodgers. Mabel was born in Calais. She married Forrest Moody.

Ira Perkins, 16, was a general farm laborer for Earl Varnum

Merle Blaney, 32, general farm laborer was in the home of Charles Brown. WWI veteran

Alfred Sounier, 45, was a French Canadian painter boarding in the home of Charles Brown. NFI

Alfred Doucette, 35, was a French Canadian farmer, living with and working for Charles Brown. NFI

Beatrice Frost 27, housekeeper in the home of Charles and Lizzie Brown

Henry F. Brown, 72, was a general farm laborer living with Charles Brown.

Ross Sadler, 23, was a general farm laborer in the Clinton Flood home on the Airline. Ross was from Cooper, the son of Harry and Verna (Creamer) Sadler. Ross was a cousin of Carleton Cooper. Ross married Eva McArthur and after living briefly on the McArthur Road moved to the Malloy place on the Airline in Baileyville. Clinton’s mother was living at the house as was her brother Robbie Lehan, described as a general farm laborer.

Joseph Leighton, 20, worked as a general farm laborer for Herbert Perkins up on Gooch Hill. In 1920 Joseph was living with Herbert and Alice as a ten year-old boarder. Also in 1920 living in the household was 62 year old Addie Perkins. Addie was Herbert’s sister.

Herbert Niland, 57, was a general farm laborer for Herbert Perkins.


Eldridge Creamer, 85, was a boarder with Frank and Marcia Williams. He was a widower born in Maine. He had no occupation listed and likely was just a boarder.

COOPER – 1930: No person was listed on the census who was not part of each family.

One more article on hired men planned, for the November issue.