A Note From the Teacher

In 2001, writer Susan Rayfield interviewed me about Brunswick’s Open Space and Recreation Task Force work to locate and catalogue the town’s cemeteries. Her articles appeared in both the Portland Press Herald and the Kennebec Journal and featured photos of Hartwell Little Yard. Not long after, I received a letter in the mail from my 4th and 5th grade teacher, Doris Parsons.

Hartwell Little Yard articles2001
17 March

Dear Barbara,

    I was most interested to read the article about your work and interest in the old cemeteries.
    My grandparents are buried in the River Road cemetery. Charles Frederick Owen, & Josephine – as well as his second wife.
    My mother and her four sisters as well were graduates of Brunswick High (Hawthorne School) – my mother in the class of 1892.
    My Aunt Annie lived in Auburn, fretted for years over the condition of the cemetery.
    The Boy Scouts did a great job in their clean up project.
    Keep up the good work.


Doris Parsons

Letters from Doris ParsonsI wrote back in my best Longfellow School penmanship and she sent another note with a few more facts about her grandparents.

 April 18

Dear Barbara,

        Thank you very much for your interesting note.
        I enclose only a few facts of my grandparents who are buried there but if I can give       you any more help or information, please let me know.

God bless ~

  • My grandparents on my mother’s side – Frederick & Josephine Owen
  • Frederick was one of 9 boys, all raised in the Owen Homestead on River Road – two of the other children were Philip & Howard.
  • Frederick died in 1907, at the age of 67.
  • He married Josephine Isabel Alexander, who died at age 33, having given birth to 6 children Mary, Annie, Minnie, Mabel (my mother), Hannah & Frank (5 days old when she died.)
  • Frederick married again and raised 5 more children. The only one I ever knew was Howard – his children, Harold, C. Frederick, Robert & Florence.

Philip Owen in Hartwell LittleMrs. Parson’s grandparents Charles Frederick (1838-1907) and Josephine (Alexander) Owen (1845-1879) are not the only members of her immediate family buried in Hartwell Little Yard. So are her great-grandparents, Jeremiah (1792- 1867) and Hannah Badger Owen (1798-1891), whose farm was side-by-side with that of son Charles Frederick, just south of the cemetery. Other Owens there include her great-uncles William S. (1820-1854) and Philip (1817-1910). Philip, in fact, lived some years with his much younger brother Charles Frederick. Philip, a painter, died in 1910 at age 92 and his may have been the last burial in Hartwell Little Yard.

Next Blog in two weeks: The Diary of Betsey Alexander


  • Ancestry.com (Census & Death Records)
  • Vital Records of Brunswick, Maine 1740-1860 and The Forsaith Book. Compiled by Joseph Crook Anderson II, CG, FASG. Picton Press, Rockport, Maine, 2004
  • Cumberland County Registry of Deeds, 25 Pearl St., Portland, Maine (also see https://me.uslandrecords.com/ME/Cumberland/D/Default.aspx)
  • The Cemeteries of Brunswick, Maine. Desmarais, Barbara A., http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mebrucem/index.html, 2014
  • Letters from Doris Parsons
  • History of Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell, Maine. Wheeler, George Augustus Wheeler, MD. And Henry Warren Wheeler, Alfred Mudge & Son, Printers, Boston, Mass., 1878

About Barbara Desmarais

Writer and amateur historian
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