Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I have no children of my own.   There seems little point to be doing all this work for just myself.  Of course I want this to be available for all the Mitchell relatives and the Cafarella and Cincotta families as well, but my children will never benefit from my work.  I decided, that there should be a focus in my personal sphere that will have a stake in preserving the information.  My brother and his family do not seem to have a strong interest, my distant cousins on all sides, I do not know well enough to judge if there is a commitment to such an endeavor.  So, I decided that I should bring my sister's family into it more than I might in other branches of the family.  So, before you look at this post and say to yourself, "Who in the world are the Burrills?", They are my sister's husband's family.  They are an interesting bunch on their own.
Fred (her husband) had a grandmother who did a genealogy, back when it was difficult, in the non-information age.  She was able to go back as far as I have, and found some really interesting people.
Carrie Odiorne's genealogy is now gathering dust in my sister's attic. 
I am afraid that people do not really get interested in genealogy till they reach mid to late life, or the day their children come home with an assignment to do a short genealogy for school.  My sister's kids have not really gotten to that point yet, so there it sits in a box.
The thing is... the more of these obscure branches of the family that I bring in to this work, the more likely that someone in the vast number of people in the family will take an interest down the road.  Also, if I do this for a really big group, it will be more cost effective to publish as a family history book to be left in state archives for the future.
One reason I find it easy to put the Burrills in here is because I know a little something about them already.  Unfortunately, I have found that thinking you know them leads to some misconceptions.  I will try to set them straight now.  I would encourage other "married in" members of the family to do the same for their family and send it along to me to be published here,
So, here we begin with the Burrills.

Frederick Wendell Burrill b. December 7, 1936
Charles Edward Burrill  b. November 20, 1938- January 24, 2006  

    Mother:  Alberta Hutchinson Burrill February 21, 1901- July 6, 1992
        Alberta's mother:  Annie Duffy Burrill
        Alberta's father:    Scott George Burrill

    Father:  Richard, Odiorne Burrill  June 17, 1900 - January 8, 1966
        Richard's mother:  Carrie Louise Odiorne
        Richard's father:     Frederick Wilson Burrill

            Richard's grand-father:    Wesley Burrill

If Fred and Charlie Burrill were kids today, there would be someone standing in the wings whispering that they were abused children.  Invariably there is someone who believes that military children suffer because of all the moves they make in a lifetime, or that they should be near grandparents or extended family instead of some out of the area locale that the parent is forced to take them to because of a job.  As a customs officer, Richard too, was moved often.
In my mind however, The two boys lived an absolutely idyllic childhood.  They moved every few years to a new town along the Canadian border.  They hunted and fished with each other and with their father Richard in remote locations with few neighbors other than owls, bear, deer and moose.

Richard was from Houlton, Maine originally.  He was in the Lewiston-Auburn area of Maine when he met Alberta.  
Such an odd couple.  Alberta was from Fitchburg, Massachusetts.  She was tiny, and you would never have guessed when I knew her that her wedding gown was a short, Flapper-like affair. 
Richard was tallish, an outdoor lover, and was teaching in Augusta by the time the boys came along.  They were born in Lewiston.  As I look at Fred now, I really see the same person and habits I saw in the rather formidable Richard.  Fred seems more mellow than his father though.
Richard applied for the Customs service.  They were posted first in Orient, Maine.
 If you do not know Orient, it is on the eastern border with New Brunswick, Canada.  Large lakes, wilderness, farms and when you get to the right spot along route one, there are elevated views toward Canada that will take your breath away, especially in the Autumn. 
It was always a ritual, when my mother was well, to drive down to Orient to see the view once a year.  There was a restaurant there, called "The Million Dollar View".  This is not too terribly far from where my sister and Fred live now. 
Orient is only about 10 miles east of the formerly famous, (Tombstone Every Mile) Haynesville, Maine.  However, I suspect it would take a troop of native beaters, and water loving Elephants to get there the crow flies.  It is also on Grand Lake, which is divided in half by the Canadian-US border, and must have been a Customs and Immigration nightmare. 
In the other direction, it is almost due West from where my father was raised in the Kars area of New Brunswick, and from Kings Landing.
Anyway, this, like all of their postings, was an area that was ripe for fishing, camping, canoeing and hunting, and I am sure they took full advantage of it, as soon as the boys were old enough.

Alberta was my playmate when I was a child.  She had the two boys, Fred and Charles, and they had been wrapped up in the outdoor activities and sports that their father was interested in, unless I miss my guess.  I came along after my sister married Fred, and had many of the interests that Alberta had, and was a sponge to soak up those interests I did not know I had.  She had an interest in French, probably from having all those posts on the Canadian border, and had studied Russian.  I suppose that in the 60s, we all thought we would be speaking Russian someday.  She also, despite being a rather stereotypical New England cook...Meat and steamed potatoes and veg, done very plain, followed all meals I ever witnessed with the bane of all our existences in that time period...the home made dessert.  The more sugar and chocolate the better.  Of course there could be no more eager and appreciative recipient of anything chocolate than the Burrill men, like most American men in the middle of the 1900s.  I do not think I ever went into that house at 60 Court Street, when there was not a red tin on the far kitchen counter full of Brownies layered in waxed paper. 
I suspect that when she was not hosting me, she was busy with all sorts of community activities.  Garden Club I am sure of, though she did not really have much of a garden.  I think Garden Club was compulsory though, or they drummed you out of town.  I went to plenty of Community concerts at Ricker College with her, including such odd things as a reading of the "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" by T.E. Lawrence. 
Richard sat reading and listening to ball games, or watching television in a big recliner just outside the kitchen door in the dining room.  We buzzed around him doing crafts, or she would be busy combing my hair the opposite way from my mother to prepare me for portrait sittings, or getting a meal out of the way so we could head off into the hinterlands around Houlton searching for weeds to make crafts projects with.  I remember gluing dried weeds and seed pods into heavy "Chinet-like" paper plates and spraying them copper color to be hung on the wall.  Pretty, but Oh,...The dust...!
She would load me into the black Ford Falcon, and off we would go. I remember once, having a couple of dollars in my pocket for some reason, and I insisted on taking her to lunch.  I think she insisted on paying.  We went to Al's diner, opposite the park, and had pizza.  I insisted.  She looked at this 10 inch bland beauty on her plate like I was asking her to eat a 10 inch roach.  She was mortified when I insisted on her picking a slice up in her fingers...  I think she said something like:"What do I do with it?"  It was the early 60s, and we did not really get out of the fifties in Houlton till 1980 after all.
When it was time to part company, she would kiss me on the neck and nuzzle into you and sniff deeply like she was trying to remember your scent.  She was sooooo cute.
Later on, she provided the funds for several years of private Art lessons, with Nell Chadwick, who had lived next to her and later set up her apartment and studio upstairs in one of the brick commercial buildings just off Market Square.  Her apartment was dominated by many of her paintings, including a monumental old master style religious painting that dominated the long narrow room.
My own mother was always interested in "Artsy" things, and could probably have made a living at it in another place and time, but she was not into this gadabout and joiner lifestyle, nor did she have the funds to do these things with me.  She also, did not have a driver's license.
My mother was more of a "Hot Ticket" type than society tea party hostess.  She was always beautiful, though faded when I was old enough to notice.  It would not be to many years before her life changed forever when she first staggered in the front hallway from the effects of Multiple Sclerosis.  I wonder if her life and activity had been colored by the effects of MS for years before it showed up.
Mrs. Burrill was just the opposite, and I guess that novelty was what attracted me to her.  She was conservative in dress and manner, a typical housewife of the time period, devoted to her family and proud of her was always proud of boys in her eyes....She was very New England in many ways, having come from Fitchburg, Massachusetts.  She was always very proud of her Burrill connection too.  She had deep connections to Early America herself, if I remember correctly, but was equally proud of the Burrill and Odiorne' history.
She was particularly proud of connections to John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. 

Mike McPherson son of Diane Burrill age 24 in 2012

In case you have checked this post out a couple of times, I am having a hard time writing this.  Deciding how to approach this story has not been easy, but keep checking.  I will finish it eventually.

1 comment:

  1. What wonderful stories! I am so delighted to have stumbled across your blog. I am married to Steven Charles Burrill, son of Charles Edward Burrill. The Burrill line continues through our two daughters Evelyn and Gwyneth.
    Thank you for your work on the family tree. I look forward to learning more with you.

    All my best,
    Bethany Burrill