• carter family,  history

    James Carter, Sr.

    James Carter, Sukey Carter‘s Grandfather, was our first ancestor to settle on Blue Hill Neck, and was one of its first (other than Native American) settlers of the region, arriving in 1770 or 1771. He arrived from Freetown (now Edgecomb, near Boothbay Harbor).

    James was born on 11 Feb 1740 and inherited his father’s blacksmith tools at the age of 15, and supported his extended family through that trade. He married Lydia Day on 4 Jan 1764, and they went on to have 12 children, including John Carter, Sukey’s father. He closed his books in Freetown in September 1770 and opened them at Blue Hill, then called Newport, in February 1771.

    James settled first upon Blue Hill Neck from which place he and two of his sons James Carter, Jr. and David Carter, left about 1796 for Long Island in Blue Hill Bay on which they settled near what is now known as Sand Point or Carter’s Point. (His brothers, Thomas and Henry Carter, also both settled on Salt Pond in Blue Hill).

    Incidentally, we have not been able to find the original land deed for James. He is not listed as one of the original grantees of settlers’ lots on Blue Hill Neck, although there are a few lots unaccounted for. He was clearly one of its earliest settlers so perhaps received one of those grants.

    There is an extensive genealogical record of the family captured in “The Carter Families of Hancock County, Maine” by Walter A. Snow. Wasn’t able to find a copy of that book, either physically or digitally, but last year I was fortunate enough to connect with a Carter descendant who is working on updating that book, and while not yet published, he was kind enough to share a work in process with me. While I was asked to not share the document in full publicly, I’ve included some relevant passages below. And if anyone would like to see a copy privately, just let me know.

    Also, recorded, documented and TREASURED are letters written and exchanged between John Pierce Carter of Sedgwick (See 1-4), and his nephew (Cousin), Calvin (Snow) Carter. We are all indebted to John Pierce Carter for the precious information contained in his letters. Reference to these letters will be made which are pertinent to our direct lineage to JOHN CARTER of Scarborough. 

    Sedgwick, Maine September 21, 1884

    To Mr. Carter (Calvin S. Carter)

    Dear Sir,

    I received your letter asking information concerning the Carter Family. I was much pleased to hear from one of my (Great) Uncle Ephraim’s descendants of whom I have never seen, only heard of them but I am well acquainted with all of his brothers and sister except Uncle Ephraim and know who they all married, Our great Grandfather (John Carter, Sr) married HANNAH SANDS they had six children, four boys and two girls.

    Yours Truly,

    John P. Carter (John Pierce Carter)

    Sedgwick, Maine September 29, 1884

    Dear Sir:

    I received your letter asking many questions of which I would willingly answer if I could but I can not, such as the name of my Great-Great Grandfather, I think it must have been James or John but I am not certain of it. Where he was from in England I do not know, nor his death, nor where, nor when he came here. 

    I will send you some records of one family which may be of help to you. I would like you to return them to me. James Carter, Jr. (the son of James Carter, Sr; the son of John & Hannah Carter) is my father and was born Oct. 31, 1764, died in 1834 age 70, married Hannah Bartlett March 16, 1792, they had one son named David then his wife died and he married Mercy Cain, my mother, and they had 12 children. My half-brother David age 21 and my own brother James age 19 were drowned at Great Cove at Long Island on Oct 22, 1813.

    You will find the record of my father’s family as I send. Our Great-Great Grandfather came over from England during the Reign of Queen Anne. Ephraim Carter was my Great Uncle. I have received the books from Captain Candage (husband of his Great-Great Aunt Abigail Carter-Candage) which I told you about but think he can give you some information as he is a relative of ours. I will write about my grandfather’s family another time. I want you to come and see me if possible this fall as I can tell you more in one hour than I can write in many.

    Yours Truly,

    John P. Carter

    p.s. It was Cape Elizabeth, Maine where (Great) Grandfather (John Carter, Sr) was born. Our (Unknown Great-Great) grandfather came over from England in the Reign of Queen Anne.

    Sedgwick, Maine October 1, 1884

    Dear Sir:

    I received your last letter and the records. I was glad to hear from you but would be more pleased to see you and become acquainted, hope I may before many weeks. We have an Old Relic, a pair of Gold Sleeve Buttons which was brought over from England by HANNAH SANDS’ mother 200 years ago. They have been kept in our line of the Carters and handed down until the present time. I gave them to my youngest son and he is the fifth generation, they have never been injured in the least. If I could see you I could tell you many things I cannot write about, explain to you many things about our relatives and plainer than I can write. So hoping to see you very soon.

    Respectfully Yours,

    John P. Carter

    p.s. You can come to Sedgwick to Portland by Sail Gc.

    Another note concerning the letters. Copied from notes of Calvin S. Carter, found among old letters written to him in 1884 before the Carter Reunion at Woburn, James Carter, Sr went to Blue Hill from Freetown (now Edgecomb). He was a Blacksmith. He closed his books at Freetown in September 1770 and opened them at Blue Hill, then called Newport, in February 1771.

    Author’s comment on the Calvin S. Carter and John Pierce Carter and other various Carter Letters written in 1884-85. The first Carter Reunion on record was held at Woburn, Mass. on June 11, 1884, there were 600 Carters registered at the Reunion. The main topic of the convention was genealogy and family history. No doubt this sparked many or inspired many to be genealogical minded as the aforesaid letters that were preserved are dated starting in April l884 just before the Reunion, probably inviting the family members to the Reunion and seeking their family records, these letters continued until the early part of 1885, when no doubt as the letters indicated the records were sparse, the interest died out. The ones from our line attending the Reunion were; Calvin S. Carter from Boston and Henry A. Carter from Belfast, Maine. No doubt others of our family attended but the author has been unable to pinpoint them at this time.

    Basically, we have established the foundation of our 2nd Generation Ancestor in America, JOHN CARTER of Scarborough. It was indicated before that he and his family might have lived in Damariscotta. Maine for a while, whether this is true or not we do not know. If he did, he returned to Scarborough before 1753, the date of which his Final Will was written. 

    However, his son James Carter, Sr. either stayed in Damariscotta or returned there as records show that he was married and his first son, James Carter, Jr. was born 31 Oct 1764 in Damariscotta. They evidently moved soon after that date as we find the next four children born in Edgecomb, Maine from October 1765 to January 1770 when they moved to the Blue Hill area.

    In the list of Proprietors of Blue Hill (Lawton Register, Blue Hill, Page 90) are to be found four Carters who are the sons & daughter of JOHN and HANNAH CARTER. This being some years after Joseph Hood and John Roundy made the first settlement in 1762:

    James Carter, Sr.             who settled there in 1771

    Thomas Carter             who settled there in 1776

    Abigail Carter            who settled there by 1777*

    Henry Carter                 who settled there in 1783

    *She likely came to Blue Hill with her brother Thomas or James as she married Joseph Candage, Sr in 1777 in Blue Hill.

    James Carter, Sr., son of John & Hannah Carter, settled first upon Blue Hill Neck from which place he and two of his sons James Carter, Jr. and David Carter, left about 1796 for Long Island in Blue Hill Bay on which they settled near what is now known as Sand Point or Carter’s Point. (His brothers, Thomas and Henry Carter, also both settled on Salt Pond in Blue Hill)

    The Lawton Register of Sedgwick (Pg 35) says Joseph Carter settled not far from John Eaton (a Deer Isle Embryo) on the slope of the Ridge before the War of 1812. He served in the Militia that March and was wounded by a ball through the hip while on duty near Castine. His father (Ephraim) came to this region with two brothers (John, Jr. and James, Sr.) from “Old York”. John Carter was the son of another of the brothers settled at what is now District No. 9 in Sedgwick.

    As records indicate, our early Carters were Blacksmiths, Fishermen, Farmers and just plain Explorers always anxious to “move on“ and put their roots down in new places. They were all religious and I think all of the people in those days were more or less religious and put their trust in God, more than they do today. It is interesting to note that outside of the tiny village of Damariscotta, Maine there is a heap of shells over six feet high, the accumulation of centuries of Indian Clambakes. No one knows for sure how long the mound has been there except that is was begun by Indians who came to the coast every summer to fish, at least a thousand years ago. Fishing was a very important and necessary industry at this time and a source of wealth for the early New Englanders. Many of the early Carter families were found living on the shores of Maine waters, such as Cape Elizabeth, Edgecomb, Damariscotta, (Bristol), Blue Hill, Surry, Sedgwick, and the Penobscot River.

    At this point the author of this Genealogical Record feels that we should hesitate, reconcile, review and document our genealogy that is compiled thus far. Back-tracking we find that the first CARTER on our Line whose given name and the name of his wife are unknown at this time, but it has been documented that he did come over from England during the Reign of Queen Anne (l702-1713) and settled on Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough, (York County at that time). Massachusetts Bay Province, where our first Progenitor, born in America JOHN CARTER was born in 1714, later he was to be called, JOHN CARTER of SCARBOROUGH. A deed and description of his property was listed on the preceding pages of this record and also recorded in Maine Deeds at Portland, Cumberland County, Maine Book 9 Page 388. He was a Blacksmith by profession. Records of his children’s descendants indicate that their Great Grandfather came over from England as stated above.

    It is documented in the Sands Genealogy and in the Will of JOHN CARTER of SCARBOROUGH that his wife was HANNAH SANDS of Biddeford, Maine who he married on 27 January 1737 and had eight children born from 1738 to 1754.

    Their son James Carter, Sr at the age of 15 did inherit by his Father’s Will, his father’s Blacksmith Shop and tools and which profession he engaged in and helped his Mother and his brothers and sisters by supporting them from the Blacksmith Trade. He married Lydia Day of Gloucester, Mass. on 4 January 1764, moving to Damariscotta, Maine where their first child, James Carter, Jr. was born 31 October 1764. They moved back to Edgecomb, Maine by 1765 where the next four children were born, then to Blue Hill by 1771 where three more children were born and to Sedgwick, Maine by 1775 where their son John Carter was born 31 March 1775, back to Blue Hill by 1778 where three more children were born.

    Keep in mind that Sedgwick and Bluehill at this time were only tiny settlements adjoining each other. James as a Blacksmith no doubt served all these tiny communities on scheduled trips. Besides the twelve children born to James and Lydia Carter, they adopted three more as listed with the family.

    (End of Fred Burton Carter Document)

  • carter family,  dunham family,  hamilton family,  history

    Family Library

    There have been a number of genealogical works over the years which have referenced branches of our family, and in particular the Dunham Family which goes back to Deacon John Dunham, a resident of Plymouth (but not a passenger on the Mayflower, which had long been rumored but has since been debunked).

    We’ve started to compile both first edition books where we can find them, which we will keep up at HamDun Lodge, as well as a virtual library you can access via the Family History menu.

    We would love to add to both the physical and virtual versions of this library so if you have other notable works please let us know.

  • photos

    2006 Photo

    Just added this photo to the recent photos section. This is one of my favorite photos of my Grandmother, Nancy (Nivison) Hamilton, taken on the porch of HamDun Lodge in 2006.

    HamDun Women, 2006

    The photo includes Barbara (Hamilton) Martin, Peggy (Hamilton) Smith, Nancy, Megan (O’Keefe) Manzo, and Sarah (Parker) O’Keefe. The color coordination was a complete coincidence (or more likely a genetic fashion sense).

    Nancy’s birth name was actually Anne Crichton Nivison (you can see her original birth certificate from 1912 below), but there were two Anne’s in the house, so she become known as “Anne C”. That eventually became Nancy, which she went by her whole life, although it’s unclear to me whether she formally changed it.

    Nancy (Nivison) Hamilton’s Birth Certificate, 1912

  • photos

    Family Photos

    You’ll see we made a change to the photos section, splitting it up into three sections:

    All are works in progress and we need your help! If you have physical photos we can help you get them scanned, or always feel free to email digital copies. Just get in touch and we will make it happen.

    Often we get photos with no known date so we are making estimates. If you see any that our in the wrong bucket, just let us know.

    Here’s a fun more recently picture. This is from 2016, around the remembrance we had for Dave Rice.

    Hamilton Family, 2016

    Working from left to right, as best we can, we have:

    • Tom Hamilton
    • Joan (Streeter) Hamilton
    • Brittany Hamilton
    • Caitlin Hamilton
    • Amity Hamilton
    • Brooks Hamilton
    • Jenna Hamilton
    • Dan O’Keefe
    • Sarah (Parker) O’Keefe
    • Tim O’Keefe
    • Mike Manzo
    • Cameron Manzo
    • Megan (O’Keefe) Manzo
    • Tommy Gates
    • Nathan Martin
    • Harry Gates
    • Duncan Hamilton
    • Boe Hamilton
    • Barbara (Hamilton) Martin
    • Doug Hamilton
    • Annabel Manzo
    • Albie Smith
    • Brad Gates
    • Amy (Hamilton) Speth
    • Peggy (Hamilton) Smith
    • Emery O’Keefe
    • Robert Speth
    • Brian Corain
    • Maggie (Smith) Corain
    • Sarah (Rice) Castor
    • Elise O’Keefe
    • Todd Smith
    • Charlotte Smith
    • David Engel
    • Ken Rice
    • Cecila (Wanker) Smith
    • Mark Engel
    • Jack Engel
    • Anne (Rice) Engel
    • Peter Gates
    • Adrien Gates
    • Bill Gates
    • Lynn (Rice) Whitehead
    • Haley Whitehead
    • Helen (Yuu) Gates
    • Jeff Whitehead
    • Sam Engel

  • gravestones,  history,  nivison family

    Robert Nivison

    I thought you might all might enjoy this biography of Robert Nivison, 1853-1902, written by his grandson, David Shephard Nivison, in April 1975. Our family has a long history in the paper business, a topic I will try to take up in a separate post. Robert was no exception, becoming chief papermaker of the Guard Bridge Paper Company in Scotland at only 28.

    Robert married Margaret (Maggie) Boe in 1879, but unfortunately she passed away during child birth of their 8th child. Robert remarried the following year, to a Rachel Thompson of St. Andrews but she passed away in 1898. Not a man to sit still, he married his third wife, Jessie Fraser of Dundee, in 1899, and she finally outlived him.

    My mother and I were able to visit Scotland 3 years ago and managed to track down their gravestone. The church where it was located was being renovated, and many of the gravestones had toppled from the vibrations, which is why you see it lying on the ground in the above picture. When the foreman came to kick me out (I had to jump a fence to get to it), he assured me they would stand it back up when they were finished.


  • hamilton family,  history,  photos

    Hamilton Family, circa 1899

    Hamilton Family, circa 1899

    This photo has hung inside HamDun Lodge for as long as any of us can remember. According to the handwritten notes on the back, it’s from around the year 1899. It is Henry Clay Hamilton’s family, taken in Brooklin, Maine. Looking at each person in the photo:

    #1 standing, holding the horse is Henry. Henry was the 8th child of Tom and Sukie Hamilton. His wife was Eva Byard Hamilton, who went by Gene (after her middle name Georgine) and is #10 here.

    #2 sitting on the horse is Harry Edward Hamilton. Harry was born in 1869 so would be about 30 in this picture.

    #3 with the bicycle is Emma Ruby Hamilton. Emma was born in 1880, and was Henry’s niece – her father Charles was Henry’s brother. Emma would have been about 19 here.

    #4 is Clara Joyce Hamilton, Emma’s mother, married to Henry’s brother Charles. She was born in 1854.

    #5 & #6 are listed as Celia Higgins (with the bicycle) and her sister Laura next to her. Not sure who they are – perhaps neighbors.

    #7 is Frank Sidney Hamilton, born in 1884. Frank was also a son of Charles Hamilton so he and Emma were brother and sister.

    #8 is Frances Dunham Hamilton, Nanna Hammie, with #9 Charlotte Dunham Hamilton in the carriage. Charlotte was born in 1898 so would be 1 here.

    #10 is Eva Byard Hamilton (Aunt Gene or Georgine Hamilton), who was Henry’s wife, Fannie’s Mom, and Charlotte’s Grandmother.

    #11 is Adelle Grindle Hamilton, Fred Hamilton’s wife and Gene Hamilton’s Mother.

    #12 is Fred Augustine Hamilton, holding the horse. Fred was born in 1850 so would be 49 here. He and Adelle were Gene Hamilton’s parents. They also had Winnie Hamilton Freethey who was born in 1878 but apparently isn’t pictured here, unless you believe my thesis on #17 which you’ll find below.

    #13 is Florentine (“Floyd”) Byard Hamilton. Floyd was born in 1882 so would be 17 here. That’s his dog Sport in his lap. Floyd was Harry’s brother but 13 years his junior. Their parents Henry and Eva had only two children, after losing a middle child at birth.

    #14 is listed as “unknown person” and a friend of the Higgins above.

    #15 is Laura Susan Hamilton, sister of Frank and Emma. She was born in 1892, so would be 7 years old here.

    #16 is our old friend Eugene (Gene) Bartlett Hamilton, who looks angry in this photo (which isn’t a surprise). He was born in 1886 so would be 13 here. Thats his dog Skip.

    #17 is listed as Carrie Bartlett, apparently the first wife of Will Bartlett, who was married to Frank’s daughter Susan. If true, I would find an ex-wife in this gathering quite awkward, so do wonder if that is actually Winnie. Winnie would be 21 in this photo, and would be seated next to her brother and beneath their parents. So I’m wondering if the label is incorrect.

  • dunham family,  hamilton family,  history

    Nanna Hammie DAR Application

    Barbara Martin submitted the attached – Frances Dunham’s (Nanna Hammie) original Daughters of the American Revolution application.

    We have a number of ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War – at some point I’ll try to compile a list. But Grammie Hammie chose Sylvanus Dunham, likely her most direct ancestor who fought.


    Quoting from her application:

    Sylvanus Dunham was a Private in Capt. Nathaniel Shaw’s company, Col. James Harren’s regement which marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775 to Marshfield.

    Service 2 days.

    Page 49, Vol 5 Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolution.

    You can see the reference she is quoting from here:


  • hamilton family,  hamilton shores,  history

    The Curious Case of Gene Hamilton

    I’ve long wondered what the story is behind Gene Hamilton, a grandson of Thomas Hamilton via his Father Fred Hamilton. Thomas and Sukie had 11 children, 7 boys and 4 girls. The land appears to have been divided up amongst their children but then, oddly, Gene started to become the principal recipient of his generation.

    You can check out the Hamilton Shores database to get a sense, but in summary, from 1921 through his death, many of his aunts and uncles gifted Gene their Maine lands. He ultimately amassed 160 acres (you can see the full estate below – Marion was Gene’s wife).

    The Gene and Marion Hamilton Estate from 1977, just after Gene passed. You can see the one carve out for Richard and Nancy Hamilton.

    He held onto the lands with a tight fist, other than one curious grant – in 1969, he granted Richard and Nancy part of the land we sit on now. I wondered why?

    I talked to Doug Hamilton and got the story. As the story goes Gene was a bit of an angry personality, and never joined the family cocktails or gatherings. It turns out there was a quirk in Maine law where if you paid taxes on a piece of property for a long enough time, you could claim ownership. Gene had apparently been doing that for years. Dick Hamilton found out, and demanded the grant from 1969.

    Unfortunately later Gene passed in 1976 without children after his only son committed suicide at 16 years old (on their boat, at the shore). His wife passed within a year after that, and the entire estate was sold off and the proceeds given to Boys Town. In the Hamilton Shores section you can see that his estate sued all of our family to prove title, which doesn’t appear to have been contested.

    An interesting chapter in our history, and credit to Richard Hamilton for saving the land we have today.

    If you have any more color on this, please comment below!

  • hamilton shores,  history

    Original Thomas Hamilton Deed

    Our family has a long history on Blue Hill Neck, starting in 1770 with the arrival of James Carter. However most of us trace our lineage more directly to Thomas Hamilton, who married James Carter’s grandaughter Sukie and with whom he had 11 children and launched our Tribe of Tom.

    Below is the original Thomas Hamilton Deed, when he purchased 33 acres from his Father in law, John Carter. The deed references the shore and the town line.

    If you’re curious about the history of our Family’s land on Blue Hill Neck, we have compiled a database of relevant deeds. You can take a look through by visiting the Hamilton Shores portion of our website: https://www.hamdun.org/?page_id=4810.