A BIRD GENEALOGY: From Dorchester, Massachusetts to Minot and Auburn, Maine

A BIRD GENEALOGY: From Dorchester, Massachusetts to Minot and Auburn, Maine


By Douglas A. Hall

442 Gore Road, Otisfield, ME 04270 [email protected]




William Blake Trask compiled a genealogy entitled "The Bird Family, A Genealogy of Thomas Bird of Dorchester, Massachusetts and Some of His Descendants" (Boston, 1871). It was also printed in part in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 25, pages 21-30. It makes the link from Aaron Bird, who was born April 7, 1756, and married Johanna Glover, of Dorchester, Massachusetts and later Auburn, Maine, back to Thomas Bird. Because Johanna Glover, born February 3, 1758, to Enoch and Susannah (Bird) Glover had Bird ties prior to her November 23, 1775, marriage to Aaron Bird; the Birds of Auburn have some double Bird relatives in their past.

The weakness of the above work is that it reports that Aaron and Johanna (Glover) Bird only had ten children.

"The Glover Memorials and Genealogies, An Account of John Glover of Dorchester and His Descendants" by Anna Glover (Boston, 1867) indicates that Johanna and Aaron were the parents of thirteen children.

A two page article was published on the children of Aaron and Johanna in Downeast Ancestry, Volume 13, Number 5, in February, 1990, pages 168-9 by this author trying to detail all the children of Aaron and Johanna. Since that article, it appears there is more supporting evidence that at least some of the children may have been born to Aaron and his second wife, after Johanna died.

Aaron and Johanna left Dorchester, Massachusetts, for Minot, Maine in about 1800, when Maine was merely a District to the Commonweath of Massachusetts and twenty years before Maine gained statehood in its own right. They settled in what is now West Auburn, Maine.

Eventually they constructed a large flat roof mansion that has since been consumed by a fire. It was probably one of the more impressive structures in the area at the time in order to be mentioned in the History of Androscoggin County, edited by G.D. Merrill, who also devoted a paragraph to Captain Bird. Merrill noted that Aaron Bird was born in 1756, came to the area in 1800 from Dorchester, Massachusetts in about 1800 and settled on Bird Hill in that two story mansion. Merrill indicates Joanna Glover Bird had Marblehead, Massachusetts origins. Merrill only mentions one child, Royal Bird, of the couple's children.

While Aaron and Johanna apparently missed the 1800 Minot federal census taker, they do appear in 1810 and 1820 federal census records for Minot, Maine.

Cumberland County deeds place Aaron, as well as his sons, William and Shippie of Poland in 1822 deeds regarding compensations they received for allowing the straightening of a road near their property there.





Although Merrill calls Aaron Bird, Captain, he probably earned this title for militia training service after the American Revolution. Aaron was apparently a drummer boy during the actual war.

It appears that an earlier name for the Spring Road near Lake Auburn was Bird Flat Road, probably named for the Bird family living there rather than nature's flying type of birds in the area. It may have been a road between the Spring Road and the road from West Auburn to North Auburn in some sections.

Aaron and Johanna (Glover) Bird were the parents of:

    1. James Bird, born June 29, 1777. He purchased land from his parents in the Minot/West Auburn area in 1809. He died March 9, 1813, a young man apparently without having produced a family.
    2. William Bird, born May 11, 1779 and died November 27, 1794, age 15 years.
    3. Johanna Bird, born February 9, 1781, married Samuel Ward. The Ward Family Descendants of William Ward by Andrew H. Ward, published in 1851 has their fourteen children listed. She was given a birthdate of February 9, 1778, in that work and is reportedly to have died November 29, 1848, in her 71st year. Samuel Ward was the son of John and Martha (Shed) Ward of Roxbury, Massachusetts.
    4. Susannah Baker Bird, born August 7, 1786, married Solomon Hancock on January 13, 1803, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Solomon was the son of Torry/Torrey Hancock. It appears they had at least seven children. At least two had middle names of Bird. More on this line can be found in Cambridge, Massachusetts, vital records and histories and Solomon was distant cousin to the noted John Hancock.
    5. Enoch Glover Bird, born April 14, 1784.
    6. Ann Bird, born March 29, 1786, married Samuel Hancock in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on November 20, 1808. He was another son of Torry/Torrey Hancock and distant cousin to the famous John Hancock and we have two Bird sisters marrying two Hancock brothers. They appear to have had three children with middle names of Bird or Ward.
    7. Rachel Robinson Bird, born January 1, 1788, married in Minot or Poland on March 19, 1805 to Salvin or Salren Holbrook. Although Young and Young in their Vital Records from Maine Newspapers suggest that Holbrook was Howard; there is evidence that the name was Holbrook. There is a Holbrook Road that appears to separate West Auburn from North Auburn heading off toward Minot and not far from Turner. The Holbrooks may have moved to the Portland area. They sold Minot land in 1818 and in 1846. A Harriet Holbrook, the daughter of Salvin and Rachel, who died November 9, 1825, at age two years, was buried in Eastern Cemetery in Portland, but the stone has since been destroyed.






    9. Grace Bird, born September 12, 1789, married Dr. Joseph Keith, intentions on September 5, 1810 and marriage on April 30, 1811. There were some Keith neighbors to the Birds in West Auburn (then Minot). Dr. Keith may have gone to Elliot, Maine, for medical training prior to coming to Minot. Grace was to die April 15, 1814 and Dr. Keith was to marry secondly to Rebecca Perkins on September 30, 1815.
    10. Charles Jarvis Bird, born February 14, 1798, died April 14, 1804, age six years, although the months of age when he died can no longer be read on his tombstone.
    11. Royal Bird, born November 1799, married Mary "Polly" Reynolds with intentions April 1 and a marriage on April 23 in 1820. She was born September 16, 1799 and died September 21, 1848. They lived on Brigg's Hill in West Auburn, but later went to Windsor, Maine. In their later years, they returned to Auburn. Royal died March 25, 1827, at age 28 years. The North Auburn Cemetery stones indicate that Polly Reynolds died February 21, 1848 and that she was married after Royal died on May 30, 1833 to Daniel Kingsley. Although Windsor vital records have not revealed the births of their children, G.D. Merrill in her History of Androscoggin County indicates that Royal and Polly had three children born there. Merrill gives further details on their children: (a) Charles Bird, (b) Mary Brett Bird, who married Phillips Bradford of Turner, Me., and (c) Edward W. Bird, who was to operate a North Auburn store and to marry Persis and have a son, Charles F. Bird.
    12. Shippie Bird (who often appears as Shippia, Shippee, Shippen, Shippy, Skipper and even Hippie in various records) was born December 30, 1790, bought Auburn (then Minot) land from his parents on May 28, 1813, with his brother, William as a witness. He married (1) Betsey Beal, intentions April 26, 1816. She was the daughter of Benjamin and Mary. The wedding occurred on May 28, 1816 or on the 23rd with Rev. Jonathan Scott of Minot officiating. Betsey was born in Poland, Me., on April 22, 1792 and was to die at age 64 years on August 4, 1856. Shippie served in Harlow's Company in 1814 along with his brother, William, for the War of 1812. At least twelve children were born to Shippie, according to Minot Vital Records or cemetery records:

(a) Ann Susan H. Bird (1817-1837);

(b) James Hancock Bird (1819-1827);

(c) Zenos Beal Bird, who married Sarah Adams;

(d) Henry Ward Bird, who married Celia D. Hatch;

(e) Mary Elizabeth Bird, who married Nathaniel Brimbicane and who had at least two children;

(f) Royal Hancock Bird, who married Sarah True and had at least four children and descendants, have been found in Massachusetts today;

(g) James Hancock Bird, who married Ellen A. Beals;

    1. (h) Joanna Ward Bird, (1830-1858), who married Jasper Morton:
    2. (i)Charles Payson Bird, (1832-1834);

(j) Clarissa True Bird, who may have preferred Clara and who later, married Jasper Morton, who had been widowed by her sister, Joanna; (k) John I. or C. Bird, who appears to have died young.






Shippie lost his wife Betsey and married secondly to Nancy Ellen Cloutman on September 3, 1857. She was to receive a widow's pension for Shippie's service in the War of 1812, after Shippie died January 13, 1869 at West Auburn, age 78 years and 14 days. She lived in Essex County, Massachusetts as well as West Auburn, Maine in her later years before her death January 10, 1903. Shippie and his first wife, Betsey, are buried at Brookvale Cemetery in Auburn, Maine.



    1. Benjamin Glover Bird, born February 24, 1793 and died September 9, 1793.
    2. William Bird, born November 27, 1794. Although the Glover genealogy suggests that he died soon thereafter, it was undoubtedly a brother who died. William was to marry (1) Permelia or Pamela Alexander on March 8, 1821, in Bowdoin, Maine. She was the daughter of Robert Jr. and Elizabeth (Coombs) Alexander of Bowdoin (but who lived very near the Litchfield, Maine, town line). Rev. Charles Sinnett mentions Aaron Bird as a teacher and customhouse officer in his Alexander genealogy, but did not link him to Aaron of Auburn. William and Pamelia appear to have moved to Portland, although their first two children appear to have been born in Minot. He was involved in land transactions with other family members in Minot. William and Permelia were the parents of :
    1. Robert Alexander Bird, who married Sarah Emerson of Auburn and who was a Clerk of Courts for Cumberland County as well as deputy sheriff, an auctioneer and Deputy Customs Collector in Portland. He established a business in 1872 called the Portland Safe Deposit Company. He and Sarah were the parents of
    1. George Emerson Bird, who married Harriet Leonard Williams in Yarmouth, Maine. Judge Bird was a lawyer who became an Associate Supreme Court Justice of the State of Maine. He and Harriet had no surviving children.
    2. Arthur Bird, died young.
    3. Arthur Smith Bird, who married (1) Julia Churchill of Springvale, Me. and (2) Kate Ramee Prall of Patterson, New Jersey. Dr. Bird was a M.D., who practiced in Pleasantville, N.Y. He only had Arthur Emerson Prall Bird as a surviving son. Descendants can be found in New York today.
    1. Elizabeth Ann Bird, who appears to have married Andrew J. Harlow, but probably died young.
    2. Harriet Ward Bird, who after her father died, was raised by her older brother, Robert Alexander Bird. She married late in life to a first cousin, Foster Alexander and had three daughters:
    1. Carrie, who after graduation from Bates College in Lewiston, taught school and then married Arthur E. Hall of Litchfield, Maine. She was the grandmother of the author of this genealogy.
    2. Letitia, a nurse, who never married.
    3. Lizzie (Elizabeth), who never married.


    1. Charlotte H. Bird, born July 12, 1836. Although this may be a twin to Harriet Ward Bird, above, more likely it is Harriet Ward Bird herself. No birth record has been found for Harriet Ward Bird in Portland. Harriet was in conflict with her stepmother, Charlotte Holden Bird, and may have changed her name from Charlotte Harriet to Harriet Ward.
    2. William F. Bird is believed to have been a son of William. He may have been brought by his father to the Society of Believers at Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester as an adolescent in 1846, but apparently did not stay but a few days. He appears to have served in the Civil War according to a North Auburn Cemetery memorial erected in 1870. He appears to have been the father of Frederick A. Bird and Horace H. Bird.

Pamelia Alexander Bird, the wife of William died August 20, 1839 and is buried in Eastern Cemetery, Portland. William married secondly to Charlotte Holden on July 16, 1840. Her origins were in the Casco, Me. area.

William Bird was apparently a teacher, customhouse officer and peddler. The History of Casco, Maine suggest he may have been a sheriff or deputy sheriff as well, but only one reference has been found to his being paid as a constable in Portland. He may have been a tailor or a peddler of tailor goods in his final years as the inventory of his estate suggests when he died in Saco, Me of consumption on December 27 or 29, 1848, at age 53. He is buried by his first wife in Eastern Cemetery, Portland, Me.

William served in the War of 1812 with his brother, Shippie.



    1. An unnamed child born August 17, 1796, who died the next day.

      So Aaron and Johanna (Glover) Bird appear to have had a thirteen children before Johanna died. Many of their children retained their Massachusetts ties and married and stayed there. Even some of their older children appear to have returned to their roots there.

      Johanna died December 1, 1815 at age 58 years.

      After the death of Johanna, it appears Aaron married secondly to Eunice Dodd when they were both of Minot and their intentions were filed Mach 29, 1816. It is further believed that they had two children by this union:

    3. Aaron Bird, who was a minor in 1829-30 when his father died and who died young on June 15, 1839, at age 20 (Maine Farmer).
    4. Oliver Pollard Bird, who was a minor in the 1829-30 when his father died. It is believed that he was born March 5, 1822 and he was to die October 8, 1847, age 25 years, 7 months, 3 days.







Aaron Bird died December 12, 1822, age 66 years, 5 months. His second wife, Eunice Dodd Bird was to marry Otis Keith, a neighbor of the Bird's. Otis Keith and Eunice Bird, both of Minot had intentions to wed on November 2, 1824. They were to have a child, Horace Keith, and they reportedly moved on to the Augusta, Me. area.

Aaron lies in Brookvale Cemetery in Auburn and a SAR marker rests on top of his grave. Joanna lies beside him. At least two children lie near them: Charles Jarvis Bird and Oliver P. Bird.

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