Judy and I recently had a weekend in Portland Maine with our 2 other wonderful college friends. It was not perfect weather by any means, being misty to rainy and somewhere around 55 degrees. As usual, though, the four of us had a great time. We walked and wandered and sat and talked and ate and drank. Oh yes, we watched movies too. But I digress.

In looking at one of the meant-for-tourists maps of the city, I happened to notice – quite by accident – that there is a small square on Fore Street that is named Boothby Square. Boothby was, as I wrote recently, the maiden name of my father’s mother. So it caught my eye, and I proposed that my one goal for the wandering was to see that square and get a picture. Both Judy and I were trying to stay out of genealogy mode, since our friends are not particularly interested. But a square, located in the exact area we were going to wander, was too much for me to pass up. Here is a picture of the fountain that marks the square.

Boothby Square, Portland, Maine

Now to the genealogy part. I have some reason to think that my ancestor, James Boothby, was the son of Josiah Boothby. When James married Elizabeth Divers in 1827, Josiah Boothby gave his oath of presence (as well as certificate of her parents being filed). So far, the assumption is that both were underage, and required parental approval to marry. Other entries on the same page show “oath of applicant”, which I take to mean that the applicant groom is of age to marry. I also have some reason to think that my Boothby line came to southwestern Ohio from Maine, sometime before about 1802. Josiah Boothby married Mary Rounds in September 1802 in Clermont County, Ohio.

Well, I emailed a cousin Boothby who replied that the Square in Portland is named for Frederic E. Boothby who was mayor of Portland in 1901, 1902, 1903. He (and his wife who was a philanthropist) donated the park that is now the square to the city of Portland in 1902. It turns out that it was Frederic Boothby for whom the Boothby Home was named as well. The Boothby Home was built in 1902-3 while Frederic was mayor, to house the city’s destitute men and women.

Frederic was born in 1845 in Norway, Maine, the son of Levi T. Boothby and Sophia Packard Brett. This Boothby family established itself in Waterville, Maine. Frederic was educated in Waterville and began his railroad career there, through his father’s interests. By 1875 he and his wife, Adelaide E. Smith, were living in Portland, and there they stayed for a number of years. Frederic was not only mayor, but he also participated in a number of volunteer organizations and was a member of the S.A.R. and the Society of Mayflower. Frederic and Adelaide did not have any children and both were very active in a number of organizations and philanthropies. Frederic Boothby was probably not very directly related to me, but obviously he was interested in his family history and participated in genealogy societies. He died in 1923 in Waterville, where he and his wife had returned sometime after his terms as mayor in Portland.

Ok, back to my own genealogy. What follows is my speculation and piecing together of information that doesn’t yet connect firmly to my Boothby family in southwestern Ohio, but is suggestive.

I know that there were at least two Boothby men in Clermont County, Ohio by 1802; there are marriage records showing that James Boothby married Abigail Rounds on May 1, 1802 and Josiah Boothby married Mary Rounds on September 3, 1802. A James and a Josiah Boothby, and a Josiah Jr. were listed as having been given Donation Tract Land in the Marietta area, which were 100 acre plots given by the Ohio Land Company to men 18 and over. In return the men promised to carry a gun and protect the approaches to Marietta from the Indians. This land donation was done between about 1790 and 1820. There is a Josiah Boothby shown in the 1790 census in Maine with 2 sons 16 and under and 2 females. If this is the same Josiah then the family must have migrated to eastern Ohio sometime after the 1790 census was taken and may have left family members in that area (which would help explain Boothbys in Washington County more recently). So between 1790 and 1802 the Boothbys moved first to the eastern edge of what became the state of Ohio and then further down the Ohio River to Clermont County.

After their marriages, both James and Josiah (presumably the junior) show up in tax records from 1806-1810. The older Josiah and his wife both died about 1804, if the information I have found so far is correct (I have no direct documentation). James and the younger Josiah died between 1830 and 1835. James does not seem to have been enumerated in the 1830 census, nor does his wife Abigail.

Since none of the early censuses list family members by name except for the head of household, I do not have much to go on. The early categories enumerated in 1820 do tell me that Josiah reported 1 boy under 10, 3 boys between 10 and 16, 1 male between 26-45 (probably himself), and 2 girls under 10.

Josiah Boothby, 1820 census, Brown county, Ohio

His wife doesn’t seem to have been included, although there is some reason to think she didn’t die until 1824. There’s a mystery. James reported 1 boy under 10, 1 between 10-16, 1 between 16-18, 1 between 16-26, and 1 between 26-45 (himself I assume), 2 girls under 10, 2 between 10-16, 1 female between 26-45 and 1 45 or older.

James Boothby 1820 census, Clermont county, Ohio

I guess that the woman in the older range might have been a mother-in-law. Or, one of the women might have been James’s sister-in-law Mary (who was missing from her husband’s house at the time of the census). I do not yet know anything about the two Rounds women who married the Boothbys. They may have been sisters. And here, for now, my trail ends. I have many more questions than answers, but can see what I need to look for. That’s the usual place I find myself in my genealogy searching.

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