Saturday, January 18, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #3, Kate Maria (Rand) Hodsdon

Time for a female ancestor! For ancestor #3, I have selected one of my great-grandmothers – specifically, my father's maternal grandmother.

Kate Maria Rand was born 19 Apr 18551 in Andover, Maine, the sixth of eight children of Nahum Alonzo Rand (a farmer and stone mason) and Dolly Brister. We have only the barest hints of her childhood. She was attending school by the age of 5,2 and ultimately completed the first year of high school.3 In Jun 1870 she was living with another Andover family as a "domestic servant", but had also attended school within the previous year.4 In those days, youngsters from outlying farms might live with a family in town, doing household work to pay for their board, in order to attend high school,5 and quite possibly that's the reason for Kate's position as a domestic.

Our next glimpse of Kate's life is the birth of her first child, Walter, in Mar 1875.6 The details are hazy, but it appears that Kate spent some time in Philadelphia in 1874 – probably visiting her two brothers who lived there at the time – and made the acquaintance of a local electrician named Jacob Dedier.7 Kate brought her baby home to Maine (or perhaps returned home before his birth), where her parents adopted the child and raised him as Walter C. Rand.8

Kate Maria Rand Hodsdon (ca 1900?)9

The following year, Kate married a farmer with the lengthy and improbable name of Silas Marchant Hillman Hodsdon (he sensibly dispensed with the "Silas" and "Hillman" and went by "March" most of his life) from nearby Byron, Maine.10 They settled at Farmer's Hill in Andover, where they had six children: Luther Marchant, Sarah Elizabeth "Sadie", Mary Milliken (my paternal grandmother), Essie Gertrude, Grace, and Gardner P. Hodsdon. Gardner may have been something of a surprise (but we hope a happy one), arriving a full eight years after Grace's birth, when Kate was 40. We can only imagine her grief at then losing her youngest son to diphtheria in 1908 at the age of only 13.11

The rest of her children had all left the nest and married by the time March Hodsdon died late in 1911,12 and she went to live in Lewiston, Maine, with her daughter Mary, who had married veterinarian Chester Kirk ten years earlier. Kate was there for the birth of Mary's children, Geneva in 1917 and Roger (my father) in 1919.

Four generations: "Grammie Hodge" (center) holding great-grandaughter Laura Jean Leach,
grandaughter Ellen Hall Leach (left), daughter Sadie Hodsdon Hall (right), ca 192913

Growing up with his grandmother in the home, recalled my father, meant learning to eat with dispatch. "Grammie Hodge" cooked and served up the meal and was always the last to sit down to the table – but she was also the first to finish eating. And when Grammie was done eating, she immediately set about clearing the table. So you either learned to keep up with Grammie, or risked having your half-finished plate whisked away to the kitchen right out from under your nose.

Kate M Hodsdon grave marker, Woodlawn Cemetery, Andover, Maine
Kate remained with the Kirks until a few weeks before her death on 6 Oct 1940 in Roxbury, Maine, at the home of her daughter Grace (Hodsdon) Thomas.14 She was buried with March, Gardner, two of her daughters, and a son-in-law in Woodlawn Cemetery in Andover.15

Marchant Hodsdon family gravestone, Woodlawn Cemetery, Andover, Maine
(Note: This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge at No Story Too Small.)

  1. "Maine, Births and Christenings, 1739-1900," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 17 Jan 2014), entry for Kate Maria Rand, 19 Apr 1855.
  2. 1860 U.S. Census, Oxford County, Maine, Andover, p. 67, dwelling 492, family 491, “Naam” Rand household; digital images, ProQuest, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries : accessed 12 Mar 2012).
  3. 1940 U.S. Census, Androscoggin County, Maine, population schedule, Lewiston city, ward 1, ED 1-28, sheet 2A, household 34, Mary M Kirk household; digital images, ( : accessed 2 Apr 2012).
  4. 1870 U.S. Census, Oxford County, Maine, Andover, p. 6, dwelling 36, family 37, Kate Rand in Henry W Poor household; digital images, ProQuest, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries : accessed 11 Mar 2012). 
  5. Kate Hall Franklin Chadwick and Nancy Franklin Earsy, A Home-Made Life: Memoirs of Kate Hall Franklin Chadwick (Lexington, Mass.: YSRAE Publishing Co., 1995), p. 14. Kate Rand Hodsdon's granddaughter, Kate Hall, recalled that "In order to go to high school, Mother [Sadie Hodsdon Hall] ,,, lived with different families in Andover, working for their board... Aunt Gracie had a similar arrangement when she went to high school." It seems quite likely that the young Kate Rand may also have attended high school under the same circumstances as did her daughters a generation later.
  6. 1900 U.S. Census, Oxford County, Maine, Andover, ED 177, sheet 7B, dwelling 162, family 164, Walter C Rand in Marchant S “Hodgman” household; digital images, ProQuest, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries : accessed 11 Mar 2012).
  7. "New Hampshire, Marriage Records, 1637-1947," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 Apr 2012), Walter C. Rand and Ellen E. Adley, 1906; Walter's father is given as Jacob "Didgere", an electrician born and resident in Pennsylvania. While this name is not found anywhere else, a Jacob Dedier (listed in censuses and city directories variously as a wood turner, electrician, and tin worker) lived near the Rand brothers in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia during this time period.
  8. Chadwick and Earsy, A Home-Made Life, p. 14. "Born in Philadelphia, [Uncle Walter] was the first child of my Grandmother Kate Maria Rand Hodsdon. Her mother, Dolly Brister Rand, adopted Uncle Walter when [Kate] returned from Philadelphia with her infant. Uncle Walter wa raised by Great Grandmother Rand and her husband, although it was no secret that he was Grammie Hodge's son." However, Walter always gave his birthplace as Maine in the censuses and in his marriage record.
  9. Kate Maria Rand Hodsdon portrait, possibly ca 1900; digital image scanned from the original in 2012 and privately held by the author, Virginia Beach, Virginia. The original is privately held by the author's brother, a great-grandson of Kate Hodsdon, who received it from his aunt Geneva Kirk, Mary Hodsdon Kirk's daughter.
  10. "Maine, Marriages, 1771-1907," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 17 Jan 2014), Marchant S. Hodsdon and Kate N. [sic] Rand, 25 Nov 1876, Byron, Maine.
  11. “Maine, Death Records, 1617-1922,” database and digital images, ( : accessed 16 Jan 2014), Gardner Hodsdon, 25 Jun 1908.
  12. “Maine, Death Records, 1617-1922,” database and digital images, ( : accessed 27 Apr 2012), Marchant S. Hodsdon, 4 Oct 1911. 
  13. Chadwick and Earsy, A Home-Made Life, p. 45, figure 3. 
  14. “Andover Obituaries”, transcriptions, Robert A. Spidell, Andover, Maine ( : accessed 28 Apr 2012), “Kate (Rand) Hodsdon, 1885-1940” obituary, ca Oct 1940, citing “Obituary from an unidentified and undated local newspaper”.
  15. Woodlawn Cemetery (Andover, Oxford County, Maine), Marchant Hodsdon family monument and Kate M. Hodsdon marker, read and photographed by the author, 15 Aug 2012.

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