Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Matrilineal Monday ~ Sarah Smith Lowell, b. 1795

Sarah Smith is my third great-grandmother. The little bit I know about her comes from a town history published in 1897: History of Litchfield and an Account of its Centennial Celebration, 1895, published by the Kenebec Journal Print in Augusta, Maine. I found this at Ancestry.com, and it can also be found at Google Books.

Local histories are a wonderful resource. This local history includes many genealogies of families who spent time in Litchfield, Maine. On page 311 is the family of Joseph Smith and his wife Martha Robinson.

In the History of Litchfield, the first child of Joseph Smith and Martha Robinson is listed as Sally Smith. This is the only place where I find her listed as Sally. In other records I find her listed as Sarah.

Of course, we must remember that this is a secondary source and should be used as a guide to find primary source information about a family, but for some of this family's information, this is all I have at this point in time. (Other secondary sources that mention Sarah Smith, wife of Reuben Lowell, include The Historic Genealogy of the Lowells of America from 1639 to 1899 by Delmar R. Lowell, published by The Tuttle Publishing Company, Rutland, Vt. in 1899, and The Copeland Family: A Copeland Genealogy by Warren Turner Copeland, published by The Tuttle Publishing Company, Rutland, Vt. in 1937.)

Sarah (Sally) Smith, was born as the oldest child of Joseph Smith and Martha (Robinson) Smith, on November 28, 1795, presumably in Litchfield, Maine. She married Reuben Lowell on February 28, 1820. About 1825, they moved to Calais, Maine, about 186 miles east northeast of Litchfield, according to Google Maps. Her husband, Reuben, died at the young age of 42 in 1837, in Calais, Maine, leaving Sarah as a widow with five children (three other children had died very young in the 1820's).

Reuben Lowell is in Calais, Maine, in the 1830 US Census. After his death, Sarah is the head of the household and I am able to follow her in census records in Calais, Maine.

Detail from 1840 US Federal Census, Calais, Washington, Maine; Record for Sarah Lowell
This is what we have to deal with in US Census records before 1850. I do find Sarah Lowell in Calais, Maine, in 1840, but I get to make an educated guess as to who the numbers in the columns represent. My guess is that her five living children are still living with their mother as follows:
  • 1 male 5-10 (George A. Lowell, age 9)
  • 2 males 10-15 (Frederick A. Lowell, age 11; Reuben B. Lowell, age 13)
  • 1 male 20-30
  • 2 females 5-10 (Sarah Lowell, 6)
  • 1 female 10-15 (Minerva Lowell was 19, but perhaps was listed in this column in error.)
  • 1 female 40-50 (Sarah (Smith) Lowell, age 45)
  • 8 total persons

The next page of the census indicates that one person in the household is employed in the manufactures and trades. Perhaps this is the young 20-30-year old man in the household whom I can't identify.


Detail from 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Calais, Washington, Maine;
Record for Sarah Lowell (and two of her children)
In 1850, Sarah, age 54 is living with two of her children: 22-year-old daughter, Sarah (my 2nd great-grandmother) and 22-year-old son, Frederick A., who is a farmer. They are all listed with a birth place of Maine. I previously wrote about the long life of my 2nd great-grandmother, Sarah Lowell.


Between 1850 and 1880, she lived with her daughter, Sarah (Lowell) Copeland and son-in-law, Henry Clay Copeland. See this Workday Wednesday post about my great-great-grandfather Henry to see Sarah Smith Lowell in the census records for 1860, 1870 and 1880.

I have not been able to confirm when she died, although the secondary source above tell me she died in Calais, Maine. I bet if I looked through additional Calais, Maine, records on microfilm from the Family History Library and / or NEHGS, I might be able to find a record of the death of my 3rd great grandmother, Sarah (Smith) Lowell.

August 2015 Update: I was able to discover her death date because a kind FindAGrave volunteer found her gravestone and fulfilled my photo request! See Found a Death Date at FindAGrave!

My descent from Sarah Smith > Sarah Lowell > Lowell Copeland > Lowell Townsend Copeland > my mother > me.


  1. Elizabeth, I was challenged with this, however, I didn't couldn't find anything, nor anything in FAG. I'm sure you'll find her death date soon.

    1. Barbara, thanks for looking! I think I just have to get more creative in my searching, perhaps contacting someone in Calais or Washington County, Maine, to locate a source that's not available on the Internet.

      Thanks for reading, accepting the challenge, and commenting!

  2. Thanks for introducing me to Sarah (Sally) Smith. I love all that you have found and how you share what you still need to research.

    1. Devon, thanks for commenting. I still wish I could find out more about Sarah Smith, but it may take a trip to upstate Maine (or is it downeast Maine) to get to a local historical society to find out more about her.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. I find your blog very interesting. I like going through your research with you, seeing what you still need. I also visited your other blog. They are both really good. I am new at this blogging and have only been doing research for less than a year. I love seeing how others do it.




    1. Betty, thanks for the compliment! I will take a look at your blog. Definitely read lots of other blogs to get an idea of what you like, though you'll find it takes up a lot of your time ;-)

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. Yes, a quick look at my Ancestry tree tells me that we are related through Sarah Smith as well. Joseph Smith's
    older son (also Joseph) is my direct ancestor.
    The Maine records are tricky. Very complete in some places and very sparse in others. I'm afraid I'll be making a trip to Maine as well.