Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Branching Out to My Maine Roots: John Mahaffy and Ruth Thompson

I am one of the lucky ones! I haven't only listened to stories about my great-grandparents I have my own memories. Unfortunately, I have only one snapshot in my mind of my great-grandfather. I remember him sitting in a rocking chair wearing a blue cardigan. He asked me to reach into his pocket and see what I could find. It was a hard candy...butterscotch! Why was this visit with him imprinted into my mind? I couldn't have been older than five. If that! They had been living in Florida when he died so I must have seen him before they moved or during a trip back to Connecticut. I asked mom if she knew when this happened. She had no idea. I cherish this single moment in time!

My great-grandmother is a totally different story. I have lots of memories of her. Mostly, I remember spending nights over with her. We would play cards with the ladies who lived nearby or watch TV together. I have no idea what we watched, but I remember sitting with her. The next morning she would fix Shredded Wheat for breakfast. I hated Shredded Wheat, but didn't want to tell her so I would eat it anyway. There was the time I spent a week with her while my mother and grandmother went to California to visit my mom's aunt and uncle. I would spend time with her until she could no longer live alone. Grammie had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Now I think back and see some of the signs, but as a young child I didn't understand what was happening. I look forward to sharing some of those times with you. 

Now that I have shared some memories I'd like you to meet my great-grandparents. This photo was taken in honor of their 50th Wedding Anniversary. It has to be the most common photo shared throughout the family.  

This is John Wesley Mahaffy and Ruth Mae Thompson.

John Wesley Mahaffy was born in Limestone, Maine on June 29, 1894 to James Gordon Mahaffy and Ola Almeda Micue.  James was born in New Brunswick, Canada and Ola in Greenville, Maine. John was the second of seventeen children born to James and Ola. For years, I had been told that John had been the oldest child. However, during my search to find all the siblings I found that a baby had been born before John. When I mentioned my findings to my grandmother, she was quick to confirm that yes there was a baby but he had died before John was born. The family's story was partially correct in that he was the oldest living child (at least when the story was started). John died of a heart attack on December 8, 1972 while they were living in Vero Beach, Florida. After John's death Ruth returned back to Connecticut.

John and Ruth were married in the Madison Baptist Church in Madison, Maine on March 21, 1914. Their children surprised them with celebrations for both their 25th and 50th wedding anniversaries. By their 50th anniversary they had 23 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Ruth Mae Thompson was born on October 22, 1896 in Starks, Maine to Henry Artemas Thompson and Mary Ann Collins. Both Henry and Mary were born in Maine and their ancestor lines will run deep into our nation's history with veterans from the Civil War and Revolutionary War as well as some of the earliest settlers of Maine and Massachusetts. Ruth was the third of seven children and the first daughter born to Henry and Mary. Ruth died on June 14, 1993 in Bristol, Connecticut. She had suffered with Alzhemer's for many years before succumbing from pneumonia and congestive heart failure. At the time of her death, she was survived by two sons, three daughters, a sister, 24 grandchildren, 47 great-grandchildren and 19 great-great-grandchildren.


  1. My 2nd great grand father, George Scott Nelson was born in Waterville, Maine. Raised his children mostly in Lewiston. I've been to Maine as a child but really want to go back with the knowledge I now have.

  2. Hope you get a opportunity to visit Maine again some day. My mom has cousins living in both the Waterville and Lewiston areas.

  3. Deanna,

    I want to let you know that your blog is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Wow! Thanks Jana. I will be checking out the post.