My Staples Family Of Berwick & North Berwick Maine

The New England ancestral home of my Staples lineage is Berwick & North Berwick, in the county of York, Maine. When I was a child, I visited my grandparents Clarence and Olive Staples during summer vacations in North Berwick. I called them “Papa and Grammie Staples”.  When I was very young, they lived in what they called “the camp” on their property.  My grandfather was in the process of building a new house on the same piece of land.  When the house was finished the camp became my grandfather’s woodshop.

My grandfather was quite the woodworker.  He built all kinds of things including furniture, mostly from knotty pine. Well, yes of course! After all, Maine is “The Pine Tree State”.  I remember being with him in the woodshop.  His entire shop was filled with power tools, hand tools, and pine wood.  I had no idea, at the time, what these tools were for.  But one day, right in front of my very eyes, on his lathe he turned a rectangular piece of pine wood into a baseball bat!  The smell of fresh-cut pine stays with me to this day.  I attribute it to my grandfather that I, too, have the hobby of woodworking. When I cut into a piece of pine or spruce, I always think of Papa Staples.

He had an old Allis-Chalmers tractor, 1960-vintage, to help him in the vegetable garden.  It was orange.  When I got old enough, he taught me how to drive it.  A what?  A clutch!  I had to learn how to use a clutch.  Now that was fun when I was able to drive and shift it myself!  He also had the first riding lawnmower in the family.  I remember cutting the grass for him.

Papa and Grammie Staples had blueberry, blackberry and raspberry bushes behind the house. I was asked to help pick them.  Little did they know they didn’t get all the berries I picked returned in the cup.  Oh, okay, maybe they knew…..

According to the book Doughty Falls – The History of the Town of North Berwick, Maine my grandfather served as one of the North Berwick Selectmen in 1921 and again in 1922.  He was also elected to serve as Constable of North Berwick in 1923 and 1929.  He served as Postmaster at the North Berwick Post Office for 17 years between 1935 and 1952.  In later years, about 1961, he became a US Mail letter carrier for the Post Office.  I remember him taking me to ride along with him in the car to deliver mail.  It seemed my grandfather knew everyone….and in North Berwick there were Staples everywhere!

Clarence M Staples (1895-1965) married my grandmother, Celia Olive Call (1894-1973).

Olive and Clarence Staples, my grandparents c.1965
Headstone. Courtesy of Find A Grave

My grandfather Clarence Malcolm Staples was son of:

Samuel Bert Staples (1863-1947) m. Ida M Ford (1861-1932).  Samuel Bert was son of:

Robert F Staples (1834-1923) m. Sarah E Torrey (1836-1919). Robert was son of:

Deacon Samuel Staples (1798-1864) m. Eleanor “Nellie” Ford

DEACON SAMUEL STAPLES

My 3rd great-grandfather, Deacon Samuel Staples, was born 1798 in Berwick, York County, Maine.  It was Berwick since North Berwick was not set off (separated) from Berwick until 1831.  He was the son of Joshua Staple and Elizabeth Staple.   Yes, you’ll notice his mother and father both had the surname: Staple. 

Deacon Samuel was married twice.  His second wife was my 3rd great-grandmother, Eleanor “Nellie” Ford.  Eleanor was likely a sister to Samuel’s first wife Lovina, daughters of Robert Ford and Mary/Molly Abbott.

Deacon Samuel and Eleanor “Nellie” had four sons:

Samuel F Staples (1829-1908)

Robert F Staples (1834-1923)

John F Staples (1836-1923)

Joshua F Staples (1840-1915)

It’s starting to become clear why there were so many Staples in North Berwick when I was a child…and there were even more Staples from other family lines in North Berwick; also, in Kittery, Eliot, York, Berwick, and South Berwick, too!

This leads to so many questions:

  • What is Deacon Samuel’s lineage?
  • Could his parents have been related? It seems likely, but how?
  • Where did he live?
  • What did he do for a living?
  • Was he active in the community?
  • Deacon Samuel Staples – – deacon of what? 
  • Where is he buried?

We do know where Deacon Samuel is buried.  He is buried in a small, private family cemetery known as Staples Cemetery #132. My family and I were able to find this cemetery during a 2002 visit to North Berwick, but it wasn’t easy! We had to walk behind a house, through a field, into the woods and over a stone wall. And there it was!  We took the picture below during our 2002 visit to North Berwick.

I learned much later in life that my grandfather’s property with the house, woodshop and garden were built on land owned by my Staples ancestors for generations, beginning with Deacon Samuel.

Map of North Berwick c. 1872

For more on Deacon Samuel’s land, life and genealogy, CLICK HERE to read our PSHG website’s “Ancestral Accounts” feature!

Sources:

US Census Records for North Berwick, York, Maine: 1850, 1860

Frost, John Eldridge et al., Vital Records of Berwick, South Berwick and North Berwick, Maine. Rockport, ME: Picton Press, 1999.

Frost, John Eldridge, The North Berwick [Maine] Record Book. Salem, MA: Higginson Book Company, 2000.

Doughty Falls, The History of the Town of North Berwick, Maine 1831-2006.  Portsmouth, NH: Peter E Randall Publisher, 2006.

Find A Grave™    https://www.findagrave.com/

Frank Staples, Jr., February 2019

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