The Joshua Dodge Sargent Family, C 1899

Standing left to right:
Hannah, James and Jessie.
Seated left to right:
Mary Elizabeth, mother Mary,
father Joshua, and Robert.
Seated in the front
to the right is Jay.

The purpose of this site is to share Sargent family history through pictures, journals and letters starting with the family of Joshua and Mary Sargent of Alton, Maine and moving backward in time through prior generations.The descendants of Joshua and Mary Sargent are flung far and wide, and this is an easy way to share family history.

Mary Butman Sargent and Joshua Dodge Sargent

A Brief Overview

The picture above is of spool stock being hauled by the Philbrick farm in Alton, Maine. To the left of the barn can be seen smoke coming from the Sargent Bros. steam sawmill. In the distance and further to the left is the large set of farm buildings owned by the Sargents.

Much of the information we have about the Sargent family business in the early 20th century comes from a "Line-A-Day" journal kept by Mary Foster Butman Sargent and information gathered by JGS through interviews with his father, Herbert Eugene Sargent. The following information is a reprint of the introduction to Mary Butman's Sargent's 1927-28 Journal, which was transcribed and printed to preserve family history by JGS. This gives a good overview about what is known about Joshua and Mary Sargent of Alton, Maine.

This photo above appears to be Mary Butman.
The studio is marked on the back -
H. L. Kilgore, Photographer, Belfast, Me.

This photo above was marked
in the Butman Family Album
as "Grandmother Mary Sargent"

This of Mary Butman was taken
at the W. C. Tuttle studio in Belfast

Crop of Mary F. Butman Sargent
from the banner photograph

The following is written by JGS as an introduction to Mary F. Butman Sargent's Journal, which was transcribed and distributed to interested Sargent family members:

Mary Foster Butman was born in Searsport on 5 September 1845, the fifth of six children born to William Butman and Margaret Ann Gilmore Pendleton. Her mother died when Mary was only four years old. Her widowed father married Lucy Oakes in 1853 and they had one daughter born before Lucy died in 1856. William then married Tabatha Curtis about 1860 and they had one son, Samuel, before she died in late 1863.

Mary's oldest sister, Hannah, was married to James Ford in 1861 and literally sailed away with him. The next sister, Margaret Ann, married Benjamin Sargent about 1866, when Mary was 21 years old. This left Mary as the only adult female in the household.

The 1870 Census for Searsport lists William Butman's household. William was then 68 years old and was listed as "farmer", his last command being in 1861 on the schooner William Butman. Mary was listed as "keeping house", and her age was 25. Besides her brother James P., listed as a 22year old "Mariner", two of her younger half-siblings were listed - Charlotte L. at 17, and Samuel at 7 years.

William Butman died in 1873 at the age of 71 years. His estate was probated that year and included his real estate and part ownership in four vessels. His oldest surviving son, 25 year old James Pendleton Butman, was appointed administrator of the estate that totaled $14,022.46.

Tradition says that Mary "sailed around the world" with her brother, Capt. James P. Butman, before she finally married in 1878 at the age of 33 years. James' first command was the bark Homeward Bound in 1873 at the age of 25 years. Between 1874 and 1876 he was in command of the bark Investigator. If Mary did cruise with her brother, it was probably on one of these ships. James would continue to command vessels until 1907, including the famous Downeaster Henry B. Hyde.

This photo above is unmarked,
but the studio is on the back --

F. W. Hardy, Photographer,
Kenduskeag Block, Bangor, Me.

As the photo is beside one of Mary Butman
in the Butman photo album,

this could be her future husband,
Joshua Dodge Sargent (1853-1904).

This photo bears a marked resemblance
to Joshua in the
photo of the
banner of this site.

Crop of photo from banner of Joshua Dodge Sargent

Joshua Dodge Sargent had followed his older brother from the Monroe hills to Alton in 1872. Johnson Chase Sargent, Jr. was 30 years old, but Joshua was only 18 at that time. Nevertheless, Joshua bought the 75 acre farm across the road from his brother for $800, with the seller providing financing for 75% of that amount. Johnson married Abbie Sargent of Searsport that same year, and within two years he left Alton, selling his 150 acre farm to Joshua for $1500. After that, times must have been trying for young Joshua, as the town put a tax lien on some of his property for the three years prior to 1878.

Mary was 33 years old when she finally married Joshua in 1878, and she wasted little time over the next eleven years by producing three sons and three daughters. All of these children were still living when Joshua died in 1904, one day short of his 53rd birthday. Mary lived at the Alton farm for the rest of her life, although her sons would build her a "cottage" in Searsport so that she could spend the summers there among the seafaring people she so loved.

By 1927, three of Mary's children had passed on - Jessie 1906, Mary in 1918, and Jay in 1922. Only Robert lived at the farm with her by then, but Hannah would visit whenever her teaching duties in Melrose allowed. Mary seemed to lead a very full and active life in her last years. She was very interested in not only what was going on around her, but she extensively communicated with distant family and friends by near daily letters. She confided few complaints to her journal, particularly concerning others. Each day she wrote in a firm and steady hand of the day's events.

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Dixie Sargent Redmond