The Infants

06 Mar 2017 9:27 AM | Debi Curry (Administrator)

by Cheryl Willis Patten

Also an Infant, also two Infants. These words or variations thereof appear often on grave markers in Maine’s old cemeteries.  The stone for Julia Ann Pierce Sanborn, who was born in May of 1812, is in Chesterville ME’s Center Cemetery.  On 10 Sept. 1835 Julia Ann Pierce married Amzi Sanborn as his first wife.1 Amzi was supposedly an 1832 graduate of N. Y.’s College of Physicians and Surgeons,2 and his stone is next to that of Julia Ann. Amzi, the son of John and Hannah Bachelder Sanborn, was born 1 Jan. 1809 in Parsonfield, ME and died of consumption in Phillips, ME 3 on 9 Nov. 1861.4 Julia Ann Sanborn died on 13 Nov. 1852 and near the bottom of her marble stone there is a recessed area with three hands, each of which has a finger pointing toward heaven.  Below the hands, written in stone you see  “THREE INFANTS/Children of/ Dr. A.& Julia A.  Sanborn/They sleep.”.5 Who were these infants?

After graduation Dr. Sanborn moved to Chesterville, ME where he and Julia Ann Pierce were married on 10 Sep. 1835.6,7  In 1836 they spent about a year in Bucryus, Ohio and then traveled “in his own carriage … through much of the western country”.   When Dr. Sanborn’s health improved they settled in West Dedham, MA where he practiced for several years before returning to ME.8  On-line searches for Amzi and Julia Ann Sanborn’s children who might have been born in Ohio or MA have not located any children for the couple.

Six children were born to Amzi and Julia Ann Sanborn. The children for whom names are known were Ellen Angeline (1836-1904)10, Juliette Caroline (1839-1840), Marshman Williams (1841-1884) and Edward W. Talbot (1845-1886).11  One of the hands carved on Julia Ann’s gravestone is likely for Juliette Caroline, but what were the names and dates of birth and death for the other two infants?

The 1840 census finds the family in Chesterville, ME with two female children under 5 years.12    These two children were likely Ellen and Juliette.  In the 1850 census of Wilton, ME listed with Amzi [Amsi] and Julia Ann are Ellen, Marshman, and Edward.13  Per the 1860 census, living in Phillips with Amzi and his second wife, Mary Wheeler (20 Aug. 1819-19 Jan. 1902)14 are his children Marshman and Edward.15  The Phillips, ME 1870 census (after the death of Amzi) lists Mary Sanborn living in a household with her parents, Samuel and Abigail, 33 year old George Wheeler, and 9 year old Alphia M. Sanborn.16  In addition to their daughter Alphia, Amzi and his second wife Mary had a son who is buried next to Mary in Phillips’ Evergreen Cemetery.17  Again, no name or dates are carved on this gravestone for INFANT/son of/Dr. A. & Mary/ SANBORN.18

A quest to find the names of the three infants for whom hands are shown on Julia Ann’s gravestone turned up the name of only one, Juliette Caroline (1839-1840). What were the names for Amzi and Julia Ann’s two “name unknown” infants or the name of the infant son of Amzi and Mary?  There are many INFANTS in Maine’s old cemeteries who might never be known by name, but those lucky enough to have an existent gravestone will be remembered.


1. "Maine Marriages, 1771-1907," database, FamilySearch ( : 4 December 2014), Amzi Sanborn and Julia Ann Pierce, 10 Sep 1835; citing Civil, Chesterville, Franklin, Maine, reference ; FHL microfilm 10,792. [Hereafter “Maine Marriages”]

2. Dearborn, J. W. (Jeremiah Wadeigh), A History of the First Century of the Town of Parsonsfield, Maine. Incorporated Aug. 29, 1785, and Celebrated with Impressive Ceremonies at North Parsonsfield, August 29, 1885 (Portland, ME., B. Thurston & Company, 1888), 148.  [Hereafter History of Parsonfield, ME]  Note that Catalogue of the Alumni, Officers and Fellows, of College of Physicians and Surgeons in the City of New York from A. D. 1807, to A. D. 1865 (New York, Baker and Goodwin, 1866) 48, 49 lwhich lists the class of 1832 does NOT list the name of Amzi Sanborn.

3. History of Parsonfield, ME, 148.

4. Dr. Amzi Sanborn gravestone,  Center Cemetery, Chesterville, ME. Photographed by Cheryl Willis Patten, 22 Oct. 2016.

5. Julia Ann Pierce, wife of Dr. A. Sanborn gravestone,  Center Cemetery, Chesterville, ME. Photographed by Cheryl Willis Patten, 22 Oct. 2016.

6. History of Parsonfield, ME. 148.

7. “Maine Marriages”.

8.  History of Parsonfield, ME. 148.

9.  Ibid.

10. Maine State Archives; Cultural Building, 84 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0084; 1892-1907 Vital Records; Roll #: 18. [Ellen A. Eveleth]


12. Year: 1840; Census Place: Chesterville, Franklin, Maine; Roll: 140; Page: 55; Image: 115; Family History Library Film: 0009703.

13. Year: 1850; Census Place: Wilton, Franklin, Maine; Roll: M432_253; Page: 61A; Image: 121. [Amir]

14. Find A Grave Memorial 118735752, Mary Wheeler Sanborn, Evergreen Cemetery, Phillips, ME.

15. Year: 1860; Census Place: Phillips, Franklin, Maine; Roll: M653_435; Page: 1069; Image: 484; Family History Library Film: 803435.

16. Year: 1870; Census Place: Phillips, Franklin, Maine; Roll: M593_543; Page: 160B; Image: 190319; Family History Library Film: 552042.   

17. Find A Grave Memorial 118735752, Mary Wheeler Sanborn, Evergreen Cemetery, Phillips, ME.

18. Find a Grave Memorial 118735733, Sanborn Infant, Evergreen Cemetery, Phillips, ME.

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