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Early Life in Maine

(Hopkins, CM. Maps of Maine. “Cushing, Maine.”Philadelphia, PA: Lee & Marsh, 1857)

George’s story starts where his life began, in Cushing Maine. He was born August 25, 1770 the son of Andrew Bird and Jane Hathorn. His father, Andrew was born in Scotland and arrived in mid-coast Maine in 1753. In the mid-1700s many people of Scotch-Irish descent, like the Birds and Hathorns, began settling along the coast of Maine. The towns were far and few between, stores, churches and schools, which are the main components of a little town were often spread out. These communities clung to the sea, where many young men, like many of Andrew Bird’s descendants, found jobs as fisherman, boat builders, and mariners. The Bird family settled in an area called Maple Juice Cove on the Plantation of Lower Saint George, which eventually became the town of Cushing. 

An image of page 398 from “Maine Reports: Cases In Law and Equity and Determined by the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine”
Ships at Sea, oil on canvas, from the collection of Laurie L. Kearney

Andrew Bird married Jane Hathorn October 1759. Jane was born about 1738 in Salem, Massachusetts and was the daughter of Alexander Hathorn and Mercy Bartlett. Andrew was killed in 1779 when a tree fell on him. Andrew’s estate was administered by his father-in-law, Alexander Hathorn, and does not name any Bird children, also there does not appear to be a record for his marriage or birth records of his children. It is noted in the book The Annals of the town of Warren (Maine), that when Andrew died he left a large family behind; luckily research for the book Early Families of Cushing, Maine, (which appears to have not been published) the author (Frank B. Miller) was able to identify Andrew and Jane’s seven children. These children can be further confirmed in the 1855 case, Bird v Bird, when John Boggs and his wife Jane, John Lermond and his wife Nancy, C.H. Whetherbee and his wife Lucetta, James Bird, Mary T. Bird, Sally Bird and Zenas Mero and his wife Nancy brought a case against David Bird who had a parcel of land in Belfast which had previously been owned by Andrew Bird (Jr.). The plaintiffs are the daughters of Andrew Bird (Sr.) and Jane Hathorn, and the children of Alexander Bird. (The children of George Bird did not participate in this case.) The defendant, David Bird, appears to be a son of Samuel Bird who handled the 1804 estate of his brother Andrew Bird (Jr.), the previous owner of the land in question. Alexander, Samuel and Andrew are sons of Andrew and Jane (Hathorn) Bird. David eventually won this suit, as the heirs of Andrew Bird (Jr.) were not able to prove their case.

Broad Cove, Cushing, Maine, ca 1905

What happened to Jane after the death of her husband is unclear, it seems she may have died soon after her husband, but what is clear is that she would have had seven young children left to be raised. The Bird children, who remained in Maine, settled in Warren, Wiscasset, Belfast, and Union. These towns were originally part of Lincoln County (est. 1760), today they are in Waldo County (est. 1827), Knox County (est. 1860) and what remains of Lincoln County, which makes it tricky when researching this family. What records tell us is that at least 3 of her sons became mariners, Samuel, James, and Andrew, two dying at sea. It has not been ascertained what Alexander did for a living, but 3 of his sons were sailors and they too died while at sea. The daughters of Andrew and Jane married and raised large families. According to a biography on Francis W. Bird, George’s son, George was raised by his maternal grandparents, and did not ultimately remain in Maine; he found an apprenticeship in Milton, Massachusetts to learn the papermaking business.

Interesting Connection to Andrew Wyeth

The Family of Andrew & Jane (Hathorn) Bird: (George’s siblings)

Go to George Bird Exhibit main page –>

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