The Lunney Family of Easton and Westfield, Maine:
Thomas Andrew Lunnie emigrated to Easton, Maine from nearby Glassville, New Brunswick in 1899 or 1900, supposedly “penniless and with his feet wrapped in rags”. He was taken in by the Flewelling family in Easton, Maine, who employed him as a carpenter and farm laborer. Thomas changed the spelling of his last name to “Lunney”, which was the original spelling of his late father William's surname. His three brothers in Glassville and Argyle, New Brunswick continued to spell their last name as “Lunnie”. Thomas maintained contact with his brothers in New Brunswick, but had poor relations with his widowed mother Charlotte (Durost) Lunnie, who once even had him arrested for “stealing” one of her horses.
Also working for the Flewelling family in 1900 was 16-year-old Susan Martha Taylor. She was the daughter of David Taylor and his second wife Martha (Stevens) Taylor, both of Smithfield, Maine. Martha Stevens had come to live with David Taylor and his first wife Susan (her close friend) to care for Susan and her four children (Charles, Irving, Alma and Mary) after she was stricken with a terminal illness. After Susan died, Martha Stevens and David Taylor married on November 18, 1876 at Smithfield, Maine. They had four children (Preston, Ethel, Evelyn and Susan). Sometime after 1880, David and Martha Taylor and their children moved to a farm at Easton, Maine. Susan Martha Taylor, was born on July 21, 1884 at Easton, Maine. She was named after both of her father's wives.
Thomas Andrew Lunney and Susan Martha Taylor fell in love, and were married on November 6, 1900 at Easton, Maine. Thomas and Susan Lunney were happily married for nearly 43 years, and had 12 children. Thomas Lunney's original farm was at River de Chute, but he moved the family into the village of Westfield in the 1920's.
According to their surviving children (Alice and Boyd), Thomas and Susan Lunney were an affectionate couple even in old age, with much tickling and laughter. They were admired for their hospitality and generosity to friends and neighbors. Susan was well-loved for her gentle and generous demeanor. She was also a midwife, and helped to deliver many of her neighbors' babies. Her own twelve children were all delivered at home, attended by her sister Evelyn and husband Thomas. Thomas Lunney was known a strict disciplinarian with a sometimes volcanic temper, who forbade any bad language or drunkenness in the presence of his wife. He is known to have savagely beaten one drunken offender who cursed while at his dinner table. Thomas was also known for his Stetson hats which were his prized possessions. On one occasion, when Susan cried out to the farm field where Thomas was working that their house was on fire, Thomas shouted back to her to save his Stetson hat.
Thomas and his many sons were hard workers who were well-regarded for their imposing size and strength. Some neighbors complained that Thomas and his sons unfairly monopolized what little paying work was then available in the area. In addition to his physical strength, Thomas was known to have a mischievous sense of humor. On one occasion, while visiting the local general store, Thomas witnessed several men struggling with a heavy pickle barrel, which they couldn't lift to place on its display stand. After watching this struggle for several minutes, Thomas remarked that he knew how to put the barrel on its stand. The other men asked Thomas to show them how to do it. He squatted down, put both arms around the barrel, lifted it on to its stand and then said "That is how it is done". He then lifted the barrel again, put it back on the floor and walked out of the store.
Thomas Lunney was very proud of his Irish heritage, and often told his children that they were descendants of the "Royal Clan" of Ireland. This "Royal Clan" reference became somewhat of a family joke, since they were farmers of very humble means. Apparently, Thomas knew more about his ancient family history than his children ever believed. Thomas was in fact a descendant of the ancient High Kings of Ireland and Ulster.
Susie Taylor also had a notable ancestry. She was the great granddaughter of pioneer Quaker Leader Samuel Taylor of Belgrade, Maine, was the great great granddaughter of the American Revolutionary War patriot Elias Taylor of Winthrop, Maine and was a descendant of the early colonial settlers of Virginia and Massachusetts. Susie’s Taylor ancestors first emigrated from England and settled in Lancaster County, Virginia in 1635. She shared a common Taylor ancestor (Capt. Thomas J. Taylor, Jr.) with five US Presidents: 4th President James Madison, 9th President William Henry Harrison, 12th President Zachary Taylor, 16th President Abraham Lincoln and 23rd President Benjamin Harrison.
Thomas Andrew Lunney died of a stroke at home on August 19, 1943 and is buried at Easton, Maine. Susie was pregnant for most of the first 28 years of her marriage to Thomas. In addition to the twelve children listed below, she had numerous miscarriages. As a result, her health suffered later in life. She had a leg amputated and was confined to a wheelchair for the last few years of her life. Susan Martha (Taylor) Lunney died on January 13, 1958 at a nursing home at Mars Hill, Maine and is buried beside her husband Tom at Easton, Maine.
The 12 children of Thomas Andrew Lunney and Susan Martha (Taylor) Lunney :
1. A son, born on December 28, 1901 at Easton, Maine and died on January 6, 1902 at only 8-days-old.
2. John Russell Lunney, born on April 10, 1902 at Easton, Maine, married Ruby Corey and died in July 1972 at Westfield, Maine. John and Ruby (Corey) Lunney had only one child, Opal M. Lunney, who never married and died in 2002.
3. Rita Pearl Lunney, born in 1904 at Easton, Maine, married “Benny” Benjamin and had children.
4. Harvey Lunney (a twin), born on March 5, 1905 at Easton, Maine and died on March 7, 1905 at only 2-days-old.
5. Harold Lunney (a twin), born on March 5, 1905 at Easton, Maine and died on March 9, 1905 at only 4-days-old.
6. Earl Thomas Lunney (a twin), born on December 28, 1910 at Easton, Maine, married Beulah Vera Kinney (daughter of Donald Kinney and Fern (Caldwell) Kinney) of Blaine, Maine, died on February 7, 1987 at Presque Isle, Maine and is buried at King's Grove Cemetery at Mars Hill, Maine. Earl and Beulah (Kinney) Lunney had six children.
7. Ellery David Lunney (a twin), born on December 28, 1910 at Easton, Maine married Mabel ?, had children, and died in April 1978.
8. Mary Rosella Lunney, born in November 1912, married Chester Hodsdon Holmes of Somersworth, N.H. on April 4, 1936 and died on Feb. 4, 2004 at age 91. Chester and Mary (Lunney) Holmes had one child, a son.
9. Alice Rowena Lunney (Gregory), born in 1914, married Donald Gregory and had three daughters.
10. Leigh William Lunney, born on November 16, 1922, married Irene Knowlton, and died in August 17, 1985. Leigh and Irene (Knowlton) Lunney had four children.
11. Boyd Arthur Lunney, born in October 25, 1926, served in the Philippines during WWII and married Dawn Marie Howard of Grand Falls, New Brunswick in November 1947. Boyd and Dawn (Howard) Lunney had four children.
12. Avis Lunney, born in 1928 (died as a young child).