Name: John Edward Raven
Born: December 1860 in Zealand, NB
Child 1: Ethel May Raven (1884–1912)
Child 2: Minnie Blanche Raven (1887–1971)
Child 3: William Henry Raven (1889–1979)
Child 4: Violetta Raven (1891–1931)
Child 5: Ernest Edward Raven (1894–1931)
Child 6: Mattie A. Raven (1896–1976)
Child 7: Baby Raven (1899–1899)
Child 8: Lila Alta Raven (1901–1987)
Child 9: Herman Beecher Raven (1906–1970)
Child 10: Hazel Faye Raven (1909–1984)
Child 11: Dorothy Madelon Raven (1911–2002)
Died: 10 February 1943 in Belfast, Maine
Buried: Pilgrim's Home Cemetery, Monroe, Maine


In my mind, there were two major Maine Raven "Baby Booms." The second was the result of William Henry and Naomi Pearl (Carmichael) Raven having 17 children. The first, though, was a collaborative effort between two brothers (John Edward and William Henry Raven I) and two sisters (Evelyn and Rose Farley). John married Evelyn around 1883 and they had eight children together. William married Rose around 1888 and they had seven children. When Evelyn died in 1903 and William died in 1904,  the two survivors, John and Rose, married in 1905 and had three more children together giving this blended family a total of 18 kids. Four of those children died young, but the other 14 all reached adulthood and married. The Five males spawned more Ravens (and Ravins) while the nine females gave the Ravens their Woodbury, Moody, Buzzell, Pooler, Randall, Knowles, Scott, Abbott, and Boulter cousins.

John's story starts in New Brunswick, in December 1860. Somebody set his birthdate to the 13th of December on, but I don't know where exactly that came from. On his son Ernest's marriage record, it says that John was born in Zealand, New Brunswick and on his daughter, Lila's marriage record, it says he was born in St. John, New Brunswick. Zealand is a lot closer to Douglas, New Brunswick, so I'd lean toward that one being correct in the absence of his birth certificate. Regardless, his first census was Douglas, New Brunswick in 1861 and he appears on line 1166 in the image below.

1861 Canada Census - Douglas, NB
1861 Canada Census — Douglas, New Brunswick

By 1870, the family had migrated south and was living in Mapleton, Maine. Line 26 in the image below clearly lists John E. as being eight years old, but that of course can't be true if he was on the 1861 census. Another example of having to step back and take records with a grain of salt.

1870 US Census - Mapleton, ME
1870 US Census — Mapleton, Maine

In 1880, John was 19 and the oldest child still living with his parents in Woodland, Maine. See line 30 in the image below:

1880 US Census - Woodland, ME
1880 US Census — Woodland, Maine

I'm not sure of the exact date of this photo, but I would guess it is from around 1882, when John was 22 and his sister, Huldah, is 14.

Huldah and John Raven circa 1882
Huldah and John Raven, circa 1882

I haven't seen a marriage record for John and Evelyn L. Farley, but they were presumably married around 1883. We know their first daughter, Ethel May Raven, was born 5 February 1884 in Woodland. Their next daughter, Minnie Blanche Raven, was born in nearby Washburn, Maine in 1887, but the next three children, William Henry, Violetta (Lettie) and Ernest Edward would all be born in Woodland in 1889, 1891, and 1894, respectively. William Henry was named after John's brother, and in 1902, his brother William Henry would in turn name a son after John Edward. Unfortunately, that child died as an infant.

At some point before 1892, William Neal divided his Woodland farm between sons John and William. The elder son, John, received the northern 30 acres, which was lot 125 on the map below:

1877 Map of Woodland, Maine
Map of Woodland, Maine, 1877

Both sons appeared to have trouble keeping up with paying the taxes on the farm, and the following letter from the Woodland Tax Collector was posted in the Aroostook Republican on 13 June 1894. It advised that the farm would be sold at public auction if the taxes weren't paid up.

Aroostook Republican - 13 June 1894
letter in the Aroostook Republican, 13 June 1894

In May 1894, John's mother, Jane, passed away in Woodland. The Aroostook Republican from 6 May 1897 reports in the Woodland local news "Hosea Greenlaw has moved to Caribou and John Raven has moved into the house vacated by Mr. Greenlaw."

Even while living in Woodland, it appears that Evelyn was birthing her children in nearby Wade Plantation, where their final three children together would be born: Mattie in 1896, a stillborn child in 1899, and Lila in 1901. 

By the time of the 1900 census, the family was living in Wade Plantation. The following record shows John, Evelyn, and their eldest six children on lines 68–75:

1900 US Census - Wade Plantation, ME
1900 US Census — Wade Plantation, Maine

Despite his eldest child, Ethel, getting married to Emery Buzzell in 1902, the first five years of the new century were marked by tragedy for John. His father, William Neal, died in 1902. The Bangor Daily News reported that John had filed for bankruptcy on 20 April 1903. His wife, Evelyn, died on 17 August 1903 at the age of 36. Lastly, his brother, William Henry, succumbed to tuberculosis on 10 June 1904.

A year later, John married his brother William's widow, Rose Ann (Farley) Raven, on Independence Day, 1905, in Washburn. Rose moved her family to Wade Plantation, where she and John had their first two children: Herman Beecher Raven in 1906 and Hazel Faye Raven in 1909. In 1906, John's second child, Minnie Blanche, married Joseph Pooler.

After Hazel was born, the family moved south to Waldo County, landing in Knox, Maine. John, Rose, and the nine of their children still living at home occupy lines 32–42 in the image below:

1910 US Census - Knox, ME
1910 US Census — Knox, Maine

The next decade saw the birth of John's last child, Dorothy Madelon, in 1911 in Knox, and several of his older children getting married. Lettie married Henry Calvin Randall, Jr. in 1910. Mattie married Lyndon Knowles in 1914. In 1915, his eldest son, William Henry, married Naomi Pearl Carmichael. Ernest Edward wed Ellura Belle Larrabee in 1917. His eldest child, Ethel (Raven) Buzzell, died in 1912 at the age of 28 due to empyema, which was usually caused by pneumonia.

The 1910s also saw John start to become a bit of a regular fixture in the Bangor Daily News (BDN) and Republican Journal (RJ) newspapers. His visits by and to relatives were noted in the local news.

In 1912, John purchased land in Montville, according to the 5 September 1912 RJ:

RJ 5 Sep 1912

The 13 March 1913 RJ reported:

13 Mar 1913 RJ

In the 7 July 1914 edition, the BDN declared "Most Everyone Has A Car Now — All Maine Seems to Be Going Motor Mad. Lengthy List of New Machines Shows That State Must Be Prosperous" and they actually published all of the new car registrations, including John's 22 Ford:

John Raven Auto Registration

On 5 July 1917, it was reported in the RJ that John made some land deals in Knox:

BDN 5 Jul 1917

and again in the 29 May 1919 RJ:

29 May 1919 BDN

Around this time, John was ordained as a Pentecostal Minister in Washburn. The date is hard to make out on Minnie Raven's copy, but it looks like 8 November in either 1917 or 1919.

In 1920, John and Rose were still living in Knox and were down to six children at home. John's niece (and Rose's daughter), Ida (Raven) Boulter, was living next door with her family. See lines 64–71 in the image below:

1920 US Census - Knox, ME
1920 US Census — Knox, Maine

Soon after, John bought another Ford, which was the lead story in The Republican Journal's 22 September 1921 Knox news:

22 Sep 1921

In 1922, he transferred Montville, Maine property to his son, Ernest, according to the BDN on 5 May 1922:

BDN 5 Sep 1922

On the censuses, John was always listed as a farmer (1900, 1920, 1930) or a lumberman (1910). From 1922 on, though, he usually appeared in the papers as "Reverend John E. Raven," and he was often in the West Montville local news. Several times, it was mentioned that he preached at the North Montville Baptist Church. From the 1 November 1923 BDN:

BDN 1 Nov 1923

and similarly in the 8 January 1925 BDN:

BDN 8 Jan 1925

I don't know the date on this photo, but I would guess this is him in his 60s and wearing his Sunday best:

John Edward Raven - Church Clothes
John Edward Raven

In 1928, two of his daughters were married: Hazel married Omar Woodbury on 24 January 1928, and on 6 July 1928, Lila married Byron Burr Scott.

Rev. Raven also officiated at funerals and apparently did baptisms at Half Moon Stream, according to the 18 October 1928 BDN:

BDN 18 Oct 1928

In April 1930, John and Rose were still living in Knox. Hazel had moved out and married Omar Linwood Woodbury in 1928 and only Herman and Dorothy remained at home. John's cousin, Robert Hanson, was living with them. The household is listed on lines 4–8 in the image below:

1930 US Census - Knox, ME
1930 US Census — Knox, Maine

At age 69, the census listed him as a potato farmer. It's hard to tell his age in this photo, but he sure looks like a potato farmer here.

John Edward Raven - Potato Farmer
John Edward Raven

 On at least one Sunday, Rev. Raven spoke at two different churches on the same Sunday, according to this 15 November 1930 BDN article:

BDN 15 Nov 1930

He spoke in Searsport, too (BDN 7 March 1931):

BDN 7 March 1931

Again - age unknown, but I would guess he's around age 70 here:

John Edward Raven
John Edward Raven

He seems to have slowed down in his 70s, as I couldn't find as many notes in the paper in the 1930s. The last one was a note from the 12 November 1938 Bangor Daily News local Montville news section stating "Rev. and Mrs. John Raven have purchased a home in Monroe."

I'm not sure what happened with the home in Monroe, Maine, but in April 1940 he and Rose were living in Winterport, Maine. See lines 46 and 47 in the image below:

1940 US Census, Winterport, ME
1940 US Census, Winterport, Maine
John and Rose (Farley) Raven
John and Rose Farley Raven

Rose passed away on 2 February 1942. John followed her just a year later. He died on 10 February 1943 in Belfast, Maine at the age of 82. His obituary:

Obituary of Rev. John E. Raven in The Republican Journal, 18 February 1943
Obituary of Rev. John E. Raven in The Republican Journal, 18 February 1943

Rose and John were buried in Pilgrim's Home Cemetery in Monroe, Maine. 

John and Rose Raven Gravestone
Gravestone of John and Rose Raven

In 2008, four of John's grandchildren got together and talked about the family. Here's the chapter where they discussed memories of their grandfather "Uncle John" on YouTube.

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