The name of Rufus Dwinel always catches my eye, even though not every Rufus Dwinel is the Bangor mayor whose sarcophagus-style tombstone was a memorable stop on the tour I once took of Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor.

Recently I came upon Ryan R. Robbins’ Bangor in Focus piece at

Robbins pointed out correctly that Rufus Dwinel is buried under the monument, not inside the sarcophagus.

Dale and Patti Mower have provided nice photos of this monument at They noted that Dwinel was born in 1804 and died on Sept. 29, 1869. He is buried in Lot 763CG at Mount Hope, certainly one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the state.

Rufus did not marry or have children, so there is no great rush to document his ancestors. But a good amount of information on his family is available in the May 2013 issue of The Maine Genealogist, the quarterly journal of the Maine Genealogical Society.

Glenn D. Nasman, an engineer from Massachusetts whose previous articles also have been well-done, authored “Simeon Dwinel of Lisbon, Maine: A Comparison of Sources.” I should mention that the Rufus Dwinel listed on the first page of the article, one of Simeon’s sons, is not Mayor Rufus Dwinel.

Rather, Mayor Rufus Dwinel and the Simeon Dwinel of the title are half-brothers, both the sons of Capt. Aaron Dwinal of Sutton, Mass. and Leeds, Maine. (Some of the many children are listed as Dwinal, others as Dwinel. Sometimes grown children choose their own spelling.)

Simeon was the son of Aaron’s first wife, Susanna Lane of New Gloucester. Aaron’s second wife was Huldah Wilson of Poland. Rufus was the son of Aaron’s third wife, Abigail (True) Forbes. Aaron also was married a fourth time, to Judith Spofford. He served in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

Rufus Dwinel was a lumber baron and served as mayor of Bangor in 1838, Nasman points out. He lists Dwinel as one of 42 businessmen who combined efforts in 1833 “to develop a palace hotel, The Bangor House. This hotel, the largest in Maine with 75 rooms, cost $125,000 to build and furnish.”

He cites as a source another Ryan Robbins Bangor in Focus article at

Dwinal-Dwinel daughters married men named Herrick, Thompson, Hinkley, Davis, Cleveland, Bruce, Kilgore, Smith and Hogan, according to Nasman’s research.

You will note at that there are several Dwinel people buried in Bangor. Do take one of the cemetery tours this summer.

You can receive both The Maine Genealogist and the MGS quarterly newsletter by joining the Maine Genealogical Society for $25 a year, sent to MGS, Box 221, Farmington, ME 04938.

Also in this month’s issue are Edward G. Hubbard’s “Aaron Day of Wells and Sanford, Maine, and His Family;” Linda Longley’s “A Study of the Joseph Savage Family of Anson, Maine: Using the Hilton Papers and Other Testimony of the Time;” and “Nineteenth-Century Records of the First and Second Congregational Churches of Wells, Maine,” submitted by Priscilla Eaton.


The Family History Center has asked me to give a one-hour program, “Resources on Canada,” at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 8, at the center, located at the LDS Church at the corner of Grandview Avenue and Essex Street.

This talk will include a little bit of everything, including some Franco resources on Quebec and Acadian heritage, and some non-Franco resources on New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for example. The program is free, and all are welcome. If you decide to stay and use the computers at the Family History Center, you will find them to be very user-friendly.


In case you were wondering who was carrying the World War II banner in the Memorial Day Parade in Bangor, here’s the answer. They were Ed Hendrickson of Brewer, 93; and Clifford “Bruz” West, 92, a Bangor High grad who lives in Winthrop. Also in the parade were Dexter couple Guy and Nancy Ellms, both World War II vets.

It was great to see Korean War veterans, Vietnam War veterans and veterans and current personnel from the Global War on Terror, as well. The Fourth of July Parade from Brewer to Bangor is longer, but it’s mostly downhill, so may be an easier walk.

For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email

Roxanne Moore Saucier

Family Ties columnist