Millinocket 1900 Census
Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum
Early Millinocket residents came here from many different countries as skilled labor was needed to construct the mill. Noticeable on the 1900 US census is that the only countries of origin mentioned are the United States, Canada, Sweden, Italy, Ireland, England and Scotland plus one or two from Switzerland and Germany. Later census listings show laborers, businessmen and others coming from other parts of the world. Many came from elsewhere in Maine and brought family with them. All are listed as head of household, wife, son, daughter and mother-in-law, niece etc. Some are listed as white domestic or white help. Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Connecticut and Wisconsin are states listed. Canadians are sometimes listed as being from English Canada. Many of the Canadians brought their families with them or sent for them later after a home was ready.
The most significant number listed in 1900 is seen in the names from Italy (956). The majority of Italians are listed as white boarders as very few came with family in the beginning. Many of the surnames can no longer be found here as they eventually returned to Italy or their names are only found on stones at the cemetery. Some later brought families here and prospered and some names lasted but with different spellings.
This census and later ones (online) and resources at the museum allow us to research queries by visitors, sent via email or from phone calls. For example: John Sandstrom and his wife and seven children are listed from Sweden. There was a Sandstrom Boarding House on Penobscot Avenue across from the park.
Another query asked about an immigrant from Albania who came to work in the mill. His great-granddaughter provided this information as a starting point. Pandi Dimitri, born 1882, arrived in New York about 1915. He was married and died in Maine. The 1940 census had him living in Millinocket. We checked the 1900 Millinocket census, cemetery records, school census books and obituaries, all with no luck. One last resource revealed the name Pandeli Dimitri. A ledger listing Millinocket registered voters 1912-1938 has him registering on 3/2/1944. His signature is there along with the address 124 Bowdoin Street.
The Cody house on the corner of Highland Avenue & Central Street (recently known as Dr. Shippee’s office) was built by Dr. Cody who came to town after the death of the town’s first doctor, Dr. Ryan (typhoid epidemic 1902-03). The 1900 census lists a Peter W. Cody MD arriving from Canada and lists him as white boarder along with Ella Cody. The 1901 assessor’s list shows: Cody, P.W. Block 14, Lot #32-33, one house, value $1000. Not yet been living there. Another source states that Dr. Paul W. Cody was living there a bit later. A confusion of names or a father and then a son? Lots of mysteries when one does genealogy!
Olaf Johnson immigrated from Sweden. Many from there went further north to New Sweden, Maine, but Olaf didn’t want to farm, he wanted to work with wood so he came to Millinocket. He worked at the foundry, raised a family, became part of the community and brought his skill of wood carving to Millinocket. The museum has a pair of his home-made skis and two wood carvings.
People made their way to Millinocket from Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia and Austria and from Greece, Finland, Syria and Lebanon and Asia. Take a walk sometime at the local cemetery…one area in particular has a number of headstones of these early immigrants who helped make Millinocket the Magic City! A database of names and photographs of the stones can be viewed on the Millinocket Historical Society website. Visit the museum and share your family’s immigrant story!