Oscar Cowan of Rockland, Maine-Solved


This article was on the old site for a few years–the 2018 date came when I reformatted the site. For the October 2018 update solving the problem, see the end of the article.


I am looking for information about an "Oscar Cowan" of Rockland, Knox County, Maine. I have some reason to believe that this was an alias for William Jerome Page, husband of Margaret Jenkins. I would like help either confirming or disproving that suspicion.

Oscar Cowan, age 58, is living at 7 Pink Street, Rockland, Knox County, Maine, in 1940. He was divorced, with six years of schooling, and had lived in Rockland in 1935. He had been unemployed for five years and was working on a government brook project for about $10/week.

With Oscar in the household was a man called Oscar's son: Oliver Abbott, age 31, born in Maine, and also with six years of school. He had worked all of 1939 as a seaman on a barge, but his dwelling place in 1935 was unknown. He was married but living apart from his wife. The column for his marital information said "M7" but the "M" was crossed out. The marital information for the housekeeper, Leola Howard, matched Oliver's.

The only other trace of Oscar that I have found so far is in the Rockland City Directories for 1936 and 1937, at 43 Lime Street, and for 1942 at 7 Pink Street.

Why does Oscar's "son" have a different surname? Why isn't Oscar on any census in Maine from 1900 to 1930? Why isn't he in the online index to Maine Marriages from 1892 to 2009? Why doesn't he show up anywhere else at ancestry.com, rootsweb, or familysearch.org?

Could he be William Jerome Paige, born in 1882, son of Oscar Page and Martha Cowan? By 1940 William had been "on the run" from his wife and family for almost 14 years. Had he chosen an alias of his father's first name and his mother's last name? Was Oliver a son from an earlier extra-marital relationship?

For the first part of William Paige's life see Missing Grandfather, Boston or Bangor.


On October 13, 2018, I started a thread on rootschat.com looking for help identifying Oscar Cowan. You can see that thread here: Oscar Cowan, Rockland, Maine, 1934 to 1941. The information in the replies led me to the conclusion that Oscar Cowan in Rockland, Maine, is most likely George Oscar Abbott.

George was born May 4, 1881, in Thomaston, Knox County, Maine, and married Lizzie Tilden on September 29, 1905. Their son Charles O was born in 1908. Charles was the master of a barge, the Rockport, as of 1943, and had been at sea for 20 years by that time. All of this matches the information on "Oscar Cowan" and Oliver Abbott's 1940 census in Rockland.

In addition, both said they were married but living apart from their spouse. George's wife, Lizzie, had remarried in 1925. Charles O Abbott was married in 1939 to Ruth Clark, but she is in her home town of Vinalhaven in 1940 'married, but living apart from her spouse.'

The only question that remains is why George O Abbott was using the name Oscar Cowan from 1934 to 1941 in Rockland. That I do not know, but at this point it is a question for the Abbott family to answer, not me. I don't think that "Oscar Cowan" was William Paige.

I've included some basic information about George Oscar and Charles O Abbott in the New England Families tree on this site.

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Most of the information here is about my family or my wife’s, or about families with ties to Cleveland, Ohio, or the area near Rostrevor and Kilkeel in County Down, Ireland. There are also some unrelated families included that I came across. Whatever the case, I hope the material is helpful in your own research.

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