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River Boat Captain

by G. Christian Larsen

Charles Aaron (Charlie) Cross (1866-1950), Captain Gideon Justason (1843-1917) and John Thomas (Jack) Walsh (1878-1969).

    Gideon Justason was born May 13, 1843 in Pennfield - son of Justus Justason and Harriet Bucknam. He was a river boat captain who ran a two-masted schooner, "The Dolphin", to haul pulpwood from the LíEtang River to mills in the States. We are told that Gideonís most unique features were his premature baldness and a glass eye.

    On October 13, 1863 Gideon was united in marriage at Eastport, ME by Rev. C. Tibbits to Jane Thompson. Jane was born in April 7, 1845 in Blacks Harbour - daughter of William Thompson and Eleanor Foley. Jane was a midwife who delivered many babies in the Pennfield area, including many of her own grandchildren.

    Gideon and Jane had five sons and three daughters. On October 10, 1885 they lost their eldest son Franklin Justus to diphtheria and another son, William L, three months later on January 15, 1886 to the same disease. They lost two more children (Robert Matthew & Amelia L)  in August of 1891 to an outbreak of scarlet fever. Amelia died August 7th and shortly afterwards on August 20th.  Their remaining two sons, Enos and Gilbert, remained in the Pennfield area. Enie, as he was commonly known was mainly a blacksmith and Gib, as he was commonly known, followed in his father's footsteps and became a river boat captain piloting the "Violet N"  for many years as well. Their two remaining daughters (Leah & Annie) married and had families of their own. Leah removed to Eastport, Maine where she married Coburn McCarthy. Annie married Ira Hawkins and moved to Beaver Harbour.

Leah (Justason) McCarthy and Jane (Thompson) Justason (1915).

    Gideon departed this life in Calais, ME on April 8, 1917 and Jane departed this life in Pennfield in November 21, 1916. Both, along with their four children who died young, are buried at Pennfield United Baptist Cemetery in Pennfield in an unmarked grave. According to their granddaughter Margaret, who attended her grandfather's funeral, she recalls the gravesite being on the right hand side of the church about half-way back. 

Author's notes: I would like to thank the late E. Leona (Justason) Justason (1918-2002) & Margaret G (Justason) Grant (1912-2005) for sharing details about their grandparents with me.

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