migration to Maine

William Burns of Elm City; Portland, Maine; and Washington, D.C.

While looking for more about William Burns, whose 1942 World War II draft registration indicated that he was born in Elm City, I ran across this entry in the 1940 census of Washington, D.C.:

William Burns, 51, born N.C., laborer on W.P.A. construction project; wife Lulu, 48, private family cook, born in Virginia; daughter Marjorie, 27, born in Maine, restaurant waitress; son-in-law Manuel, 26, born in Mexico, hotel waiter; granddaughter Carmelita, 4, born D.C.; daughter, Marion, 24, maid for private family, born in Maine; son William, 20, born in Maine; sons Herman, 18, and Carol, 18, born in D.C.; and daughter Janet, 6, born in D.C.

… Maine?

William Burns was born William Bunn. In the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Amos Bunn, 51; wife Mojano [Margianna], 40, cook; children Tildy, 24, cook, Amos, 21, farm laborer, William G., 19, farm laborer, Lewis B., 17, Genetta B., 14, Sallie B., 13, cook, Jonas B., 10, nurse, Louisannie, 7, Eddie B., 3, and James W., 2; and widowed mother Tabitha, 80, “idle.”

By 1910, William Bunn had left home. In the 1910 census of Portsmouth, Virginia: at 817 Queen Street, William Battle, 33, blacksmith helper, and wife Bettie, 31, shared a household with Charles Morris, 28, wharf stevedore, and William Bunn, 29, gas plant driver. All were from North Carolina. William Bunn reported that he was married.

In 1918, William Burns registered for the World War I draft in Portland, Cumberland County, Maine. He reported that he was born 26 July 1881; lived at 10 Deer Street, Portland; and worked as a cook and laborer for Portland Company (a marine repair company.) His nearest relative was Amos Burns, Wilson County, N.C.

8-10 Deer Street, Portland, 1924. Collections of City of Portland — Planning & Development, www.mainememory.net

On 24 September 1918, William Burns, 37, and Georgia Robinson, 31, both of Portand, Maine, were married in Portland. Both worked as cooks. William was born in Wilson, N.C., to Amos Burns and Margianna Bowser. Georgia was born in Culpeper County, Virginia, to Jarrett Robinson and Martha Cook.

Prior to this marriage, William had several children in Portland with Lulu Robinson, also of Virginia. (Was this Georgia, using a nickname?) An unnamed daughter born 27 September 1911 was described as the second living of three children. [Note that William is described as “W” — white. In other records, he is described as mulatto, and may have been light enough to pass.] An unnamed son was born 29 August 1917 in Portland. These children appear to be Marjorie and William Jr.

The Burneses left Maine around 1919. In the 1920 census of Washington, D.C.: Mary Williams, 38, charwoman for “Pullman (RR)”; William Burns, 28, apartment building porter; wife Lula, 30, laundress; and children Marjory, 8, Marion, 4, and William Jr., 2 (all born in Maine); and lodger Martha Robinson, 48, laundress.

In the 1930 census of Washington, D.C.: at 915 Fifth Street, William Burns, 44, rectory cook (birthplace: Maine); wife Lula, 36, rectory pastry cook (birthplace: Rhode Island); daughter Carmen Galan, 20, restaurant bus girl; granddaughter Carmen Galan, newborn; daughters and sons Marion, 15, William Jr., 12, Herman, 9, Carrol, 5, and Janet, 3; nephews Sin, 21, rectory dishwasher, and Henry Burns, 18, railroad cook; and lodgers Edward Young, 24, restaurant cook, and Mack, 6, and Margaret Herndon, 9.

In 1940, William Girard Burns registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 29 August 1917 in Portland, Maines; lived at 624 O Street, Washington, D.C.; his contact was mother Lula Martha Burns; and he worked for Z.D. Gilman.

Z.D. Gilman’s Drug Store, Washington, D.C. Historic American Buildings Survey, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Per his 1942 World War II draft registration card, William Burns was born 26 July 1882 in Elm City, N.C. He lived at 624 O Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.; his contact was Jeanie Peoples, 629 Rhode Island Avenue, Washington; and he worked at the Archives Building, 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.

Herman Amos Burns registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 27 December 1920 in Washington; lived at 624 O Street, N.W.; his contact was Mrs. Lula Burns; and he worked for Z.D. Gilman Drug Co., 627 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921, http://www.familysearch.org.