The lineage of Andrew Jackson Hart can be traced back to his paternal great-great grandfather who lived in New England during colonial times. Jacob Hart, according to the early records of Dedham, Massachusetts, first appeared in the Dedham town records “in 1730 when he was about 20 years old. There was no one with the surname Hart prior to this year. Either he immigrated from England at this time, or possibly, moved from another town by himself.” Jacob Hart married Susanna Guild on December 11, 1735. The couple had four children, but on September 3, 1742 Susanna passed away. Jacob married his second wife, Sarah Farrington on November 7, 1744. They had eleven children, including the younger Jacob Hart (b. April 16, 1761), who was to acquire the title “Captain” during the Revolutionary War and later become the grandfather of Andrew Jackson Hart.The elder Jacob Hart died on December 2, 1783 in Walpole, Massachusetts.
His son Captain Jacob Hart married Jerusha King on November 24, 1785 in Walpole. The couple had eleven children, including Russell Hart, (b. November, 4, 1794), who was to become Andrew Jackson Hart’s father. In 1801, Jacob Hart moved young Russell Hart with the rest of his family to Maine where they joined several early settlers in establishing the town of Holden. According to a history of Holden, the Hart’s established their home at the end of Hogan Road.
Town of Holden in relation to Bangor, Maine
On November 26, 1820, Russell Hart married Wealthy Brettan, 23, of Raynham, Massachusetts. It is not clear how Russell’s father earned a living in Holden, but Russell, perhaps through apprenticeship for his father, came to own and operate a lumber mill located at lower Denham Road in Holden. As one of the town’s most prominent citizens, Russell Hart became actively involved in its civic affairs. Several episodes exhibiting Russell Hart’s animation and skill in community matters was recorded in The Brewer-Orrington-Holden-Eddington History and Families by Mildred N. Thayer and Mrs. Edward A. Ames. In the late 1860’s, the question of the location of a new town house for Holden caused a feud between members of the community residing on the east side of Holden’s town center and members residing on the west side. The Histories and Families tells the colorful story as follows:
The citizens of East Holden and the Hart's Corner area favored the present location, while individuals of the Copeland Hill section as strongly preferred Holden Center. Captain Russell Hart gave away salt pork to win followers for the Hart's Corner location; and thus the group were dubbed “Pork Eaters.” Since the other faction gave no such bribery, they were rather inelegantly designated as “Pinch Guts.” The name is still applied to a brook near Holden Center, which at that time was a natural boundary between the irate groups. The dispute, relative to a location, won by the “Pork Eaters,” was soon superseded by another bitter diversity of opinions. The question involved whether the structure should be a two story or one and a half story building. The latter was decided on, and again Captain Hart resorted to trickery by managing to have the half story so high that the result was nearly equivalent to two full stories. The town house discord extended even into the matter of financing the project during construction, the town treasurer refused to sign any town orders. As a result Captain Hart obtained personal loans from the banks until he had approximately $2,000 invested. That year the tax collector pressed him for payment of his property tax. This he refused to pay until the town had reimbursed him for the town house which he virtually owned. Needless to say a settlement was soon made.
Russell and Wealthy Hart had nine children, the sixth of which was Andrew Jackson Hart, born June 11, 1832 in Holden, Maine. While it is not known what attracted the young Andrew Hart to a career in medicine, we can surmise that his parents could readily afford a proper schooling and an education of advanced degrees.
Church estab.1828 in Holden is probably where young Andrew J. Hart worshiped with his family
Andrew Hart, at the age of 32, was married to Sarah Ellen Coombs, 19, on October 19, 1864 in China, Maine, about 50 miles southwest of Holden.
Andrew and Sarah had five children, but their first, Addie Maria Hart (b. February 7, 1867, d. February 5, 1868) did not survive her first birthday. Their third, Winnie Hart, lived only eight weeks (b. September 27, 1873, d. November 27, 1873). The couple’s boys faired much better: Archie Coombs Hart was born on January 14, 1869; Charles Edwin Hart on November 29, 1875; Frank Russell Hart on June 16, 1879. What prompted Andrew Hart to leave Maine for California is known only to speculation. The prospect of removing his family from the dangers of Maine’s deathly winters—which may have contributed to the untimely death of their first daughter—may have played a role in their decision. The family’s genealogical records, as posted on the Internet, indicate that all three boys were born in Maine. If that were the case, then the Harts didn’t move to Modesto until after Frank R. Hart’s birth in 1879. Dr. Andrew Hart practiced medicine in Modesto beginning in 1869, according to a biographical sketch of his son, Frank R. Hart contained in History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California (S. J. Clark Publishing. Co., Chicago, 1925). Indeed, the Federal Census, conducted by Felix F. Harwick on July 2, 1870, lists Andrew J, Hart (35), Sarah E. Hart (25), and Archibald E. Hart (1) living in the Empire township of Stanislaus County, California. The census lists eighteen-month old Archie Hart, who was born on January 14, 1869, as having been born in Maine. Thus, the Hart family moved to California sometime beginning about six months after Archie was born and the time the census was taken. (Note, the census reports Dr. Hart at age 35 when in fact he was 38).
The town of Modesto was founded in 1870 when the Central Pacific Railroad announced its extension to the new site. Originally, the railroad had offered to name the town “Ralston,” after William Chapman Ralston, the founder of the Bank of California, who once made a loan to one of the railroad’s directors, Leland Stanford. By the 1870s, the Bank of California was considered the most powerful banking institution in Northern California and Ralston was widely recognized as the San Francisco’s leading citizen. When Ralston declined the honor of having the town named after him, the railroad directors chose the name “Modesto,” commemorating Ralston’s apparent act of modesty. The directors must have had a sense of humor, as modesty had been considered a trait Ralston was most in need of. Dr. Hart established in Modesto what was later described as an “immense” medical practice, but, while the climate of the California town was less severe than that of Maine—temperatures in Modesto ranged from an average low of 38°F in the winter to an average high in the upper 90s during the summer—he was soon lured further west by the songs of the piney paradise. On September 26, 1887, perhaps during a time when Andrew Hart had begun contemplating a move to Pacific Grove, he received word of his father’s passing at the age of 82. Though Russell Hart appeared to enjoy a long, fruitful life, the local Maine newspaper recorded the tragic circumstances of his death:
FATAL ACCIDENT Capt. Russell Hart who was severely injured by being thrown from his carriage on Baptist hill last Monday morning, died from the effects of his injuries yesterday morning at four o'clock at the residence o his daughter Mrs. Enoch T. Tebbets. He was in an insensible condition nearly all of the time, and his body seemed to be partially paralyzed. He was a citizen of Holden, and was greatly respected by all who know him, and his death will be a sad blow to his many friends and relatives. The funeral services will take place next Friday afternoon at two o'clock at his late residence in Holden. DIED In Bangor, Sept 26 at the residence of E.H. Tebetts, Capt. Russell Hart of Holden, aged 82 years, 10 months, 22 days. Funeral at his late residence in Holden at 2 o'clock Friday P.M. Friends invited.
Andrew’s mother died several years earlier, on April 6, 1881. Both his patents were buried in the Hart Cemetery in Holden, Maine, as were several of Andrew’s siblings and cousins.
Hart's Corner Cemetery located on North side of Main Rd., Holden, ME (Photographs taken August 28, 2008)
Hart Family Memorial
Close-up showing life spans of Andrew Jackson Hart's parents
The graves of Dr. Hart's parents
Memorial for Capt. Jacob & Jerusha Hart (Dr. Hart's paternal grandparents) at Hart's Corner Cemetery in Holden, ME