Morse Era (1860-1893)
The McDonnell Family
- Alice (lived at Mansion in 1885)
- Sarah (servant in 1880)
- John (carpenter in 1879, 1885-1886)
- James (stonecutter in 1886)
Felix McDonnell (in some records, McDonald) and his wife, Alice, were Irish immigrants. They first went to New Brunswick, Canada, then moved just over the border into Downeast Maine for a time before moving to the Portland area. Their daughter Sarah is the only one specifically listed as a servant when she lived at the Mansion. Alice was recorded as a widow living at the Mansion in 1885. Alice and Felix’s son John was listed as a carpenter, and his brother James as a stonecutter. It is possible that these two men worked on the library bay addition (the only known Morse-era change to the Mansion’s original 1860 footprint).
Members of the McDonnell family lived at the Mansion various years in the 1880s and lived in nearby apartments when they weren’t here. It is possible that they acted as caretakers of the property while the Morses were away and stepped in as servants when the Morses were in the city.
Michael D. Monahan (1850-1923)
Michael was born near Tuam, County Galway, Ireland, and immigrated to the United States in 1873. He was a coachman for several families in Portland as well as a hostler (a person who took care of horses at a stable). Michael was married at the time he worked for the Morse family, so it is possible that his wife lived with him on the second floor of the Carriage House.
Julia Foley (birth & death dates not yet known)
(Position not yet known) 1886
In 1886, a local jewelry store ran a newspaper ad for winners in their monthly raffle drawing. Julia Foley, who lived at 109 Danforth Street, won a butter knife. With such a strong Irish name, she likely would have been a servant, not a guest, of the Morses.
James Webber (birth & death dates not yet known)
Libby Era (1894-1928)
This may have actually been John Johnson (below), whose name at birth was Johann Adolfsson. The city directory compiler may have incorrectly recorded his name as Avidson.
Johann Adolfsson/John Johnson (1870-1954)
John was born in Sweden and immigrated to Portland in 1891. He was a coachman for several other families in the city as well as for the Libbys. He married and later worked as a chauffeur in the Portland area.
Charles A. Carter (1849-1913)
Charles was born on his family’s farm in Yarmouth, Maine. He worked as a coachman for various families in Portland and at times was a hackman (someone who drove a horse-drawn taxi). In some censuses, he is recorded as Black, in others, mixed-race. Charles’s brother John Carter, a pulp mill operator, married Anne McKinnon at the Abyssinian Meetinghouse, the oldest Black church in Portland, in 1897.
William Mosley (1874-1944)
William was born in Nova Scotia, Canada, and immigrated to Maine in 1884. He was a coachman for the Libbys and then joined a Naval Reserve unit. He married and later was employed as a railroad brakeman and a factory worker.
David Webster (1835-1924)
David was born in New Hampshire and served in the Union army in the U.S. Civil War. He later moved to Biddeford, Maine, and worked as an upholsterer at the J.R. Libby store there. A Libby grandchild recalled that David “didn’t have any home or something, so he worked for grandfather [J.R.] in the Mansion, and he did some of the cleaning and kept furniture repaired.” The city directory recorded him as a cook in the household, likely relying on skills he had learned as a cook in the army.
Johannah “Hannah” Shine (1880-1947)
Hannah was born in County Kerry, Ireland, and emigrated to Portland in 1900. She was the Libby family’s cook in 1910, and worked for other Portland families before she got married. She was friends with fellow servant Katie Steed before and after they worked here.
In 2022, Hannah’s granddaughters donated some of her belongings to the Mansion. These are the first objects owned by a member of the domestic staff to be accessioned into the Mansion’s collections.
Katherine “Katie” Steed (1868-1959)
Katie was born near Tuam in County Galway, Ireland and emigrated in 1891. She worked as a servant for several families around Portland as well as in Connecticut and New York City. She was friends with Hannah Shine for the rest of her life. One of Katie’s nieces was Sabina Grady, who worked for the Libby family from 1916-1923.