Maine History News…Events…A Unicorn Bull in Maine?

Rockland historian named Person of the Year

ROCKLAND- Local historian Thomas Molloy, a fixture on the city’s political and educational landscape for more than four decades, has been selected as the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Person of the Year. Molloy was honored at the Chamber’s 84th annual awards dinner held at the Samoset Resort in Rockport on Saturday night. A number of area businesses and individuals also were cited for recognition during the banquet……………

Maine Maritime schooner to sail to Newfoundland

CASTINE- The historic schooner Bowdoin will sail to Canada this summer to take part in a celebration of Canadian Arctic explorer Bob Bartlett. Maine Maritime Academy says the 88-foot Bowdoin will visit 12 ports in Newfoundland and Labrador as part of a summer-long initiative called Celebrating Bartlett 2009. Bartlett is best-known for taking Adm. Robert Peary within 150 miles of the north pole. The Celebrating Bartlett event coincides with the 100th anniversary of Peary’s 1909 trek to the pole…………

Milo Historical Society seeks funds for repairs

MILO- Maine’s historical societies are seldom wealthy. The responsibility of guarding a community’s heritage and memories is one that members take on gladly, though it comes at a high cost. When the Milo Historical Society underwent an assessment of its building in 2006, they were already struggling. A recent roof job had been poorly done, leaving more leaks after the shingling job than before, which damaged ceilings and endangered the storage area for historical artifacts………….

If you are interested in helping the MHS out, click onto the link at the left or go to

Historical lecture series to open with Bates professor
The Lincoln County Historical Association begins its Winter Lecture Series at 2 p.m. Sunday downstairs at the 911 Communications Center, behind the Lincoln County Courthouse at routes 1 and 27. The series continues on Feb. 8, 15 and 22. The first lecture is “The Politics of Religion in Pownalborough, 1760-1775,” with Jim Leamon, professor emeritus at Bates College department of history. To find out more, visit To learn about schedule changes due to the weather, call Jay Robbins at 737-2239 after 10:30 a.m. on the day of the lecture.

And From Maine’s weird history…

Dr. Dove’s Unicorn Bull
In 1933 Dr. W.F. Dove, a biologist at the University of Maine, conducted an experiment to find out if he could create a “unicorn bull.” He removed the two knots of tissue on the side of the bull’s head that would normally have developed into horns and transplanted them to the center of the forehead. The experiment was a success. A single, massive horn grew there. The unicorn horn made the bull the unchallenged leader of its herd. But Dr. Dove observed that the unicorn bull was actually an extremely docile creature.

He wrote:
Although he is an animal with the hereditary potentiality for two horns, he recognizes the power of a single horn which he uses as a prow to pass under fences and barriers in his path, or as a forward thrusting bayonet in his attacks. And, to invert the beatitude, his ability to inherit the earth gives him the virtues of meekness. Consciousness of power makes him docile.

More from the Unicorn Garden…

Such rumours and possibilities were known to Dr W. Franklin Dove of Maine University who in the 1930s also spotted a flaw in Cuvier’s reasoning. Cuvier, it seems, had assumed that horns grew out of the skull, whereas they actually start as unattached bits of tissue which later root themselves in it. The positioning of horns is quite open to natural or artificial variation, so Unicorns, Dove reasoned, were not a total contradiction of the laws of nature.

To test this, in 1933 he took a day-old Ayrshire calf, surgically removed its horn buds, trimmed them to fit together and replanted them in the centre of its forehead. As the young bull grew, the buds fused and produced a single solid, straight and pointed horn a foot or so in length which proved equally useful for fighting and uprooting fences, far superior in fact to the usual brace of curved ones when it comes to confronting a rival.

From Time Magazine …

Monday, May. 04, 1936
Last week in Scientific Monthly, Biologist William Franklin Dove of the University of Maine showed that Cuvier was wrong. Dr. Dove’s own researches had revealed that at birth the horn buds were not attached to the skull but were independent “centres of ossification.” Accordingly, he decided to try making a unicorn of a day-old Ayrshire. Flaps of skin containing the horn cores were cut out and the cores were joined in the centre, at the top end of the suture in the bone.

That calf is now a fine 2-year-old Ayrshire bull. From the top of its head projects a single prodigious horn (see cut). Dr. Dove describes the character of his artificial unicorn thus: “True in spirit as in horn to his prototype, he is conscious of peculiar power. … He recognizes the power of a single horn which he uses as a prow to pass under fences and barriers in his path, or as a forward thrusting bayonet in his attacks. And, to invert the beatitude, his ability to inherit the earth gives him the virtues of meekness. Consciousness of power makes him docile.”

Maine has a lot of stories kicking around in her attics. Locked away in Grammies old travel trunks or tucked between the pages of old family scrapbooks, these little bits of history can bring a new light to the task of cataloging and recording what has happened here in the Pine Tree State over the last 400 years.

This is just one example of little known factoids hiding in such places that really should be shared. Check out our growing list of historical societies to the left and find one that is close to your home. Check them out, join and support the cause of preserving Maine’s history.

Here’s a great video on the “Ellis Island of the West”….

And for today in history…

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