articles

The Steamer “Royal Tar”

Tourism being the currently touted gem of Maine business, we pay close attention to the port of Portland, and its cruise ship business. For many years, the Maine attraction at that port was the ferry service that docked near the bridge. It was replaced by the high-speed cat, but now we can ogle over the gigantic liners that visit the Old Port. Back in the 1800s there was also regular steam service through a string of steamers between St. John’s New Brunswick and Portland Harbor as well.

One of the most famously known of these steamers was the steamer Royal Tar, which burned on a trip during a gale (shown to the right burning during the tragedy). Francis B.C. Bradlee writes this of the event in his book Some Account of Steam Navigation in New England:

Although many of the early coast of Maine steamers previously mentioned may have, and probably did, make sporadic trips to St. John, N. B., and ports in southern Nova Scotia, the first regular service of which there is any knowledge was in 1836, when the wooden sidewheeler “Royal Tar” (named for King William IV of Great Britain) was built at St. John, N. B., to run regularly between that place and Portland, Maine, where she connected with the Boston steamers. The “Royal Tar” was 164 feet long, 24 feet beam, and measured 400 tons; she cost $50,000 to build, and was owned by John Hammond and D. J. McLaughlin of St. John; she made her first trip to Portland in May, 1836; with over 200 passengers.

A few months later this steamer was lost under such tragic but curious circumstances as to render the disaster long memorable in the annals of New England steam boating. On Friday, Oct. 21, 1836, the “Royal Tar” left St. John for Eastport and Portland, having on board a crew of 21 persons and 72 passengers. She also carried Burgess’ collection of serpents and birds, Dexter’s locomotive museum and a brass band. Among the animals on board were an elephant, six horses, two dromedaries, two lionesses, one royal Bengal tiger, one gnu, and a pair of pelicans. As a result of a high northwest wind, the “Royal Tar” remained at anchor at Eastport until Tuesday, the 25th, when at 2 P. M. she got under way and resumed her voyage. She had not much more than got outside when the gale increased in violence and she ran in for shelter near Fox island.

The story of her loss was told by Capt. Thomas Reed, her commander, in these words: “The steam being down after we had been at anchor about half an hour, the boat was discovered to be on fire immediately over the boiler, under the deck. The cable was slipped instantly and the fire engine set to work, but in five minutes the men could not stand at the pump, which was below, the smoke nearly suffocating them. At this awful juncture there was a rush for the boats, there being only two. Sixteen of the passengers and crew took the largest boat and went away before the wind, which blew so hard they were afraid to bring her to. I got possession of the jolly boat, with two men, and picked up another man belonging to the caravan who had jumped overboard.”

“In about half an hour we saw a schooner coming to us, which proved to be the United States revenue cutter Veto, Capt. Dyer, who rendered us every assistance in his power. He ran the cutter close to the burning steamer, then in a sheet of flames, and succeeded in taking out forty passengers, who must have perished had not the cutter come to our assistance.”

One of the passengers, Hinson Patten by name, gave an account of the affair which explains the conduct of Capt. Reed in taking the one remaining boat. He says: “Capt. Reed took charge of the stern boat, with two men, and kept her off the steamboat, which was a very fortunate circumstance, as it was the means of saving from forty to fifty persons, and to him all credit is due for his deliberate and manly perseverance throughout the whole calamity.” Another account mentions that the elephant jumped overboard, crashing down upon a raft that was being hurriedly constructed, thus destroying the raft and losing the lives of several passengers. The horses also leaped overboard, and it was said that the elephant and a pony succeeded in swimming ashore. That statement was contradicted by an item in a St. John newspaper, which stated that every animal belonging to the menagerie was doubtless lost. The elephant was seen a few days ago floating near Brimstone island. Other accounts state that when the horses jumped overboard in their wild panic, instead of making for the shore, they swam round and round the burning steamboat until they became exhausted and were drowned.

Twenty-nine passengers and eight of the crew of the “Royal Tar” perished in this dreadful disaster, and the money loss was estimated at not less than $125,000. Capt. Reed was presented with a purse of $750 in gold for his gallantry in saving so many of his passengers; at a later date he was made harbor roaster of St. John, a post he filled acceptably for many years.

A steamer named the “Gazelle” took the place of the “Royal Tar,” and she also was wrecked by running ashore near St. John in June, 1838; there was, luckily, no loss of life.

Categories: articles, headlines, history, stories, Uncategorized, weird Maine news | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Old Town Canoes

The Bangor Daily News had a nice piece on the Old Town Canoe Company today, and while the crux of the article was regarding the now closed original factory location, there is quite a bit of information regarding the history of this iconic Maine company. There are scores and score of companies that have built canoes, and still do, but few have risen to the reputation and excellence the Old Town Canoe Company has achieved. When a sportsman thinks or talks of canoes, most assuredly the name Old Town is forefront in nearly every conversation.

Of course, the company has new digs they are enjoying which are much more accommodating to today’s modern manufacturing methods, and the canoes they build are made of synthetic materials, and not the natural wood and canvas products used in the past. Time changes all it seems.

I came across a letter to the “trouble Department” column of Power Boating magazine[November, 1914], and the writer[B.B. of Portland Ore.] says he installed a four horsepower motorcycle engine into an 18 foot Old Town Canoe, and wanted to know what size propeller he should use to get the most speed from that motor. The reply was that he should reduce the 4100 rpm speed of the motor to a third of that and mount a two-blade 14×16 propeller on the shaft for the best speed. We men were daring in those days, weren’t we?

These advertisements shown here to the left were taken from several early 1900 periodicals, and they show the range of product this company was able to provide, even in the early days of Old Town’s life. One model in particular, the “Sponson” model even included air chambers along the sides to prevent capsizing and sinking of the canoe should an unsuspecting (or reckless) paddler get too close to danger.

Speaking of the early 1900s, I believe one of the reasons Old Town has persisted for over a century is its dogged resistance to the changing times, while at the same time being able to change with those very times as they change. WWI was no exception to the rule. As the war caused many companies to fold due to retracting sales, the management of Old Town Canoe grabbed the paddle and forged ahead by increasing their advertising and reaching out for new markets to conquer. Their strategy paid off, and because of their ability to adapt and change, is still around today.

That ability to persevere in spite of the circumstances seems common in Maine, or at least it used to be. A Mainer would see that something needed to be done, and he(or she) would get it done. There was no intent to gain glory in honor in doing a job, the job was done because it needed to be done. companies failed for many reasons, but others succeed for a very few reasons. The drive to carry on in spite of the obstacles is just one of those reasons.

Some would say that Old Town Canoe achieved success in the boating world because of their name and location, but we must remember that not only was Old Town Canoe not the only canoe maker in Maine, they were not even the only canoe maker in Old Town. In the early days they also competed against the E.M. White & Co., the Carleton Canoe Company, both of Old Town, Morris Canoes of Veazie, the Robertson and Old Town Canoe Co., formerly the Indian Old Town Canoe Co., of Old Town and a score or more of other makers, just in the state of Maine.

So what were the circumstances that caused Old Town Canoe to become such an iconic presence in the outdoors world, and why do they keep selling the world’s best canoes today? There are many answers to that, of course, but I believe we can summarize by stating that this company, which essentially began as a back room extra income business has stuck to its core standards, and while changing with the times in some respects, still adheres to the age-old mantra of pride and quality going hand in hand. They know what they do well, and they stick to it.

Many age-old companies have changed with the times, but the core values of the companies have changed as well. Take Abercrombie & Fitch, for instance. Once they were the premier outfitter of the world. If a sportsman wanted hunting, fishing or camping supplies, their first choice was Abercrombie. They were so prominent; the TV show MASH had an episode where Hawkeye Pierce even ordered a portable bathtub from the company. Today, they sell clothing of objectionable taste to teeny-boppers who obviously have no taste. Relegated to a few thousand square foot sales floors in the nations malls, this company today faces a prospect of extinction because they have wandered so far from their core audience.

Not so for Old Town Canoe, and I hope they never compromise their name, nor their reputation for the sake of easy money, no matter how trying the times become. Compromise begets many negative things in some instances, but never more so than in the manufacturing and retail scenes. Remember when Black and Decker was a name you could trust and respect? Sylvania? General Electric? Or even here at home, L.L. Bean? I remember when you could get top quality merchandise for the outdoorsman. Today, they have come to compromise their own core standards in favor of catering to big city wannabee sportsman who want to look the part as they tool around town in their pricey SUVs, wanting to look rustic, but not willing to pay the real price to be rustic. Don’t get me wrong, you can still get good quality merchandise, but it isn’t like it used to be. Time changes all things (but not necessarily), remember?

A brief piece in the April 25, 1909 issue of Motor Boat magazine perhaps says it best when it comes to the power of owning a canoe, and in particular an Old Town canoe. Those were the days when sportsmen were sportsmen, and getting away from it all was the real prize, although bagging a trophy was indeed icing on the cake.

THERE’S a great deal that might be said about Old Town canoes, a great deal more than can be spoken in this brief space. These canoes are built by the Old Town Canoe Company, at Old Town, Me. Canoes are about the most primitive craft; they were used by the early tribes of mankind, and throughout the ages the canoe has survived, until we find it, refined and perfected in the Old Town models. They are found in all parts of the world, thousands of them. To the owner of a motorboat cruiser the possession of a canoe will bring many hours of pleasure that could not be enjoyed by any other means. A canoe carried on deck enables one to explore out-of-the-way waters, to seek the beauty of shallow streams. The writer cherishes the memory of many happy hours spent in an Old Town, paddling leisurely upon almost hidden creeks, beneath the foliage of overhanging trees, in absolute peace. If you would know rest, and seek quiet, if you would meditate, would muse and dream, as you need to, get a canoe and take it with you when you cruise. The illustration shows the cover of the Old Town Canoe catalogue, and it is a book worth reading, it breathes the spirit of the thing in every line. A copy is free to any reader of Motor Boat.

Categories: articles, history, Maine, Maine things to do, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Maine’s first electric sawmill

Everything changes with time, and the lumber industry of Maine has not been an exception to the rule. Today, we’re used to these machines that can drive into the woods, cut and de-limb a tree, de-bark it and load it into a pulp truck in less time than most folks take to smoke a short cigarette. It wasn’t always that way, but as time progressed, Mainers kept up with technology, adopting those methods and machines that fir the bill, and adapting others that didn’t exactly fit the bill, but could with a little tweaking. A 1921 issue of Popular Mechanics had a few articles that looked at this very same knack that die-hard Mainers have for adopting and adapting, as the need fits.

In the first article, we read that Maine seems to have been a pioneer in using electricity to run their backwoods sawmills, and the report says that we had the first ever such mill to replace steam and water powered mills for the task of sawing logs into useable lumber.

A second article from that same magazine shows that one of the backcountry lumber operations adapted a modern gas or diesel powered version of the Lombard Hauler to tow a converted box car to haul cargo, the mail and people back and forth from the deep woods of Maine.

The third article isn’t about technology, but it is about someone adapting materials at hand to fill a need. A couple of deep woods camp owners, female at that, utilized a log to make a unique table for their camp. Cutting the log in half and using the smaller diameter upper parts of the tree for legs, they hand milled the table top with a broadax, planed the flats until they were smooth and varnished the table until it had a glossy finish. I guess we know why they call it a broad ax now. (Just kidding, no offense meant!:0)

Categories: articles, history, stories, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Malaga Island

Malaga Island: A century of shame

By: Colin Woodard

Analysis: A new exhibit at the Maine State Museum tells the story of the eviction of Malaga Island’s residents, one of the state’s most disgraceful official acts ever.

Maps and letters by the ‘Great Geographer’ topic of museum speaker series …
Lake of the Woods Enterprise
Maine Historical Society librarian Frances Pollitt discusses the ‘Great Geographer’ with Lake of the Woods Museum educator Braden Murray following her presentation David Thompson – Letters and Maps at the museum speaker series, Tuesday.

Garvey to perform for Old Berwick Historical Society 50th anniversary concert
Seacoastonline.com
Folk-rock singer-songwriter Connor Garvey will perform at the society’s Counting House Museum (1 Liberty St., South Berwick, Maine) on Thursday, May 24. Doors open at 7 pm The concert is open to members of the public who join the Old Berwick Historical …

Maine students’ field trip includes Rollinsford Mills
The Union Leader
By JOHN QUINN SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Elementary students from Central School are getting ready to take a Hike Through History and will visit several key stops in the downtown as well as cross the state line to learn about the nearby mills this Friday.

Owls Head struggles to save relegated one-room schoolhouses
Bangor Daily News
By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff OWLS HEAD, Maine — At its peak, this small coastal town had five one-room schoolhouses. Now only two remain, and both are out of use. To raise awareness about the legacy of the schools, the Mussel Ridge Historical Society …

Midlander to donate quilt to Maine museum
Midland Reporter-Telegram
It most likely was made on one of the Fox Islands — either Vinalhaven or North Haven in Maine — where Denham’s grandmother was born, he said. Once Denham realized the historical value of the quilt he began researching its history.

Waterboro presentation honors Civil War’s 32nd Maine
KeepMEcurrent.com
According to local historian Bruce Tucker, who gave a presentation on the 32nd Maine Regiment on May 3 to the Waterborough Historical Society, most of the men who signed up were either “really young” or “rather old,” since by the spring of 1864 most of …

Rockland neighborhood off Route 1 to be leveled
May 16, 2012 05:23 pm | Stephen Betts

ROCKLAND, Maine — Nearly every home along a street off Route 1 is expected to be demolished over the next week. The 12 cottage-style homes and several sheds date back more than a century in some cases. Applications were filed this week by David Landry of Superior Restoration to demolish…

An ‘amazing’ collection set to go public at USM

By: Kelley Bouchard

A Mainer’s painstaking work tracks the chief mode of travel from the U.S. to Europe for a century.

PHOTO: A place in Lewiston history

Susan Hall, right, owner of The Vault at 84 Lisbon St., chats with Jennifer Ferguson, left, and Rick Morris of the Lewiston Historic Preservation Commission on Thursday. The building at 84 Lisbon St. has been recognized as a piece of Lewiston history. The Healy Terrace on Ash Street and the Andro…

Categories: articles, headlines, history, Maine, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Frank Knight, Yarmouth Tree Hugger Passes


Frank Knight, man who cared for famed elm tree, dies at 103
PORTLAND — Frank Knight’s decades-long battle to save New England’s tallest elm served as an inspiring tale of devotion, so it is fitting that he will be laid to rest in a coffin made from the tree he made famous. Knight, who died Monday at 103, had affectionately referred to the 217…

Yarmouth man to be buried in casket made from tree he revered

Frank Knight, who cared for New England’s oldest known American elm for 52 years, dies at 103…

Restoring life to aging clocks a rare profession

AUBURN — There’s something about a grandfather clock’s low “tock … tock” that speaks to Patrick Rohman. “It’s kind of like a heartbeat,” the 57-year-old clock repairman said. Clear out the dead spiders. Clean the gears and springs. Restore the oil. Life returns…

Brunswick discontinues war hero’s imaginary street

BRUNSWICK — In an intriguing example of the sometimes-tenuous relationship between people and reality, the Town Council on Monday unanimously voted to do away with a 105-year-old street that existed only in the imagination of a long-dead war hero…

Ancient tradition of harvesting alewives still going strong in Woolwich

WOOLWICH, Maine — Steve Dodge, who has been helping with springtime alewife harvests in Woolwich for 54 years, held up a stick with 10 smoked fish Sunday and told a reporter to “write us up big.” “Tell ’em they’re smoked golden brown and incredibly delicious,” said Dodge. “Even if they’re…


More Events, Exhibits and Presentations

Maine Agriculture: Views from the Past: Historic photo exhibit. Donation requested. At Page Farm and Home Museum, University of Maine-Orono. Through Nov. 10.

Knox Country Through Eastern’s Eye: Exhibit of historic photos from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection. At Thomaston Public Library. Through June 29.

The Coastal Photography of Elmer Montgomery: Exhibit of works by the renowned Midcoast Maine photographer. At the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, 9 Water St., Rockland. Through June 30.

Greetings from Vassalboro: PMM photo archivist Kevin Johnson will show and discuss old photos of Vassalboro and surrounding towns. At Vassalboro Hist. Soc., 360 Main St., East Vassalboro. Free. May 17, 7 p.m.

Greetings from Brooks: PMM photo archivist Kevin Johnson will show and discuss old photos of Brooks and surrounding towns. At Harvest Home Grange Hall, Moosehead Trail H’wy (Rte.7), Brooks. Donation requested. More information: 207-722-3633. May 18, 6:30 p.m.

Greetings from St. George: PMM photo archivist Kevin Johnson will show and discuss old photos of St. George, Port Clyde, Tenants Harbor, Martinsville and Long Cove. At St. George Grange Hall, Wiley’s Corner Rd., St. George. Free; donation accepted. More information: 207-372-8893. May 31: potluck at 6:30; slide show at 7:30 p.m.

Greetings from Nobleboro: PMM photo archivist Kevin Johnson will show old photos of Nobleboro and surrounding towns. At Nobleboro Hist. Soc., 198 Center St. (Old Rte.1). Free. June 15, 7 p.m.


May Programs

18 Tavern Dinner. Join us for this month’s ever popular historic dinner. Relax and kindle new friendships as colonial ladies prepare a fabulous meal at the hearth. This month’s menu will include: Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup, Spring Greens with Goat Cheese and Nuts, Chicken with Dried Plums and Olives, Wild Rice Pilaf, Steamed Green Beans, and Rhubarb Upside Down Cake. Sign up soon –these dinners fill fast! $35 ($30 members) at the Parsons Education Center, 6 p.m.

20 Blue Grass Jam with Kevin Dyer and Friends. 1-4 p.m. at The Parsons Center. $4 donation appreciated.

28 Buck-a-Building Memorial Day and Paddle-to-the-Sea. Come see the Museum properties, including the the Old Gaol, Emerson-Wilcox House, Elizabeth Perkins House, Jefferds Tavern, the School House, and our Exhibit, “The country heer is plentiful” Trade, Religion and Warfare in York and Southern Maine, open for $1 tours. At 2 p.m. families are invited participate in Paddle-to-the-Sea, a kid-focused program based on Holling Clancy Hollings children’s book by the same name. After hearing the story, build a little boat, label it with your family’s name and launch it down the river. Follow your boat’s journey to the ocean on our blog. $5 per mini boat at the John Hancock Warehouse. 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

June Programs

2 Museum Opening Day! Come to the Museums of Old York for our opening day, enjoy the historic tours and beautiful ambience of our buildings and grounds. Also stop by the George Marshall Store for the opening of a new exhibit: Michael Stasiuk.
18 Great Bay Sailors Performance at the Wharf Join us for a Seafaring concert complete with shanty tunes at the Hancock Wharf featuring the musical stylings of Portsmouth’s own Great Bay Sailors. The concert starts at 4p.m. a $5 donation is appreciated. Please bring your own chairs or blankets, rain site is inside the warehouse. For more information, pleae contact Zoe or call her at 207-363-4974 x12

News and Updates

For the First Time EVER! The Museums of Old York will hold our Decorator’s Show House and our Antiques show at the SAME time Come to our 23rd Annual Decorator’s Show House and our 5th Annual Antiques Show this summer. The Decorator’s Show House will take place at 19 Harmon Park Road from July 14th through August 11th. The Antiques Show will take place in our Parson’s Center on July 21st and 22nd. During that time, if you purchase a ticket to the Decorator’s Show House, you get free admission to the Antiques Show. Plus, a ticket to either show will entitle you to $5 off admission to all of the Museums of Old York during the 2012 season. For more information, please visit our website or if you would like to volunteer please contact us at 207-363-4974.

Celebration of the Working and Playing Waterfront. A team of staff and trustees are looking ahead to summer and have been working to create an array of programs for 2012 all under the theme York’s rivers and ocean dominate its history. Celebrating our heritage on the water will take many forms. A series of fun and educational programs will be offered throughout June-July-August-September including a river regatta and barbeque, workshops, lectures and demonstrations on the history of lobstering, fishing, boat building, waterfront stories, riverscape painting, the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, and more! A brochure will be coming out soon detailing all the offerings over the summer. See our website for a preliminary schedule of events — stay tuned for updated information.

Categories: articles, events, headlines, historical societies, Museums of Old York, Penobscot Marine Museum, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nelson Dingley Jr.

Genealogy is about the memories we give, as well
The presentation is free and open to all. Donations will be accepted to benefit Orono Historical Society. For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties

$10000 grant will help renovate old train depot
The 1851 depot is the oldest rail-related structure in Maine, and among the oldest in the US, according to a press release from the society. The restoration is a component of the society’s ongoing initiative to restore its historic village…

Presque Isle trolley offering trips back in time
“There used to be electric trolleys all over the state,” said historical society president Craig Green. “But this is the first-ever trolley in northern Maine.” Vintage trolleys and replicas like the Presque Isle vehicle are common tourist attractions…

Misery Gore. China. Meddybemps. Bangor. Poland. Amity. Cornville. Maine names: Behind the state’s unusual place names are our hopes, ancestors, religion, colorful characters and imaginations.

Have you ever driven down a Maine road and seen a sign that made you wonder just where on Earth our names come from? Meddybemps. Mars Hill. Argyle. Misery Gore. That last one might have made you want to turn back. There are some pretty odd place names in Maine and…

In death, Portland woman reunited with long-lost love

Teresa Getchell spent decades seeking the truth about her husband’s wartime death in 1969.

Cultivating Younger Buyers a Must for Antique Dealers
As an antique dealer and collector, as well as a business owner, Michelle Staley is always looking for new ways to reinvent her business, her brand and her product line. Right now, Michelle says, she sees the need to make her inventory attractive to the Twentysomething consumer. Many Baby Boomers are downsizing and, while they are still spending money on antiques and collectibles, Michelle argues that antiques and collectibles dealers need to cultivate a younger generation of shoppers to keep their businesses afloat. So, how do you go about making your antique store front or website attractive to the young consumer? Michelle has some tips. Read “Cultivating Younger Buyers a Must for Antique Dealers”

More Events, Exhibits and Presentations

Selections from the Red Boutilier Collection: Exhibit of photography from the museum’s archives. Free. At Camden Public Library. April 1-30.

Selections from the Elmer Montgomery and Atlantic Fisherman Collections: Exhibits of photography from the museum’s archives. Free. At Hutchinson Center, Belfast. Through April 30.

Digging Deeper into the Elmer Montgomery Collection: Illustrated talk by Curator Ben Fuller. Free. At Hutchinson Center, Belfast. April 25, 6:30 p.m.

Greetings from Stockton Springs: Illustrated talk by Photo Archivist Kevin Johnson, with historic photos from the Eastern Illustrating collection. Free. At Stockton Springs Community Library. April 29, 2 p.m.

Maine Agriculture: Views from the Past: Historic photo exhibit. Donation requested. At Page Farm and Home Museum, University of Maine-Orono. May 10 – Nov. 10.

The following is excerpted from Representative Men of Maine, ed. by Henry Chase, pub. 1893 by the Lakeside Press:

Journalist, Legislator, Ex-Governor, and Congressman, Nelson Dingley, Jr., stands in the front rank of the sons of Maine and is in very many respects a most excellent type of New England character. Ability, industry, courage, and a capacity for work are the great causes of his success. It is these, coupled with honesty and perseverance, that have made his pathway straight from the country schoolhouse to the national capitol.

Mr. Dingley was born in Durham, Maine, February 15, 1832, being the eldest son of Nelson and Jane L. Dingley. The following year the parents removed to Parkman, this state, where they kept a country store in connection with the village hotel. The son was distinguished in the district school for his studious habits and good scholarship. At twelve years of age, he attended the high school, three miles distant, walking each morning and night and carrying his dinner pail. When sixteen years of age he organized a temperance society in his town, and from that time to the present he has always taken a deep interest, and been an able and faithful worker, in the great cause of temperance. When seventeen years of age he taught school in the town of China, and continued to teach every win1er but one for the next five years. In 1851, he entered Colby University, then Waterville College, where he remained one year and a half, and then took a course at Dartmouth, from which he graduated in 1855 with high rank in scholarship.

After leaving college, Mr. Dingley studied law with Morrill & Fessenden at Auburn, and was admitted to the Bar in 1856. In September of that year he purchased one-half of the Lewiston Journal, and the year following he became the sole proprietor and editor. At this time, the Journal
was a weekly paper. A daily edition was added in 1861, and Frank L., a younger brother of Nelson, became associated with the paper, which has continued under their management to the present time. It supported the first Republican nominee in this State, and has since that time been an able Republican journal

In 1861 Mr. Dingley received his first election to public office, being only twenty-nine years of age. He was re-elected a member of the Legislature in 1862, 1863, 1864, 1868, and 1873; was speaker in 1863 and 1864. In 1867-8 he was at the head of the State Lodge of Good Templars, and was justly regarded as the leader in the temperance and prohibitory movement in Maine. Mr. Dingley was elected Governor of the State in 1873, and re-elected by an increased majority in 1874, but declined a re-election the following year.

In 1881 he was elected by the Republicans in the second district to fill the vacancy in Congress caused by the election to the Senate of Hon. William P. Frye, and took his seat in the House at the opening of the Forty-seventh Congress, in December of that year. He was re-elected to the Forty-eighth, Forty ninth, Fiftieth, Fifty-first, Fifty-second, and Fifty-third Congresses, and always by good majorities.

Mr. Dingley’s first speech in Congress was made April 25, 1882, on “Protection to American Shipping.” This speech commanded attention both in Congress and throughout the country, especially in commercial circles. It was pronounced by the Washington Star “a speech of much ability and force, giving promise of a successful career in Congress,” and by the Washington correspondent of the New York Tribune ” one of the best speeches ever made by a new member.” He has taken an active part in the discussions of many of the leading measures before the House during his congressional career. Among those may be mentioned the various shipping bills the silver question, reduction of taxation, compulsory pilotage, the tariff, the fishery question, the French spoliation claims, the anti-Chinese bill, etc. Perhaps his greatest efforts in Congress have been devoted to relieving American shipping of many of the burdens resting upon it and to the promotion of that great industry in which many of his constituents have large interests.

Mr. Dingley has served on some of the important committees of the House, notably the Ways and Means, the Appropriations, the Banking and Currency Committee, the Committee on Merchant Marine and Eisheries, and the Select Committee on American Ship-building and Ship-owning Interests In 1884 he reported from the Shipping Committee a bill to remove certain burdens on American shipping, and a bill to “Constitute a Bureau of Navigation” in the Treasury Department, and largely through his labor and influence these bills passed both houses of Congress the same year and became laws.

As a legislator Congressman Dingley is industrious and painstaking, and as a debater he is vigorous and logical. He is thoroughly conscientious and honest in all he does and says, and to these qualities may be attributed largely his success in Congress and throughout his whole public career.

Categories: antiques, articles, Maine, Maine Biographies, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

A week of Shipwrecks

The anniversary of the wreck of the Titanic was this past Tuesday, April 10, and there has been no lack of interest on this subject. TV specials were all over the place, as well as movies, interviews of researchers, lectures and more could be found all across the state. There were events held in many of Maine’s historical societies, from the mother ship on down.

The picture to the left of the Titanic is from The Loss of the SS Titanic, by Lawrence Beesley, published in 1912. You can download the book by clicking onto the title.

I have a few headlines to share today, as well as a MHS event and an excellent article on selling your collections by Harry Rinker. A link to the story can be found at the end of the blurb. Enjoy, and don’t forget to remember our service men and women on Monday, which is also Patriots Day.

Shipwrecks highlighted during next Belfast Historical Society meeting
Johansen is the publisher of Maine Coastal News, a monthly publication dedicated to covering the waterfront of the state of Maine. He has a lifelong interest in shipwrecks and maritime history. Belfast Historical Society meetings are free and open to

Stow Historical Society Chowd’a Fest April 14
First Annual Stow Historical Society Chowd’a Fest will be held Saturday, April 14, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm snow or shine at Saco Valley Fire Station (Route 113 in North Fryeburg). A challenge has been extended to the Cold River Valley and

‘Field School’ allows study of archaeological dig
Students, teachers and history buffs interested in archaeology have an opportunity this summer to join a field school led by archaeologist Neill De Paoli and sponsored by the Old Berwick Historical Society

A child’s account of the Titanic retold in Portland
Author and St. Joseph’s College Professor of Education Karen Marks Lemke speaks about the ill-fated Titanic at the Maine Historical Society on Tuesday, April 10, 2012. The ship sank 100 years ago this week…

New book upcoming on Isles of Shoals
An upcoming book about the Isles of Shoals off the New Hampshire and Maine coasts traces 6000 years of history at one of the tiny islands. Author and historian J. Dennis Robinson says 250000 artifacts were unearthed on rocky Smuttynose

Maine Historical Society

Thursday, April 19, 7pm

The Civil War of 1812

Speaker: Dr. Alan Taylor, University of California, Davis

This year marks the bicentennial of the War of 1812, a formative event in both Maine and U.S. history and the subject of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alan Taylor’s new book. Join us to learn more! This program is part of the Richard D’Abate Lectures: Conversations About History, Art, and Literature. Series details.

To see a full list of upcoming programs, please click here.

Rinker on Collectibles: Advice on Selling a Collection
When starting a collection, it’s all fun and games and the thrill of the hunt, locating that missing or surprising treasure that will no doubt be the group’s centerpiece. But at some point, when the collection becomes more of a hindrance than a hobby, a decision will be made to sell it off. When selling any collections, especially if assembled after 1980, there are several truths a seller has to face, says Worthologist Harry Rinker. Unfortunately, all have a “bad news” aspect and run counter to what the collector believes deep in his/her heart. Harry has some advice for those who decide to go through with the sale. Does it apply to you and your collection? Read “Rinker on Collectibles: Advice on Selling a Collection”

Categories: articles, collectibles, headlines, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Historic Group Buys Sullivan House

Here are a few more headlines from around Maine to pique your interest. Seasonal projects are starting to fire up again around the state of Maine, hope you all have good fortune, and if you would like to share feel free to drop a line to me. Use the message box below or email if you have a longer piece. The photo to the right is of a couple of lobster boats moored at Harpswell landing.

Keeper of Yarmouth’s past finds fresh future

Linda Grant, left, chairwoman of the Yarmouth Historical Society, Program Director Amy Thompson and Executive Director Michael Chaney are among those looking forward to the construction of a new Yarmouth History Center to enhance the…

Historic group buys Sullivan house

A local property with a house that dates to the early 1800s is being acquired by the local historical society. The Sullivan-Sorrento Historical Society indicated in a prepared statement sent out Sunday that…

Hope gravestone photos available on society website

Other topics well worth a look include History and Homes. The site also has a copy of the column I wrote about Hope Historical Society in 2009. If you know of Maine and New England cemetery listings online, let me know the Web address by sending it to…

Group in Lincolnville wants to move 130-year-old schoolhouse …

The Lincolnville Historical Society is working to move the 1880s school across the … By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff LINCOLNVILLE, Maine — There are several…

New website offers searchable info on one of oldest cemeteries in northern Maine

… in February at the Campus Center, celebrating the project that was conducted by staff at UMPI’s GIS laboratory and a team of UMPI researchers working in partnership with the Fairmount Cemetery Association and the Presque Isle Historical Society.

Categories: articles, historic preservation, historical societies, Maine, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Berwick’s Royal Cloyd Passes

Here are a few Google headlines to keep you updated with the goings on around the state of Maine, -historical society wise- enjoy and if you have any news to share, send it on in!

Historical Society fetes 50 years in style Naples Daily News
The Naples Historical Society staged its 50th Anniversary Ball, appropriately, in a spot with some history: the Naples Yacht Club, which took a hit from Hurricane Donna that hit in 1960 — just after its completion. The club had been rapidly repaired…

North Berwick loses Royal Cloyd, a true champion Foster’s Daily Democrat
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — Royal Cloyd, the longtime leader of North Berwick’s Historical Society, died Feb. 23 in Arizona after a short illness. He was 86. Although not a native, in recent years Cloyd was arguably North Berwick’s most effective community…

Conway Historical Society March meeting Conway Daily Sun
The speaker will be June O’Donal, who will be speaking on her research into the early history of Fryeburg, Maine (1767 to 1806) and how she wove the people and events into her historical novel, “The Fryeburg Chronicles – Book 1 The Amazing Grace…

Smithfield has reason to celebrate on Leap Day WLBZ-TV
SMITHFIELD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — On February 29, 1840 the town of Smithfield was incorporated as the 348th town in Maine, and remains the only town in the state founded on a Leap Day. Members of the town’s historical society are not sure why that…

Making history in Arundel Seacoastonline.com
Memorable events change the character of a town or community at different points in their history and for the town of Arundel, Feb. 12, 2012 will go down as a date to remember. The Arundel Historical Society, after more than two years of fundraising,..

Historical society seeks info on gown, dress coat found in Dixfield town garage

DIXFIELD — The town and the Dixfield Historical Society are trying to find the owner and purpose of a vintage gown and ankle-length white cotton dress coat discovered upstairs in the town garage. Charlotte Collins, a society director and deputy treasurer for the town, took the two ba…

History center to offer journey back to origins

The Yarmouth Historical Society plans to renovate and expand a building on East Elm Street to create the history center.

At the Maine Historical Society:

Tuesday, March 6, 12pm

Longfellow’s Shadow: A reading of poems by Wesley McNair and Betsy Sholl

Join us to kick off our Richard D’Abate Lectures with readings by two Maine Poet Laureates. The poets’ readings will reflect themes in Longfellow’s poetry, his stance as a poet, and his attitude toward the social issues of his time.

Tuesday, March 20, 7pm

Downtown Corridors: Franklin and Spring Streets

Downtown corridors move us through Portland’s urban landscape. But certain corridors–like Franklin and Spring Streets–are the source of much dissatisfaction. What are our options moving forward? Stakeholders will share their ideas, discuss current initiatives, and consider what future development along these routes might look like. This program is part of(Re) Designing the Greater Portland Landscape: Issues in Contemporary Design and Development, a program series held in partnership with Greater Portland Landmarks.

Categories: articles, events, headlines, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

L.L. Bean: The stuff of legend

Headlines have been kind of sparse lately, so I have decided to add some material beyond the front pages and event listings in the next few posts. You can still email your events and news that you would like to share at the same old address: editor@remembermemedia.com though.

LL Bean in Freeport is celebrating their 100th anniversary this year and it looks like there will be lots of excitement and a good number of events to spread the pride of reaching that milestone. 100 years is a long time for a business to be open, and I extend my hand in congratulations for their success, and wish them another 100 years. The papers will be full of articles the next few months with lots of information and articles on the birth and growth of this company.

Of course, as we all know, Leo Leonwood Bean designed his first hunting shoe in 1911 because he, like so many of us, was sick and tired of having wet, cold, and aching feet when returning home from his jaunts in the woods. He had some leather tops sewn to a pair of rubbers, and the rest is history. The Bean ad here lists a service whereby a hunter could send in any old pair of boots, and LL Bean’s craftsmen would clean them up, sew on a pair of rubbers and add new laces for the exorbitant cost (at the time) of just $3.40. Bean’s 100th anniversary hunting shoe lists for $139.00 in their catalog. What a difference a century makes!

L.L. Bean: The stuff of legend

FREEPORT — In the rear of a plain-looking white house — not far from the crush of shoppers at L.L. Bean’s retail complex — reside the relics of the company’s century-long history.

Racks of vintage wool coats hang alongside antique fishing poles and knapsacks. L.L. Bean-brand dinnerware sold in the 1950s is here. So are the original paintings used for the covers of Eisenhower-era L.L. Bean catalogs…

History’s hidden in the floorboards

MAPLE GROVE – This small Quaker church just two miles from the Canadian border was likely the last stop on the Underground Railroad for many runaway slaves making their way to freedom, according to historians in the Fort Fairfield area. But it isn’t always easy to find references to it among historical accounts of the Underground Railroad, which helped tens of thousands of slaves gain freedom before slavery was abolished in 1865.

Those who helped the slaves faced jail and heavy fines, so they didn’t tend to leave written records of what they did…

Family history workshop offered at Counting House Museum

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — A public workshop called Researching and Writing Your Family’s History will be held on the second floor of the Counting House Museum at 1 p.m. March 4.

Presented by author Joseph Hardy with genealogist Beth Tykodi, the event is free for members of the Old Berwick Historical Society, and new members are welcome to join at the door. A one-year membership donation is $20 per person or $30 for a family.

Hardy, whose book, “Four American Stories: Emigration and the Lure of the West,” was published this year, will explain how he discovered and developed the stories of his and his wife’s grandparents and their ancestors. He describes his book…

County man collects chain saws of all shapes, styles and colors

ALLAGASH, Maine — Anyone who has spent any time at all in the Maine woods is familiar with the sounds of a gas-powered chain saw. The constant buzz of a saw is the soundtrack to timber operations, woodlot maintenance and firewood gathering. It’s also music to the ears

 

From the Maine Historical Society

Friday, March 2, 5-8pm

First Friday Art Walk: Take to the Streets

Join us for a festive evening at MHS! Exhibits on display include Take to the Streets! in the Shettleworth Lecture Hall, Dressing Up, Standing Out, Fitting In: Adornment & Identity in Maine in our main gallery, and fantastic work by students in our Local History, Local Schools program in the Showcase Gallery.

Tuesday, March 6, 12pm

Longfellow’s Shadow: A reading of poems by Wesley McNair and Betsy Sholl

Join us to kick off our Richard D’Abate program series with readings by two Maine Poet Laureates. In his tenure at MHS, D’Abate, himself a poet, has embraced MHS’s Longfellow legacy as an opportunity to incorporate literature, the arts, and culture as vital elements of a Maine history that is broadly told and understood. The poets’ readings will reflect themes in Longfellow’s poetry, his stance as a poet, and his attitude toward the social issues of his time.

March Programs at Old York (From their March 2012 newsletter)

2nd Curator’s Potluck. Join us as we thank last year’s donors to our collections. Bring your appetite and a favorite dish to share. 5:30 p.m. at the Parsons Center. FMI and to RSVP to 207-363-4974 ext. 20 or email Cynthia Young-Gomes.

13th Stories, Stones and Superstitions — Author Talk at York Public Library. New England’s burying grounds are often called outdoor museums – full of history, art and chronicles of religious beliefs, genealogy, sometimes tragedy and scandal – even humor. Author Roxie Zwicker’s presentation will provide an explanation of the symbolism and special language of gravestones and further explore the attitudes and customs about death that these historic artifacts reflect. Focusing on early New England grave markers and their carvers, this illustrated program promises to be informative as well as entertaining and should make you look at area gravestones with new insight and appreciation. Books and artwork will be on sale after the presentation. Program co-sponsored by York Public Library and Museums of Old York. Noon at York Library, 15 Long Sands Road, York. Call 207-363-2818

18th Blue Grass Jam with Kevin Dyer and Friends. Join this lively bunch on the third Sunday of (almost) every month from 1-4 p.m. at The Parsons Center at Museums of Old York, 3 Lindsay Road, York. $4 donation appreciated. FMI: email or call 207-363-4974

25th Andrea Quartet at the Parsons Center. Come listen to beautiful classical music by Haydn, Dvorak and Grainger at the Remick Barn. Learn about the composers and their work from violinists Augusto Salazar and Theresa Carr; violist Katie Backus; and cellist Michael Danielski. 3 Lindsay Road, York; 2 p.m. Ticket Prices: Adult $10, Student $5, Family $25.To purchase tickets stop by the museum office or call 207-363-4974 ext. 14.

31st Tap, Tap, Tap….. A Special Jefferds Tavern Dinner Fundraiser! Celebrate the very end of winter and help us raise funds for the winterization and restoration of Jefferds Tavern. A much beloved historic building, the Tavern continues to be a focal point in York Village and is used year-round for the Museum’s educational programs, Tavern Dinners and the annual Christmas Tea. The building stands as a shining example of how a group of concerned people can protect history while at the same time making a building relevant to the community. Today the tavern needs insulation, new clapboards, and “buttoning up” so that it can be used throughout the winter months with energy efficiency. Once this work is completed, there will be no better or more charming location for bridge parties, sewing groups, poetry readings, book clubs, tavern dinners, and the new educational programs for both children and adults. Watch for your invitation in the mail in early March. At the Parsons Center, 3 Lindsay Road, York Village, 6:30 p.m. for wine and hors d’oeuvres, 7:30 p.m. for dinner; $125 per person; RSVP by March 23, 2012; FMI call 207-363-4974 ext. 13 or email Laura Dehler.

Collecting a Hero for the Ages: A Look at Flash Gordon
Long before “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” captivated audiences with their imaginative tales of heroes, villains, alien creatures and travel to other galaxies, science-fiction fans were enthralled by the gallant exploits of the fearless space adventurer, Flash Gordon. Created by artist and cartoonist Alex Raymond, the dashing, blond-haired hero has been traveling to the strange planets, meeting a host of unusual beings and bizarre creatures, and battling the planet Mongo’s evil ruler, Ming the Merciless, for 78 years. As one of the science-fiction genre’s earliest and most popular creations, Flash Gordon was also one of the first…

Categories: antiques, articles, headlines, history, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: