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Fort Andross Winter Antique Show

Steeple repairs to make history

The 186-year-old structure atop First Parish Church is being refurbished to match the original, even the wood

Community Calendar Feb. 1-12
Portland History Docents classes, Thursdays 9 am-12 pm, Maine Historical Society, 489 Congress St. #2, Portland, registration required, 774-5561 ext. 120. City of Portland Republican Caucus, 9:30 am, Riverton Elementary, 1600 Forest Ave., Portland.

Fort Kent Historical Society, archives unveil massive genealogical collection
Thanks to his efforts and with the support of the Fort Kent Historical Society and the Acadian Archives at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, the massive collection of books, photographs, notes, maps and related genealogical ephemera is now indexed…

Eastport’s 1814 history deserves commemoration
Members of the Eastport Border Historical Society have done a great job in opening the pages of our history to so many people. It is time, however, for the entire community delegation, Maine state government, members of Congress and all of Maine to get…

Maine to Ohio … Farmall collection finds new home

Alden Peabody, of Augusta, Maine, restored the tractors with his father, Harold. … and did not understand the history or the significance of the models…

FORT ANDROSS WINTER ANTIQUE SHOW!

WE CORDIALLY INVITE YOU TO THE SECOND ANNUAL FORT ANDROSS WINTER ANTIQUE SHOW!
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 26TH, 2012
FROM 10AM TO 3PM!
LOCATED IN TH HISTORIC FORT ANDROSS BUILDING
AT 14 MAINE STREET BRUNSWICK, ME 04011
THE SHOW WILL OFFER 54 PLUS DEALERS SELLING AN ASSORTMENT OF ANTIQUES AND ACCESSORIES!
THESE RANGE FROM 18TH AND 19TH CENTURY PRIMITIVES, FURNITURE, FOLK ART, ART, POTTERY, FIRE ARMS, NAUTICAL, JEWELRY, PEWTER, TEXTILES, AND SO MUCH MORE!
EARLY BUYING FROM 8AM TO 10AM, $5 ADMISSION FEE
FREE GENERAL ADMISSION STARTING AT 10AM!
FREE PARKING
FOOD WILL BE PROVIDED BY FORT ANDROSS’ OWN “THE FOOD DUDE” JAC CARY
AND DELECTIABLE DESERTS BY DAVE HANSEN!

WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU!
“YOU ARE SURE TO FIND SOMETHING RARE, UNUSUAL, OR ONE OF A KIND!”

THANK YOU!

FOR SHOW INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT
DEBORAH J. STUFFLEBEAM
SHOW MANAGER
207-607-4514
207-522-1977
207-607-4513-FAX
CABOT@WATERFRONTME.COM
WWW.CABOTIQUES.COM

February events at Museums of Old York:

For a complete and up-to-date calendar please see our website.

February

2nd Maine’s Museums: Art, Oddities & Artifacts. Janet Mendelsohn, author of Maine’s Museums: Art, Oddities & Artifacts (Countryman Press, 2011) will present “On the road to Maine’s Museums,” a talk, slide show and book signing at York Public Library. Explore Maine through its art, history, maritime, children’s and quirky museums. Mendelsohn, a freelance writer for the Boston Globe travel section and other publications, will offer ideas for day trips, mini-vacations and armchair traveling. Books will be available for purchase. The event, part of the York Public Library’s Brown Bag Lunch series, is co-sponsored by Museums of Old York. Free and open to the public. 12–1 p.m at York Public Library, 15 Long Sands Road in York. For information about the author, visit www.janetmendelsohn.com.

3rd George Marshall Store Gallery Opening Reception. Please join us for an opening reception for the gallery’s winter installation. Mary has installed the gallery with a selection of work; some will be familiar and others will be new to you. It is nice to have a reason to come together during these quieter winter days.
RECEPTION Friday, February 3, 2012 5-7 pm at George Marshall Store Gallery, 140 Lindsay Road, York, Maine, 207-351-1083
EXHIBITION DATES Through April 8, 2012
GALLERY HOURS By chance and appointment

8th & 12th “Let’s Talk About York History” at the Parsons Center. First sessions for 1631 Partners as well as our current and former Trustees. Feb. 8 at 5 p.m. and Feb. 12 at 3 p .m. Please email Laura at development@oldyork.org for more information and to RSVP. (General membership sessions will be held on the 26th and 29th of February – see below.)

17th Tavern Dinner. Traditional hearth cooked meal in a cozy, colonial tavern environment. Menu to be announced. 6-8 p.m. at Jefferds Tavern, 3 Lindsay Road, York. Cost: $30 members / $35 non-members. Reservations are required. Please email Eileen early to reserve your space.

19th Blue Grass Jam with Kevin Dyer and Friends. 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 ext 13.

26th & 29th “Let’s Talk About York History” Discussion Groups Convene for our Members at the Parsons Center. Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. and Feb. 29 at 5 p.m. Please email Laura at development@oldyork.org for more information and to RSVP. (We have invited our 1631 Partners and current and former Trustees to discussion sessions earlier in February – see above.)

Categories: antiques, articles, breaking news, headlines, historical societies, Maine, Maine things to do, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

130 Antique Stage Curtains Found in Maine

Here is another roundup of Maine history news headlines! Even though the temps are plunging there is still a lot of activity in the world of Maine history. It appears as though things may be changing in that for moat local societies the winters are becoming less and less of a shuttered organization during the winter months, fortunately.

Bass Harbor lighthouse, Acadia to appear on new quarter

BASS HARBOR, Maine — For the second time in a decade, an iconic Maine lighthouse will soon start appearing in the pockets and pocketbooks of people across the country. Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse on Mount Desert Island will be featured on the back of a U.S. quarter to be issued…

Appraisers’ Roadmap: Navigating the World of Marks
Many might wonder, when watching appraisers on the “Antiques Roadshow,” just how they can determine so much information by simply flipping a porcelain cup, silver platter or glass vase upside down? They are looking for a mark—the appraiser’s seemingly arcane language that is a mystery to the budding collector. Worthologist Mike Wilcox says that once understood, marks can save hours of time and frustration trying to figure out exactly what you are holding in your hands. Need a primer? Mike just happens to have one that gives an overview of what you can find painted or impressed on the underside of most pottery, glass or metal items that can be used to decipher vintage, authenticity and origins of your antiques and collectibles…

Curtains Without Borders finds 130 antique stage curtains in Maine

NORWAY — A stage curtain in Norway Grange 45 on Whitman Street is being documented as part of a regionwide effort by the Vermont organization Curtains Without Borders to conserve and protect stage curtains throughout New England and beyond. Curtains Without Borders Director Christine…

The Virtues of Virtual

As the world becomes more virtual (but not necessarily more virtuous), many museums and historical societies are moving their collections online. The Maine Memory Network, launched by the Maine Historical Society in 2001…

Picturing Portland in the digital age
Oldham, a volunteer with the Maine Historical Society, takes a photo in Portland Friday. The historic block of buildings along Fore Street at Boothby Square, with 340 Fore St. at the far right in the 1924 archival image. The three-year project…

Troy church among most recent additions to National Register of …

The Troy Union Meeting House, built in 1840, has made it to the National Register of Historic Places. The Maine Historic Preservation Commission singled it…

Hines speaks on art restoration

Camden — The historic Conway House’s Maine Living series will host a talk by art restorer Blaikie Hines Sunday, Jan. 8 at 2 pm at the Conway House complex…

Historic photographs at Camden library

Research for the exhibit was conducted by individuals and historical societies … The exhibit was funded by a grant from the Maine Community Foundation and…

Libraries collaborate on Civil War book group

The discussions will be facilitated by Candace Kanes, a historian at the Maine Historical Society, who is provided by the Maine Humanities Council. …

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

Ellsworth Historical Society Remembers When

The Ellsworth Historical Society will meet on January 9th at 7:00 pm at the Dining Hall of the Meadowview Retirement Complex, 25 Tweedie Lane, Ellsworth. There will be a brief business meeting to discuss the societies goals for 2012 and after the meeting a time of swap and share stories of Ellsworth’s Past. Members and guests are encouraged to bring a memory or photos to share with the group- this is always fun and a great way to “Remember When” in our hometown.

If you have any questions or additional information you may contact Terri Weed Cormier at 667-8235 or Linda Grindle at 667-5716. Membership to the Ellsworth Historical Society is welcome to all and we are always in need of new members, please consider joining today and help support the preservation of Ellsworth’s History. Yearly membership is 20.00 and may be sent to: Ellsworth Historical Society PO Box 355 Ellsworth, Me 04605.

Civil Wars 150th stirs trove of memories

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A diary with a lifesaving bullet hole from Gettysburg. An intricate valentine crafted by a Confederate soldier for the wife he would never see again. A slave’s desperate escape to freedom. From New England to the South, state archivists are using the sesquicente…

Maine Maritime Museum to shore up oldest building with help of grant

BATH, Maine — The century-old Paint and Treenail Building at Maine Maritime Museum has been through a lot since it was built 104 years ago. It survived a fire in 1913, a move across the former Percy and Small Shipyard and being sold on a real estate market hungry for…

A Forgotten Maine Industry
Working Waterfront
Jørgen supplemented his research with other materials, including those found at the Maine Historical Society. Today the remnants of the brickmaking industry can still be seen along the river—indeed the bricks themselves can be found along the…

Monument dedicated to “All Maine Fishermen who lost their lives to the sea”

Located at Lands End, Bailey Island, Maine

To see this monument, travel East on State Route 24 until you run out of road!

Categories: articles, civil war, historical societies, history, Maine, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

East Lamoine Coaling Station

Merry Christmas everyone and I hope you all are enjoying this day of celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus. It is amazing how far the legend of Santa Claus has come in the relatively short time period of its existence. Here in Maine Christmas has always been held by we Mainer’s in a special way, just as it has been by folks in other states. As we become more and more globalized, I find that the season has become, unfortunately, far too commercialized, and even now the real reason having slipped far away into our distant memories.

Even the more recent Santa Claus fable has become to be erased from our memories, with a shallow attitude of just a simple “happy holidays” replacing the once loved and jovial “Merry Christmas” that we grew up with. It just goes to show how easy it is to have our history replaced with a false story to change the meaning of our past.

This time of year, many of our historical societies have closed the barn door, or are soon about to, for the frigid winter season. Keep them in your thoughts and try to support them, not only financially but by offering your time by helping out with the many tasks required to maintain an organization that in many communities is relegated to just a small position of importance. Joyeux Noël mes amis!

This post card from my collection depicts the Navy’s coaling station built at East Lamoine in down east Maine. This station was a vital link in the Naval operations for the northern Atlantic region as it was the closest coaling station on the route to the European waters. Its construction was begun in the year 1900, and finished in 1902.

The station was only in operation for a short while due to the fact that oil was already replacing coal as the major fuel used by the Navy. During World War I, the station became a nitrate storage facility for nitrates used in the manufacture of explosives. Shortly thereafter the facility was largely dismantled and sold for scrap metal. In the 1930’s the University of Maine acquired some of the buildings for a biological laboratory and then, it was acquired by the state for use as a state park facility during the 1950’s.

The following is an excerpt from the 1900 Report of the Secretary of the Navy to the House of Representatives, 56th Congress, 2nd session, Document #3.

Frenchman’s Bay.—During the past year a site for a naval coal depot has been acquired in the town of East Lamoine, Frenchmans Bay, coast of Maine. The site consists of about 60 acres, and cost, including two frame houses, $24,650. It has a water front of 2,425 feet and is admirably situated in every respect for a coaling station. At the point where the pier will be erected a depth of 30 feet is found within 100 feet of low-water mark. There is ample room off the station for an entire fleet to anchor in a well-protected harbor with good holding ground. The site is being fenced and graded and bids nave been asked for the construction of a steel pier, steel house capable of storing 10,000 tons of coal, and the necessary conveying appliances for rapidly handling the same.

~~~

Lewiston’s Museum L-A gets grant to preserve textile designs

AUGUSTA — Museum L-A will receive a grant of $2,418 to help it preserve and store historical collections, including textile designs. The grant comes from the Historical Records Collections Grant Program administered by the Maine Historical Records Advisory Board. It was announced Fri…

Students study history by acting out Middle Ages battle

Edward Little High School world history students Caleb Gray, left, and Patrick Cowan engage in a mock sword fight during a re-enactment of the medieval Battle of Agincourt, part of the Hundred Years’ War between England and France. The idea and script for the re-enactment in Auburn on Tuesday cam…

Gray Historical Society
Independent Publishing Group
There are many pictures in the book written by George Hill, History, Records and Recollections of Gray, Maine, that show its original appearance. There are others housed at the Historical Society. The Gray Historical Society has been meticulous in its…

Historical society mugs celebrate Farmington
Lewiston Sun Journal
A closeup of the latest mug in a series released by Farmington Historical Society celebrating Farmington’s history. Allan Smith and Karl Holschuh are shown with the latest mug in a series released by Farmington Historical Society celebrating…

Town House gathers support
Kennebec Journal
The historical society has sought advice of three consultants, including Les Fossel of Old House Restoration in Alna, and a representative from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission. She said all three consultants agreed that the building should…

Family Ties: 1881 diary details shopping trip in Eastport
Bangor Daily News
29, Maine Old Cemetery Association meeting, Hiram. New or renewal memberships to MOCA are $5 for one year, $20 five years or $100 life membership, sent to MOCA, PO Box 641, Augusta, ME 04432-0641. For more information on researching family history in…

Scuttlebutt
knox.VillageSoup.com
The untold story of Maine Maritime Academy’s historic schooner Bowdoin will be illuminated in an upcoming exhibit at the Castine Historical Society scheduled for the summer of 2012. The exhibit, titled Schooner Bowdoin on the Greenland Patrol…

Grant to help revamp history hike
Seacoastonline.com
“This program is an all-school walking tour for elementary students that seeks to teach history through local historical sites,” said Nina Mauer, consulting curator of the Old Berwick Historical Society in South Berwick, which is working with the…

February events at the Museums of Old York

2 Author Talk at York Public Library: Maine’s Museums: Art, Oddities & Artifacts. Author Janet Mendelsohn will present “On the road to Maine’s Museums,” a talk, slide show and book signing at the York Public Library, 15 Long Sands Road, York, on Thursday, Feb. 2 from 12–1 p.m. Explore Maine through its art, history, maritime, children’s and quirky museums. Mendelsohn, a freelance writer for the Boston Globe travel section and other publications, will offer ideas for day trips, mini-vacations and armchair traveling. Books will be available for purchase. The event is co-sponsored by Museums of Old York. Free and open to the public. For information about the author, visit www.janetmendelsohn.com

17 Tavern Dinner. Traditional hearth cooked meal in a cozy, colonial tavern environment. Menu to be announced. 6-8 p.m. at Jefferds Tavern, 3 Lindsay Road, York. Cost: $30 members / $35 non-members. Reservations are required. Please email early to reserve your space.

19 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 ext 13.

21, 22, 23 Vacation Camp: Indian Raids and Pioneer Trades. Become a 16th century York settler! See what a settler’s house looked like, try on their clothes and experience 17th century food by cooking some historic recipes over the fire. Embark on a snow shoe trek through the snow to “Canada” deciding your fate along the way, just like captured settlers in 1692. Dip candles and make tin lanterns to take home. 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at The Parsons Center, 3 Lindsay Road, York. Preregistration Required. $65 ($60 members) Ages 6-12.

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Fort Williams to be Unearthed?

Dining with Antiques – Christmas Rosettes
In the 1840s and 1850s, Scandinavian settlers brought to the United States the tradition of making an assortment of delicious Christmas cookies using open fireplaces and cast iron implements. Over time, cultures blended into America’s melting pot and traditions became diluted, but these fascinating cookie-making tools can still be found, hidden among the Dutch ovens, skillets and other cast iron miscellany on tables at outdoor flea markets. The items, resembling small branding irons (with screw-on “brands”), are used to make rosettes, a favorite Nordic Christmas treat. Check out Worthologist Liz Holderman’s primer on these vintage kitchen implements, as well as a traditional recipe for those interested in trying to make them. Read “Dining with Antiques – Christmas Rosettes”

History buried at Fort Williams Park


The park’s charitable foundation plans to explore the possibility of uncovering a buried gun battery.

CAPE ELIZABETH – Large interpretive signs help explain Battery Blair to visitors at the town’s Fort Williams ParkJoe Edgar says much more interesting things are under those visitors’ feet. Edgar is a director of the Fort Williams Charitable Foundation, which has raised more than $36,000 for an engineering study to determine whether a buried section of the gun battery — which includes the ammunition magazines, plotting rooms, and space for tool storage, generators and latrines — can stand the stress of being uncovered.

“Spend Christmas in Jail!”

The Ellsworth Historical Society will again be having their annual open house and “Old Fashioned Christmas” with free admission to the museum on December 3, 11:00-3:00 at the home of the Society” The Old Hancock County Jail”, 40 State Street Ellsworth next to the Ellsworth Library.

The 1886 home of the Sherriff will decorated for the holidays with hot mulled cider and cookies. Guests will be welcome to tour the 1886 home of the Hancock County Sherriff’s of the past and see how they spent their day-to-day lives and tending the prisoners in the jail. Guests will also be allowed to tour the Sherriff’s office and the cellblock of so many of our notorious Ellsworth prisoners!

A special exhibit will also be on display “A Soldiers Christmas” that will display military items from the archives of the society as well as items on loan. One very special exhibit we will have this year is a recent donation to the society of a 12 lb British Canon Ball that was shot at a Ellsworth Barn on the Union River believed from the Revolutionary War period. So many Ellsworth boys were not home for the holidays so we felt it was important to show our support and remember the soldiers of Ellsworth at this special time of year.

The society continues its goal of preserving the artifacts of Ellsworth History and as always needs your support. Donations are welcome and may be sent to The Ellsworth Historical Society PO Box 355 Ellsworth, Me 04605. If you have items to donate or any questions, please contact Terri Weed Cormier at 667-8235 or Linda Grindle at 667-5716. The society is currently looking for glass locking display cabinets to display items securely, if you have one to donate please contact us. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you all at the Open House for some cider and cookies and lots of reminiscing about Ellsworth’s past.

Museums of Old York

Upcoming Programs
For a complete and up-to-date calendar please see our website.

December

3rd Join us this Saturday for A Christmas Tea at Jefferds Tavern.

As a part of the annual Festival of Lights celebration in York Village, Museums of Old York hosts a favorite holiday tradition at historic Jefferds Tavern from noon until 4 p.m. on Sat., Dec. 3. This yuletide fest, managed by volunteer Michele LaBranche, offers traditional Victorian-style holiday cheer to the whole family. Candlelight, a cozy fire, shining silver, delicate teacups and holiday greens set the stage in the Tavern. But the desserts are really the highlight of the afternoon!

Created by local bakers and talented volunteers, this year’s menue of tasty treats includeds: Apple Crisp, Harvest Pumpkin Pie, Cheesecake, Chocolate Cake, Raspberry Almond Pie, Lemon Pie, Fluffy Peanut Butter Pie, and Indian Pudding. Enjoy the ambiance, company of friends and delicious desserts as you warm yourself by the fire. The last sitting will be at 3:30 p.m. Admission is $6 and includes a choice of two desserts and tea. No charge for children under age 5 and no reservation required.

14th Candle Dipping and Holiday Decor. Without electricity how did people light their homes at night? With candles of course! Dip your own candles for when the power goes out this winter or as a centerpiece for a holiday dinner. Create colorful curled candles, string cranberries and make a decoration for your window or Christmas tree. 3-5 p.m. at The Parsons Center. Registration required, ages 8 and up, $10 ($8 members).

Stories from Maine Memory Network

Bringing in the Swedes

30th Anniversary Celebration, New Sweden, 1900

The settlement of the Swedish colony in Aroostook County in the 1870s is a remarkable story. Political leaders, spurred by the Homestead Act and led by W.W. Thomas, actively recruited Swedish immigrants to northern Maine, both to encourage economic development and to secure the northern border with Canada. By the 1890s, nearly 1,500 Swedish immigrants had settled in Aroostook County and established a vibrant community that remains strong to this day.

View the exhibit from Maine History Online for an overview. To explore the story further, visit the website a local team from New Sweden developed through the Maine Community Heritage Project.

TRAVELIN’ MAINE(RS): Head to New Gloucester and have yourself a Merry Shaker
Kennebec Journal
Shaker Village includes a store with many interesting products, a fascinating museum, a craft store with locally made crafts from lamps to baskets to cheese balls, a farm with sheep and goats and several historical buildings

Farmington Historical Society to sell wreaths
Lewiston Sun Journal
Along with a parade and other activities, the Titcomb House Museum is open from 9:30 am to 3 pm All proceeds support the Farmington Historical Society’s mission of preserving Farmington’s history and maintenance of the Titcomb House and North Church

Schooner Bowdoin’s Untold Story Subject of Upcoming Castine Exhibit
The Maritime Executive (press release)
The untold story of Maine Maritime Academy’s (MMA) historic schooner Bowdoin will be illuminated in an upcoming exhibit at the Castine Historical Society scheduled for the summer of 2012. The exhibit, entitled “Schooner Bowdoin on the Greenland Patrol”

Leeds Historical Society views Harry Cochrane Murals
Lewiston Sun Journal
LEEDS — Members of the Leeds Historical Society met recently at the old Methodist Church on Quaker Ridge with artisan Tony Castro from New Gloucester. Castro has worked for more than 25 years in the field of decorative painting, and some of Maine’s…

Maine fish passage restoration effort get $92K grant
The Republic
Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe says the $92505 grant is going to the Nobleboro Historical Society. Through the years, the towns have undertaken several

Categories: antiques, articles, breaking news, collectibles, events, Geneology, headlines, historic buildings, historic preservation, historical societies, history, Maine, Maine Historical Society, Museums of Old York, stories, Uncategorized, WWII | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Logging with Tractors in the Maine Woods

Casting Call for New Collecting Television Show From Worthpoint
Is collecting a part of your daily life? Are parts of your collection in every room of your house? Do you have unique and special objects that you are extremely proud of? Finally, do you want to show off your collection on television? The producers of “My Collection Obsession,” which will air on a national cable network, are currently looking for serious and dedicated collectors of all kinds who could appear on the show. Find out if your collection is truly obsessive enough to make the cut. Read”Casting Call for New Collecting Television Show”

PHOTO: Museum L-A site work begins

“It’s starting!” exclaimed an excited Rachel Desgrosseilliers, Museum L-A’s executive director, as she watched workers at the future site of the museum Thursday in Lewiston. Benjamin Construction’s Richard Lee, left, and Ed Benjamin, in the skid steer, were demolishing damaged sections of t…

Textile industry heritage celebrated
SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — A special fund-raising event that gives a nod to the thriving textile industry of the past will benefit the Old Berwick Historical Society this weekend. The Lighting Up Ball and second annual silent auction will be…

Presentation to feature Maine Indians
LISBON FALLS — The Lisbon Historical Society will host guest speaker and author, Nicholas Smith of Brunswick, at 7 pm Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the MTM Center. Smith will give a presentation on his recently published book, “Three Hundred years in Thirty,”…

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Logging with Tractors in the Maine Woods

Popular Science Monthly, 1916

LOGGING has remained for generations the most primitive of all modern operations. The logging railroad is a comparatively recent development, but even that falls far short’of being an active agent in reducing the vast waste necessitated by the fact that only such timbers can be moved out as will pay for expensive transportation. In the tropics a mahogany log worth hundreds of dollars in New York is valued at only a few demonetized dollars as it stands in its forest, and almost priceless hardwoods are left to rot or burned up in the clearing of ground simply because they cannot be “squared” to the formal size, about one foot on each side.

To a lesser degree the same problem faces the timber cutter in the forests of our own country. The long hauls through the woods to streams or roads, even to the roughest sort of logging roads, is discouragingly expensive, and from there to the railroad or mill entails another long haul with primitive means, either oxen or horses.

Modern power appliances are, however, slowly coming into use as they prove their worth. In certain sections of the Maine woods, where logging is the winter occupation of fanners from nearby sections, tractors are now in use. The drive on these engines is by caterpillar wheels, broad enough to keep from sinking into the snow, and the forward part of the tractor is mounted on sleigh runners, which are turned by hand to guide the tractor and its train of logging sleds.

The tractor is crude in a way, but it can reach sections of forest country to which even the ordinary logging railroad, with its clumsy engine, cannot readily penetrate.

In the tractor shown here, the runners at the front make steering easy and accurate. The unwieldy front wheels of the ordinary tractor would hardly serve in the forest.

Categories: articles, breaking news, events, headlines, historic preservation, history, museum news, stories, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ellsworth Historical Society Going to Jail

Ellsworth Historical Society reports that their November meeting will be held at the Old Jail. (sorry, couldn’t resist the leading titleJ) There are lots of other functions going on around Maine as well, so keep an eye on your local societies calendar of events. This time of year, many of the smaller societies are having their final meets of the year, so it is extra important that you help them out with closing up shop for the winter season. Also, we’re getting into the Christmas season and volunteering opportunities to help out with seasonal events are coming up. If you have a function going on and would like to spread the word, feel free to share here by emailing the details to editor@touringmaineshistory.com.

The Museums of Old York also has a full roster of events for November. The annual Tavern dinner is apparently sold out, but check out the other events they’ve got scheduled at www.oldyork.org.

History headlines seem to be slowing down in frequency, so look for more excerpts and stories about Maine history to fill in the off days here on Touring Maine’s History.

Ellsworth Historical Society to meet at Old Jail…

The November 14th meeting of the Ellsworth Historical Society will be held at 40 State Street at the home of the Society, “The Old Hancock County Jail”. The regular business meeting will start at 7:00 pm and after the meeting members will be decorating the Victorian Home for the annual holiday open house scheduled for December 3, 2011 from 10:00 to 3:00. Members are asked to bring any Victorian Christmas ideas, traditions, and decorations they may like to share.

Membership is welcome to all and volunteers are always needed. For more information please contact Terri Cormier at 667-8235 or Linda Grindle at 667-5716. You may also email us at ellsworthhistory@yahoo.comand visit our website at http://ellsworthme.org/ellshistory/

A humble view of history
The Freeport Historical Society says its project helps visitors relate to life before indoor plumbing. By Kelley Bouchard kbouchard@mainetoday.com FREEPORT – There was a time when every backyard in Maine had a privy. A nine-member AmeriCorps team…

Local group files request to save Wood Island Life Saving Station
KITTERY, Maine — One group submitted a proposal Thursday to restore the Wood Island Life Saving Station, and maintain the building and grounds of the island. The Wood Island Life Saving Station Association and Old York Historical…

Maine libraries, museums look to embrace technology
… of those organizations that are working toward historical preservation, sharing information, sharing expertise,” said Maine Archives and Museums Vice President George Squibb, who is also the archivist at the Belfast Historical Society and Museum…

Courthouse plan to be scaled back

AUBURN — A plan for modernizing Androscoggin County’s Civil War-era courthouse is getting a rewrite. The reason is a price tag of $34 million and climbing. A 123-page report to the County Commission detailed the aging building’s many flaws and possible changes including: the…

Museum offers second chance to see plane project

LEWISTON — Museum L-A is offering a second chance to see the Lockheed “Super Star” reconstruction project at the Auburn-Lewiston Airport with behind-the-scenes tours on Saturday, Nov. 12.

Thursday, November 10, 7pm

In Partnership with the National Society of the Colonial Dames in Maine

Tales from an Art Detective: Tracing Nazi-era Provenance

Presenter: Victoria Reed, Curator for Provenance, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

November Happening at Museums of Old York

4 Shaker Furniture.*Co-sponsored with York Public Library* Gene Cosloy is recognized as one of the leading interpreters of the Shaker philosophy as it pertains to the design and craftsmanship of their furniture. Never considering their work to be art but merely utilitarian and functional, the Shaker craftsmen nevertheless achieved worldwide fame and influence. Gene will explore the meaning and reasons behind this achievement by examining the history of the Shaker experience in America over a period of two centuries. 7 p.m. at York Public Library, 15 Long Sands Road, York. Call 207-363-2818 more information.

11 Tavern Dinner. *This dinner is SOLD OUT!*Another in our popular series of scrumptious meals in a historic setting! Menu highlights include apple squash soup,pork roast and chocolate torte, among other timeless treats.Jefferds Tavern, 7 p.m. Email Richard Bowen for more information and to be placed on our waiting list for cancellations.

12 Author Talk: Elizabeth Collins Cromley. *Co-sponsored with York Public Library* Elizabeth Collins Cromley will speak about her book, “Food Axis: Cooking, Eating and the Architecture of American Houses”. She examines the way the architecture of America houses has evolved as food preparation changed from the colonial period through modern times. 11 a.m. at York Public Library, 15 Long Sands Road, York. Call 207-363-2818 for more information.

17 Super Soap. Get your hands dirty while making soap. Learn how people made soap before you could buy it in the store and then make some of your own. Choose your ingredients, poor them into a decorative mold of your choice and take home totally useable and beautiful bars of soap for your kitchen and bathroom. 3-5 p.m. at The Parsons Center.Registration required, ages 5 and up, $10 ($8 members).

21 The Art of Wreathmaking. Join MOY staff as we prepare wreaths to decorate our historic properties for the holiday season. Afternoon at The Parsons Center. More information to come.

30 Gingerbread House Competition. Help the Museums of Old York decorate a gingerbread rendition of the John Hancock Warehouse. Use frosting and candy to add windows, shingles, a ramp and the ocean so the house can be entered in York Library’s gingerbread house contest! After helping with our gingerbread house, decorate your very own house in true Victorian holiday style to take home. 3-5 p.m. at The Parsons Center. Registration required, ages 5 and up, $25 ($20 members).

Other Museum News

Museums of Old York’s historic musuem buildings and exhibits are closed for the season, however, we are happy to arrange tours by appointment. Please contact our education and curatorial staff by email or call us at 207-363-4974 ext. 12 for more information.

Our Library and Archives are located in the Museums’ Administration Building at 207 York Street. The Library is open Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday by appointment. Please contact our library staff by email or call us at 207-363-4974 ext. 19 for more information.

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Maine’s Part in the Fenian War of 1866

Civil War history is all the rage this year as we celebrate the sesquicentennial of that great conflict. It’s funny how we call it the Civil War, when in fact it was anything but a civil war. In reality, it is more properly called the War for Southern Independence, or secession. We seem to forget as we gloss over history and change the story to fit our agenda that the southern states decided to secede from the union and form their own nation for many of the same reasons that we declared independence from England and formed the United States. We became a nation of rebels, just as the southerners became rebels upon the firing of Fort Sumter in April of 1861.

However, I digress. One of the outcomes of the War Between the States was the lingering ill feelings between England and the United States over the English support of the Confederacy, albeit unofficial from the Crown’s public stand. There were many factions in this nation that would have enjoyed a new war between England and the US, and one of these groups was an Irish and Irish-American society called the Fenian Brotherhood, hailing mostly from New York. They had already attempted to invade British America on several occasions, and in this following article, we read how they used the State of Maine as a staging point for a failed attempt to maybe rile the two nations into warfare against each other one more time. It comes from The Canadian magazine, written by J. Vroom.

THE FENIANS ON THE ST. CROIX

It is now more than thirty years since the Fenian’s added their borrowed name to the story of the river St. Croix; yet the older men among the dwellers on the New Brunswick shore, looking back over that time, must find it hard to realize that their memory covers the longest period of unbroken peace in the history of the province.

Four times since its Loyalist founders settled on its rocky coast have the people of New Brunswick been aroused by threats of armed invasion.

In the war of 1793, French privateers, or lawless New Englanders sailing under French letters of marque, appeared in the Bay of Fundy. Men and money were quickly raised to defend the seaport towns; and one vessel, La Solide, was captured by New Brunswick militiamen and carried into St. Andrews as a prize. Again, in the war of 1812, the bay was infested by New England privateers; and the people stood ready to defend their homes, until the British occupation of Eastport deprived the enemy of a port of refuge, and the boundary line, for the time being, was carried west to the Penobscot. Once more, in 1837, the Aroostook war brought a call to arms; and once more it found a ready response, as volunteers from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia hurried forward to repel invasion. And when, in 1866, the rumors of Fenian activity in the United States proved to have some foundation in fact, the people of New Brunswick answered to the call, and their province was the first to meet the threatened danger.

In the autumn of 1865, the movements of the Fenian’s in New York first aroused suspicions that they were planning a raid on some part of British America. Early in December of that year, Sir Arthur Hamilton-Gordon, at that time Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, visited the border towns to urge upon the inhabitants the wisdom of taking some precautions.

The question of the Confederation of the provinces of British North America was then before the people. Many were disposed to laugh at the “Fenian scare,” as it was called; believing it to be a political move, planned and subsidized by the promoters of the Quebec Scheme for the purpose of influencing the electorate. Many who were willing to believe that the Fenian leaders would really attempt an invasion of British territory were still unwilling to see in the common danger an argument for union, and felt sure that Upper Canada was the province most exposed to their attack. So it happened that when the spring of 1866 brought the report of a Fenian plan of campaign to include the occupation of St. Andrews or Campobello, looking to the conquest of New Brunswick as a convenient base of operations against England, there was very much incredulity mingled with surprise and alarm.

The military authorities, however, had not been idle. Volunteers were already enrolled in all the border parishes; and the news from New York, Buffalo, and other centres of Fenian activity was awaited with eager interest.

The sudden appearance at Eastport of B. Doran Killian, with a few followers, at last convinced the people of the need of action. This was on the 6th of April, 1866. Four days later, another detachment of Fenians arrived by the steamer from Portland; and H.M.S. Pylades, from Halifax, anchored at Welshpool, Campobello, on the opposite side of the narrow strait which here forms the international boundary line. Business was immediately suspended at St. Andrews, where two companies of volunteers were on duty under Col. Anderson; and the volunteers at St. Stephen, St. George and Woodstock were called out for active service. The Fenian scare was now found to be a serious matter.

The Pylades was followed by the Rosario, which anchored off St. Andrews, nearly opposite the Maine town of Robbinston.

Fenians continued to arrive from the westward, and were quartered at hotels and private houses in Eastport, Lubec, Robbinston and Calais, or encamped in small parties along- the Maine side of St. Croix. They were a rough-looking lot of men, but quiet and well disciplined; and as they seemed to have no commissariat, but depended upon the ordinary local sources of supply, it may be safely estimated that their number did not exceed 500 in all.

The officers, Gen. Killian, Major Sinnott, Capt. Gaynor, and others, paraded their titles and proclaimed their plans and motives, announcing to the world that they had come to prevent the British Government from dragooning the colonists into Confederation; but they were evidently disappointed at the lack of sympathy and support from the people on both sides of the line.

Strengthened by Killian’s reference to the matter of Confederation at a public meeting in Calais, there was still a lingering doubt with some as to whether the threatened invasion was more than a sham; when, one night in April, a party of armed men, supposed to be Fenians, made a descent upon Indian Island, a little island in Passamaquoddy Bay, lying nearly opposite Eastport.

Campobello and St. Andrews were protected by the warships; volunteers were on guard at Deer Island, and at every important point along the shores of the river and bay; but Indian Island was unguarded.

About two o’clock on Sunday morning, the 15th of April, a few men stepped ashore from a boat, went to the house of the collector of customs, demanded and received the custom-house flag, and rowed away with it. It was a bloodless foray, ridiculously trifling in itself; but it was the cause of intense excitement in the neighboring towns. Capt. Hood, of the Pylades, reported to headquarters at St. Andrews. At St. Stephen the volunteers were at church on Sunday morning, when a dispatch reached the commanding officer and was read aloud. The Fenian’s had landed on Indian Island, and carried off the British flag. The effect was magic. The men were no longer playing soldier. As they returned to barracks, others gathered at street corners, eager to be enrolled; and before an hour had passed there were all the volunteers required to form another company if needed.

More ships were sent from Halifax, including the flagship Duncan, which brought Admiral Sir James Hope and Major-General Sir Hastings Doyle, with 570 men of the 17th Foot, a company of Royal Engineers, and a battery of artillery. A Fredericton volunteer company, called the Victoria Rifles, was also sent to the front, and Governor Gordon followed them by special train to St. Andrews.

But Indian Island was still unguarded; and, a week after the affair of the flag, the bonded warehouse and three storehouses were burned by incendiaries. Then earthworks were thrown up by men detailed from the Rosario: and the Niger, the Pylades, the Fawn, and the Cordelia in turn furnished a guard until the arrival from St. Andrews of twenty men of the Gordon Rifles, under Ensign Chandler. These St. Andrews men, by the way, carried off the honours of the campaign for the only real encounter with the enemy; as, a few nights later, their sentries fired upon and drove off two boats from Eastport that were trying to effect a landing.

Gen. Meade now arrived with a force of United States regulars, making his headquarters at Eastport and stationing a guard at Calais. The Fenian’s at Eastport had been waiting all this time for arms and ammunition that had been shipped from Portland by sailing vessels, because the passenger steamers had refused to bring them; but when at last the guns arrived, they were promptly seized by the United States authorities. Killian, boldly demanding to have the guns restored, was threatened with arrest; and so, deprived of his arms, and disappointed in the attitude of the Provincialist’s, and in his hope of easily involving the United States in a war with Great Britain, he found himself obliged to give up his scheme of invasion. Finally, he sent his followers back to Portland.

In May three companies of the 17th were sent to St. Stephen, to prevent a possible raid from Calais. Their services were not needed, as the last Fenian’s had left Calais before their arrival. Gen. Meade and his men, a few days later, were ordered to the Niagara frontier, where the Fenians were gathering in force; and the British troops and vessels along the border were gradually withdrawn. The 17th and the artillery were relieved by St. John volunteers of the 66th, and returned to

Halifax by the troop ship Simoon; the St. John men were in turn relieved by two companies of the 15th Regiment; and by the middle of June they also were recalled and the local volunteers disbanded.

The presence of the Fenians on the St. Croix was a matter of much more consequence than was apparent at the time. It drew the people of New Brunswick closer to the mother country, and to their fellow-subjects in the upper provinces; it elicited a display of loyalty worthy of the descendants of United Empire Loyalists; and it undoubtedly influenced the pending election. The election went strongly in favour of Confederation. Killian’s ambitious and absurd attempt to wreck the British Empire, so far as it had any permanent effect, only tended to strengthen that Empire at its weakest point, by its bearing upon the political movements of the day which led up to the formation of the Dominion of Canada.

Categories: articles, Education, events, history, Maine, Maine oddities, New Brunswick, stories, Uncategorized, weird Maine news | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Maine’s Malta War

This story relates the uprising of the settlers from an area we know today as Windsor, Maine. Only one person was killed, and seven men were tried for the murder of that one man. Follow along as we explore a moment in Maine’s past….

The Malta War

An uprising in Maine

The town of Malta was incorporated on March 3rd of 1809. Between then and now, it has been referred to as New Waterford and Gerry. Today we know it as Windsor. This community is situated at the headwaters of the Sheepscot River. On the 8th of September of that year, 1809, one Mr. Paul Chadwick was Murdered. The lands of that town were claimed to be owned by the holders of the Plymouth Patent. Mr. Chadwick was hired by the proprietors of the patent to survey the lands.

The settlers of the area were understandably upset, as the truthful ownership of the area was being called into question. They had presumed to be the lawful owners, when in fact, that may not have been the case. Joined as one, the people living on the lands being surveyed made a resolution to defend their property at all costs. Ten or more men gathered themselves together, and went to speak to Mr. Chadwick.

Some were disguised as Indians, and were fully armed, as they were resentful upon the encroachment of their homes. They advised Chadwick to cease his survey operations and quit the territory, or suffer the consequences. To his error, Chadwick did not believe the men, and was subsequently shot. His wounds, though mortal, allowed him to live until the following day, when he died.

Almost immediately, seven men were arrested for the crime. These were; David Lynn, Nathaniel Lynn, Ansel Meigs, Jabez Meigs, Adam Pitts, Elijah Barton and Prince Cain. They were brought to Augusta and confined in the jail there, and charged with the crime of murder.

While awaiting trial rumors began circulating around Augusta that a large party of armed men intended to storm the jail to rescue the seven men. Prone to believing the wild stories, the residents felt they were in imminent peril. The fear of the possibility of the town being burned down by these people turned into “supposed fact”. To calm the public, the judges of the court, known then as “Justices of the Common Pleas” and the Sherriff requested that Maj-General Sewall of the 8th division send troops to quell the uprising.

However, General Sewall did not believe that this situation required as drastic a response that was requested. He replied by sending a couple of patrols to stand watch and patrol the streets. October 1st was a night that would change this view. After midnight approximately seventy men approached the town. All were armed and some were in disguise to hide their identity.

They came to within one hundred fifty rods on the East side of the bridge into Augusta. The leaders of the mob sent a spy closer to the bridge to reconnoiter the situation and report back, so a plan could be made. Unfortunately, the spy got too close to the guards and was taken prisoner. He was dragged off some distance, and nearly three dozen men took chase and attacked the soldiers.

They managed to subdue the soldiers because of their numbers, and rescued their fellow miscreant. A few soldiers fired their muskets as a warning and the reports were heard in the city. Immediately, the bell in the courthouse tower was rung. The streets of Augusta were filled with citizens, some in terror of the rumored attack on the city.

General Sewall immediately called up three hundred soldiers to curtail the commotion and return peace to Augusta. The following day, when it was shown that there would be no more violence, he recalled two hundred, leaving the other hundred soldiers in town for guard and patrol duty. The seven prisoners were indicted on charges of murder, and held until their trial in November of that year.

The trial commenced on the 16th of November and lasted eight days. In addition to remarks and testimony of the defendants and their legal representation, testimony from a total of forty four witnesses was heard. The jury deliberated the case over a course of two days, and acquitted the seven men by unanimous verdict.

The prosecutor in this case was Daniel Davis, representing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Attorneys for the defendants were Prentiss Mellen, Samuel S. Wilde, Thomas Rice and Phillip Leach. Comments made by Judge Parker on the case indicated that the State was not in agreement with the verdict. However, as the law was held by the court the verdict was allowed to stand.

It is interesting to compare the situation of two hundred years ago to today. While a mob of people protected the land they felt was lawfully theirs the same would not be allowed today. In this day the written law has become so convoluted with caveats and loopholes that only a team of lawyers could have tackled the problem.

I would wonder why the Plymouth Company still had valid title to the area. One would think that all patents by the English Crown would have become null and void at the end of the Revolutionary War. They were not, however, as a court had given title back to the original patent owners after the war.

Another interesting note on this incident is that an act was made to institute a statute prohibiting any person from disguising themselves as an Indian, with the intent of prohibiting a law enforcement officer or surveyor from completing their duties.

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

The Murder of Mary Knight

The Murder of Mary Knight

Every year at about this same time a flurry of stories arise from the Poland, Maine area regarding a supposed specter wandering the highway and back roads of this sleepy little community of just a few thousand living souls. Hard telling how many dead souls are wandering around, but some folks say there are quite a few. A poor woman by the name of Mary Knight is just one of these denizens of the otherworld.

The story generally states that a woman in what appears to be a wedding dress is seen wandering down the road, staring vacantly into the distance. Usually this occurs along route 26 in the wee hours of the morning. She has been seen on other roads in the area, and sometimes near a local cemetery, of which there are several scattered around, as there usually are in these older communities.

Who was Mary Knight, and how did she die? Going by some of the more or less current newspaper articles, I’d say there is a tremendous amount of conjecture, but little research being done to tell the story as it really happened. That’s OK though, I’m working on a piece that will set the story straight.

Here are a few points in fact that pertain to the real story, though.

Mary Knight was murdered by her Husband, George, (who was twenty years younger than Mary, by the way) on October 6th of 1856. In reading over the available works on this case, several facts come to light which can be used to summarize the story.

Mary Knight had been ill for some time before her murder, as a local doctor (a Dr. Stedman of mechanic Falls) had testified to her being seen by him as early as the first part of June. It can be surmised at this point that Mr. Knight had been administering poison to his wife, but there is no evidence to prove this point. Her complaints had included weakness, headaches and stomach pains with vomiting. Several poisons could produce these symptoms, but again, there was no evidence that Mrs. Knight was being poisoned.

A Dr. Carr, who had been treating Mrs. Knight for about six weeks had visited the Knight home on October 6th and commented on how Mrs. Knight had been improving, and that she should be well again in short time. He had commented on this to George Knight, who had loaded his wagon with shingles and had planned to take them that night to a buyer in Dry Mills.

Later that night, pandemonium would break loose in the Knight household as Mary Knight was murdered in cold blood while in bed with George’s mother, Lydia, age 83. Apparently, earlier in the evening Mary had some reason for not wanting to sleep in her own bed and had crawled into Lydia Knights bed. Perhaps she had a premonition that some evil was to befall her on that night. The window to the outside was opened and the sash was hanging at an angle. Later, after neighbors had been sent for by a boy that was staying at the Knight farm, 10-year-old Sidney Verrill. It was initially thought by those first observing the crime scene that Mary Knight had killed herself, but it was quickly decided that she had been murdered.

George Knight was away, delivering the wagonload of shingles to a Mr. Hancock. He was gone after, and brought home after conducting his business.

There was a coroner’s inquest, where it was determined that Mary Knight was in fact murdered. A few days later George Knight was arrested for the murder of his wife, and subsequently found guilty, and sentenced to a term of life in the state prison. The story in its entirety is full of juicy tidbits, but I’ll let you wait until the full story comes out for now. Suffice it to say that old George was prone to chatting up the ladies of the village and was looking for a replacement even while Mary Knight was suffering from her ailments of that summer.

Mary Knight was indeed murdered by her husband, and he paid the price for his crime. The Knight homestead has changed ownership many times, and the home has long since vanished, with just the remains of the foundation left for those looking to find this link to the past. Perhaps Mary wanders the backroads of Poland looking for the home she once called her own? I cannot say that Mary knight is indeed a restless spirit, but there are things that go bump in the night. Stay tuned for the whole story!

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

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