Geneology

Joseph B Stearns of Camden

Quite often we Mainer’s plug on with our lives giving scant remembrance to those who went before us, but while here were, in their own ways, great men, aiding and increasing the comfort and ability of the rest of us to make our own way in the world. Communicating with one another is just one of the many things that we have come to take for granted, and is one of the main conduits for transferring the information we use to make life better, in every way. Without the telephone, where would we be today?

But before the telephone, we had the telegraph as our main method of communication. However, there was a problem with using these methods of communication, as messages could only travel down a wire one at a time. If you wanted to send two messages at the same time, you needed two wires. Fortunately, The little village of Weld Maine gave us one of these men that we never hear much of, if anything at all today, that provided a solution to this problem. Joseph B. Stearns worked out, and patented a way in which multiple electrical signals could be communicated along both directions of a wire at the same time, thus revolutionizing the still young industry of telegraphy.

It also turns out that Mr. Stearns also played a small part in the War for Southern Independence by intercepting some information and providing it to President Lincoln in time to avert a disaster for our capitol city. Reul Robinson has the following to say about Stearns in his History of Camden and Rockport, Maine:

Joseph B. Stearns of Camden died July 4 [1895]. Mr. Stearns was born in 1831, was a native of Weld, Maine, and the son of poor parents. When fourteen years of age his father moved to Searsmont and three years later Mr. Stearns went to Newburyport, Mass., where he worked for a time in a cotton mill. In 1850 being 18 years of age, he began the study of telegraphy at Newburyport and remained there and along the line to Portland for four years. In 1854 he went into the fire telegraph office at Boston and in a few months was appointed superintendent. While in that position he went to Charleston, S. C, during the war of the rebellion to put in a fire alarm system and was able to perform an important service to his country by gathering information on his way home, which he gave to President Lincoln, thereby preventing the rebel army from occupying Arlington Heights and saving Washington from falling into their hands.

In 1867 Mr. Stearns was elected President of the Franklin Telegraph Co., which office he held between two and three years. It was at about this time that Mr. Stearns’ genius gave to the world one of the most important inventions of the century, namely, the duplex system of telegraphy, by which two messages can be sent over the wire at the same time. The invention brought him great wealth and will make his name forever famous. It was patented in 1868 and about three years later, he sold the right of the United States and Canada to the Western Union.

In 1872 he went to England to introduce his system there and after two years of effort Parliament gave him a royalty for the use of his invention. He also received royalties in France and Italy. In 1880 Mr. Stearns engineered the Mexican cable, putting 750 miles of cable into operation and in 1881 he engineered a line in Central and South America.

In 1882 Mr. Stearns went to Short Hills, N. J., where he lived until 1885 when he came to Camden to visit the family of James B. Swan, who were his relatives, and was so enchanted with the natural beauty of the place that he purchased a tract of land on the Belfast Road, with the object of making Camden his future home. He said that he had travelled the world over, and considered Camden the most beautiful place he ever visited.

The following year (1886) he erected the magnificent stone residence “Norumbega” where he passed the remainder of his life. Afterwards he bought large tracts of land farther up the Belfast Road, where he operated the large fancy stock farm known as “Sagamore Farm” and did much for the development and prosperity of the town. Mr. Stearns was twice married. His first wife was Lois M. Brooks by whom he had three children all of whom died young. His second wife was Amanda Edmonds of Portsmouth, N. H. The children of this union were two sons, Edward S., now of Thomaston, Maine, and Harry W., of Camden.

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The New Meadows Canal

One of the earlier methods of transportation in this country was our waterways, (viz. rivers and lakes) and as time progressed in the early days; canals were often built when there was no waterway. Here in Maine we had few canals that were actually built for the purpose of moving freight and people. The vast majority were simply for the direction of our water powers to better advantage of the mills that used them.

One of the best known canals would be the Cumberland and Oxford Canal, stretching from Portland’s Fore River estuary to Sebago Lake, and thence to Long Lake through the Songo River. A total of 27 locks for the canal and one on the Songo allowed travelers and freight to journey from Harrison, ME, all the way to Portland Harbor. Another well known canal is the Telow Canal, This canal was engineered strictly for the passage of logs from Telos Lake into Webster lake and then on down to the Penobscot River. We will get into these stories another day though. Today, I want to share a little about a relatively unknown canal in Maine called the Merry Meeting Canal.

Constructed in the early 1800’s, this canal was cut for the purpose of trafficking logs from Merry Meeting bay. It was not a successful enterprise, although the mill at New Meadows found it useful for a time. Authorized by the Massachusetts legislature in 1790 before Maine gained its independence, the canal was constructed in the early 1798.

John Peterson, one of the proprietors lived on the Brunswick side of the New Meadows river, and built a dam across the river, and erected tide mills, one of them a sawmill which utilized the canal to obtains logs. Peterson also built ships there at New Meadows and was involved in a successful trade with the West Indies.

Unfortunately for the proprietors, there was an insufficient difference between the water levels of the two waterways, and while if it had been dug much deeper with the intent of navigation for vessels instead of for light traffic with an emphasis on the lumber trade, perhaps it would still be in existence today. Steamboat travel had yet to come into existence when the plans for the canal were laid, but if it had, I am certain the outcome would have been much difference. A great deal of time would have been saved if the steamboats could have travelled from Harpswell to Brunswick and up the Kennebec through this canal.

Dug eight feet wide and only a few feet deep, enough to float logs, the canal would only have allowed passage of very shallow draft boats of the one and a half miles of its length.

William C. Purrington wrote about the canal in “A Look Into West Bath’s Past” and had this to say:

It might be mentioned here that because of the difference in the incoming tides between the New Meadows River and the Kennebec River at Welch’sCreek, and because it was not excavated deep enough, this canal never proved to be a success. I am quoting from Professor George Leonard Vose’s article entitled ” The Old Canal at New Meadows”, which was originally read March 12, 1901, and republished by the Pejepscot Historical Society in a book entitled “our Town” in 1967: “We find that the New Meadows tide came in about two hours before the tide from the Kennebec making it hard work to get logs up to the summit. That after a while the Kennebec tide came up, and balanced that from the New Meadows, so that there was little or no movement of the water in either direction. That the New Meadows tide commenced to go down first, and soon lowered the water in the canal so that it was of no use. The length of the time during each tide that the canal could be used was only about three hours; and this time, depending upon the moons position, was not a fixed time, but varied from day to day through the month.” That canal was built for the purpose of floating logs through, but these had to be poled through with great difficulty. Because of the difference of the dates given in various history books we find it hard to date this exactly, but we can come to one conclusion, that it was between 1179 and 17798, for Capt. John Peterson had removed to Bath by the later date because the Brunswick people had taken so little interest in it.

The dates given are fairly accurate here, as the Massachusetts Legislature granted approval for the incorporation and construction of the canal in 1790. The proprietors were allowed four years to construct the canal of forfeit the right by the act as passed, so Peterson and company would have had the canal finished prior to 1795, and would have been using it until 1800 or so. The following is an excerpt from those records:

Re Canal from New Meadow River to Merry Meeting Bay. Commonwealth of Massachusetts

In the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety

An Act for incorporating certain persons into a corporation for the purpose of opening a Canal from the head of New Meadow river to Merry meeting bay —

Whereas great advantages may arise to the towns west of New Meadow river, and to the publick[sic] in general, by opening a Canal from the head of the same river to Merry Meeting Bay —

Be it therefore Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court Assembled, and by the authority of the same that Isaac Snow, Aaron Hinkley, and Samuel Thompson Esquires, Phillip Higgins, Nathaniel Larrabee, Benjamin Hammon, John Peterson, and Samuel Snow, so long as they shall continue to be proprietors in said Incorporation, together with all those who are and those who shall become proprietors thereof, shall be a Corporation and body Politic for the purpose of opening and keeping open a Canal from the head of New Meadow river to Merry meeting Bay, under the name of “The Proprietors of the New Meddow[sic] Canal”

And by that name may sue & prosecute, & be sued & prosecuted to final Judgment and Execution, and do & suffer all other matters and things which bodies politic, may or ought to do and suffer, and that the said Corporation shall & may have full power and authority to make have & use a Common Seal, and the same to break alter & renew at pleasure—

And be it further Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, that if it shall so happen that any individual or body corporate shall be damaged in his or their lands or other property, by cutting & keeping open said Canal the damage so done shall be recompensed by the proprietors thereof in such sums or proportions as shall be ordered by the Court of General Sessions of the peace in the county of Cumberland A upon inquiry into the same by a Jury summoned for that purpose at the expence[sic] of the proprietors of the aforesaid Canal.

And be it further Enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that Isaac Snow Esqr be & hereby is empowered & directed to issue his warrant to one of the proprietors aforesaid requiring him to notify a meeting of the proprietors in manner as the Law directs — And the proprietors at said meeting shall choose a Clerk (who shall be duly sworn to a faithful discharge of his office) and also shall agree on a method for calling future meetings.

And be it further Enacted that if the said proprietors shall refuse or neglect for the space of four years after the passing of this Act to open and compleat[sic] said Canal then this act shall be void & of none Effect

And be it further Enacted that the said Canal shall be kept open — for the passage of Boats, Rafts & other water craft and for all persons who may wish to pass or transact business therein; and c no fee, toll, or other perquisite for the same shall be required

In Senate March 1, 1790

This Bill having had two several readings, passed to be Engrossed

Sent down for concurrence

Sam Phillips Presid

In the House of Representatives March 5, 1790.

This Bill having had three several Readings passed a concurrence to be Engrossed with amendments Sent up for concurrence

David Cobb Spk “”

The mills Peterson built at New Meadows were powered by the tide, not by the flowing of the river as there really is no current sufficient for that purpose. According to Parker Reed’s History of Bath, Peterson moved from New Meadows to Bath about 1798, where he built a home just above his shipyard on the Kennebec. About 1809, he left for Liverpool England with two ships loaded with cargo, sold them and then moved to Newport, RI, and settled to end his life at Portsmouth.

An interesting side note here is that in 1807, plans for a canal to be constructed from the Androscoggin over to Maqouit Bay were also discussed, but no work was ever started, even though a thorough survey had been completed. The photo in the above corner is an early 20th century postcard from my collection of the New Meadows Inn.

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Hudson Maxim; A Maine Success

All too often we forget about some of the people of Maine who have become successful in their lives, even though they may leave the state. Hudson (born Isaac) Maxim is just one of these men. Born into a poor family in the little town of Orneville, Maine, Hudson left for New Jersey and became one of the most prolific inventors in the field of explosives used by the military. Every person in Maine who hunts with modern smokeless ammunition can thank this Maine born inventor, as he is the inventor of this product, produced and marketed by Dupont. Maxim is important to us today in Maine because he is proof that no matter where you were born, and no matter the circumstances of life, you can do great things. Unfortunately, most references to this great man omit his birthplace, also omitting the pride this small community should have for one of its sons. (photo Library of congress)

HUDSON MAXIM, who next to Edison is probably the greatest scientist and inventor in America, was born in a little backwoods village in Maine. His father was a miller with a large family and a small income. However, the elder Maxim was a man of imagination and inventive skill —traits which his son inherited from him.

The lad, Hudson, possessed unusual physical strength, developed from working in the fields in order to secure funds with which to go to school. He used to walk two miles to the district school, often through snowdrifts almost as high as his head. After absorbing all the knowledge available in the vicinity of Orneville, which was not a great deal, young Maxim was offered a position as teacher in a neighboring school. The job was given him more on account of his muscular build than his store of knowledge, for the school had the reputation of being one of the hardest to manage in Maine, containing a number of rowdies who had thrown the previous teacher out through the window without raising the sash. Young Maxim, however, succeeded in subduing them by thrashing one after the other. After that he was able to start instructing them, at the same time educating himself, so that soon he was able to enter Maine Wesleyan Seminary for a real education.

When twenty-two years old, Hudson Maxim advanced the scientific theory of the “ultimate atom”, which was widely published in scientific journals throughout the country.

But though he knew at this time that his lifework was to be a science, the young man’s researches availed him little money and he was in need of ready cash. So after his graduation from Maine Wesleyan, he spent five years in the book-publishing business, earning enough out of this to start experimenting in the field of explosives on a large scale.

About this time he took a trip to New York that might have cut short his career as a scientist. He was introduced by his brother to some sporting men, who, impressed by his muscular physique and reputation in Maine as a wrestler and boxer, induced him to challenge a wrestler named Flynn, then one of the top-notchers in the game. Young Maxim threw Flynn easily and big money was offered him for a second bout, but Hudson Maxim had other plans.

Going to a small town in New Jersev, he built his first dynamite and smokeless powder mill in I890. Here he worked out the experiments that gave smokeless powder to the United States Army. The Du Pont people afterward bought this invention from him, and Mr. Maxim became their consulting engineer and expert.

From that point on he continued to mount up the ladder, producing one valuable invention after the other. These include Maximite, the first high explosive successfully used in armor piercing projectiles; Stabillite, a development of the smokeless powder idea; and Motorite, which propels torpedoes with compressed air. These discoveries, all conceived and brought to perfection in Mr. Maxim’s private laboratory on his estate at Lake Hopatcong, N. J., have made him the foremost authority on explosives in America.

Of course his work was not without great danger. During one of his experiments an accident occurred that cost the inventor the loss of his left hand. He was many miles from a physician at the time, and it was only his wonderful stamina that enabled him to pull through.

Mr. Maxim is a poet and author, as well as inventor. His book, “defenseless America”, did much to arouse this country to the need of preparedness in the days immediately preceding our entrance into the war.

Though he has invented probably the most terrible engines of destruction, Mr. Maxim is not a militarist.

“War is sometimes a necessity, and when it comes we want the best tools we can get to fight with”, says Mr. Maxim. “But I don’t believe in war, and I am confident the day is coming when peace will be universal. Meantime, the use of such terrible explosives as I have invented makes for peace more than all the sermons that can be delivered.”

Mr. Maxim is a man of boundless energy, even now at the age of sixty-seven. When he feels the need of recreation, he ceases work upon his inventions and, retiring to his library, studies philology or poetry.

The inventor’s pet beliefs at present are that the energy in the sun’s rays can in some way be used by mankind, and that an airplane can be evolved that will encircle the world in seventeen hours.

Probably Mr. Maxim will soon work out these beliefs to practical ends, for he is a dreamer whose dreams generally come true. (From

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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

Six Aroostook County locations renamed to remove racial slurs

Note: If you have problems with the links, simply cut/copy and paste into your browser to open them.

Adelbert Ames and His Recollection of the Attempted Robbery in Northfield

Adelbert Ames was born in Rockland, ME, on Oct. 31, 1835. He graduated West Point Academy in 1861 and was commissioned to the 2nd U.S. Artillery and fought in the First Battle of Bull Run where he earned the Medal of Honor. He was later reassigned to the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment in 1862 where he fought at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg…

Hurricanes of New England
Maps are available at the Weare Historical Society if you’d like to walk through … on record as the costliest and deadliest storm in New England history…

Old house requires special, loving care
I have had the privilege of … In the end, they offered the house to the Norway Historical Society…

Audience Calendar
Illustrated Lecture: History of Silk in America, Nancy Greenleaf and Sally Williams, Hiram Historical Society, free. 625-4762. 2:30 pm Saturday. …

Bangor Museum and History Center getting a museum makeover
A week after selling a rare … And with the Massachusetts Historical Society, which already has volumes one …

Three Chums tell tales of friendship at Lovell’s Brick Church Sept. 9
Gilman, a New Hampshire storyteller who periodically wanders into Maine… Baked Bean Awareness Month speaker for the Fryeburg Historical Society. …

Prospect News
The Prospect Historical Society will hold a meeting Sept.12th. in the Town Hall at 7:00 PM. Will be discussing the final Yard Sale at the Marsh School…

Publication on Dover-Foxcroft will be a genealogist’s treasure
The couple has long been involved with the Dover-Foxcroft Historical Society and its home at the Observer building. Nancy is former president of MGS, and Jack is the current president. The Maine Genealogical Society produces its special publications …

Six Aroostook County locations renamed to remove racial slurs

It has taken more than 10 years, but recent place name changes approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names have removed the final racial slurs from Maine maps. The six locations, all in Aroostook County, are now named Scopan, Scopan Inlet, Scopan Knob, Scopan Lake, …

Archaeologists in Illinois dig to find civilization that vanished

The largest excavation of a prehistoric site in the country is poised to solve a riddle about Illinois prehistory that has lingered for a century — where did the Mississippians go? And why? An enormous dig of a village site first inhabited about 1050 A.D. is providing so much data and so many artifacts that archaeologists are daring to speculate that basic questions about the Mississippians will finally be answered.

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From Museums of Old York:

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

PLEASE NOTE:
The “History Challenge” programs previously scheduled for Thursday, September 1 and Thursday, September 8 at 7 p.m. in The Parsons Center have been cancelled.
Our regular programming and exhibits in The Parsons Center will be suspended from September 1 through September 11 so that we may bring you The Fourth Annual Antiques Show!

September

18 Lost York: The History that Nature Has Reclaimed. Join Old York staff for a guided tour of the Highland Farm area off Rte. 91. Email rbowen@oldyork.org for details and reservations.

19 “The Country Heer is Plentiful” exhibit of Trade, Religion and Warfare and Southern Maine 1631-1745 resumes in the upstairs gallery at The Parsons Center during regular museum hours.

23 Dinner at Jefferds Tavern. Don’t let the end of summer get you down! Dinner at the Tavern can be the perfect antidote to the blues of shorter days. Enjoy the best of the harvest season in the charming candlelit rooms of the 18th century. Click here to view the scrumptious menu on our website. Guests are encouraged to bring their own beverages to accompany the hearth-cooked meal. Friday, September 23, 6–8 p.m. $30 per person ($25 members). Seating is limited to twenty and reservations are required. Please email Richard Bowen or call (207) 363-4974 to make your reservation by September 21.

26 Needle Wizards. Every Monday morning starting the 26th of September. Join our Needle Wizards as we socialize while sewing costumes for Old York’s education interpreters. Whether you are good at cutting out patterns, hand-sewing caps, piecing skirts or sewing on the machine, we could use your help. Come to The Parsons Center upstairs in the gallery for an hour or the whole morning. 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. For more information email Cindi at registrar@oldyork.org.

29 History Brought to Life. Watch the history of the Old Gaol come to life as amateur actors portray the prisoners kept under lock and key. Listen to stories of thievery, debt, embezzlement, murder and escape! Meet the Gaol keeper responsible for keeping these scofflaws locked away and his wife who cooked for and fed them. Meet at the Old Gaol. Program ongoing from 5:30 -7:30 p.m. Members free and nominal fee for non-members. Family rates.

October

3 Needle Wizards. Every Monday from 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. upstairs at The Parsons Center. See above and email registrar@oldyork.org for more information.

6 Who Discovered York? Observe Columbus Day in a different way by learning about the several “discoveries” of York from the 1630s – 1900s. 7 p.m. at The Parsons Center.

10 Needle Wizards. Every Monday from 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. upstairs at The Parsons Center. See above and email registrar@oldyork.org for more information.

12 Scarecrow Making. Learn the origins of the scarecrow while you make one to decroate your yard. Bring old clothes to struff with leaves and create a crazy face out of cloth. 3-5 p.m. at The Parsons Center. Ages 6 and up, $8 per child ($6 members). Registration required. Email education@oldyork.org to sign up.

15 Marketfest! The Museums of Old York will be a busy place Saturday October 15th from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Jefferds Tavern will be open to the public for $1. Visitors can watch the Tavern Mistress cook a full meal over the open fire, enjoy traditional crafters, and check out our new upstairs exhibit on WWII home front efforts. Outside of Jefferds Tavern children and adults can help press apples into cider, enjoy home baked goods and have fun making a rag doll at our kids table. The Parsons Center will be open for $1 with the upstairs exhibit on life in 17th century York, titled “The country heer is plentiful”, open all day. Downstairs people can view the pies entered in our Autumn Pies pie contest, or have their photo taken in costume in our Old Time Photo Booth. The pies will be judged in the The Parsons Center at 2 p.m. The 1719 Old Gaol will be open all day so people can see the original stone cells and learn about the prisoners incarcerated within. For $1 join us at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., or 3 p.m. to watch theatrical prisoner performances and hear stories told by the jail keeper! If you would like to enter a pie in the Autumn Pies contest, or are interested in volunteering at the Museum for Marketfest, please email education@oldyork.org.

17 Needle Wizards. Every Monday from 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. upstairs at The Parsons Center. See above and email registrar@oldyork.org for more information.

19 Fall Fair Day. Join us for traditional fair activities and fall fun! Potato sack and three-legged races, human ox pull, skillet throw, bobbing for apple, leaf diving for treasure and apple cider pressing. 3-5 p.m. at The Parsons Center. Ages 6 and up, $8 per child ($6 members). Registration required. Email education@oldyork.org to sign up.

24 Needle Wizards. Every Monday from 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. upstairs at The Parsons Center. See above and email registrar@oldyork.org for more information.

26 Pumpkin Carving. Come carve pumpkins in front of the fire! Learn the history of Halloween as you transform your pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern and eat the seeds roasted over the open fire. Bring your own pumpkin. Knives, newspaper and cleanup will be provided. 3-5 p.m. at The Parsons Center. All ages are welcome. $5 suggested donation. Registration encouraged. Email education@oldyork.org to sign up.

29 Haunted Historical Halloween — Where Facts are Scarier than Fiction! Join a tour of historic ghosts starting at The Parsons Center and traveling through the buildings and grounds at Old York. For the young or skittish, we offer storytelling in Jefferds Tavern and spooky games in the Remick Barn. 6 – 8 p.m. All ages are welcome. $5 for teens and adults/ $15 for families. Registration encouraged. Email education@oldyork.org to sign up.

31 Needle Wizards. Every Monday from 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. upstairs at The Parsons Center. See above and email registrar@oldyork.org for more information.

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From the Maine Historical Society:

MHS News

New Exhibit Explores One Way High Fashion Came to Maine

The new exhibit in the Lecture Hall Gallery, “Having in Paris a Great Success”: French Fashion, 1928-1936, features sheets from Paris fashion houses that demonstrate one source of fashion inspiration for well-to-do women in Maine during the 1920s and 30s. The sheets, which are drawn from MHS’s Mildred G. Burrage Collection, include beautiful hand-drawn illustrations of the latest styles and fabric samples.

This show is mounted in conjunction with Dressing Up, Standing Out, Fitting In, our current museum exhibit.


Fall Program Highlights

Tuesday, October 4, 12pm
Book Talk: Our Game Was Baseball

Presenter: John Hodgkins, Author

Thursday, October 13, 7pm
Book Event: Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light Presenter: Jane Brox, Author

Saturday, October 15, 1-4pm
Maine Home Movie Day with Northeast Historic Film

Wednesday, October 26, 7pm

Book Event: American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America

Presenter: Colin Woodard, Author

Thursday, November 10, 7pm
In Partnership with the Colonial Dames in Maine
Tales from an Art Detective: Tracing Nazi-era Provenance at the MFA

Presenter: Victoria Reed, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Categories: antiques, archeology, articles, breaking news, civil war, collectibles, events, Geneology, headlines, historic preservation, historical societies, history, indians, Maine, Maine Historical Society, Maine things to do, museum news, Museums of Old York, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Haunted Maine Fort?

Maine Fort to be Featured on TV Ghost Show Maine’s Fort Knox is going to be featured on a TV program about ghosts. The Department of Conservation says stars of SyFy Channel’s program “Ghost Hunters” will reveal their findings next Wednesday about whether the fort along the Penobscot River near Bucksport is haunted. State park historian Tom Desjardin says it’ll be nice to see Fort Knox presented on the national stage. Desjardin says there are no official reports of haunting at Fort Knox, and only three soldiers on record died while at the fort….

Mementos of a Royal Hawaiian Love Story A matched set of silver goblets. A great golden bed. A marvelous and mysterious hand-stitched quilt of a unique design not found in the index of the Hawaiian Quilt Research Project. These are the mementos of one of Hawaii’s great love stories between a young man with royal Hawaiian blood in his veins and a hula dancer. The two young people, both famous in their own way, seemed fated for each other, and in the end, spent the rest of their lives together. View some of the items that help to tell this Hollywood-like Honolulu love story. Read “Mementos of a Royal Hawaiian Love Story”

Finding history in a rocking chair The first time, she had a desk and chair from the Maine Senate that were given … the Caribou Historical Society who might have an interest in my treasure. …

Wabanaki culture, history explored Colonial-era Wabanaki culture and history will be spotlighted Sunday, April 10 at the Camden-Rockport Historical Society’s next Maine Living talk. …

Tuesday’s Calendar — April 5 Anson Historical Society, 6:30 pm, Anson town meeting room; All are welcome. … a licensed Maine falconer will speak about the life history and ecology of …

Et Cetera: Listings Fundraising Card Party, benefits Falmouth Historical Society, Holy Martyrs Church, … 10 am to 1 pm “Horse-Drawn Vehicles in Maine,” slide presentation and …

Historical society creates craft fund to honor member The Bethel Historical Society’s board of trustees voted unanimously and preserve traditional crafts relating to the history of western Maine,

The Civil War: 01 April 1861 to 09 April 1861

April 3.—Dispatches were received in “Washington to-day, confirming the reported reinforcement of Fort Pickens; and the Cabinet held a long session, without coming to any definite conclusion in regard to the long-mooted evacuation of Fort Sumter. One company of artillery left Washington for Fort Hamilton, and two more are to follow to-morrow. Unwanted activity also prevails in the navy, several vessels being rapidly fitted for service. — World, April 4.

—The mortar batteries on Morris’ Island, Charleston harbor, fired into an unknown schooner. She displayed the stars and stripes, and put to sea. A boat from Sumter with a white flag went out to her; nobody hurt. A shot had gone through her.—{Doc. 49.)

—All officers of the Southern Confederate army, on leave of absence, were ordered to their respective commands.—Times, April 5.

—The South Carolina Convention ratified the Constitution of the Confederate States, by a vote of 114 to 10.—Tribune, April 0.

—The Charleston correspondent writes: “By the by, let us never surrender to the North the noble song, the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’ It is southern in its origin; in sentiments, poetry and song; in its association with chivalrous deeds, it is ours; and the time, I trust, is not remote, when the broad stripes and brilliant stars of the confederate flag of the South will wave triumphantly over our capitol, Fortress Monroe, and every fort within our borders.”—Richmond Examiner.

April 4.—The Virginia Convention adopted, in committee of the whole, several of the series of resolutions reported by the majority of the Committee on Federal Relations, and rejected, by the decisive veto of 89 to 45, a motion to substitute for one of the resolutions an ordinance of secession, to be submitted to the popular vote.— World, April 5.

—Many rumors are in circulation to-day.

They appear to have originated from movements on the part of the United States troops, the reasons for which have not been communicated to the reporters at Washington as freely as the late Administration was in the habit of imparting Cabinet secrets. There can be no doubt that serious movements are on foot. The tone of the southern press for the last week, and the concentration of troops at Pensacola, indicate a determination to precipitate a conflict at Fort Pickens, probably with a view to hasten the secession movement in Virginia.—Tribune, April 5.

April 7.—General Beauregard issued an order, and sent a special messenger to Major Anderson, to give him an official notification that no further intercourse between Fort Sumter and the city would be permitted. — Times, April 9.

—The steam transport Atlantic sailed under sealed orders from New York, laden with troops and provisions. Among the troops is Captain Barry’s celebrated company of United States Flying Artillery. — Commercial Advertiser, April 8.

April 8.—Information having been given by the United States authorities to the authorities at Charleston that they desired to send supplies to Fort Sumter by an unarmed vessel, they were informed that the vessel would be fired upon and not permitted to enter the port. Official notification was then given by the United States Government that supplies would be sent to Major Anderson, peaceably if possible, otherwise by force. Lieutenant Talbot, attached to the garrison of Fort Sumter, and who accompanied the bearer of this dispatch, was not permitted to proceed to his post.

—Orders were issued to the entire military force of Charleston, held in reserve, to proceed to their stations without delay. Four regiments of a thousand men each were telegraphed for from the country.

Dr. Gibbs, surgeon-general, was ordered to prepare ambulances, and make every provision for the wounded.

—At midnight Charleston was thrown into great excitement by the discharge of seven guns from Citadel square, the signal for all the reserves to assemble ten minutes afterwards.

Hundreds of men left their beds, hurrying to and fro towards their respective destinations.

In the absence of sufficient armories, at the corners of the streets, public squares, and other convenient points, meetings were formed, and all night the long roll of the drum and the steady tramp of the military, and the gallop of the cavalry resounding through the city, betokened the close proximity of the long-anticipated hostilities. The Home Guard corps of old gentlemen, who occupy the position of military exempts, rode through the city, arousing the soldiers, and doing other duty required by the moment.

United States vessels were reported off the bar. Major Anderson displayed signal lights during the night from the walls of Fort Sumter.—Times, April 10.

—The State Department at Washington replied to-day to the Confederate State Commissioners, declining to receive them in their official capacity, but expressing deference for them as gentlemen. The Secretary expressed a peaceful policy on the part of the Government, declaring a purpose to defend only when assailed. — Tribune, April 9.

April 9.—Governor Curtin, of Pennsylvania, sent a special message to the Legislature to-day, urging the necessity of purchasing arms and reorganizing the military system of that State. —Times, April 10.

—Jefferson Davis made a requisition on the Governor of Alabama for 3,000 soldiers. — Tribune, April 10.

—The Charleston Mercury of to-day announces war as declared. “Our authorities,” it says, “yesterday evening received notice from Lincoln’s Government, through a special messenger from Washington, that an effort will be made to supply Fort Sumter with provisions and that if this were permitted, no attempt would be made to reinforce it with men! This message comes simultaneously with a fleet, which we understand is now off our bar, waiting for daylight and tide to make the effort threatened.

“We have patiently submitted to the insolent military domination of a handful of men in our bay for over three months after the declaration of our independence of the United States. The object of that self humiliation has been to avoid the effusion of blood, while such preparation was made as to render it causeless and useless.

“It seems we have been unable, by discretion, forbearance, and preparation, to effect the desired object, and that now the issue of battle is to be forced upon us. The gage is thrown down, and we accept the challenge. We will meet the invader, and the God of Battles must decide the issue between the hostile hirelings of Abolition hate and Northern tyranny, and the people of South Carolina defending their freedom and their homes. We hope such a blow will be struck in behalf of the South, that Sumter and Charleston harbor will be remembered at the North as long as they exist as a people.”

—Steamers Illinois and Baltic, in commission for United States Government, got to sea from New York. They discharged their pilots at 7.30 A. M., and sailed southwardly.—{Doc. 60.)

—United States sloop-of-war Pawnee sailed from Norfolk at 6 P. M., with sealed orders. — Times, April 11.

Next week- the battle begins with the bombing of Fort Sumter on 12 April, 1861 at 04:30 AM from Fort Moultrie, and assorted batteries joining in…

Categories: articles, breaking news, civil war, collectibles, events, Geneology, headlines, historic preservation, historical societies, history, Maine, Maine things to do, preservation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gold Prices and Opera Houses

If your historical society or genealogy organization has news to share, an event scheduled, or other information you’d like to share here, please email the info to editor@touringmaineshistory.com
More news and events from the world of Maine history…
Gold Prices Endanger Antique Watches The value of gold and silver has been rising as the Great Recession has dragged on, and Worthologist David Mycko says this is bringing on the demise of literally thousands of gold and silver antiques and collectibles of all nature. But watches, he says, have been hit particularly hard. As a watchmaker and collector, this pains David more than others. He gives one example of a perfectly fine antique watch whose days could be numbered before it is melted down and sold for its gold value. Read “Gold Prices Endanger Antique Watches”
Boothbay Opera House: Fixing up the old gal
The old Opera House has never looked better. Especially when you realize she has passed her 117th birthday.
She closed this winter to allow local workers and volunteers to do a bit of fixing up, including installing a new heating system, patching a few leaks and holes, adding a new (old) floor, new seats, sound system, seating, balcony railing, painting and so on, and so on, to the tune of more than $400,000.
Castine eyes repairs to Emerson Hall
Town officials have hired an architect to conduct an assessment of Emerson Hall in an effort to determine what repairs might be necessary for the 110-year-old building to continue serving as town hall. There are obvious signs both inside and outside the building, according to Town Manager …
State pledges $1 million for 2014 World Acadian Congress
Organizers of the World Acadian Congress, who believe the event will bring a huge economic boost to Aroostook County and parts of Canada in 2014, are steaming forward with their plans after learning that the state will commit $1 million to the festivities over the next …
Augers named to Franco hall of fame
Gilles Auger has been creating a database of Franco-Americans who came to Sanford from Quebec to work in the mills. As he records those who came and their relations in Quebec and elsewhere, the database has grown to 80,000 names. As well, he reads a half-dozen French language newspapers daily on the Internet, especially the ones from Montreal, Quebec City and Sherbrooke, and while he’s keeping up with the news, he checks for familiar names.
Opera House gets grants, a third of the way to goal
FUNDS NEEDED — The Opera House in Norway. The Opera House Corporation needs to raise an additional $127,500 in order to pay for the stabilization work.
Woodland Margins; Georgetown Historical Society Spring Exhibit
The opening reception and artists talk will be on Firday, 1 April from 4 to 6 PM and the open house will be Saturday, 2 April, from 10 AM to Noon. The exhibit will run until 15 June. The GHS is open at no charge on Wednesdays from 10AM to 5PM. FMI: http://www.georgetownhistoricalsociety.org/ or call them at 207-371-9200.
From the Maine Historical Society;
Sardine packers, Lubec, ca. 1976
Community Website:
Lubec’s history reflects its close ties to the sea and its proximity to New Brunswick. Many stories from that history–including the rise and fall of the sardine industry and tales of smugglers, the American Revolution, and life around Passamaquoddy Bay–are captured in this rich website built and maintained by community members from the Lubec Historical Society, Lubec Memorial Library, Lubec Landmarks, and Lubec Consolidated School. 2011 marks the town’s bicentennial. Read more and explore the website.
Friday, April 1, 5-8 PM
Music, refreshments, and two exhibits: Zoom-In: New Approaches to Maine History (through May 29) and Arts, Artists and Personalities in 1930s Maine (through May 3). More info.
Sunday, April 3, 10 AM-4 PM
Discovering Maine’s Jewish History
The 2nd Maine Jewish History Conference
Location: Roberts Union, Colby College
Explore the richness of Jewish life in Maine at a day-long conference featuring talks, panels, and workshops presented by community, professional, and student historians. Learn about early Jews in Lewiston, Jewish back-to-the-landers, anti-semitism in Portland, openness in Eastport, communal life in Old Town, social life in Old Orchard Beach, and much more. Leading scholars will place the experiences of Maine’s Jews within the broader context of American Jewish history. Registration required (includes lunch and materials). Download the registration form. Presented by Colby College with Maine Historical Society and Documenting Old Maine Jewry. For more information, please visit: http://web.colby.edu/jewsinmaine/
Thursday, April 7, 7 PM
In partnership with Maine Humanities Council
Facilitator:
Emerson Baker, Professor of History, Salem State College
Join us for an exploration of Arundel, Kenneth Roberts’ fictional account of Benedict Arnold’s march through Maine to Québec during the American Revolution. This event is free but registration is required. For more information or to register, please visit the Maine Humanities Council’s website or call MHC at 207-773-5051.
Categories: Acadian history, antiques, Art Exhibit, articles, breaking news, collectibles, events, Geneology, headlines, historic buildings, historic preservation, historical societies, history, Maine Historical Society, museum news, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maine History News for Sunday, February 20, 2011

More news and headlines from Maine’s world of history! Winter is pretty dull up here in Maine, historically speaking, but there’s still lot’s going on around the state. Fortunately, we’re only a few short weeks away from the unofficial start of mud season and the restarting of many of our historical society’s seasonal cycles. I’m hoping to be able to get in a lot more time around the state this year and finally get Touring Maine’s History running at the speed I’d like it to be at. If you or your society has news or events to share, feel free to e-mail them to me at dlsoucy@touringmaineshistory.com, and please check out our website at www.touringmaineshistory.com. Time is still somewhat restrictive, so I intend to do one weekly post every Sunday of these news headlines and event calendars, so try to get your info in to me by Saturday evening if you can.

I’m also planning on doing a series of historical society highlights later on this year which will be a good promotional tool if you’d like to be included.

Franco genealogical library looking for new home

AUBURN — Normand Angers doesn’t seem surprised that the Maine Franco-American Genealogical Society has to find a new home after 10 years.  He’s matter-of-fact about it. “We just need a place to go, and as soon as possible,” Angers, president of the library, said…

Ice or snow, to market we will go

Sarcophagus, anyone? Itchy for antiquity? Though it’s no longer there, for many months you and your forklift could have scooped one up at Brunswick’s Waterfront Flea Market, despite the cold outside. How about a pair of mint-condition grey suede chaps – with fringe (hi-ho…

Save Teaching American History Grants–Contact Your Senator Now!

The National Coalition for History is asking you to email letters to your U.S. Senators as soon as possible urging them to save the Teaching American History (TAH) Grants Program and Civic Education funding (through competitive grants).…Legislation is currently being drafted in the Senate that would fund federal programs for the rest of this fiscal year, FY 2011. It is absolutely vital that our members send emails as soon as possible to save TAH and Civics funding in FY’11. We will be sending a separate sample letter regarding FY’12 appropriations and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) later this spring….

Portrait of the past Retired Maine doctor digs into the past…

Dr. Newell Augur is a retired gastroenterologist from Portland – the one in Maine. He’s also a bit of a history buff. It’s easy to understand why.

Winter Lyceum returns to Left Bank

‎According to Belfast Historical Society President Megan Pinette, “Becoming Teddy Roosevelt,” and will explore Maine’s influence on Teddy Roosevelt

‘Clam wars’ specter haunts border dispute testimony

‎LD 69, “An Act To Restore the Historical Town Boundary between Harpswell and gained approval by the Maine Legislature — should have settled once and for

 

 

News from the Penobscot Marine Museum…

New Stubbs Paintings for Collection;

The recent addition of two new paintings brings PMM’s permanent collection of works by artist William Pierce Stubbs to 15. The son of shipmaster Reuben Stubbs, William was born in Orrington, Maine, in 1842. He commanded a ship from 1863 to 1873, but began painting ship’s portraits in 1871. He moved to Boston in 1876 and set up a studio, mainly producing marine portraits. William Stubbs died in 1909….

“Main Streets” Photos Come to Penobscot County

“Main Street, Maine,” PMM’s popular traveling exhibit of vintage photographs, is on display at the Newport Cultural Center through

May 3….The show features dozens of 75- to 100-year-old images from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection. Many of them show Main Streets when the modern townscape was evolving, with transportation shifting from unpaved roads and horses to paved roads and automobiles. Captions for the exhibit were written by Maine State Historian, Earle Shettleworth….

Save the Date! 
    When: April 2, 2011
    What: ART PARTY
Please set aside the evening of April 2nd for a benefit dinner to be held at the Museums of Old York’s Remick Barn and Jefferds Tavern. We are planning a festive and artistic dinner party as a means of raising funds for the on going upkeep and needed repairs of the George Marshall Store.

 
 

As one of the properties owned and maintained by the Museums of Old York, the Store has been used as a contemporary art gallery for the past 15 years. So many people have told me how much they enjoy the gallery and its idyllic setting. It is my hope that people’s enthusiasm for this special place will result in a successful and fun fund raising event.

 
 

An invitation by mail will follow shortly but in the meantime mark your calendar for ART PARTY!

Many thanks,

Mary Harding

Curator, George Marshall Store Gallery

Museums of Old York

Tel: (207) 351-1083
140 Lindsay Road, York Maine
mhardingart@gmail.com

Categories: antiques, Art Exhibit, articles, breaking news, collectibles, events, Geneology, historical societies, history, Maine, Maine things to do, museum news, Museums of Old York, Penobscot Marine Museum, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Margaretta Days Festival, and more news

Machias fest, book celebrate Revolution

Bangor Daily News- The saying goes that we are our stories. If that’s so, I’d like to be a Watts, specifically a descendant of Hannah (Watts) Weston, who at 17 carried ammunition through the woods to help the patriots fight the British in the Battle of the Margaretta, the first naval battle of the Revolutionary War….

History teacher from Milo lauded by national DAR

Bangor Daily News- A history teacher at Penquis Valley High School for more than 35 years placed third in the National DAR Outstanding Teacher of American History Contest this spring. Russell Carey, who grew up here, was nominated to receive the state honor by Tisbury Manor Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, in Monson.

Categories: events, Geneology, headlines, historical societies, history, Maine, preservation, Revolutionary War, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Representative Men of Maine; Hon. Thomas B Reed

Hon. Thomas B. Reed

HON. THOMAS B. REED was born in Portland on the 18th of October, 1839. He was educated in the common schools of Portland and at Bowdoin College, where he was graduated in the class of 1860. During the four years immediately following his graduation Mr. Reed was engaged in teaching and in the study of law. He was for a time assistant teacher in the Portland High School. In April, 1864, before he had passed his examination for admission to the Bar, he was appointed Acting Assistant Pay-master in the United States Navy, and was assigned to duty on the “tin clad” Sybil, then under command of Lieut. H. H. Gorringe, later a distinguished officer of the navy.

After the close of the war Mr. Reed returned to Portland and was admitted to the Cumberland Bar. Before three years the Republicans of Portland made him their candidate for one of the seats in the lower branch of the State Legislature. His election followed, and he took his seat in the House in the session of 1868. Mr. Reed was re-elected to the Legislature of 1869, and in 1870 the Republicans of Cumberland County promoted him to a seat in the State Senate.

In his terms of service as a member of the Judiciary Committee Mr. Reed had shown his abilities as a lawyer, and great confidence was felt in his judgment by all with whom he came in contact. So it happened that while acting as a member of the State Senate, he was selected in 1870 by the Republicans of Maine as their candidate for Attorney-General of the State He was elected, and assumed the duties of the office at the age of thirty years, being younger than any man who had held the office since the organization of the State. The three terms which he served in this important office were marked by the trials of many important causes for the State.

In 1874, Mr. Reed became City Solicitor of Portland, and for four years served the city in that capacity. It was a time when the city had large interests at stake, for the management of which Mr. Reed’s experience and ability were most successfully applied.

Mr. Reed was still serving the city of Portland as its Solicitor, when the election of 1876 approached for the choice of members of the Forty-fifth Congress, which was to assemble in December, 1877. Mr. Reed’s friends in the first district determined that he should be the Republican nominee. In a memorable canvass he was nominated and elected. The House of Representatives which he entered was Democratic, as have been all the Houses but two since he has been in Congress. But he was not long in coming to the front, and gave early promise of the distinguished legislative career of influence and leadership which has marked his membership of the House. As speaker of the Fifty-first Congress, and as leader of the Republican side, he has won great fame. Mr. Reed’s speakership marked a new era in the legislative history of Congress. Before that, it had always been within the power of a strong and determined minority to stop any legislation. Minorities had never failed to use this power, and the absurdity of allowing a minority to dictate in a popular government, where all government is supposed to be by majorities, had not only been tolerated, but had actually been elevated to the dignity of a great principle of statesmanship. It was Mr. Reed’s great work to abolish this pernicious usage. His famous rulings caused a tremendous uproar in the national House and throughout the country. He was denounced in unmeasured terms by partisan papers; but his rulings were sustained by the Supreme Court of the United States, and the principle that he enunciated of the inviolability of the right of the majority to rule has been followed by his political opponents. Although they have studiously asserted that the “Reed Rules” would never be adopted by them, they have used analogous methods; and now no minority is allowed to thwart the will of the majority.

As a leader on the floor Mr. Reed has attained distinguished success. This is in a large measure due to the fact that he has added to unrivaled forensic ability good common sense and honesty of purpose. An undoubted partisan, he has always had a firm conviction that in the domination of the Republican Party lies the surest safeguard of the fame and prosperity of his country. Keeping the mission of his party in view, he has never allowed his influence to count for any partisan move of doubtful patriotism. In the present Congress he has just led the Republican minority in the repeal of the Sherman law, when the Democratic majority found itself powerless by itself to carry out the program of its President.

Mr. Reed has not allowed his engrossing duties as a public man to interfere with his taste for literary pursuits. He is a student of English literature and a great admirer of its masterpieces. He is also familiar with the literature of several foreign tongues, and especially French literature. Few names are more familiar on the title pages of the great magazines than his, and the North American Review for the last four years has rarely failed, at any memorable juncture of public affairs, to contain a luminous and charming article from his pen.

Mr. Reed’s attachment to the city of his birth is sincere and strong; and whenever public duties do not call him away, he is to be found at his office or his home in Portland.

Categories: Geneology, history, Maine, Maine Biographies, politics, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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