Posts Tagged With: Camden

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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Categories: Geneology, history, Maine, 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

Strathglass Park Sees the Light Again

More headlines from around Maine…

Please be sure to email your contributions and links to editor@touringmaineshistory.com and if you have an event to share, get it to me at least two weeks ahead of time.

It’s time for fiddleheads For most of his 71 years, Frank Buckley Sr. of Industry has gathered fiddlehead ferns in the spring to eat and to freeze for future meals. The abundance of the quickly maturing plants found around the Sandy River this time of year had him sitting in his car off the…

Strathglass Park restoration efforts light up Rumford For the first time in more than half a century, the historic Strathglass Park’s imposing granite gateway was lit up Monday night. That project is the culmination of a two-year effort by local nonprofit Strathglass Pa…

Documenting the Death of an Assassin In 1865, a single photograph was taken during the autopsy of John Wilkes Booth. Where is it now? Read More »

VIDEO: In the Footsteps of Lincoln’s Assassin »

Gen. Lee’s sword returning to Appomattox, Va.
It’s an enduring myth of the Civil War: Robert E. Lee surrendered his sword to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, and his Union counterpart refused the traditional gesture of surrender. “Lee never offered it, and Grant never asked for it,” said Patrick Schroeder, historian at Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Park. In an historical twist, though, Lee’s French-made ceremonial sword is returning to Appomattox 146 years later, leaving the Richmond museum where it has been displayed for nearly a century…

200-year-old library book returned to Camden The stamp inside a book published in 1790 shows that it was the property of the “Federal Society Library in Cambden,in the County of Lincoln,” the first library established in Camden. The worn

History of Aldermere Farm On Tuesday, May 17 at 7 pm at the new Hope Corner Firehouse, Hope Historical Society’s monthly meeting will feature a talk on the history of Aldermere Farm. The Chatfield’s Aldermere farm on Russell Avenue in Rockport is known to most as the

Forgotten Maine murals focus of new book The book explores the history of Maine murals as seen through the work of Rufus a firm that specializes in the documentation of historical collections.

History trail shows Freeport has more than shops in store The Freeport Historical Society will unveil the Freeport Heritage Trail at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Old First Parish Meetinghouse and Burial Ground at Lower Main Street and Meetinghouse Road. Consisting of 17 interpretive signs and related podcasts, the trail will direct people to significant spots in Freeport history. The goal is to reinforce the town’s identity among residents and visitors alike, said Christina White, historical society director…

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

Dresden Dig Site Preserved

News headlines…

Camden Cake Walk: Treasure trove of sweets, community history A Mothers Day weekend collaboration of the Camden-Rockport Historical Society and 10 historic inns, the cake walk takes place Saturday, May 7from 1 to 4 pm, rain or shine. Earliest cake walks saw participants strutting or dancing, with the best winning…

Museum locates property Organizers of a living history museum aimed at showing how native Americans once lived in Maine have found property in Gardiner where they hopes to erect a permanent village…

Experts authenticate stone cross unearthed in remote Mahoosucs
Watercolorist Nainsi Muirin of County Magalloway reminds readers that according to Celtic legend, on the day a freestanding cross is set in place, evil will be gone within its view before sunset. With the rising of the next new moon, the reality of evil returns, and the future of the community… xxread more here

Maine Maritime Museum passes national muster
The Maine Maritime Museum on Monday announced it has achieved accreditation by the American Association of Museums, a designation the museum claimed is bestowed upon fewer than 5 percent of U.S. museums…

Deal preserves Dresden dig site
After nearly 25 years waiting at the gate — the last three of which involved heavy negotiations and deal-making among multiple parties — a Dresden property considered to be one of the most archaeologically significant sites in Maine is protected for research…

Work on Virginia replica to begin this summer
An organization that has long steered a course toward building a replica of the 1608 pinnace Virginia, believed to be the first English ship built in the New World, will begin construction this summer…

From our friends at Worthpoint…

Groans and Grins: Collecting Punny Postcards
Many postcard collectors have serious collections. They’re interested in preserving hometown history, amassing and cataloguing every postcard printed by a particular publisher or studying the changes in technology over time. But sometimes, postcards are just plain fun! Worthologist Bonnie Wilpon writes about some of the humorous cards she picked up for a little as 25¢ but still tickle the funny bone nearly 100 years later. Check out some of her punny postcards; they just may elicit a grin (or a groan)! Read”Groans and Grins: Collecting Punny Postcards”

Three-Mold Inkwells Highlight Vintage Bottle Auction
Three blown three-mold inkwells— each created sometime between 1815 and 1835 by Boston & Sandwich Glassworks —will highlight the upcoming Internet and catalog auction slated for April 29-May 7 by American Bottle Auctions. Among the other bottles that will surely gather attention is a collection of Western whiskey bottles and flasks and the only perfect example of a Julius Goldbaum known to exist. Find out more about an auction that’s sure to be a real corker. Read “Three-Mold Inkwells Highlight Vintage Bottle Auction”

May Happenings at the Museums of Old York…

Saturday April 30 and Sunday May 1; Before Tour of 2011 Decorator Show House

Come see historic “Emerson House” before it is transformed by a talented group of interior and landscape designers into our show house. Located at 31 Long Sands Road, Emerson House is a beautiful Georgian Colonial residence whose earliest roots date back to 1719. A special weekend open house will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday April 30 and Sunday May 1. Admission fee is $5. All proceeds support the museums’ education programs, exhibitions and preservation inititatives. Parking is available in the village and area lots. The Decorator Show House will run from July 16 through August 13, with an opening night reception planned for July 15. For more information, call the Museum office at 207-363-4974 or email
development@oldyork.org.

11 May Day Celebration

Join us for a traditional celebration of Spring! Build a tambourine, rattle, or drum and create a crown made from flowers and vines. Play your instrument and wear you crown as we parade around the gardens urging the flowers to blossom and bloom. Our parade will end at the May Pole where we’ll learn the traditional dance that weaves the long ribbons into a beautiful pattern of Spring colors. Do you play the fiddle or flute? Bring your instrument to play some tunes while we dance. Preregistration suggested. Everyone is welcome! Wednesday May 11, 3:00-5:00pm. $5 suggested donation. This event will take place at the Elizabeth Perkins House located just over Sewalls Bridge on Southside Rd.

13 Dinner at Jefferds Tavern

Celebrate spring with a hearth-cooked dinner of spring lamb and other seasonal favorite dishes. Guests are encouraged to bring their own favorite beverages to complement the meal. Friday, May 13, 6 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. $30 non-members and $25 members per person. Reservations required. For more information contact Richard Bowen or click here for menu.

21 Muskets, Swords, & Powder Horns

Observe Armed Forces Day at Old York. Back in 2011 after being received with great interest in 2010, this program will give enthusiasts of all ages the opportunity to view uniforms and weaponry from Old York’s collections. Certain items will be available to handle (with white curatorial gloves). Weapons from the 18th – 20th Centuries will be featured. Saturday, May 21, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Remick Barn.

4th Annual Old York Antiques Show

The 2010 Old York Antiques Show was a huge success and we plan to make 2011’s even better! This year’s show, which is a fundraiser to benefit the museums’ education programs, will be held September 10 – 11, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Museums of Old York Remick Barn Visitor Center, 3 Lindsay Road, with a preview party planned for September 9. For more information, call the Museum office at 207-363-4974 or email development@oldyork.org.

Categories: antiques, archeology, Art Exhibit, articles, breaking news, collectibles, Education, events, headlines, historic preservation, historical societies, history, Maine, museum news, Museums of Old York, preservation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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