Posts Tagged With: Lewiston

The Lewiston Hermit

Revolutionary War newspapers will be sold at Fairfield auction

In need of money, the Bangor Historical Society must part with a ‘significant piece of Americana.’

FAIRFIELD – On Jan. 7, 1765, in the middle of the Stamp Act controversy, Boston shopkeeper Harbottle Dorr purchased the latest issue of the Boston Evening-Post and commented on its contents in the margins.

Legends of the air

WISCASSET – Tom Weatherby, 88, hobbled toward the side of the Japanese AM6 Zero fighter plane.

He closed his eyes and touched the red, rising-sun Japanese symbol painted onto the side of the aircraft. The plane’s cream-colored metal sparkled in the midafternoon sun.

Drum group performs at Intertribal Pow-wow in Bradley

The Two Feathers host drum group performed at the Intertribal Pow-wow at Leonard’s Mills in Bradley on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011. The pow-wow, open to the public, is hosted by the Maine Forest and Logging Museum. It continues Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. and features music, dancing, storytelling and native craft vendors. Saturday and Sunday’s events also include a noontime Grand Entry with sacred rituals performed by native participants from throughout New England and Canada.

The Lewiston Hermit

This tale is from Skinner’s American Myths and Legend, a volume sharing dozens of tales that He had collected in his work. It is a brief and far from complete story of the old legends concerning the killing of a good many Indians on the Androscoggin River at what is known today as “Great Falls.” Several other tales have also been concocted, such as the one that suggest that Captain Church and his men knew the Indians were coming downriver and set a fire upon the rocks to decoy them into thinking they were farther upstream then they really were as they attacked. Realizing too late that they were upon the falls they couldn’t escape in time and drowned. There are other tales, but I’ll save them for another time.

The postcard image below is of the tiny island just above the falls where the Lewiston Hermit allegedly lived.


Charles Montgomery Skinner

ON an island above the falls of the Androscoggin, at Lewiston, Maine, lived a white recluse at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The natives, having had good reason to mistrust all palefaces, could think no good of the man who lived thus among but not with them. Often they gathered at the bank and looked across at his solitary candle twinkling among the leaves, and wondered what manner of evil he could be planning against them. Wherever there are many conspirators one will be a gabbler or a traitor; so, when the natives had resolved on his murder, he, somehow, learned of their intent and set himself to thwart it. So great was their fear of this lonely man, and of the malignant powers he might conjure to his aid, that nearly fifty Indians joined the expedition, to give each other courage.

Their plan was to go a little distance up the river and come down with the current, thus avoiding the dip of paddles that he might hear in a direct crossing.

When it was quite dark they set off, and keeping headway on their canoes aimed them toward the light that glimmered above the water. But the cunning hermit had no fire in his cabin that night. It was burning on a point below his shelter, and from his hiding-place among the rocks he saw their fleet, as dim and silent as shadows, go by him on the way to the misguiding beacon.

Presently a cry arose. The savages had passed the point of safe sailing; their boats had become unmanageable. Forgetting their errand, their only hope now was to save themselves, but in vain they tried to reach the shore: the current was whirling them to their doom. Cries and death-songs mingled with the deepening roar of the waters, the light barks reached the cataract and leaped into the air. Then the night was still again, save for the booming of the flood. Not one of the Indians who had set out on this errand of death survived the hermit’s stratagem.

Categories: articles, Books, breaking news, events, headlines, history, indians, Maine, Maine things to do, stories, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

News August 8 2010

Here are a few more history related headlines from around the state of Maine! Click onto the headline links to read the stories.

The future of Lewiston’s ‘Ellis Island’ may be decided Wednesday after 30 years of vacancy

LEWISTON — A museum. A costume shop. A department of motor vehicles office. Maybe a townhouse. Proposals for reusing the little brick Grand Trunk Depot on Lincoln Street have come and gone over decades, the former rail station all the while sitting vacant, a reminder of heritage…

Debt Problem Has Museum Scrambling

NEW YORK -The American Folk Art Museum has been having trouble making payments on bonds issued for the building it moved into in 2001.

Gingerbread House step closer to relocation

NORWAY – Gov. John Baldacci has signed off on a piece of state land that will help in the relocation of the Gingerbread House slated for this summer. “That took about six months but it has been done,” Andrea Burns of Downtown Norway told selectmen at their Thursday night …

Dedications to tout new sporting museum, scenic overlook

OQUOSSOC — Ten years of planning, fundraising, hard work and volunteerism will pay off Saturday, Aug. 14, for this small western Maine community when the new Rangeley Outdoor Heritage Museum celebrates its grand opening…

Upton to mark its 150 year as a town

UPTON — Aug. 21 will be a big day for this tiny town of about 64 full-time residents. It’s the celebration of the 150th year since Letter B Plantation became the town of Upton on Feb. 9, 1860. “We want people to come and see the town and help celebrate,” said Laurie Brown, one…

Heritage Days almost here again

READFIELD — The town gets its annual celebration under way at the end of the week, kicking off a weekend full of barbecues, children’s activities and appearances by two well-known Maine musicians.

Maine State Museum hosts sardine canning exhibit

AUGUSTA, Maine — The last three sardine cans packed at America’s last industrial sardine cannery are on display as part of a new exhibit at the Maine State Museum in Augusta. The exhibit…

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Lewiston’s Historic Cowan Mill; destroyed by fire

<a href=”” target=”new”>History burns in Lewiston</a>
A massive fire destroys a landmark mill. Investigators are searching for three suspects.

Historic Cowan Mill Burns In Lewiston – 7/16/09 9:30am MPBN News

Reward Offered In Lewiston Mill Arson WCSH-TV

Lewiston fire jeopardizes Island Point project Mainebiz Daily

SunJournal.comMPBN News

Mill fire declared arson

LSJ- The State Fire Marshal’s Office has concluded that the fire at the Cowan Mill Wednesday afternoon was arson.
In a press release, the state posted a $5000 reward on this afternoon for information leading to the successful arrest and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for seeting the fire.
Anyone with information that can aid investigators is asked to call the Lewiston Police department at 784-6421or the Fire Marshal’s arson hotline at 1-888-870-6162.

Fire doesn’t stop hopes of hotel

LSJ–Nicole Esposito of Espo’s in Lewiston points to the awnings of the restaurant that were damaged by the embers from the Cowan Mill fire. Esposito said they had to evacuate the restaurant when the fire broke out on Wednesday but on Thursday it was back in business.

Investigators must use video to probe Cowan Mill fire cause

LSJ–Fire investigator look over the remains of the Cowan Mill fire on Thursday.

Maine DEP: Most hazardous materials previously removed from mill

LSJ–State officials said Thursday they believe the most hazardous materials, including asbestos, had already been removed from the Cowan Mill prior to the blaze that destroyed the building Wednesday. Concerns were minimal that people in Lewiston or nearby would sustain any lasting health concerns from the heavy smoke that hung in the air, a state official said.

Lewiston considers Cowan Mill condemnation, demolition

LSJ–City officials were moving Thursday to condemn the remains of the fire-ravaged Cowan Mill with an aim toward demolishing the remaining brick walls next week.
“It’s just not a safe structure right now,” said Phil Nadeau, acting city administrator. “We need to move quickly, we know that. How quickly? We can’t say right now.”

The day after the Cowan Mill fire: Live Updates

LSJ–A Lewiston fire fighter sprays water into the remains of the Cowan Mill on Thursday morning. There was some concern that if the walls surrounding the smokestack in the photo collapsed the entire smokestack could come down. Crews have been on the scene since a little before 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

Fire engulfs historic textile mill in Maine

KIVI-TV – Police Lt. Mark Cornelio says the vacant Cowan Mill was engulfed soon after the fire was reported Wednesday afternoon, with flames licking through its roof.

Loss of Historic Mill Leaves New Questions About Site’s Future

MPBN News – Lewiston has lost part of its historic riverfront skyline. All that remains of the Cowan Mill after a massive fire Wednesday is part of the local landmark’s

Investigators: Maine mill fire was set

NECN – – Investigators say a fire that swept through a historic textile mill in Maine’s second-largest city was a case of arson.

Bits and pieces of the Cowan/Aurora Mill history:

(Just a few bits of old data. There’s lots more, but I’ll leave it to the locals to present it.)

Libbey and Cowan mills timeline – 1850: The Cowan Mill, named after former Lewiston Mayor David Cowan, is built on the site of Lewiston’s very first cotton mill, which burned down in March

The historic Cowan mill occupied the spot nearly where the first sawmill in Lewiston was erected in 1770, but was destroyed by fire in 1785. That original sawmill was replaced with another and, that one also burned down.

It was interesting to note that the 1862 book Water Power of Maine listed the Cowan operation as simply follows;

D. Cowan & Co., manufacturers of woolen goods, also dyeing and bleaching woolen and cotton yarns, employing 27 females, 25 males.

The 1888 “Blue Book” directory of textile manufacturers listed the operation as;

Cowan Woolen Co. (W.) Fred. Olfene, Supt. Cassimeres and Ladies’ Dress Goods. 8 Sets Cards. 34 Looms. D. H. 2 Boilers. 2 W W.

This is the text from the Acts and Resolves of the Maine State Legislature approving the incorporation of the Cowan mill as a business entity as the Aurora Mills;

Chapter 376

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in Legislature assembled, as follows:

Sect. 1. David Cowan, George F. Peirce and Augustus Callahan, their associates, successors and assigns, are constituted and made a body politic and corporate by the name of the Aurora Mills, with all the powers and privileges and subject to all the duties and liabilities provided by the laws of this state concerning manufacturing corporations.

Sect. 2. Said corporation is authorized to manufacture wool, in the city of Lewiston, to purchase and hold real estate and personal not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars in value, to build and erect such buildings and machinery as their convenience may require, and make all necessary rules and regulations for the prosecution of the same, consistent with the laws of the state.

Sect. 3. David Cowan is hereby authorized to call the first meeting of these corporators by giving to each of the others a First meeting, written notice of the same seven days before such meeting.

Sect. 4. This act shall take effect when approved.

Approved February 26, 1870.

The 1873 edition of The Wealth and Industry of Maine says;

Aurora Mills,* cap., $35,000; water pow., 50 h. ; mac. emp., 3 sets cards ; production, meltons, fancy cassimeres, repellante ; val., $124,000 ; m. emp., 25 ; f. emp., 30 ; wages during the year, $24,000 ; 12 mos. in operation.

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