Looking south down Main St., in Fairfield. (Internet photo)

The Fairfield Town Council will hold a Public Hearing in the Council Chambers, at the Community Center, at 61 Water Street, on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, at 6:30 p.m., for the purpose of hearing public comments on the following matter:

To hear from the public on a request from SAPPI North America, Inc. – Somerset Plant for a renewal to operate a solid waste facility on company owned land off Route 201, in the Town of Fairfield.

Copies are available at the Town Office. All interested persons are invited to attend the public hearings and will be given an opportunity to be heard at that time.

Signed: Christine Keller,
Town Clerk

Give Us Your Best Shot! for Thursday, July 30, 2020

To submit a photo for this section, please visit our contact page or email us at!

FIRST OF SEASON: John Gardner captured this photo of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.

MIRROR, MIRROR: Ken and Ellen Fletcher, of Winslow, submitted this photo of a bald eagle and its reflection on the river.

HANG ON: Lori Benson photographed this chipmunk hanging onto a bird feeder.

SOLON & BEYOND: More on the Burial of Flagstaff

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

This will be the second column written about The Burial of Flagstaff, by Roland and myself. He wrote quite a bit about the beginning of this sad happening and it starts this way…. The decision to build the dam at Long Falls had been in the planning stages for quite some time. Up to 20 years before the first tree was cut, Central Maine Power Co., in conjunction with Great Northern Paper Co. and Hollingsworth & Whitney, in Winslow, had begun buying up property in the Flagstaff area. The community was the only one of any size with an elevation low enough to be covered by the future lake.

By an act of the Legislature in 1937, the creation of the Dead River storage was authorized and the act was renewed in 1939 and subsequently, in 1941.

Maine ‘s hydro-electric output would be increased by thousands of kilowatts with the completion of the project. The Dead River storage basin contains no generating equipment at the Long Falls site, but provides additional prime capacity from the Central Maine Power Company’s five generating stations on the Kennebec River.

The storage system was increased by about 35 to 47 billion cubic feet of water, increasing the Kennebec River’s normal flow and making higher minimum flows.

The dam would act as a huge reservoir to control the flow of water into Wyman dam, as well as dams at Skowhegan, Madison, Solon, Shawmut, Fairfield, Waterville, Augusta and those along the length of the Kennebec River. The dam in Augusta has since been removed.

When completed, the dam would create a lake approximately 25 miles long and impound some 12 billion cubic feet of water. The estimated cost for the project was put at $4 million. Work began in 1949 and was was completed in 1950.

Up to that time the Dead River and its peculiarities had been controlled by one dam, a 21-gate hand-operated wooden affair. The Dead River would have been useless if it hadn’t been for that small dam. The river was a sight to be remembered after the zig-zag course, which at times runs all points of the compass. That river no longer exists as the entire basin is flooded with up to 20 feet of water.

By July 1948, the sound of axes were already in the air as the crews began to open up the area where the engineers and construction crews would build the dam. The few remaining residents sadly watched the preparations for the construction.

(I hadn’t thought it could get any worse!….. But then came all the raging fires! Can’t begin to explain what that was like! )

However, the tiny village of Flagstaff was to meet another challenge. In July 1948, forest fires broke out in the vicinity where crews were cutting in the flowage area. A Somerset County official said the Flagstaff fires were centered mainly on the Central Maine Power Co. flowage basin, sweeping unchecked through 50 acres of private timberlands. The town was threatened with complete destruction by one of three forest fires raging within sight of its main street.

At 5:30 p.m., an eye witness stated that Flagstaff “appeared doomed,” as a brisk northeast wind pushed a stubborn fire on the Eustis Road to within a half-mile of the built up section, before being checked by Flagstaff, Rangeley and state forestry department firefighters. Flagstaff was spared for the time being. ( I can remember one that was much nearer to our house than that, and our only means of escape was to cross the big bridge where the fire was close by, not a pretty sight!

At this point, Flagstaff was a town of 20 families. The people of Flagstaff had been taken by surprise, and almost stunned by the news that their homes were to be inundated as a result of the dam project. They had known for years that such a move was pending, but had gotten used to the idea, and it was always something that MIGHT happen SOMETIME in the future . Folks had heard the building of such a dam talked about for 20 years. But as time passed, it had become more or less a myth.

However, there had always been a feeling of uncertainty in everything they had done. No one attempted to establish anything permanent.

Financial arrangements were made with the property holders by the development concern, but the remaining residents were now faced with a stern reality that made them sad and homesick.

Public buildings included a fine school house, a Congregational Church, a mill, one store and the Masonic lodge.

There were many residents of Flagstaff who were born and had always lived there.

The Dead River Plantation was in a similar circumstance. Although they did not have a village, there were 27 sets of buildings in the area to be flooded.

I am sending an excerpt from a letter to the editor, published on June 29, 1948, written by a wonderful friend of mine who lived in Dead River.

To the editor:

Your recent editorial on the benefits to be received from the building of the dam on the Dead River makes me shake a wrathy fist at you people who are so in need of more hydro-power that we must sacrifice our homes and lands to it. To us who have put all our love, labor, and earnings into the lands that have been in our families for years, there can be no compensation for their loss.

It seems a sad and selfish thing when the needs of urban dwellers become so demanding as to cause, to be obliterated, two communities whose inhabitants live in greater happiness, satisfaction, and far more tranquil peace of mind than you harried city folk can imagine. (Written by Frances Taylor, who I miss very much)

I hope all of those who read this column every week are enjoying this old news about days gone by. With all that is going on in our world today, I’m going to send out a bit of information in memory of my dear cat, Percy. Hope it helps!

We need to feel more to understand others, We need to love more to be loved back, We need to cry more to cleanse ourselves, We need to laugh more to enjoy ourselves, We need to be honest and fair when interacting with people, We need to establish a strong ethical basis as a way of life, We need to see more than our own fantasies, We need to hear more and listen to the needs of others, We need to give more and take less, We need to share more and own less, We need to realize the importance of the family as a backbone to stability, We need to look more and realize that we are not so different from one another, We need to create a world where we can trust one another, We need to create a world where we can all peacefully live the life we choose.

REVIEW POTPOURRI – Composer: Brahms; TV Show: Killing Eve; Poet: Wallace Stevens

Wallace Stevens

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

2nd Piano Concerto

Artur Schnabel, pianist, with Sir Adrian Boult conducting the BBC Symphony; Victor, M 305, six 78 discs, recorded 1935.

Artur Schnabel

The leaflet for this set of fragile records contains a most intriguing opening paragraph:

“Johannes Brahms came by his love for music naturally, for his father ran away from home several times in order to pursue the study of music. Quite naturally when Johannes, born May 7, 1833, showed talent, his father was willing to give him instruction. Soon the boy was turned over to other teachers, one of whom lamented the fact that the youth would be a fine performer, ‘if only he would give up this everlasting composition.’ ”

Pianist Artur Schnabel (1882-1951) met Brahms once through his teacher in Vienna, Theodor Leschetizky (1830-1915), who numbered Polish pianist and patriotic freedom fighter, Ignace Paderewski (1860-1941), among his many later famous pupils; Schnabel’s encounter with Brahms was on a nature walk.

Schnabel left recordings of both Brahms Piano Concertos and a few solo pieces. What was always for me most uniquely captivating about Schnabel’s playing was its playfulness combined with very convincing and communicative musicianship, whether of Brahms or of this pianist’s large number of recordings of Beethoven Piano Concertos and Sonatas. Other pianists , for all of their wonderful qualities, rarely conveyed this playfulness, and spontaneity. Schnabel made the piano seem a very easy instrument to play well. A few missed or bad notes, let alone memory lapses, rarely phased him in concerts.

Schnabel moved to Berlin as a young man after several years in Vienna, feeling rightfully that opportunities for teaching and performing were greater there. He was a free spirit, he fathered an illegitimate daughter whom he didn’t know about for several years, he played pool until the middle of the night and slept until noon, and, due to limited finances, he would buy a beer at city bars in order to eat the free bread rolls with mustard for frequent meals.

The above recording has been reissued on CD and can be heard on YouTube.

Killing Eve

I highly recommend the very suspenseful and funny first two seasons of the BBC show, Killing Eve, starring Sandra Oh as the MI6 investigator, Eve Polastri, and Jodie Comer as a skilled assassin, Villanelle. These two characters develop a love/hate attraction that proves very distracting to their chosen profession.

Two other superlative performances in the series are Fiona Shaw as Eve’s supervisor, Carolyn Martens, and Henry Lloyd-Hughes as the devious billionaire, Aaron Peel. The series can be seen on the Hulu channel.

Wallace Stevens

American poet, successful Hartford Connecticut insurance executive and very conservative Republican Wallace Stevens (1879-1955) wrote poems that I found consistently tough to read and teach yet still fascinating. During a vacation in Key West, Florida, Stevens got into a fistfight with novelist Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) at a cocktail party and, being paunchy and portly, he was easily punched to the floor.

One worthwhile quote is from his poem, The Emperor of Ice Cream, one most apt for this time of year – “The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream.”

LEGAL NOTICES for Thursday, July 30, 2020

18-A MRSA sec. 3-801

The following Personal Representatives have been appointed in the estates noted. The first publication date of this notice July 30, 2020

If you are a creditor of an estate listed below, you must present your claim within four months of the first publication date of this Notice to Creditors by filing a written statement of your claim on a proper form with the Register of Probate of this Court or by delivering or mailing to the Personal Representative listed below at the address published by his name, a written statement of the claim indicating the basis therefore, the name and address of the claimant and the amount claimed or in such other manner as the law may provide. See 18-C M.R.S.A. §3-804.

2020-142 – Estate of JAMES ANDREWS RODERICK, late of Madison, Me deceased. Paul R. Dionne, Esq., 465 Main Street, Suite 201, Lewiston, Maine 04240 appointed Personal Representative.

2020-172 – Estate of LINDA L. HAYNES, late of Pittsfield, Me deceased. Helen F. Haynes, 278 Stinson Street, Pittsfield, Me 04967 appointed Personal Representative.

2020-173 – Estate of NINA BRAZIER, late of Harmony, Me deceased. Peggy Nevells, 158 Lagrange Road, Bradford, Me 04410 appointed Personal Representative.

2020-176 – Estate of REGINA LIBBY, late of Skowhegan, Me deceased. Bruce Libby, 24 Walker Road, Norridgewock, Me 04957 appointed Personal Representative.

2020-177 – Estate of IVAN E. HOYT, late of Anson, Me deceased. Tracy Nale Sewall, PO Box 633 Waterville, Me 04903-0633 appointed Personal Representative.

2020-178 – Estate of MARIE H. SHERBURNE, late of Hartland, Me deceased. Tammy Lunt, 205 Huff Hill Road, Hartland, Me 04943 appointed Personal Representative.

2020-187 – Estate of MICHAEL S. GILBRT, JR., late of Canaan, Me deceased. Michael S. Gilbert, Sr., 18 Warren Ave., Canaan, Me 04924 appointed Personal Representative.

2020-189 – Estate of MARIE R. ROLLINS, late of Pittsfield, Me deceased. Kirk B. Rollins and Janice Rollins, c/o PO Box 549, Pittsfield, Me 04967 appointed Co-Personal Representative.

2020-193 – Estate of DENNIS L. SHANNON, late of Detroit, Me deceased. Jennilee M. Shannon, 93 North Road, Detroit, Me 04929 appointed Personal Representative.

2020-194 – Estate of PATRICIA C. PRATT, late of Madison, Me deceased. David E. Pratt, 1225 Havendale Blvd., Unit 165, Winterhaven, FL 33881 appointed Personal Representative.

To be published on July 30, 2020 & August 6, 2020.
Dated: July 27, 2020 /s/ Victoria Hatch,
Register of Probate

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Notable citizens – Part 2A of 3

Old Rufus Jones homestead in South China.

by Mary Grow

Rufus M. Jones

Rufus Matthew Jones was a South China farmer’s son who became internationally renowned. Here is the story of his early life, mostly as told by himself in two of his many books.

Rufus Matthew Jones was born Jan. 25, 1863, in South China, into a Quaker family. The Encyclopedia Britannica’s online version calls him “one of the most respected U.S. Quakers of his time.” Wikipedia more comprehensively lists him as an “American religious leader, writer, magazine editor, philosopher, and college professor.”

Rufus M. Jones

In two autobiographical books, Finding the Trail of Life (1931) and A Small Town Boy (1941), Jones describes growing up in South China in the last quarter of the 19th century.

The Quakers, or Society of Friends, have been represented in the area, especially in Vassalboro on the west side of China Lake, since the earliest settlers arrived in the 18th century. (Earlier in this series, in the history of Fairfield, printed in the April 16 issue of The Town Line, the connection between the Vassalboro and the Fairfield Friends was briefly described.)

Rufus Jones’ paternal grandparents were Abel and Susannah Jones. Rufus’s father, Edwin, was their youngest son, born in 1828. In 1815, Abel Jones built the family house on Jones Road where his grandson Rufus was born and raised.

Edwin’s oldest brother was Eli Jones, born in 1807. He married Sibyl Jones, from Brunswick, in 1833; the two were famous for preaching and practicing Quakerism in eastern Canada, Europe, Africa and the Middle East in the mid-19th century. They spent enough time in China to be important influences in their nephew’s life. One of his many books is a biography of his aunt and uncle.

Rufus Jones’ family and their religion emerge as the most important influences in his life. The family consisted of his grandmother Susannah (Abel Jones died in June 1853 and is buried in Dirigo Cemetery, one of several Quaker burying grounds in China); his parents, Edwin and Mary (Hoxie) Jones; his father’s sister, Aunt Peace, born in 1815; his older brother, Walter, and older sister, Alice; and a younger brother, Herbert.

Rufus Jones admired and loved the two senior women in the household. He describes his grandmother as a hard-working housewife who still had time to tell her young grandson exciting stories of China in the old days, full of Indians, bears, hard winters and other travails. He sees Aunt Peace as a beneficial influence, kind, wise, sometimes prophetic and mystical, on daily speaking terms with God. He marvels that no man was discerning enough to marry her.

Despite living with these two strong minded older women, Jones’ mother was the head of the household, he says. He describes her as tender, loving, always knowing the right way to make a bad situation better. She was the disciplinarian more than his father, he says; both disciplined by example and words, never with force.

Jones describes a typical family day as beginning with the family gathering to hear his mother read a Bible chapter, followed by a quiet period, a miniature of the old-fashioned Quaker meeting at which everyone sat in silence feeling God’s presence. One of the family would then talk with God on behalf of the group. Although the day’s house and farm work lay ahead, Jones found these shared moments of religious tranquility anything but wasted time.

The community Quaker meetings the whole family attended faithfully were important in Jones’ whole life, and the one-room schoolhouse where he started his education at the age of four was useful. The two other groups he describes in writing about his childhood were the boys with whom he ran and the men who spent their free time talking in the country store.

The boys, as he describes them, were a mixture of Quakers and non-Quakers who did typical energetic country-boy things, swimming and fishing, sledding and skating, playing games outdoors and in barns. Looking back, Jones realized that he was the group’s unofficial leader. If he had farm chores to finish before he could play, his friends would wait for him or help him; when they debated what to do next, he often had the deciding voice.

As soon as he was old enough, Jones used to get the family mail at the general store, where he lingered to listen to the talk around him – jokes and tales, review of national and local events. When he learned to read confidently, he acquired a leadership role there, too. The men would have him stand on the counter and read aloud to them newspapers, political broadsides and, when the world was quiet, favorite authors like Mark Twain and Artemus Ward.

In both books about his youth, Jones describes his tenth year as a turning point in his inner life. That summer he bruised his foot; the bruise became an infection; the country doctor who punctured it with an unclean lancet gave him a more serious infection that almost cost him his foot and his life.

Jones spent nine months as an invalid, the early weeks in constant pain and frequent fear of death. His grandmother, aunt and mother were his as consolers and companions. He credits his grandmother with recommending he read the Old Testament, often out loud while she listened; the two discussed it at length. Aunt Peace offered him the hope he needed when he felt sure he would die. His mother’s love constantly sustained him. And during his hours alone, he became more aware of what he calls the unseen world, of God’s presence, of moral values.

Many Maine Quakers, like Eli and Sybil Jones and later Rufus Jones, traveled widely. Even gentle Aunt Peace made a religious journey to the mid-West when Jones was very young. These local travelers returned at intervals, and other Friends from away came to China. Nonetheless, South China was basically an isolated country village when Jones grew up there.

He praises the chance to live in the outdoors with China Lake and its in-flowing brooks, the views of distant mountains, the wild flowers and the birds. A trip to Augusta in a horse-drawn wagon was an all-day event; and despite the wonders there, like the Kennebec River, the state house and the courthouse, the stone buildings and perhaps a railroad train, young Jones felt sorry for city boys.

When Jones was 14, he spent a term at what was considered a better grammar school in Weeks Mills Village, a six-mile round-trip walk. Here, he writes, for the first time he had a teacher who was able to introduce him to physics and physiology, though without anything resembling a science laboratory.

The next year, 1878, he spent 11 weeks at the Quaker high school then called Oak Grove Seminary, in Vassalboro (the former campus currently houses the Maine Criminal Justice Academy). This school was 10 miles from South China, so Jones was one of many students who boarded there during the week and went home on weekends. At Oak Grove, he wrote, he was able to study Latin, to advance in mathematics and English and to learn astronomy (though without a telescope).

In the summer of 1879 he decided he needed more education and applied to the Friends School, in Providence, Rhode Island. He was accepted and given a full scholarship.

His first year was briefly interrupted when his mother died in April. He describes how this loss almost destroyed his faith, but memories of her love and her faith saved him.

Jones graduated from Providence Friends School in 1881, took a post-graduate year to improve his Greek to college standards and in 1882 entered Haverford College as a sophomore. There he began his life’s work.

Main sources:

Jones, Rufus M., A Small-Town Boy (1941)
Jones, Rufus M., Finding the Trail of Life (1931)
Vining, Elizabeth Gray, Friend of Life: the Biography of Rufus M. Jones (1958)

Websites, miscellaneous

Next week: the rest of the story.

Contest winner

Lucia, 9 years old, of Skowhegan (photo courtesy of Mark Huard)

Somerset Public Health held its third annual Dear Future Me contest and Lucia, 9 years old, of Skowhegan, took first place. She created a video and spoke as though she was talking to her younger self explaining how living a life free of drugs, alcohol and bad influences allowed her to reach all of her goals and lead a life of success and positivity. She received a New Balance gift certificate, Pittsfield Community Movie Theater gift certificates, and a gift certificate to Pop on Over Cafe, in Pittsfield.

Skowhegan High School class of 1963 “Tail Gate Gathering”

On August 29, 2020 there will be a class get together on Hilton Hill, on the very top of the hill, at noon. Members are asked to bring their lunches, chairs and masks. Beverages and chips will be provided as well as a comfort station! Classmates can drive vehicles to the site, no walking involved. Lovely mowed lawn, 360 degree vistas and usually a breeze. Hope for a nice day, in the event of inclement weather the outing will be canceled. If any questions, call Cindy at 858-0946.

Sheepscot courtesy boat inspectors

The 2020 Courtesy Boat Inspectors are now working weekend shifts at the boat launch at Sheepscot Lake, in Palermo. They are encouraging boaters to check their vessels for invasive plants before entering the lake.

Riley Reitchel, left, will be a junior at Erksine Academy, in South China, in the fall. She is a high honor student and a premier soccer player. Jacob Sutter, a 2020 graduate of Erksine Academy, will be attending Thomas College in the fall to study business. (Contributed photo)

Group holds fundraisers to help purchase 230 Main St.

Courtesy of: The Ecology Learning Center

There will be a fundraising event to help the Ecology Learning Center secure a home at 230 Main Street, in Unity.

On Sunday, August 2, there will be a Moonrise Yoga Adventure and Sail, from 5 – 9 p.m., at Belfast Harbor. You can register at

Donations will be accepted. If they reach 250 donors, it’s a triple match. Items may include musical instruments (piano, fiddles, guitars, etc.), books (nonfiction, fiction, classics). Contact

The Ecology Learning Center practices Zero Waste. They are a grassroots, nonprofit organization with no glossy brochures, and no marketing agent. All donations go to the capital campaign.

They need your help to purchase 230 Main St., in Unity.