FOR YOUR HEALTH: Consuming healthy foods and beverages

A display of fresh vegetables, beans, fruit, fish, lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, and milk.Being aware of food portion size, the kinds of foods and beverages you consume, and how often you have them may be a step to help you make healthier food choices.

What kinds of foods and drinks should I consume?

Visit to learn more about what kinds of food and drinks to consume and what kinds to limit so you can have a healthy eating plan.

Consume more nutrient-rich foods. Nutrients—like vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber—nourish our bodies by giving them what they need to be healthy. Adults are encouraged to consume some of the following foods and beverages that are rich in nutrients

  • fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains, like oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and brown rice
  • seafood, lean meats, poultry, and eggs
  • beans, peas, unsalted nuts, and seeds
  • sliced vegetables or baby carrots with hummus
  • fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products

If you’re sensitive to milk and milk products, try substituting

  • nondairy soy, almond, rice, or other drinks with added vitamin D and calcium
  • lactose-reduced fat-free or low-fat milk
  • dark leafy vegetables like collard greens or kale
Fruit, colorful veggies, beans, fish, and low-fat dairy products are rich sources of nutrients that give our bodies what they need to be healthy.

Consume less of these foods and beverages. Some foods and beverages have many calories but few of the essential nutrients your body needs. Added sugars and solid fats pack a lot of calories into food and beverages but provide a limited amount of healthy nutrients. Salt does not contain calories, but it tends to be in high-calorie foods. Adults should aim to limit foods and drinks such as

  • sugar-sweetened drinks and foods
  • foods with solid fats like butter, margarine, lard, and shortening
  • white bread, rice, and pasta that are made from refined grains
  • foods with added salt (sodium)
  • whole milk

Easy snack ideas. Instead of sugary, fatty snacks, try

  • fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt
  • fresh or canned fruit, without added sugars
Making better choices, like baking instead of frying chicken, can help you cut down on the added sugars and solid fats you consume.

How can I follow a healthy eating plan?

These tips may help you stay on track with your plan to eat healthier.

  • Reduce the overall calories you consume. If you consume more calories than you use through daily living, exercise, and other activities, it may lead to weight gain. If you consume fewer calories than you use through physical activity, it may lead to weight loss.
  • Have healthy snacks on hand. Whether you are at home, at work, or on the go, healthy snacks may help combat hunger and prevent overeating. Look for snacks that are low in added sugar and salt. Your best bets are whole foods—like baby carrots, fresh fruit, or low-fat or fat-free yogurt instead of chips, cakes, or cookies—rather than packaged or processed foods.
  • Select a mix of colorful vegetables each day. Choose dark, leafy greens—such as spinach, kale, collards, and mustard greens—and red and orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, and tomatoes. If you have had kidney stones, be aware that some vegetables, like spinach and sweet potatoes, are high in oxalate, a chemical that combines with calcium in urine to form a common type of kidney stone. So, if you have kidney stones, you may need to watch how much of this you eat. But for others, these are great choices. Eat a rainbow of food colors!
  • Choose whole grains more often. Try whole-grain breads and pastas, oatmeal, or brown rice.
  • Shift from solid fats to oils. Try cooking with vegetable, olive, canola, or peanut oil instead of solid fats such as butter, stick margarine, shortening, lard, or coconut oil. Choose foods that naturally contain oils, such as seafood and nuts, instead of some meat and poultry. And use salad dressings and spreads that are made with oils rather than solid fats.
  • Switch from frying to baking or grilling. Instead of fried chicken, try a salad topped with grilled chicken. Instead of ordering fries when eating out, ask for a side of steamed veggies.
  • Limit foods and beverages that are high in sugar and salt. Avoid snack foods high in salt and added sugars; and keep away from sugary soft drinks.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods. The Nutrition Facts label tells you how many calories and servings are in a box, package, or can. The label also shows how many ingredients, such as fat, fiber, sodium, and sugar—including added sugars—are in one serving of food. You can use these facts to make healthy food choices.
Select a mix of colorful fruits and vegetables each day.

How much should I consume?

How much you should consume each day depends on your weight, sex, age, metabolism, and how active you are. In general, men need more calories than women. Younger adults need more calories than adults in midlife and older. At all ages, adults who get more physical activity need more calories than those who are less active.

Keeping your food and beverage portions in check may help you reach or stay at a healthy weight. To learn more about a healthy eating plan and the amounts of food and beverages that are right for you, visit

STUDENT WRITERS: Negative Effects of Toxic Masculinity

This week featuring: ERSKINE ACADEMY

by Adam Oches
(from Vassalboro, Maine)

The negative effects of various media like television and movies on women and young girls have rightfully been shown time and again. The negative effects on men from these same forms of media is a much lesser known, but no less real, phenomenon. Media is filled with images of unrealistic body standards and the glorification of unhealthy behaviors. Media has negative effects on men that greatly damage the self-image of males in today’s society.

Many movies and television shows with male leads often have men with very muscular bodies on camera consistently. Action heroes such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chris Hemsworth, and Hugh Jackman are all well known for their muscular definition and physical fitness. The average movie male lead has a level of fitness that requires the strict regimentation of diet and exercise that the majority of people will be unable to achieve. These unrealistic standards that require these measures are already a problem, but the superhero look has another problem to it. It is unsustainable.

In preparation for shirtless scenes in the show The Witcher, Henry Cavill had to dehydrate himself for multiple days in order to attain the look wanted for the scene. Bodybuilders, like the aforementioned Schwarzenegger, dehydrate themselves to reduce their fat percentage. This practice is lethal if sustained for any kind of long period of time. It even has the high possibility of being fatal in a short period of time. In 1992, professional bodybuilder Mohammed Benaziza died after competing in a contest from dehydration-induced heart failure.

Stoicism is a philosophy originating with the ancient Greeks. It advocates for mastery of the self through the control of one’s emotions. This idea is not inherently harmful, however it can quickly lead to repressed emotions and the effects those have on mental health. This philosophy has embedded itself into our society’s ideal man. In various action movies, the main character does not cry. He does not show grief. His emotions are kept to himself and are not shown to the outside world.

Since these strong, manly men do not cry; crying must be a sign of weakness. Any sign of sadness is to be shunned and kept in the dark for fear of being exposed as a weaker, lesser man. Society has convinced itself that in order to be a man, they must face all challenges and hardships without showing pain or asking for help. Our media has perpetuated this idea. Its effects are very clear. Young men face pain alone and are afraid to ask for help to alleviate some of their pain. This can lead to the abuse of chemicals like alcohol, a negative self-image, and in the worst of cases, suicide.

In conclusion, the media we consume in our daily lives has had negative impacts on the wellbeing of generations of young men. Too often is the issue of the media’s portrayal of people seen as based on sex. This is not a women’s issue or a men’s issue; it is a people issue. Media has affected both sexes negatively. The problem with media is not its portrayal of women or men, it is with people in general.

Student Writer’s Program: What Is It?

The Town Line has many articles from local students under the heading of the “Student Writer’s Program.” While it may seem plainly evident why The Town Line would pursue this program with local schools and students, we think it’s worth the time to highlight the reasons why we enthusiastically support this endeavor.

Up front, the program is meant to offer students who have a love of writing a venue where they can be published and read in their community. We have specifically not provided topics for the students to write on or about, and we have left the editing largely up to their teachers. From our perspective this is a free form space provided to students.

From the perspective of the community, what is the benefit? When considering any piece that should or could be published, this is a question we often ask ourselves at The Town Line. The benefit is that we as community are given a glimpse into how our students see the world, what concerns them, and, maybe even possible solutions to our pressing problems. Our fundamental mission at the paper is to help us all better understand and appreciate our community, our state, and our nation through journalism and print.

We hope you will read these articles with as much interest and enjoyment as we do. The students are giving us a rare opportunity to hear them out, to peer into their world, and see how they are processing this world we, as adults, are giving them.

To include your high school, contact The Town Line,

VBA ice fishing derby set for Feb. 7

Vassalboro Business Association’s annual ice fishing derby and raffle will be held at the Olde Mill, at 934 Main St., on Sunday, February 7, 2021, in all Maine legal waters.

Masks are required and social distancing will be practiced.

The weigh-in will take place from 1 – 5 p.m. Tickets for fishing entries must be purchased before 1 p.m., on February 7.

First ($40), second ($20), and third place ($10) cash prizes will be awarded for salmon, togue, brown trout, brook trout, white perch, splake, pickerel, pike, largemouth bass, black crappie, smallmouth bass and the children’s category.

Children who participate will also earn special prizes (trophies/hats).

A $100 cash prize and trophy will be awarded for the largest fish (except pike). There are thousands of dollars in raffle prizes!

Drawing for prizes will begin at 5 p.m., on Derby Day, winners will be called ASAP! You do not have to be present to win the raffle. As a matter of fact, in this Covid-19 outbreak time, it is preferred you didn’t come!

One fish entry per ticket. Donation: $1.00/ticket (6 for $5)

All proceeds benefit VBA efforts!

Tickets may be purchased from Maine Savings FCU, Fieldstone Quikstop, Renarda’s Kitchen, 201 Tire & Battery, the Vassalboro Library, Freddies Service Center, the Olde Mill Store, and from Ray Breton, Jim Maloy, or Bernie Fortin. Call 207-631-3303 for more information.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Other uses than intended

by Debbie Walker

I haven’t done one of these columns for a while now. But have no fear I had not forgotten about these many uses. What I have been doing is buying my “FIRST for women” magazine, every time I see them displayed. Each month two pages are for uses other than originally intended. So… Let’s see what I can find…..

Dryer sheets: Put nail polish remover on a dryer sheet and scrub off that glittery nail polish that comes off with difficulty. Also: use a used dryer sheet to rub down a silver sink and it will sparkle. I believe you can use dryer sheets to clean bugs off car.

Plastic straws: Any time you travel put those pretty, little necklaces in a straw. Open the clasp and slide it down through the straw and put together and close the clasp. Half the necklace is in and half out and there will be no tangles. This works, I have been using it for years. You can use a straw to carry spices, it saves room in your camper.

Oh, this one is neat. It may make you cringe a little but hold back your first thought. If you are having a big party and serve a punch you could use a ‘never used before’ waste can, make your punch with room to spare. Once the party is over, clean it and ta-da you have a new waste can!

Dog hair on the furniture and you can’t find the lint brush. Use a pair of panty hose. Put your hand up into the leg and brush it across the fur. It works.

Stretch panty hose over the bristles of a broom. It will easily pick-up pet fur, dust, or dust bunnies.

Unclog a slow drain? You can experiment with this one. I haven’t tried it yet. Pour one-fourth of a cup of hair conditioner down the drain. Let sit 20 minutes and then pour a pot full of boiling water down the drain. Good luck – Let me know the results.

You can use hair conditioner to soften cuticles. Rub it into the cuticles and then soak the fingers in warm water for a few minutes. Use a cotton swab to push back cuticles.

If you spill cooking oil don’t rush to wipe up with paper towels, they just spread it around. Sprinkle coffee grounds over the oil, give then a few minutes to work then wipe them and the oil up. Should be much easier.

If you have to clean out a fireplace of soot and ash let damp coffee grounds make it easier. Leave on 5 or 10 minutes. The grounds will weigh down the ashes, preventing dust, easier clean up.

Is swallowing large pills difficult for you? Try rolling them in vegetable oil and then swallow, they should slide easily.

Remove stuck on price tags with veggie oil. Soak a corner of paper towel in the oil and rub the sticker. The oil breaks down the sticky part.

One last tip. Before you put on rubber gloves dust your hands with flour. Been on the sandy beach? Sprinkle flour on feet and brush off sand and dirt.

I’m just curious, what are some of the things you have come across? Share, please. Contact me at with any questions. Thank you for reading and have a great week!


Isaac McLellan

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Isaac McLellan

Portland native Isaac McLellan (1806-1899), whom I have written about previously, celebrated our Pine Tree beauty, with wondrously enunciated place names in a minor masterpiece, The Shores of Maine; amidst the frigid long nights of January, one can hope that spring-pleasant temperatures arrive quickly and on time March 21:

“Far in the sunset’s mellow glory,
Far in the daybreak’s pearly bloom-
Fring’d by ocean’s foamy surges,
Belted in by woods of gloom,
Stretch thy soft luxuriant borders,
Smile thy shores, in hill and plain,
Flower-enamelled, ocean-girdled,
Green bright shores of Maine,

“Rivers of surpassing beauty
From thy hemlock woodlands flow,-
Androscoggin and Penobscot,
Saco, chill’d by northern snow,
These from many a lowly ravine
Thick by pine-trees shadow’d o’er,
Sparkling from their ice-cold tributes
To the surges of thy shore.

“Bays resplendent as the heaven,
Starr’d and gemm’d by thousand isles,
Gird thee, Casco, with its islets,
Quoddy with its dimpled smiles:
O’er them the fisher’s shallop,
And tall ships their wings expand,
While the smoke-flag of the steamer,
Flaunteth out its cloudy streamer,
Bound to foreign strand.

“Bright from many a rocky headland
Fring’d by sands that shine like gold,
Gleams the light-house white and lonely,
Grim as some barronial hold.
Bright by many an ocean valley
Shaded hut and village shine;
Roof and steeple, weather-beaten,
Stain’d by ocean’s breath of brine.”

After years residing in Massachusetts, Europe, New York City, Virginia and North Carolina, McLellan, a bachelor, lived out his last years at Greenport on Long Island.

China town manager presents budget to selectmen

by Mary Grow

Town Manager Becky Hapgood presented selectmen with the first budget she has prepared since assuming her new position in July 2020, at a special joint meeting with the Budget Committee on Jan. 11.

The manager compiled figures presented by town department heads and the usual other groups, like town committees, insurance companies who insure town employees, organizations of municipalities to which China belongs and charitable and similar groups hoping town voters will support their work.

There are no figures yet from the school department, whose annual budget makes up around three-quarters of town expenditures, nor from Kennebec County.

Hapgood emphasized other uncertainties that will be debated as selectmen and Budget Committee members prepare a final recommended budget. For example, they might recommend additional road paving to make up for work not done last summer as the pandemic created financial uncertainty; recommend only the work previously scheduled for 2021; or propose further postponements if the financial situation is still unclear.

Voters will approve the 2021-22 budget at the 2021 annual town budget meeting. At this point the meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 18, by written ballot.

After the Jan. 11 meeting, Hapgood reported that the scheduled executive session to review her job performance was postponed, because one board member had technical difficulties and could not log in.

The next regular selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19 (moved from the usual Monday evening because the town office will be closed Jan. 18 for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday). Chairman Ronald Breton plans to have board members meet in person so they can more easily share budget numbers. Others participating or watching will still do so via Zoom.

Erskine Academy first trimester honor roll

(photo credit: Erskine Academy)

Grade 12

High Honors: Brooke Allen, Philip Allen, Isabella Bishop, Abbygail Blair, Everett Blair, Jane Blanchard, Christopher Bourdon, Nomi Bouwens, Samantha Box, Trevor Brockway, Ethan Cates, Anthony Chessa, Ashley Clavette, Joleigh Crockett, Cody Devaney, Jacob Devaney, Amelia Evans, Addison Gamage, Margaret Gamage, Avril Goodman, Avery Henningsen, Nathan Howell, Emma Hutchinson, Delaney Ireland, Madyx Kennedy, Kaylah Kronillis, Sierra LaCroix, Isabela Libby, Colby Lloyd, Emily Lowther, Chiara Mahoney, Jonathan Martinez, Michael Nicholas III, Ian Oliphant, Brian Ouellette Jr, Olive Padgett, Courtney Paine, Annaliese Patterson, Aiden Pettengill, Anna Pfleging, Sydni Plummer, Harry Rabideau, Kristin Ray, Allison Roddy, Joshua Tobey, Mollie Wilson, and Dylan Wing.

Honors: Mara Adams, Nicholas Barber, Paris Bedsaul, Rylee Bellemare, Johnathan Blair, David Bourgoin, Hailey Brooks, Eleanor Brown, Zoe Butler, Joshua Cowing, Nolan Cowing, Abigail Dumas, Phillips Gidney, Hailey Haskell, Braydon Hinds, Paeshance-Rae Horan, Bryan Joslyn Jr, Keith Knowles, Marina Lavadinho, Logan Lee, Joanna Linscott, Eva Malcolm, Hailey Mayo, Isaiah Michaud, Gavin Mills, Daniel Page, Isabella Parlin, Hayden Rowe, Hailey Sanborn, Paul Slimm, Hunter St. Jarre, Aarick Staples, Riley Sullivan, Logan Tenney, Jackson Tirrell, and Samuel York.

Grade 11

High Honors: Isaac Baker, Julia Barber, Maylien Beermann, Jacob Bentley, Autumn Boody, Lilian Bray, Emily Clark, Liberty Crockett, Gugliemi De, Isabella DeRose, Kaden Doughty, Abigail Dutton, Emma Fortin, Josette Gilman, Samantha Golden, Grace Hodgkin, Emma Jefferson, Grace Kelso, Tanner Klasson, Mallory Landry, Aidan Larrabee, Shawn Libby, David Martinez-Gosselin, Calvin Mason, Abigail Peaslee, Devon Polley, Sarah Praul, Letizia Rasch, Paige Reed, Riley Reitchel, Parker Reynolds, Mackenzie Roderick, Abbey Searles, Andrew Shaw, Hannah Soule, Hannah Strout-Gordon, and Lily Vinci.

Honors: Elliott Atwood, Alana Beggs, Gabriella Berto-Blagdon, Jack Blais, Evan Butler, Jasmine Crommett, Colby Cunningham, Luke Desmond, Alexander Drolet, Chase Folsom, Wyatt French, Ciera Hamar, Trace Harris, Larissa Haskell, Isaac Hayden, Timothy Hinckley, Hannah Huff, Rachel Huntoon, Taidhgin Kimball, Lili Lefebvre, Madison Lully, Hunter Marr, Wes McGlew, Kaden McIntyre, Christian Moon, Rebecca Morton, Adam Ochs, Brady O’Connor, Kaden Plourde, Lilly Potter, Julian Reight, Ely Rideout, Kadince Rideout, Shawn Searles, Natalie Spearin, Lily Thompson, and Emily York.

Grade 10

High Honors: Carson Appel, Andrew Bentley, Abigail Beyor, Eve Boatright, Angel Bonilla, Katherine Bourdon, Breckon Davidson, Nicole DeMerchant, Lillian Dorval, MaKayla Gagnon, Loralei Gilley, Alivia Gower, Cooper Grondin, Elizabeth Hardy, Grady Hotham, Grace Hutchins, Olivia Hutchinson, Hallie Jackson, Beck Jorgensen, Kaiden Kelley, Meadow Laflamme, Dale Lapointe, Dinah Lemelin, Brenden Levesque, Malachi Lowery, Lily Matthews, River Meader, Nabila Meity, Angelina Ochoa, Timber Parlin, Kayla Peaslee, Jonathan Peil, Gabriel Pelletier, Casey Petty, Kathleen Pfleging, Sophia Pilotte, Kaden Porter, Ingrid Ramberg, Alexis Rancourt, Cadence Rau, Samantha Reynolds, Ally Rodrigue, Noah Rushing, Emmalee Sanborn, Aidan Tirrell, Mackenzie Toner, Emma Tyler, Lauren Tyler, Katherine Williams, and Damon Wilson.

Honors: Hailey Acedo-Worthing, John Allen, Molly Anderson, Zane Boulet, Samuel Boynton, Alexis Buotte, Emma Charest, Nicholas Choate, Courtney Cowing, Kayleen Crandall, Elijah Crockett II, Tianna Cunningham, Grace Ellis, Jacob Evans, Myra Evans, Hailey Farrar, Alyssa Gagne, Brianna Gardner, Reiana Gonzalez, Carson Grass, Ronald Haskell Jr, Kassidy Hopper, Acadia Kelley, Casey Kirkpatrick, Matthew Knowles, Emmet Lani-Caputo, Zephyr Lani-Caputo, Joseph Lemelin, Gwen Lockhart, Emily Majewski, Brady Mayberry, Brooklyn McCue, Gage Moody, Ethan Ouellette, Ezra Padgett, Maddison Paquet, Angelyn Paradis, Hannah Patterson, Michael Perez, Karen Potter, Sarah Robinson, Jarell Sandoval, Sophie Steeves, Daniel Stillman, Emma Stred, Jacob Sullivan, Paige Sutter, Hannah Toner, Colby Willey, and Joseph Wing.

Grade 9

High Honors: Abigail Adams, Isabella Boudreau, Robin Boynton, Elizabeth Brown, Kaleb Brown, Nolan Burgess, Eva Carlezon, Makayla Chabot, Elise Choate, Brielle Crommett, Noah Crummett, Hailey Estes, Ciara Fickett, Kaylee Fyfe, Caleb Gay, Nathan Hall, Tara Hanley, Stephanie Kumnick, Mackenzie Kutniewski, Sydney Laird, Kiley Lee, Aidan Maguire, Richard Mahoney III, Alexia McDonald, Holden McKenney, Austin Nicholas, Jazel Nichols, Jeremy Parker, Nathan Polley, Keith Radonis, Shae Rodrigue, Giacomo Smith, Kinsey Stevens, Lara Stinchfield, and Reese Sullivan.

Honors: Tristan Anderson, Austin Armstrong, Duncan Bailey, Lyla Bailey, Leah Bonner, Heather Bourgoin, Nathalia Carrasco, Timothy Christiansen, Simon Clark, Connor Coull, Thomas Crawford, Caleigh Crocker, Gavin Cunningham, Keira Deschamps, Hunter Foard, Cole Fortin, Brayden Garland, Aleigha Gooding, Bo Gray, Natalie Henderson, Bella Homstead, Hallee Huff, Kameron Kronillis, Carol Labbe, Logan Lanphier, Sophie Leclerc, Brody Loiko, Jack Lyons, David McCaig, Madison McCausland, Carlos Michaud, Cami Monroe, Royce Nelson, Hannah Oakes, Alejandro Ochoa, Alyssa Ouellette, Remy Pettengill, Evelyn Rousseau, Ryan Tyler, Baruch Wilson, and Brandon Wood.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Historic listings – Part 2

Fort Halifax, in Winslow.

by Mary Grow

Augusta Part 2

As mentioned in the first article on historic places in Augusta (see The Town Line, Jan. 7), four are on the National Park Service’s Register of National Historic Landmarks (as is Fort Halifax, in Winslow). The Augusta sites, listed in historical order, are the Cushnoc Archaeological Site, Fort Western, the Kennebec Arsenal and the Blaine House.

All except the Blaine House are on the east bank of the Kennebec River. Fort Western is the northernmost, just off Cony Street, northwest of City Hall.

The Cushnoc Archaeological Site is southwest of City Hall, north of the waterfront park. The old Arsenal building is south of the Route 202 bridge.

Wikipedia dates the Cushnoc archaeological site to 1628 and describes it as the location of a trading post built by English settlers from the Plymouth Colony. The name Cushnoc is an Anglicized version of a native word meaning “head of tide.” Under a patent from London, post officials traded with the Kennebec Valley Abenakis, exchanging corn and other agricultural and manufactured products for wild-animal furs.

Fort Western, in August

Henry Kingsbury, in his Kennebec County history, says no description of the post survives. He surmises it was a wooden building, with a bark or wood roof and window-panes of oiled paper, and was surrounded by a high wooden fence.

In 1634, an interloper from the Piscataqua Plantations at the mouth of the Piscataqua River named John Hocking tried to share the trade. He sailed past the post and anchored upriver. John Alden and John Howland from the Mayflower emigrants were in charge of the post. Howland, who was about six years older than Alden and previously holder of several offices in the colony’s government, ordered Hocking away.

Hocking refused to leave, so Howland sent three men from the post in a canoe to cut his ship adrift. According to the dramatic account by Robert F. Huber in the Howland Quarterly, the quarterly journal of the Pilgrim John Howland Society (first published in 1936), the current bore the canoe away after the men cut only one cable. Howland added a fourth man, Moses Talbot (or Talbott, in Huber’s story), and sent them out again.

When Hocking threatened them with firearms, Howland repeatedly called to him not to shoot them – they were only obeying orders – but to shoot him instead. Nonetheless, Hocking shot Talbot in the head; another man in the canoe promptly shot Hocking, who died instantly.

Hocking’s crewmen reported his death to England, failing to mention that he had fired the first shot. Investigations followed, creating concern about British interference in colonial affairs and a jurisdictional disagreement between the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies. The investigators vindicated Howland as representing the owner of exclusive trading rights.

By 1661, profits were dwindling. The original traders sold their license and the premises to other Boston merchants, who kept the post going sporadically for a few more years.

Kingsbury quotes a source who said overgrown remains of the trading post building were still visible as late as 1692.

Excavation of the site began in 1984. Over the next three years, experts outlined the wall that surrounded the post and found postholes where there had been buildings. Wikipedia lists artifacts from the site including “tobacco pipes, glass beads, utilitarian ceramics, French and Spanish earthenwares, and many hand-forged nails.”

The archaeological site has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1989 and on the list of National Historic Landmarks since 1993.

Fort Halifax, in Winslow, and Fort Western, in Augusta, were both built in 1854, as was the road between them. Which fort was built first is not entirely clear. Kingsbury says unequivocally Fort Halifax was started first and Fort Western second, as an auxiliary. The Fort Western website says construction of that fort was finished in October 1754. Several sources say Fort Halifax construction began on July 25, 1754, and was not finished until 1756.

Fort Western was built by order of the Kennebec Proprietors, also called the Plymouth Company, the organization of first British-based and later Boston-based landowners mentioned in several previous articles (see especially The Town Line, July 2, 2020). The fort was sited just upriver from the former trading post site. It was intended as a supply depot for Fort Halifax, 17 miles farther inland, and as protection for settlements the Proprietors hoped to create.

According to the on-line Maine encyclopedia, the fort was named to honor Thomas Western, a resident of Sussex, England, who was a friend of Massachusetts Colonial Governor William Shirley.

The website for Fort Western gives a history of the fort in the context of the “great contest between cultures” going on in the 1750s. British from Massachusetts and French from Québec both sought influence over the Kennebec River Valley and the Natives who lived there.

Wikipedia describes Fort Western as a rectangular palisaded area about 120-by-220 feet. It was built on a hill, so that its defenders could see more than a mile up and down the Kennebec River.

There were 24-foot-square blockhouses on the southwest and northeast corners and 12-foot-square watch towers on the other two corners. The main house, two stories high, was 32-by-100-feet; a diagram shows it along the east side of the enclosed ground.

Kingsbury’s description adds an outer and sturdier palisade 30 feet from the inner one that started at the river on both ends and enclosed three sides of the fort.

A July 24, 2020, Kennebec Journal article says the main building’s walls were (and are) a foot thick, built from timber floated upriver from Richmond. Two 600-pound cannons in the second story could fire four-pound balls as much as a mile.

Captain James Howard from Massachusetts was the first fort commander, with his sons, Samuel and William, and a company of 15 men, relocated from Fort Richmond farther down the Kennebec.

Supplies came from Boston as often as four times a year on schooners and sloops that navigated the river as far as the head of tide. From Fort Western soldiers took them to Fort Halifax in smaller, flat-bottomed river boats or on sleds over the crude road along the east bank of the river.

When they were not moving supplies, the men spent their time on what the Fort website calls routine duties – collecting firewood, feeding themselves and repairing boats.

The fort was never attacked by either Natives or the French. At least once a supply boat was fired on from the wooded river bank. And one member of the garrison, a private named Edward Whalen, was captured in May 1755 as he carried dispatches north. The website says he remained a captive, first in North America and then in France, until he was exchanged in 1760.

After British forces captured Québec in 1759 during the French and Indian War, the Kennebec was more peaceful, even though the war was not formally ended until the 1763 Treaty of Paris. The already small Fort Western garrison was reduced further, but the fort was manned until late 1767.

In 1769, Howard bought the fort and about 900 acres of land around it, for 270 British pounds, and became the first permanent settler in the area. A website called Legends of America says he and his sons made the main building into a house and a store. Son William and his wife Martha moved in around 1770; James’s brother John joined them later.

The Proprietors’ efforts to encourage settlers bore fruit after the region became safe. The Howards’ store prospered; they formed a shipping company, S & W Howard, that promoted trade with Boston; and Kingsbury says the small community welcomed the sawmill James Howard built on Howard’s Brook (now Riggs’ Brook), a mile north of the fort.

The Howards also trapped and sold alewives during their migrations to and from upriver spawning grounds.

Kingsbury says in 1770 James Howard built a large and elegant house that became “the manor house of the hamlet.” As the settlement’s second magistrate, in 1763 he officiated at Cushnoc’s first wedding, the marriage of his daughter Margaret to Captain Samuel Patterson. Later he served as a judge of the court of common pleas. He died May 14, 1787, aged 85.

Cushnoc archeological site.

The Legends website says James Howard’s son William lived in the former fort until he died in 1810. Kingsbury lists William Howard – this writer guesses the same William Howard – as Augusta’s first treasurer, elected at the town’s organizational meeting April 3, 1797, and credits him for first envisioning, in 1785, the dam across the Kennebec that was built in 1837. William Howard was succeeded as treasurer in 1802 by Samuel Howard (probably William’s son, born 1770, died 1827).

As previously related, Benedict Arnold and his men stopped at the fort on their way to Québec in September 1775, the last military use of the premises (see The Town Line, Jan. 7, 2021). The Legends website says the men camped outdoors while Arnold and four other officers were accommodated indoors. In addition to their own business as they transferred to Major Reuben Colburn’s bateaux, the soldiers found time to make repairs to the building.

When a public meeting was held, the fort was the site. The area around the fort was the northern village when the Town of Hallowell was created in 1771, and town meetings were held in the fort until voters approved building a town meeting house in 1782.

After the 1770s, the palisades and then the blockhouses were torn down. Kingsbury says the southwestern blockhouse stood until around 1834. What remained of Fort Western was included in Augusta when Augusta split off from Hallowell in 1797.

At some time, Wikipedia says, the Howard family sold the former fort and the main building became a tenement – not merely a tenement, according to the Legends website, but the center of a slum neighborhood whose inhabitants supported themselves by selling liquor illegally, creating “an unsavory menace to the city.”

Publisher Guy Gannett (see The Town Line, Nov. 12, 2020) was a Howard descendant, the Legends site says, and he bought the former family home in 1919. In 1920 he and his family restored the main building and built a new stockade (rebuilt again in 1960) and two blockhouses. The Gannett family later donated Fort Western to Augusta.

As the oldest wooden fort in the United States, Fort Western has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1969 and the list of National Historic Landmarks since 1973. Now a replica of an 18th-century trading post, it is normally open to the public from June through October.

Illustrations with the Kennebec Journal article mentioned above show trading post supplies, a bedroom with a curtained bed and more period furniture and household goods. These and other on-line contemporary illustrations show historic interpreters in 18th-century clothing welcoming visitors. The Maine Tourism site adds that the museum is a center for Kennebec Valley archaeological research and the home base for two companies of 18th-century military re-enactors, one named for James Howard.

Main sources

Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892)

Websites, miscellaneous

Next: two more Augusta historic places/landmarks, the Arsenal and the Blaine House

Maine Crisp Company expands to new production facility in Winslow

Maine Crisp Co. new expanded production facility on Lithgow St., in Winslow.

by Elaine Theriault-Currier

Karen Getz, founder of Maine Crisp Co.

Specialty food manufacturer Maine Crisp Company has expanded its production capacity tenfold by relocating to a Winslow facility. Expected to be fully operational by May 2021, the facility’s extensive capacity is necessary to fulfill demand generated by Maine Crisp’s recent New England-wide distribution deal with Whole Foods Market.

Maine Crisp launched in 2014 in a licensed home kitchen. Three years later, it transitioned to a 2,500 square foot manufacturing facility at 10 Railroad Square in Waterville, leasing 3,500 square feet of additional warehousing space in Benton as product demand grew. By relocating to the 17,500 square foot facility at 20 Lithgow Street, in Winslow, the award-winning producer of gluten-free and plant-based crisps will consolidate and grow its manufacturing, packaging, and warehousing operations.

“The new facility in Winslow offers the scaffolding to sustain our growth trajectory and ambitious distribution targets,” explains Steve Getz, Maine Crisp co-founder and VP of Marketing. “We are thrilled to have found a space that allows us to continue growing in central Maine, a region that has supported us from the beginning, when we graduated from home kitchen to industrial facility.”

The expansion of Maine Crisp’s manufacturing capacity is expected to triple employment within the next three years. Currently, new employees earn a minimum of $15 per hour and are offered health insurance and paid time off, including their birthday. The Winslow headquarters will support a diverse mix of jobs, from receipt and inventory of bulk ingredients, manufacturing, packaging, and finished goods inventory to marketing, logistics, and management.

With all operations unified under one roof, Maine Crisp is working with the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to design a layout that optimizes current production flow while accommodating projected future demand. In addition, as a specialty food producer, Maine Crisp requires an FDA-approved, dedicated gluten-free environment that meets regulatory guidelines to maintain the company’s non-GMO, allergen, and Kosher certifications. The 20 Lithgow St. facility also provides three-phase power, multiple loading docks, ample storage space, office space, and a front lobby for visitors and on-site retail.

“Working with MEP has been a fantastic experience – we are building a production flow that is flexible enough to support us for years,” states Claire Getz, manager of product quality control at Maine Crisp. “The MEP consultants’ deep, multi-faceted expertise makes them invaluable partners as we face the exciting challenges of scaling up while maintaining our artisanal quality.”

As a family-operated business committed to Maine, Maine Crisp utilized local service providers to finance and design the Winslow headquarters, including Kennebec Savings Bank and local architect Jim Shipsky. Maine Crisp sources its crisps’ primary ingredient, buckwheat, from Aroostook County and works with Lewiston-based branding and marketing firm Anchour. Maine Crisp products are available in Maine Hannaford stores, Whole Foods Markets throughout England, specialty shops along the East Coast, and online at

Disc golf fundraising tourney set for Feb. 27 in Sidney

Get your family and friends involved in some winter fun, that will help raise money for an important cause.

A disc golf fundraising tournament will be held on Saturday, February 27, 2021, to benefit Chiari Malformation.

The tourney is planned to raise money and awareness for Chiari Malformation, a condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal, present at birth.

There are many symptoms associated with Chiari, but the most common is severe “squeezy” headaches. Chiari is often misdiagnosed as MS, migraine, fibromyalgia, or psychiatric disturbances. Getting an accurate diagnosis can take years.

The cost to register for the tournament is $15 with a $5 optional ace pot. They will also be offering four mulligans (2 per round) for $10. There will be CTP prizes on every hole, a 50/50 raffle, a throw-off in the field for prizes and much more.

For more information, contact DND Disc Golf, 214 Philbrick Rd., Sidney, 207-547-4612 or visit