STUDENT WRITERS: Climate Change through the eyes of middle schoolers

Student Writers Program

This week featuring: King Middle School, Portland

Due to climate change, the Antarctic ice cap, where most of the world’s water is from, is in danger of melting within a century. I am Amos, a student at King Middle School, in Portland. We have been doing an expedition about climate change and the effects of carbon pollution. I strongly believe that educated United States citizens should focus more on helping move into a carbon neutral future, than trying to educate others. I am aware of the irony of me trying to raise awareness without taking action, but because of my legal ability, this is the best I can do.

There are enough people educated on this existential problem, that if we actually do something, we could make a major impact towards solving it. I live in Portland, which means a decent chunk of the city is at risk of flooding, and this both negatively impacts our environment, and our real estate. It will be very difficult to find reliable homeowners insurance in a city that is constantly flooding. We as citizens have the ability to vote on what climate policies we put into action. I believe nuclear power is a realistic, affordable, and an efficient energy source. Fifty two percent of the United States is powered by Nuclear, and I believe that Portland, Maine, should be as well. It is clean and extremely powerful.

In conclusion, we, as citizens of Maine, have the ability to make a difference. But in order to do so, we need to put our education to action. Everyone needs to vote on climate change policies. Everyone needs to change the way they use energy. Everyone needs to think more about how their actions have consequences. When it comes to carbon pollution, karma is real. People can make more of a difference than they realize, and need to put this power into action, immediately.

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According to President Barack Obama, “There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent threat of a changing climate” My name is Justin. I attend King Middle School in Portland. I believe that by switching to solar energy, and switching to solar energy in general that we can sustainably move into a carbon neutral future. It is my duty to make sure that we can find the fastest and the most efficient ways to move into, not a carbon free, but carbon neutral future.

Evidently, I know that by switching to solar energy we can efficiently move into a carbon neutral future. Renewable energy, and to be exact, solar energy, is one of the most organic renewable energy sources. I call it organic because it uses an original source of energy, which is the sun. I could not think of a better source of energy than the sun itself, it is always shining, except for in the night, when the stars could be helpful to produce energy for solar panels. Solar energy can power houses, cars, and many more things. In fact, one of my teacher’s car is powered by solar panels. Secondly, army forces use solar energy. There are more than one hundred thirty Megawatt of solar photovoltaic energy systems powering the Navy, Army and Air Force bases, in at least thirty one different states, and the District of
Columbia combined. The installation of the solar panels provides enough clean energy to power twenty two thousand American houses.

Lastly, solar reduces pollution from the air. Knowing that solar energy reduces pollution means that we can reduce enough to be safe, but also be able to do things efficiently. Fossil fuels create a lot of pollutants. Especially, if you have been in California, New York, China, or anyplace where they have mountains and valleys you probably seen what dirty air looks like. Solar panels help get rid of air pollution.In conclusion, solar panels create clean energy that will not contribute to pollution.
As you can see, by switching to renewable energy we can impact the environment in a positive way. It is an organic source of energy, is ripe and is reliable at all times,even at night. Army forces use it and rely on it for almost everything in their base, and the army are pretty trustworthy people. Last, but not least, it reduces pollution from the world which these days is our number one problem in the world. The earth is too polluted and it is hurting the earth. Clearly, switching to renewable resources is neutral and will help make the world better.

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Young people in this world today will have to suffer from this everyday and can’t even have a normal childhood due to climate change. My name is Tass, short for Tasniim. I attend King Middle School, in Portland, and we are doing an expedition called “Engineering Our Energy Future.” It is about ways we can sustainably move us into a carbon neutral future. In my opinion, I strongly believe solar infrastructure is the best way to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Solar power systems derive clean, pure energy from the sun. Installing solar panels on your home helps combat greenhouse gas emissions and reduces our collective dependence on fossil fuel. Solar is one of the cleanest energy sources available today. As solar power’s influence and impact rises, scientists and manufacturers all over the world are working hard to develop even better, more sustainable solar energy technology. Solar power is in fact the cleanest environmentally-friendly energy source. Solar also reduces water pollution. The total amount of water needed to generate solar electricity is dramatically less than more traditional electricity sources. Older technologies such as nuclear, natural gas, and coal-fired facilities, all require massive amounts of water for cooling purposes.

In conclusion, we should invest in solar infrastructure to help fight climate change and sustainably move us into a carbon neutral future. People should not have to think twice about this. Solar infrastructure helps the earth in so many different ways it’s unbelievable.

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,

Skowhegan icon, former columnist dies at 91

Katie Ouilette

SKOWHEGAN – Kathleen “Katie” Valliere Denis Ouilette, 91, passed away on Monday, January 17, 2022. She was born on July 8, 1930, at 29 Chestnut St., in Skowhegan, to Henry and Roxie (Russell) Valliere.

She graduated from Skowhegan High School in 1948 and went on to graduate from Colby-Sawyer College in 1950 with a degree in Medical Secretarial Science. She continued her education throughout her life with various courses through 2000. She held several certificates and licenses to perform the various jobs she did throughout her life. At a very young age Katie was gifted with a beautiful Soprano voice. She sang on the stage at the Strand Theatre. She also sang in choirs throughout the schools she attended, as well as the churches she attended. She sang at many weddings throughout the years. Three days before her own wedding, Katie declined an invitation to join the New York Opera. She didn’t join the Opera but her minister and great friend Larry Kalp, from New Jersey, remembers her teaching a Children’s Choir of 70 members.

Her first job was helping her father at “Henry’s Hardware”. Other early work experiences included working as a dental assistant after school for Dr. Dumont and Dr. Gower, switchboard operator at Lakewood Summer Theatre and personal secretary for Attorney Thomas Weeks.

While working at Lakewood she met her first husband Joseph Denis. They were married in January 1953 and started their lives together in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. They had three children together. From 1953 through 1969 they lived in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Jersey due to her husband’s work.

In 1969, they returned to Maine with their three children to start their new business Z.D. Wire Products.

In 1972, they became owners of Lakewood Resort. Katie was known for singing nightly in the Inn closing the bar with Climb Every Mountain. One of her proudest memories was the opportunity to sing with Jack Cassidy. For several years Katie continued to work in the hospitality business working at Red Coach Inn and the Holiday Inn. Then in 1977 she took on a totally different line of work and worked for CN Flagg during the construction of Scott Paper Company, in Hinckley. In 1976, she met her second husband Lewis Ouilette. They were married in February 1977. She became the step mom to two sons. She and Lew lived a wonderful and eventful life together until he passed in July of 2018.

From 1977 Katie continued to perform various jobs as office manager and sales and marketing at various places of businesses. She was also activities director at Maplecrest Nursing Home as well as 234 Madison Avenue, in Skownegan.

In 2009, she became very active with the Madison Community Access TV Channel 11. So many people loved watching her on Now You Know and Keeping Pace, with the late Herb Paradis. She also wrote a column for weekly newspapers, including The Town Line, titled If Walls Could Talk. She enjoyed being a member of several Heritage Councils in the area but especially enjoyed working with Bob Washburn on Abner Coburn Days.

Katie was a doer. Nothing stopped her. At 90, she called Governor Janet Mills and offered to work for her. She even survived Covid at the age of 90. She is also an early survivor of Lyme disease that she contracted in the early ‘80s. Unfortunately, this is when she lost her singing voice and suffered great pain in her arms and legs. For this reason she has donated her body to science in hopes they can learn more about Lyme disease and the effects it has on individuals and a possible cure.

She and Lew are remembered for their hours of volunteering their time throughout Madison and Skowhegan. Katie was the walking historian for this area. A lot of history left this area when Katie passed. In 2006, she received the Alton Whittemore Award from the Skowhegan Chamber of Commerce. In 2014, she received the Senatorial Sentiment Reward from Senator Angus King. In 2019, The Senate and House of Representatives joined the Town of Madison and dedicated the Madison Town Report to Lew and Katie. Also in 2019 she and Lew were recognized by the Somerset County Commissioners for their endless hours of volunteering.

She opened her house to so many people from far and wide. She was known at times for her feistiness and never giving up attitude. She made a huge impact on so many lives and will be missed by so many.

Katie was predeceased by her parents Henry and Roxie; her husband Lew; her son Russell; son-in-law Ray; cousins Ernald, Sherwood and his wife Nancy.

Katie is survived by her children, Craig and his wife Laurie, Lynn, Nick and his wife Loan, Dean and his wife Donna; grandchildren, Daniel, Angela and her husband Tim, Andrea and her husband Jeremy, Michelle and her husband Jason, Matthew and his wife Heather, Brittani, Danielle and her husband Kevin, Paul and his wife Bryanna, Marc and his wife Diana, Roxie, Leigh and his wife Samantha; great-grandchildren, Landen, Sydney, Kinley, Caden, Kyler, Rylie, Cody, Reese, Owen, Bella, Olive, Francis, and Sawyer; cousins, Ray, Mimi, and Mal.

A celebration of life for Katie will be announced at a later date.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of Smart and Edwards Funeral Home 183 Madison Ave. Skowhegan Maine.

In lieu of flowers, please feel free to donate to St. Jude’s Hospital or a place of your choice.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Winter memory

by Debbie Walker

As a child I grew up in Burnham just over a hill from Unity Lake (or Winnecook Lake). There was a camp road just past our driveway. It wasn’t one that got plowed in the winter months, but we would use it to walk down to the lake year-round.

Dad and Uncle Royce enjoyed ice fishing in that area. This memory tonight is one that had Kenneth and David, my cousins and myself going ice fishing with Dad and their father, we were thrilled to go. I believe it may have been the first and only time we went with them.

What a day we had! Uncle Royce had a nice warm fish house. It had a wood burning stove and a hole in the floor for a nice, protected fishing hole. And, oh my, the lunches and the hot cocoa!!

We were more than happy to be with them for the day. We did a little fishing, that was kind of boring if you weren’t catching much. We had sleds (no snowmobiles back then) and our ice skates, and we were prepared with extra mittens that Mom and her mother made all winter.

We were treated to a hot dog lunch cooked by Uncle Royce. They had us strip off a couple of layers of snow clothing to dry out while we ate.

We stayed busy all day and we left there very tired. I had had trouble with tonsils and adenoids, throat, and ear infections all that year.

As we were walking home the wind picked up. Each time the wind blew hard I would lose my breath. Poor Dad, I swear I must have been almost as tall as Dad. Poor Dad, I swear I must have been almost as tall as Dad (maybe it is a slight exaggeration) and yet he managed to carry me nearly the entire trek.

Needless to say, Dad did not take me fishing again. However, he did get me in the doctor’s office that week. It was still in the days of removing tonsils and adenoids and my turn came up quickly.

Uncle Royce had his fish hut for a lot of years. When you saw the hut on the lake you knew winter had arrived. My Dad and Uncle are both gone now but at least we have our memories.

There are more memories such as when Dad was given a pair of skis and he made a sled for him and me. Yes, that was a great sled for us. So down over the hill we went and smacked into a tree. Fortunately, Dad had rolled us off the sled before we hit!

I’m just curious if you discovered once you have a memory, more follow. For questions, contact me at Thanks for reading and have a great week.

REVIEW POTPOURRI – Singer: Meatloaf, Conductor: Artur Rodzinski

Bernstein and Rodzinski in 1943.

Peter Catesby Peter Cates



Rock singer Meatloaf, born Marvin Lee Aday, died this past weekend from covid at the age of 74. His 1977 album Bat Out of Hell has sold 65 million copies worldwide, still logging in annual sales of 200,000. In recent years, he guest-appeared on the BBC comedy show Benidorm and the CBS’ Elementary.

I need to confess that the title Bat Out of Hell quashed any interest in hearing his music making, much as the music making of such late ‘70s groups as Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath. But his singing on Benidorm was appealing and he will be missed by many.

Artur Rodzinski

Artur Rodzinski

Artur Rodzinski’s recording legacy is represented by a number of discs on my shelves and one of his finest is the 1945 Columbia Masterworks album of Wagner’s complete Act 3 of Die Walkure with the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera chorus performing the roles of Valkyrie warriors and soprano Helen Traubel (1899-1972) as Brunnhilde and baritone Herbert Janssen as Brunnhilde’s father and king of the Norse gods, Wotan.

The eight 12-inch 78s contained a magnificent one hour stretch of music that encompassed a large dynamic and emotional range evoking both tenderness and wrath.

Because this conductor had fired his fair share of bad musicians from both the Cleveland Orchestra and New York, he got his share of death threats and carried a loaded pistol to rehearsals, which he knew how to use.

Leonard Bernstein

During Rodzinski’s tenure as music director in New York from 1943-47, he invited Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), who would himself become music director in 1958, to become his assistant. But their relationship soon soured.

Both men had huge egos. Bernstein would try to upstage Rodzinski publically. One time, he was giving a lecture with the piano while Rodzinski was observing from the back and yelled, “Artur, come turn pages for me if you’d be so kind.”

He also gave interviews and statements to the press and got more favorable reviews than the older man. Finally, Rodzinski lost his temper, grabbed Bernstein by the throat and threw him against the wall. Bernstein commented later that Rodzinski was as strong as a bull.

However, Rodzinski was a loving husband and father (his widow Halina published a memoir of their life together) and was a secret pal to more than a few musicians going through hard times.



SOLON & BEYOND: The teacher-less painting group

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

Good morning to all of you; I hope you all have a wonderful day! This week I am using parts of a column that I wrote in 2019, when I don’t remember that it was as cold as this year has been so far. It was called, “Looking back on journalism career”.

I have enjoyed writing for several different papers over these many years, and during that time I also started taking the oil painting classes at Skowhegan Adult Education and enjoyed them very much. Peggy Riley was the teacher and I had learned many new techniques through her instruction, and had made many new friends. Peggy decided that she wouldn’t be teaching when the January’s sessions started up again, and when I saw that the classes weren’t going to be offered for that semester I was disappointed. I came up with the crazy idea of having a teacher-less painting club. I went to the administrator’s office and asked them if they would let me do this with a teacher-less painting club. I went to the administrator’s office and asked them if they would let me do this with a teacher-less person running. Was very, very happy and pleased when they would let me do this when they gave their permission.

When I arrived the first night I was given the attendance folder with M. Rogers, instructor, on the cover. The word “Instructor” went to my head a little, and one night when one of the members was misbehaving, I gave him a push and he nearly fell over, bending his glasses in the near fall. Since then I don’t rule with an iron hand! Some people would not agree with that statement, I’m pretty sure!

And now back to the picture and write-up about this teacher-less painting class! Members at that meeting were Suzanne Currie, Shirley Foxwell, Linda Sullivan, Gerda Pilz , Betty Dow, Dana Hall, Linwood Turcotte, Peter Foxwell and me. The column ended with these words: We meet every week for three hours of relaxation in a pleasant atmosphere and I know I look forward to our Monday night sessions. I’m pretty sure the other nine members feel the same way. And now for Percy’s memoir: Enthusiasm may mark the difference between success and failure. Undertakings entered into half-heartedly often lack the extra or the plus that can lift them over the hurdle in one piece.

This one piece from this week: there will be a Cross Country Ski Meet-up with Skowhegan Outdoors, 1 – 3 p.m., Sunday, January 30, 2022, at the Western Woods & Waters River Trail.

LEGAL NOTICES for Thursday, January 27, 2022

18-A MRSA sec. 3-801

The following Personal Representatives have been appointed in the estates noted. The first publication date of this notice JANUARY 27, 2022 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. §3-80.

2022-002 – Estate of MARY DICKENSON WEST, late of Norridgewock, Me deceased. Valerie Sirois, PO Box 615, Norridgewock, Me 04957 appointed Personal Representa­tive.

2022-004 – Estate of MAURICE W. HOVEY, late of Skowhegan, Me deceased. David W. Hovey, 145 Waterville Road, Skowhegan, Me 04976 appointed Personal Representative.

2022-006 – Estate of JOHN LEON YORK, late of Norridgewock, Me deceased. Debra Mae York, 59 Emmons Dr., Norridgewock, Me 04957 appointed Personal Representa­tive.

2022-008 – Estate of PAMELA IRENE GRENIER, late of New Portland, Me deceased. Daniel W. Grenier of 139 Carrabassett Road, New Portland, Maine 04961 appointed Personal Representa­tive.

2022-009 – Estate of JAMES R. CAREY, late of Fairfield, Me deceased. Adam J. Carey, 8 Daisey Lane, Hampden, Me 04444 appointed Personal Representative.

2022-011 – Estate of LISA BUCKLAND, late of North Anson, Me deceased. Robert G. Tabor, PO Box 401, Solon, Me 04979 appointed Personal Representative.

2022-012 – Estate of WILLIAM W. HANEY, late of Pittsfield, Me deceased. Tammy Smith, 145 North Road, Detroit, Me 04929 appointed Personal Representa­tive.

2022-013 – Estate of ELISHA M. PRATT, late of Palmyra, Me deceased. Beverly A. Pratt, 8 Ballard Lane, Palmyra, Me 04965 appointed Personal Representa­tive.

2022-014 – Estate of PEGGY KUNZ, late of Canaan, Me deceased. Terry G. Kunz, 289 Main Street, Canaan, Me 04924 appointed Personal Representa­tive.

2022-015 – Estate of WILLIAM E. McKECHNIE, late of Norridgewock, Me deceased. April Hurlbutt, 79 Dodlin Road, Norridgewock, Me 04957 appointed Personal Representa­tive.

2022-020 – Estate of IRVING W. OAKES, late of Mercer, Me deceased. Adam W. Oakes, 7 Sturtevant Street, Waterville, Me 04901 appointed Personal Representative.

2022-021 – Estate of ROSE E. ROWE, late of Pittsfield, Me deceased. Jennifer M. Davis, 24 Unity Road, Benton, Me 04901 appointed Personal Representa­tive.

2022-023 – Estate of HAROLD W. NORRIS, late of Madison, Me deceased. Pamela Norris, 15 Fairmount Circle Drive, Apt. 20, Norridgewock, Me 04957 appointed Personal Represent­ative.

2022-024 – Estate of MICHAEL A. TURNER, late of Skowhegan, Me deceased. David W. Turner, 118 Four Mile Square Road, Anson, Me 04911 appointed Personal Representative.

2022-025 – Estate of JOHN N. LIDDELL, SR. late of Starks, Me deceased. David Liddell, 150 Clinton Road, Weymouth, MA 02189 appointed Personal Representative.

2022-027 – Estate of PRISCILLA M. OAKES, late of Fairfield, Me deceased. Karen L. Gilbert, 26 Barlett Street, Fairfield, Me 04937 appointed Personal Representative.

2022-028 – Estate of STEVEN D. FARRELL, late of Anson, Me deceased. Betty Towle, 18 Lambert Street, Winthrop, Me 04364 appointed Personal Representative.

2022-029 – Estate of LAURETTA A. HARTE, late of Anson, Me deceased. Jesse Monti, 15 Old Mill Lane, Plymouth, MA 02360 appointed Personal Representa­tive.

2022-030 – Estate of ELIZABETH M. WHITMAN, late of Solon, Me deceased. Suzan W. Ames, 91 Pleasant Street, Solon, Me 04979 appointed Personal Representative.

2022-031 – Estate of NATALIE A. POMELOW, late of Skowhegan, Me deceased. Diane M. Orcutt, 140 Madison Road, Norridgewock, Me 04957 and Richard T. Pomelow, PO Box 9, South China, Me 04358 appointed Co-Personal Representatives.

2022-032 – Estate of HELEN GRACE WAKEFIELD, late of Fairfield, Me deceased. Grace H. Brace, 79 Partridge Run, Winthrop, Maine 04364 appointed Personal Representative.

To be published on Jan 27 & Feb 2, 2022.

Dated January 24, 2022.
/s/ Victoria Hatch,
Register of Probate



Notice is hereby given by the respective petitioners that they have filed petitions for appointment of personal representatives in the following estates or change of name. These matters will be heard at 1 p.m. or as soon thereafter as they may be on FEBRUARY 9, 2022. The requested appointments or name changes may be made on or after the hearing date if no sufficient objection be heard. This notice complies with the requirements of 18-C MRSA §3-403 and Probate Rule 4.

2021-358 – Estate of ERNIE BROOKER. Petition for Change of Name (Adult) filed by Ernie Brooker, 330 Water Street, Apt 22, Skowhegan Me 04976 requesting his name be change to Ernest Brooker for reasons set forth therein.

2021-364 – Estate of JUDITH LYNN MCCASLIN, Petition for Change of Name (Adult) filed by Judith McCaslin, 9 Martin Stream Road, Fairfield, Maine 04937 requesting her name be changed to Judith Lynn Merrill for reasons set forth therein.

2021-365 – Estate of GARY MICHAEL BOWMAN, adult of Hinckley, Me. Petition for Change of Name (Adult) filed by Gary Michael Bowman, PO Box 92, Hinckley, Me 04944 requesting his name be change to Ella Mikaella Bowman for reasons set forth therein.

2021-265 – Estate of LUKE SPENCER MORRISON, minor of Fairfield, Me. Petition for Change of Name (Minor) filed by Lindsey K. Brann, 275 Skowhegan Road, Fairfield, ME 04937 requesting minor’s name be changed to Luke Spencer Brann for reasons set forth therein.

2022-001 – Estate if HUNTER LEE CORSON, Petition for Change of Name (Adult) filed by Hunter Lee Corson, 39 Chamberlain street, Skowhegan, me 04976 requesting his name be changed to Phoenix Warren Corson for reasons set forth therein.

2022-007 – Estate of DANICA SIMONE WYNKOOP, adult of Norridgewock, Me. Petition for Change of Name (Adult) filed by Danica Simone Wynkoop, 42 Pine Street, Norridgewock, Me 04957 requesting her name be changed to Danica Simone Shanoski for reasons set forth therein.

Dated: January 24, 2022
/s/ Victoria Hatch,
Register of Probate

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Wars – Part 4

The frigate Warren.

by Mary Grow

Revolutionary War veterans from Albion, China, Clinton, Fairfield

Note One: this article and next week’s will be about a few of the Revolutionary War veterans who lived in the central Kennebec Valley. Selection is based on two criteria: how much information your writer could find easily, and how interesting she thought the information would be to readers. There is no intent to disparage veterans who are omitted.

Note Two: Alert readers will have noticed in last week’s piece that artist Gilbert Stuart was misnamed Stuart Gilbert. Your writer accepts blame for carelessness; she also assigns blame to Mr. and Mrs. Stuart, for giving their son two last names, or two first names, depending on your perspective.

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Ruby Crosby Wiggin wrote that town and state records and cemetery headstones identify more than a dozen Albion residents who were Revolutionary War veterans. Two, Francis Lovejoy and John Leonard, were among early settlers.

Rev. Francis Lovejoy, grandfather of Elijah Parish Lovejoy, was in Albion by 1790. Wiggin found that he served initially in “Colonel Baldwin’s regiment” and later re-enlisted to fill the quota from his then home town, Amherst, Massachusetts.

(Colonel Baldwin was probably Loammi Baldwin [Jan. 10, 1744 – Oct. 20, 1807], who fought at Lexington and Concord in the Woburn [Massachusetts] militia. He later enlisted in the 26th Continental Regiment, quickly became its colonel and commanded it around Boston and New York City until health issues forced him to resign in 1777. Wikipedia identifies him as the “Father of American Civil Engineering” and the man for whom the Baldwin apple is named.)

Wiggin gave no information on John Leonard’s military service. By Oct. 30, 1802, he owned the house in which Albion (then Freetown) voters held their first town meeting. Wiggin wrote that he held several town offices between then and 1811, when his name disappeared from town records.

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A veteran who settled in what is now China, and whose story has been increasingly revealed in recent years, was Abraham Talbot (May 27, 1756 – June 11, 1840). In various on-line sources, his first name is also spelled Abram, and his last name Talbart, Tallbet, Tarbett, Tolbot and other variations.

Talbot was a free black man. He was an ancestor of Gerald Talbot, the first black man elected to the Maine legislature. Gerald Talbot’s daughter, Rachel Talbot Ross, is assistant majority leader in the current Maine House of Representatives.

Born in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, to Toby (or Tobey) Talbot, also a Revolutionary War veteran, Abraham Talbot enlisted in the Massachusetts Line in July 1778 and served his nine months’ term at Fishkill and West Point, New York, until March 1779. He married Mary Dunbar in his home town on Sept. 3, 1787.

When he applied for his pension in 1818, he owned an acre of land in China with a small house on it. He and Mary were the only ones living there, although they had had eight children, born between December 21, 1787, and Feb. 16, 1805, in Freetown (now Albion).

William Farris (1755 – Oct. 19, 1841) was another veteran who in 1832 applied for his pension from China, having previously lived in Vassalboro from either 1796 or 1802 (sources differ). He was a native of Yarmouth, Massachusetts, and on Oct. 5 1775, married Elizabeth Burgess of that town.

An on-line history says he enlisted three times in three regiments: Nov. 1, 1775, for two months in Colonel Putnam’s regiment; February 1775 (a misprint for 1776, as the writer says he enlisted “again”) for two months in Colonel Carey’s regiment; and April or May 1776 for four months in Colonel Berckiah Bassett’s regiment.

His first terms were spent building fortifications in Cambridge and Dorchester, outside Boston. His third enlistment ended in the fall of 1776 on Martha’s Vineyard, “guarding the shore.”

Col. Rufus Putnam

(Colonel Putnam was probably Rufus Putnam [later a Brigadier General], a French and Indian War veteran who was instrumental in building the fortifications that forced British troops to evacuate Boston in mid-March 1776. Colonel Carey was probably Colonel Simeon Cary, commander of “the Plymouth and Barnstable County regiment of the Massachusetts militia,” which was at the siege of Boston. This writer failed to find Colonel Bassett on line.)

William and Elizabeth Farris had “at least eight children.” After she died around 1805, on March 18, 1806, he married a 22-year-old Vassalboro woman, Martha “Patty” Long. He bought a piece of land in Vassalboro in 1816, but was a China resident by 1832. His annual pension amounted to $33.33.

The China bicentennial history lists seven other early residents who were Revolutionary War veterans, including Joseph Evans. Evans, for whom Evans Pond is named, arrived in 1773 or 1774 and left his wife and children in the wilderness when he enlisted.

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Michael McNally (about 1752 – 1848), sometimes spelled McNully, was a veteran who ended his life in Clinton. He served in the Pennsylvania Line up to 1781. An 1896 on-line source says his descendants claimed that his role was driving the horses that pulled cannons.

Family stories reproduced on line give two accounts of his arrival in Pennsylvania: one says he was born as his family emigrated from Ireland, the other that as a youngster he ran away from home and crossed the Atlantic alone. He settled in Clinton around 1785 and “raised a large family.”

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The Fairfield Historical Society writers who produced the town’s bicentennial history in 1988 listed four early settlers who served in the Revolutionary army and 10 veterans who moved in after the war (eight from Massachusetts, one from New Hampshire and one from Georgetown, Maine).

The most prominent was William Kendall (1759 – 1827), referred to in one section as General William Kendall. The history says he enlisted from Winslow in March 1777 and obtained an honorable discharge in 1780. An on-line source says he was a drummer “in various New England regiments.”

Having bought most of the area that is now downtown Fairfield, including an unfinished dam and mill building, Kendall completed that project and added saw and grist mills in 1781. The village center was called Kendall’s Mills until 1872.

On Christmas Day 1782, Kendall paddled up the Kennebec to Noble’s Ferry (Hinckley) in his birchbark canoe and came back with his new wife, Abigail Chase. The couple lived first in a log house by the river at the foot of present Western Avenue, then in Fairfield’s first frame house and later in a large brick house at the corner of Newhall Street and Lawrence Avenue. The last housed Bunker’s Seminary (briefly mentioned in the Oct. 21, 2021, issue of The Town Line); it was torn down in the 1890s.

The Fairfield history says Kendall served eight years as a selectman. An on-line source adds that he was Kendall’s Mills postmaster in 1816, Somerset County Sheriff and a member of the first Maine Senate. He and Abigail had eight sons and three daughters. Kendall is buried in Fairfield’s Emery Hill Cemetery.

The cemetery, on the river side of Route 201 at the foot of Emery Hill, is near the site of the log house built by Jonathan Emery in 1771 that is called the first house built in Fairfield. Jonathan’s son David (born in Massachusetts Sept. 24, 1754) was one of the four Revolutionary soldiers who enlisted from Fairfield. The historians doubt the story that he enlisted in September 1775, inspired by Colonel Benedict Arnold’s troops marching up the Kennebec on the way to Québec, because dates don’t match.

They did find records showing that David Emery joined the Second Lincoln County Regiment on Mach 12, 1777. On Feb. 2, 1778, he transferred to the Continental Army, where he became part of General George Washington’s personal guard. After being mustered out Jan. 23, 1779, he came back to Fairfield and on April 5, 1782, married Abigail Goodwin. He died in Fairfield; one on-line source gives his date of death as Nov. 18, 1830, another as Nov. 18, 1834.

The other three early settlers who fought in the war were Josiah Burgess (1736 – 1828), a lieutenant from March 1776 to March 1779 in the First Barnstable Company from his home town of Sandwich, Massachusetts; his younger brother Thomas (1741 – 1820), who served in Josiah’s company for a week; and Daniel Wyman (1752 – 1829), who moved up the river from Dresden to Fairfield in 1774 and served three years in the Second Massachusetts Line. After independence, each Burgess brother served as a Fairfield selectman and Thomas was town treasurer for two years.

Jonathan Nye (November 1757 – September 1854) was born in Sandwich, Massachusetts, and is identified on line as serving as a private in 1775 and 1776 at Elizabeth Islands, first in Captain John Grannis’s company and later in Captain Elisha Nye’s company.

(The Elizabeth Islands are an island chain south of Cape Cod and west of Martha’s Vineyard; they compose the town of Gosnold, Massachusetts, named after the British explorer Bartholomew Gosnold, the first European to visit them, in 1602.

(John Grannis was a captain of marines, identified in several on-line sources as spokesman for America’s first whistle-blowers. In February 1777, nine shipmates aboard the frigate “Warren” chose him to jump ship and carry to the government in Philadelphia their charge that Esek Hopkins, in charge of the Continental Navy, was “unfit to lead.” The Continental Congress fired Hopkins.)

The Fairfield history says after Nye’s first one-year enlistment, he enlisted again from Sandwich in the spring of 1777. He was at Saratoga when Burgoyne surrendered and at Valley Forge during the winter of 1778. At some point he became a sergeant. He was honorably discharged at West Point March 7, 1780. After that, the history says, he enlisted yet again for short terms and served on privateers.

The on-line source names his first wife as Mercy Ellis from Sandwich. The bicentennial history calls her Mary Ellis, and says Nye married her “soon after his discharge [in the early1780s, then] and settled in Fairfield.” The history also says that in the spring of 1835, when Nye applied for one of the land grants Congress had just authorized, he said he had lived in Fairfield for 35 years, indicating he moved there in 1800. And in an account of the Nye family in another section of the book, Jonathan Nye is said to have moved from Sandwich to Fairfield in 1788, with his cousins Bartlett (August 1759 – 1822), Bryant and Elisha (Nov. 2, 1757 – 1845) Nye.

On March 18, 1820, Jonathan Nye married again, to Abigail Fish, who died in 1850. When he applied for a military pension in 1820, he said she was not strong enough to help with their farm, and he could not do much because of “blindness caused by small pox while in the army and a lameness in both knees.”

Col. Nathaniell Freeman

Jonathan Nye’s cousins Bartlett and Elisha were also Revolutionary veterans. Bartlett Nye, according to an on-line family history, served from July 2 to Dec. 12, 1777, in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and again for four days, Sept. 11 through Sept. 14, 1779, as a corporal in Colonel Freeman’s regiment responding to “an alarm at Falmouth [Massachusetts].”

(Colonel Freeman was probably Nathaniel Freeman (March 28, 1741 – Sept. 20, 1827) from Sandwich. He had a medical practice, became active in the Revolutionary movement as early as 1773, was a militia colonel from 1775 and a militia brigadier general from 1781 to 1791.)

Elisha Nye was also in Colonel Freeman’s regiment. He is listed on line as serving for several very brief periods in 1778 and 1779.

After the war, each of the brothers held political office. In 1812, Bartlett Nye was in the Massachusetts General Court, where he supported making Maine a separate state; his term had ended before the decision was taken in June 1819. Elisha, the Fairfield history says, “served as Representative from the County” in 1816, presumably also to the Massachusetts General Court.

Main sources

Fairfield Historical Society, Fairfield, Maine 1788-1988 (1988).
Grow, Mary M., China Maine Bicentennial History including 1984 revisions (1984).
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Wiggin, Ruby Crosby, Albion on the Narrow Gauge (1964).

Websites, miscellaneous.

VETERANS CORNER: Last couple of years have been hard on veterans

by Gary Kennedy

The views of the author in this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.

The past couple of years have been hard for us. Our veterans have found it to be extremely so. I have lost many friends and more are preparing to meet their maker. It’s a time when we pray and hope that for the most part we got it right. It’s a heart breaker to say good bye and rely on what comes next. It’s a time to make amends and seek forgiveness for those things we know shouldn’t have occurred or we should have not been part of or allowed. I had someone I have loved for a very long time ask me, “Gary do you think that I have been a good enough person to be allowed to have another chance to prove myself?” What would your answer be? Mine was, “you have always had a good heart and never went out of your way to hurt anyone. You gave when others were in need. I’m sure those things are taken into account and used in the ultimate assessment.”

I find myself staring up at the night sky often now with extreme imagination and wonder. I am amazed at the beauty and perfect harmony the celestial bodies display when the sky is clear and my heart is wide open with questions.

I try my best to make sure they are represented in a now political way and that promises that are made are promises that are kept; whether you’re a Democrat or Republican. I believe after God and family should come those that have given their all so that we may live. There is so much we can and should do for each other but it seems we are still doing battle with those who want things to change in illogical ways. We have our politicians choosing causes to wrap their political position around. For the most part we agree on most things but we can’t look at each other and agree. To each his or her own seems to be the way of things.

Think about all the negatives we are living through and see how many of those things we actually agree with. We want our children educated properly; we want food and clean air and water. We all want work and opportunity and the chance to accomplish our dreams. Every country has its venue and has to transcend the growing pains that walk hand in hand with accomplishment. We are aware that some countries live under extreme and severe conditions. No one knows this any better than our veterans who have lived and died in some of these sad depraved places and conditions. Soldiers see it all and for the most part wish they could really make a change. We can influence but the people have to be the ones who see change through. We are undergoing some of those ourselves currently.

Recently, Covid has brought us together as well as torn us apart. We are a nation of freedom living under a constitution that some brilliant men with hindsight and foresight put together to salvage almost any situation for their people and their need for guidance and direction in future events. There are those who would toy with that which has been proven to be an honorable document built on principle and the love of God and our fellow man. Unfortunately, it is being put to the test currently by some who hate America and would love to see us fail. It saddens me and all the veterans that I know who have given their best to eradicate the worst, thus allowing the future to have the chance at the best and to prosper.

War in the world creates Veterans Administrations and those V.A.s need the support of honest men and women to carry on and show the future that what has been promised will come to pass. If you have no fear of the Russians sitting on the Ukraine border or China’s threats on a great place such as Taiwan, then you had better learn another language because that is the only way you will possibly survive. Along with our government, our Veterans Administration has been allowed to become weak and undependable. We hear all the time that our veterans are really receiving the best care possible. If you are involved and look more carefully you will see the sad state of affairs we are going through.

Our southern border is open with millions of aliens coming through with drugs, child abuse, prostitution and crime of all sorts. Many of these are criminals who have been convicted and released by our courts. At last count there were people from 150 plus different countries coming through the Texas Wall. The local law enforcement has fought day and night to stop this but they keep on coming. At the cost of our arm forces and veterans these aliens are being supported. Inflation is the highest it has ever been. Look at our grocery stores, and ours are nowhere near as bad as other states. The drugs are killing our children and we are at an educational stand still. I have been to Southeast Asia and seen the poverty, slavery implemented to build an empire; and an empire they are successfully building. In China, they have built future cities with no one living there yet. The normal Asian people are wonderful people but the governing principal is that of evils.

We need skilled craftsmen badly. They are paid at a higher scale than the men and women in suits, if you can find one to help you out. The future is in the trades. I am a father of middle income children and they work days and night to do it. They were taught respect and work ethic. They live a good family Christian life. My heart breaks at this world’s possible outcome. Test missiles are being tossed around and a race to space has begun. Also Covid was no accident. Millions have died and multi millions of hearts have been broken.

The V.A. has put security on its doors and send a very large percentage of their patients (veterans) outside for help. The VA is paying the outside doctors approximately 35-51 percent of the billing of those doctors and state,” that is the maximum and to not bill the veteran”. So what does that say to you? Well I have experienced this first hand and have been very fortunate. Some doctors, as V.A. knows, are now refusing to take veteran patients. V.A. knows this but they are pushing this as far as they can. Top of the line doctors will not be dictated to regarding their fees. I have researched this and have been told, “We are professionals and so is our staff, so we must pay them a professional wage”. Long story short, they can’t take anymore veterans at VA’s dictated rates. If you think about it you will see the rational of their situation. It’s not that they don’t want to help veterans but they are being asked to foot the bill.

VA is building lots of structures but they aren’t paying a fair wage to their doctors and they aren’t staying current with the need for new and modern equipment. If it’s a specialty procedure you need you have to be sent outside of the V.A. system. Many doctors have left the VA to work for some of our coastal hospitals. It would not be unusual for a veteran to be sent to a doctor that use to work for the VA. I don’t know who they think they’re kidding with this game that they are playing. VA is using a middle man called OPTUM, a Community Care Network at 3237 Airport Road, La Crosse, Wisconsin 54603. If you don’t have an approved prior consult they won’t authorize the payment of your bill. The good part is for the most part you don’t have to pay if it was authorized on this end. If not, you may later see the hospital or doctor’s office billing you, claiming the authorization rested with you. They could have a strong case if they relied upon previous on-going procedures. I have been a victim of this in the past myself. It took a lot to save my credit. I am working on some of this currently to help protect veterans that I have stood for, in the past.

It should be obvious that the problem rests with upper level management for going this route and allowing the V.A. system to run at only a small percentage of its capability. You have heard me in the past couple of years complaining about the VA’s partial shutdown while all other hospitals and rehab centers are running. We have one of the greatest rehab centers in New England that is mostly shutdown. The example I have given in the past is the VA gym and swimming pool which serviced many rehab sessions. They will pay you to go to the YMCA but that doesn’t work for most disabled vets especially with PTSD. All is open but VA is shutdown. They blame it on Covid. The gym and pool are in a separate section of VA with a private entrance in the rear. (No excuse). They have a plan of their own and not one to benefit the veterans. Management and the plan need to be looked at. It is for veterans they exist at what they do and the plan should be shared with veterans.

I always appreciate your input. It helps all veterans. We need audience with those who allow this to continue. To be a veteran is a proud thing. If we are disabled because of service we should wear that also with pride and dignity. Maybe it’s time for VA to take a different course. We don’t need more non-experienced advocates we need to search for the answers to the problems. Please share your experience with us. We really want to help. Communication is a two way street, let’s use it. Stay safe and God bless.

CRITTER CHATTER: Remembering Amy at the rehab center

Photo of Amy taken July 1, 2010. (Photo courtesy of Duck Pond Wildlife Center Archives.)

by Jayne Winters

It is with much sadness and great appreciation that this month’s column is written in memory of Amy Messier, who passed away unexpectedly on December 4, 2021. Amy had been a volunteer at Duck Pond Wildlife Rehab Center, in Vassalboro, for almost 20 years. Although unable to work most of this past year due to a couple of surgeries, she was looking forward to resuming her critter care this coming spring.

Amy was born in Rhode Island, in June 1962, and is survived by two sisters, two brothers, and several nieces and nephews. According to her obituary, she held various clerical and administrative positions, including as a Human Resources Director, but her passion was her deep love for animals. She volunteered as a wildlife rehabilitation technician at several wildlife rehab centers across the country before moving to Vassalboro, where she met Don and Carleen Cote at Duck Pond.

She devoted countless hours cleaning and disinfecting cages, as well as feeding and tending to the needs of hundreds of young, sick, and injured wildlife.

I met Amy in late 2019, when I began writing Critter Chatter following the passing of Don’s wife, Carleen. If I remember correctly, Amy was preparing meals for resident opossums and porcupines, but it didn’t take long for me to learn that her favorite critters were the young raccoons. From several posts I’ve seen on FaceBook, she was always willing to help other rehabbers learn ‘tricks of the trade’ and her passing is truly a loss not only to family and friends, but to the wildlife community.

I recently asked Don if he had any special stories about Amy. He said when she first started as a volunteer, she worked very closely with Carleen, as they both had a fondness for raccoons. He remembered a five-year period when there was an explosion of injured, sick and orphaned raccoons, ranging from 135 to a high of 194 admissions annually. Amy and Carleen certainly had their hands full and their common interest led to a special friendship. After Carleen’s passing in 2018, Amy was in charge of the coon admissions and oversaw their care.

In addition, she was the computer whiz kid. Don doesn’t have a computer, but Amy used her own to set up an email account for Duck Pond, as well as a FaceBook page (neither are currently monitored or maintained, so please do not use until further notice). Don noted that Amy often used the internet to order various supplies, query diseases and treatment information, and established multiple, invaluable contacts with other rehabbers.

While looking through some of Carleen’s older columns, I found one from 2008 in which she wrote the following: “A volunteer, Amy, and I check all the tarps to cover the pens for tears to see if they need to be repaired or replaced. In years past, we have attached the tarps with bungee cords. These became playthings for the coons to chew on, then with a strong wind, the tarps would blow off the pens. This year we changed our game plan. We would anchor the tarps with wire.

“We gathered up all the needed materials, opened the tarps and decided which way they go over the pens (most of the time, we get it wrong, putting the short side over the pen and having to start over again!). This whole process requires climbing up on ladders. One day, after having to climb across the top of the pen, then moving back to the ladder and attempting to step down, the ladder fell over. Hanging by my elbows, I screamed for Amy to come to my rescue! Of course, the curious raccoons wanted to join in the fun and grabbed at the tarps and wire and played with my hair.”

It’s easy to envision this scenario playing out, I’m sure with laughter punctuating the yells for help.

I didn’t know Amy well, but our love for animals was obviously a common denominator. We had texted right before Thanksgiving and she was upbeat, anxious to resume tending to her furry friends and offering the TLC she so generously provided. She will be greatly missed.

The continued assistance from other rehabbers is truly appreciated as Don has had to cut back on admissions and long-term residents. We ask that you check these websites to see if there is a rehabber closer to you to help make critter care at Duck Pond more manageable: or

Donald Cote operates Duck Pond Wildlife Care Center on Rte. 3 in Vassalboro. It is a non-profit state permitted rehab facility supported by his own resources & outside donations. Mailing address: 1787 North Belfast Ave., Vassalboro ME 04989 TEL: (207) 445-4326. PLEASE NOTE THE EMAIL ADDRESS IS NOT BEING MONITORED AT THIS TIME.

SCORES & OUTDOORS: Not too early to talk about browntail moth caterpillars

Webs can be seen high in the crown of a tree.

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

Last summer we experienced a season of discomfort with multiple rashes brought on by the browntail moth caterpillar. Personally, I suffered through it no fewer than six times. Yes, it is only January, but the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

It’s not too early to begin looking for signs of the pesky critters and make a strong attempt to eradicate them early, to either eliminate or, at least, limit the amount of those irritating little brown hairs.

According to the Maine Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry, follow the “Four Rs to Knockout Browntail In Our Communities and Reduce the Itch!

In a press release, they advise that encounters with hairs from browntail moth caterpillars can cause mild to severe rashes and respiratory issues. Browntail moth caterpillars overwinter in webs that may have from a couple dozen to several hundred caterpillars each. Some people say they experience itching with fewer than 10 webs per tree or shrub; others say they have no symptoms from heavier infestations around their yards.

Webs can look like fist-sized clumps of leaves tied together tightly with silk, or like single leaves hanging onto twigs.

Winter is the best time to spot an infestation and take steps towards controlling the caterpillars and reducing the itch.
Use these Four R’s to get you started:

  1. Recognize: Learn how to tell if the trees where you live, work and play have browntail moth. Their winter webs can look like single leaves hanging onto twigs, or fist-sized clumps of leaves tied together tightly with silk. Knowing where the webs are in your yard or town can help inform your management decisions.
  2. Remove: With permission, use hand snips or extendable pole pruners to remove webs within reach from the ground and away from hazards such as powerlines. Protect your eyes and skin from hairs that might be present from past caterpillar activity. After removal, destroy webs by soaking or burning.
  3. Recruit: Hire professional help for treatment of webs out of reach or near hazards on property you own or manage. Line up help during winter. Licensed Professional Arborists can remove a limited number of webs in larger trees and shrubs in the winter. In trees where the caterpillars’ hairs cause a nuisance and where it is not practical to remove webs, Licensed Pesticide Applicators may be able to use insecticides during the growing season to manage browntail moth.
  4. Reach Out: If you find browntail moth in your neighborhood, let your neighbors and town officials know. The more that neighbors, businesses and others get together to respond to the problem, the better the results.

They invite you to join in scheduling awareness-raising events and promoting management of browntail moth this winter, with a focus in February. Use #KnockoutBrowntail on social media. Efforts could include organizing groups to map infestations on town and school properties, hosting public service web-clipping events, hosting contests for the most webs clipped or other community and knowledge building activities.

For more information, contact 211 Maine for answers to frequently asked questions on browntail moths: Call 211 or 1-877-463-6207, text your ZIP code to 898-211, or visit our website. While you are there, sign up for the new Browntail Update Bulletin.

Roland’s trivia question of the week:

What was the closest score in a Super Bowl game?

Answer can be found here.