Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Natural resources – Part 4

An 1837 wood etching of the railroad bridge crossing the Kennebec River. The bridge sat on granite pillars.

by Mary Grow

Augusta granite industry

“Augusta has been abundantly supplied…with the best of granite, easily quarried, and of convenient access,” Augusta historian James North wrote. He expressed surprise that the resource was not developed earlier; not only did the workers on the 1797 Kennebec bridge and the 1808 jail use boulders instead, but, he wrote, three gentlemen who built houses in the first decade of the 1800s brought granite for the foundations from the Boston area, “at great expense.”

One entrepreneur used Augusta granite beginning in 1825. However, North said when the State House was built in 1832 the granite came from Hallowell, in blocks “twenty-one feet long and nearly four feet square.”

In 1836, North wrote, three new granite companies were organized to develop Augusta’s deposits.

The Augusta and New York Granite Company planned to exploit the “Hamlen ledge,” about two miles out Western Avenue from the Kennebec. The Augusta and Philadelphia Granite Company focused on the “Ballard ledge,” about a mile and a half out Northern Avenue from the west end of the Kennebec bridge. The Augusta Blue Ledge Company bought “Hall’s ledge” across the river, about two and a half miles from the east end of the bridge via the North Belfast Road (today’s Routes 202 and 3).

There were also the “Thwing ledge” and the “Rowell ledge,” which North wrote were “a continuation of the Ballard ledge” that “cropped out of the neighboring hills.”

Kingsbury added later granite companies just outside Augusta, the Hallowell Granite Company (1871) and the Hallowell Granite Works (1885). Both were organized and led by Joseph Robinson Bodwell (June 18, 1818 – Dec. 15, 1887) of Hallowell, who was elected governor of Maine in 1887 and died during his first year in office.

Hallowell granite was famous for its high quality – “white, free working and soft, and can be almost as delicately chiselled as marble,” Kingsbury wrote.

In 1884, Kingsbury wrote, Joseph Archie started the Central Granite Company, in Manchester, whence came the granite for the 1891-92 “extension of the state house.”

Other central Kennebec Valley towns had deposits of granite, slate and probably other useful forms of stone, though mention in local histories is scant. Kingsbury said granite was the type of stone underlying farmland in towns as far apart as Albion and Windsor, but he did not write about quarries.

In Vassalboro, Alma Pierce Robbins wrote, the 1850 census had a summary paragraph on the town’s amenities, including pure water, timber, natural fertilizer (“swamp muck hauled into yards in summer and in one year it proves about equal to stable manure”) and “rocks, granite and slate.”

Sidney also had slate deposits that were worked, Robbins said. She quoted a source saying that in 1837, Sidney slate cost $8 a ton, versus $27 a ton for slate imported from England.

* * * * * *

Daniel Cony

Last week’s article mentioned Augusta’s first bridge across the Kennebec, built in 1797. North described the construction.

The initial project cost was $15,000, he wrote; local people contributed, but could not have started without help from Massachusetts-based landholders and others, including a man named Leonard Jarvis, “owner of lands beyond the Penobscot.”

(This Leonard Jarvis would have been too young to be the Leonard Jarvis [1781-1854] of Surry, Maine, Harvard Class of 1800, Hancock County sheriff, representative to Congress 1829-1837. However, bridge investor Jarvis might have been the Leonard Jarvis [your writer found no dates] who, with Samuel Phillips and John Read, sold the Bingham Purchase, two million acres of Maine land bought by William Bingham, of Philadelphia, in early 1793. This Leonard Jarvis was in correspondence with Daniel Cony, a prominent Augusta resident, in the 1790s.)

Captain Paul Boynton

An architect North called Captain Boynton designed the bridge. Work started on May 5, 1797, only two months after Augusta separated from Hallowell. The wooden foundation, forty feet square, supported on its timber floor the bridge pier, described as “stone walls [North said “granite” in the next sentence] nine feet thick, forming on the inside an oval or egg-shaped opening.”

This stage of construction was finished Sept. 9, 1797, and followed by a public celebration. Next, the abutments were built, also of stone, and then the superstructure. North observed that, “The granite used for the masonry was obtained from boulders, the stratified granite so abundantly quarried at the present day being them unknown.”

The whole “very graceful and elegant” bridge was finished Nov. 21, and there was another celebration, a dinner shared by the incorporators, the workmen and residents. Citing midwife Martha Ballard’s diary, North wrote that “Cannon were fired responsive to toasts given, and David Wall, James Savage and Asa Fletcher who were managing the gun were injured by some of the cartridges taking fire.”

(If your writer found the right James Savage on line, his injuries were not fatal. Born June 5, 1775, in Augusta, he married Eliza Bickford on Feb. 21, 1822, in New Hampshire; on Nov. 11, 1826, became father of a son, also named James; and died Jan. 27, 1865, in an unknown location.)

The bridge was a covered bridge, as were almost all 19th-century bridges crossing the Kennebec. In his Kennebec Yesterdays, Ernest Marriner explained that covering was “to protect the timbers from weather,” so they wouldn’t rot so fast.

North wrote that the final cost of the bridge was $27,000. The stockholders paid off the debt with income from tolls; not until eight years later did they get their first dividend.

Because the 1797 Augusta bridge was the first bridge across the Kennebec (and “the greatest enterprise of the kind yet undertaken in the District of Maine”), nearby towns on both sides of the river laid out roads to lead to it, promoting Augusta’s growth.

This bridge collapsed, noisily but without killing anyone, the afternoon of Sunday, June 23, 1816. North wrote that a ferry, pulled on a rope, ran back and forth until a new bridge opened two years later.

The new bridge, opened in August 1818, served until it burned in 1827. North, amply quoting from a source he did not list, gave one of his more dramatic descriptions.

The fire started a little after 11 p.m., Monday, April 2, he said. First seen “bursting through the roof,” soon “the flames were fanned into the wildest fury, and with a ‘tremendous roaring,’ in a dense and waving mass high above the water, spanned the river from shore to shore, capped by rolling clouds of black smoke.”

After the flammable covering over the bridge burned away, “a magnificent spectacle appeared of a bridge with a framework of fire,” each piece of the structure outlined in flames. The debris fell into the Kennebec, in two pieces, and floated downriver, still burning.

North wrote that the tollkeeper’s wife was badly burned as she tried to run away. Stores on both banks of the river were damaged; residents on the east bank, including “ladies who worked with great coolness and energy” passing buckets of water up from the river, saved two stores there.

Hallowell sent two fire engines, but “owing to the bad state of the roads” the worst was over by the time they arrived. North estimated losses at $16,000, with almost nothing insured.

Arson was first suspected, because a man had been seen “lurking around the bridge” shortly before the fire. The final consensus was the cause was accidental, “probably from a lighted cigar thrown upon the flooring.”

Reconstruction began promptly, supervised by Ephraim Ballard, Martha Ballard’s husband. North wrote that the first people on foot crossed the successor bridge on Aug. 3 and the first carriages on Aug. 18, 138 days after the fire. The 1827 bridge was still in use in 1870.

This Kennebec bridge was a toll bridge, bringing income to its owners but annoying residents. The first attempt at a free river crossing was a legislative act March 23, 1838, authorizing a group of citizens (one was named James Bridge) to build another bridge within 10 rods north of the Kennebec Bridge and to buy the Kennebec Bridge. The group failed to raise enough money.

Voters at the 1847 town meeting appointed a committee of town officials to ask the Kennebec Bridge owners about renting or buying the bridge and to get a cost estimate for free ferry service from the town landing. Talks failed, as did renewed discussion the next year, and a seasonal subscription-supported ferry “was too expensive to be long continued.”

New bridges at Gardiner and then Hallowell kept discussion going, and on April 15, 1857, the legislature approved a charter for the Augusta Free Bridge Company. It was authorized to try to buy the Kennebec Bridge and, if no agreement could be reached, to build a new bridge.

Company stockholders could use the new bridge for free; the first plan was that everyone else would pay tolls until the cost of the new bridge was recouped and a $15,000 maintenance fund built up. North summarized a great deal more discussion, with Augusta city officials getting involved. With municipal financial backing, on July 1, 1867, the bridge across the Kennebec at Augusta became a free bridge.

* * * * * *

An unusual resource found in some Kennebec Valley towns was bog ore or bog iron, a naturally occurring material that can be transformed into useable iron.

Wikipedia calls bog iron “a form of impure iron deposit that develops in bogs or swamps by the chemical or biochemical oxidation of iron.” The iron is unearthed by groundwater, oxidized in the atmosphere and carried into the swamp; “bog ores consist primarily of iron oxyhydroxides, commonly goethite (FeO(OH)).”

Conditions making iron bogs possible include “local geology, parent rock mineralogy, ground-water composition, and geochemically active microbes & plants,” Wikipedia says. Bog iron is considered a renewable resource; a bog “can be harvested about once each generation.”

Bog iron can be purified without melting it, Wikipedia says, and humans have been using it since pre-Roman times. Vikings are mentioned as major users, and the article says the presence of bog iron seems to have been one factor that influenced Vikings’ choice of settlements in North America. Bog iron was turned into iron ore at the well-known Viking site at L’Anse aux Meadows, in Newfoundland.

Later European settlers developed the resource extensively in Virginia, beginning in 1608; Massachusetts, from the 1630s; and New Jersey before the Revolution – Wikipedia says New Jersey made bog-iron cannonballs for the American army.

Again, local histories are not filled with information on bog iron. Two sources, however, document two different workings in Clinton.

The earlier of the two was “at the mouth of the fifteen mile stream, on the Kennebec,” according to North. He wrote that because the 1807 embargo cut off iron imports, by 1808 Jonathan B. Cobb was making iron from bog ore at his forge there. North mentioned it in his Augusta history because Cobb advertised in the Feb. 16, 1808, Kennebec Gazette offering bar iron, mill cranks and plough and crowbar moulds.

Kingsbury wrote that sometime before 1824 a Mr. Peavy set up a forge near Carrabassett Stream, which flows into the Kennebec at Pishon’s Ferry, opposite Hinckley, in Fairfield. There he “made iron out of bog ore obtained on the spot.” The forge was closed by 1826, Kingsbury wrote, but its remains could still be seen in 1892.

Main sources

Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
North, James W., The History of Augusta (1870).
Robbins, Alma Pierce, History of Vassalborough Maine 1771 1971 n.d. (1971).

Website, miscellaneous.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Natural resources – Part 3

Augusta House

by Mary Grow

Three brick and granite buildings in Augusta

Attentive readers will have noted that the previous discussions of brickyards and brick-making have omitted the two cities in the central Kennebec Valley, Augusta and Waterville. Your writer deliberately saved them for last, because they have so many buildings of brick and granite as to deserve extra space.

In James North’s detailed history of Augusta, the first mention of a brickyard is in a list of businesses active in August 1792 in what was then Hallowell. There were no brickyards in the northern part of town, which after February 1797 became a separate town named Augusta.

In the southern area called the Hook, which remained Hallowell, Samuel and Phillip Norcross owned buildings, two quarter-acre house lots and “brickyard, lime kiln and earthen ware kiln.” Their total property was valued at 50 pounds, one of the town’s smaller businesses.

Samuel Norcross (Oct. 18, 1729 – Dec. 1, 1800) was the oldest of five sons of Philip and Sarah (Jackson) Norcross); his brother Phillip (1732 -?) was next oldest.

An on-line genealogy says Samuel was born in Newton, Massachusetts, where in 1752 he married Mary Wiswall. The first seven of their “at least 14” children, starting with Samuel II and Philip, were born in Massachusetts.

The family evidently came to Maine in 1762 or 1763, because the genealogy lists the seven youngest children as Mary, born in 1763 in Hallowell; Hannah, born in 1764 in Lincoln; Nathaniel, born in June 1764 in Gardiner; Sarah, born in 1766 (no place of birth listed, but in 1786 she married in Pittston); Thankful, born in 1767, in Gardiner; Susannah, born May 10, 1769, in Gardiner; and Elizabeth, born in Lincoln in 1769.

(Hannah and Elizabeth do not fit, biologically or geographically. Perhaps Hannah and Elizabeth are listed in this family in error; or perhaps Samuel kept a second family?)

The same on-line genealogy has no information about Phillip except that he remained in Newton for “about 18 years.” Another on-line source is an 1803 court record of the Kennebec Proprietors (the inheritors of British land grants who continued to claim land rights for generations) filing an action of ejectment against Phillip Norcross and others of Hallowell, in Kennebec County Supreme Judicial Court in September 1803. The Phillip Norcross born in 1732 would have been 71 by then.

North wrote that the Norcross’ house, brickyard and kilns were “at the north end of Water street” in Hallowell, “just south of the present railroad crossing.” The family also ran a nearby ferry across the Kennebec “for many years.”

There must have been other brick-making businesses in the northern part of Hallowell, because North recorded that at the first town meeting in Augusta, on March 13, 1797, voters chose among their town officials two “Inspectors of Lime and Brick,” Henry Sewall and Daniel Foster.

About 1804, North wrote, Lombardy poplars were planted on both sides of State Street from Bridge Street “to the brickyard at the southerly end of Grove street.” (Your writer found one map that identifies Grove Street as the roadway between the rotary at the west end of Kennebec Memorial Bridge and the south end of Water Street; other maps call this stretch Water Street.)

Augusta’s first brick schoolhouse went up in the spring of 1804, according to North (and to Captain Charles E. Nash, who “borrowed” North’s information for his chapters on Augusta in Kingsbury’s Kennebec County history), on the northwest side of the intersection of State and Bridge streets. It was also Augusta’s first grammar school (offering classes more advanced than primary schools); the building burned down March 16, 1807.

Readers with unusually good memories will remember that most of the commercial buildings on Water Street, in Augusta, are on the National Register of Historic Places (see the February 2021 issues of The Town Line). Some are listed individually; some are part of the Water Street Historic District. Almost all are brick; and they are not the buildings described in the following paragraphs, but their successors, built after the great fire of Sept. 17, 1865.

Merchants whom North identified as “Robinson & Crosby” built the first brick stores in 1806, two together in a block on the north corner of Market Square on the river side. In 1811, Joshua Gage, Bartholomew Nason and Benjamin Whitwell built a second block of three stores nearby.

North added that all five stores were closed temporarily in 1813, as a result of the economic slump caused by the dispute between Britain and the United States that led first to a United States embargo on trade and then to the War of 1812.

These brick store buildings had what North called “old-fashioned brick fronts,” featuring “heavy wooden door and window shutters,” hinged and locked with diagonal iron bars. By 1833, the new fashion was “granite posts and lintels.”

Seven new brick stores were added on Water Street in 1835, five at the north end and two farther south. None survived the 1865 fire.

Brick was also used, along with stone, in the Augusta jail that was built after an inmate burned down the wooden one on March 16, 1808. North wrote that prisoners were held in a very insecure temporary jail while a two-story building was built “of large blocks of rough hammered stone fastened together with iron dowels.”

This building, finished in December 1808, “was connected, by a brick ell, with a two story square brick jail house” at the intersection of State and Winthrop streets. The brick building was standing when North finished his history in 1870, but had been supplanted as a jail by a larger stone building, completed in 1859.

In 1812, owners of the newly-chartered Kennebec Bank had a brick building put up on Court Street. This building served as a bank for four years, then as a house; North wrote that it was torn down when the county courthouse was enlarged in 1851.

In 1813, Kennebec County officials, concerned about keeping paper records in the wooden county courthouse, had a brick building with “four fire proof vaults” built nearby. With brick floors, brick partitions and iron doors on the vaults, it was assumed safe; but, North wrote, when it was replaced years later, county officials were surprised to find wooden floors under the vaults, so that “the building could not have burned without consuming the contents of the vaults.”

The Augusta House on State Street, a leading hotel for many years, was built of brick and opened Jan. 31, 1831. Among its guests, according to Nash, were General Winfield Scott, who stayed about three weeks in the spring of 1839 during the Aroostook War (see The Town Line, March 17, 2022); and President Ulysses S. Grant, who visited with his family on Aug. 3, 1865, and was entertained at a state dinner at the hotel.

The Augusta House was enlarged substantially during the Civil War. On-line postcards from 1912 and 1938 show a six-story building on an above-ground granite foundation. The main door in the center of the front veranda is protected by a two-story portico supported by columns. Another on-line source says the hotel was closed and torn down in 1973.

On June 7, 1833, the Citizens’ Bank opened in its new brick building at the intersection of Oak and Water streets, in the middle of downtown. This was a three-story building, North said; the bank had the back rooms on the second floor, jeweler Benjamin Swan and dry-goods merchant G. G. Wilder shared the street floor, and the Kennebec Journal newspaper, founded in 1825, had its office on the top floor.

Another brick schoolhouse was erected in the summer of 1835 to house Augusta’s first high school. Located at the intersection of State and Bridge streets, not far from the site of the earlier brick grammar school, the building cost $7,000. North (and Nash) wrote that it was two stories high, 65-by-50-feet, with four Doric columns supporting the front pediment.

Owned by a group of corporators, the school briefly did well; but after the first head teacher moved on, it began to fail and after 1848 the building served as a public high school for the surrounding school district.

Residents must have approved of two-story brick schoolhouses, because North and Nash recorded several more built in Augusta school districts in the 1840s and 1850s, and Nash added a “large four-room” one, Cushnoc Heights Grammar School, built in 1890 at the intersection of Franklin and Oxford streets, partway up Sand Hill at the north end of the city.

The Winthrop Street Universalist Church, started with a June 19, 1867, cornerstone laying and dedicated March 5, 1868, was “built of brick laid in colored mortar,” North wrote. The building was 80-by-61-feet, with 33-foot-high walls; on the southwest corner was a 55-foot tower enclosing a 1, 500-pound bell and topped by a 135-foot (from the ground) spire.

Other brick buildings in Augusta that have not been described in earlier articles in this series and that are on the National Register of Historic Places include:

  • The Lot Morrill House on the north side of Winthrop Street at the Prospect Street intersection, built about 1830;
  • The Governor Samuel Cony House, also known as the William Payson Viles House, on the east side of Stone Street (Route 9 on the east side of the Kennebec), built in 1846;
  • The former Augusta City Hall, at 1 Cony Street, on the east bank of the Kennebec, and the north side of Bridge Street, built in 1895-96; and
  • The Governor John F. Hill Mansion, on State Street at the Green Street intersection, built in 1901.

The old city hall is now an assisted living facility. The Hill mansion is an events center welcoming area residents to rent its facilities. The Morrill and Cony houses appear to be privately owned.

* * * * * *

As previous articles (see 2021 indexes to The Town Line) have shown, another major building material was granite, used in Augusta especially for religious and public buildings, and for a minority of the commercial buildings in the Water Street Historic District.

Two major granite building complexes on the east side of the Kennebec River were the Kennebec Arsenal, built between 1828 and 1838 (see box), and the original building at what was in 1838 the Augusta Insane Hospital, plus the wing added in 1848.

Granite buildings on the west side of the Kennebec included:

  • the Kennebec County Court House, on State Street (1829);
  • the State House, on State Street (1832);
  • the Kennebec jail (1859);
  • South Parish Congregational Church, on Church Street (1865);
  • St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, on Summer Street (1886);
  • Lithgow Library, on Winthrop Street (completed in 1896); and
  • St Mary’s Catholic Church, on Western Avenue (1926).

Because of space limitations, discussion of the development of the granite industry in the Kennebec River valley will be postponed to next week.

Update on Augusta’s Kennebec Arsenal

Kennebec Arsenal

The Kennebec Arsenal in Augusta is a collection of eight granite buildings built between 1828 and 1838 and designated a National Historic Landmark District in 2000 (see the Jan. 21, 2021, and Feb. 10, 2022, issues of The Town Line). It is now privately owned.

A June 24 Kennebec Journal article by Keith Edwards said the owner has failed to maintain the buildings. City council members discussed declaring the Arsenal a dangerous site, but decided at their June 23 meeting to postpone action until July 28.

Edwards explained that if the property were declared dangerous, councilors could set a deadline for action, at minimum presentation of a repair plan. Failure to meet the deadline would let the city have the work done and bill the owner, or have the buildings demolished. If the owner didn’t pay the bill, the city could lien the property; if the lien were not paid, the buildings would eventually become the city’s.

The current owner bought the property 15 years ago, Edwards wrote, accepting an obligation to maintain its historic value. A local group has been formed named Concerned Citizens for Augusta Historical Preservation of the Kennebec Arsenal.

Main sources

Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
North, James W., The History of Augusta (1870).

Websites, miscellaneous.

New exhibit at Vassalboro Historical Society depicts textiles

Painting signed by Hedwig Collins. Eva (Pratt) Owen, headmistress at Oak Grove School from 1918 – 1958, front and center in a light blue gown and matching hat, holding a white shawl; her husband, headmaster Robert Everett Owen, under the trees at left in a dark suit, behind a young lady in red. The woman in purple hat coming down the lawn is said to be Mrs. Owen’s sister.

by Mary Grow
Photos courtesy of Jan Clowes, VHS president

The new display at the Vassalboro Historical Society (VHS) Museum in East Vassalboro is titled “All Things Textile,” and the name is appropriate.

The most eye-catching items are women’s dresses, from the early 1800s to the 1950s, in varied materials and colors, and on one wall a large painting of young ladies in spring outfits (and two gentlemen) gathered on the lawn of the Oak Grove School.

The gentleman in black, half hidden behind a bevy of students under the trees in the left of the painting, is identified as Headmaster Robert Owen. Front and center is his wife, Headmistress Eva (Pratt) Owen, wearing a light blue gown and matching flat hat. Behind and to her left, the woman in the purple dress and hat coming toward the viewer is said to be her sister, Edith (Pratt) Brown.

By the castle, on the right side of the painting, students greet an unidentified man on horseback.

The painting is signed by Hedwig Collin. Wikipedia identifies her as a Danish artist, born May 27, 1880, and known primarily as a writer and illustrator of children’s books. She also did portraits and landscape paintings, Wikipedia says, and another on-line site includes reproductions of fashion illustrations from different decades.

Collin spent World War II in the United States, and VHS President Jan Clowes says the Oak Grove painting is dated 1940. Collin died near Copenhagen, Denmark, on April 2, 1964.

The black dress is a walking suit from 1910. The red dress is a teenager’s from 1830 and the white wedding dress Mary C. Haynes designed and wore when she married John Bussell on June 13, 1953.

On other walls are three samplers stitched by young Vassalboro residents in 1816, 1821 and 1836. Shelves and display tables and cases contain a working sewing machine from the late 1870s, children’s clothing, men’s hats and shoes and other items. Two interactive stations let visitors test their skills by working on a hooked or a braided rug.

There is also an antique quilt frame that Clowes said is being raffled off as a fund-raiser for the Society.

The Society’s website says the display was put together with help from Textile Conservation Specialist Lynne Bassett, who is from Massachusetts. Her assistance to museum volunteers included identifying fabrics and estimating ages of items in the collection; advising on proper storage; and teaching volunteers four “conservation stitches” so they can do authentic repairs.

Bassett is scheduled to continue working with Society volunteers later in July. “We take care of things, and consult experts when we need to,” Clowes said.

Elsewhere in the building, visitors can enjoy replicas of a 1950s kitchen and a much earlier Native American encampment; view local artists’ work; and admire a collection of furniture, tableware and dozens of other items once used by Vassalboro families.

The Society’s library has an invaluable collection of letters, documents, books and other sources of information on past events in the town. The website credits volunteer Russell Smith for answering reference questions.

Other volunteers mentioned are Juliana Lyon, in charge, with Clowes, of organizing accession records; Ben Gidney, Stewart Carson, Jeremy Cloutier, Dawn Cates, Simone Antworth, Judy Goodrich, Steve and Sharon (Hopkins) Farrington and David Theriault; and specifically for the textile conservation project, Goodrich, Cates, Maurine Macomber, Theriault, Terry Curtis and Holly Weidner. More volunteers are always welcome, Clowes said.

Clowes also welcomes donations of local items, although she does not know where there will be room for them. Some families who have donated larger items are storing them for the Society, Clowes said.

This dress, part of the textile display, is a two-piece wedding dress, with a long train trimmed with lace. Annie Mae Pierce wore it when she married Henry Allen Priest on Aug. 31, 1880.

The next major project is acquiring a barn. In Clowes’ vision, it has two stories; generous space on the ground level will display farm equipment and similar large items, with smaller items above. Monetary donations toward the barn project, and to maintain the present building, are appreciated; the VHS is a non-profit organization and donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

The museum is in the former East Vassalboro Schoolhouse, at 327 Main Street, on the east side of Route 32, just north of the boat landing at the China Lake outlet. In one room, the old tin ceiling is visible, and the floors show the circles of screwholes where students’ chair-and-desk combinations were attached.

The VHS website is vassalborohistoricalsociety.org. The telephone number is 923-3505; the email address is vhspresident@gmail.com; and the mailing address is P. O. Box 13, North Vassalboro ME 04962. Regular open hours are Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The summer and fall calendar includes open houses Sunday afternoons from 1 to 4 p.m., on July 24, Aug. 14 and 28, and Oct. 9 and 23.

Three special programs are scheduled for Sunday afternoons from 3 to 5 p.m.: on July 17, Sharon Hopkins Farrington, on “Rug Hooking Past & Present”; on Aug. 21, Nate Gray, on “River Herring Ecology & History”; and on Oct. 16, Suzy Griffiths, “Holman Day Film-Fest.”

In September, the museum will be open during the Vassalboro Days celebration Sept. 10 and 11. The annual meeting and potluck meal are scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, at the East Vassalboro Grange Hall.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Natural resources – Part 2

An old sawmill with a rock dam.

by Mary Grow

Rocks & clay

Last week’s article talked about some of the towns in which European settlers found naturally-occurring resources, like stones and clay. Stones were described as useful for foundations, wells and similar purposes on land; another use was for the dams that have been mentioned repeatedly.

Palermo historian Milton Dowe, in his 1954 town history, said settlers coming to the area then called Great Pond Settlement (because it was near the head of Sheepscot Great Pond) in the late1770s lived in log houses until entrepreneurs built sawmills to make boards. The prerequisite for a sawmill, he wrote, was “a dam of rock and dirt on a brook of almost any size.”

The majority of local histories describe early water-powered mills in Kennebec Valley towns, most built on streams (many of them tributaries to the Kennebec) before men had the courage to try to dam the larger river. Assuming a dam for each mill or cluster of mills, thousands of stones must have been moved.

In Vassalboro in the 1820s, according to an unnamed source quoted in Alma Pierce Robbins’ town history, there were “19 water powers,” presumably dams and presumably at least partly made of stone. Thirteen were on Outlet Stream, which flows north from China Lake through East and North Vassalboro to the Sebasticook; the other six were on Seven Mile Stream, Webber Pond’s outlet into the Kennebec.

Windsor historian Linwood Lowden described the agreement that allowed the building of an 1809 dam across the West Branch of the Sheepscot River, at Maxcy’s Mills, in Windsor. Cornelius Maguire and Joseph Linscott signed a 15-year lease allowing Joseph Bowman, from Gardiner, to dam the river and build a sawmill.

Bowman’s lease included land on each bank to anchor the dam, and “the right to as much gravel, dirt, timber or stones” as he needed, except he could not cut pine or oak. Other Windsor streams also had mills; the remains of some of the mill dams were visible in 1993, Lowden wrote.

Robbins and Dowe mentioned another use for stone: building bridges. Robbins found that an 1831 town meeting voted to build a stone bridge “near Jacob Southwick’s plaster mill.” In 1841, Dowe wrote, Palermo town meeting voters appointed a three-man committee to oversee construction of a 640-foot-long bridge “of stone covered with earth,” a four-year project.

Stone has multiple meanings, and historians seldom specify what size, shape or material they’re talking about. Stones interrupting plowing are not the same as the stone in Thomas Saban’s Palermo quarry “near the head of Sheepscot Lake” that Dowe described.

Dowe wrote: “Here the stone was found in layers of various thicknesses all standing on edge from the upheaval of the earth centuries ago. To obtain any size wanted the stone was drilled and wedged.” The two specific uses he cited were steps and well covers.

(Wikipedia provides engineering information on wedging. The process could work several ways. If the stone had natural cracks, steel wedges were hammered into the cracks to split the stone into desired sizes. If there were no cracks, the quarryman made some. He drilled a row of holes, into which he inserted conical wedges called plugs and flat wedges called feathers and hammered them; or, one source says, he put wooden plugs with the feathers and wetted the plugs so that they expanded and broke the stone.)

* * * * * *

Bricks, their production and uses, were the focus of last week’s article, and, as usual, your writer found more than a page’s worth of information, so this week’s installment will continue the topic.

Robbins tossed off a comment in her Vassalboro history, in a section on early settlers: “Bricks were a great business, developed almost as soon as the sawmills according to most histories of Maine. (The town records confirm this statement.)”

There were several brickyards in Palermo, Dowe said. One, not long after 1800, was on the Marden brothers’ property (presumably in the Marden Hill area, east of Branch Pond); they sold their bricks to neighbors for “chimneys; fireplaces and brick ovens.” A mixture of ashes and clay made mortar, Dowe added.

Another 19th-century brickyard was “in the meadow… where clay was very plentiful” on the Sumner Leeman farm near Greeley Corner, the intersection of what is now Route 3 with Turner Ridge Road, east of the head of Sheepscot Lake.

Sidney had at least one brickyard in 1780. The quotation from Robbins’ Vassalboro history about the importance of brickmaking was in reference to a proposed road on the west side of the Kennebec River (in what became the separate town of Sidney in 1792) that was to follow a way already in use “on the east side of the Brick Kiln at Dudley Does.”

Kingsbury in his Kennebec County history and Alice Hammond in her Sidney history agreed Sidney had many clay deposits. As Kingsbury put it, “wherever bricks were wanted for one or more buildings in times past, when wood for burning them was always at hand, they were made in that locality.” Kingsbury said one yard (perhaps Doe’s) was producing “excellent brick” before 1800.

Hammond mentioned two houses on Middle Road made of brick, reportedly from a nearby brickyard by a brook, and three early River Road farms with brickyards. Perhaps citing Kingsbury, she wrote that in 1860 Nathaniel Chase’s bricks from the Bailey farm (one early Bailey farm was Paul and Betsy’s, on River Road across the Kennebec from Riverside in Vassalboro) “were transported by flat boat to the Augusta market.”

In Vassalboro, Robbins wrote that the Farwell family, Isaac (1704 – 1795) and his son Ebenezer, acquired large tracts in the southern part of town in the 1760s. Their holdings included land around Seven Mile Stream, where they built early mills, and extended south; Isaac built for Ebenezer the large house with white columns called Seven Oaks, still standing on the east (river) side of Riverside Drive (Route 201) near the Augusta line.

Robbins wrote that Isaac’s first house was near a brook – probably Seven Mile Stream – on which he built “a grist mill, saw mill and brick kilns.”

(Another prominent family in southeastern Vassalboro were the Browns, Benjamin and his son Benjamin, Jr. Robbins did considerable research to record their contributions to the town and the area. Riverview, their 1796 one-and-a-half-story Cape house on Riverside Drive, has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2001.

(Robbins wrote that when Benjamin Brown needed bricks for fireplaces in his “large and quite handsome tavern” that he built sometime before he became postmaster in 1817, he imported them from England. Were the Farwell kilns closed by then? Quite likely; or perhaps the Farwell bricks were not to Brown’s taste.)

And here is another question Robbins raised: did “John DeGrucia, brickmaker,” make bricks in Vassalboro in the 1770s? She wrote that in 1769, DeGrucia “gave bond for forty pounds to Samuel Howard, mariner, for land on the east side of the river on Lot No. 80”; she didn’t mention him again. (Lot 80 is one tier inland from the Kennebec River and about half-way toward Vassalboro’s north boundary.)

In 1806, Robbins found, town meeting voters elected a “Surveyor of Bricks,” apparently for the first time.

When John D. Lang started his first woolen mill, in North Vassalboro, in 1850, Kingsbury wrote that he bought and moved a tannery building. Then he had a brick kiln built on the site, “and after the brick were burned the walls of the mill were built around it.” The mill was added to the National Register of Historic Places on Oct. 5, 2020.

Your writer was unable to find information about Windsor brick production in available sources. Kingsbury made one reference: Thomas Le Ballister, from Bristol, acquired 300 acres in southeastern Windsor and built a log cabin around 1793. When he upgraded to a frame house about 1803, “The chimney was laid with the first bricks manufactured in Windsor.”

In Winslow, Kingsbury listed eight or nine places with “good clay for making brick,” identifying their locations by their pre-1892 owners. A major operation started in 1873 was by 1892 Horace Purinton & Co., with a workforce of 15 and an annual production of 1.5 million bricks.

Kingsbury also described a series of mills built by men named Runnals, Norcross and Hayden on a stream he did not name (identifying it by the mills still operating in 1892). Other sources’ information on the family names suggest it might be Chaffee Brook, which runs into the Kennebec in southern Winslow.

Hayden’s mill dam backed up the stream to make Hayden Mill Pond, and Kingsbury wrote that on one side of the pond was a bed of clay good enough to make pottery. William Hussey, a skilled potter, and Ambrose Bruce started a pottery factory in the late 1820s.

Kingsbury wrote that Hussey’s earthenware was popular – “Most of the milk pans then in use by the housewives in this section were his handiwork.” Unfortunately, according to Kingsbury, Hussey was “[t]oo fond of convivial enjoyments” and drank up so much of the proceeds that the pottery went out of business.

William Hussey is listed in Lura Woodside Watkins’ Early New England Potters and Their Wares, originally published in 1950.

Winslow buildings using brick that Kingsbury mentioned included a century-old house standing in 1892, made of brick from an adjacent yard “near the river two miles above Ticonic falls”; and an early tavern “in a house with a brick front” south of the junction of the Sebasticook River. The Hollingsworth and Whitney mill building, under construction as Kingsbury finished his history, required 2,500,000 bricks, he said.

Winslow’s brick schoolhouse on Cushman Road, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was described in the Jan. 28, 2021, issue of The Town Line. Two other brick school buildings in Winslow were mentioned in the Oct. 28, 2021 issue.

Update on Fairfield Center’s Victor Grange

Members of Victor Grange #49, in Fairfield Center, organized Oct. 29, 1874, continue to make progress on rehabbing their Grange Hall, which dates from 1903 (see the May 13, 2021, issue of The Town Line). The Grange’s July newsletter reports the building is insulated and as of mid-June has a ventilation system.

The next ambitious project is to have the ground-level hardwood floors professionally refinished, Grange Lecturer Barbara Bailey believes for the first time ever. Grange members need volunteers to help move the furniture from the building to a storage trailer on July 24, beginning about 11 a.m., and will need them again to move everything back about two weeks later. They offer hot dogs and hamburgers to the July 24 crew.

Funds have been donated; Timmy’s Trailers, aka C and J Trailer Repair and Towing, of Fairfield, has loaned the trailer; and Pro Movers, of Waterville, will move out, store and return two pianos.

As a fundraising effort, Grangers are selling more than six dozen 1880s chairs from the organization’s early days, at $10 apiece.

The newsletter writers expressed their appreciation to community members who support the Grange and included the weekly and monthly schedule of ongoing public events. People listed as sources of information about Grange activities are Rita, 453-2945; Roger or Wanda, 453-7193; Marilyn, 453-6937; Deb, 453-4844; Barb, 453-9476; Rick or Lurline, 453-2082; Janice, 453-2266; Steve, 347-254-8556; Anastasia, 835-1930; Tina, 649-5396; and Sherry, 238-0334. The email address is Victorgrange49@gmail.com

Main sources

Dowe, Milton E., History Town of Palermo Incorporated 1884 (1954).
Hammond, Alice, History of Sidney Maine 1792-1992 (1992).
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892),
Lowden, Linwood H., good Land & fine Contrey but Poor roads a history of Windsor, Maine (1993).
Robbins, Alma Pierce, History of Vassalborough Maine 1771 1971 n.d. (1971).

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Natural resources – Part 1

Brick making operation in Brewer.

by Mary Grow

As the preceding articles have at least partly shown, pre-European inhabitants of the Kennebec Valley lived off the land, using natural resources to provide food, shelter, clothing, transport, decoration and other necessities and frivolities.

The first Europeans, arriving in small (by our standards) ships, had no choice but to imitate the Native Americans. They got food by hunting and fishing, built wooden shelters and grew crops suited to local conditions. However, they quickly branched out in two directions, monetizing many natural resources and adding imported and manufactured items.

Monetizing applied to wild animals, notably the sale of beaver and other furs to European traders; to fish, especially migratory species, a trade being revived in the 21st century; to forests, as land was cleared not only for houses and farms but for a lumber industry that covered much of Maine and continues today; and even to the ice that formed in the Kennebec River every winter and was exported globally (see the article on lumber driving and ice harvesting on the Kennebec in the May 14, 2020, issue of The Town Line).

The Kennebec Valley offered other natural resources that Europeans developed. Linwood Lowden, in his history of Windsor, mentions one of the most common: rocks.

After a would-be farmer in the Kennebec Valley cut down trees, hauled away the wood and dug out the stumps, he was usually left with a field full of rocks. Nuisances, yes, but, Lowden points out, useful: big ones were “drilled, split and removed to be used as foundation stones.” Smaller ones lined cellars and wells or made stone walls as field or property boundaries.

Some, Lowden wrote, were immoveable: the farmer and his friends would dig a hole and bury such problem stones. Smaller ones that continued to surface as the fields were plowed went to the “stone dump,” the otherwise unused area in some corner on every farm.

* * * * * *

The invaluable USM Digital Commons on line includes Mining in Maine: Past, Present, and Future, published in 1990 by Carolyn A. Lepage and others. This source considers granite, limestone, slate, feldspar and iron among Maine’s commercially important minerals.

In 1836, the Maine legislature hired a Bostonian named Charles Jackson to survey the state’s mineral resources. Lepage wrote that he inspected mostly coastal areas and “major river and overland routes.” From this sample, he concluded Maine minerals were worth developing.

By 1836, Lepage wrote, Maine was already an international granite exporter. Hallowell was one of five granite centers (plus Biddeford, Blue Hill, Penobscot Bay and Washington County).

The rest of the 19th century featured continued exploitation of resources, especially along the coast, and a brief period of excitement about gold, silver and other metals after the Civil War (with no indication that the Kennebec Valley was involved). Granite remained important; in 1901, Lepage wrote, the value of granite produced in Maine exceeded that from any other state. Maine’s granite industry slowly declined in the 20th century, especially during and after the Great Depression of 1929-1939.

A Maine Geological Survey website emphasizes slate, used especially for roofing tiles, as another important mineral. This site mentions the “Central Maine Slate Belt” that runs from the Waterville area more than 70 miles northeast to Brownville Junction.

* * * * * *

Another natural resource common enough to be mentioned in many town histories is clay.

Clay, Wikipedia says, is a fine-grained soil that contains clay minerals. Clay minerals, according to the same source, are “hydrous aluminium phyllosilicate minerals, composed of aluminium and silicon ions bonded into tiny, thin plates by interconnecting oxygen and hydroxide ions.”

These minerals are plastic – they stick together and are flexible – when they’re wet, but become rigid when they dry. The material can thus be made into many things, from bricks for walls to dishes for the people inside the walls to eat from.

Wikipedia provides more scientific information, including noting that clay is commonly found where water bodies, like glacial lakes, let the soil settle to the bottom. Since much of Maine was once under a glacier, the prevalence of clay is to be expected.

An on-line source says Maine clay is not particularly suitable for ceramics, but is excellent for brick-making. Residents exploited clay deposits for building materials, for houses and for larger structures like mills and public buildings.

The all-brick Besse Building, in Albion.

In Albion, Ruby Crosby Wiggin’s history described a brickyard on the shore of Fifteen-Mile Stream, across from the Crosby sawmill (built in 1810 and operated into the 1880s). When George Crosby built the Crosby mansion in 1886 (see the June 11, 2020, issue of The Town Line for more on the stream and the Crosbys), he used bricks from the brickyard.

Wiggin listed specific uses: three chimneys, “a large brick oven and water heater in the kitchen,” “a large tank in the cellar which was used for the liming of eggs” and brick paving for the section of the cellar floor used to store potatoes. (Storing fresh eggs in a mixture of water and lime in a cool place was one of several ways to keep them edible before refrigeration.)

The front wall of the wooden ell added to the mansion in 1832 had a brick facing, Wiggin wrote. After part of it collapsed into the driveway some 50 years later, the remaining bricks were replaced with clapboards.

Wiggin mentioned another brickyard at Puddle Dock, in southern Albion, and yet another “along the clay flat beside Alder brook.” From the later, allegedly, came bricks used to build a brick schoolhouse.

This building was the town’s District 4 schoolhouse, shown on the 1856 Kennebec County map on the north side of what is now Route 202, opposite the north end of Quaker Hill Road. Wiggin quoted Henry Taylor’s memory of his father’s description of the building as “a brick schoolhouse with a wooden clock on the outside denoting the time, quarter to nine.”

No one seemed to know what significance, if any, that particular time held. A new District 4 schoolhouse off Quaker Hill Road was built around 1858, Wiggin wrote. She did not say whether any others of Albion’s 20 or so school buildings were brick, nor did she list owners of any of the brickyards.

The 1913 brick Besse building was originally Albion’s high school and now houses its town office (it is briefly mentioned in the Sept. 30, 2021, issue of The Town Line).

In China, various sources say there were at least three brickyards, along the north end of the east basin of China Lake; there might have been seven in the town, according to the bicentennial history.

The history describes how clay was turned into bricks. It was “shoveled into a circular pond; water was added; and the mixture was stirred with a long sweep propelled by a horse walking around the pond.” The resulting goop was put into a “hand-operated moulding machine” that could make six bricks simultaneously. The bricks were sun-dried and then kiln-baked.

Captain Nathaniel Spratt started his brickyard on the stream then called Wiggin Brook, which runs into the west side of China Lake’s east basin a short distance south of China Village, in the 1820s or early 1830s, according to Henry Kingsbury’s Kennebec County history. He ran it for 25 years; the bicentennial history says that in October 1834 he advertised in the China Village newspaper, the Orb, that he had 230,000 bricks for sale. Later owners were Samuel Benson and Zalmuna Washburn. The brickyard went out of business in 1865.

(The bicentennial history explains that two early Wiggin Brooks were named for the Wiggin [or Wiggins] family of early settlers, which included two Nathaniels, father and son, one of whom fathered 25 children. The west-side Wiggin Brook, later Broad’s Brook, flows under Neck Road; Kingsbury associates “Hollis Broad’s widow” with the Spratt brickyard. The other Wiggin Brook, now commonly Meadow Brook [or Hunter Brook or Starkey Brook] is larger and flows into the east side of the muldoon [swamp] at the head of the lake.)

There are numerous handsome brick houses along Neck Road, including one just north of the former Wiggin/Broad’s Brook.

On the east side of the head of the lake, the bicentennial history says Abraham Talbot, a former slave, operated a brickyard. The town comprehensive plan dates it tentatively to the 1790s (see the June 23, 2022, issue of The Town Line for more information on the Talbot family).

Neither Kingsbury nor the bicentennial history gives a name or location for a third brickyard.

One significant brick building in China Village was the double store on the west side of the south end of Main Street, facing east down Causeway Street toward the end of the lake. Built around 1825 by two residents, Alfred Marshall (the northern two-thirds) and Benjamin Libby (the southern third), it housed various stores and intermittently the local Masonic chapter, with the two sections changing ownership separately.

The Masons briefly owned the whole building in 1866, but they promptly sold the north section. In 1919 they reacquired that part; the entire building was the China Village Masonic Hall until 2006, when the organization finished building a new hall on the east side of Main Street and had the old building demolished.

The Fairfield Historical Society’s 1988 bicentennial history says nothing about brickyards, but it and other sources describe many significant buildings made of brick.

One of the earliest was William and Abigail (Chase) Kendall’s house, built in the 1790s at the intersection of Lawrence Avenue and Newhall Street, a block west of the downtown area that was for years called Kendall’s Mills. The history says the building later housed Bunker’s Seminary, founded about 1857 (see the Oct. 21, 2021, issue of “The Town Line); it served “as a Masonic Lodge and as a boarding house” before it was demolished in the 1890s.

An on-line history says that “The United Boxboard and Paper Company, a three story brick mill complex, was established in 1882 at the northern tip of Mill Island.” (Mill Island is the largest and westernmost of the islands in the Kennebec between Fairfield and Benton.)

This mill provided pulp for paper-making at “the company’s other paper mill at Benton Falls and the Hollingsworth and Whitney Company (later Scott Paper) in Winslow.” The northern end of the island is now the town-owned Mill Island Park, designed by Waterville dentist Steve Kierstead, with walking trails built by the town public works crew and remains of the mill foundations visible here and there.

On Aug. 21, 1883, the bicentennial history says, some of wooden commercial buildings on Main Street burned down. The writers surmise that the fire probably “stimulated the building of the first of the brick blocks” on the street.

The most elaborate downtown brick building is the former Gerald Hotel, opened on June 4, 1900. Designed by Lewiston architect William R. Miller (1866-1929) for Fairfield business magnate Amos Gerald (1841-1913), it is described as “a striking Renaissance Revival structure, with a sophistication of design and decoration not normally found in rural Maine.” The building served as a hotel until 1937, according to the history, and was considered “the most elegant, if not the largest” in New England.

After 1937 the building was for many years home to Northern Mattress and Furniture Company. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2013.

The original Lawrence High School, on High Street, opened in September 1907, is yet another significant brick building in Fairfield (see the Oct. 7, 2021, issue of The Town Line). It is now Fairfield Primary School.

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).
Lepage, Carolyn A., Michael E. Foley and Woodrow B. Thompson, Mining in Maine: Past, Present, and Future (1990) found on line.
Wiggin, Ruby Crosby, Albion on the Narrow Gauge (1964).

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Native Americans – Conclusion

The Kennebec tribe, also known as Norridgewock and Kennebis, was an early Abenaki band who lived in the Kennebec Valley of Maine. Their name comes from the Kennebec River, which was named after the bay it emptied into — kinipek meaning “bay” in the Abenaki language.

by Mary Grow

No historian your writer has found says how many Native Americans lived in the Kennebec River Valley before the Europeans arrived. The Maine Historic Preservation Commission has a document on its website estimating 25,000. Another on-line estimate for Maine and Maritime Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island) says 32,000.

Diseases brought by Europeans in the 1600s reduced the number by at least 70 percent and perhaps by as much as 90 percent. If 25,000 is accurate, a 90 percent reduction would have left only about 2,500 Native Americans in all of Maine.

A later figure comes from Old Fort Western Director Linda Novak’s bicentennial lecture. She said that by 1726, about 40 members of the Kennebec tribe were among an estimated “289 warriors remaining along the Kennebec.”

Beginning early in the 1600s, Europeans extended their clearings and buildings along the river from the coast to, eventually, Moosehead Lake. Because the settlers were moving into land already occupied by Native Americans, and because in general they had no respect for the earlier inhabitants, their advance was intermittently resisted by force. During the series of wars between 1675 and 1763, frontier settlements were repeatedly attacked and wiped out. In intervals of peace, the settlements would be reclaimed and new ones started, always farther up-river.

The story of this European conquest is told by European historians, writing from Samuel de Champlain in the 1600s to the present day. Their histories abound with stories of “savages” behaving savagely, torturing and killing men, women, children and domestic animals indiscriminately.

Nonetheless, most of the historians this writer has read expressed some sympathy for Native Americans. Many, while deploring attacks on European settlers, implied or said that the Europeans started it. The Native Americans were initially friendly, but European arrogance, indifference to indigenous values and occasional acts of violence turned them against the newcomers.

One example widely cited is a story from 1675. British sailors encountered a woman and child in a canoe on the Saco River and deliberately tipped over the canoe, to see whether it was true that Native American children were natural swimmers. The boy drowned; the father, a chief named Squando, not unsurprisingly retaliated against the British.

(In February of this year, the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation gave the Biddeford Culture and Heritage Center [BCHC] a $40,000 grant to help put up a statue of Squando. Peter Scontras, chairman of the BCHC’s Indigenous Peoples Awareness Initiative, said in an email that the statue “acknowledges the correct relationship between Indigenous people and English colonists.”

Total cost is estimated at $150,000. The BCHC is seeking additional funding and an appropriate site in the Biddeford-Saco area. Scontras described preliminary design plans, which he hopes will be final later this summer.

The Portland Press Herald’s and other local newspapers’ February 2022 stories about the statue were picked up by U.S. News and World Report and by The Navajo Times, published in Window Rock, Arizona.)

William D. Williamson, completing his history of Maine in 1832, talked a lot about relations with Native Americans in the first 13 chapters, covering the years from 1691 to 1763.

By 1703, he wrote, the Native Americans realized that the newcomers were overpowering them. “Every hope of enjoying their native land, freed of white men, was full of despondency.”

But his sympathy was definitely mixed. A few lines later, he wrote of the Native Americans, “They made no advancements in mental culture, moral sense, honest industry, or manly enterprize.” Blaming French influence, he referred to depravity, breach of treaties and “a keener appetite…for ardent spirits, for rapine, and for blood.”

Summarizing the situation around 1750, Williamson wrote about the “best and bravest of [British] men” who had died in the wars that had “nearly exterminated” the “savage tribes.” He described the settlers as resolute patriots who, after peace was (temporarily) agreed, “cheerfully returned to their habitations,” beginning a period of piety, harmony and union.

The French, continuing their rivalry with Britain, quickly stirred up more trouble for Maine settlers, and Williamson’s next chapters talked about “barbarians” and their “depredations,” including taking settlers prisoner and killing them.

While lamenting Europeans’ sufferings, Williamson added that 1756 was not a happy year for the Native Americans, either. Describing Maine tribes generally, presumably including the Kennebecs, he referred to their “state of despondency. The French neglected them, and they were wasted by the war, and more by the smallpox, which was destructive among them, as it was in the American camp.”

As British settlement expanded after the 1759 defeat of the French, Williamson implied that the Massachusetts government developed a sense of responsibility for the Native Americans, without considering whether it was welcomed. A new governor, Francis Bernard, was installed in 1760, and Williamson wrote that one of his ideas was to make Fort Halifax one of two “truck houses” to monopolize trade (the other was at Fort Pownal in what is now Stockton Springs, at the mouth of the Penobscot).

Each trading center would have 25 or 30 soldiers, “two chaplains and armorers.” The centers would supply everything the tribes needed, and Bernard expected “favor, presents, and honorable traffic” would win their permanent friendship.

The result Williamson described does not sound friendly. Before the year ended, he wrote, Governor Bernard proposed changing “the laws concerning the Indians” to prevent them from contracting such large debts that they could repay them only by selling themselves or their children; and further, when a Native American violated British rules, to replace fines, “which they can seldom pay” with “corporeal punishment.”

In 1919 Louis Clinton Hatch published a history of Maine that included a chapter on Native Americans, mostly spent delineating the different tribal groups. He gave wars with settlers relatively little attention, preferring to emphasize wars with the Iroquois tribes to the west.

“There is a sentimental tendency to bewail the hard fate of the Indian and to blame the English for exterminating his race,” Hatch wrote. But, he continued, the Abenakis were relocated, not exterminated; and had it not been for the French influence, they would have remained friends with the British, for protection against other tribes and for European goods.

Hatch went on to describe the Maine Native Americans’ way of life, emphasizing how much hard work it required. “The ‘lazy Indian’ is a figment of the white man’s prejudice,” he wrote.

More than 50 years later, Vassalboro local historian Alma Pierce Robbins expressed sympathy for the Kennebecs. In her 1971 bicentennial history, Robbins cited numerous earlier sources on local Native Americans as she summarized the roles of the British and French in stirring animosity in Maine.

One of her sources described the Kennebecs as “sincere and faithful devotees of the Catholic Church.”

Another of her chosen quotations, from Thomas Hutchinson’s 1764 History of Massachusetts, is from a 1688 letter from “Randolph” to William Penn: “These barbarous people, the Indians, were never civilly treated by the late Government, who made it their business to encroach upon their lands, and by degrees to drive them out of it all.”

(The quotation is also found on line on page 574 of Massachusetts clergyman Cotton Mather’s 1702 Magnalia Christi Americana [The Glorious Works of Christ in America], attributed to “our late secretary Randolph.” Edward Randolph held the title of secretary in the Massachusetts colonial administration in the 1680s; Wikipedia says he died in April 1703, but perhaps Mather’s “late” meant only that he was no longer secretary.)

Robbins stated her own view: “There is no doubt that Vassalborough was homeland for Indian tribes from earliest times and they struggled to hold it until they were nearly destroyed. Who can blame them; they knew it for the beautiful land it is.”

Early chapters in the history of Maine edited by Richard W. Judd and others and published in 1995 include Native Americans’ perspectives. Harald E. L. Prins wrote about Europeans dividing tribes against each other and introducing devastating diseases. By the 1670s, he said, tribes in the northeast, including Maine, were tired of British clearing forests, providing liquor and especially allowing their free-roaming cattle to destroy Native American agricultural fields.

David L. Ghere gave a more detailed indictment of British actions, as when he accused British interpreters of deliberately mis-explaining Dummer’s Treaty, signed in July 1727 with Maine and Canadian Wabanaki leaders.

One example: “Wabanaki submission to English rule, for instance, was translated simply as a salute to the Massachusetts governor. Since the governor responded by saluting the Wabanaki leaders, the Indians assumed this indicated equal status and not subjugation.”

After 1727, Ghere wrote, Kennebec Valley Native Americans lost their leading role in wars against the Europeans, as they consolidated farther up the river. In the fighting between 1744 and 1763, Wabanakis from Canada attacked settlers along the Kennebec. Some Kennebecs joined them; other tribal members warned the British of pending attacks.

The building of Forts Halifax and Western in 1754 created “an untenable situation” for the Kennebecs, Ghere wrote, “which resulted in a gradual disintegration of the tribe.” Families deserted the valley to join other bands in Canada or elsewhere in Maine.

After the 1760s, the Kennebecs as a group almost entirely disappear from European historical records. One exception is in Kingsbury’s history, which mentions a French priest named Juniper Berthune who held Catholic services “among the Indians” after the Revolutionary War at a “mass house” on the Sebasticook.

Individual Native Americans associated with the Kennebec Valley get occasional notice, like Natanis, probably a Norridgewock, and Sabatis, perhaps a Passamaquoddy, who were among local guides for General Benedict Arnold’s 1775 expedition to attack Québec.

* * * * * *

Last week’s article ended with the explanation of the heart shape carved into a boulder on the shore of China Lake. In Rufus Jones’ The Romance of the Indian Heart, the carving was attributed to a Kennebec chief named Keriberba, who settled his small band on the west shore of the lake’s east basin after the British destroyed the French mission and Indian settlement at Norridgewock in 1724.

Jones wrote that after the group’s sacred symbol was restored, they lived in peace for a few more years. The British fort at Ticonic, built in 1754, cut off their annual trips back to Norridgewock to raise corn in the cleared fields, but they could still hunt and fish.

Then one day “when Keriberba was now an old chief of seventy-five years,” they saw settlers felling trees on the east shore, in an area where they habitually fished in a brook that ran – and still runs – into the lake. Not long afterward, another family started clearing just north of their village, “and they saw a cow where they had usually looked for deer or for bear.”

According to the China bicentennial history, these settlers were members of the Clark family, from Nantucket via Gardiner, Maine. In Gardiner the Clarks met surveyor John “Black” Jones, who had surveyed around China Lake in 1773; they came to claim lots in the spring and summer of 1774.

The Kennebecs met with the settlers and, despite no common language, enjoyed their popcorn and molasses candy, Jones wrote. But they doubted coexistence was possible.

On Keriberba’s advice, they joined other Abenakis who had migrated to Passamaquoddy Bay.

Jones concluded his story by writing that Quakers from China and Vassalboro used to visit the Passamaquoddies; “one wonders whether any of them then remembered that they too had sprung from the shore of the same lake as their visitors.”

Jones never claimed his story was all true, calling it part history and part imagination; and the China bicentennial history says the explanation of the carved heart in the granite boulder falls into the imagination category. But if the right part is true, this small band from China Lake may have been the last organized group of Kennebecs to leave the central Kennebec Valley.

Main sources

Grow, Mary M., China Maine Bicentennial History including 1984 revisions (1984).
Hatch, Louis Clinton, ed., Maine: A History 1919 ((facsimile, 1974).
Judd, Richard W., Churchill, Edwin A. and Eastman, Joel W., edd., Maine The Pine Tree State from Prehistory to the Present (1995).
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Maine Writers Research Club, Maine Indians in History and Legends (1952).
Robbins, Alma Pierce, History of Vassalborough Maine 1771 1971 n.d. (1971).
Williamson, William D., The History of the State of Maine from its First Discovery, A.D. 1602, to the Separation, A.D. 1820, Inclusive (1832).

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Native Americans – Part 4

Early drawing – An Indian Campsite At The “Rips” On Cobbossee Stream, Maine, Circa 1750.

by Mary Grow

East side of and away from the Kennebec

Last week’s article talked about Native American sites along the Kennebec River between Fairfield and Sidney on the west bank, but the east bank between Ticonic (Winslow) and Cushnoc (Augusta) was skipped for lack of space. This week’s article will remedy the omission by talking about Vassalboro and about sites inland on the east side of the river (as was done for the west side last week).

Vassalboro either was popular with the Kennebec tribe or has been more thoroughly explored than other areas (or both), because various histories mention several areas connected with Native Americans, including at least one Native American burial ground on the Kennebec.

Alma Pierce Robbins, in her Vassalboro history, quoted a historian of the Catholic Church in Maine who claimed Mount Tom was an “Indian Cemetery.” Mount Tom is now in the Annie Sturgis Sanctuary a little north of Riverside, on the section of old Route 201 between the present highway and the river named Cushnoc Road.

Charles E. Nash, in the chapter on Native Americans in Kingsbury’s Kennebec County history, reported a large burial ground north of the mouth of Seven Mile Stream (or Brook), which runs from the southwest corner of Webber Pond to join the Kennebec at Riverside.

Kingsbury himself, in his chapter on Vassalboro, suggested that Robbins’ source and Nash were talking about the same site. Kingsbury wrote that the burial ground was the south side of Mount Tom, “sloping to the brook, on the Sturgis farm.” Artifacts and bones were still “plentiful” there in 1892, he said.

Nash wrote that the Native American name for Seven Mile Brook was Magorgoomagoosuck. James North, in his history of Augusta, spelled it Magorgomagarick.

The pestle was used against the mortar for crushing and grinding and were commonly used for meal preparations such as reducing grain and corn into wheat and meal. Mortar and pestles would have also been used in the preparing of medicine as well as the manufacturing of paint.

An undated on-line copy of a University of Michigan document titled Antiquities of the New England Indians includes descriptions and photographs of a variety of artifacts, including knives, axes and mortars and pestles. The writer explained that mortars and pestles, either wooden or stone, were essential for crushing dried corn kernels.

One pestle that the writer particularly admired came from Vassalboro, and when the description was written it was owned by Kennebec Historical Society. It is now in the Maine State Museum, according to KHS archivist Emily Schroeder.

The pestle is described as 28.5 inches long, made of green slate, topped with a small human head. The illustration shows an almost round head, with oval eyes, a nose indicated by two straight lines with a connecting line at the bottom and a pursed mouth. The writer said the lower half of the pestle was found near Seven Mile Brook; the upper half was found a few miles away four years later, and “The two pieces fitted perfectly together.”

The pestle was broken intentionally, the writer asserted. He wondered whether the destruction of what could be seen as an idol was related to the nearby seventeenth-century Catholic mission.

There are also references to a Native American site farther north along the river, on the section of old Route 201 called Dunham Road.

Robbins wrote that many artifacts had been found on the shores of Webber Pond – so many, she said, that cottages built around 1900 used them as trim around fireplaces.

The major Native American site in Vassalboro located and partly investigated to date was at the outlet of China Lake in East Vassalboro, partly on property on the east side of the foot of the lake and the east bank of Outlet Stream owned for generations by the Cates family. The Vassalboro Historical Society museum in the former East Vassalboro schoolhouse has a room dedicated to information about and artifacts from the site.

According to the exhibit, the area was occupied at least sporadically from 10,000 years ago until Europeans displaced the Native Americans. Different types of tools, weapons and houses are displayed or illustrated and explained. Alewives were harvested at the China Lake outlet 5,000 years ago.

Correspondence on exhibit shows that the Maine Historic Preservation Commission listed the Cates farm site as a protected archaeological site on the Maine Register of Historic Places in the fall of 1989, as requested by George Cates.

The part of China Lake that is in the Town of China was also frequented by Native Americans. The town’s comprehensive plan says the Maine Historic Preservation Commission has found prehistoric sites on two islands in the lake, Indian Island in the east basin and Bradley Island in the west basin (plus one at the north end of Three Mile Pond, and an accompanying map shows a fourth site on Dutton Road). Commission staff think it “highly likely” that there are other sites in town, especially along waterways.

According to the China bicentennial history, the lake was part of one of the Native Americans’ routes inland from the coast in the fall. After final seafood feasts, people would paddle up the Sheepscot to a place about two and a half miles south of China Lake, portage to the south end of the lake and paddle northwest to the outlet in Vassalboro. From there Outlet Stream carried them to the Sebasticook and then to the Kennebec at Ticonic.

The Kennebecs left behind on the west shore of the southern part of the lake’s east basin a heart shape carved into a boulder. World-famous Quaker Rufus Jones, of China, told a story about this carving several times, including as a chapter in Maine Indians in History and Legends.

Jones began by warning readers that his version of The Romance of the Indian Heart is part history and part imagination. He refused to say which was which.

The legend features a Kennebec brave named Keriberba, son of Chief Bomazeen (or Bomaseen, mentioned in the June 9 article in this series), from Norridgewock, and his wife Nemaha, from Pemaquid, whom he met at one of the annual seafood feasts at Damariscotta.

Coming home from the coast, Keriberba, Nemaha and their companions stopped to roast and eat the last clams on the west shore of China Lake’s east basin by “a large sentinel granite rock” from the glacial age. They continued to Norridgewock, where Father Sebastian Rale married them beneath a picture of the Sacred Heart that hung above the altar.

Nemaha immediately organized a group named “The Sisters of the Sacred Heart,” Jones wrote. The women took lessons from Father Rale and hosted an annual feast.

When the British soldiers made their final and successful attack on Norridgewock in August 1724, Keriberba and a few other young men “escaped across the river.” Nemaha grabbed the picture of the Sacred Heart from the church and with others of her sisterhood ran to a secret hiding place in the woods.

The next morning the two groups reunited. After burying Bomazeen, Father Rale and others, they gathered up what the British had left of their belongings and went back to settle at the feasting spot on China Lake.

Jones described the 300-year-old pines that sheltered their wigwams, and the shrine they built for the Sacred Heart picture that became “the center of their religion.” The importance of the picture was reinforced when, one evening, Keriberba called across the lake, “Le sacré Coeur,” (“the sacred heart” in Father Rale’s native French). His words echoed back to him across the water.

Jones wrote that he too had experienced the echo, from the place on the shore that repeats whole sentences. But to the Kennebecs, it seemed to be the voice of the Great Spirit. From then on, Keriberba called every evening and they were comforted by the reply.

Jones described years of living in peace, traveling to Norridgewock to grow corn (because they could not clear enough land by the lake), hunting deer, moose and an occasional bear, importing clams that fed muskrats (both edible), netting and smoking alewives. As children were born and grew up, the group became larger.

One night, a storm destroyed the Sacred Heart shrine and blew the picture into the lake, where it turned to pulp. The next day, Keriberba began carving a recreation of the sacred heart into the granite rock.

When his picture was finished, the group feasted and danced until late at night. Before they went to bed, Keriberba stood beside his carving and shouted, “Le sacré coeur” – and the words came back just as they should.

There is a little more to Jones’ story; it will be continued next week.

* * * * * *

Your writer has found only bits and pieces of information about Native Americans in the areas now included in the towns of Albion, Clinton and Palermo, and nothing from Windsor.

The 2004 report on the archaeological survey around Unity Wetlands and along the Sheepscot River, reprinted on line and mentioned last week, cited a person named Willoughby who, in a 1986 publication, described one pre-European relic from Albion. The reference is to “an isolated Indian artifact recovered by a farmer in the town of Albion – a ‘mask-like sculpture’ of sandstone with pecked and incised eyes, mouth, and other facial lines. It is unclear if the portable rock sculpture was found within the Unity Wetlands study area or simply nearby.”

A photo of what is almost certainly the same sculpture, described as “found while digging potatoes in Albion, Maine” appears in the on-line Antiquities of the New England Indians. The writer described the head as sandstone, about 10 inches long by two inches thick at the thickest point.

The writer continued, “Its natural smooth surface was used for the face, and the rougher fractured surface of the back was smoothed by pecking.” The face tapers to a chin; ears round out on either side; two small round dark eyes each has a circular outline; a smaller dark circle represents the nose; and parallel horizontal lines make a slightly off-center mouth.

The writer described traces of red pigment on the front and yellow pigment on the back. He surmised the effigy came from a grave.

Clinton’s 2006 comprehensive plan says the Maine Historic Preservation Commission had found four prehistoric sites within the town boundaries, one on the Kennebec River, one on the Sebasticook River and two on Carrabassett Stream. Commission staff suggested waterside archaeological surveys. The 2021 plan gives no new information.

Palermo historian Millard Howard doubted there were permanent Native settlements within the boundaries of present-day Palermo, either before or after 1763, because, he wrote, most settlements were on rivers like the Kennebec or the lower Sheepscot.

Kerry Hardy’s map of Native American trails converging on Cushnoc shows one from the coast near Rockland that crosses the east branch of the Sheepscot River a little north of Sheepscot Pond, about where Route 3 now runs east-west a bit south of the middle of town.

Linwood Lowden began his history of the Town of Windsor with the first European settlers. Because the Sheepscot River running out of Long Pond is in southeastern Windsor, including the junction of Travel Brook, it seems likely that parts of the town would have been at least a Native American travel route, if not home to settlements.

Main sources

Grow, Mary M. China, Maine Bicentennial History including 1984 revisions (1984).
Hardy, Kerry, Notes on a Lost Flute: A Field Guide to the Wabanaki (2009).
Howard, Millard, An Introduction to the Early History of Palermo, Maine (second edition, December 2015).
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Maine Writers Research Club, Maine Indians in History and Legends (1952).
Robbins, Alma Pierce, History of Vassalborough Maine 1771 1971 n.d. (1971).

Websites, miscellaneous.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Native Americans – Part 3

A sketch of the Kennebec tribe settling along the Kennebec River. (Internet photo)

by Mary Grow

Three local settlements

The Kennebec tribe’s village at Cushnoc (a word that means head of tide, most historians agree) was on high ground on the east bank of the Kennebec River in what is now Augusta, about 20 miles south Ticonic village (described last week).

Leon Cranmer, in his Cushnoc, pointed out that the high land provided views of river traffic both upstream and down and offered some protection against attack. Canoes could land in a cove at the foot of the bank (now, he wrote, a park and boat landing).

Charles E. Nash, in his chapters on Augusta in Henry Kingsbury’s Kennebec County history, wrote that Cushnoc village had wigwams, cultivated cornfields and open space for young men to practice “wrestling, running and dancing.”

Kerry Hardy, in a nicely-illustrated 2009 book titled Notes on a Lost Flute: A Field Guide to the Wabanaki, argued that Cushnoc was the west end of an important Native American trail that ran from the present town of Stockton Springs near the mouth of the Penobscot River (almost due east of Cushnoc) to the head of tide on the Kennebec River.

Looking at old maps, Hardy traced that east-west trail and found others that converged on Cushnoc, coming from present-day Rockland (on the coast to the southeast), Canton Point (on the Androscoggin River to the northwest) and Farmington Falls (on the Sandy River to the north).

Unfortunately, Hardy did not explain why Cushnoc was the center of a Native American communications network. Instead, he summarized the importance of the British trading post established there (as at Ticonic; and, as at Ticonic, the site of the trading post was later chosen for a fort).

Cranmer offered the theory that Cushnoc was a convenient mid-way place for Native Americans traveling between Canada and the coast to branch off to other parts of Maine.

During archaeological excavations around the trading post site between 1974 and 1987, Cranmer wrote, more than 17,500 artifacts were found, mostly signs of European rather than Native American habitation.

He specifically mentioned a few stone flakes left over as Kennebecs made their edged tools; a stone projectile point that appears from its photograph to be in excellent condition and could be anywhere from 2,200 to 6,000 years old; and a bit of pottery, the remains of what Cranmer called an Iroquoian-like jug or bowl.

If there was a Native American burial ground associated with Cushnoc, this writer has been unable to find a reference to it. J. W. Hanson, in an 1852 history of the area found on line, claimed that “the quiet graves of their [Kennebec tribal members’] fathers clustered around the mouth of each tributary to their beloved river,” but he offered no specific location.

The first British trader at Cushnoc was Edward Winslow from the Plymouth Colony in 1625, Nash wrote (or in 1628, according to Old Fort Western Director Linda Novak’s bicentennial lecture). He and successors traded European goods for Native American products, primarily beaver skins.

By the 1650s, trade and profits were diminishing, Nash said. In 1661 the Plymouth group sold the trading post to four other Europeans, who gave up and closed the operation about 1665.

Novak blamed the decline in trade at Cushnoc on rival traders Thomas Clark and Thomas Lake, who opened competing posts both upriver at Ticonic and downriver near current Pittston. James W. North, in his history of Augusta, blamed “growing Indian troubles” for the decline and said war was the final blow (the first war counted by historians, writing primarily from the Anglo-American point of view, started in 1675).

North listed other problems in the 1650s, including a decrease in fur-bearing animals, the Kennebecs’ recognition that the furs were more valuable than the goods offered in exchange and “the increasing number and avaricious disposition of the traders.”

Cranmer added two more problems that could have contributed to a smaller supply of furs: British settlements expanding into woodlands, and attacks on Maine Native Americans by Iroquois tribes from the northwest (current upstate New York and thereabouts).

In 1655, the governor of the Plymouth Colony appointed Captain Constant Southworth as magistrate at Cushnoc, responsible for administering civil law throughout the colony’s holdings. He had two main jobs, Nash wrote: to prevent other traders from trespassing and “to check the sale of demoralizing liquors to the Indians.”

Nash commented that Joseph Beane or Bane, an Englishman held captive by the Native Americans, reported that remains of the Cushnoc trading post were still visible “among the new-grown trees and shrubbery” in 1692. Novak, however, says the post was burned in 1676, during the first of the serial wars. Either account suggests the Kennebecs had no interest in using the building.

North wrote that the 1725-1744 interregnum in the Kennebec Valley wars was a genuine peace, during which the Kennebecs interacted peacefully with the British traders, who he suggested treated them fairly and even generously, and with early settlers. In 1732, Massachusetts Governor Jonathan Belcher and “a large retinue” toured the coastal settlements. The governor met with an unspecified group of Native Americans at Falmouth, and told them that he planned to establish three missionary stations in the province, one to be at Cushnoc, “where a town and church were about to be built.”

North offered no evidence of such a town, or of any pacifying influence from missionaries, before the final defeat of the French at Québec in 1759. Instead, continued Native American resistance delayed the growth of European settlements around Cushnoc for another generation.

* * * * * *

Besides the settlements at Ticonic/Winslow and Cushnoc/Augusta, Kennebec tribal members lived elsewhere along the Kennebec River, its tributaries and other nearby water bodies. Some of the town histories on which this writer relies describe evidences of pre-European occupation from Fairfield and Benton through Waterville/Winslow and Vassalboro/Sidney to Augusta.

The current Town of Benton has frontage on the Kennebec River, and the Sebasticook River runs (almost) north-south through (almost) the middle of town. The Sebasticook, like the Kennebec, was a major travel route for Native Americans.

Benton historian Barbara Warren says because of the rapids in the Kennebec above Ticonic (until Waterville manufacturers’ dams calmed them, beginning in 1792), upriver travel was via the Sebasticook to Benton Falls, about five miles upstream from the Kennebec, and a portage back to the Kennebec at Fairfield. The Sebasticook was also a connector between the Kennebec and Penobscot valleys, according to another source.

Kingsbury wrote that “the relics found many years ago at the foot of the hill overlooking Benton Falls are now the only traces of the original possessors of the soil.” The “hill” – high land – is the east bank of the river where Garland Road runs through Benton Falls Village. Warren remembers as a child walking along the river and finding artifacts like shards, grinding tools and “a stone weight for a fishing net.”

Warren says a state-listed archaeological site on the west side of the Sebasticook near the dam includes a burial ground. State preservation officials are protecting the exact location of the site. Your writer surmises there was a Kennebec village, at least seasonally for fishing and perhaps year-round for farming and hunting, on the east bank with the burial ground across the river, as at Ticonic.

A 1992 University of Maine at Farmington study of the banks of the lower Sebasticook, between the dams at Benton Falls and Fort Halifax, found 30 archaeological sites along that part of the river, dating from the Archaic period (in Maine, between 10,000 and 3,000 years ago, according to Wikipedia) and the early contact period in the 1600s.

A 2004 archaeological survey related to the Unity Wetlands covered the banks of the Sebasticook in Unity and a small part of Benton and found 16 riverside Native American sites. Ten of the sites were either near rapids or near a junction with a tributary stream.

In the 2004 study, the site at Benton Falls was described as having been used during the Archaic and Ceramic periods. Wikipedia says in Maine, the Ceramic period was between 3,000 and 500 years ago, or from about 1000 B.C. to about 1500 A.D.

Both the Farmington study and a Biodiversity Research Institute publication by C. R. DeSorbo and J. Brockway, found on line, mention pre-European fisheries for migrating river herring. Warren says there is evidence suggesting Native Americans built a two-tier stone fish trap where Outlet Stream from China Lake runs into the Sebasticook in Winslow, within a mile of the Kennebec.

In neither Benton nor Fairfield are there well-known evidences of pre-European settlement along the Kennebec. The Fairfield bicentennial history says Native Americans made arrowheads in an area called the sand hills in Larone, in northern Fairfield. Evidence cited included arrowheads, broken and unbroken, and chips from making the arrowheads (although collectors had picked up most of the chips).

The type of rock used to make the arrowheads was not found locally, the writers said. They surmised the Native Americans brought the rock from Moosehead.

In Alice Hammond’s 1992 history of the Town of Sidney, she quoted Dr. Arthur Speiss, of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, saying there had been Native Americans in Sidney since “at least 5,000 years ago.” By 1992, Hammond wrote, the Historic Preservation Commission had found 11 pre-European sites along the Kennebec River and eight along Messalonskee Lake’s eastern shore.

The Town of Sidney’s 2003 comprehensive plan gives the number of pre-historic sites as 23. Maps show four areas along the Kennebec and three more on Messalonskee Lake. The plan explains that the exact locations are not publicized to protect the areas.

Hammond wrote that there was no valid way to estimate how many Native Americans lived in Sidney, nor are there individuals’ names or information on when the last groups left. She surmised they could have been gone by the 1740s.

Sidney does, however, have its legend, retold in Hammond’s history and in other sources, including Maine Indians in History and Legend.

According to that version, Messalonskee Lake is named from the Native American word “Muskalog,” or “Giant Pike,” a big, voracious fish that lived in the lake. The name further recognizes that 14 other water bodies empty into the lake, “which like the Giant Pike was never satisfied.”

A heroic brave named Black Hawk and a sneaky brave named Red Wolf both loved a lovely, lively maiden named White Fawn. White Fawn chose Black Hawk.

The evening they were formally engaged, White Fawn and Black Hawk stole away from the celebration for some private moments on a clifftop overlooking Messalonskee Lake. Red Wolf followed them, killed Black Hawk, whose body fell into the lake, and tried to kidnap White Fawn.

Screaming, she jumped from the cliff into the water. The rest of the tribe rushed to the scene. Red Wolf cried out “Messalonskee! Messalonskee!” As the avengers closed in on him, there was an earthquake and an avalanche swept him, too, into the ever-hungry lake.

Series of lectures available online

A series of 10 lectures on early Maine history presented at Old Fort Western in 2021 is now available for viewing on line. Topics include Native Americans, Fort Western and Fort Halifax and trading posts on the Kennebec River. Speakers include Dr. Arthur Speiss and Leon Cranmer, mentioned in this article. The series can be found by searching for Old Fort Western or Maine bicentennial lectures.

Main sources

Cranmer, Leon E., Cushnoc: The History and Archaeology of Plymouth Colony Traders on the Kennebec (1990).
DeSorbo, C. R. and J. Brockway, The Lower Sebasticook River: A landowner’s guide for supporting one of Maine’s most unique and important ecosystems. (2018).
Fairfield Historical Society, Fairfield, Maine 1788-1988 (1988).
Hammond, Alice, History of Sidney Maine 1792-1992 (1992).
Hardy, Kerry, Notes on a Lost Flute: A Field Guide to the Wabanaki (2009).
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Maine Writers Research Club, Maine Indians in History and Legends (1952).
North, James W., The History of Augusta (1870)
Warren, Barbara, email exchange.

Websites, miscellaneous.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Native Americans – Part 2

The British execution of Father Sebastian Rale

by Mary Grow

(Read part 1 of this series here.)

Earlier articles in this series have identified the Kennebec River Valley as a throughway connecting the coast and the St. Lawrence River, used by, among others, Benedict Arnold going north to attack Québec in 1775 and Canadians coming south to find jobs in Maine in the 19th century. According to Charles E. Nash’s chapter on the Abenakis in Kingsbury’s Kennebec County history, the route was well-traveled long before the Europeans arrived.

Nash wrote that for the Kennebec tribe of the Kennebec Valley, “The river was their highway and its banks their home.” He described a nomadic life varying seasonally with food resources.

In the winter, he wrote, families moved to the head of the river at Moosehead Lake, where they hunted moose, deer and caribou and caught trout through the ice. When the game animals left their winter yards, the Native Americans loaded their canoes and headed downriver.

They would stop along the way, Nash wrote, especially at waterfalls and at river junctions where migrating salmon and river herring assembled. Usually, their journeys ended at Merrymeeting Bay, where they and other groups spent the summer feasting on fish and shellfish.

Nash described canoes skimming down descending rapids and being carried around those too swift to run. He did not mention the autumn upstream journey, which must have been more difficult.

Along the way, the same camping places were used over and over, to the point where permanent traces were left. Nash described evidence of tool-making and of campfires still visible when the Kennebec County history was published in 1892.

“Flint and stone chippings, with arrow-heads and other articles in all stages of manufacture” were common. The slate used for the tools came from Mount Kineo, near Moosehead Lake, he said.

Nash also wrote, “Many spots where wigwam fires once glowed are yet marked by burned and crumbling stones and by fragments of the earthen vessels in which the feasts were cooked.”

Such “relic places” are spread from Moosehead Lake to Popham Beach, Nash wrote, “but they are almost continuous on the alluvial banks between Augusta and Waterville, which seems to have been a favorite resort or metropolis of the tribe.”

Nash wrote that there were no permanent villages along the river, but other sources list three places that seem to have been inhabited most, if not all, of the year: Norridgewock; Cushnoc, on the east bank of the river in Augusta; and Ticonic, at the junction of the Sebasticook and Kennebec rivers, in Winslow.

Norridgewock, too far north to be part of this series, was dominated by the French; the British built trading posts and later forts at Ticonic and Cushnoc.

An on-line article calls Ticonic, or Teconnet Village, the “ancestral home” of the Kennebec tribe; or, according to an 1852 history by J. W. Hanson also found on line, of the Teconnet clan of the Kennebec tribe.

Kingsbury considered this junction of two major rivers a natural place for a Native American village. “It was easy of access, renowned for fish and game – just the spot for camp and council, for traffic and recreation.”

An on-line history of Waterville says the village “was estimated to be the second largest Native American settlement in Maine at the time of the first European visitors.” (The article does not name the largest.)

Two sources agree that the burying ground associated with the village was on the west side of the Kennebec. An on-line history says it extended from contemporary Temple Street to the Lockwood/Hathaway mill complex.

Kingsbury wrote the lot that was by 1892 Lockwood Park (near the Lockwood Mill at the northern end of present-day Water Street) had been the site of sequential hotels after the 1840s, until the final building became a tenement and was demolished.

As the site was cleared, he said, workers found “many human bones” indicating the burial site. One of the skeletons was in a sitting position and surrounded by “over 300 copper beads about the size of a straw, from two to three inches long, and punctured from end to end.”

A Native American village attracted British traders. Kingsbury wrote that a 1719 survey showed a building on the southeast side of the Sebasticook-Kennebec junction labeled as a trading house built by Christopher Lawson, dated Sept. 10, 1653.

Lawson had acquired the land from the chief called Kennebis in 1649. In 1653 he “assigned” it to Clark & Lake, a trading company mentioned in various histories.

By 1675, Kingsbury wrote, “Richard Hammond, an ancient trader, and Clark & Lake each had a trading house at Ticonic.” ((In his history of Augusta, James W. North accuses Hammond of stealing the Kennebecs’ furs.)

By then, too, although the British were theoretically not allowed to furnish either guns or liquor to Native Americans, tribes had become dependent on guns for hunting. Williamson wrote that the Kennebecs were starving, because the British had driven them from their corn fields and had denied them hunting supplies.

Williamson described an early 1676 meeting at Ticonic between British representatives and tribal chiefs, who asked for powder and ammunition. The British denied the request, saying they feared the Kennebecs would hand them on to tribes farther west who were on the warpath. So, Mitchell said, the Kennebecs attacked the British settlers, beginning the first of the series of wars that lasted from 1675 until 1759.

In 1676, the Native Americans killed Hammond and Lake, Kingsbury wrote. They evidently seized the buildings, rather than burning them, because various sources refer to Europeans being sent as captives to a Native American “fort” at Ticonic in the 1780s and 1690s. This fort was burned in 1692, one source says, by the Kennebecs.

This first war ended with a peace treaty that Harry Edward Mitchell, author of a 1904 Winslow Register found on line, called temporary, because “The two races were naturally repellant.” War did indeed resume, with occasional intervals of peace. Europeans, their livestock and their pets were killed, their homes and farms were destroyed or abandoned; but they always came back.

One pause in the fighting followed a major meeting of Native Americans and British at Casco (Portland) in 1702. Mitchell listed three Kennebec chiefs named Bomaseen, Captain Sam and Moxus among those present.

Bomaseen or Bomazeen appears in multiple histories, identified as a Norridgewock chief, shot by the British in 1724. Captain Samuel, whose real name is given on line as Wedaranaquin, was a Kennebec or Norridgewock leader, born before 1680 and maybe died in 1722; he is described as “an orator” at the 1702 Casco conference. Moxus was, or might have been, Bomaseen’s son, born before 1660 and died about 1721, according to other on-line sources; one says he was a Penobscot leader and by 1701 leader of the Norridgewock group.

A European peace in 1713 meant an interval of peace in the Kennebec Valley and the rest of Maine, during which more settlers moved in, basing their land claims on “deeds” given them by natives who had not yet learned concepts of individual ownership.

A 1717 British attack on Norridgewock, by then home to Father Sebastien Rale, who was highly esteemed by the Kennebecs, brought open warfare again, Mitchell wrote.

In August 1724, the British succeeded in killing Rale, and on their way to Norridgewock, Bomaseen. Rale’s death ended the Kennebecs’ participation in wars against British settlers, Mitchell said. He described subsequent “minor conflicts” in the Kennebec Valley as “of little importance,” though people continued to die for another three decades.

In the spring of 1754, the Massachusetts General Court ordered a new fort on the point between the Sebasticook and the Kennebec at Ticonic to deter the French and protect the British settlers. Major General John Winslow and soldiers, Governor William Shirley and other authorities met with local chiefs late in June and told them the plan.

Williamson wrote in his history of Maine that the chiefs were opposed, until the Massachusetts delegation showed them documents by which their forebears had ceded the land. They then signed a treaty and celebrated with a dance before all, except three young men, went back to their villages.

Two days later a group of Penobscots met with the Massachusetts delegation to sign the treaty. Two of their young men also stayed behind, and, Williamson wrote, “the five were sent to Boston to be educated.” He said nothing more about them.

The British soldiers then built Fort Halifax. It was finished Sept. 3, 1754, and the Governor, who had been visiting Falmouth and surrounding towns, came upriver for an inspection. Mitchell said that the governor “very highly complimented General Winslow and his men.”

The inspection must have been hurried, however, because Williamson wrote that Shirley continued upriver from Ticonic as far as Norridgewock and was back in Boston Sept. 9.

The Massachusetts General Court promptly authorized funds to supply the fort and buy gifts for the Kennebecs, Williamson said. The gifts were recalled, because on Nov. 6, 1754, the Fort Halifax garrison sent Governor Shirley the news that Native Americans had attacked a party of soldiers outside the fort, killing one and taking four prisoners.

Williamson did not suggest what reason the Natives Americans might have had. From the British point of view, his words were “outrage” and “base and cruel treachery.” He added that efforts to ransom the prisoners were counterproductive, because they encouraged more kidnapping to collect more ransoms.

The Nov. 6 attack marked the beginning of the French and Indian War, the last of the long series. Tribal warriors attacked throughout the Kennebec Valley. Williamson mentioned one man (probably a soldier, though he did not specify) shot at Ticonic in 1755 and another “taken” on his way north to Fort Halifax.

The Kennebecs saw Fort Halifax as “an object of great affront and hatred,” Williamson wrote. In 1756, they shot and killed two soldiers “catching fish at the falls.”

Mitchell agreed, recording that “No man was safe if he ventured beyond the limits of the fortifications. Several were mortally wounded by the Indians.” The last attack, he wrote, was on May 18, 1757.

Captain Lithgow, in charge of Fort Halifax, had noticed rafts floating down the Kennebec, deduced that warriors had crossed and were making their way downstream by land and sent ten soldiers downriver to warn settlers. As the men came back, they were ambushed near Riverside. They resisted so effectively that the Kennebecs fled.

The cost was two soldiers wounded, one Kennebec killed and one wounded, Mitchell said. And, he concluded, the “skirmish” at Riverside was “the final shot of the redman, as a tribe, in this region.”

Settlers continued to use the name Ticonic, misplaced, for the west side of the Kennebec River after Winslow was created as a town (including present-day Waterville) in 1771. After Waterville became a separate town on June 23, 1802, Kingsbury wrote that Asa Redington, convening the first Waterville town meeting, called on voters to assemble “in the public meeting house in Ticonic village on Monday, July26, 1802.”

The name Ticonic endures today, as in Waterville’s Ticonic Street and Ticonic Bridge (scheduled for replacement by 2026).

Main sources

Davis, B. V., and Harry Edward Mitchell, The Winslow Register 1904 (1904) (found on line; also available as a paperback book).
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Williamson, William D., The History of the State of Maine from its First Discovery, A.D. 1602, to the Separation, A.D. 1820, Inclusive Vol. II (1832).

Websites, miscellaneous.

Next week: another major Native America village, at Cushnoc, and more incomplete evidence from elsewhere in the central Kennebec Valley.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Native Americans – Part 1

This model and an inscription of a typical Abenaki encampment can be viewed at Nowetah’s Indian Museum, in New Portland.

by Mary Grow

Logically, your writer should have started this series on the history of the central Kennebec Valley with the first human inhabitants, the groups once called Indians and now more commonly called Native Americans.

Your writer is a coward. She did not want to take on a topic about which there is no contemporary written evidence and limited later evidence.

However, in collecting information for the series it has become clear that reliable, unbiased and uncontradicted evidence is in short supply on most topics. Therefore, it is time to write about prehistoric – or better, pre-European-historic – Native American life in the central Kennebec Valley. Readers are hereby warned that everything written, no matter how authoritative the source sounds, might be wrong.

There are two areas to research: reports on archaeological excavations and interpretations of the findings; and written records by 16th and 17th European explorers, missionaries, traders and the like, as edited by later historians.

The archaeological record is incomplete in two ways: a vast amount of evidence of the way people live does not survive for hundreds of years; and modern archaeologists have found only small samples of what did survive. Nor have they necessarily correctly interpreted their findings.

Written records, too, have an interpretation problem. Europeans arriving on the coast and moving inland viewed a very different culture through their own cultural lens. Some wanted to denigrate the indigenous people, others to glorify them, and even those who intended to be purely descriptive could not necessarily understand what they were seeing.

This article will present an arbitrarily-chosen triple overview: linguistic issues; a brief and incomplete description of Native American life in Maine; and comments on relations between Maine’s Native Americans and European settlers. A subsequent article (or articles) will discuss what is known and surmised about pre-contact Native Americans in the central Kennebec Valley.

The linguistic issue involves tribal names and their spellings. The Native Americans lacked a written language, so Europeans transcribed the sounds they heard in a variety of ways.

Further, they applied them differently. Ernest Marriner wrote in Kennebec Yesterdays that the Native Americans did not give names to large areas of land or water, but only to specific smaller places, like a section of a river. The word “Kennebec” is indigenous; “Kennebec River” is European.

The Native Americans who were living in the Kennebec River Valley when the Europeans began arriving were a tribe whose name is commonly spelled Kennebec. Other spellings, listed in various sources, have included Caniba, Kenabe, Kennebeck, Kinibeki, Kinipekw, Quinebequi, Quinibequi and Quinibequy.

The last three are allegedly French explorer Samuel de Champlain’s spellings. Henry Kingsbury, in his Kennebec County history, wrote that Quinibequi was the French spelling of a Native American word, Kinai-bik, that meant “monster.” It referred to an underwater monster whose movements supposedly caused the dangerously turbulent water Native Americans encountered in the winding passage between Bath and Sheepscot Bay, where river water met tidewater.

Kingsbury and William Williamson, in his Maine history, each mentioned a Native American chief named Kennebis, who in 1649 “conveyed” to Europeans an area as far up the Kennebec River as Ticonic Falls.

Ticonic (or Teconnet) is another Native American name that is still in common use. Kingsbury said “Ticonic” was the name for the place where the Sebasticook River flows into the Kennebec, and also for the rapids a short distance upstream.

Another lasting name is Cushnoc (Cusenage in the 1650s, according to Kingsbury, or Cushenock in the 1690s, according to one of Williamson’s sources). Several historians agree it comes from a Native American word that means the place where the tide stops flowing upstream, as on the Kennebec at Augusta.

The Kennebecs were among several subtribes of the Eastern Abenaki (or Abenaque, Abenaqui, Abnaki, Abnakki, Abinaki, Alnôbak), also called the People of the Dawn. The Abenaki were one of several groups of Algonquian-speaking Native Americans who lived in what are now the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada.

Before Europeans arrived, the Kennebecs and related tribes lived off the land. Houses, tools and utensils, clothing and weapons were made of materials like wood; stone; grasses that could be woven; and animal hides, antlers and other useful parts.

Food came from hunting and trapping, fishing, collecting berries, nuts and other wild edibles and to a lesser extent growing crops. Multiple sources list the principal crops as corn, beans, squash and smoking tobacco. Some add potatoes, pumpkins and other vegetables.

Hunting weapons included lances and spears made of wood with sharpened stone points. Chert, a fine-grained, hard rock related to flint, was the preferred material for points.

Historians describe houses as oval or round, made of different materials depending partly on whether use was seasonal or year-round. One common type was the teepee or wigwam, constructed of branches slanting upward and tied at the top. Animal hides or mats woven from plant fibers covered the outside to keep out wind and water. Year-round houses might have floors of gravel sunk below ground level.

Warmth came from a fire pit, central or near the doorway. Smoke went out through a hole in the roof where the branches met. Mats or animal skins lined the lower part of the inside and covered the benches along the walls for warmth and comfort.

Native Americans traveled on foot on land, aided by snowshoes in the winter; there is no record of use of horses or similar animals or wheeled vehicles. Water travel was in dugouts and later in birchbark canoes.

Many people traveled; for example, seasonal camps would be set up on rivers and streams, including in the Kennebec Valley, in spring when river herring and salmon were migrating and on the coast in the summer.

The first Europeans began ascending the Kennebec in the 1620s. After about half a century of reasonably peaceful relationships, war broke out between the Native Americans and the English settlers. The wars that make up the Second Hundred Years War between Britain and France were fought mainly in Europe; they overflowed into the colonies, where they merged with local issues.

Williamson and Robert P. Tristram Coffin (in his Kennebec Cradle of Americans) each counted six separate wars, starting in the 1670s and ending in the 1760s. The British conquest of Québec in 1759, made permanent in the 1763 Treaty of Paris, eliminated France’s role in the northeastern United States.

Cranmer, in his Cushnoc, and the unnamed authors of The Wabanakis of Maine and the Maritimes added local reasons for hostility, based on major cultural differences. The latter writers said that the Native Americans lived in a world of abundance – except, sometimes, in late winter when stored food supplies ran low, they had all they needed and shared generously.

Williamson agreed, describing a community in which accumulating property was neither praised nor practiced, no one stole and trade was fair. Instead, the Native Americans valued and helped other people, whether neighbors or strangers.

(These historians, and others, did not glorify the Native Americans, however. Their vindictiveness against those who offended them and their cruelties in war were described in terms sadly reminiscent of the present day.)

When the first trading posts opened, the English needed the indigenous people. In addition to acquiring furs to sell, traders needed help getting food and shelter in this new environment; and the Native Americans extended their sharing to the invaders.

From the traders, the Native Americans accepted materials that made their lives easier, like metal instead of stone tools. As time went on, Cranmer said, they abandoned their old skills and became increasingly dependent on imports, and therefore on the importers. The result of the reversed relationship was complicated by the introduction of firearms and liquor, and led to the Native Americans beginning to resent the in-comers.

Resentment increased, Cranmer and other historians wrote, as the English imposed their ideas, especially the totally foreign idea of individual land ownership. British settlers cut down trees, built houses and fenced gardens and cattle pens, eliminating habitat for game animals and making traditional foods less available.

Their holdings cut off access to rivers, and they punished Native Americans who trespassed on land they claimed. Further, they captured Native Americans to sell as slaves, and killing a Native American was not a crime. One historian said scalping was practiced in Maine by Europeans and Native Americans alike.

A major effect of the arrival of Europeans was the spread of European diseases – measles, chicken pox, smallpox, influenza and many others – against which Native Americans had no immunity. In the 17th century, thousands died. The writers of The Wabanakis explained that with elimination of entire families and even entire villages, deaths of leaders and discrediting of shamans (curers or “medicine men”), native governmental and social structures were disrupted.

Williamson wrote (rather arrogantly) that “In the first settlement of this country, the judicious management of the natives was an art of great importance.” The British weren’t very good at it, he said.

But, Williamson wrote, the French, “by a condescension and familiarity peculiar to their character,” did better in making friends and allies. Other historians agree that the French who came south from Québec were generally respectful of Native Americans. Coffin wrote that unlike most of the British, the French intermarried with Native Americans.

Another reason for French popularity was their willingness to sell firearms to Native Americans, who found them useful for hunting. British traders were strictly forbidden to arm Native Americans, lest the arms be turned against them (though the prohibition was not always obeyed).

Additionally, French Catholic priests were welcomed, notably the succession of able men who served at Norridgewock, like the Jesuits Father Gabriel Dreuillettes (1610-1681) and Father Sebastien (or Sebastian) Rasle (or Rale, Ralle, Rasles) (1652-1724). These men came as friends, not masters, and several historians say Catholicism fitted readily into the indigenous way of life.

Consequently, when wars spread from Europe to the budding colonies along the Maine coast and tributary rivers, most Native Americans sided with the French, with disastrous results for early British settlers on the Kennebec. The removal of French influence, and the effective destruction of Native Americans in the Kennebec Valley, made the region safe for British expansion.

Cushnoc Trading Post replica planned

Illustration of Cushnoc Trading Post

An article by Chris Bouchard in the May 29 issue of the Kennebec Journal announced that leaders of Old Fort Western have started raising money to build a replica of the Cushnoc Trading Post.

Bouchard quoted museum director and curator Linda Novak as saying the replica will be built behind the fort. The original site was nearby on what is now the lawn of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, at 6 Williams Street.

The reconstructed building is to be “a post and beam structure with earthfast construction.” Novak explained that “earthfast” means no foundation; “the vertical roof-bearing posts will come in direct contact with the ground.” The floor will be either planks or dirt.

Because the trading post will be open to the public, Novak said, it must include anachronistic elements required by contemporary building codes, like fire alarms and a sprinkler system.

The fund-raising goal is $250,000, and the preferred deadline is 2026, to allow Novak and supporters to buy special Canadian lumber that needs to be dried for two years and to open the new trading post in 2028, the year Novak calls the 400th anniversary of the original.

In December 2021, former Augusta Mayor David Rollins proclaimed 2022 The Year of the Fort. His proclamation, a history of the fort and much more information can be found on line by searching for Old Fort Western.

Main sources

American Friends Service Committee, The Wabanakis of Maine and the Maritimes (1989).
Coffin, Robert P. Tristram, Kennebec Cradle of Americans (1937).
Cranmer, Leon E., Cushnoc: The History and Archaeology of Plymouth Colony Traders on the Kennebec (1990).
Hatch, Louis Clinton, ed., Maine: A History (1919; facsimile, 1974).
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Marriner, Ernest, Kennebec Yesterdays (1954).
Williamson, William D., The History of the State of Maine from its First Discovery, A.D. 1602, to the Separation, A.D. 1820, Inclusive Vol. I and Vol. II (1832).

Websites, miscellaneous.

Read part 2 of this series here.