Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Early Augusta Families – Part 1

Lt. Samuel Howard (left), Capt. William Lithgow (right)

by Mary Grow

The three people whose diaries Charles Nash excerpted in his 1904 Augusta history, and who provided old weather records for last week’s article, were members of some of the first families to settle in the area.

Martha Ballard came to Hallowell in October 1777, two years after her husband Ephraim brought his surveying business to the area. Henry Sewall came “after the Revolution,” Daniel Cony in 1778.

An even earlier arrival was Captain James Howard, Fort Western’s first commander in 1754, who, historian James North said, “may be considered the first settler at Cushnoc.”

The Ballard, Cony, Howard and Sewall families were all large. They were mutually acquainted, sometimes intermarried. Martha’s diary is filled with accounts of delivering babies and attending funerals of members of all four families. No doubt the interactions that have survived in the historical record are only a small part of their neighborly and familial relations.

This week’s article is about the Howards. Next week or weeks, Ballards, Sewalls and Conys. When readers find the Howard family confusing, please do not blame your writer; blame them for re-using the same names – especially Samuel – in each generation.

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James North wrote in his 1870 Augusta history that James Howard (1702 – May 14, 1787) was one of a group of Scotch Protestants who came to Boston and then settled, in April 1735, on the St. George River, east of the Kennebec.

The settlement dissolved in 1745, when most of the men joined the expedition that captured Louisbourg, the French fort on Cape Breton Island, during King George’s War (1744-1748). North wrote that Howard came back to the St. George’s settlement in 1749; in 1754, Massachusetts Governor William Shirley put him in charge of newly-built Fort Western.

Another of the St. George settlers was James’ brother, Lieutenant Samuel Howard, who also moved to the Kennebec in 1754 and served under Captain William Lithgow at Fort Halifax. Lithgow’s sister Margaret became his wife, and after the French and Indian wars ended they moved downriver to Cushnoc, where he died April 22, 1785, at the age of 84.

James Howard’s first wife Mary and their children came to Fort Western with him. Most sources list the children as John (1733 – July 30, 1804), Samuel (died March 29, 1799), William (1740 – April 7, 1810), and Margaret (Oct. 25, 1738 – March 21, 1806). (The on-line Fort Western history lists a James Jr. who was with his father in 1754.)

Mary Howard died Aug. 22, 1778. On Jan. 1, 1781, James Howard married Susanna Cony, “widow of Lieut. Samuel Cony.” She was born Dec. 22, 1747, and was thrice married and thrice widowed (her third husband, William Brooks, whom she married in 1788, died in 1824) before her death Aug. 5, 1830.

North said James and Susanna Howard had two children, a daughter who “died in childhood” and a son, James who died at 24.

James Howard became “the most influential man in the settlement,” and “the most prominent in this region of country,” North wrote. He and sons William and Samuel were “looked upon as fathers and benefactors of the new settlement, and they had the confidence of every one. Their will was law.”

One of Howard’s benefactions, according to Captain Charles Nash’s chapter on Augusta in Henry Kingsbury’s Kennebec County history, was a sawmill he built in 1769 on a sizeable brook about a mile north of the fort. Promptly named Howard’s Brook, by 1890 it was Riggs’ Brook (a contemporary Google map shows Riggs Branch, a stream passing under Route 201 north of the Route 3 intersection to join the Kennebec.

The three Howards monopolized water-born trade, especially in lumber. James’ ship, under Samuel’s command, was the only one operating upriver from the coastal settlement at Georgetown.

North wrote that after a few years, James Howard left “the mercantile business” to his sons and started buying land. He bought two lots on the east shore of the river in 1763 and in 1770 built a “great house” on one.

General Benedict Arnold, stopping on his way to Québec in September 1775, stayed at the house for a week. North quoted expedition surgeon Dr. Isaac Senter on the Howards: “an exceeding hospitable, opulent, polite family.”

The fort kept a small garrison until 1767, “to maintain an English presence on the Kennebec River,” an on-line site says. After the military no longer needed it, Howard bought the 900-acre fort lot and buildings in 1769, for $500; he added 1,280 acres behind the fort land in 1771.

Howard and his sons turned the fort buildings into a trading post and living quarters, remodeling the north part of the barracks into four-room living areas downstairs and upstairs. On-line sites say William and his wife Martha moved there about 1770 and John not long afterwards. Brother Samuel joined them in 1774; an aunt and a cousin in 1785; and before his death their father James, who remodeled the south end of the building.

For years James Howard was the only justice of the peace between Pownalborough and Fort Halifax (Winslow). In this capacity he performed marriages, including his daughter Margaret’s to Captain James Patterson on Feb. 8, 1763. He was supposed to build a house on each of the two lots he purchased that year, but was excused from building on the second when he agreed instead not to charge the Plymouth Company any legal fees for two years.

The April 26, 1771, Massachusetts legislative act incorporating Hallowell empowered “James Howard, Esq.” “to issue his warrant for the purpose of calling the first meeting of the inhabitants,” North wrote. Howard did so, and at the meeting at Fort Western on May 22, 1771, he was elected one of three selectmen and the town treasurer (keeping the treasurer’s job nine years, North wrote). Nash wrote that about 30 voters attended.

Howard was also supposed to buy a town record book, at town expense. North said he apparently didn’t; Hallowell acquired its first record book when Daniel Cony was elected town clerk in 1785.

By the outbreak of the Revolution in April 1775, anti-British committees of correspondence were active along the Kennebec. On May 1, Hallowell sent Howard to Pownalborough to meet with other towns’ committee members, discuss action and “get provision and ammunition.” North wrote that he was given “unlimited authority” to act on the town’s behalf. He and his son Samuel were on the five-member committee of vigilance that was empowered to investigate local “disorders, etc.”

In April 1777 James Howard was chosen Hallowell’s delegate to a county convention at Wiscasset, about which North gave few details.

By September 1777, he was one of nine justices on the Court of General Sessions of the Peace, which North explained was composed of Lincoln County’s justices of the peace. It had grand and petit juries, and criminal jurisdiction; notable cases at that time were against people accused of being Tories (one was “Mr. Ballard of Vassalborough,” surely Martha’s husband Ephraim).

North recorded that the Dec. 16, 1777, court session had to be canceled because Howard, on his way from Fort Western to the courthouse at Pownalborough, fell on the ice and was too seriously hurt to continue, and no substitute was available.

In 1784, North wrote, Howard was appointed one of three (later four) judges on Lincoln County’s Court of Common Pleas, a position he held until his death.

Beginning in 1787, sessions of both courts were authorized in Hallowell. North wrote that the first Court of Common Pleas term began on the second Tuesday in January (Jan. 9), 1787 “at the Fort Western settlement” “in Pollard’s tavern.” The judges were James Howard, William Lithgow and Nathaniel Thwing.

In the summer of 1785, Howard was one of a three-man committee – the other two were Ephraim Ballard, then a Hallowell selectman, and Joseph North, an ancestor of historian James North – sent to join similar committees from nearby towns to petition the Massachusetts General Court to hold a Supreme Judicial Court term in Lincoln County.

When James Howard died on May 14, 1787, Joseph North was appointed his successor on the Court of Common Pleas.

James North added a footnote in his history: Howard’s death was noted in Henry Sewall’s diary.

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According to North, James Howard’s oldest son John was second in command at the fort during the wars with the French. In 1759 he made a 200-mile journey through the wilderness from Fort Western to deliver dispatches to General James Wolfe at the siege of Québec. (North did not say whether he traveled alone.)

A second journey north in 1761 had a disastrous outcome for the young man. His father took him on a government-sponsored expedition to Canada intended to investigate possibilities of expanding trade with the native inhabitants. John shot at when he thought was a bear in the brush and accidentally killed another of the men. Although no one blamed him, “the occurrence so affected him that he sank into hopeless insanity.”

North described Captain Samuel Howard as “a master mariner” and a business partner with his brother William; they formed S. & W. Howard. “Samuel purchased goods in Boston and William sold them at the fort and furnished freight for the vessel which Samuel run,” North wrote.

When the new United States started building a navy during the Revolution, Samuel Howard brought masts and spars from the Kennebec. North described one load: “forty-eight masts, fourteen bowsprits, twenty-seven anchor stocks, and four thousand two hundred and ninety-nine inches of spars of various sizes.” Some of the masts were too big for Howard’s ship and had to be towed to Boston.

Samuel’s wife was Sarah Lithgow, the daughter of William Lithgow at Fort Halifax (whose sister Margaret had married Samuel’s uncle Samuel). They had two sons, William and Robert, to carry on the Howard name, and a daughter Sarah, who became Mrs. Thomas Bowman.

Colonel William Howard was, in 1759, a 19-year-old lieutenant at Fort Halifax, under Lithgow’s command. In addition to his business in partnership with his brother, he held various civic posts, including being elected on July 10, 1775, as Hallowell’s first – and until 1785 only – representative “in the General Court organized in 1775 under the revolutionary government.”

His title originated during the Revolution, when, North said, he was a lieutenant-colonel of militia; later he was a colonel in the (Massachusetts) state militia. He served on at least one town committee intended to keep an eye on Tories, and was involved in transporting Maine recruits to the army around Boston; North quoted a 1777 payment of almost four (British) pounds “for mileage of soldiers to Cambridge.”

Later, North wrote, he “was occasionally a selectman, and succeeded his father as [Hallowell] treasurer in 1780, an office which he held for twenty-one consecutive years.”

Colonel William married his cousin, fort commander James’ brother Samuel’s daughter Martha, in 1768 or 1769. She died Oct. 28, 1785. Of their five children, only yet another Samuel, “known as Col. Samuel,” and Mary, who married the rector of Trinity Church, in Boston, lived to adulthood, North said.

Other Howard family monuments

Howard Hill Conservation Area.

In addition to the reconstructed Fort Western, Augusta has two other monuments to the Howard family: Howard Street, which parallels the east bank of the Kennebec south of Fort Western; and the 164-acre Howard Hill Conservation Area west of the State House complex.

An on-line Land for Maine’s Future site gives a summary history of the conservation area, beginning in the late 1700s, when Colonel Samuel Howard acquired the southern part of Howard Hill on the west side of the Kennebec.

In the 1890s, “William Howard Gannett and his wife, Sarah Neil Hill Gannett, reside on 500 acres with extensive gardens on ‘Betsy Howard Hill’.”

The area was a state game preserve for much of the 20th century and into the 21st. In 2009, the Kennebec Land Trust and Augusta city officials started “actively pursuing conservation options for 164 acres on Howard Hill.”

Since 2017, the property has belonged to Augusta, with KLT holding a conservation easement. It presently offers three miles of trails and is described as including old carriage roads, “a cascading stream, steep ravines, large boulders, an expansive ridgeline with sheer cliffs, and diverse wildlife habitat.”

Main sources

Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Nash, Charles Elventon, The History of Augusta (1904).
North, James W., The History of Augusta (1870).

Websites, miscellaneous.

LIFE ON THE PLAINS: Working for the extras

An old sawmill with a rock dam.

by Roland D. Hallee

Life on The Plains in the 1950s and ‘60s was pretty simple. World War II had ended a few years earlier, the Korean War was raging, but I was too young to remember that. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the “man who defeated Hitler” was elected president in 1952, and the country was going through some kind of industrial revolution.

In Waterville, the mills were cranking out products, unemployment was down, and families were growing.

Our dad worked at Hollingsworth & Whitney Paper Mill, in Winslow, and brought home a decent pay check for those days. He worked his way up to machine tender, which means he primarily ran the paper making monstrosity of a machine.

At the Sunday dinner table, when he was able to be there since he worked shift work and had to be at the mill sometime, he would go through the process of making paper. Whether it was tissue paper, bathroom tissue, or the base paper that would later be processed into wax paper, it was relayed to us. Three of the four of us would later decide we didn’t want to spend our lives in the mill. One brother, the oldest, became a chemical engineer, specializing in the pulp and paper industry.

Even though our dad provided well for our family, there were no handouts. I don’t ever recall having an “allowance”. We were provided with the necessities, and that was it. Any frills, or “wants” we had, had to be earned. And don’t think we got paid to mow the lawn or shovel snow, those were expected.

So, we went out and got paper routes. That, in itself, was a life experience. Me at the age of 12 years.

For six days a week – no paper on Sunday – we were up at 4:30 a.m., went out the front door to fetch our bundle of papers that had been left by a Morning Sentinel delivery driver. We prepared the papers for each door we would visit. Some were folded in half, some folded into thirds, and even some we “boxed” for throwing up two or more stories in apartment buildings. No need to climb three flights of stairs when you could chuck the papers up there. We had 83 customers spread throughout our neighborhood.

We would load the papers in our wagon, and venture out the door. To steal an old slogan of the U.S. Postal Service, “Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor dark of night would prevent us from our appointed rounds.” And there were days when we would rather still be in bed. On rainy days, we had to make sure the papers stayed dry, or it would affect our tips. Following snow storms, we had to trudge through mounds of snow banks, sometimes sinking up to our knees. It was always dark, because we had to complete our route by 6 a.m. We had to be ready for school by 7 a.m. School started at 8 a.m. in those days, and we walked. We couldn’t be late. And I won’t even go into the battles we had with dogs.

Clinton Clauson

I remember the night Gov. Clinton Clauson died. The papers had been delivered to our house, and we were ready to go when a truck pulled up, took away the papers, and left us in a lurch. A little while later, a new bundle was delivered with the front page story. Some of our customers still didn’t understand, and we barely made it to school on time.

Oh, but in the summer time, it was a different story. It was light early, and we didn’t have to worry about school. I can remember some mornings when, following our deliveries, we would sit on the back steps, and enjoy the aroma of doughnuts and bread in the air. Probably from Bolduc’s Bakery, on Veteran Court.

Of course, delivering the papers was only part of the job. In the evenings, we had to go collect our money from the customers. That could be a challenge, especially from those who were unemployed.

Economics played a large part in our decision to give up the routes when we were about ready for high school. The paper back then was 45-cents a week. People would give us half a dollar and tell us to “keep the change.” Well, in due time, the cost of the subscription went to 47-cents, and the customers still gave us half a dollar, and said, “keep the change.” Besides, there were other opportunities about to present themselves. Going to work at the Sentinel when we turned 16 years old.

With that job, which paid 75-cents an hour, we worked from 1 – 4 a.m., six days a week, and still had to make it to school on time. During this period of working these jobs, I missed three days of school, only because my maternal grandfather had passed away.

But, the lesson was learned. Anything you want in life, you have to go work for it.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Weather events

by Mary Grow

James North and Ruby Crosby Wiggin, quoted last week, were not the only local historians to mention the Year without a Summer. And 1816 was not the only unusually cold spell – though it was the longest spell of (fairly) consistently cold weather – recorded in the central Kennebec Valley since the settlers’ arrival.

The 1995 history of Maine, edited by Richard W. Judd, Edwin A. Churchill and Joel W. Eastman, reminds us that 1816 was also known as “Eighteen-hundred-and-froze-to-death.” The authors of the chapter on agriculture (James B. Vickery, Judd, and Sheila McDonald) offered it as an example of what they called Maine’s “fickle” climate.

Part of Alma Pierce Robbins’ history of Vassalboro is a summary of major events by year. 1816 she distinguished as “the year of ‘NO SUMMER,'” when “people planted their gardens with their mittens on!” July was the only month in 1816 when it did not snow in Vassalboro, she wrote.

Her account is contradicted by the authors of the Fairfield bicentennial history. Their chapter titled “Disasters” begins with “the year of no summer.” Spring was late, they wrote, with frost in May; but crops were doing well enough until central Maine got six inches of snow on June 6.

“The same thing happened on July 9 and again on August 21,” they wrote. Like other historians, including those cited last week, they wrote that the weather was one reason Maine people moved west.

They added, “The Ohio Hill road is said to be so named because of the many that left from here.” (Fairfield’s Ohio Hill Road is the section of Route 23 that runs from Route 201 a little south of the Goodwill-Hinckley School to Fairfield Center.)

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Other historians described, in more or less detail, other cold days and weeks before and after 1816.

Linwood Lowden quoted an early sample in his Windsor history, a March 17, 1762, letter from an Alna resident named Job Averill to a man in Massachusetts. (Alna is on the Sheepscot River, less than 20 miles downstream from Windsor.)

Averill described “a most terrible winter the snow has been for seven weeks past and is now near four feet deep and no business could be done and people are like to lose all their cattel….” Cattle were dying and people going hungry, he said.

North wrote in his Augusta history that 1780 was another cold winter, when Kennebec Valley residents were already stressed by the hardships of the Revolution. There was “uncommonly deep” snow that lasted into late April and the Kennebec River was frozen down to the coast.

The spring of 1785 saw the latest ice-out recorded up to the time North finished his work in 1870. He dated it by contemporary records of people crossing the river on the ice on April 22 and April 24, the ice moving on April 25 and ice-cakes from up-river still floating past Fort Western on May 1.

January 1807 saw another cold spell, according to North’s history. He quoted temperature readings for the end of the month: 22 degrees below zero on Jan. 20, minus 18 on Jan. 21, minus 24 on Jan 22, minus 32 on Jan. 23, a warming to minus 16 on Jan. 26 and a low of minus 34 on Jan. 27.

There was a major snowstorm in Augusta on May 6, 1812, with high wind. Snowfall was variously estimated at six to 18 inches. The Augusta Herald quoted a man said to be old enough to have “lived in three centuries” who “did not remember colder or more severe [May] weather.”

Windsor historian Lowden followed his report from 1762 with a quotation from the Thursday, Jan. 29, 1857, Kennebec Journal commenting on the extremely cold weather: “The night of Friday last [Jan. 23] was the coldest ever felt by any living inhabitant of Maine.” On Saturday at dawn, “the thermometer at the Insane Hospital registered 42 degrees below zero,” with readings elsewhere in Augusta from 37 to 40 below.

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Ruby Wiggin mentioned in her history of Albion multiple events related to weather and other natural phenomena – either she was unusually attentive to such events, or the small town was unlucky. For example, she wrote that there were few local records of the Year without a Summer, but people she spoke with in the 1960s remembered tales of the “grasshopper year” that she said was almost 50 years after 1816.

That year grasshoppers ate most of the farmers’ hay, as well as “other leafy crops.” Wiggin told two stories.

One Albion resident had no hay for his oxen. He kept them alive by feeding them hemlock branches and meal, buying the latter with money he earned making and selling ash baskets.

Another man found the grasshoppers had spared the hay on what Wiggin called Poplar Island on Bog Road. After ice-in, this farmer was able to cut two loads – for which someone offered him $100. He refused, because his own animals needed to eat.

(Contemporary Google maps show Bog Road crossing what appears to be a tributary of the Sebasticook River, with an island slightly downstream of the bridge – Poplar Island?)

Wiggin also noted the adventure of Lester Shorey, who lived on Drake Hill, in southeastern Albion. He attended a Grange meeting in 1901, probably on Dec. 7 (the Saturday on which that year’s anniversary meeting was held); and because the day’s hard rain had flooded out bridges over most of the streams between Center Albion and his house, it took him more than eight hours to find a road home, via Palermo.

Two historians noted a spectacular natural event in August 1787, although they disagreed on the exact date.

William D. Williamson, in his 1832 history of Maine, described an incident “too rare to be passed unnoticed.” On Aug. 26, 1787, around 4 p.m., “A ball of fire, apparently as large as that of a nine pounder” was seen in New Gloucester, Portland and elsewhere, “flying through the air in a south-western direction, at an angle of more than 45 [degrees] from the ground, when it suddenly exploded three times in quick succession, like the discharge of as many cannon, with reports resembling thunder-claps.”

There was no earthquake, Williamson wrote, but “buildings were shaken” and smoke seen. The noise was heard “as far east as Frenchman’s bay, and westward at Fryeburgh.”

North wrote that on Thursday, Aug. 30, 1787, around mid-afternoon, Colonel (Joseph, probably) North, Captain (Henry) Sewall and Ebenezer Farwell were exploring possible routes along which to lay out a road from Cobbosseecontee to Bowdoinham. Sewall recorded in his diary an aerial explosion that he compared to “a small cannon”; he and his companions “supposed it to be the bursting of a meteor.”

North pointed out that Sewall’s date differs from Williamson’s.

There was an earthquake in central Maine on Dec. 23, 1857, between 1 and 2 p.m., North wrote; it was felt in Lewiston, Augusta and Waterville, among other places. He wrote that in addition to the earth shaking, “The noise attending it, as heard by those in buildings at Augusta, was as of an immense weight in the air moving from the south and descending diagonally through the roof with a rolling and crashing sound….The noise passed off to the north with a prolonged rumbling.”

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Henry Sewall’s diary, for part of 1787 (mentioned above) and consecutively from 1830 to 1843, is one of three that Charles Nash quoted parts of in his history of Augusta, published in 1904. He also reprinted excerpts from Martha Ballard’s diary (1785-1812) and Daniel Cony’s diary (1808-1810).

(Your writer views with amazed admiration the historians who first turned such documents, hand-written and perhaps time-damaged, full of unexplained references, into sources of information for future generations.)

With varying frequency, all three diarists recorded weather and other natural phenomena, both routine and extraordinary. Examples follow.

Ballard sometimes ignored the weather for days on end; sometimes wrote briefly of blustery wind, snow or rain, cold or warmth, clouds or clear sky; occasionally mentioned a rainbow, or an odd color in the sky. On March 27, 1786, and again on May 1, she wrote that northern lights had appeared.

The summer of 1787 was apparently a chilly one. On Sunday, July 1, Ballard wrote “We had ice an intch [her spelling] thick in our yard south side of the house this morn.” On Aug. 4 (a Saturday) she recorded “A very severe shower of hail with thunder and litning [her spelling], began at half after one, –continued near one hour. I hear it broke 130 pains [her spelling] of glass in Fort Western.”

On March 22, 1792, Ballard wrote: “Cloudy, morn; clear the rest of the day. The sun eclipsed.” Later in the week, her husband and son were sugaring with a neighbor. The ice in the Kennebec was gone on April 3, and a friend sowed peas on May 5.

Daniel Cony was 56 and had lived in Augusta for 30 years when he wrote short diary entries in 1808, 1809 and 1810, Nash said. Often an entry was only a few words about the day’s weather.

For example, July 1808 was hot and wet; Cony recorded temperatures of 90 degrees or higher on July 1, 16, 17 and 23. August he summarized as “Dry, fine season to gather in the grain.”

Oct. 10, 1809, was another hot day, with the thermometer reaching 96 degrees in the shade. November Cony summarized as “extreme cold,” with the Kennebec frozen by Nov. 23; but between Dec. 5 and Dec. 16 mild weather with rain took out most of the ice.

According to Henry Sewall, late December of 1830 was similar to early December of 1809. The Kennebec had frozen over “passable for teams” by Nov. 22; but a “warm rain” on Christmas Day “broke up the ice.”

For Dec. 31, he wrote: “Warm and wet, which took off every vestige of snow, raised the river, expelled the ice, and took the frost out of the ground, so as to render the roads muddy and deep and the travelling bad.”

Sewall noted the May 1832 flood described in the Jan. 12 issue of The Town Line. In 1833 he commented on two phenomena: a meteor shower early the morning of Nov. 12, with “meteors flying in all directions over the horizon, which produced an effect like lightning”; and on Dec. 26 a total lunar eclipse.

There was a “considerable eclipse of the sun” on Nov. 30, 1834, but, Sewall wrote, it was “rendered invisible by the clouds.”

On Dec. 23 of that year, Sewall wrote: “Received a Fahrenheit Thermometer from Boston.” He used it to record the Christmas Day temperature, eight degrees below zero; but the next diary record is not until Sunday, Feb. 18, 1838, when the temperature rose from 15 below to 25 above.

The March 31, 1836, entry is an interestingly oblique reference to the coming of spring: “The stages continue to run eastward on runners, though they begin to use wheels westward.” The Kennebec opened April 12 and closed Dec. 1 that year.

Sewall noted his 91st birthday on Oct. 24, 1843, and apparently discontinued his diary at the end of the year. He died Sept. 5, 1845.

Main sources

Fairfield Historical Society Fairfield, Maine 1788-1988 (1988).
Judd, Richard W., Churchill, Edwin A. and Eastman, Joel W., edd., Maine The Pine Tree State from Prehistory to the Present (1995).
Lowden, Linwood H., good Land & fine Contrey but Poor roads a history of Windsor, Maine (1993).
Nash, Charles Elventon, The History of Augusta (1904).
North, James W., The History of Augusta (1870).
Robbins, Alma Pierce, History of Vassalborough Maine 1771 1971 n.d. (1971).
Wiggin, Ruby Crosby, Albion on the Narrow Gauge (1964).
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).

LIFE ON THE PLAINS: Remembering snow days in the ‘60s

188 Water St.

by Roland D. Hallee

The winter storm that blew through our area on Monday, and a story I read in the daily newspaper about eliminating snow days in lieu of remote learning, it reminded me of the days back in the 1950s and ‘60s when we would, on rare occasions, experience a snow day from school.

I have to preface this with explaining how things were done back then.

The Waterville Fire Station, which still stands at the head of downtown, was used for other things besides storing fire trucks. One of the routines was when the fire trucks were ready to leave the station, a horn would blow in a certain pattern. Let’s just say you would get two blasts, followed by three blasts, followed by one blast, people would go to the chart provided by the fire department, and the series of blasts would indicate where the fire was in the city.

Also, back in those days, every day, at 9 p.m., the fire horn would sound telling all children under a certain age – the exact age escapes me – would have to be off the streets and at home.

It would also be used to signal no school on storm days with three long blasts.

So, when the weather forecasters predicted a major storm, we would rise the following morning with the anticipation of hearing the fire horn, usually around 7 a.m. It didn’t happen often, but when it did, we all rejoiced – for a moment.

You see, we didn’t get the day off to sit in front of television, or play on our nonexistent, at the time, cell phones or other electronic devices. It was put on your flannel pants, flannel shirt, boots, and warm jacket, to go outside to shovel the driveway. As mentioned in the past, my dad didn’t believe in paying someone to plow when he had four strapping boys at home. Also, back then, no snow throwers.

Following the tedious work, which took several hours, considering our driveway was over 100 feet long, we would be allowed to do whatever was left to the day. It could mean going sledding, tobogganing, or for some of us, pick up a shovel and scourer the neighborhood in search of elderly folks who needed help shoveling, and maybe earn a couple of dollars along the way. Oh, yeah, there was also the backyard skating rink to shovel clear.

With most of the kids living within walking distance of school, we seldom had a snow day off if we had flurries or light snow, like what happens today.

I remember my grandfather saying – and he grew up in Canada – “I used to walk to and from school in bad weather, and it was uphill both ways.” A saying that is kind of worn out today.

So, as you can see, snow days off really weren’t days off.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Floods of central Maine – Part 3

Lower Central St., Hallowell, flood of 1896.

by Mary Grow

And the year without a summer

Before this series moves on to describe the year without a summer, one more flood needs mention and another a description.

The Fairfield Historical Society’s bicentennial history says a March 2, 1896, freshet took out the last remaining of the three 1848 covered bridges between Fairfield and Benton, the easternmost one between Bunker Island and Benton.

Edwin Whittemore made no reference to an 1896 flood in his Waterville history, perhaps because other events that year were more significant. Discussion of a public library got serious at a February 29 public meeting and the library opened Aug. 22 (see The Town Line, Dec. 23, 2021); and another public meeting on May 18 started the process that led to the 1902 city hall and opera house building (see The Town Line, Aug. 18, 2022).

Returning to the definition of a “freshet” as a flood connected with the spring thaw, readers have no doubt noticed that freshets worth historians’ notice occurred in January, February, March, April, May, June and October. The final one to be described was in December of the year 1901 (mentioned in passing two weeks ago). Whittemore gave it a paragraph; Ernest Marriner, in his Kennebec Yesterdays, used more than two pages for his colorful account.

Marriner wrote that in 1901, there was a lot of snow after Thanksgiving. Dec. 13 (“a fateful Friday the thirteenth”) was warm enough to start melting it; a 48-hour “drenching downpour” that began Saturday evening made the Kennebec rise “suddenly and rapidly.”

The Ticonic footbridge connecting Waterville and Winslow had been in use only a few days, Whittemore said, and had already “proved itself a great convenience.” The river took it out the night of Dec. 15, Marriner wrote.

The toll house on the Waterville shore survived the night, but started downriver the next morning. It floated right side up “in a dignified manner” as far as the railroad bridge, which removed its roof and left the wreckage continuing toward Augusta.

The railroad bridge apparently stood, but there was extensive damage along the shores of the Kennebec, the Sebasticook and Messalonskee Stream (and other Maine rivers).

Marriner said the Hollingsworth and Whitney paper mill was so saturated that work couldn’t resume for two weeks. The Lockwood cotton mill shut down because the dam that diverted the river into its canal was damaged. Three hundred thousand feet of lumber washed out of the Reynolds sawmill yard in Winslow.

He mentioned a photograph of a building “near the junction of the Sebasticook and Kennebec with only the roof out of water,” and quoted the Dec. 16 Waterville Mail that said the residents of Head of Falls, the former riverside slum in Waterville, were having a worse time than usual.

Most of the tenements had two or three feet of water in the ground floors, the unnamed reporter said. One house, standing in three-foot-deep water, was roped to a tree, equally waterlogged, 25 or 30 feet up the bank.

The Dec. 16 Mail, Marriner wrote, was not the usual eight or 12 full-size pages, but four eight-and-a-half-by-11 pages of flood news. The editors apologized to the advertisers; explained that with the electric company “practically dead to the world,” staffers had converted a press to footpower; and said they hoped for, but did not promise, “a regular edition tomorrow.”

According to Marriner, the piece of low ground between Waterville’s Pleasant and Burleigh streets was, centuries ago, the bed of the Kennebec River. In December 1901, the river tried to reclaim it. Buildings flooded and intersections washed out. “Water rose far up the banks, even in the steepest sections.”

Whittemore wrote that miles of railroad track were undermined; Marriner said Waterville had no train service for three days. Roads washed out; because power plants were flooded, the electric streetcars stopped. Marriner wrote that Waterville “had no telephone connection with outside communities” for a week.

As central Kennebec Valley residents no doubt remember, there have been freshets since December 1901; your writer considers them too recent to belong in this series. And so, at last, to the Year Without a Summer.

* * * * * *

1816 was the year without a summer over most of the northern hemisphere, though the effects were especially harsh in New England, eastern Canada and parts of Europe. The main cause was a tremendous eruption of a volcano named Tambora, on what is now the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, beginning on April 5, 1815, and continuing for more than a week.

Painting of the summer of 1816.

Wikipedia says the planet was then coming out of a cooler period called the Little Ice Age. There was already more dust than usual in the air from volcanic eruptions in the Caribbean and the Dutch East Indies in 1812, in Japan in 1813 and in the Philippines in 1814.

Tambora’s eruption, sources agree, was the largest and most damaging in centuries. An estimated 10,000 or more local people were killed immediately by ash heavy enough to knock down buildings, by molten lava spreading over the island and by tsunamis and other area effects.

Adding Tambora’s ash thickened atmospheric dust enough to weaken the sunlight that reached the ground, lowering the temperature world-wide. Modern estimates put the average decrease at about one degree Celsius, but parts of the British Isles, France and Spain saw an average decrease of two or three degrees.

Most of the local historians whose research has contributed so much to this series mentioned 1816. James North’s Augusta history has the most information on local effects.

North, quoting from an unnamed source, called 1816 the “coldest and ‘most disastrous [year] on record.’ Frosts occurred in every month in the year.”

An April 12 snowstorm “made sleighing for a number of days.” On May 24, “rain froze on the fruit trees then nearly ready to blossom.”

June 5 and 6 featured a northwest wind with snow and hail. “The ground froze, corn and potatoes were cut down, and workmen put on their coats and mittens. This weather continued for some days.”

North quoted from a June 8 letter that Kennebec County Sheriff Samuel Howard wrote to Henry W. Fuller, representative to the Massachusetts General Court, in Boston, saying that in Augusta it was snowing and “so cold that a large fire has been kept up in court all day.” Birds were freezing, he reported.

On July 8 and 9, North reported, “as corn was being hoed for the first time it was again cut down by a frost.”

General Henry Sewall’s diary said that Sept. 19 was a fast day, partly on account of “the decay of religion,” but also because of “the extraordinary cold and dry season.”

The same source recorded snow on Oct. 7.

North quoted Sewall’s end-of-year summary: “The year past has been remarkable – the season of vegetation was uncommonly dry and cold, not a single month without frost!” The Indian corn crop was “almost entirely cut off”; the hay crop was down by one-half; grain, especially rye, was “very considerably diminished.”

Accompanying the cold weather was a “severe drought,” leading to woods fires in the fall that caused fatalities and property loss in Maine and Canada. “In this region so severe was the drought that water is said to have been carried three miles from the river to extinguish fires,” North wrote, citing Augusta lawyer Reuel Williams.

The woodsmoke was so thick, especially when combined with morning fog, that a ferry operator got turned around and landed Williams and a visiting judge on the same side of the Kennebec they’d left, North said.

The unusual weather was accompanied by an unusual display of sunspots, especially in April, May and July. North quoted from the Portsmouth Journal: “Some of them suddenly burst forth in clusters, and appeared for a day or two and then as quickly disappeared. On the 29th of May there were six spots of magnificent proportion, varying by estimate from ten to fifteen thousand miles in diameter.”

(Most on-line sources your writer found doubt that sunspots cause short-term cooler temperatures on earth.)

Evidence from Hudson Bay region of severe cold in the summer of 1816. CARTOON BY A. J. W. CATCHPOL

North wrote that the unusual weather continued into 1817: “It was generally believed that Friday, February 14th, 1817, was ‘the coldest day ever known in this region of country.'” The cold extended as far south as Maryland and Georgia, he said.

The St. Lawrence River was frozen wide and deep, and harbors from Halifax to New York were iced-choked, except Portsmouth and Newport. There were more large sunspots.

By the spring of 1817, grain was so scarce farmers couldn’t get seed. Augusta’s May town meeting appropriated $200 for selectmen to give farmers seed, conditional on promises to plant it and to make repayment after harvest.

The plan worked; North wrote there was a good harvest in the fall of 1817. He quoted crop prices as evidence: in May in Boston, beans were $4.00 to $4.50 a bushel and corn $1.80 to 1.85, but by December, in Augusta, beans were $1.25 to 1.50 a bushel & corn $1.00.

North continued his weather record into the winter of 1819, which, he wrote, “was as remarkably warm at the north, as that of 1817 had been cold.” The high temperature in January and February was 54 degrees on Feb. 9, and there was almost no snow.

The period after the War of 1812 (which was discussed in five previous articles in this series published between February 10 and March 10, 2022) was characterized by “Ohio fever,” an emigration to the Midwest to escape the post-war economic depression and Maine winters. North wrote that Augusta was a gathering point for families heading west, to the benefit of the local economy; people bought supplies and exchanged paper money for silver “at a profitable premium.”

He repeated the estimate that Maine “lost from fifteen thousand to twenty thousand inhabitants by this exodus.” Some returned disappointed; their tales, plus warmer weather, slowed the exodus.

Ruby Crosby Wiggin, in her history of the Town of Albion, also connected the weather in 1816 and the economy.

In Albion, Wiggin said, the town saw hard economic times for several years beginning in 1810, worsened by the War of 1812. Wiggin mentioned a petition to the (Massachusetts) legislature protesting land valuations as too high; roads being discontinued; and for three years, produce allowed for tax payments if the taxpayer were short of cash.

Albion voters nonetheless voted in March 1815 to build a town house. The builder who put up and roofed the frame was to be paid partly in stock (livestock?) that a resident owed. Two later contractors finished the outside and inside, each being asked to wait until the following January for his pay.

The year without a summer contributed to the financial problem. “It would seem that residents of the town were not able to pay their taxes that year even in produce because of the scarcity of produce raised,” Wiggin commented.

She wrote that there was frost every month. One June day, children who went to school barefoot walked home in snow, unless their parents could come for them with “ox-team and sled.”

(Your writer assumed that snowy day to have been June 8 or 9, per North; but those dates were a weekend, so it must have been the beginning of the next week, when, North and other sources said, snow continued.)

Main sources

Fairfield Historical Society Fairfield, Maine 1788-1988 (1988).
Marriner, Ernest, Kennebec Yesterdays (1954).
Whittemore, Rev. Edwin Carey, Centennial History of Waterville 1802-1902 (1902).
Wiggin, Ruby Crosby, Albion on the Narrow Gauge (1964).

Websites, miscellaneous.

LIFE ON THE PLAINS: The cuisine on The Plains

Water St. looking north. Notice the row of tenement buildings on the right. Those were built on the river bank, and were supported by stilts. They were removed in the 1960s and 1970s. (photo courtesy of
E. Roger Hallee)

by Roland D. Hallee

This week, I’ll let Peg Pellerin tell her story about the cuisine on The Plains.

Cuisine down on The Plains

by Peg Pellerin

I have found Roland Hallee’s articles about The Plains (La Plaine) in Waterville so interesting, especially since I grew up there from 1952 to 1972. His renderings have brought back so many memories and some of those memories involved the foods we ate.

Most residing in that area were mill working families. Since most of the laborers were the men of the families, the mothers did their best to make paychecks stretch, especially when it came to groceries and meals.

The majority of the people living in that part of town were of French Canadian descent, which meant French Canadian cuisine. I can still remember the aromas coming from the homes in the area, giving away what my friends were having for “souper” (pronounced soo-pey), the French terminology for supper.

A lot depended on what day it was even to what time of the year it was. The largest meal of the week was made on Sunday. What was left over was eaten during the week. I remeber my mother baking or boiling jambon (ham) (pronounced jean-bon) with carrots and potatoes. She would use the ham bone with some of the meat still on the bone and make “soupe aux pois” (pea soup). It was not a favorite of mine but I ate it because it was what my mother put in front of me. The choices of meals back then was take it or leave it, or go without. We never went without because we ate it.

Crèpes weren’t just eaten for breakfast. In fact it was more of a supper for my family than a morning meal. For those who aren’t familiar with this yummy food, it is a very thin pancake. We’d put loads of butter and
maple syrup on it. (Roland’s two cents: my mother would make them for breakfast. We’d put a line of brown sugar, roll them into a cigar-like shape, and put maple syrup on top.)

Another stretch of Sunday meal was taking leftovers of roasted chicken or turkey and making “ragout” (pronounced rag-goo). Some folks call it chicken and dumplings but it was mostly the poultry in a thick gravy with dumplings. We’d scoop it over mashed potatoes or bread.

Mom would make a roast of both beef and pork with potatoes and carrots. She’d purposely include more potatoes than she knew we’d eat because she intended to take the meat and grind it, then mash the potatoes and combine all with onions and place in a pie crust and, voila, tourtière. (Roland’s two cents: Our mother would grind the meat with the potatoes and onions and make a hash. I liked to put ketchup on mine.)

Most, including myself, usually make it around Christmas time, but mom made it often during the year. She would also take leftover pork and make creton, which is like having a pork paté, which was usually spread onto bread for a sandwich or spread over crackers.

Whatever my mother made, we’d never know that it was an inexpensive meal. It was a treat. Besides having beans and franks (Roland’s two cents: Don’t forget the pickled beets) on Saturday nights, which was primarily a Yankee tradition since the Civil War, (we also ate many non-French Canadian meals, too). Mom would cut potatoes in thick strips, fry them and pour gravy over it. Yup, that in itself was supper. Many now know it as “poutine”. We never had the curds put on it and to this day, I won’t eat it with curds. My most favorite inexpensive meal was “gallettes”, a/k/a fried dough. We would walk to Veteran Court, which was several streets away from ours and go to Bolduc’s Bakery, where anyone could go in to purchase baked bread or, in my mother’s case, uncooked dough. She’d fry pieces of it and while still warm pour maple syrup over it. YUMMY! (Roland’s two cents: One of our favorite desserts was a slice of bread dipped in molasses. Of course, mother’s “ice box cake”, for special occasions, was the best of all. Graham crackers which were placed standing, with a chocolate whipped cream filling between the crackers, then covered with the cream. Everyone fought for the end pieces because they were the best. It was to die for.)

I will end this article with a mouthwatering treat; at least it was for us back in the ‘50s and early ‘60s. “Tire d’erable”, a/k/a maple taffy, but mainly it is thick maple syrup poured over fresh clean snow. It’s difficult to find clean snow, even when it’s fresh. I guess if you want something similar, make snow cones and pour maple syrup over it. It’ll be good but not as good as we had “back in the day”.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Kennebec River floods – Part 2

Hallowell Merchants District, 1896.

by Mary Grow

After the great freshet of 1832, with which last week’s article ended, Augusta business leaders went ahead with their plan to build a dam across the Kennebec River to power mills; and a Fairfield company dammed part of the river there.

The idea of an Augusta dam was by then about 50 years old. An early settler left a record predicting a dam in 1785, according to Augusta historian James North; and around 1818 Ephraim Ballard was quoted as saying he could build one for $25,000.

At the beginning of 1834, an Augusta group petitioned the Maine legislature to form a corporation to build a dam. Despite opponents’ concerns about effects on fishing, river transportation and upriver communities that might be flooded, a legislative majority created the Kennebec Dam Company in March 1834.

Work started in the spring of 1836. Expanded plans and time constraints meant the middle of the dam was left open through the winter of 1836-37; the ends survived freshets in November and December 1836 and April 1837.

In March 1837 the legislature renamed the dam company the Kennebec Locks and Canals Company and doubled the amount of capital stock it could issue, to $600,000. Work resumed in June; the 600-foot-long dam was closed Sept. 27; and the lock that allowed boats to pass opened Oct. 12, in a ceremony that was followed by a celebratory dinner.

In Fairfield, according to the Fairfield Historical Society’s bicentennial history, sometime between 1835 and 1840 the Fairfield Land and Mill Association dammed the west channel of the Kennebec between downtown Fairfield (then Kendall’s Mills) and Mill Island. “This earthen and timber dam had a short life as an [undated] unusual surge of high water washed it away.”

Its (undated) replacement a short distance downriver “was ingeniously unique in having a hinged bulkhead at its downstream end that swung open to release the pressure when the flow of water became excessive at flood stage.”

North described the solidity of the 1837 Augusta dam in detail, with illustrations, talking about ballasted timber cribs, thick planks, granite walls, cement, cast iron and iron strapping and similar substantial materials. The project used 800,000 cubic feet of granite, 2.5 million feet of timber and 25 tons of iron, and cost the full $300,000, he wrote.

The river continued to flow through a canal along each bank. North’s sketch shows the lock on the east end, between the dam and the canal.

A May 1838 freshet brought high water and giant logs that damaged the west bank, and a January 1839 windy rainstorm damaged it again (and covered Hallowell’s Water Street four feet deep in icy water). Nonetheless, Locks and Canals Company directors promptly started seeking proposals to build mills to use the water power, and by late May 1839 ten mills were almost built.

Then came, North wrote, “one of those catastrophes which mock at human foresight and defy human energy to resist.” After several days of rain, about 4 a.m. Friday, May 30, water began to go over the west side canal and through the damaged bank.

People “assembled in great numbers” to try to repair the leaks, but when the canal itself began to give way, they fled. The dam held; the river made a new channel about 500 feet wide around the west end, taking out two houses in the process (one, North said, was about a tenth of a mile from and 100 feet above the former shore).

An effort to blow up the mills to prevent their doing damage downstream failed, and one by one they were lifted off the dam, the last one floating away late Saturday afternoon.

Thus ended the first attempt to use the Kennebec to power Augusta industries. The dam stood blocking the river; the new channel was unnavigable; and during the summer of 1839 merchandise had to be unloaded from one boat and carried to another on the other side of the dam, “which was frequently piled high with various descriptions of goods in the process of transit.”

Businesspeople were annoyed. The company corporators had lost their investment. The legislature in March 1840 repealed the company charter effective Aug. 1, unless by then the corporators promised a rebuilt dam within two years.

North credited General Alfred Redington with saving the situation. Redington said if he were given a mill site, water power, “the materials of the old mills swept away in 1839” and as much money as people could come up with, he would build an improved dam and put a sawmill atop it.

The dam was to be 400 feet long, “upon a ledge, in shallow water, and not so high as the old dam” and Redington thought he could do it for $10,000.

Beginning with an Aug 1, 1840, public meeting, he did it. North wrote that work started Sept. 5, 1840, and was apparently finished promptly. Redington’s mill went up “during the following winter” (1840, or 1841?).

(Although both North and Henry Kingsbury, in his chapter on manufacturing in his Kennebec County history, referred to “rebuilding” the dam, what they described as actually built was a 400-foot addition to the 600-foot dam, extending it across the new channel the river had carved on the west end.)

Another sawmill opened on the east end of the (original?) dam, and a machine shop, in 1842. In 1845 and 1846 there was a burst of expansion: cotton mills, a flour mill and half a dozen sawmills.

Kennebec floods tried the rebuilt dam repeatedly. On April 28, 1843, a “southeasterly storm” raised the river to within four feet of the 1832 level. Four and a half days of rain that began Friday evening, Oct. 31, 1845, brought more than four inches of water. Logs, lumber and remains of upriver buildings were carried on “a magnificent sheet [of water] of great depth” over the dam.

The dam was undamaged both times. North gave credit to the width of the “wasteway,” almost the entire width of the dam, and the way the road bridge just downstream narrowed the waterway to 440 feet, divided by the central bridge pier.

The remains of the Hallowell-Chelsea Crib bridge in 1870.

The result, he explained, was the water level below the dam rose faster than the level above it and the force diminished. Normally, the water below the dam would be about 15 feet lower than in the pond behind it; during the 1845 freshet the difference was reduced to five feet.

This flood damaged two Augusta wharves and swept away the basement framing for a new block of six sawmills.

The river breached the new dam at the end of March 1846, when several days of rain following a normal spring rise as snow melted brought down “floating ice…intermixed with logs.”

The rebuilding had left a stone pier (the west end of the original dam, 400 feet from the west shore) as a connector between old and new sections “rising like a tower unprotected above the top of the dam.” An ice cake knocked it down, and in following days the adjoining area washed away; by Saturday, April 11, 1846, there was a 150-foot opening.

Repair work started Monday, April 13, North wrote, and despite a couple more freshets was finished “in about ten weeks,” for about $13,000.

The next damage was from fire, not water: in September 1853 most of the industrial buildings on top of the dam burned. The dam was quickly “repaired, improved and strengthened.”

In June 1855, part of the 1846 repairs failed. About 100 feet of the dam were swept away; repairs cost about $20,000.

North wrote these repairs were tested by a major flood before the derricks used in the work had been taken away. An estimated five inches of rainfall between Friday evening, Oct. 12, and late Saturday, Oct. 13, raised the river level 21 feet by Sunday afternoon, “within eighteen inches of the highest point of the great freshet of 1832.”

The dam was unscathed.

The next major floods North described occurred in October 1869 and January and February 1870. The southeaster that began pouring rain on the Kennebec Valley Sunday morning, Oct. 3, 1869, was expected to be fairly harmless, because the river was low at the time; but it did major damage from Skowhegan south (and through much of New England).

Logs that lumber companies had harvested over the summer and left floating were carried downriver to create jams, notably one at Hallowell, that raised the water behind them. At Water­ville, the Ticonic toll bridge was torn from the banks and floated downriver.

(This bridge, Edwin Whittemore wrote in his Waterville centennial history, dated from 1835. It had been damaged in the 1855 flood and quickly repaired. After it washed out in October 1869, a new free bridge was built for $32,000, mostly paid by Waterville taxpayers; it opened Dec. 1, 1870.)

North wrote that to prevent the Ticonic bridge taking out Augusta’s railroad bridge, “A locomotive was despatched with ropes and a crew of men, who met it in Vassalborough and fastened it to the shore.” The part that came loose and went over the dam was not solid enough to do damage.

This October 1869 freshet damaged warehouses on Augusta wharves and swept away piles of logs and lumber.

The following months, North wrote, were “generally mild,” but with occasional cold spells that froze the river to a considerable depth. After Christmas came another warm spell “which started the buds on trees in favorable exposures” and was followed by rain on Jan. 3, 1870.

The rain caused a freshet; the freshet broke up the ice over rapids in the Vassalboro area; the ice came down and jammed above unbroken ice in Augusta, Hallowell and Gardiner. In Hallowell and Gardiner, North wrote, water started backing up during the night; town officials had bells rung to notify Water Street business owners to rescue merchandise from their basements.

A cold spell added more ice to the jams. From Feb. 18 through 20, 1870, rain and wind moved more ice downstream, until, North wrote, the river was one continuous thickly-layered jam from near the Kennebec Arsenal (on the east bank a bit downriver from old Fort Western) to Hallowell. In places the ice-layers were 15 feet thick; in places they rested on the river bed.

This barrier made the river rise six feet in 30 minutes, until the water levels were equal above and below the Augusta dam. “The dam was completely flowed out, a slight ripple only marking its place,” North wrote.

He described in detail – probably from personal observation – 175 feet of the wooden railroad bridge (built in 1857, according to Charles Nash’s chapter in Kingsbury’s history) breaking away, turning upside down from the weight of the track on top and floating toward the already damaged road bridge, “a huge battering ram.”

When the upside-down floating bridge crashed into the stationary one, one end dipped under and came up on the downriver side, leaving 20-foot-long “legs” sticking up on either side. The mass wriggled until it bounced out and continued downriver, to the “joyous shouts and cheers of many anxious spectators.”

Nash wrote that 160 feet of the Augusta dam went down the river, and commented this was the fourth major damage since 1837. The dam was rebuilt “in a more elaborate and expensive manner than ever before” by the end of 1870; the road bridge was repaired; and a new iron railroad bridge was built “immediately.”

In Hallowell, North wrote, the bridge was carried away and some stores were moved from the east (river) side of Water Street to the west side. An on-line source estimated damage at more than $1 million, including loss of two bridges (road and railroad) and walls torn off buildings by the ice.

This 1870 freshet, North wrote as he concluded his history of Augusta, was the fiercest yet; the water level was two feet higher than in 1832.

Main sources

Fairfield Historical Society Fairfield, Maine 1788-1988 (1988).
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
North, James W., The History of Augusta (1870).
Whittemore, Rev. Edwin Carey, Centennial History of Waterville 1802-1902 (1902).

Websites, miscellaneous.

LIFE ON THE PLAINS: The Kennebec River on The Plains

by Roland D. Hallee

As everyone knows, The Plains, in Waterville, runs along the west shore of the Kennebec River in the South End of the city.

The river played a large part in the development of the city and contributing to high numbers of industrial jobs. Many of the residents of The Plains, the majority of which were men, worked at these locations – Hollingsworth & Whitney Paper Mill, the Wyandotte-Worsted Textile Mill, Maine Central Railroad, Waterville Iron Works – just to name a few. Of course, the female workforce was not totally omitted. Many women worked at the C. F. Hathaway Shirt Factory, and at the other industries mentioned.

But two of the occupations that are not very often mentioned were the two that primarily existed because of the Kennebec River.

There were the log drives that brought pulp wood to the mill in Winslow. They would begin in the north woods where many men worked felling trees – by hand with axes – then sawing them, also by hand. No chainsaws back then. The logs were then brought to the river on skidders usually drawn by horses or mules. Once in the river, the logs would work their way south to the mills waiting their arrival in Winslow and Augusta.

Many a man died working those logs down stream. In Winslow, there was the famous “Queen Mary,” – a platform that extended out into the river – where men, with grappling hooks, would pull the logs ashore that were destined for the Winslow mill, and threw back the ones that were designated for the Augusta mill. It was a strenuous and dangerous job. My oldest brother, and younger brother both worked on the “Queen Mary” during summer vacation while they were in college. The river log drives ended in 1972.

During the winter, the river became a source of refrigeration for area homes. Ice boxes were used in those days, and ice deliveries had to be made year round.

Again, men with hand saws would cut large cakes of ice from the frozen river, and transport them to the ice sheds, located at the Springbrook Ice and Fuel Co., on the corner of Pleasant and North streets, in Waterville. There they were covered with saw dust that kept the ice from melting well into the summer months. I remember getting ice deliveries while growing up, before our dad purchased a “real” refrigerator.

Unfortunately, the river could not be used much for recreational purposes because of the toxic discharges from the mills that polluted the water. There were two famous sayings that evolved from that: One was that the river was so polluted, you could not drown in the river because the skum on the river was so thick. Also, it was said, the river was so polluted you could walk across without getting your feet wet. Fortunately, laws were passed, in the 1980s I think, that cleaned up the river, and it is actually used today for fishing and kayaking recreation.

Actually, we used to go down to the river, and played “pirates” on the island that hugs the west shore just south of the Hathaway Creative Center. There we would spend the day exploring what is basically a swath of land that is elevated enough from the waters to form an island. It is used today as a walking trail, – there also is a tent city of homeless people – that is when the river waters are at their normal level. Access is more difficult in the spring when the waters rise due to the melting snow runoff, or following a heavy rain.

Our parents weren’t crazy about us going there, but we would manage to sneak off once in a while, until someone came home wet.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Kennebec River floods – Part 1

Hallowell flood of 1870.

by Mary Grow

When this historical series started in the spring of 2020 as a way to distract writer and readers from the Covid-19 pandemic, part of the plan was a survey of historic local disease outbreaks and other disasters. The latter have come to include weather, floods, fires and other destructive events, man-made or a combination.

January in Maine seems like a good time to talk about weather, including floods. Some local historians collected a lot of information on the topic; others paid it little attention. Here is your writer’s proposal to share some past events.

Of great importance along the Kennebec River were – and still are – the frequent floods, often called “freshets.” Kennebec River freshets, interrelated with human attempts to control the water and sometimes including tributary streams, will be the first topic.

(Wikipedia: “The term freshet is most commonly used to describe a spring thaw resulting from snow and ice melt in rivers located in upper North America.”)

Then there is the famous “Year without a summer,” 1816, for a second topic.

Other weather-related events that have distressed central Kennebec Valley residents over the years, were recorded and have not been covered under the prior two topics will be a third topic.

* * * * * *

To the Kennebec Valley’s Native American inhabitants, the Kennebec River was a main source of transportation and communication up-river and down; a barrier, though one that could be overcome in various ways; a source of food; and a recreational resource. Early European inhabitants further counted the river as a natural dividing line, for example when Waterville was set off from Winslow and Sidney from Vassalboro; and a source of power for industry. To everyone, it was sometimes a threat.

Your writer found two books especially good sources of information on the river’s interactions with the Europeans who settled along its banks. The older is James North’s history of Augusta, published in 1870; the newer is Ernest Marriner’s 1954 Kennebec Yesterdays.

North mentioned the Kennebec in the first sentence of his book, when French explorer Sieur de Monts visited the mouth of the river in 1604. Marriner’s first chapter is titled Our Lady Kennebec; he described the river as a “gracious lady” who intermittently loses her temper and wreaks havoc.

After Europeans discovered the mouth of the river, exploration extended upstream. A series of land grants from the British monarchy authorized settlements, starting with the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. (Your writer has avoided trying to untangle the history of early land titles in the Kennebec Valley.)

The Plymouth settlers started trading with Kennebec Valley Native Americans, especially for furs. Their first three trading posts, established around 1628, were at the mouth of the river; in the Richmond/Swan Island area; and at Cushnoc, on the east bank of the river in what is now Augusta.

Trade was broken off in the 1650s. The valley was mostly devoid of Europeans, mainly because of opposition from the Native Americans and their French supporters in Canada, until Fort Halifax and Fort Western were built in 1754.

By the Feb. 19, 1763, Treaty of Paris, the French abandoned their claim to northern North America (they kept Louisiana until President Thomas Jefferson bought it in 1803). Without French backing, Kennebec Valley Native Americans moved north to join other tribes.

British settlers quickly replaced them. North listed about 100 families around Fort Western by 1762. On April 26, 1771, the Massachusetts legislature incorporated the towns of Hallowell, Vassalboro, Winslow and Winthrop.

(Later boundary changes took Augusta, Chelsea and most of Farmingdale and Manchester out of Hallowell; divided Sidney from Vassalboro, and Waterville from Winslow, separated by the river; and took Readfield from Winthrop.)

Hallowell residents built their log houses and laid out early roads on both banks of the Kennebec, which they apparently crossed at will. North wrote that the 1773 annual town meeting began on March 15 in a house on the west shore; after the first decisions, voters adjourned until March 16, when they reassembled in a house on the east shore.

Henry Kingsbury’s Kennebec County history has the earliest mention of a freshet, not on the Kennebec’s main stem but on Bog – later Hastings – Brook, which flows in from the west in what was then Vassalboro (now Sidney). (This brook was in the southern part of town; it might have been the one now called Goff Brook.)

An early settler named John Marsh built a sawmill and a grist mill on Bog Brook, between the road (the present West River Road, also Route 104, approximately follows this road) and the river. Both mills “were carried away by a freshet and an ice jam in 1774.”

Kingsbury wrote that another early settler, Thomas Clark, had two bags of meal in the grist mill. He rescued one; saying his family needed the second bag, he went back into the mill “just as the resistless torrent bore it and him to destruction.”

North’s first mention of a Kennebec flood was in April 1789, after an April 7 rainstorm. Apparently a minor flood, it nonetheless set a destructive precedent: a six-month-old bridge over Bond Brook (formerly Ballard’s Brook), which enters the Kennebec from the west at the north end of Water Street, was washed out, and Ephraim Ballard’s house and dam were damaged.

On Feb. 3, 1791, North wrote, Hallowell residents experienced “the greatest freshet…since the settlement of the country.” After bare ground and an ice-free river at the end of 1790, the river froze and a foot of snow fell by Jan. 4. There was more snow at the beginning of February; it changed to rain as the wind blew from the southeast.

Again the area around the mouth of Bond Brook was hard-hit. A store was flooded, and the house where Martha and Ephraim Ballard’s son was living was knocked off its foundation by four feet of water carrying cakes of ice.

Hallowell flood of 1896.

During the winter of 1794 – no specific date – and on Feb. 5, 1795, North wrote that ice jams in the river led to brief flooding. In February 1806, a combination of rain and ice-jams raised water levels, in Bond Brook early in the month and in the Kennebec in mid-month.

The week of March 21, 1826, began with thunderstorms and ended with “torrents of rain” falling on almost two feet of ice on the Kennebec. Saturday morning, March 26, North wrote, the ice broke up, floated down to Hallowell and jammed against Brown’s Island, creating a barricade that brought the river 20 feet above normal high water in Augusta by Sunday (while downstream in Gardiner the level was below normal).

This flood took out parts of bridges in Norridgewock and Waterville. In Augusta it damaged a mill on Bond Brook, floated away stockpiled lumber and flooded cellars. Buildings on Hallowell’s Main Street had first floors as well as cellars water-filled, and much merchandise was ruined. “Capt. Wyman’s sloop was driven into Mr. Elias Bond’s garden”; other ships were carried downriver to join the jam at Brown’s Island.

Late Sunday afternoon, March 27, the jam let go. A “compact mass” of ice, trees, logs, lumber and five schooners” tore past Gardiner and hung up again a mile or two south, raising the river “to an unprecedented height” at Gardiner.

The next year, 1827, Augusta was chosen as the capital of Maine, which had become a separate state from Massachusetts in 1820. The Maine legislature began its first session in the new state house on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 1832. In May 1832 occurred what North, Edwin Carey Whittemore in his centennial history of Waterville and Marriner agreed was the worst flooding Europeans had seen on the Kennebec to that date.

North wrote that central Maine got a lot of snow in the winter of 1831-32, and spring was late – the ground was still frozen early in May. A sudden warming beginning May 8 started melting the snow. After rain, at first moderate and then “in torrents” from Thursday night, May 17, through Tuesday morning, May 22, “the Kennebec was swollen to an unexampled height.”

North listed damage as including destruction of two bridges in Waterville (part of one came downstream past Augusta); all but one of that town’s sawmills knocked off their foundations; on Bond Brook, a “valuable fulling-mill” and – again – the bridge swept away.

He wrote: “The Redington saw mill [from Waterville] came floating along, upright and high out of the water, being buoyed up by lumber piled in it. The formidable looking mass as it rapidly approached was expected to seriously damage if not remove the [Augusta] bridge. It struck, stopped for a moment, the gable of the building was crushed, and it sunk down into the water and passed under” without harming the bridge.”

However, the water damaged the east end of the bridge enough so that it was unsafe for carriages for two weeks.

Whittemore dated the Redington mill and the dam on which it stood to 1792. The bridge that sailed downriver was the Ticonic bridge, a privately-constructed wooden toll bridge dating from the early 1820s. It had been damaged in the “great freshet” in March 1826 and promptly repaired.

To Whittemore, the 1832 “great freshet” had not been equaled when he finished editing his history in 1902.

Kingsbury wrote that the bridge across the Sebasticook in Winslow was also taken out. A private company replaced it with a toll bridge in 1834; in 1866, the town bought it for $2,500 and abolished the tolls.

Marriner described his Lady Kennebec in May 1832 (and again in 1936) as a “demon of wrath” who did millions of dollars in damage. Much of his description of the flood is based on an 1891 report by a Winslow-born engineer named Timothy Otis Paine, employed in the interest of the Hollingsworth and Whitney Company to date high-water marks.

Paine, born in a house uphill from the Sebasticook River and Fort Halifax and eight years old in 1832, remembered watching the Kennebec cover Lithgow Street and continue rising. He knew other people who measured subsequent floods by how close the water came to 1832 levels, as recorded on riverside trees and other features.

Why, Paine asked, did the river rise so dramatically in 1832? He discounted two theories: the rumor that a dam holding back Moosehead Lake had breached, because there was no dam at the foot of the lake in 1832; and an elderly resident’s theory that the persistent northeast wind had blown water out of the lake to supplement the rainfall.

Marriner wrote that Paine decided the flood was so bad because large logs being floated to sawmills got jammed in Fairfield, against the foundations of “the three bridges between Fairfield and Benton” and around Bunker Island. When the jam broke and moved forcefully downriver, pent-up water followed in a series of waves, each higher than the one before.

This information does not match the Fairfield Historical Society’s bicentennial history. That book contains a single reference to the 1832 flood, a quotation from the Dec. 17, 1901, Fairfield Journal saying the Dec. 16, 1901, flood was “the worst freshet since 1832.”

The Fairfield history dates the first dam across the west channel of the Kennebec, between downtown Fairfield (then Kendall’s Mills) and Mill Island, to the late 1780s, but there is no reference to a dam in Marriner’s account of the flood. The Fairfield history also says the bridges linking Fairfield and Benton were built in 1848, so they could not have held back logs in 1832.

Marriner retold an odd story from Paine. He wrote that a flock of sheep pastured on the east bank of the Kennebec “just above the Pond Hole,” with “an old flat boat turned bottom up” as their shelter, lived through the flood.

In the course of trying to find out how they survived, Paine decided the “Pond Hole” was neither a pond nor a hole, merely a piece of very rough ground. Why that interpretation saved the sheep, Marriner did not explain.

Main sources

Fairfield Historical Society, Fairfield, Maine 1788-1988 (1988).
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Marriner, Ernest, Kennebec Yesterdays (1954).
North, James W., The History of Augusta (1870). Whittemore, Rev. Edwin Carey, Centennial History of Waterville 1802-1902 (1902).

Websites, miscellaneous.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: The Burleigh family

by Mary Grow

Burleigh family of Palermo, Aroostook County and Augusta

The Burleigh (sometimes spelled Burley) families were among the earliest to settle in the Kennebec Valley. One of Palermo’s early settlers was Moses Burleigh, and there were 19th-century Burleighs in other area towns.

Millard Howard, in his Palermo history, said the Palermo family had been in America since 1648, when a Burley ancestor lived in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

The first generation of these Burleighs: Moses, in Palermo and Linneus

Moses Burleigh (March 25, 1781 – Feb. 13, 1860) was one of seven children (and oldest of four sons) of Benjamin Burleigh and Priscilla (Senter) Burleigh. He and his father were the first Burleighs to come to Pal­ermo, moving from Sand­wich, New Hampshire, in 1800. An on-line source says he married Nancy Spiller (1785 – Jan. 2, 1850) in Palermo “about 1812.”

The same source lists birth dates of the first four of the couple’s “at least 6 sons and 3 daughters” beginning with Elvira Senter Burleigh in 1806 (she died in 1829); followed by Benjamin Burleigh (1809 – 1811); a second Benjamin Burleigh, born in 1811; and on May 16, 1812 (the exact date is from Milton Dowe’s history of Palermo), Parker Prescott Burleigh.

(Your writer questions the marriage date. Children were born out of wedlock in Maine in the early 1800s, and sometimes acknowledged by their fathers; and they were born less than nine months after a wedding. But three children born and one conceived, and then the wedding? – an unusual series of events.)

Dowe called Moses Burleigh “the most prominent man in this section of the state.” He was a militia captain in the War of 1812 and led his troop to Belfast when the British landed at Castine in September, 1814. In 1816 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

Burleigh chaired the Palermo board of selectmen “for many years” and was a justice of the peace and a deputy sheriff, according to Dowe and Howard. He served in the Massachusetts General Court for three years.

By 1816, the majority of Palermo voters favored statehood for Maine. Two public meetings that year produced pro-statehood votes. At the second one, on Sept. 2, the vote was 78 to 20, according to Howard, and voters chose Burleigh to represent the town at a convention in Brunswick called to write a Maine constitution.

After Maine became a state in 1820, Burleigh was a member of the Maine legislature for three years. He was also a mail carrier between Augusta and Bangor, first on horseback and later by carriage.

In 1830 or 1831 the Burleighs moved to Linneus, an Aroostook County town southwest of Houlton. There, Howard wrote, Moses Burleigh “continued to hold important positions in state, county and the militia.” An on-line Linneus site lists the positions as including census taker, land agent responsible for evicting Canadian trespassers from land claimed by Maine and postmaster at Linneus.

The second generation: Moses Burleigh’s son, Parker Prescott, in Aroostook County

Moses and Nancy Burleigh’s son, Parker Prescott Burleigh (May 16, 1812- Apr. 29, 1899), Dowe described as a “prominent statesman.” On-line sites say he was a surveyor, civil engineer and farmer, well-informed about Maine timberland. They list some of the town and county positions he held, including town clerk, treasurer, tax collector and school board chairman; and county commissioner and treasurer.

Parker Burleigh was North Linneus postmaster for 25 years, and represented the town in the Maine House of Representatives in 1856 and the area in the Maine Senate twice, in 1864 and 1877.

Parker Burleigh’s first wife was Caroline Peabody Chick (Jan. 31, 1815 – Apr. 6, 1861) from Bangor. They had two sons. He remarried in May, 1873, to Charlotte Mehitable Smith, also from Bangor.

The third generation: Moses Burleigh’s grandson (Parker Burleigh’s son), Albert Augustus, in Aroostook County

Parker and Caroline’s older son, Albert Augustus Burleigh (Oct. 12, 1841 – 1916) served in the First Maine Cavalry in the Civil War. He was wounded at least twice and imprisoned in the Confederacy. He and his wife, Lucinda Collins, had five sons and one daughter born between Novem­ber, 1862, and October, 1874.

Albert Burleigh was a state senator early in the 1900s, from the Houlton/Oakfield area. He and his brother Edwin were among those who supported extending Bangor and Aroostook Railroad service into Aroostook County. He died in Houlton about 1918.

The third generation continued: Moses Burleigh’s grandson, Edwin Chick (Parker Burleigh’s son), in Aroostook County and Augusta

Albert’s brother, Edwin Chick Burleigh (Nov. 27, 1843 – June 16, 1916), graduated from Houlton Academy and worked as a teacher, farmer and surveyor. On June 28, 1863, he married Mary Jane Bither (Nov. 9, 1841 – May? 1916) of Linneus; they had two sons and four daughters, born between 1864 and 1877.

(Your writer found no exact date for Mary Jane Burleigh’s death. A May 2, 1916, clipping from the Portland Express-Advertiser, found on line, says Senator Burleigh’s wife “is dangerously ill and is not expected to recover” after a “serious collapse” on May 1.)

A detailed on-line biography from 1909 says Edwin Burleigh would have enlisted for Civil War service with his brother, but was rejected for (unspecified) health issues.

Instead, he spent the war as a clerk in the state adjutant general’s office. Then he returned to surveying and farming until 1870, when he accepted a clerkship in the state land office in Bangor (where, according to Louis Hatch’s history of Maine, his father was the land agent).

In 1876 he was appointed state land agent, and also, according to the on-line biography, assistant clerk in the Maine House of Representatives. These jobs led the family to move to Augusta, either in 1876 or in 1880, when he became a clerk in the state treasurer’s office (sources differ).

From 1884 to 1888, Edwin Burleigh was state treasurer, “an office that he filled with conspicuous ability and success,” according to the on-line biography. He ran successfully for governor in the fall of 1888 and was re-elected two years later, serving as Maine’s 42nd governor from January 1889 to January 1893.

The biography says his administration was “pre-eminently constructive and progressive in character.” A list of accomplishments starts with blocking a proposal to relocate the state capital to Portland and instead overseeing enlargement of the state house, thereby saving taxpayers “at least two million dollars.”

In 1892 Edwin Burleigh ran for the U. S. House from Maine’s Third Congressional District. He lost to incumbent Seth Milliken, of Belfast; but when Milliken died in office in 1897, Burleigh was chosen as his successor. He served from June 21, 1897, until he lost a 1910 re-election bid and was replaced on March 3, 1911; the 1909 on-line biography says his “ability and usefulness have been conspicuous.”

Hatch wrote that “he was very successful in obtaining public buildings for his district.”

Meanwhile, in 1887 he had purchased Augusta’s Kennebec Journal, so in 1911 he turned his attention back to the newspaper and to managing forest land he owned in Aroostook County. The biography adds that his older son, Clarence Blendon Burleigh, was the paper’s managing editor in the early 1900s.

In the fall of 1912 Edwin Burleigh was elected to the U. S. Senate, taking office March 4, 1913. He did not finish his Senate term; he died in Augusta on June 16, 1916. He, his wife and other family members are buried in Augusta’s Forest Grove Cemetery.

The fourth generation: Moses Burleigh’s great-grandson (Edwin Burleigh’s son) Clarence Blendon, in Augusta

Edwin and Mary Jane Burleigh’s older son was Clarence Blendon Burleigh (Nov. 1, 1864 – 1910), born in Linneus. He attended local schools in Linneus and Bangor, and graduated from Hampton Literary Institute in 1883 and from Bowdoin College in 1887.

After a summer as “editor of the Old Orchard Sea Shell, which was published by the Biddeford Times until the close of the beach season,” Clarence Burleigh came back to Augusta and joined his father’s Kennebec Journal venture. His career included 10 years (1896-1906) as state printer.

Clarence Burleigh also served as president of the Maine Press Association (1896); member of the city board of assessors (1897); president of Augusta City Hospital (founded in 1898); and president of the Augusta Board of Trade (1899).

He and his younger brother Lewis were Republicans, active Masons and Congregationalists.

On Nov. 24, 1887, he married Sarah P. Quimby of Sandwich, New Hamp­shire. The on-line site says that had two sons, Edwin C. (born Dec. 9, 1891) and Donald Q. (born June 2, 1894), carrying the Burleigh name into the fifth generation.

The fourth generation continued: Moses Burleigh’s great-grandson Lewis Albert (Edwin Burleigh’s son), Augusta

Clarence Burleigh’s younger brother, Lewis Albert Burleigh (March 24, 1870 – 1929), was born in Linneus; the family moved to Augusta in time for him to graduate from Cony High School in 1887. He followed his brother to Bowdoin, graduating in 1891, and earned his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1894.

He was immediately admitted to the Kennebec Bar and went into practice with his brother-in-law, Joseph Williamson (husband of his older sister, Vallie Mary). The on-line biography says as of 1909, “The firm has taken a leading position among the lawyers of the state, doing a general and corporation business.”

This source says Lewis Burleigh had been Augusta city clerk and was in his second term as one of three United States Commissioners. (Another on-line source explains that United States Commissioners are appointed by district court chief judges to “perform judicial functions for the federal government” similar to those performed by state “magistrates or justices of the peace.”)

In 1909 he was also on Augusta’s board of education and representing the city in the state House of Representatives.

On Oct. 18, 1894, Lewis Burleigh married Caddie Hall Brown (Apr. 22, 1871 – 1955) of Fairfield. The couple had a daughter who was born and died in 1895 and a son, Lewis Albert Burleigh, Jr. (July 20, 1897 – Aug. 11, 1949) – another of Moses Burleigh’s fifth-generation descendants.

The senior Lewis Burleigh got a Nov. 12, 1929, obituary in The New York Times, in which he was identified as an “Attorney and Former Legislator of Augusta, Me.”

And briefly one member of the fifth generation: Moses Burleigh’s great-great-grandson Donald Quimby (Clarence Burleigh’s son)

Donald Quimby Burleigh is identified as a novelist and, with his wife Mary (Johnson) Burleigh, “a New England champion bridge player.” Donald and Mary Burleigh had four daughters and no sons.

One website lists several books written by Clarence Blendon Burleigh. Your writer was surprised to find available on line copies of:

Bowdoin ’87: A History of Undergraduate Days : Together with Brief Sketches of Members of the Class Since Graduation, published in 1900 by the Kennebec Journal Press;

The Letter on Camp K, subtitled Two Live Boys in Northern Maine, with author and illustrator L. J. Brigman (Lewis Jesse Brigman, 1857 – 1931) listed as co-author, originally published in 1906;

Raymond Benson at Krampton, published in 1907 by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard of Boston, with two young men ready for a baseball game on the cover; and

The Kenton Pines, or Raymond Benson in College, also published in 1907 by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard. The forgottenbooks.com website categorizes its reproduction of the novel as “childrens” and says it is 412 pages long.


Dowe, Milton E., History Town of Palermo Incorporated 1884 (1954).
Hatch, Louis Clinton, ed., Maine: A History 1919 ((facsimile, 1974).
Howard, Millard, An Introduction to the Early History of Palermo, Maine (second edition, December 2015).

Websites, miscellaneous.