Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Albion, South China libraries

Albion Public Library

by Mary Grow

The majority of the central Maine towns and cities this series is covering have public libraries. Previous articles have talked about the three whose buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places – Lawrence Library, in Fairfield (the Nov. 11 issue of The Town Line), Lithgow Library, in Augusta (Nov. 18) and Brown Memorial Library, in Clinton (Dec. 2).

This piece will describe other local libraries your writer finds interesting, mostly arranged alphabetically by town.

A digression is in order here to explain different concepts of “public library.”

The clearest version of “public” is a library that is owned by the municipality, run by a staff who are municipal employees and funded (mostly) by taxpayers. Augusta’s Lithgow Library is in this category; its website calls it “A Bureau of the City of Augusta, Maine.”

Lawrence Library, in Fairfield, is similarly described as “a department of the town of Fairfield.” It has a five-person advisory board (if the website is up to date, there are two vacancies).

Clinton’s Brown Memorial Library is one of the departments listed on the town website. The website lists three trustees.

Each of these libraries has a separate Friends group whose mission is to seek donations.

Another type of “public” library is a library that lets everyone borrow its books and other resources, free of charge, and is owned and run by a private association, normally headed by a board of trustees or other similarly-named group. The Albert Church Brown Memorial Library, in China Village, and the South China Public Library are examples of this organizational type.

Little Free Library is a 21st-century organizational form that will be described in the next article in this series, with local examples.

Albion, the town immediately north of China, seems to have used two other forms of library organization for two successive institutions, one started in 1864 and the other in 1981.

Albion’s 19th-century library represented the type of library that is not truly public, but is at least partly financed by, and its services offered only to, dues-paying members. For the Albion Division Library, organized April 19, 1864, the dues were nominal; some member-supported libraries have charged significant fees.

Ruby Crosby Wiggin wrote in her Albion town history that a share in Library of Albion Div. 55 cost a man 50 cents a year, and required him to sign the library’s constitution and bylaws. Women, identified as “Lady Visitors” rather than members, also had to sign the documents, Wiggin wrote; they were charged 10 cents every three months.

The Division apparently met at least monthly, because Wiggin wrote that books “could be taken out or returned only at regular meetings.” Rules limited each member to one book at a time, with a four-week maximum borrowing time before a fine was incurred. But, she wrote, books could be renewed, and librarians’ records showed members keeping a book “for nearly a year by returning it each month and then taking it out again.”

Wiggin’s history includes the names of the first 17 men who joined the library in 1864 and 1865, and the five women who took out books at the first Division meeting. She also listed the 46 books in the original collection, a mixture of fiction and non-fiction that included a few names familiar to 21st-century readers, like Longfellow’s Tales of a Wayside Inn, Robert Burns’ poems, Francis Bacon’s Essays and George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss.

The library’s non-fiction collection included travel books by Peter Sutherland and Bayard Taylor; both volumes of Joel Tyler Headley’s 1847 Washington and His Generals; and a three-volume history of Turkey. Fiction included Ten Nights in a Bar Room and What I Saw There and several other novels by Timothy Shay Arthur.

Wiggin talked about the library’s first two years, but said nothing about when or why it closed.

The present Albion Public Library, dating from 1981, is an organizational hybrid. The town website says it is “a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, an Agency of the Town of Albion, Maine.”

Organization Treasurer Richard “Rick” Lawrence explained that Flora Wing Champlin created the public library in 1981 in a corner of the Albion School library, with permission from the School Administrative District #49 directors. What was initially “a brave band of informal trustees” organized in 2001 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit trust.

Between August 2001 and February 2002, Lawrence said, the trustees raised money to build a single-story library building at 18 Main Street (Routes 202 and 9), on a lot “cheerfully” donated by Roddy and Hattie Robinson. They then signed an agreement with town officials giving the Town of Albion ownership of the land and building, with the trustees to run the library.

In the last two years the trustees have expanded the library by adding a connector building between the main library and a storage room to the south. Lawrence said the project cost about $234,000, of which less than 10 percent came from town meeting voters’ approval of special requests.

The Town of Benton currently has no public library, and neither on-line sources nor Kingsbury’s 1892 Kennebec County history record one in the past. Kingsbury, however, would not take this lack as a criticism of the town. He wrote, “The intellectual status of a community may be generally premised from its educational facilities, and in this respect Benton compares favorably with her sister towns.”

Benton Elementary School library has its own cheerful website. Town residents are eligible for the Maine State Library’s Books by Mail program.

The Town of China has two libraries. The story of the South China library follows; the Albert Church Brown Memorial Library, in China Village, was described in the Dec. 2 issue of The Town Line.

photo courtesy of South China Library

The South China Library, founded in 1830, justifiably calls itself “Maine’s oldest continuously operating public library.” It was mentioned in the July 1 issue of The Town Line for its 20th-century connection with Rufus Jones.

According to the China bicentennial history, a group of South China men met in January 1830 “at the Chadwick schoolhouse” (near the present Erskine Academy, south of South China Village) and created the South China Social Library Society. (Kingsbury gives the year as 1832.)

The history quotes the organization’s goals: “improving our leisure hours to advantage; cultivating science in the community at large; and encouraging the present and rising generation in the same worthy pursuits.” Membership was sold in shares at a dollar each, and more shares could be “bought” by donating books. Borrowers were limited to one book at a time, unless they owned more than one share.

The bylaws allowed members to gather whenever they chose to discuss literature “not inconsistent with virtue and decorum.” For at least the first four decades the library reportedly accepted only non-fiction; the history mentions a paper presented to an 1870 meeting “commenting on the increasing public taste for ‘worthless’ fiction.”

Kingsbury wrote that the library did well. A $96 25th-anniversary gift from “Samuel Gurney, of London” (Kingsbury did not explain how a Londoner knew there was a library in South China, Maine), “gave fresh impetus,” he wrote.

(Wikipedia profiles a British philanthropist named Samuel Gurney [1786-1856] and mentions his son, also Samuel Gurney [1816-1882], but does not associate either with libraries or Maine. The younger Samuel Gurney, also a philanthropist, was co-founder of the Metropolitan Free Drinking Fountain Association, created in 1859 to give London people free, safe drinking water. In 1867 it was extended to animals and renamed the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association.)

The South China library’s books were housed in second-floor rooms above Ambrose H. Abbott’s store (he was the second librarian, from 1836 to 1866, succeeding Constant R. Abbott [almost certainly a relation, but on-line genealogies were not helpful]). In April 1872 a major fire destroyed most of South China Village, including Abbott’s store and the library’s 500 or so “choice” (Kingsbury’s word) books.

When the library reopened the next year, the China history says Eli Jones was president of the association. The library re-started with 80 books “and $6.58 in the treasury.”

Kingsbury wrote that the reopened library was free to all, supported by “subscriptions and donations.” In 1892, it was housed in the South China Friends’ meeting house and open on Sundays and Thursdays.

In 1900 Wilmot R. Jones donated the small lot on the south side of Main Street where the library has lived since, and the association had the building put up. Wilmot Jones was library association president from 1899 to 1919, and Rufus Jones from 1919 to 1948, according to the China history.

In the summer of 2016, library trustees bought the 1815 Abel Jones house on Jones Road, within half a mile of the original library building. The house has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1983 (see The Town Line, July 8).

The Jones lot is large enough to accommodate a new library building, now under construction.

The China bicentennial history counts the former Dinsmore Library, in Branch Mills Village, as a third library in China. Geographically it is on the China side of the town (and county) line that runs through the village. Nonetheless, in this series it will be treated as a Palermo library, and will be described in the next article.

Other Maine towns with two separate libraries

A superficial on-line search has found China is not the only Maine town with two separate libraries.

The Town of Harrison has the Harrison Village Library and the Bolsters Mills Village Library; the latter also serves Otisfield. The Harrison Village Library opened in 1908 in a stone building partly funded by Daniel H. Caswell, Sr.; it was renamed after Caswell in 1947. In 2004, the library moved into the former town office and resumed its first name. The stone building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

The Town of Kennebunkport has the Cape Porpoise Library and the Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library (originally the Kennebunkport Library, renamed to honor donors in 1921). The Graves library’s two-story brick Federal-style building dates from 1813; it was the United States Customhouse from 1831 into the 20th century, with the town library on the second floor after 1898, and has been on the National Register since 1974.

The Town of Standish has the Richville Library and the Steep Falls Library. The latter, opened in 1917, was for many years the Pierce Memorial Library, in honor of donor Henry Pierce. Its brick Colonial Revival building, designed by Edward F. Fassett (son of Francis H. Fassett; see The Town Line, Feb. 4), has been on the National Register since 2004.

Main sources

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

Personal interview.
Websites, miscellaneous.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Even more high schools

by Mary Grow

Continuing the discussion of (mostly) 19th-century high school education, this article will talk about Albion, Benton, and Clinton. In following weeks, continuing alphabetically, readers will find information on Fairfield, Palermo, Sidney (don’t expect much), Vassalboro, Windsor and Winslow.

Albion voters first appropriated school money in 1804, and endorsed building schoolhouses the same year. Town historian Ruby Crosby Wiggin said children aged from three through 21 could attend town schools.

Albion began offering education beyond the primary level in the 1860s, according to Wiggin. She referred to “subscription high schools” started in 1860. One was in the “new” (1858) District 3 schoolhouse.

In April 1873, she wrote, interested residents organized a stock company to provide a public hall in an existing building. The leaders quickly sold 90 shares at $10 a share and appointed a three-man building committee.

“It is supposed the building was finished that year [1873] and used for the first free High School,” that started in 1874 or 1875, Wiggin wrote. Henry Kingsbury, in his 1892 Kennebec County history, dated Albion’s “first high school” to 1876.

Because of “lack of interest,” the free high school had closed by 1880. In January 1881 the stock company trustees began the process that led to Albion Grange owning the building (see The Town Line, April 8).

About 1890, Wiggin wrote, high school was reintroduced, this time alternating between the McDonald School (District 9) and the Albion Village School (District 8).

A fall 1891 10-week term in District 8 had 87 students and cost $214; a later 10 weeks at McDonald School with 33 students cost $80. The state paid half the bill, leaving the town to pay $147, Wiggin wrote.

Kingsbury’s information again differs from Wiggin’s. He wrote that the high school started again in 1884 “and has since received cordial support.” He located fall sessions in “No. 10 school house in the Shorey district,” rather than the McDonald School, and spring terms in District 8.

(Both writers could be accurate, if they were describing different years. Also, however, other town historians have disagreed with Kingsbury. Considering that his book ends on page 1,273, and that some of the page numbers double and triple – 480a and 480b come between 480 and 481, for instance – an occasional error seems unsurprising.)

Families again lost interest, Wiggin said, and by 1898 the McDonald School no longer hosted high school classes and the “average attendance at the village was only 18.”

The village school was apparently one built in 1858, after a long debate, on the village Main Street (Route 202) where the Besse Building now stands. It was revived as a high school after 1898, because later Wiggin wrote, “From this school came the first pupil to graduate from Albion High School with a diploma.” His name was Dwight Chalmers, his graduation year 1909.

Wiggin wrote that the old high school building was moved to a new site and in 1964 was a private home.

The large brick Besse Building, now home to the Albion town office, was a gift of Albion native and then Clinton resident Frank Leslie Besse. Designed by Miller and Mayo, of Portland, and built by Horace Purington, of Waterville, it was dedicated as Besse High School on Sept. 20, 1913.

Maine School Administrative District (MSAD) #49, now Regional School Unit (RSU) #49, is based in Fairfield and serves Albion, Benton and Clinton. It was organized in 1966. Besse High School closed in 1967 and Albion students began attending Fairfield’s Lawrence High School.

The Town of Benton, northwest of Albion, was part of Clinton until the Maine legislature approved a separation on March 16, 1842. First named Sebasticook, the town became Benton, honoring Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton (1782-1858), on June 19, 1850.

Like other area towns, Benton had multiple villages in the 19th century. Higher education appears to have been concentrated at Benton Falls (sometimes called The Falls).

Benton Falls is on the Sebasticook River just south of the existing bridge, where waterfalls powered manufacturing in the 1800s. The Falls area includes the current locations of the Benton town office, on Clinton Avenue on the west bank, and the Benton Falls Church, on Falls Road on the east bank.

A brief on-line Benton history mentions an “academy” at Benton Falls, along with a church, a library, 10 stores and six taverns, apparently in the first half of the 1800s. Kingsbury adds several mills and in 1824 the town’s only blacksmith shop.

Kingsbury wrote in 1892 that Benton had a high school in the District 5 school building at The Falls, apparently since 1860; and he wrote that Benton’s District 5 schoolhouse was “on the site of the old Clinton Academy.”

But, he wrote, in 1892 there was no local school appropriation, “the proximity of Waterville offering advantages in higher education with which it was useless for Benton to compete.”

(By 1892, Waterville had both a free high school [see the Sept. 9 issue of The Town Line] and Coburn Classical Institute [described in the July 29 issue].)

In Clinton, “the first school in town to teach the higher grades” was what a local group intended as a Female Academy, according to Major General Carleton Edward Fisher’s history of Clinton, or a female seminary, according to Kingsbury.

Fisher wrote that in September 1831 Asher Hinds gave the school trustees an eight-by-nine rod lot on the east side of the road in Benton Falls, and Johnson Lunt added more land. (One rod is 16.5 feet, so the original lot was 132 feet by 148.5 feet.) Kingsbury disagreed slightly, saying construction of the Academy building started in 1830.

The two historians agreed that the would-be founders ran out of resources and handed the incomplete building to the Methodist Society. The Methodist Society finished it and opened a coed high school that ran until around 1858.

After the area separated from Clinton in 1842, Clinton students continued to attend the Academy “for a few years,” Fisher wrote. In 1845, he found, enrollment was 49 male and 31 female students.

The school year then was two 11-week terms, beginning in September and March. Students were charged $3 for the “common branches,” $3.50 for natural sciences and $4 for languages (unspecified).

By 1853, Fisher wrote, there were no students from Clinton enrolled, but the Board of Trustees still had two Clinton members. The school closed in 1858, he said.

Kingsbury recorded that the building changed hands three times in 1858 and 1859 before being sold to School District 5 in July 1859, with the sellers “reserving the right to hold a high school in it for two terms each year.”

This building burned (in 1870, Kingsbury said) and was rebuilt the next year. In 1883 “an attractive hall was finished off in the upper story.” Whether it was still a high school in 1883 Kingsbury did not say.

There was, however, a free high school in Clinton, started in 1874 and still open in 1892. Kingsbury wrote that the initial funding was $500. The “well attended” high school operated two terms a year, spring and fall, moving among the 13 school districts.

This school was superseded early in the 20th century. On-line Facebook pages feature graduates of the 20th-century Clinton High School that opened in 1902 or, according to a Clinton Historical Society on-line source, was approved by voters in 1902, started classes in February 1903 and had its first graduation in 1906.

A current Clinton resident locates the 1902 high school building on the Baker Street lot where the town office now stands.

The Facebook source says the yellow three-story building was 68-by-40-feet; an accompanying photo shows basement windows. The Historical Society writer specified three classrooms each on the first and second floors and one on the third floor.

This writer said the building housed 12 grades until 1960 (another source said until the 1940s), though it was called a high school. The privy was a separate building out back, until Clinton resident Frank L. Besse paid to have “indoor plumbing and central heating” added in 1917. The next year, Besse funded electricity.

In 1922, the on-line writer said, a second-floor classroom for business classes was divided into two, because “the sound of the new typewriters was annoying to the other students.”

Clinton High School, like Besse High School, in Albion, closed after graduation in 1966, when Clinton joined MSAD #49 and students went to Lawrence High School, in Fairfield. The school building on Baker Street housed middle-school classes either for a “couple of years” (Maine Memory Network) or until June 1975 (Clinton Historical Society), when it was no longer needed and was closed.

After a month of vandalism, the second Clinton Historical Society writer reported, the building burned July 25, 1975. The writer quoted a newspaper article mentioning the “suspicious origin” of the fire.

In 2016, alumni placed a memorial stone by the main door to the town office.

The Besse family in Benton and Clinton

1913 photo of Frank Besse seated in a Cadillac convertible, in front of Besse High School.

There are 11 Besses in the index to Ruby Crosby Wiggin’s Albion history (plus three Besseys), and an on-line genealogy of Besses in Albion lists 105 names.

Kingsbury traced the Albion/Clinton family to Jonathan Besse, born in 1775, “the first male child born in Wayne,” Maine. His son, Jonathan Belden Besse (Oct. 15, 1820 – March 5, 1892), became a tanner and married an Albion girl. Wiggin explained how that happened:

Jonathan Belden Besse was a soldier in the 1839 Aroostook War. Typhoid fever delayed his return home, but when he recovered, he headed back to Wayne on foot, “gun over his shoulder.”

He stopped in Albion for a drink from Lewis Hopkins’ well; Hopkins came outside and they talked; Hopkins said he needed help in the tannery. Besse decided to try it. He “went in, hung his gun on the pegs over the door, and went to work.”

Wiggin suggested maybe “Hopkins’ daughter had something to do with his staying.” An online Albion genealogy says Jonathan married Isabelle Hopkins (c. 1833 – Aug. 8, 1870) on July 29, 1852, in Albion. In 1859, he took over the tanning business; in 1890, he moved it to Clinton, “on account of better facilities for transportation.”

Kingsbury lists the Besse tannery as one of the three important industries in Clinton in 1892 (along with the creamery on Weymouth Hill and the shoe factory under construction in Clinton Village, which was expected to provide 100 jobs). The steam-powered tannery “near the railroad station” had 14 workers.

“Russet linings only are manufactured, the weekly production being 1,000 dozen skins,” Kingsbury wrote.

(An on-line leather supplier’s website describes a Russet lining as “a traditional bespoke shoe lining,” also used for “handtooling/carving, falconry and a host of leather goods.” It “is produced on a mellow dressed calf side tanned in vegetable extracts.”)

Jonathan and Isabelle Besse had five sons and two daughters between 1853 and 1868. Frank Leslie (April 15, 1859 – March 26, 1926) was their fourth child and second son. On Sept. 17, 1881, he and Mary Alberta Proctor, of Clinton, were married in Albion. Kingsbury wrote that he became a partner in his father’s business when he was 25 (therefore about 1884), and by 1892 had taken over.

Wiggin, however, wrote that Frank Besse “joined” his father’s business around 1878. She quoted from his speech at the dedication of Besse High School: he said that “when he joined his father in the ‘sheep skin business’ he had a cash capital of just $94.”

After Jonathan died in 1892, Wiggin wrote, Frank bought out Everett and his sister Hannah (Besse) Trask and became sole owner of the Clinton business. In 1906 he joined two Boston merchants to create Besse, Osborn and Ordell, Inc., a company “buying and selling sheepskins” that Wiggin said still existed in 1964.

(On-line sites today identify Besse, Osborn and Odell as a foreign-owned business headquartered in New York City, incorporated Nov. 11, 1910.)

The on-line genealogy lists no children born to Frank and Mary. It says in the 1900 census of Clinton, Frank’s occupation was listed as “tanner sheep skins.” It adds that the tannery “at one time tanned 3,000 skins a day.”

The Maine Memory Network has a September 1913 photo of Frank Besse seated in a Cadillac convertible, a long dark-colored vehicle with running boards and white-wall tires, in front of the Besse building. The caption says he was still running a tannery in Albion at the time.

According to the on-line genealogy, Frank Besse died March 26, 1926, in Ontario, California. Mary died July 10, 1945, probably in Clinton.

Kingsbury mentioned another of Jonathan and Isabelle’s sons, Frank’s younger brother Everett Belden Besse, who in 1892 was living “on the old homestead.” The genealogy says he was born Jan. 23, 1861, in Albion. On Jan. 24, 1889, he married Jessie Ida Rowe, born Nov. 20, 1868, in Palermo; they had four sons and two daughters between 1890 and 1906.

Wiggin wrote that when Jonathan Besse transferred his tanning business to Clinton in 1890, he left Everett in charge of the Albion branch.

In 1905, she continued, the Albion tannery was moved, after town voters offered a tax abatement if it were rebuilt along the line of the new Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington narrow-gauge railroad. Everett Besse ran the tannery at its new location “on the outlet to Lovejoy Pond above Chalmers’ mills” – and on a railroad siding – until it burned down in 1924.

Albion’s first telephone line, in the fall of 1905, was installed by the Half Moon Telephone Company, of Thorndike (then a rival of Unity Telephone Company), to connect Everett Besse’s house to his tannery, Wiggin wrote.

The genealogy says Jessie died May 29, 1940, and Everett died the same year – no month or day is given.

Frank and Mary Besse and Everett and Jessie Besse are among family members buried in at least four Besse plots in Clinton’s Greenlawn Rest Cemetery, on the west side of Route 100 just south of downtown.

Main sources

Fisher, Major General Carleton Edward, History of Clinton Maine (1970).
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Wiggin, Ruby Crosby, Albion on the Narrow Gauge (1964).

Websites, miscellaneous.

Reaction to announcement of possible closing of Albion Elementary School

COMMUNITY COMMENTARY

by Katrina Dumont, Kara Kugelmeyer, Billy-Jo Woods

Dear Fellow Albion Resident(s),

Our town has had its own school(s) since its founding in 1804.

Today, we are faced with the reality that the MSAD #49 School Board has decided to close the Albion Elementary School, as part of the MSAD #49 new school construction project.

Closing our only school will have many impacts (listed below) on our town both socially and economically.

Fortunately, as citizens of Albion, we have many options that we can explore and take action on in response to this decision (options below). The purpose of this letter is to inform fellow residents of our options, and invite all Albion residents to join future discussions on what option(s) the town should pursue.

After discussion with the Albion Selectboard, the residents (listed below) have started a committee that has been exploring:

  • What realistic options does the town have in response to the school closing: keep school, close school, school choice, etc. (see options below).
  • What would be the impacts (positive and negative) on the students, residents, and town with the closing of the Albion Elementary school.

An overview of the information that we have gathered to date is below. Detailed information can be found at https://albionschoolfutures.squarespace.com/ Also sometime in the next few months there will be a special public meeting to discuss our options (to be scheduled).

Below is more about the school closing and options:

On March 18, 2021, the MSAD #49 School Board accepted the recommendation of the new school building committee to close the Fairfield Primary building, consolidate the elementary schools, and close the Albion and Clinton Elementary Schools. While the purpose of the new building has not been fully envisioned, it will house some if not all of the elementary grades.

The vote on the motion passed 10-2-1, with the Albion School Board members voting against the motion. The closing of our school, which does not need or have to happen, will be tied to a vote to fund the new school. The final vote to try and close our school, which is a district wide vote (so even if Albion votes no the school can still be closed), will most likely be held in June of 2022 (next year).

It is fair to say that receiving state funding for a new school can be seen as a win for MSAD49, yet it is equally true that closing the Albion elementary school will have many harmful and long term negative impacts on our residents, young students, and our town.

While the location of the new school has not been posted on the district’s school consolidation webpage, all evidence points to that it will not be in Albion or in Clinton. Also while a large part of the cost of the new school will be paid for by the state, the towns in the district will need to pay the remaining costs to build the new school. Finally, while our current school building in Albion is older, it’s still an adequate building for our students, even by the state’s ratings and standards.

So what does closing our school mean for our town?

Sadly the vast majority of studies (educational, social, and economic) on rural school closings conducted across the U.S., including in Maine, show that when a rural town loses its only school to consolidation, especially an elementary school, even when residents have access to a new school in a nearby town, the following negative outcomes occur.

  • For young children, longer bus rides and larger class size, often negatively impacts their overall academic performance, (reading, writing, and math), and lessens their connection to the people in their local community
  • The sense of community and town identity is hugely diminished for all residents and many people stop wanting to move to the town
  • For students and families who don’t live near the school, the ability to easily participate in school related extracurricular activities, like sports, becomes much harder
  • The future of the town as a inviting place to live and raise a family is hugely diminished, and the town’s population decreases, increasing the tax burden on the remaining citizens (you still have to pay school taxes no matter what)
  • In rural towns the farther a residence is from a school, the value homes and property decreases, as does the ability to attract future buyers for homes
  • Taxes increase as home and property values decrease
  • Local school related taxes (the biggest part of tax bills) increase regardless of cost savings with a new
    building, as the major portion of the school budget is salaries
    Fortunately, as citizens of Albion, we have options that we can explore and take action on. It is fair to say that all of these
    options have some upsides and downsides. Our options include:

    • Vote NO! When the district wide vote to close the school(s) happens next year, vote against closing the school(s). *This a district wide vote so all towns in the district get to vote on closing our school, so if Albion votes no and the rest of the towns vote yes, the school still closes.
    • Withdraw from the MSAD #49 district with three different possible options:
    1. Keep our elementary school (home rule) and have school choice (children can go to any schools in the area) for middle and high school. The school would have different leadership. Children could still go to Lawrence or Benton elementary. We can afford to do this at the current tax rate.
    2. Close our elementary school but have school choice (can go to any schools in the area, including MSAD #49) for all grades. Children can still go to Lawrence or Benton elementary. We can afford to do this at the current tax rate.
    3. Join another district and negotiate to keep our elementary school and school choice.
    • Stay in the district and support the closing of our elementary school.

You can learn more details about the options, the impacts, and the new school project at https://albionschoolfutures.squarespace.com/ If you wish to join the committee looking at the options, have questions etc. please email: albionschoolfutures@gmail.com.

Community Commentary is a forum The Town Line makes available for citizens to express their opinions on subjects of interest to our readers, and is not necessarily the views of the staff or the board of directors. The Town Line welcomes, and encourages, supportive comments, differing opinions, counterpoints or opposing views. Keep the rebuttals positive, and informative. Submissions containing personal attacks will be rejected.

China to hold WindowDressers workshop this fall

Volunteers prepare window inserts at the 2019 WindowDressers workshop, two years ago, in Vassalboro. (photo courtesy of Vassalboro Historical Society)

by Eric W. Austin

The China for a Lifetime Committee is busy planning for a WindowDressers workshop that will take place this November 3 – 7. The initiative is a volunteer-led, “barn-raising” effort to construct low-cost “window inserts” to reduce residential energy bills.

The window inserts are constructed of pine wood frames, covered in thin plastic film and can usually be ordered in natural wood or painted white, however, because of pandemic-related difficulties in the lumber industry, they may not be available in white this year. (Please inquire at the time you place your order.) There is a maximum order limit of 10 frames, and no minimum. Orders are open to residents in China, Vassalboro, Palermo, Albion and Windsor.

The price of the window inserts will vary depending on the size of the frame requested, but generally range from $30-$70 per frame for natural pine, with an additional $5-$10 if painted white. There is financial help available for those who qualify.

The committee is working with the statewide WindowDressers organization, described on their website as a “volunteer-driven non-profit organization dedicated to helping Maine residents reduce heating costs, fossil fuel consumption, and CO-2 emissions by lowering the amount of heat loss through windows.” WindowDressers is based out of Rockland.

The China for a Lifetime Committee, a local group which supports community initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life for residents, has been meeting for several months to discuss having a WindowDressers workshop in China this fall. Vassalboro hosted a workshop two years ago, and the China for a Lifetime Committee had discussed organizing a workshop in China last year before plans were scrapped because of the pandemic.

As the workshop will take place during the first week of November, orders should be placed no later than October 1. Committee volunteers will need to visit your home to take window measurements which will then be sent to the WindowDressers organization, who will cut the wood for the frames. All volunteers doing the measuring will be vaccinated for COVID-19, and can also wear a mask if the homeowner requests. Measurers need to complete their task and submit data to WindowDressers by mid-October, so to avoid “crunch time”, please make sure to get your order in and set up a measuring appointment as soon as possible.

There is a great need for local community volunteers in order to make this a successful WindowDressers workshop. It is requested that anyone ordering frames also sign up for a four-hour shift on one of the workshop days. The committee is also looking for anyone willing to supply food to the teams working during the workshop.

To submit an order for window inserts, or to volunteer, please call the China town office at 445-2014, send an email to the China for a Lifetime Committee at chinaforalifetime@gmail.com, or visit the WindowDressers website and fill out the form located at windowdressers.org/sign-up-for-inserts.

For more information about the China for a Lifetime Committee, please visit their website at chinaforalifetime.com.

ShineOnCass event includes education and PJ party with baby animals

Mac Vandeventer gets to know the goats. (photo courtesy of Monica Charette)

by Monica Charette

Claire Slevinsky pets a two-week-old baby lamb and learns how to card sheep wool at Hart-to-Hart Farm in Albion. (photo courtesy
of Monica Charette)

It was a pajama party like no other at Hart-to-Hart Farm & Education Center in Albion on May 16, when 100 children, dressed in their pajamas, welcomed baby lambs, goats, calves, and other newborn animals – also wearing pajamas – as part of the annual ShineOnCass Animal Baby Shower.

This year’s event featured hands-on educational sessions, including teaching kids how to milk a cow, fetch eggs from a real chicken coop, spin lamb’s wool, and stretch out at goat yoga! Children were able to hold the newborn babies, learn about caring for them, and experience a working, organic farm.

Linda Hartkopf, owner of Hart-to-Hart Farm, with her husband, Doug, said she enjoys the opportunity to share her love for animals with the community.

“Many of the children who came have never been on a working farm,” said Hartkopf. “We take great pride in educating them about caring for animals, and sharing our love and pride in raising them. There’s nothing like introducing a child to a newborn animal.”

Paige Smith comes out to volunteer in honor and in memory of her former soccer teammate and friend, Cassidy Charette, at the annual ShineOnCass Animal Baby Shower & PJ Party at Hart-to-Hart Farm in Albion. (photo courtesy
of Monica Charette)

Hart-to-Hart Farm is a family-owned and operated organic dairy farm that offers a variety of summer educational programs for children, adults and families. The event is held each year in memory of Cassidy Charette, an Oakland teen who died in a hayride accident in 2014. Cassidy, known for her kindness as an active community volunteer, was also passionate about caring for animals as a long-time summer camper at Hart-to-Hart Farm.

“Every year we get further away from losing Cass, holds a special place for us all,” said Cassidy’s friend Shawna Lachance, who now serves on the foundation’s board of directors. “We knowing we are continuing the work she would have lived her life doing.”

Families attending the event made monetary gifts and donated a truckload of food and pet items, which was donated to Humane Society Waterville Area in honor and memory of Cassidy, who was also a shelter volunteer.

For information about Hart-to-Hart Farm & Education Center, visit hart2hartfarm.org. For more event images, visit the ShineOnCass Facebook page. To learn more about the ShineOnCass Foundation, please visit shineoncass.org.

 

 

 

2021 Listing of Memorial Day Services

Memorial Day Services

ALBION

No parade. Memorial service, 9 a.m., in front of Albion Christian Church at the monument.

CHINA VILLAGE

Memorial service, 10 a.m., on the top of the hill in the cemetery. Return to China Baptist Church for another memorial service, following the cemetery service.

MADISON

No Memorial Day parade. Tardiff-Belanger American Legion Post #39 observances as follows:

9 a.m., at Starks Town Office.

9:30 a.m., Anson Town Office, followed by scattering of flowers off the bridge.

10 a.m., Madison Library.

10:30 a.m., at the U.S./Canada Monument at Forest Hills Cemetery.

11 a.m., East Madison, Joseph Quirion Monument.

SOUTH CHINA

The South China American Legion Boynton-Webber Post #179 will conduct a short flower-placing ceremony at the Windsor Veterans Memorial on Rte. 32 in front of the Windsor Christian Fellowship Church at 9 a.m.

A second ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. in South China at the Veterans Memorial Park at the intersection of Old Windsor Road and Village Street.

There will be no parade this year.

WINDSOR

Memorial ceremony, 9 a.m.

Rena Harding receives Boston Post Cane

Rena Harding, 99, center, of Albion, receives the Boston Post Cane from Albion selectmen Brent Brockway, left, and Jerry Keay, right. (contributed photo)

Rena Zelia Harding, of Harding Road, Albion, was presented the Boston Post Cane Award on May 1, 2021, at her residence. She will be 99 years old on October 29 this year. Rena’s maiden name was Bailey and formerly was from Palermo. She attended Palermo School as well as studying a general course from International Correspondence Course.

She married Warren Harding on May 16, 1942. Before they married, Rena cared for Warren’s mother up to the time they moved to the Harding Road, in Albion, and there started a farm. Rena mentioned she thought
the invention of the washing machine was the most valuable machine to her, but was thankful for the invention of milking machines. Milking cows by hand and pouring the milk into the milk can was a time consuming process.

Rena had four children: Eugene, Athene, Sheldon and Neil.

Contributed photo

Albion’s parade reminds us what’s important

Colbyn’s lemonade stand. (contributed photo)

by Jeanne Marquis

When Jessica Norton felt ill late last month, her son Colbyn Cole’s inner superhero sprung into action bringing her whatever he thought would make her feel better.

Colbyn’s heroic nature revved into high gear when he knew he had to call his grandma to tell her that his mom was really sick. True super heroes know when they need to call in for back ups. “Nana” Julie Norton flew in from Florida to watch the house and the rest of the family, when her daughter spent a few days in the hospital. Julie Norton explained, “I’ve never seen my daughter this sick before.”

When Jessica’s Facebook friends asked her if she needed anything once she returned home, Jessica replied back that she just needed help to make Colbyn’s 9th birthday really special this year because he didn’t have a party last year because of the Covid precautions. “Nana” Julie saw this posting and got the idea of throwing a drive-by parade in honor of Colbyn’s birthday because a party was still out of the question this year. The big question was how could this be pulled together with less than two weeks notice? Perhaps there’s a superhero within every grandmother, too? Julie began posting an event on Facebook for April 3, called Colbyn’s Beep-Beep Birthday, asking for participants to drive vehicles in the parade.

Another important part of this story is Colbyn had established a lemonade stand called Colby Cole’s Cold Lemonade, where the family had met people in town. This is where Julie met Carl Chapman, safety officer for the Albion Fire Department and an avid biker. Carl agreed to post the event on the several biker sites he follows, including Motorcycle Riders of Maine, but he wasn’t sure what response they would get, “most of the guys hadn’t gotten their bikes out of storage yet.”

Colbyn with biker Carl and “Nana” Julie.
(contributed photo)

The word of the parade touched a soft spot in people’s hearts and the posting went from area biker Facebook pages to Jeep club page to the Penobscot Valley 4-wheel drive club all the way from Hampden. Stephen Marois, from Riding Steel, shared the event on his biker page as well. The Albion Fire Chief of the Red Knights Chapter 13 and the Kennebec Sheriff Department enthusiastically agreed to participate.

Until the day of the event, Julie didn’t know how far and wide her request went out. She, Carl and another biker arrived at Dixon’s Country Market, the meeting place for the parade, a half hour before the event. No one was there.

A Kennebec Sheriff Department vehicle pulled into the parking lot, so Julie went up to ask if they were there for the parade. To her surprise, they said “yes” and were discussing the route. Then, the vehicles started rolling in, some even decorated for a birthday parade. There were motorcycles, fresh out of winter storage. There were eight to ten complete strangers in Jeeps, Colbyn’s favorite vehicle. There were Bob and Polly Matthews with Kevin Napilitano from the Penobscot Valley 4-wheel drive club. The Albion Fire Department made a dramatic appearance as they joined the parade with an engine, rescue and brush trucks. At the end of the parade, the Kennebec officers presented Colbyn with a Challenge Coin and made him an honorary deputy.

Julie Norton and the rest of her family were overwhelmed by the community support to create a birthday celebration for a nine-year-old that he will never likely forget. Julie remarked, “I’m telling you, I didn’t know what to say. It was absolutely amazing how a community pulled together on a drop of a hat.”

This unofficial, impromptu event in Albion, Maine, reminds us that good deeds are contagious and stir the inner hero within ourselves. If you are looking for more inspiration, drop by Colbyn Cole’s Cold Lemonade stand on good weather days after his school work is complete, at 192 Benton Road, Albion.

Andrew Clark presented with Spirit of America Award at Albion town meeting

Albion Fire Chief Andrew Clark, left, accepts the Spirit of America Award from the town’s selectboard chairman Beverly Bradstreet during the Albion town meeting. (photo courtesy of Beverly Bradstreet)

The town of Albion presented its 2021 Spirit of America Award to Fire Chief Andrew Clark, by Board of Selectmen Chairman Beverly Bradstreet, at the annual town meeting, held on March 22.

Andy has been the Fire Chief of the Albion Fire Department since 2012 and a member of the department for over 20 years. Due to Andy’s diligence, the department has received over $1 million in grants in the last 20 years, receiving $410,000 in 2020 alone.

He has done this along with working full time as a fire fighter and EMT in the Scarborough Fire Department and in his “spare time” he has also earned a bachelor’s degree in fire science and a master’s degree in public administration.

Along with efficiently running and improving the Albion Fire Department, he has been instrumental in helping to make improvements in the Albion Town Office and Besse Building. Andy’s dedication to the town came across again in 2020 when Andy refused to take his stipend as fire chief and a stipend as a firefighter. He did this because he wanted to use that money in the fire department budget so he would not have to ask for an increase from Albion tax payers for his budget during a year of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Albion selectmen and town office staff thank Andy for his dedication to the Albion Fire Department and for his service to the town of Albion as this is what the “Spirit of America Award” is all about.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: The Grange – Part 1

Vassalboro Grange (photo: vassalboro.net)

by Mary Grow

The mother and father of all United States agricultural organization is the Grange, formally known as the Order of Patrons of Husbandry. The national Grange was organized in Washington, D. C., on Dec. 2, 1867, by a seven-person group headed by Oliver Hudson Kelley (1826 – 1913), a Bostonian who moved to Minnesota in 1849 to become a farmer.

A Grange historian quoted in Ruby Crosby Wiggin’s Albion history wrote that the organization was a response to the “depressed condition” of agriculture after the Civil War. The 1873 financial panic hastened its growth.

In 1864, Kelley, working for the national Bureau of Agriculture, inspected post-war farming conditions in the southern states. He realized the need to help farmers earn their living from their land, found like-minded friends and created the Grange.

Kelley intended the organization as “an agricultural fraternal order,” not unlike Masonry, with rituals, named offices, degrees and an aura of secrecy, Maine Grange historian Stanley R. Howe wrote in a 2010 article reproduced on line.

“Fraternal” was never accurate, however; Howe credited Kelley’s niece, feminist Caroline A. Hall, with gaining women near-equality in the Grange. They had voting rights from the beginning and four of the 16 elected offices in each Grange are exclusively for women.

(Online information says in 1893 the Minnesota Grange elected a woman named Sarah Baird as the first female state Grange President [Master] in the United States. Minnesota’s current state Grange president is a woman, and so is the president of the national Grange, for the first time: Betsy Huber, of Pennsylvania, a Granger since she joined a Junior Grange at age five, has been national president since 2015.)

The name Grange comes from Great Britain, where the part of an estate used for agriculture was called the grange, Howe explained.

As the organization developed and spread, four main purposes emerged.

Economic improvement remained central. Means included cooperative stores, where the organization bought in bulk and sold to members at cost; discounts on things like life and health insurance; and spreading information about improved agricultural techniques, new machinery or seeds and other benefits to farmers.

Education, agricultural and general, was important. Granges published reports, newspapers and bulletins; many Grange halls had libraries; most Granges sponsored educational presentations on topics important to local farmers and the community; many hosted classes and workshops.

Having an organization that operated locally, state-wide and nationally gave Grangers political clout. One of the first national efforts was to pressure Congress to lower railroads’ shipping rates so that farm products could be sent to market more cheaply. Grangers also wanted grain elevators’ charges controlled.

The Grange lobbied for the postal service’s Rural Free Delivery system, so that isolated farmers would not have to choose between driving miles to the post office or paying a commercial carrier to pick up their mail. Grangers supported a variety of national cooperative farmers’ institutions; one source says they were instrumental in making the head of the United States Department of Agriculture a member of the President’s Cabinet in 1889.

Grange members lobbied for the Prohibition movement (implemented by the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution, in effect Jan. 16, 1919, and repealed by the 21st Amendment, in effect Dec. 5, 1933). They helped implement progressive political ideas, like direct election of Senators (the 17th Amendment, in effect April 8, 1913) and voting rights for women (the 19th Amendment, in effect Aug. 18, 1920). Current national President Huber advocates expanding access to broadband service, especially in rural areas.

Complementing these economic, educational and political goals, at the local level the Grange became the social center for rural towns across the country, providing a community meeting hall and sponsoring suppers, dances and local and imported entertainments. One historian called this function especially important to rural women, who were more isolated than the men.

The Maine State Grange was organized in Lewiston on April 21, 1874, a year after the first Grange in the state was established in Hampden. Grange and state websites say there were 64 Maine Granges with about 2,000 members by the end of 1874; within two years, 228 Granges and 12,000 members; in 1907, 419 Granges and more than 55,000 members; and in 1918, 450 Granges and 60,000 members. Membership peaked at around 62,000 in the 1950s and has declined in recent years.

In 1918, according to that year’s Maine Register, W. J. Thompson, of South China, was Master of the state Grange. His wife held the position of Flora (one of three ritual stations, with Ceres and Pomona, Howe explained) and D. E. Foster, of Augusta, was Steward.

(Wikipedia says Ceres was “the Roman goddess of agriculture”; Flora was “the Roman goddess of flowers” and of spring; and Pomona was “the Roman goddess of fruit and nut trees.”)

Political positions the Maine State Grange took included supporting funding for local schools and the University of Maine and opposing the repeated efforts to move the state capital from Augusta. Augusta’s Maine Farmer newspaper, published from 1823 to at least 1900 (see The Town Line, Nov. 26, 2020), was a Grange publication.

The organization promoted causes that benefited not only farmers, but other segments of society. Howe mentioned sending care packages to soldiers overseas during World War II and building and supporting Grange Cottage to house orphans at Goodwill-Hinckley School, in Fairfield.

Since 1945, the Maine State Grange has been headquartered on State Street, in Augusta.

In the 1880s the state organization added county Granges, called Pomonas. Juvenile Granges started in 1944; Palermo’s Sheepscot Lake Juvenile Grange #106 and Augusta’s Capital Junior Grange #274 were active in the 1950s and 1960s.

A current on-line list from the Maine State Grange says there are 103 active Granges in Maine, counting both local and county Granges. Local ones listed are Benton Grange, Fairfield Center’s Victor Grange and Branch Mills Grange, in Palermo; Vassalboro Grange, in East Vassalboro, should also be on the list, according to its Facebook page.

Albion Grange #181 was one of the earlier local Granges, past and present. Maine State Grange Master Nelson Ham oversaw its organizational meeting on July 6, 1875, historian Ruby Crosby Wiggin wrote. There were 36 charter members: 34 couples, the son of one couple and an unmarried woman.

Wiggin said in 1875, only farmers and their families were eligible to join the Grange. Doctors, storekeepers and all other non-farmers were excluded.

In 1873, Albion residents had organized a local stock company to build a community hall. The hall was finished in 1874, and the first Grange meeting was held there.

Until January 1881 Grangers rented the hall only for meetings. In January 1881, the Stock Company leased it to the Grange at $35 a year, and in 1886 the Grange bought the building.

Beginning in October 1875 Grangers ran a cooperative store, buying a variety of items – coffee, salted fish, cloth, raisins, rock salt, cheese, sugar, chewing tobacco, grass seed – in bulk and selling them to members. Meetings included panel discussions, suppers and other forms of entertainment.

On Oct. 4, 1879, Albion Grange held its first fair, in conjunction with Freedom Grange. Independent Albion Grange fairs were held annually into the early 1950s, Wiggin wrote.

By 1892, Henry Kingsbury wrote in his Kennebec County history, Albion Grange had 150 members. In 1902, the Maine State Grange Proceedings says there were 252 members.

In 1903 Grangers added a dining room to their building, which they still used when Wiggin published her Albion history in 1964. On-line sources suggest the Grange had been re-established in 1957, probably after an interval of inactivity.

In Augusta, records show two Granges. The earlier, Capital Grange #248, was organized April 7, 1883, according to Capt. Charles E. Nash’s chapter on Augusta in Kingsbury’s history. The second Capital Grange Master was Samuel L. Boardman, who wrote the chapter on agriculture in the same book.

On Nov. 12, 1901, according to records of the national Grange, Brother Obadiah Gardner carried an invitation to those attending the national convention to visit Augusta on Nov. 19, traveling by train. The flowery letter was signed by Capital Grange Master G. M. Twitchell and Augusta Board of Trade President C. B. Burleigh.

Attractions included touring the city and the State House; meeting Governor Hill and his wife at “the mansion of the late Hon. J. G. Blaine, which remains as it was when he did his great work”; and visiting “the national home at Togus,” then caring for 2,600 Civil War veterans.

The Grange records say that Brother W. K. Thompson, of South Carolina, moved to accept the invitation. Discussion was postponed from the morning to the afternoon session, when Brother Thompson’s motion was “considered at considerable length and unanimously adopted.”

(Obadiah Gardner [1852-1938], a Michigan native who moved to Maine in 1864, graduated from Coburn Classical Institute, in Waterville, and farmed in the Rockland area, was Master of the Maine Grange from 1897 to 1907. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1908; was appointed to the United States Senate in September 1911, after William P. Frye died in office; and lost his re-election bid in 1912, leaving the Senate March 3, 1913. He was then appointed to the International Joint Commission to deal with boundary-water issues between the United States and Canada, on which he served until 1923.)

In 1902, M. F. Norcross, the Deputy of West Kennebec County, reported on his Nov. 21 visit to Capital Grange, which then had 60 members. He found there were “[n]ew rituals and badges,” and the members were much interested in “working the third and fourth degrees” under a capable Master. “Bound to succeed,” he summarized.

Later references to Capital Grange are hard to find. The on-line index to the University of Maine’s Raymond L. Fogler special collections library says the library has 110 years of Capital Grange treasurers’ records, from 1883 to 1993.

Capital Junior Grange seems to have been created in or before 1955 and to have lasted until at least 1961.

North Augusta Grange #348 was founded in or before 1899 and existed until at least 1973. In the 1902 Proceedings of the Maine State Grange, Norcross, reporting as Deputy for Kennebec County, said North Augusta Grange had 126 members and a Degree Team and appeared to be doing well.

Nineteen pages later in the same book, Norcross, listing himself as Deputy for West Kennebec County, reported on his Nov. 4 visit to the North Augusta Grange. The Master told him meetings had been suspended temporarily “on account of a drama.” Norcross gave no details, but commented, “It is hoped that the work that the Grange is designed to do is not made a secondary matter.”

19 Granges in the central Kennebec River valley, in the order in which they were founded (as nearly as this writer can determine)

Victor Grange #49, Fairfield Center; established 1874, still active.

Oak Grove Grange #167, North Vassalboro; May 11, 1875.

Albion Grange #181; July 6, 1875.

Albion Grange #181, Oct. 28, 1957; suspended Aug. 26, 1998, for failure to file state corporate reports (according to an on-line source).

Sidney Grange #194; November 24, 1875.

Cushnoc Grange #204, Riverside (Vassalboro); January 13, 1876.

Capital Grange #248, Augusta; Apr. 7, 1883.

Windsor Grange #284; June 2, 1886.

China Grange #295, South China; December 29, 1887.

Clinton Grange #287; March 1888 (according to Kingsbury; this date is out of sequence).

Clinton Grange #287, July 15, 1949; dissolved Sept. 6, 2006, for failure to file state corporate reports (according to an on-line source).

Winslow Grange #320; in existence by 1894.

East Vassalboro Grange #322, 1895; still active.

Silver Lake Grange #327, China Village; 1895 or 1896.

Branch Mills Grange #336, Jan. 1, 1897 (organized in China, most of its life in Palermo); still active.

North Augusta Grange #348, in existence by 1899.

Sheepscot Lake Grange #445, in existence by 1905.

Benton Grange #458, 1906; still active.

China Lake Grange #578, also called China Grange; fall 1974-1976?, China Village.

19 Granges in the central Kennebec River valley, alphabetical by municipality

Albion (two) Albion Grange #181, 1875; Albion Grange #181, 1957.

Augusta (two) Capital Grange #248; North Augusta Grange #348.

Benton Grange #458.

China (three) China Grange #295; Silver Lake Grange #327; China (Lake) Grange #578.

Clinton (two) Clinton Grange #287, 1888; Clinton Grange #287, 1949.

Fairfield Center Victor Grange #49.

Palermo (two) Branch Mills Grange #336; Sheepscot Lake Grange #445.

Sidney Grange #194.

Vassalboro (three) Oak Grove Grange #167; Cushnoc Grange #204; East Vassalboro Grange #322.

Waterville had none, apparently.

Windsor Grange #284.

Winslow Grange #320.

Main sources

Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Wiggin, Ruby Crosby, Albion on the Narrow Gauge (1964).

Websites, miscellaneous.