Area students receive Husson University academic award

Husson University Online, in Bangor, celebrates the academic achievements of students recently named to the president’s list, dean’s list and honors list for Term 3 of the 2023-2024 academic year.

President’s List: 3.80 to 4.0 semester grade-point average
Dean’s List: 3.60 to 3.79 semester grade-point average
Honor’s List: 3.40 to 3.59 semester grade-point average.

The students are:

Jazzmin M. Johnson, of Augusta, President’s List;
Melissa Lyon, of Waterville, – Dean’s List;
Olivia Brooke Roy, of Augusta, – Dean’s List.

Endicott College announces local dean’s list students

Endicott College, in Beverly, Massachusetts, has announced its Fall 2023 dean’s list students. The students include:

Emily Clark, of China, nursing, daughter of Stacy Clark and Christopher Clark.

Oliver Parker, of Augusta, English, daughter of Katherine Parker and Walter Parker.

Churchill Elangwe-Preston speaker at KVCC commencement

Churchill Elangwe-Preston

Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) will celebrate the conferral of associate degrees and academic certificates for a total of 427 graduates in the class of 2024. Over 250 graduates will take part in commencement exercises on Saturday, May 11, at 10 a.m., at the Augusta Civic Center.

Churchill Elangwe-Preston, of Waterville, will deliver the keynote address.

Churchill Elangwe-Preston’s journey from growing up on coffee and cocoa farms in Limbe, Cameroon, to founding Mbingo Mountain Coffee, in Waterville, is a story of passion, innovation, and commitment to community. His deep roots in agriculture, combined with a solid education in electrical technology from KVCC and electrical engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), have uniquely positioned him to make a significant impact.

Mbingo Mountain Coffee is more than just a business venture for Churchill; it is a fulfillment of a lifelong aspiration to contribute positively to the coffee industry, enhance the coffee drinking experience in central Maine and the United States, and give back to the farming community. His journey underscores the importance of embracing one’s roots, pursuing one’s passions, and the impact of lifelong learning. Churchill’s story is a testament to how diverse experiences and a commitment to quality and community can lead to innovative and meaningful entrepreneurial endeavors.

Cindy Stevens to receive distinguished alumnus award

Cindy Stevens

Cindy (Davis) Stevens will be presented the KVCC Distinguished Alumnus Award. Born in the small town of New Vineyard, with a population of only 400, Cindy attended Roosevelt Grammar School, a local two-room schoolhouse, and graduated from Mt. Blue High School, in Farmington, in 1975. She graduated from KVCC in 1977 with a diploma in marketing, and from the University of Maine at Augusta with Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in business and marketing in 1979. She holds a master’s degree in management/marketing from Thomas College, in Waterville.

She has served 40 years in sales, marketing, human resources, finance and management roles with the Waterville Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal, in Augusta, completing her career as regional advertising director for both newspapers. Cindy was a former member of the founding board of directors of Waterville Main Street and is currently employed as the program director at Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, in Waterville.

Kennebec Valley Community College offers more than 30 associate degree programs and certificates. KVCC provides a bridge to a brighter future with small class sizes, excellent support services, and flexible scheduling. KVCC has the lowest tuition in New England and offers recent high school graduates the opportunity to attend community college for free. In addition, the development of short-term trainings through Workforce Development provides a path for individuals looking to reskill in a new career or as a pathway into an academic program.

EVENTS: Invite to a tea

Contributed photo

You are invited to join The Recycled Shakespeare Co. for The Four Seasons: A Literary Tea, Sunday, June 2, 2024, 2 p.m., at the South Parish Congregational Church, 9 Church St., Augusta, for an afternoon of tea and refreshments representing the four seasons, and enjoy readings, both published and original. Seasonal dress is encouraged. A $30 donation will reserve your place. Go to: Contact Debra Achorn at 207-314-6160 for questions.

KVYSO is a place of growing for these five seniors

by Eric W. Austin

For these five high school seniors, the Kennebec Valley Youth Symphony Orchestras have been a place to grow, to build friendships, and to nurture their passion for music. This Spring, they are preparing for their final concert before heading off to college, on Mothers Day, May 12, 5 p.m., at the South Parish Church, in Augusta.

“I was such a rascal,” says Sophia Scheck with a rueful grin. “I didn’t just learn music, I learned to make friends, and sometimes how to lose them, and that’s okay.”
– Waterville High School senior Sophia Scheck

Sophia Scheck

“I was such a rascal,” says Sophia Scheck with a rueful grin. Scheck, a senior at Waterville High School, plays the viola (which is similar to a violin but a little bigger with slightly different strings). “Pineland Suzuki (school) has affected my life in so many ways,” she says. “I didn’t just learn music, I learned to make friends, and sometimes how to lose them, and that’s okay.” Scheck hopes to head for the Boston Conservatory next year to major in viola performance.

Carolyn Phelps Scholz

Carolyn Phelps Scholtz, a senior at the Ecology Learning Center, a public charter high school in Unity, plays the fiddle and has found her musical experience incredibly rewarding. “I’m still playing music with people that I started playing with when I was four,” she says. “We’ve grown up together, as people and musicians, and we’ll always have that.”

Diana Estes

Diana Estes is a homeschooler and has spent her life playing music and singing with her parents and six siblings. In her sixth year playing the cello, she sat as principal cellist in the Mid-Maine Youth Orchestra and now holds that place in the Kennebec Valley Youth Symphony. In 2023, she won the Anna Bereziuk and Lindley Wood Prize for Ensemble Endeavors in the Bay Chamber Prizewinner’s Competition. Outside of music, she is a devoted student, book enthusiast and soccer player. She has been accepted to Cedarville Univ­ersity, in Ohio, as a cello performance major, where she plans to double-major in biology before heading to medical school on her way to becoming a chiropractor. “I almost gave up playing cello in August 2021,” she admits. “I was prepared to sell my instrument, but my parents encouraged me to continue for just one more week, so I did. Three years later I’m on my way to college for cello, something I used to not like! The community and friendships built during my time at Pineland Suzuki School have been invaluable to me.”

Eben Buck

Silas Bartol

Eben Buck, who attends Cony High School, in Augusta, and Silas Bartol, from Maranacook High school, the remaining seniors in the orchestra, have been friends since childhood. “I still laugh about the “time Silas Bartol stuck his finger in Eben’s ear on stage during a rehearsal,” says Buck’s mother. “Eben calmly took Silas’ finger out of his ear and stuck Silas’ hand in his own pocket. They were four or five years old.”

The KV Youth Symphony Orchestras are a nonprofit initiative spearheaded by the Pineland Suzuki School of Music, in Manchester, with the aim of bringing the string musicians of the Suzuki school together with other local students of wind, brass and percussion instruments for a complete orchestral experience. Their May concert will feature music selections from Mozart’s Violin Concerto #3, Brahms’ Variations on a theme by Haydn, Bizet’s L’Arlesian Suite #2, among other pieces.

For more information about their upcoming concert or to find out how to enroll a student in the program, please visit their website at

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Sylvester Judd of Augusta

by Mary Grow

Sylvester Judd

Another local writer mentioned in Thomas Addison’s chapter on literary people in Henry Kingsbury’s Kennebec County history was Rev. Sylvester Judd, who was born in Westhampton, Massachusetts, and grew up in adjoining Northampton.

James North, in his history of Augusta, wrote that Judd was descended from Deacon Thomas Judd, who came from England to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the 1630s. Judd the author was born July 23, 1813, grandson of the first Sylvester in the family and second of eight children of the second Sylvester and Apphia (Hall) Judge.

His education is summarized in an on-line Unitarian-Universalist source, on-line Harvard Square Library and Louis Hatch’s history of Maine.

Judd worked odd jobs to earn money to attend Hopkins Academy, in Hadley, Massachusetts (founded in 1664). After a year there, he entered Yale, graduating in 1836.

He spent a year teaching “to pay off his debt” at a private school, in Templeton, Massachusetts, where he discovered Unitarianism and abandoned his family’s Congregationalism. From 1837 to 1840, he attended Harvard Divinity School.

Meanwhile, in April, 1825, some prominent Augusta men, including attorney Reuel Williams, organized a Unitarian society that became Christ Church.

Ministers came and went, North wrote, and one who filled in was Rev. Sylvester Judd, newly graduated and looking for a church. He was invited to apply for a full-time position, accepted and was ordained Oct. 1, 1840.

North praised Judd highly, calling him “young and ardent,” “beloved,” a man who “possessed originality, fullness and depth of thought; was enamored of the true and beautiful, and aimed at a high standard of elevation and purity.”

Harvard Square Library says that his liberal preaching on political issues “began to alienate some of his parishioners and others.” For example, his pacifism led him to call the American Revolution “a moral evil. This resulted in his being dismissed as chaplain to the state legislature.”

On Aug. 31, 1841, Judd married Reuel Williams’ daughter, Jane Elizabeth (born Dec. 1, 1819). The couple had three daughters.

North said the oldest was Jane Elizabeth, born Sept. 26, 1844; married Henry T. Hall, of Boston, on Sept. 25, 1867; and died Dec. 5, 1868. Frances Hall was born June 28, 1847; married Rev. Seth Curtis Beach in Boston on Nov. 17, 1869; and in 1870 was living in Minnesota. Apphia Williams was born March 16, 1853.

Judd was scheduled to speak in Boston in January 1853, North wrote, and after “severe mental labor” preparing his talk, had gone to bed Monday evening, Jan. 3, before taking the early morning train to Boston. Overnight, he was “attacked by a fatal disease” (unnamed); he died Jan. 26.

Addison called Judd “an author of national reputation” and “the master of an elegant and forceful literary style.” In addition to miscellaneous articles, several volumes of sermons and a history of Hadley, Massachusetts, and neighboring towns, he wrote three fiction works: “Margaret” (1845); “Philo, an Evangeliad” (1850); and “Richard Edney” (also 1850).

The first and last are novels. Harvard Square Library calls Philo “a long dramatic poem”; it is mostly in blank verse, rather than rhymed. New editions of all three books are listed on line.

On-line descriptions of Margaret give the full title as Margaret: A Tale of the Real and the Ideal, Blight and Bloom; Including Sketches of a Place Not Before Described, Called Mons Christi. Harvard Square Library considers it Judd’s “best work” and describes it as “perhaps the only Transcendental novel”.

(The Transcendental movement was a New England based philosophical world-view whose tenets included belief in the essential unity of all creation, humanity’s innate goodness and finding each individual’s truth through insight and intuition rather than science or logic. Essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803-1882] is called the founder of Transcendentalism.)

Wikipedia says poet James Russell Lowell called Margaret “the most emphatically American book ever written.” An on-line book-seller’s page calls it “a breathtaking combination of female bildungsroman, utopian novel, and historical romance”; and “[p]art eco-criticism, part seduction novel, part temperance tract, and part social history.”

(Bildungsroman is defined on line as a novel about a person’s “formative years or spiritual education.” The Harry Potter books are “in the literary tradition of a bildungsroman.”)

Citing an introduction by Gavin Jones to a 21st-century edition, the reviewer adds that two unusual features of Margaret are “creation of a female character who grows in social rather than domestic power” and “its exploration of transcendental philosophy in novelistic form.”

A reader reacted on-line with equal enthusiasm, urging everyone to read Margaret. Calling it a great book, this person praised Judd’s writing style and his wide range of knowledge, from botany to literature to family and social life in a rural village.

Another reader who commented on line liked parts of the book, especially Margaret’s childhood in the village. Overall, though, she or he found it too preachy and said Judd was terrible at plotting, relying on coincidences and introducing and discarding characters randomly.

The novel influenced other 19th-century writers, British and American, despite, the book-seller reviewer says, being “controversial” for including alcoholism and capital punishment. Plot summaries found elsewhere explain both: Margaret is born in a very poor rural village where everyone drinks, and when she grows up her brother is executed for accidentally causing another man’s death.

The night after the execution, another brother starts a fire that a disgruntled character spreads. The village is destroyed. Margaret goes to Boston, where she finds a rich grandfather who helps her get the education she wants.

Margaret comes back to her village, marries a Mr. Evelyn and with him builds what the more critical on-line reviewer found an improbable Paradise, where people of different faiths – all varieties of Christians, Muslims, Jews – live together in sobriety and happiness.

Your writer offers a sample from the first chapter of the first section. The book begins:

We behold a child eight or ten months old; it has brown, curly hair, dark eyes, fair conditioned features, a health-glowing cheek, and well-shaped limbs. Who is it? Whose is it? what is it? where is it? It is in the centre of fantastic light, and only a dimly-revealed form appears. It may be Queen Victoria’s or Sally Twig’s. It is God’s own child, as all children are.

Then the sun comes out, the sky is blue and the wind blows, and Judd comments that sun, sky and wind are “common to Arctic and Antarctic regions, and belong to each of the three hundred and sixty terrestrial divisions.”

After two more pages, including a paragraph in which people react to the claim that the child is in pain in a dozen languages, including French, German, Italian, Latin, Arabic and Irish and Scottish dialects, Judd reveals that the child is Margaret, about whom he will tell more, after skipping “seven or eight years.”

Chapter Two is titled Work and Beauty. – An Impression of the Real. The first sentence reads:

The child Margaret sits in the door of her house, on a low stool, in our vernacular, ‘quilling,’ for her mother, who, in a room near by, is mounted in a loom, weaving and smoking, the fumes of her pipe mingling with the whizz of the shuttle, the jarring of the lathe, and the clattering of treadles.

A grey squirrel sits on Margaret’s shoulder watching her work.

* * * * * *

Philo begins with Philo standing in a village street explaining to his friend Charles that he is waiting for “a stranger…from the moon or otherwheres.”

Charles thinks Philo is crazy, and since he’s running an errand for his wife (“the mystery of merchants’ packages / She longs to handle.”), he cannot stay.

The stranger turns out to be the Angel Gabriel, who leads Philo to other places and times.

An early scene is set in a valley of “Luxuriant fields and sunny streams,” with flowers, bird songs and fragrant air, so that Philo asks, “Are we in heaven?”

By the stream there is a naked man whose back is “waled and bloody.” As Philo and Gabriel approach, they hear him wishing he were dead in the ocean to which the stream flows, rather than a slave in Carolina.

Have I not feelings, will, intelligence,
And sense of manhood, yearnings for the highest?
I cannot live; with death I sooner join
Issue than life. – Who’s near?

The man, Pomp, tells Gabriel and Philo about learning to read by stealing his young mistress’s books; learning that she, too, hates slavery; and escaping with her help.

After four days of freedom, during which
One hour enlargement grasped, one hour indulged
My birthright’s wild extravagance; the next
Reversed the whole, and sent me back a slave.

Now, Pomp says,

I cannot bide my time; I have no time, —
It is my master’s; mine, eternity
Shall be. The dogs are near, — delay me not.

And he jumps into the river. Gabriel then records the “bubble” that rises from the water and turns into a flaming wheel, then into a meteor that “shoots athwart the land” and bursts to create a bonfire that consumes slavery, so that

See how the riven races close as brothers;
Hear how a continental joy explodes,
And rolls a-thundering along the earth!
To which Philo replies:

Into the future thou hast borne me far;
Return we to our point, in place and time,
And with these visions let my actions rhyme.

* * * * * *

Wikipedia gives the full title of Judd’s second prose novel as Richard Edney and the Governor’s Family: A Rus-Urban Tale Simple and Popular, Yet Cultured and Noble of Morals, Sentiments, and Life Practically Treated and Pleasantly Illustrated, Containing Also Hints on Being Good and Doing Good. (Other sources spell “Rus-Urban” as “Rusurban.” Your writer guesses the word is Judd’s combination of “rustic” and “urban.”)

The accompanying description says the novel “tells the story of Richard Edney and his interactions with the Governor’s family, providing a perspective on morality and life. It also contains helpful hints on being a good person and doing good deeds.”

The novel is set in mid-19th-century Maine. It begins with Richard – no further identified at first – walking through a major snowstorm, burdened by a heavy pack, but nonetheless recognizing the snow as God-sent and pausing to help a woman who falls down. Here is the first paragraph, copied from a Kindle edition on-line:

It began to snow. What the almanac directed its readers to look out for about this time – what his mother told Richard of, as she tied the muffler on his neck in the morning – what the men in the bar-rooms, where he stopped to warm himself, seemed to be rubbing out of their hands into the fire – what the cattle, crouching on the windward side of barnyards, rapped to each other with their slim, white horns – what sleigh-bells, rapidly passing and repassing, jingled to the air – what the old snow, that lay crisp and hard on the ground, and the hushed atmosphere, seemed to be expecting – what a ‘snow-bank,’ a dense, bluish cloud in the south, gradually creeping along the horizon, and looming mid heavens, unequivocally presaged – a snow-storm, came good at last.

In following pages, Richard reaches his destination, his sister and brother-in-law’s city home; he hopes to find a job, preferably in a mill. The second chapter introduces the governor and his family with whom Richard will be connected.

Main sources

Hatch, Louis Clinton, ed., Maine: A History 1919 (facsimile, 1974).
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
North, James W., The History of Augusta (1870).

Websites, miscellaneous.

Local residents named to RIT dean’s list

The following students were named to the dean’s list at Rochester Institute of Technology, in Rochester, New York, for the fall semester of the 2023-2024 academic year.

Lunden Dinkel, of Augusta, who is in the industrial design program.

Tyler Dow, of China, who is in the computer science program.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Augusta-area authors

by Mary Grow

This week’s article is about two more Augusta-area writers whose careers began in the 19th century. In order of birth, they are Edward Stanwood (born in Augusta, spent most of his career in the Boston area) and Laura E. Richards (born in the Boston area, spent most of her career in Gardiner, two towns south of Augusta).

* ** ** *

Edward Stanwood was born in Augusta on Sept. 16, 1841, the third of Daniel Caldwell and Mary Augusta Webster Stanwood’s 11 children. He graduated from Bowdoin in the Class of 1861 and made a career as a historian and newspaperman.

Find a Grave and other on-line sites summarize parts of his career. More details are given in a 1923 article in the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, written by his son-in-law, Charles Knowles Bolton (see below).

Stanwood’s professional career began in Augusta, reporting from 1858 to 1867 for several Maine newspapers, including the Kennebec Journal (founded in 1825).

Edward Stanwood

In the summer of 1867 Stanfield took a position with the Boston Daily Advertiser. From then on his career was based in Massa­chusetts. After 1884, the family spent summers on Squirrel Island, part of Southport, Maine.

In 1883, Stanwood left the Advertiser to become became editor of The Youth’s Companion, a job he held until 1911. This children’s magazine was founded in Boston in 1827, by Perry Mason & Company, and continued until it merged with American Boy in 1929.

In addition to editing, Stanwood wrote non-fiction works, mostly historical and political ­ – a history of the U. S. presidency, a history of U. S. tariff policy, a biography of James G. Blaine (to whom he was related, and with whom he frequently interacted) and many magazine articles.

Stanwood married Eliza Maxwell Topliff (born in Boston Oct. 10, 1839), on Nov. 16, 1870, in Boston. The couple had two children, Ethel (March 2, 1873 – Jan. 9, 1954), and Edward, Jr. (June 24, 1876 – May 16, 1939).

The Brookline, Massachusetts, Historical Society website says the house that was built for Edward Stanwood at 76 High Street was an example of “English Victorian Queen Anne style.”

The article continues, “Its gargoyles embarrassed Stanwood, publisher of the extremely influential The Youth’s Companion, who became known as the man with ‘the house of sunflowers and devils.'”

Eliza Stanwood died Sept. 24, 1917, on Squirrel Island. Edward died Oct. 11, 1923, in Brookline, Massachusetts. Both are buried in Augusta’s Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Their daughter Ethel graduated from Wellesley College, Class of 1894, and married Charles Knowles Bolton on June 23, 1897, in Brookline, Massachusetts. She was one of the first women to vote in Shirley, Massachusetts, after the 14th Amendment took effect on Aug. 26, 1920.

Ethel and her husband, who was a librarian, both wrote about local history and local families. One of Ethel’s works named on line is Clement Topliff and His Descendants in Boston, a history of her mother’s family (published in 1906).

An on-line genealogy says Clement Topliff might have been born Nov. 17, 1603 (the date is labeled “uncertain”), in England; he died Dec. 24, 1672, in Dorchester, Massachusetts. His son Samuel (born in 1646) fathered Ebenezer (1689), who fathered another Ebenezer (1719), who fathered another Samuel (1758), who fathered Eliza’s father, Samuel, Jr. (1789-1864).

Ethel died and is buried in Shirley.

Ethel’s brother, Edward, Jr., graduated from Bowdoin College and from Harvard Law School. According to the Brookline Historical Society, he married Marion Evans in Chicago, Illinois, on June 15, 1907, and “worked in Boston.”

Find a Grave’s website shows a photo of a June 15, 1907, marriage certificate for Marion Evans, age 26, and Edward Stanwood, age 31, married in Chicago, Illinois. On the same website, a note says Stanwood married Frances Perot (June 24, 1889 – January, 1973). Your writer has failed to find a death date for Marion Evans or a marriage date for Frances Perot and cannot say whether Edward married twice.

Find a Grave says Edward and Frances are buried in Truro, Massachusetts. The website has a photo of his tombstone; the inscription says “Massachusetts” and “Lieut (J. G.) U.S.N.R.F.” (Lieutenant, Junior Grade, U. S. Naval Reserve Force).

* * * * **

Laura E. Richards

When Henry Kingsbury published his Kennebec County history in 1890, contributor Thomas Addison observed that Laura E. Richards’ “work as a writer covers, as yet, but little more than a decade.” Addison gave her one of the longer paragraphs in his chapter on literary people, and your writer suspects today she is the best-known of the writers described thus far in this sub-series.

Laura Elizabeth (Howe) Richards was born Feb. 27, 1850, in Boston, oldest of six children (the younger of her two brothers died at the age of three; her youngest sister, Maud [Howe] Elliott, was the only sibling who outlived her).

Richards’ father was Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, who founded the Perkins School for the Blind in 1829. Her mother was Julia Ward Howe, best known as author of the 1862 poem titled The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

On June 17, 1871, Laura married an architect named Henry “Skipper” Richards. They lived in Boston until 1876, when Richards took a high-level job in the family paper mill in Gardiner, Maine, and the family moved there.

Laura Richards wrote more than 90 books, including children’s books, poetry and biographies.

Her earliest works were poems for children, published in St. Nicholas Magazine beginning in 1873. A biographical note on line, introducing her papers in the University of New England’s Maine Women Writers Collection, calls her “the first prominent American writer of nonsense verse for children.”

On-line sources list such books as Baby’s Rhyme Book (1878); Five Mice in a Mousetrap by the Man in the Moon: Done in Vernacular, from the Lunacular (1880); The Joyous Story of Toto (1885) (the Google book title The Joyous Story of Toot is a misprint) and Toto’s Merry Winter (1887); and Tirra Lirra: Rhymes Old and New (1932).

Baby’s Rhyme Book begins with a kitten’s story of her day: 7 a.m., trying unsuccessfully to put her mistress’s workbox in order; 9 a.m., sampling the cream on the breakfast table ­– “not so thick as it ought to be, but I do not complain” – since no one brought her food; 10 a.m., sharpening her claws on the annoyingly flimsy curtains; 11 a.m., moving a vase so she can nap on top of the clock; and so on.

Sources call Five Mice in a Mousetrap Richards’ first children’s book. By today’s standards, it is not for young children: 17 chapters, more than 220 pages and, like the previous book, a vocabulary that is not for beginning readers, but to be read aloud by a parent.

The first chapter opens with the Man in the Moon saying:

“Children, down on the planet which you call Earth, allow me to introduce myself to you! I am the Man in the Moon. I have no doubt that you know a good deal about me, in an indirect way, and that your nurses have told you all sorts of nonsense about my inquiring the way to Norwich – as if I didn’t know the way to Norwich! and various things equally sensible.”

(The reference is to a Mother Goose poem first published in 1833, with many variations through the years, about the Man in the Moon tumbling down and asking the way to Norwich. He “went by the south, and burnt his mouth” on cold porridge.)

The Toto books are a puzzle to your writer. The first is described on line as the story of a black dog, Toto; but a recorded book with the same title is about a cheerful little boy named Toto, who lives with his blind grandmother in a cottage in the woods (with a talking teakettle, among other amenities).

The boy persuades his woodland friends to visit his grandmother to keep her from being lonely. The first to arrive is a bear, unaccustomed to conversation; fortunately, raccoon, with squirrel on his back, two birds and a sleepy woodchuck soon arrive to help him.

The on-line description of Toto’s Merry Winter calls it the story of a young girl. The cover depicts a young boy, with woodland animals.

Tirra Lirra is a collection of Richards’ poems that were published in “St. Nicholas Magazine” from the late 1800s to the 1930s. It includes an often-mentioned nonsense verse called “Eletephony,” which reads:

Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant – No! No! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone [Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I’ve got it right.]
How’er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee I fear I’d better drop the song
Of elehop and telephong!

Addison called Captain January (1890) not intended for young readers, but a portrait of “the ever fascinating child character.” It is the story of a lighthouse keeper who adopts a baby girl who survives a shipwreck and names her Star Bright. When others of her family are discovered (by a rather stretched coincidence), Star Bright chooses to stay with her adoptive father.

At the end of the book, readers know Star Bright will be leaving the lighthouse. A 1927 sequel, “Star Bright”, tells of her later life.

For adult readers, Richards edited two volumes of her father’s papers (1906-1909) and wrote several biographies. Her 1915 biography of her mother, coauthored with her sisters Maud (Howe) Elliott and Florence (Howe) Hall and titled Julia Ward Howe 1819-1901, won the first Pulitzer Prize for biography, awarded in 1917.

Richards’ 1931 autobiography is called Stepping Westward. It is described as a portrait of a pleasant life, including acquaintance with Boston-area literary figures and travels in Europe.

The Richardses bought a house on Dennis Street in Gardiner that they painted yellow and called the Yellow House. They had five daughters and two sons, born between 1872 and 1886.

Kingsbury, writing in 1892, said a fire at the family pulp mill in 1882 did $50,000 worth of damage; afterward, the mill was “rebuilt and enlarged.” The UNE source says it burned again in 1893, was again rebuilt and closed for good in 1900. Find a Grave says the Richards Paper Company merged with International Paper in 1900.

After leaving the paper business, Henry resumed his career as an architect. He and Laura spent their summers running Camp Merryweather, the boys’ camp they founded on Great Pond, in the Belgrades. Henry was camp director until 1934; the camp closed in 1937.

The couple supported many local causes. Kingsbury lists Henry Richards (and two other Richardses) as an incorporator of the Gardiner Water Power Company in 1880; the city water system began running in November 1885.

When the Gardiner Library Association was incorporated Feb. 14, 1881, Kingsbury said Laura E. Richards served on the first board of directors. Find a Grave says she founded the association, and Henry designed the library building and was a director.

In 1895, Laura founded the Women’s Philanthropic Union, of which she was president for 26 years.

Both died at Yellow House, Laura on Jan. 14, 1943, aged 92, and Henry on Jan. 26, 1949, aged 100. They are buried in Gardiner’s Christ Church cemetery.

Yellow House was a Federal-style house, originally built around 1810. In 1979, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places as the Laura E. Richards House. A Dec. 24, 2022, fire did so much damage that the remains of the house had to be torn down.

Main sources

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

Websites, miscellaneous.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Two Augusta women poets

by Mary Grow

As mentioned last week, the list of writers in Henry Kingsbury’s Kennebec County history includes many from Augusta, Hallowell and Gardiner. Among them were two Augusta women listed as poets, Emma Nason (born Emma Caroline Huntington) and Olive Eliza Dana.

* * * * * *

Emma Caroline Huntington Nason

Emma Caroline Huntington Nason (Aug. 6, 1845 – Jan. 11, 1921) was much more than a poet, according to a Wikipedia article and other sources. She began writing poems when she was 12, and also wrote and had published short stories; stories, non-fiction and poems for children; “household articles”; historical works on a wide variety of topics, including Maine; and translations of German works.

In addition to her literary skills, Wikipedia says she composed music and was an artist in oils and charcoal.

Nason was the daughter of Samuel W. Huntington and Sally (Mayo) Huntington. Born in Hallowell, she was educated at Hallowell Academy, where she excelled “in mathematics and the languages.”

From the academy she went to the Maine Wesleyan Seminary in Kents Hill, graduating in 1865. Wikipedia says this institution, which became Kents Hill School, was then the only place in New England where women could attend college.

Wikipedia says her first books were published under the pen name John G. Andrews. By 1874, she was ready to reveal herself: her poem titled The Tower ran in the May Atlantic Monthly under her own name.

This poem and others were collected and published in 1895 as The Tower with Legends and Lyrics. Nason dedicated the book to C.H.N., her husband.

The Tower is the first and among the longest poems in the book. The first stanza begins:

I am the tower of Belus – the tower of old am I!
Under the rifting lines of the gloaming’s tremulant sky,
Under the shifting signs of the ages circling by,
I stand in the might of the mighty – the tower of Belus, I!

Wikipedia writers equate the tower of Belus with the tower of Babel, and say it was built in Mesopotamia by order of King Nimrod, grandson of Noah. Other poems in Nason’s book are about the Trojan War, the city of Agra (now in India), the town of Pavia (in northern Italy), a painting in Berlin, an ancient battle.

Since no source mentions Nason traveling abroad, your writer assumes her knowledge of the ancient and modern worlds came from her reading.

Like Hannah Moore, quoted last week, Nash thought the month of June worthy of a poem. Hers begins:

The month of roses, forever fair,
Radiant, miracle-working June!
Laden with color and perfume rare,
Set with the song of birds atune!

Nason also praised July and August, and “wild, lavish goldenrod.”

Hallowell Bells is a five-stanza lament: Nason can hear the distant bells of Hallowell ringing, “Now soft, now loud, with a sad refrain,” and everyone knows the sound means “Tomorrow…’twill rain, ’twill rain!”

The last poem in the book is The Old Homestead. It praises the spacious, elm-shaded house on a hill that welcomes all comers; the successful farmer whose land is rich with clover, grain and apples; the view over one of Maine’s thousand lakes; and ends:

Let us drink, with lips that are loyal,
One toast: to the homes of Maine!

Nason’s poems for children were printed in St. Nicholas (a monthly started by Scribner’s in New York City in 1873 that lasted until 1940) and other children’s magazines. The poems were collected in White Sails, published in 1888 in Boston.

This book includes a poem called The Bravest Boy in Town, first published in the children’s magazine Wide Awake.

(Wide Awake was another monthly, started in Boston in 1875 by Daniel Lothrop, who had founded D. Lothrop Publishing. Lothrop’s intended audience, Wikipedia says, was children aged 10 to 18, and his goal was to make them “broad-minded, pure-hearted, and thoroughly wide awake.” The magazine merged with St. Nicholas in 1893.)

The Bravest Boy in Town is a story in verse from Civil War days. When Confederate General Jubal Early’s troops raid into Maryland, a Cumberland Valley widow with a 10-year-old son, Jamie Brown, treats a rude platoon leader courteously, inviting him to sit down to eat the food he demands:

“‘If thine enemy hunger, feed him!’
I obey, dear Christ,” she said.
A creeping blush, with its scarlet flush,
O’er the face of the soldier spread.

The soldier promises the raiders “shall trouble not you nor yours.” But his men steal the widow’s cow anyway.

It was then the fearless Jamie
Sprang up with flashing eyes,
And in spite of tears and his mother’s fears,
On the gray mare off he flies.

When Jamie catches up with the triumphant raiders and demands his mother’s cow back, the captain takes his side. The poem ends:

And a capital joke they thought it,
That a barefoot lad of ten
Should demand his due – and get it too –
In the face of forty men.

And the rollicking rebel raiders
Forgot themselves somehow,
And three cheers gave for the hero brave,
And three for the brindle cow.

He lived in the Cumberland Valley,
And his name “was” Jamie Brown;
But it changed that day, so the neighbors say,
To the Bravest Boy in Town.

Some of Nason’s non-fiction works include Old Colonial Houses in Maine Built Prior to 1776, published in 1908 by the Kennebec Journal Press, in Augusta; and Old Hallowell on the Kennebec, published in 1909 by Burleigh & Flynt, of Augusta. Wikipedia cited contributions to Maine literary clubs, including “papers on ‘The Folk-lore of Russia,’ ‘The Abenaki Indians,’ ‘The Early Balladists and Troubadours of France,’ and a course of lectures on the ‘Genius and Love-life of the German Poets.'”

The Find a Grave website says Nason’s husband was Charles Henry Nason (Nov. 25, 1845 – Feb. 1, 1918), of Hallowell. They married on May 23, 1870.

Charles Nason went into the clothing business with his father-in-law until 1880, when the older man retired and left his son-in-law to run what became a 6,000-square foot store. Kingsbury said it was “a compliment and an honor to Augusta, as well as to Mr. Nason, that by the concurrent opinion of constant travelers, her leading clothier has the finest establishment of its kind in Maine.”

The Nasons had one son, Arthur Huntington Nason (Feb. 3, 1877 – April 22, 1944), born in Augusta and died in Gardiner. He earned a doctorate and taught English at New York University.

Charles and Emma Nason, Arthur Nason and Arthur’s widow, New Jerseyite Edna Walton (Selover) Nason (Oct. 6, 1873 – Dec. 31, 1945), whom he married in 1916, are buried in Hallowell Village Cemetery, according to Find a Grave.

* * * * * *

Olive Eliza Dana, daughter of James Wolcott and Sarah W. (Savage) Dana, was born Dec. 24, 1859, in Augusta, and lived there her entire life. Plagued by ill health, she died Feb. 3, 1904, barely past her 44th birthday.

Dana, like Nason, is noted in Wikipedia articles and elsewhere as a multi-talented writer. Immediately after graduating from Augusta high school in 1877, she began writing for what the Wikipedia writer labelled “the press,” including a variety of newspapers and magazines.

One Maine outlet was the weekly Portland Transcript (1849-1910), described on line as of 1871 as “An independent family journal of literature, science, news, markets, &c.”

Under Friendly Eaves by Olive Eliza Dana

She also contributed to Good Housekeeping; the Boston-based Journal of Education (presumably the one founded in 1875 by the merger of similar journals in Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island); The Illustrated Christian Weekly, published in New York; and Cottage Hearth: A Magazine of Home Arts and Home Leisure, another Boston publication.

Dana’s works included poems, short stories and essays, many for young people. Her collected short stories were published as Under Friendly Eaves (1894). The 22 stories are prefaced by a poem by the author that begins:

Just a they came to me, I write them here, —
These homely tales of simply, friendly folk….

An on-line review in Representative Women of New England refers to the “natural and wholesome atmosphere,” and the “romantic and heroic spirit” in Dana’s portrayal of New England life. The writer comments that “The influence of her stories, imbued as they are with the spirit of cheery helpfulness, is enmobling [sic] and uplifting.”

Dana’s poem titled Autumn’s Promise was published on the front page of the Oct. 18, 1892, issue of the Journal of Education. The first stanza (of five) reads:

The wild-flowers cease their straying
By every moss-grown wall,
And, where the winds are playing,
The oak-leaves fade and fall.
The little herbs grow musty
With over-much of rain,
The clinging vines are rusty
Where dews too long have lain.

Dana quickly changes her rather somber mood, however, remembering that the wind is scattering seeds for next year and there is a rich harvest this year. Her final cheerful stanza reads:

So Autumn’s promise seemeth
A richer, gladder thing
Than that of which one dreameth
Among the blooms of spring.
A song of all the pleasures,
Of all the unborn years,
A rune of all their treasures
She crooneth in our ears.

In the Nov. 3, 1892, issue of the same publication, Dana had almost a full page for Thanksgiving Day [An Exercise]. She wrote a long poem about Thanksgiving, followed by a prose history of the holiday, followed by another poem. The first poem, called The Day, begins:

It comes when chilling wintry frosts
Across the fields are creeping,
When all the harvest days are past,
And all the flowers are sleeping;
When early sunsets light the skies,
And shadows early lengthen, —
But every true and tender tie
Its warmth shall round us strengthen.

The first stanza of the second poem, “Thanksgiving Cheer,” focuses on the positive, without the nostalgia. Dana wrote:

The time of all the happy year
Fullest of peace, of strength, of cheer;
The joyful ‘Harvest Home’ is here!

NOTE: Emma Huntington Nason has a considerable presence on-line. Researchers will be able to find book titles, including the four mentioned above that are available on and elsewhere, texts of poems and other information.

Many of Olive Dana’s books are also available, including reprints of “Under Friendly Eaves” from numerous sources.

The University of Maine’s Raymond H. Fogler Library special collections holds the Olive E. Dana papers.

Main sources:

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

Websites, miscellaneous

Three scouters honored for decades of service to scouting

Scott Bernier, of Augusta, was cited for lending a hand for 45 years. (photo by Chuck Mahaleris)

by Chuck Mahaleris

Three scouters were recognized for decades of service helping youth develop in the scouting programs. Scouting only happens due to the continued service of these volunteers. Scott Bernier, of Augusta, was honored for 45 years of scouting tenure, Alan Duplessis for 35 years and Karla Talpey for 30 years. Both Duplessis and Talpey are from Jackman. All three were recognized during the Kennebec Valley District Scouting Recognition Dinner held ,on March 24, at the Winslow Parks and Recreation Hall.

The Veteran Award recognizes adults for their tenure in Scouting. (Note, however, that tenure earned as a youth member may be included.) Veterans agree to live up to their scouting obligations, make themselves available for service and be active in promoting scouting as circumstances permit. They must also be currently registered in the BSA. Veterans receive a a certificate and veteran pin, which is for non-uniform wear.