Up and down the Kennebec Valley: More high schools (Vassalboro)

Original Oak Grove School

by Mary Grow


In Vassalboro, which until 1792 included Sidney on the west side of the Kennebec River, voters first discussed schools in 1771, the year the town was incorporated. According to Alma Pierce Robbins’ Vassalboro history, voters at a September town meeting approved “Thirty Pounds Lawful money” to support a minister – and refused to appropriate anything to support a schoolmaster.

School districts existed by 1785, in varying numbers and with varying boundaries. After 1806 there was a separate district for members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), at least part of the time.

Oak Grove School, founded by Vassalboro Quakers in 1848 (see The Town Line, July 22), was the third high school established in Vassalboro in the 1800s. The first two were at Getchell’s Corner, a far more important village in the 19th century than it is now.

The earlier, according to Raymond Manson’s research, was Vassalborough Academy.

In his paper on the school, now in the Vassalboro Historical Society’s library, Manson lists the 18 men who, at the beginning of 1835, decided to open a high school. On Feb. 28, 1835, the Maine legislature approved incorporation of The Vassalborough Academy.

Academy trustees commissioned one of their group, Moses Rollins, to build a home for the Academy. Manson wrote that Rollins put the building on the west side of the road through Getchell’s Corner, almost across the street from what was in 1967 Adams Memorial Chapel.

(Rollins, born in 1786, died June 2, 1863, and is buried in Vassalboro’s Union Cemetery. An on-line history says he was a sergeant in one of the Vassalboro companies raised for the War of 1812; this writer found no information on his occupation.)

Nathan Longfellow was the Academy’s first “preceptor,” or teaching principal, serving until the spring of 1837, Manson wrote.

Robbins found an 1837 advertisement in The Kennebec Journal for the Academy’s spring term. Levi Higgins Jr. had succeeded Longfellow; he stayed only one term, Manson said.

The advertisement said quarterly tuition was from $3 to $4.50 (depending on the subjects chosen, as at other high schools). Board was $1.50 to $1.75 a week. Manson wrote that students boarded with neighborhood families in the Academy’s early days, and later arrangements were made to let them room in groups.

In September 1837, Benjamin F. Shaw, who held a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth, became principal. The trustees were pleased. Shaw left in the spring of 1839, but returned sometime in 1840.

Robbins’ first mention of the second high school is for the year 1837. She quotes a long advertisement from The Kennebec Journal for the School for Young Ladies that “Miss A. Howard” planned to open about April 10.

Miss Howard intended to teach “Reading, Writing, Grammar, and Composition”; “the Rudiments of French and Latin Languages”; “Arithmetic, Geography, with the use of Globes, Intellectual Philosophy and such branches of Natural Science as are usually taught in High Schools”; and “useful and ornamental needlework, Painting and Drawing.”

The School for Young Ladies was across the street from the Academy, and, according to Manson, was so successful that after three years of running the Academy for boys only, the trustees decided they should admit girls. For the spring 1838 term, they added to the one-man faculty an “instructress,” whom they described as “eminently qualified.”

This writer has been unable to find any record of Miss Howard or her school later than 1838.

Vasssalborough Academy apparently adapted to co-ed education promptly. In August 1839 the new principal, Ashiel Moore, added “Chinese Painting and Linear Drawing” (for an extra fee), and in the spring of 1840 he introduced “Wax and Needlework,” specifically for the female students.

Manson found lists of Vassalboro Academy principals, course changes and occasionally tuition fees through the 1840s. There was a new principal about every 12 months, including three Bowdoin men in a row (it is unclear whether they were graduates or still students).

The new principal in the fall of 1848 was Josiah Hayden Drummond, Waterville College Class of 1846 (the first of several Waterville College men to head the school in the 1840s and 1850s). Manson wrote that when Drummond was 14 years old, he had been Vassalborough Academy’s assistant math teacher under Principal Shaw.

Science courses were added, physiology in the spring of 1841, chemistry “and other sciences” in 1842. Manson’s first mention of a music course (type unspecified) was in the fall of 1841.

French and German were the foreign languages taught in 1846. In that year’s fall term, Italian replaced French. In 1856, Latin, Greek, French and German were offered.

By the 1850s and 1860s Vassalborough Academy was publishing catalogs, giving Manson additional information.

For example, in 1856 Principal Reuben Foster had four assistants, one a woman. They taught 78 students in the spring term and 88 in the fall term.

The majority of students lived in Vassalboro. Others were from nearby towns – Augusta, China, Windsor and Winslow. The enrollment also included three students from Hanover (west of Rumford) and one each from Buxton (west of Portland), Olney (neither the web nor Chadbourne’s Maine Place Names lists a Maine town named Olney), Palmyra (north of Pittsfield), South Leeds (southwest of Winthrop) and Topsham (north of Brunswick).

The Academy’s purpose was always to prepare male students for college or for teaching. The 1856 catalog repeated these goals and added preparation for business. For girls, the catalog offered “an elevated course of female education.”

By 1861, Manson said, Oak Grove Seminary was providing serious competition for Vassalborough Academy. The 1860s were probably when, according to Kingsbury, the Academy building was used for “religious as well as secular instruction.”

William Penn Whitehouse, Colby 1863, became Academy principal in the fall of 1863 – perhaps the last principal, Manson wrote. (Whitehouse later became a Justice of the Maine Supreme Court [see The Town Line, Dec. 10, 2020].)

The Methodist Society bought the Academy building in 1868. Manson added an item from the April 29, 1870, Waterville Mail saying the work to convert the building to a Methodist church should be finished by July 1870.

The Getchell’s Corner Methodists merged with the North Vassalboro church in 1890, Manson continued. After the merger, he wrote, the building “became a general store and was destroyed by fire about 1917. All that remains of the old academy are the foundation walls.”

There might have been a successor to Vassalborough Academy. Robbins mentioned in 1869, in quotation marks, ” ‘the upper school’ at North Vassalboro,” where Lewis Mowers was the teacher. She provided no further information.

After the Maine legislature required town high schools in 1873, Robbins wrote, Vassalboro opened two, in East Vassalboro and at Riverside.

According to Vassalboro Historical Society President Janice Clowes and information in the Historical Society library, the East Vassalboro High School was on the west side of Main Street, approximately opposite the present Grange Hall. Kingsbury said voters appropriated $500 for the building in 1873, but by 1892 “the continued success of Oak Grove Seminary has superseded the necessity for the high school.”

Undated postcards the Society owns show a two-story wooden building with an attic. Two doors with a window between them face east, toward the street; the second floor has a single front window above the ground-floor one, and above that is a semi-circular attic window.

Accompanying information calls the school a primary or grammar school. It was discontinued in the latter half of the 1920s, and students moved to the “new” East Vassalboro School. That building now houses the Historical Society museum.

Neighbor Harold Taylor bought the old schoolhouse in the 1930s, and his daughter, Betty Taylor, had the building torn down in 1981, according to Historical Society records.

The 1873 Riverside School, Clowes says, is the building on the north side of Webber Pond Road, a short distance east of Riverside Drive (Route 201). She commented that it has been “very changed.”

In 1873, too, North Vassalboro residents spent more than $6,000 for a new school building there. Kingsbury called it the “best school building in the town,” with “three departments, and a large public hall on the second floor.”

Neither Kingsbury nor Robbins said what grades it housed. After serving as a school and then as the town office building, it is now the office of Mid-Maine Internal Medicine.

Robbins cited an 1889 state law that required each public school teacher to “devote ten minutes of each day to the principle of kindness to birds and animals.”

After the 1903 state law telling the town to pay $30 tuition to “any high school of standard grade,” Robbins wrote that from Vassalboro, 33 students went to Oak Grove Seminary, 10 chose Coburn Classical Institute, in Waterville, four attended Erskine Academy, in China, and one each went to high schools in Hallowell and Yarmouth.

Vassalboro historians Alma Pierce Robbins and Raymond Russell Manson

Alma Pierce Robbins was born Oct. 4, 1898, in Vassalboro, youngest of five children of Ira James Robbins (1855-1929) and Lucy Alma (Smiley) Robbins (1862-1930). She died Nov. 29, 1997, aged 99 years and almost two months, according to an on-line genealogy.

The three girls in the family were travelers. Older sister Elsie Marion (1886-1960) died in California; second sister Edna Mildred (1888-1987, another long-lived family member) lived in Massachusetts and Illinois; and Alma Pierce worked in Massachusetts and died in Florida.

Their brother Wendell Ira (1891-1983) spent his life in Augusta. Brother Maurice Smiley (1893-1970) got as far away as Mechanic Falls, but died in Waterville and is buried in China’s Chadwick Hill Cemetery.

Robbins’ obituary, published in Nantucket County, Massachusetts, says that after elementary schooling in Vassalboro, she graduated from Brewster Academy, in Wolfboro, New Hampshire, in 1917 and attended colleges in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

For more than 30 years she was a social worker in Boston. She lived on Nantucket and edited the Nantucket Historical Association newsletter.

The genealogy, but not the obituary, says that from January to December 1928 Robbins was married to Herman Schwartz. In 1930, the genealogy says, she was described as an osteopath in Brunswick, where she lived for about two years.

On-line military records show Robbins enlisting in the Women’s Army Corps on Aug. 14, 1944, from Boston. Army records describe her as unmarried and without dependents. She had had four years of college; her occupation was in the category “Social and welfare workers.” She was discharged Sept. 2, 1945.

The obituary says after retirement, “she lived in Vassalboro, Clearwater [Florida], and Arcata [California],” moving to Florida permanently in 1985. Her “numerous published writings” include the 1971 Vassalboro history.

With permission of her great-nephew Stephen Robbins, between 1990 and 2003 The Town Line published several of Robbins’ articles describing early 20th-century life on the family farm on Webber Pond Road.

Raymond Russell Manson, another Vassalboro historian, wrote a short autobiographical piece for the Maine State Library’s Special Collections compilation of correspondence from Maine writers. The library has made his 1967 information available on line.

Manson wrote that he was born Oct. 6, 1899 (almost exactly a year later than Robbins), in North Vassalboro, George Thomas and Mary Jewett Manson’s fifth child.

He went to Vassalboro elementary schools and graduated from Oak Grove Seminary, Class of 1918. He entered Colby College in the Class of 1922, apparently after army service in World War I. On June 1, 1919, while still in college, he became a post office employee in Waterville, rising to the rank of Assistant Postmaster before he retired on Dec. 31, 1960.

He married Vivian Crafts (born Nov. 19, 1904), from Watertown, Massachusetts, on Sept. 3, 1930. They lived on Burleigh Street in Waterville; both were Christian Scientists.

Manson was a member of the Vassalboro Masons and the Vassalboro Historical Society. He wrote numerous historical pieces about his native town, including the history of Oak Grove that he and Elsia Holway Burleigh wrote in 1965 (previously cited in this series; see The Town Line, July 22, issue).

Manson died Jan. 11, 1980. In 1989 his widow married Clarence Merryfield; the couple lived in Belfast until 1993, when they returned to Waterville. She died there Dec. 5, 2006.

Main sources

Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Manson, Raymond M., Vassalboro Academy (June 15, 1967; manuscript, Vassalboro Historical Society).
Robbins, Alma Pierce, History of Vassalborough Maine 1771 1971 n.d. (1971).

Websites, miscellaneous.

PHOTOS: Opening day for Waterville youth football

The Spirit Squad members, Joslynn Allen, left, and Ava Frost, cheer on the team at Reed Field. (photos by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography)

It was opening day for Waterville Youth Football on October 10.

Players take the field cheered on by some older Purple Panthers and coaches. (photo by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography)

From left to right, Tatum, Salvatore and Leo lead their team onto the field. (photos by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography)

PHOTOS: Waterville 5/6 grades football 2021

Members of the Waterville Youth Football 5/6 grades team are, front, from left to right, Zaiden Thoopsamoot, Reid Morrison, Charlie Ferris, Isaac Gilman, Mason Pelletier, Oliver LeVan and Brekin Mathieu. Second row, Blake Kenyon, Aiden Troxell, Jameson Dow, Gideon McGee, Wyatt Jones, Cameron McInnis and Evan Veilleux. Back row, coaches Jonathan Kenyon, Chad Gilman, Craig McInnis, Matt Morrison and Tom Ferris. Absent from photo Caden LaPlante, Logan Cimino and Vincent Farrand. (photo by Miss Brown, Central Maine Photography)

Members of the Waterville Youth Football spirit squad are, front row, from left to right, Laney Gilman, Ava Frost, Madelyn Morrison, Janaya George, and Rayne Vallier. Second row, Maci Peters, Ava Paradis-Bard, Peyton Grip, Naomi McGee, Joslynn Allen, Jaelynn McInnis and Ryder Perkins. Back, Coach Crystal Cullen. (photo by Miss Brown, Central Maine Photography)

PHOTOS: Young gridiron warriors

Waterville Youth Football grades 1/2 members, front row, left to right, Noah Cyrus, Noella Mathieu, Mason Sheets, Jayden Bradley and Vito Isgro. Middle, Jaxon Troxell, Kayson Glidden, Ben Veilleux, Isaac Chase and Hudson Farrand. Back, Coach Dennis Troxell, Coach Nick Isgro and Coach Matt Veilleux. (photo by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography)

Waterville Youth Football grades 3/4 members, front row, left to right, Tatum Vaughan, Mikeeridan Sheets, Blake Masse, Peyton Ross, Sal Isgro and Connor Jones. Second row, Coach Matt Vaughan, Jace Spaulding, Tucker Thoopsamoot, Donovan Saint Martin, Leo Norris-Rossignol, Judah Young, Malahki Klaiber and Coach Devin Rossignol. Back, Coach Trafton Gilbert. Absent from photo, Jackson Farrand and Coach Jeremy Jones. (photo by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography)

Mid-Maine Chamber, Alfond Youth & Community Center to continue festival of trees

Alfond Youth & Community Center and Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce combine efforts to present Festival of Trees this holiday season, continuing a proud tradition begun by the Sukeforth family in 2015. When the family determined it would no longer host the event, AYCC and the Chamber stepped up to preserve this coveted event.

Join us in continuing a fabulous holiday tradition! At the same time, money raised supports families in the community experiencing food insecurity through the services of Alfond Youth & Community Center and funds workforce development services and assistance through the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, meeting a need existing throughout our region.

Who doesn’t love a beautiful holiday tree? Imagine over 60 trees, each uniquely decked out in holiday cheer. This wonderful family tradition will be held at The Elm, 21 College Ave., Waterville, from November 19-21 and November 26-28. Hours on Fridays and Saturdays will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 21 – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 28 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Festival of Trees will provide a magical experience that the whole family can enjoy. Admission for ages 12 and over is just $2 per person; children 12 and under are admitted for free. Purchase and drop your individual tree tickets (just 50 cents each) into the bucket of your favorite tree and you could go home with a beautifully decorated tree complete with all the gift cards and merchandise displayed.

For more information about your business sponsoring a tree as part of the festival, visit https://www.clubaycc.org/festival-of-trees. Businesses entering a tree in the past will be given preference to submit for this year, as space is limited. A substantial number of volunteers will be needed for this event – if you are interested in registering as an individual or a group, visit Volunteer Signup. At this time, masking will be required for all attendees and volunteers.

Ticonic Gallery and Railroad Square Cinema participate in Freedom & Captivity Project

by Mary Ellms

Ticonic Gallery and Railroad Square Cinema will participate in the Freedom & Captivity Project, a statewide, coalition-based public humanities project designed to consider a future without prisons and mass incarceration. The initiative runs from September through December 2021 and features over 50 participating organizations and institutions.

The project, which will include art exhibitions, workshops, webinars, a podcast series, and public education materials, is conceived with the participation of people in Maine directly impacted by incarceration. Freedom & Captivity re-examines the use of prisons and jails to manage social problems and asks how we might imagine approaching safety, security, and justice differently.

Ticonic Gallery will host the art exhibition “Art Inside” that will feature the work of Maine-based photographers Trent Bell, Séan Alonzo Harris, and Lesley MacVane. The photographs of “Art Inside” depict artwork within the walls of the Maine State Prison, Mountain View Correctional Facility, and Southern Maine Women’s Correctional Center facilities. The artwork, all created by incarcerated people, offers a humanizing portrait of their makers, and the works have served as a creative outlet for members of the prison population. The exhibit will be available to the public during Ticonic Gallery’s new hours: Monday through Friday, noon – 5 p.m.

In related programming, Waterville Creates will distribute art kits to support children with incarcerated parents. These kits will be available in visiting room areas and will incorporate themes, images, and words to describe the types of experiences they seek for their collective future.

“What we are seeing as participants in this project are the many ways in which image-making is a restorative, healthy means of expression that can help children and adults navigate the complexities of incarceration on the family dynamic. Art is powerful, it’s transformative, and it can make a difference,” says Patricia King, vice president of Waterville Creates.

Maine Film Center’s “Cinema in Conversation” series resumes in-person this fall at Railroad Square Cinema with a lineup of free screenings and discussions with filmmakers, film experts, and advocates on the themes of freedom, captivity, and human rights. Showtimes and event details are available at MaineFilmCenter.org. The Railroad Square Cinema lobby will also host the multidisciplinary exhibition “Stories of Incarceration: Portraits from the Penobscot County Jail Storytelling Project” from September 13 to October 18.

A full calendar of Freedom & Captivity events is available on the Freedom & Captivity website at freedomandcaptivity.org.

More information on participation by Waterville Creates can be found at watervillecreates.org/shows/art-inside/.

2021-’22 Real Estate Tax Due Dates


Tax year runs Feb. 1 to January 31
Taxes due September 30, 2021


September 30, 2021
March 31, 2022


Four quarters

August 25, 2021
November 10, 2021
February 9, 2022
May 11, 2022


October 31, 2021


September 1, 2021


Four quarters
September 27, 2021
November 22, 2021
February 28, 2022
April 25, 2022


Four quarters
October 8, 2021
December 10, 2021
March 11, 2022
June 10, 2022


September 30, 2021
March 31, 2022


Four quarters
October 8, 2021
December 10, 2021
March 11, 2022
June 10, 2022

To be included in this section, contact The Town Line at townline@townline.org.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Central Maine high schools

Old Cony High School – Flat Iron building.

by Mary Grow

According to Millard Howard’s history of Palermo, an 1817 Massachusetts law that apparently carried over into Maine in 1820 required each town with 50 families to provide a primary school and each town with 200 families to have a grammar school whose teacher was able to teach Latin and Greek.

Alice Hammond’s history of Sidney has a slightly different version, perhaps referring to a different law: she wrote that when the population reached 100 families, “the authorities should set up a grammar school to instruct youth for the university.”

Over the years, central Kennebec Valley towns have complied with the law by supporting a local public high school, contracting to send students to a larger town’s public high school or contracting with a private high school.

This essay and its successor will not attempt to follow all the convolutions in every town and city, nor will they extend much later than 1900. The twentieth century saw a continuation of all three methods, with state law establishing various consolidated programs (Maine School Administrative Districts, Regional School Unions, Alternative Organizational Structures) and with the foundation of new private schools, secular and religious.

This series has already partly discussed the public high schools in the cities of Augusta and Waterville, in connection with their former homes in historic buildings that are now Cony Flatiron Residence and Gilman Place (see the issues of The Town Line for Sept. 2 and Aug. 26, respectively). This week’s article will summarize some earlier high-school buildings in the two cities, as described in local histories.

Public high schools in Augusta

According to Kingsbury, Augusta’s first high school opened in 1803. It seems to have been a private corporation – he wrote that “a group of citizens” put up a brick grammar school building where Bridge Street then ended at State Street (Bridge Street has since then continued west another six-plus blocks). Shareholders could send one student for each share owned.

School started in the spring of 1804, with “a Mr. Cheney” teaching courses that included the “dead languages.” (Wikipedia says there are at least 673 dead languages, defined as those “that no longer have a native speaking community.” Kingsbury probably meant Ancient Greek and Latin.)

The building burned in 1807, Kingsbury said. Until 1835, Augusta students wanting more than a primary education could attend Hallowell Academy.

On Feb. 19, 1835, Kingsbury wrote, the Maine legislature approved incorporation of the Augusta Classical School Association. This group, headed by seven directors, raised money by selling shares.

The Association bought the lot where the earlier school building stood and built an east-facing, two-story, 65-by-50-foot brick building “with pediment front, supported by four Doric columns of wood.” The first classes started April 18, 1836.

William H. Allen was the preceptor, assisted by his sister, identified as “Miss Allen,” Joseph Baker and Hannah Lambard, whose brother Thomas was one of the directors. Allen was succeeded by two “English ladies” named Taylor, presumably sisters, and then by “Mr. Woodbury.”

Classical School tuition was $6 per term and, Kingsbury wrote, was supposed to support the school. It did for only a few years before the “worthy promoters suffered its doors to be finally closed.”

Meanwhile, an 1833 state law allowed Augusta school districts to combine, and early in 1842 two of them did, forming the Village School District. The new district had 974 students, and the directors decided they needed six primary schools, two grammar schools and one high school.

This district included the site of the earlier high schools, and the Village School District first rented and in 1848 bought, for $3,000, the Classical School building. It was succeeded in 1869 by a building that, Kirk Mohney found in his 1988 research for the National Register of Historic Places listing for the Cony Flatiron, was designed by Francis Fassett (1823-1908). Readers have met Fassett before as the architect of many buildings throughout Maine, including in downtown Augusta (see The Town Line, Feb. 4).

In 1881, Kingsbury wrote, the Village District high school was superseded by Cony Free High School.

Public high schools in Waterville

Waterville High School from 1912 – 1963.

According to Elwood T. Wyman’s chapter in the Rev. Edwin Carey Whittemore’s 1902 bicentennial history of Waterville, primary schools opened before 1802, when Waterville separated from Winslow, and continued afterwards, with the usual fluidity of school district boundaries. Originally designated by names – Ticonic, Ten-lot, Almond Soule’s, Asa Soule’s, for example – the districts were quickly numbered for official reports.

Beginning in 1846, Carey wrote, “more advanced pupils” attended Waterville Academy (later Coburn Classical Institute), founded in 1823. It is puzzling that a page later he wrote of Latin and French being “authorized” as high-school courses in 1855; and of teachers “of high and grammar grades” being asked in 1859 to report weekly to parents on their children’s “conduct and scholarship,” as though Waterville officials were in charge.

In and after 1864, Carey continued, “pupils of high school rank” were sent to Waterville Academy, and Waterville paid the Academy $4.50 a term for tuition. The agreement continued until Waterville Free High School opened in 1876.

Carey listed nine “masters” (principals) of Waterville Free High School, all Colby graduates. The ninth had just resigned, and in 1902 was to be succeeded by Richard W. Sprague, Colby 1901, Carey wrote.

(Graduating from Colby and immediately becoming Waterville High principal was a recurring pattern, according to Arthur Roberts’ paragraphs on teachers in Whittemore’s history. Lincoln Owen, Colby 1889, was, on Carey’s list, the school’s fourth head, from 1889 to 1893. Next came Dennis Bowman, of Sidney, Colby 1893, who served until 1898. The principal who was departing in 1902, John Edward Nelson, of China, Colby 1898, took over in September 1898, according to Roberts. Carey, who included no dates, listed three other men between Bowman and Nelson.)

So where was Waterville Free High School between 1876 and its move to Gilman Street in 1912?

In 1853, after long debate, Waterville school officials had two brick primary schools constructed. The one on the 1902 site of North Grammar School (dedicated Feb. 28, 1888) was moved to a College Avenue location and in 1902 was a tenement.

The other 1853 school, presumably the south one, was in 1902 “the main part of the present high school building.”

This 1853 building that was by 1902 incorporated into the high school appears to have been close to the site of the 1920 Albert S. Hall School. The Hall School, at 27 Pleasant Street, housed students in kindergarten through grade six in 1970, according to someone who taught there; it now serves students in fourth and fifth grades, according to its website.

An on-line chronology says in 1922 (10 years after the high school moved to Gilman Street, two years after the Hall School was finished), “Old High School on Pleasant Street was demolished to make room for the new Junior High school construction.”

A brief on-line history of the Hall School says it “has served as Waterville High School” and Waterville Junior High School before becoming an elementary school. But sources cited in the earlier story about Gilman Street School say the high school was there from 1912 until 1963.

(The original Pleasant Street School was renamed in honor of Albert Sedgley Hall, who started his 35-year career in education in Waterville as a sixth-grade teacher and ended it after 11 years as the city’s Superintendent of Schools.)

Backing up to 1902, Carey further noted that in the last 15 years of the 18th century, Waterville officials had overseen construction of four new (primary) schools and remodeling of two older ones; and there was a need for another new primary school “and for a new high school building.”

The new high school was probably the Gilman Street School; readers will remember that construction began in 1912. An on-line chronology adds that in 1914, the “New Senior High School” was damaged by fire.

William H. Allen
and two of his fellow teachers

William Henry Allen (March 27, 1808 – Aug. 29, 1882) had a varied career in education and educational administration.

He was born in Readfield, son of Jonathan and Thankful (Longley) Allen. He went from Kents Hill Seminary to Bowdoin, graduating in 1833, and, the Prabook on-line site says, “received a degree of Doctor of Laws from Union College as well as from Emory and Henry College.”

(Union College, founded in 1795, is a private liberal arts college in Schenectady, New York. Emory and Henry College is in Emory, Virginia; campus construction began in 1836, and the first students were admitted in 1838. It was founded by the Holston Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church and is now affiliated with the United Methodist Church.)

From 1833 to 1836 Allen was a Latin and Greek teacher at Oneida Methodist Conference Seminary, Cazenovia, New York. In 1836 he came to Augusta to head the Classical School; he left after six months for Dickinson College, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. There he taught chemistry and natural history for 10 years, then philosophy and English literature, and at some point spent most of a year as acting president.

Chosen as president of Girard College, identified on line as a 12-grade college preparatory school in Philadelphia, in 1849, he took over in 1850. He resigned in 1862, but after three years “lecturing and writing” and two years as president of Pennsylvania Agricultural College, now part of Penn State University, in University Park, he returned to Girard for 15 more years described as “most gratifying to him and most valuable to those for whom he labored.”

The Prabook article says nothing about Allen’s sister or other siblings, but it lists his four wives: Martha Ann Richardson (d. 1839); Ellen Honora Curtin (sister of Pennsylvania Governor Andrew G. Curtin); Mary Frances Quincy (daughter of Samuel Quincy, of Boston); and Anna (Dunton) Gamwill (married Allen in 1858 and survived him).

Joseph Baker was born June 23, 1812, in Bloomfield (now Skowhegan). His father, Amos, was a Revolutionary War veteran who farmed in the summer and taught in the winter.

Joseph attended China Academy and graduated from Bowdoin College in 1836. Like his father, he taught in the winter. The on-line Biographical Encyclopedia of Maine of the Nineteenth Century, says when he boarded in rural school districts, he would breakfast at 3 or 4 a.m. with the farm family and spend the hours until school began “reading nearly the whole of the British Poets.”

After graduation, Baker studied under local lawyers during two years as assistant teacher at the Augusta high school. Admitted to the bar in 1839, he promptly set up a practice in Augusta that continued, with partners, all his life. His later career included terms as Augusta City Solicitor and Kennebec County Attorney and service in the Maine House and Senate. He died Nov. 29, Thanksgiving Day, 1883.

Sarah and Hannah [Lambard] Walcott were daughters of Dolly Lambard, who acquired Martha Ballard’s diary after the now-famous Hallowell midwife died in May 1812. After Dolly Lambard died in 1861, her daughters kept the diary until 1884, when they gave it to Ballard’s great-great-granddaughter, Mary Hobart, a doctor.

Main sources

Hammond, Alice, History of Sidney Maine 1792-1992 (1992).
Howard, Millard, An Introduction to the Early History of Palermo, Maine (second edition, December 2015).
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed. Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).

Websites, miscellaneous.

Local residents named to Simmons University dean’s list

The following local residents were named to the 2021 spring semester dean’s list at Simmons University, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Allyson Cunningham, of Augusta, Kaili Shorey, of Vassalboro, Abigail Bloom, of Waterville, and Maddie Beckwith, of Winslow.

To qualify for dean’s list status, undergraduate students must obtain a grade point average of 3.5 or higher, based on 12 or more credit hours of work in classes using the letter grade system.

Chamber hosts re-vamped Super Raffle dinner

Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce’s Super Raffle Dinner, is back, with a new venue, and re-energized format. The annual dinner will be hosted on Thursday, September 30, at The Elm, College Avenue, Waterville. This year’s event, titled A Night at the Lodge, is sponsored by Maine State Credit Union, and will begin with a social hour at 5:00 p.m., followed by dinner and drawings at 6:30 p.m. Dinner will be provided by the team of The Parsonage House and the Heritage House, with a cash bar provided by Proper Pig.

The ticket price of $125 includes dinner for two, one prize and a gift from Maine State Credit Union. Everyone wins a prize. Drawings begin with prizes valued at a minimum of $25 and grow as the drawings proceed. Top cash prizes are $750, $1,500, and $3,000. There is also a 2nd Chance Cash drawing of $500 and Plinko wheel prizes.

Chamber member businesses are encouraged to donate a raffle prize. To donate, or to purchase a ticket, contact the Chamber at 873.3315 or Cindy@midmainechamber.com.

2021 additional event sponsors are: Bar Harbor Bank and Trust, Central Maine Motors Auto Group, Choice Wealth Advisors and New Dimensions Federal Credit Union.