SNHU announces summer 2023 President’s List

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), in Manchester, New Hampshire, announces the following students to the Summer 2023 President’s List.

Talon Mosher, of Winslow, Alisha Barrette, of Skowhegan, Candice Eaton, of Waterville, Alyson Cass, of Waterville, Matthew Bandyk, of Jefferson, David Gerry, of Fairfield, Stormy Wentworth, of Fairfield, and Jacob Colson, of Albion.

Those named to the dean’s list include: Carrielee Harvey, of Waterville, Robert Farrington, of Augusta, and Ashley Parks, of Anson.

The summer terms run from May to August.

PHOTO: Football season in full swing

Waterville Junior High School running back, Alex Roth, #17 (eighth grader), during a recent game vs. Brunswick, held in Waterville. (photo by Galen Neal, Central Maine Photography)

Maine Pond Hockey Classic fundraiser actively seeking business sponsors and participating teams

The popular Maine Pond Hockey Classic – a fun-filled throw-back experience that attracts thousands of fans and participants each year – will be held Saturday, February 9, through Monday, February 11, 2024, at the scenic Snow Pond Center for the Arts, in Sidney 8 Goldenrod Lane. The event is a fundraiser for the Alfond Youth & Community Center – a unique partnership of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Waterville,

The Waterville Area YMCA, and the Alfond Youth Center, serves more than 5,000 youth in Maine through its main facility, in Waterville. AYCC is actively seeking sponsors interested in having a positive, enduring impact on young people, as well as 120 teams of eight players each. Registration opened August 1, 2023, with information available at MPHC’s website,, or by emailing

“Folks absolutely love this authentic pond hockey experience,” said Patrick Guerette, the Tournament Director. “They love the charm and nostalgia of watching or playing hockey on frozen ponds, which evokes a sense of camaraderie, outdoor adventure, and a return to the sport’s roots.”

Guerrette noted that a just-secured grant from the Maine Office of Tourism spotlights a huge vote of confidence for the Maine Pond Hockey Classic and the positive community and economic effects it will have throughout central Maine.

The event planners say the Maine Pond Hockey Classic will be “a hockey tournament and much, much more” – a kind of winter carnival with additional activities and entertainment offered, including live music, food vendors, interactive games, and opportunities for families and friends to enjoy a truly memorable weekend together. In addition to the life-changing impact sponsorship can have on young people, sponsors will enjoy the benefits of highly positive exposure and visibility through their participation in the event. Sponsorship packages include branding opportunities, promotional materials, and acknowledgments that showcase sponsors’ commitment to supporting youth and community programs.

For more information or to register, please contact Patrick Guerette, Tournament Director, at 207-873-0684 or

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Agriculture – Part 3

Southdown sheep.

by Mary Grow

This subseries began last week to talk about some of the central Kennebec Valley’s agricultural pioneers whom Samuel Boardman named in his chapter on agriculture in Henry Kingsbury’s Kennebec County history.

One was Rev. William Pitt Addison Dillingham, of Sidney, who was previously noticed in an introductory essay on agriculture in the March 18, 2021, issue of The Town Line.

Dillingham (Sept. 4, 1824 – April 22, 1871) was primarily a minister, mostly in the Universalist church. Sidney historian Alice L. Hammond wrote that one of his posts was with the Sidney First Universalist Society, of which his father-in-law, Dodavah or Dodivah Townsend (June 4, 1775 – Dec. 4, 1852; one of Sidney’s early settlers), was among the organizers in June 1840.

Dillingham and his wife, Caroline Price Townsend (born May 25, 1817), owned a farm that Hammond said was called Fairview Farm and was also the home of Caroline’s father.

(The 1879 map of Sidney shows no Dillingham property. There is a D. Townsend house, on the north side of Bartlett Road, closer to Tiffany Road than to Pond Road. The 1856 map shows the same D. Townsend property.)

Hammond wrote that Dillingham brought two sheep breeds, Oxford Downs and Southdowns, to Sidney in 1858.

Oxford Downs sheep.

The Southdown, according to Wikipedia, is the smallest of British sheep breeds “and the basis of the whole Down group of breeds.” Southdowns were first bred in East Sussex, England, around 1800, for both wool and meat.

Boardman said it was Charles Vaughan, of Hallowell, who brought the first Southdowns into Maine, in 1834.

Wikipedia says Oxford Downs were bred in Oxfordshire (hence the name) in the 1830s, by cross-breeding Cotswold rams with Southdown and Hampshire Down ewes. The result is a large sheep with short white wool and “a large, meaty carcass,” making it a breed raised primarily for meat.

C. K. Sawtelle also raised sheep in Sidney, according to Hammond and Boardman.

Boardman called cattle – cows and oxen – “the real basis of successful agriculture.” He again credited Benjamin and Charles Vaughan for importing valuable breeds that got the Kennebec Valley off to a good start.

Soon, however, interest waned, and herds began to deteriorate, Boardman wrote. Among a new generation of farmers who “took up the responsibility of obtaining high priced registered stock from abroad, or improving the best of that which remained” in the 1830s and 1840s, he named Luther and Bradford Sawtelle, of Sidney.

The index to Hammond’s history has almost two pages of Sawtelles, from Abbie Z. to Zypporah, plus a column of Sawtells; and there is a multi-page summary genealogy. Kingsbury explained that an early Pond Road settler named Moses Sawtelle had seven sons and was distantly related to another settler named John Sawtelle: “This accounts for the frequency of the name in Sidney.”

Luther Sawtelle (Aug. 7, 1800 – June 25, 1872) and Bradford Jorel Sawtelle (May 18, 1811 – Nov. 12, 1897) were sons of John and Thankful (Robbins) Sawtelle. When Kingsbury wrote his history in 1892, he said Luther’s oldest son, Ambrose, was living on the family homestead, a farm Luther bought in 1824 called Pleasant Plain Farm, and Bradford (by then in his early 80s) was farming part of it.

Summer Sweet apple.

Hammond listed apples, hay and potatoes as other important products of Sidney farms. Hay, she pointed out, was a common export from much of Maine to cities in Massachusetts while horse-drawn transport prevailed. In 1850 she found that Sidney “produced more than 5,700 tons of hay.”

Apples were the “second largest crop” in Sidney in the first half of the 1800s. Farmers planted apple trees “along stone walls or together in clumps on less desirable land” that wasn’t as good for raising hay. Early varieties included Baldwin, Ben Davis and Stark.

Hammond named Sidney farmer Paul Bailey as an experimental apple breeder, “originating a variety named Bailey’s Golden Sweet.”

An on-line source called Out on a Limb Apples recognizes another Sidney-bred apple: Ichabod Thomas created the Summer Sweet around the year 1800. It’s described as a yellow apple with “a beautiful golden apricot-orange blush” and usually “apricot around the stem area.”

The Summer Sweet is “medium-small,” about two inches in diameter, firm-fleshed, with “a mild sweet flavor, best for fresh eating or sauce. It makes a thick, creamy, tropical-flavored sauce—with hints of banana and pineapple —that takes a while to cook down and may need some added water to keep it from burning to the bottom of the pot.”

Ichabod Thomas

On-line sources say that Ichabod Thomas (March 14, 1758 – Feb. 25, 1845) was born in Marsh­field, Massa­chusetts. He was a Revolu­tionary War veteran, having served almost a year in two different regiments. Moving to Maine, on March 10, 1791, he married Mehitable Crosby (Sept. 16, 1767 – April 26, 1842) in Winslow; she was from Albion.

The couple had seven children between 1791 and 1805. The oldest was born in Vassalboro, before Sidney became a separate town on Jan. 20, 1792.

Thomas was a respected citizen, according to records Hammond found and another on line. She identified him as Sidney’s first town clerk, elected at the first town meeting. An on-line record says he held the office two later years, and was a selectman for five years and town treasurer for two non-successive terms.

He and Mehitable died in Brownville, Maine, and are buried in Brownville Village Cemetery with his mother, Eleanor (Mrs. Joseph) Thomas, who died in June 1823 aged almost 96.

Other Sidney residents were apple growers, on various scales. In 1876, Hammond said, the largest apple orchard in Kennebec County was the Bowman brothers’ on Middle Road, which had 75,000 trees.

Hammond wrote that Sidney’s apple crop became less important after the mid-1800s, “as the original trees grew old and there were few new plantings.”

Sweet corn was “a major crop for a good many years” in Sidney, Hammond said. She credited Isaac Winslow, “of Vassalboro,” with learning how to process food while he was in France “on naval duty” and starting a canning factory “around 1840.”

Sweet corn, Hammond wrote, was well suited to less specialized farms: “It provided a cash crop, utilized the farm manure, produced cattle forage, and used family labor….”

It was in 1850 that the railroad along the east bank of the Kennebec River first reached Waterville, Hammond wrote, expanding markets for up-river farmers. Sidney farmers ferried crops to railheads in Riverside and North Vassalboro while the water was open.

In winter, “they risked their lives, teams, and loads to venture across the ice. Many stories have been told of the close calls they had and of the not-so-fortunate who went through the ice.”

Isaac Winslow and corn canning

An on-line account says a Frenchman, Nicolas Appert, invented canning vegetables as a method of preserving food in 1809, thereby earning a reward offered by the Emperor Napoleon as he sought to feed the French Navy. The process was quickly brought to England and America.

For sweet corn, the process consisted of taking the kernels off the cob; putting them in a glass bottle (originally) or a can; heating them to kill bacteria; and sealing the container. First done by hand, it was soon mechanized.

Isaac Winslow

Another on-line site, a Warren County, Ohio, web page, says: “Isaac Winslow is believed to have been the first to successfully can sugar corn for market. He made his experiments in 1842, and applied for a patent which was not granted until 1863.”

Isaac Winslow is mentioned in Alice Bibber’s 1989 paper titled Nearly All in the Family: Nathan Winslow and His Family Network, published in Vol. 28 of Maine History and available online through the University of Maine’s Digital Commons.

Bibber’s focus was on the extended family that assisted Isaac’s older brother, Nathan Winslow (born in March 1785), a Portland-based inventor and merchant whom she credits with “launching the first corn-canning operation in the United States.”

Canned corn from 1800s.

She added, “Although twentieth-century historians credit Isaac with being the first person to preserve corn in tin cans, at least one contemporary who talked with Nathan Winslow about the business stated that the latter had made the experiments.”

Bibber mentioned Isaac as sailing to Le Havre, France, in 1818, not in the Navy but on a family whaling ship; and taking his ill sister-in-law, Nathan’s wife, to Madeira in 1842, where she died early in 1843.

“Some time earlier,” Bibber wrote, “Isaac Winslow had returned home with information about a French method of preserving food in sealed cans.” Nathan and Isaac decided to try it; Bibber wrote they used as “a base of operations” the family farm, which was apparently in Falmouth.

A factory was set up in 1852. When patents were issued in 1862, Bibber wrote, they were in Isaac Winslow’s name, but “assigned to” Nathan’s nephew, John Winslow Jones.

Bibber mentioned Vassalboro once: after Isaac’s father married Lydia Hacker, from Massachusetts, his wife’s family moved to Brunswick and “made marriage ties with a Vassalboro family.”

There is one more possible connection: the Winslows were Quakers, and Vassalboro and China had relatively large numbers of Quakers. However, your writer found no evidence confirming Alice Hammond’s statement that Isaac Winslow lived in Vassalboro.

Main sources

Hammond, Alice, History of Sidney Maine 1792-1992 (1992).
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).

EVENTS: 5th Annual Nosh & Knock Off set

The Waterville Public Library is planning to get away with criminal mischief again this October as it hosts Nosh & Knock Off: An Interactive Mystery Event – an evening of mystery and magic at the Waterville Public Library, on Saturday, October 28, 2023! This 5th annual fundraiser will be a live-acted, not-to-be-missed once-in-a-lifetime event! Nosh & Knock Off 2023 will feature an original script, Murder at the Epilogue Club, written and directed by a local playwright and beloved friend of the library, Emilienne Ouellette. The mystery will be live-acted and feature some of our region’s most illustrious and remarkable theatrical talent! Nosh & Knock Off is a sure bet for an evening full of delight and frivolity. All proceeds go to a fantastic cause: supporting Waterville Public Library programs and services. Be a part of the “welcome back, better than ever year!”

The cost to attend is $50 per person and includes a wide array of delightful libations and refreshments throughout the evening. Tickets are limited and go quickly! Buy tickets at For more information, call the Waterville Public Library at 207.872.5433 or email This is a 21+ event, and tickets will likely not be available at the door as they’ll be sold out. Yes, it’s that good!

Murder at the Epilogue Club:

The time, the roaring 1920s. The place, The Epilogue Club, an after-hours speakeasy at the Waterville Public Library teeming with flappers, gangsters, and ladies of the night. Nearly everyone becomes a suspect when scandalously sexy nightclub singer, Trixie Harridan, dies onstage mid-performance. Work with your teammates to discover whodunnit as the story unfolds around you at this interactive comedic murder mystery. Featuring local acting talent and an original script by Emilienne Ouellette.

Cast of Characters: Trixie Harridan – Bee Tyler; Thomas Gunn – Art Meneses; Scott – Paul Herard; Fitzgerald – Erik Hyatt ;Zelda Harridan – Sarah Johnson; Mort Pestle – Tim Croce; Jade Chatelaine – Lisa St. Hilaire; Lily LaFleur – Serena Sanborn; Norwood Helm – Nathan Sylvester; Taffeta Slick – Samantha Delorie; Clara Copper – Lauren Ouellette; Amethyst – Dawn Wiers; Diamond – Jennifer Day; Emerald – Phoebe Sanborn; Ruby – Dana Bushee; Sapphire – Hana Valle; The Johns – John Buys, Richard Meng, Matt Stanford, Stevie Webb, Greg Wiers.

Donor opportunities are still available! Email for more information! This interactive mystery theater production, starring esteemed members of our community and cast members on loan from the Waterville Opera House, is the Waterville Public Library’s largest annual fundraiser, with all proceeds from the event going directly to support library programming.

KVCOG schedules household hazardous waste pickup dates

The Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, based in Fairfield, plans to host Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days in October in Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Skowhegan, Anson, Bingham, Canaan and Madison will collect from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Skowhegan Transfer Station, 29 Transfer Station Drive. This is open to residents of those towns, who must call their own town office to schedule a time slot (Skowhegan, 207-474-6902; Anson, 207-696-3979; Bingham, 207-672-5519; Canaan, 207-474-8682; Madison, 207-696-3971).

Winslow, Belgrade, Clinton, Fairfield, Oakland and Waterville will collect from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Oct. 21, at Winslow Public Works, 135 Halifax St. Residents must call their municipal office to schedule a slot (Winslow, 207-872-2776; Belgrade, 207-495-2258; Clinton, 207-426-8322; Fairfield, 207- 453-7911; Oakland, 207-465-7357; Waterville, 207-680-4200).

Those who don’t have an appointment slot made with their town will not be able to drop off that day.

Many chemicals commonly used around the home are hazardous, either alone or when combined with other chemicals, and need to be disposed of by professionals trained to handle hazardous materials, according to a KVCOG news release.

Improper disposal of these materials can disrupt the function of sewage treatment plants or private septic systems, contaminate ground water, and harm animals and residents. Items that are difficult to recycle or dispose of — such as electronic waste, batteries, paint, anti-freeze, chemical cleaners, yard chemicals, old fuels, oils and mercury thermostats — many of which can also become harmful if left unmonitored.

The council will have local law enforcement officials on hand in Winslow and Skowhegan to collect and properly dispose of any pharmaceuticals that residents want to bring in.

PHOTO: Getting ready for some football

Waterville Youth Football team members Jackson Troxell and Tatum Vaughn, practicing at a recent clinic. (photo by Missy Brown/ Central Maine Photography staff)

Alfond Center knocks it out of the park pairing MLB legends with local law enforcement

Alfond Center Baseball clinic 2023 (photo by Central Maine Photography)

by Mark Huard

The Badges for Baseball Clinic took place on Thursday, July 27, at Maine’s Fenway Park, in Oakland. The clinic paired Major League Baseball (MLB) player alumni with officers from the Waterville Police Department to teach youth enrolled in the AYCC’s Maine’s Fenway Premier Baseball Camp about baseball and life lessons. Badges for Baseball is a program of the Cal Ripken, Jr. Foundation that uses team sports to connect youth with local law enforcement mentors. The following MLB alumni players participated in the clinic:

  • Kevin Buckley, formerly of the Texas Rangers. The University of Maine alum posted a lifetime .286 batting average in the Big Leagues.
  • Tom Burgmeier, who played primarily for the Boston Red Sox. A reliable bullpen ace, he finished his career with 102 saves. An All-Star in 1980, he posted a career high in saves for Boston while winning 5 games and carrying a 2.00 ERA.
  • Steve Crawford, who played with the Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals. A 6’5”, 225-pound reliever with a hard fastball, he won Game Five of the 1986 ALCS and won Game Two of the 1986 World Series in relief of Roger Clemens.
  • Matt Kinney, who played primarily for the Minnesota Twins and the Milwaukee Brewers. Born in Bangor, he posted 10 wins for Minnesota in 2003, while striking out 152 batters.
  • Pete Ladd, who was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 25th round of the 1977 amateur draft. He played for the Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros from 1979-1986. He won an American League Pennant with the Brewers in 1982.
  • Jerry Martin, who played more than 1,000 games, primarily with the Philadelphia Phillies and had a career .251 batting average with 85 home runs. He spent 20 years coaching in the minor leagues with the Phillies and the Detroit Tigers after his time on the field.
  • Ryan Reid, who played with the Pittsburgh Pirates. A Portland native, he finished his Big League career with a 1.64 ERA.
  • Mike Torrez, who played primarily with the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. He won more than 15 games during six consecutive seasons. He helped the 1977 Yankees win the pennant with his seven straight wins in July and August. He pitched two complete game victories in the 1977 World Series.

During the clinic, each group of the youth ball players was paired with an MLB legend and an officer from the Waterville Police Department to learn the finer points of baseball.
AYCC chief executive officer Ken Walsh, worked with the MLB alumni and Chief Bonney, to make the day happen.

“Never stop hoping” is mantra of cancer survivor

Breast cancer survivor Bonnie Collins, of Holden. (contributed photo)

by John D. Begin

“Never stop hoping” mantra keys Bonnie Collins’ cancer journey through diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

Before July 2022, Bonnie Collins never thought she’d one day wear an inexpensive pink rubber bracelet that has far greater significance than its actual value.

That was before the 20-year registered nurse and master gardener volunteer knew of a family history of breast cancer. It also was before she discovered a lump on her rib cage, under her arm.

“Being an experienced nurse, I didn’t panic and applied a heated rice pack for three weeks and it didn’t go away,” she said. “I realized then I needed to have it looked at.”

After a mammogram and ultrasound, a biopsy was needed. Unfortunately, it would be nine weeks before Bonnie could have it in Bangor, close to where she lives, due to staffing and other issues.

After deciding to call other sites, Bonnie spoke with MaineGeneral’s Breast Care Program staff and scheduled the biopsy in mid-September 2022. Four days later, she read “carcinoma” in her online patient portal results.

“It was a complete shock and I started to feel dizzy because I was holding my breath and didn’t realize it,” she said.

Finding a treatment “home”

Bonnie and her husband Peter traveled to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in Boston, where they learned she had triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive form with limited treatment options. As they traveled north afterward, they knew the financial and emotional costs of weekly treatments in Boston would be too great.

Bonnie wanted treatment much closer to home – at the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care (HACCC). She called the center on their drive, learned they could take her as a patient and stopped in with her medical records.

“I walked in and it felt like I was home. That was the turning point in feeling I would get the care I needed,” she said. “Going there was the best decision I made. They treated me like they would treat their own family members – their mothers, sisters or daughters.”

Bonnie received 16 chemotherapy treatments in the months that followed. After her last one, she vigorously rang the center’s milestone bell to celebrate the start of her life as a cancer survivor in remission.

Finding signs of hope all around her

Bonnie acknowledges that low points during her treatment sometimes stole her joy and challenged her will to keep fighting. Even during these dark moments, she still had hope.

“I always hoped things would get better even when I didn’t feel well. There’s so much you don’t know, so you hope – a lot – for certain things – to see your next birthday or to become a nana someday. You hope your treatment will work or that you don’t get into a car accident traveling to an appointment during the winter.”

“Cancer is tough for the patient and those closest to them. Seeing changes in your loved one going through chemotherapy – losing their hair and suffering from fatigue and brain fog – is difficult,” she added. “For the patient, it changes your outlook on life. Relationships and priorities change – quickly. Sunrises, sunsets and everything in between mean so much more. I don’t take a day for granted and hope I have many more.”

Bonnie noted that being surrounded by people who offer optimism and support makes a difference.

“My mom hugged me and said, ‘You be a warrior.’ And I feel like I was. I knew I was going to battle but I couldn’t do it alone,” she said. “I had an army of supporters – my husband and sons, my extended family, my friends and coworkers and the incredible HACCC care team. Hope was truly all around me.”

And that pink bracelet mentioned earlier? It’s still on her wrist as a reminder and source of inspiration.

“I hate it for what it represents – that I had cancer and I’m a cancer survivor,” she said. “But I also love it because it reminds me of how strong I needed to be. It gave me courage to hope for a brighter future and extra time.”

A day for those touched by cancer

As the 2023 marshal, Bonnie will share her story October 7 at MaineGeneral’s Day of Hope, at the Augusta Civic Center.

The event is a day full of inspiration, celebration, education and fun for the whole family. It also is a time to rally around those whose lives have been touched by cancer and to raise funds through the Walk for Hope to support care provided at the HACCC. The walk is part of the day’s activities.

The $10 cost per person includes access to an inspirational opening ceremony; the Walk for Hope; education events; cancer screenings; nutritious food samples and a Kids Zone, among other activities.

While encouraged, fundraising is not required. Cancer patients, survivors and children under 12 are welcome at no cost.

In sharing her experience, Bonnie hopes it will bring strength to others.

“My advice is to not give up when you get a cancer diagnosis. Keep living your life and never stop hoping,” she said. “I hate cancer, but if sharing my journey makes it easier for someone else, I’m happy to do it.”

To learn more about the Day of Hope, visit For information about MaineGeneral’s cancer care program, visit

John D. Begin is a communications specialist in MaineGeneral Health’s Marketing and Communications Department.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Music in the Kennebec Valley – Part 4

R. B. Hall Band, in Richmond, circa 1878.

by Mary Grow

R. B. Hall Band & Cecilia Club

Kennebec County historian Henry Kingsbury provided a minor exception to the general lack of interest in music in local histories when he included a section headed “MUSIC” in his history of Waterville and wrote two whole paragraphs.

The first was about “the earliest instrumental or band music” in town, “produced by Abel Wheeler, a music teacher, and his two sons, Erastus O. and Sumner A., with fifes and drums.” The Wheelers provided music at the first Waterville College commencement on Aug. 21, 1822, Kingsbury said.

Rev. Edwin Carey Whittemore, in his Waterville history, added that between commencements and military exercises, a brass band was “a necessity” for Waterville. That first commencement parade, he wrote, was led by the Waterville Artillery and “a band of music,” “and bands have existed here from that time on.”

Kingsbury wrote that “a few years later,” (your writer has been unable to find a precise date), “the first Waterville Band was formed.” Waterville College officials promised its members $100 a year for playing at commencements.

Kingsbury listed the eight original band members, most of whom he said were from the Ten Lots section of western Waterville that later became part of Fairfield, and four of the Waterville Band’s successive directors over “many years.” Except for Stephen Jewett (violist and fifer Stephen Jewett from Augusta? – see the July 27 and Aug. 10 issues of The Town Line), none of those named is mentioned in George Edwards’ Music and Musicians of Maine, nor is the Waterville Band listed.

Three of the Waterville Band’s original members were Reward Sturtevant, Anson Bates and Asa B. Bates (1794-1878). The last-named is the man in whose honor the Asa Bates Memorial Chapel in southwestern Fairfield is named (see the Aug. 5, 2021, issue of The Town Line).

An on-line genealogy identifies Asa Bates as a musician and a veteran of the War of 1812. Isaac Bangs’ chapter in Whittemore lists him as one of the three musicians in William Pullen’s militia company, which was stationed in Augusta in September 1814.

An organization called the Waterville band appears occasionally in later years in Waterville’s history. The July 1-3, 1879, Waterville Classical Institute commencement included a procession “escorted by the Waterville band.”

In William Mathews’ memoir of growing up in Waterville in Whittemore’s history, Mathews wrote that in the period between 1825 and 1850 Waterville had three “fine military companies:” the Light Infantry; an artillery company that kept two brass cannons in the small Temple Street house that was its headquarters; and the militia. He implied that each company had its own band.

Waterville’s best-known musical organizations in the late 1900s and early 2000s were the R. B. Hall Military Band and Hall’s Orchestra. Both were organized and led by Robert Brown (or Browne) Hall, who was born in Bowdoinham on June 30, 1858, and died in Portland on June 8, 1907.

The on-line Maine An Encyclopedia says Hall was an outstanding cornetist – his father was his first teacher – and bandmaster. He composed 62 marches that were published while he was alive, and according to Frances Turgeon Wiggin’s Maine Composers and Their Music, “at least 100” altogether.

John Philip Sousa played a Hall march at the 1900 Paris Exposition, Maine An Encyclopedia says. The United States Navy Band played his Funeral March at President John F. Kennedy’s funeral procession in 1963, according to a 2019 Central Maine Morning Sentinel story.

Hall’s musical abilities were displayed in many municipalities, including Boston, Massachusetts, and Albany, New York, and in Maine Richmond, where as a 19-year-old he directed the Richmond Cornet Band; Bangor (1883-1890); Portland; Augusta; Cherryfield; and Waterville.

He is credited with reviving the Bangor band. In 1884 residents held a week-long celebration during which they showed their appreciation by giving him a “gold Boston Three Star Ne-Plus cornet,” reportedly now owned by the Waterville Historical Society.

Hall began his work in Waterville in 1890, Whittemore said, organizing the “carefully trained” and well-received band and orchestra. In the 1890s, the band not only played at “school and college commencements,” but was hired by the city for summer concerts in Monument Park. Wiggin added that he brought members of the Boston Symphony to join local musicians at Colby commencements.

Wiggin named two local men associated with Hall. Clinton native Herbert C. Hunter (Dec. 18, 1867 – Dec. 11, 1931) was a violinist and cornetist who studied under Hall. Arthur F. Roundy, of Fairfield (Oct. 12, 1881 – ??), music director at Lawrence High School for many years, was a student of Hall’s (according to an on-line source) and played clarinet in the R. B. Hall Band (according to Wiggin).

In 1899, prominent citizens organized a corporation to support the band and orchestra, naming Hall the corporation manager. The corporation paid Hall and band members from collected earnings.

The point, Whittemore wrote, was not to make money, but to support “a band that will be a credit to the city, as Hall’s Military Band and orchestra certainly are.”

Hall was the music director of Waterville’s 1901 centennial celebration. Whittemore’s history says he conducted his orchestra at the Sunday evening, June 22, “religious mass meeting” at City Hall and again at the Monday morning dedication of the new City Hall; conducted his military band at Monday afternoon’s “literary exercise” at Monument Park; and presumably was in charge again as the band led off the first division of Tuesday morning’s parade.

The Bridgton Community Band website says Hall was so lame he habitually used a cane or crutch; he would march carrying his cane. Several sites comment that when playing the cornet, he often played the music an octave higher than it was written.

* * * * * *

The St. Cecilia Society established one of the earliest traditions of musical patronage. St. Cecilia is the patron saint of music. In November 1766, prestigious local gentlemen, in Charleston, South Carolina, created the first private musical society in America.

The Cecilia Club was another late-19th-century Waterville musical group. It is described in Edwards’ history and the description is plagiarized in Whittemore’s, listing officers, conductors and pianists.

(Your writer found on-line references to the St. Cecelia Society, organized in 1766 in Charleston, South Carolina, named after the patron saint of music and described in Wikipedia as “the earliest known private subscription concert organization in North America”; and New York’s Cecilia Chorus, founded in 1906. The latter was a women’s group until 1965; it is now co-ed. A Dec. 16, 2023, concert at Carnegie Hall will include Vaughn-Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem and the world premiere of a piece by American composer Daron Hagen.

(Edwards described an Augusta Cecilia Club, organized in the early 1880s by Mrs. Pauline Myrick and active into the late 1920s. Little information is available, he wrote, because records have been lost.

(In the Aug. 17 issue of The Town Line, on p. 14, is a notice of Damariscotta’s St. Cecilia Chamber Choir auditions, as the group prepares for its December pre-Christmas concert. Information is available at

Waterville’s Cecilia Club was organized Oct. 15, 1896, through the “persistent labors of Mrs. George F. Davies and Mrs. Frank B. Hubbard.” Initially 19 members, there were 80 by October 1897, when they sang in a festival in Bangor, and about that number in 1902.

Whittemore and Edwards wrote that Waterville’s Cecilia Club sang in Maine Music Festivals as well as locally, including during the centennial celebration. Both credited Fairfield members’ contributions.

The last sentence of this section of Whittemore’s history reads: “The Cecelia club holds high place in the esteem of the people [Edwards wrote “held a high place in the esteem of the people of the State] though perhaps it never will attain the popularity possessed by ‘The singing school kept at Col. Hayden’s’ in 1795.”

Your writer found no other reference to this singing school.

Among the several Haydens who were early residents of Winslow and Waterville, Whittemore and other contributors to his history gave the title of Colonel to the senior Charles Hayden. He was identified as an east-side (Winslow rather than Waterville) resident who was a school agent in 1798; moderator of a First Universalist Society meeting Nov. 17, 1831; and member of the building committee for the west-side church that meeting attendees voted to build.

(This 1832 church at the intersection of Elm and Silver streets has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978. See the June 24, 2021, issue of The Town Line)

An on-line genealogy lists a Charles Hayden, born in Massachusetts in 1767, who came to Winslow with his parents in (according to Kingsbury) 1789. Charles’ father, Josiah Hayden, was a Revolutionary veteran, active in town affairs into the early 1800s. His mother was Silence Hayward or Howard Hayden; Waterville’s Silence Howard Hayden DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) chapter was organized Jan. 3, 1898.

Dedication to R.B. Hall

R. B. Hall

According to the Maine An Encyclo­pedia website, on Aug. 14, 1936, Waterville officials held a tribute to R. B. Hall during which a Memorial Band Stand was dedicated; and on May 11, 1981, Governor Joseph Brennan signed a bill making the last Saturday in June R. B. Hall Day.

The bandstand was in what is now Veterans Memorial Park, at the intersection of Park and Elm streets. Your writer was unable to find it.

An on-line program for Waterville’s June 29, 2018, observance of R. B. Hall Day at the Opera House lists performances by town and state bands from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., including the R. B. Hall Memorial Band and the Hallowell Community Band playing together for half an hour and massed bands for another half-hour.

Governor Janet Mills proclaimed June 24, 2023, as R. B. Hall Day. On-line sites note celebrations in Richmond and Rockland.

Main sources:

Edwards, George Thornton, Music and musicians of Maine: being a history of the progress of music in the territory which has come to be known as the State of Maine, from 1604 to 1928 (1970 reprint).
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Whittemore, Rev. Edwin Carey, Centennial History of Waterville 1802-1902 (1902).
Wiggin, Frances Turgeon, Maine Composers and Their Music, 1959.

Websites, miscellaneous.