“I Remember” Part 5 by Catherine Morris Andrews. In the main my father’s wages were freed for the things our parents wanted to give us like a Steinway piano when I was ten years old and started piano lessons, my sister Marge, too. And the 1918 Ford all paid for in cash. Dad was musical; he played a violin, concertina, and harmonica by ear. Two of my younger sisters played the piano without lessons. Marge and I both took lessons for three years with the local piano teacher in town. Marge and I early started playing duets on the piano and many times played at Central District (school) on children’s day. Mother insisted that we play with good grace, whenever we were asked. Dorothy played any tune she had once heard, chording the bass and using twice as many notes as were written; she made good music. We lived one mile from the village and walked to school with our neighbor’s children every day. In winter after a snow storm, spans of horses hauling a sled with several men with shovels broke the road and we followed the team; school was seldom cancelled. Our parents made the decision to send us or not.
Dad was a small man, 5’ 10” or 11”, he never weighed more then 150 lbs., very energetic, quick moving, his arms propelled him when he walked. He was meticulous in his carpenter work as was my brother, who took naturally to wood work.At haying time everyone pitched in, treading, pitching, and stowing in the loft. I often lead the horse on the hay fork. Once Marge and I helped a neighbor by driving the horses from haystack to haystack, a young pair of frisky roans were a bit nervous and we turned too short and tipped the hayrack over, dumped us out and the horses ran away with the front wheels. The haymow was a great place to play and one time we were jumping into the pit from a beam when Marge left her skirt hanging on a nail
Part 2. “I Remember” by Catherine Morris Andrews (1908-1999).
Dad kept cows and some young stock, pigs, hens, and at least one horse. He planted and harvested a large garden, potatoes, and root vegetables to last over the winter, my mother canned green beans, peas, corn, and tomatoes. Large quantities of dry beans were flayed in the barn floor and cleaned. Mother also canned fruits as they came in season and made pickles, jams and jellies.
Mother sewed every day for five girls and very often my brother’s trousers and shirts. There were no radios or TVs, but my mother read to us every evening and then we would all clamor for her to sing; she always sang songs that told a story, ‘My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean’, ‘My Darling Nellie Gray’, The Chimney Sweep’, ‘Charming Willie’, and many more.
My parents were popular with their neighbors and had many friends, among them my mother’s brothers. Married and unmarried, the house was filled every evening and card games were much in evidence, 63, 83, and Whist being the popular ones. Mother kept a full larder and loved to play the hostess. My father was great company with his Irish wit and easy laughter. He never had an enemy in his life.
Dad kept a pipe in the shed which he smoked occasionally. It never came into the house because my mother didn’t like it; he respected her wishes. There never was any liquor in our house but I know father would take a drink with the boys on occasion.
When mother wasn’t sewing, she was knitting our stockings for winter, caps and mittens. She seldom went anywhere, but there was a peddler, bringing sewing notions, pots and pans, and sometimes one who sold shoes and other clothing.
There were also itinerant preachers, photographers and artists who would, for a pittance, draw your likeness in charcoal – one such picture of my mother at a young age, maybe 16, has come to light thru my Grandmother Higgins, a good likeness, unfortunately never signed.
Fourth of July was looked forward to with eagerness; we each had a quarter to spend, a fresh coconut and, of course, a watermelon to eat. Never did I spend the whole quarter.
Catherine Morris Andrews (1908 – 1999) wrote “I Remember” in 1985. My father, Benjamin W. Morris was the twelfth child and youngest of Irish immigrant Henry Fitzsimmons Morris and Almira Wood. My mother was the fifth child of thirteen, of Stillman Higgins and Emma Grant, of English descent. My brother (Winslow Morris), a year older went to school ahead of me and as I turned five in August, we trudged off together for my first day of school; he was my mentor; we shared a lunch pail, a 3 lb. lard pail with a bail to swing it by – it had his initials on it, W.H.M. He had warned me not to talk in school but the excitement of that first day was to much and I loudly called his attention to what looked like sheep through the window; of course they were fleecy-looking white rocks and the teacher spoke to me kindly that you didn’t talk out loud. We walked a mile to school and never missed.
My father was a first class carpenter and worked away every day. He was very special to us; we never saw enough of him. My mother was special too but she was always at home. One day at school, my brother said he knew where Dad was working, so at lunch time, he suggested we go see him. With sandwiches in hand, we walked down the hill, across the bridge and down to the Card Mill. This was high adventure to me. Dad was eating his lunch and hugged us as we joined him. He observed us eating our lunch and asked us if we had walked down the sidewalk eating? We had and we were told in no uncertain terms his children did not eat on the street! We never did again.
My father was a self educated man; I don’t know how many years of schooling he had but he was a very good reader and quick in math. He read the newspapers to us every evening during World War I and was quick to learn whatever he needed in his trade. My cousin Marie said “Uncle Ben could do anything” and the same was said of her mother, our Aunt Fan. Seth Look said Ben had taught him to cut stairs. Dad built his home before he ever married. I dimly remember a two story building used as a hen house and later torn down. He and my mother, both 24, married in 1903. My brother was born in the home I remember in 1907 and five more children would be born to them, the last one in 1916.
To be continued.
From the Addison Observer April 10, 1929, Columbia Falls – The girls wish to thank Mrs. Frank Allen, who has so untiringly coached them though this season.
The honor list is as follows: Seniors – Genetta Drisko, Alvina Libby, Evabelle Libby and Fred Chandler. Juniors – Marian Ross. Sophomores – Lester Tibbetts, Shirley Grant, Chester Stevens, Helen Rockwell and Donald Ramsdell. Freshmen – Stella Worcester, Beatrice Oliver and Beatrice Ramsdell.
Friends of Albert Richards, Jr., teacher in Cherryfield Academy, are glad to see that he has recovered from the mumps.
The following students have returned to their respective schools: Florence E. White and Otis B. Tibbetts, Bates College; Charles C. Hicks, Eleanor Hathaway, Drisko Allen, Colby College; Willis Allen, Jr., E. M. C. S.; Lawrence Drisko, Frances Drisko, Elizabeth Rockwell, W. S. N. S.
The High School opened Monday after a vacation of one week with Mr. Ingersoll as Principal and Miss Seavey as Assistant.
The last game of the basketball season was played last Wednesday night between the Athletic Club and the High School. The score was 50 to 30 in favor of the Athletic Club.
All roads lead to R. A. Norton’s store where the Leslie Sales System of Boston are conducting a $25,000 merchandise sale. Everything in the store has been marked to a rock bottom price.
Business around this place is gradually picking up. The river has opened up and the smelts have started running. This means a busy time for a few who work at this occupation. The station is also a busy place as there are several cars loaded daily with pulpwood for distant paper mills.
Jack O’Brien with a crew of men was engaged in repairing the telephone lines at the M. C. Rail Road station last week. The snow storm had broken down the poles and wires and only temporary repairs were made right after the storm.
The play given here by the Addison High School last Friday night was a great success. All took their parts exceptionally well and all in all it was a fine play from start to finish. The specialties were exceptionally good and the crowd showed their appreciation by their hearty applause.
Professor Clinton Wass, who has been spending his vacation here, has returned to resume his duties as principal of the High School in Morris, Connecticut.
Snippet thanks to Grace Falzarano and Ron Gray.
From the 1903 United States Coast Pilot, Atlantic Coast from the St. Croix River to Cape Ann. “Pleasant River has a narrow and crooked channel with a depth of at least 5 feet at low water at one place jut below Addison Point; above this the river is navigable at high water as far as the village of Columbia Falls, about 9-1/2 milesabove the mouth. Eastward of Guard Point, in the entrance of the river, is an excellent though narrow anchorage with 3 to 7 fathoms, and in the channel for a distance of 1-1/2 miles above the entrance good anchorage will maybe found in 3-1/2 to 6 fathoms. Strangers should not enter the river without a pilot. Addison Point, a village about 4-1/2 miles above the mouth of Pleasant River, has a little trade. Vessels of 12 feet draft go up as far as this.; there is from 2 to 4 feet of water along side wharves. Just above Addison Point the river is crossed by a bridge (width of draw about 35 feet). The village of Columbia Falls is 5 miles above and has railroad communication; the deepest draft of vessels trading there is 9 feet. The wharves run dry at low water. “Pilots can generally be found at Cape Split or in Narraguagus Bay, and can always be obtained from the anchorage in the bay. Strangers bound for Addison Point of Columbia Falls should take a pilot.”----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Addison Observer, November 21, 1928, Columbia Falls – We are in receipt of a very interesting letter from Mrs. Fronie Sawyer Smith, a former resident of Columbia Falls, but now living in Portland, Maine.
Mrs. Smith received her first school teacher’s certificate when fourteen years of age, having received some training by Helen Coffin, a native of Harrington, who later became principal of Farmington Normal School. Also she attended Cherryfield Academy for a time and attained the distraction of being the keenest mathematician among eighty pupils. She taught in Hancock and Washington County schools for years and also special schools in the evenings, and helped many a sailor boy who did not have the privilege of attending the regular sessions. Mrs. Smith was correspondent and feature story writer for the Lewiston Journal for many years and contributes occasionally now. While a resident of Colorado, the Centennial State that came in with school suffrage for women, she joined the W. C. T. U., the president of the Union at that time being a native of Addison, Maine, and was always a leading figure in securing full suffrage for women. Mrs. Smith, long resident of Columbia Falls, returned to Portland last year in time to attend the State School Convention and also the Three Quarter Century Club meeting presided over by the Governor. More recently she attended the Cumberland County W. C. T. U. meeting as a permanent State of Maine official for the advancement of Maine women and girls. She is a member of Wescogus Chapter O. E. S. at Addison and of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Columbia Falls. -Thanks to Grace Falzarano and Ron Gray.
Addison Observer April 15, 1929 , Columbia Falls - Mr. and Mrs. Winn Tibbetts of Pennsylvania are spending their two weeks vacation in this town. They are stopping in his mother's house. Millard Rockwell and family have moved to Harold Sinclair's house on the Central District road. Fred Champion is working in Addison this week installing motors at the Bayshore Factory. B. B. Tibbetts is having the barber shop over his store "slicked up" so that our bard, Mr. Higgins, will have a better place to work in. George W. Bucknam purchased a Chrysler car from P. T. Ingersoll last week. It is now receiving a complete overhauling by the Allen Brothers. The Branch Cemetery Society met with Mrs. J. E. White, Wednesday. A bountiful supper was served to thirty-one and a general good time was had. Lewis Seavey has employment in the pulp woods at South Addison. B. B. Tibbetts has a crew of men at work clearing the blueberry land he recently bought off W. B. Tabbutt. Ray F. Look drove the R. F. D. while our regular driver M. E. Ross was absent on a four days vacation.
Principal and assistant Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ingersoll arrived in town but Mrs. Ingersoll is sick with the flue at present.
Mildred Drisko, Julia Buckman (sic) and George Buckman (Bucknam), Jr. have returned to their teaching in Waterville.
Charles Hicks, Drisko Allen and Eleanor Hathaway have returned to Colby.
Gertrude Allen has gone back to East Millinocket to resume her teaching.
Willis Allen has left town for Bucksport Seminary to resume his studies.
The cold wave of last week sealed the river for the winter and skating is the principal outdoor sport at present.
At Tibbettstown, Freeman French, Daniel Hartford, Frank Duguay and Hazen Grant have returned to their work at Indian Point after spending Christmas at home.
Mrs. Adian Reed called on friends one day recently taking orders to the Zanol Products Company.
Mrs. Levonia Ingersoll, who has had employment in Portland has returned to her home for a few days.
Thanks to Grace Falzarano and Ronald Gray.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Applying for teaching position 1891
W. Harrington, Me, March 27, 1891. School Agent, Columbia Falls Me. I write to inquire if you have a teacher engaged for the spring school in your Dist. If you have none I would like to fill the vacancy. Will teach for $7.00 per week and board, and endeavor to give you satisfaction. For references will refer to E.B. Coffin of Columbia under whose supervision I have taught the past year. Please let me know at once if the position is open to me. Respectfully, Lillie Johnson, W. Harrington, Me. Letter supplied by Dick Bedard. Does anyone know if she got the job?
Miss Grace Crandon goes to Europe
From a leather bound hand written book entitled “My Trip Abroad” Miss Grace Crandon (1867-1953) of Columbia Falls kept a daily diary of her trip to Europe from July 7th, to September 7th, 1911. She traveled with Miss Pierce, Miss Holmes, and Mrs. Laubliam . Their ship was the Italian Steamer, Duca d’ Aosta (Launched 1908- scrapped 1929). “Our stateroom was for three- Miss Pierce and myself together with a girl from Virginia. Miss. Holmes, Mrs. Laubliam and Billy (?) being together in another.” There were only about 70 first class cabin passengers. “At dinner Champaign was served but I did not indulge” Grace’s diary included a log of miles covered each day (average 385 miles) and her daily onboard activities. “The Sabbath was not at all observed”.
They arrived in Naples on July 18th. “Upon our left Naples comes into view. As the mountain becomes plainer and we advance farther into the bay I am spell bound at the beauty which surrounds us. It is beyond words to express for it is a most beautiful sight”. The ladies visited Pompeii, Amalfi, lorreitto, Sonetto, Capri, Rome, Florence Venice, Milan, Lake Como, Managgio, Lucerne, Munich, Nuremburg, Dresden, Berlin, Potsdam, Eisenach, Cologne, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Versailles, Canterbury, London, Liverpool and Queenstown traveling mostly by train. Miss Crandon rated each hotel good, fair, and N.G.
Miss Crandon kept a detail list of her souvenir and gift purchases. She liked gloves (about .50 cents), jewelry (1.00), cameos (1.00), scarves (1.60), lace collars and yokes (1.50 ea.), postcards (.40), and hat pins (.05). She bought these types of things repeatedly from city to city. She also bought many unique things including opera tickets in Paris. She bought a puff box for her sister in law Marcia Crandon. All in all she spent $96,68 on purchases.
They left Liverpool onboard the Canard Lines Steamer Mauretania September 3rd 1911 for the return trip to New York. The Mauretania was launched in 1907; the largest and fastest ship of the times. She was scrapped in 1935. This ship was much faster than the Duca d’ Aosta and logged over 600 miles per day. “There are a great many passengers onboard mostly educational people – teachers and the clergy is well represented”.
Grace must have been worn out from her European excursion because she made very few entries in her diary on the return voyage. September 4th “still rough – most everyone sick but I go to every meal – find the tables well deserted so consider myself a good sailor”. The ship arrived in New York at 8PM on September 7th and they cleared customs in time to catch the midnight train to Boston.
Grace kept a detail list of her travel expenses and the total was $298.49 including ship passage ($80 going and $67.50 returning), trains, meals and hotel rooms.
Special thanks to Richard Bedard for providing this travel book.
The Addison Observer March 21, 1928, Columbia Falls - The social at the Town Hall, Saturday, March 10 was a decided success. Several games were enjoyed at the tables and a guessing cake, refreshments and auction of sandwiches by Fred Chandler afforded agreeable diversions.
The cream of the Town's talent is enthusiastically engaged in Dixie
Minstrel rehearsals. This jolly event will probably take place Friday,
Special interest is centered in a beautiful music master radio set
on display in Miss Chandler's drug store. This is the first prize, worth
$100 to be given to the person selling the largest number of Foster Chemical
goods as: Shaving Cream, Extracts (non alcoholic), Vanilla, Lemon and
Almond. The selling of these goods is the means of securing the Church
Bulletin Boards. The second prize is a handsome heavy silver plated fruit bowl, worth
$14, also on display. All the goods, about three gross must be sold before the prizes can
be awarded. Anybody is entitled to enter this contest.
A sad event occurred Monday night when Davis Tibbetts walked out
through the side door of the house and fell in the snow lifeless. Dropsy
and heart failure were joint causes.
The dance was cancelled Thursday night on account of bad roads.
Thanks to Grace Falzarano and Ronald Gray.
Lester’s quill removal box. Before the state of Maine required dogs to be leashed dogs were allowed to roam free. One of the problems this caused for country folk was that dogs were often getting their nosy snouts to close to porcupines. Lester Look (1883 -1965) had a method for everything; in this case it was a quill removal box. Removal of quills from a dog’s nose was a painful process for the dog and you had to hold it still. There was no anesthesia. This box was open top and turned upside down over the dog with a hole in the end snuggly fitting the dog’s neck with its head on the outside. Someone had to sit on the box to hold it in place. Son Horace was the family expert in removing the quills with needle nose pliers. This box was used for at least three generations.
December 1956 - Mary (Mamie) Bailey, Marie Strout, Lee Worcester, Ann Parritt, Muriel Hartford, Constance (Connie) Lafayette, and Laura Allen members of the Delta Alpha Club traveled to Burdell's Ladies Clothing Store in Bangor in preparation for the Happy Holidays Fashion Show to be held in the Columbia Falls Town Hall at 8 o'clock on Wednesday evening (date not known).
Fashion show- December 1956 Bangor Daily news: Happy Holidays Fashion Show to be held Wednesday evening at the Columbia Falls Town Hall at 8 o’clock, sponsored by the Delta Alpha Club of Columbia Falls. Getting ready for the show at Burdell’s in Bangor are, left to right, Mrs. Guy S. Bailey, Mrs. Wilbur E. Strout, Mrs. Ellington C. Worcester, Mrs Leslie C. Parritt, Mrs. Daniel W. Hartford, Jr., Mrs. John D. Lafayette Jr., and Mrs. Austin C. Allen.
Speech contest at Columbia Falls: Bangor Daily News March 27, 1964- The junior class of the Columbia Falls High School presented the annual Junior Speaking contest at the Columbia Falls Town Hall Friday evening. The winners were: first place humorous, James Bucknam, speaking “Ronnie’s driving lesson”; second place Roberta Morris, with “At the swimming pool”. Dramatic division were: first place, Wayne Merritt, speaking “And there was an emptiness”; second place went to Winston Grant with “Afraid of the dark”. Others participating in the contest were: Sharon Look, “God Remembers”; Thomas Worcester, “Basketball was what it was”; Arlene Bridgham “Sorry wrong number”; and Jennifer Worcester, “The show must go on, and on, and on.” Winston Grant, Roberta Morris and Wayne Merritt were coached by Mrs. Ramona Bailey and James Bucknam was coached by high school assistant principal, Roger Coelho. The judge was Raymond Cole of the University of Maine. The program included an Entre – Acte with Mrs. Sylvia Archer at the piano and vocal selections by Les Belles Filles; Miss Joanne Worcester, Linda Worcester and Leni Chizmas.
Three C.F Men died in WWII
Remembering three Columbia Falls’ men who died fighting in World War II, they were Embert L. Grant, Lester Look Jr. and his brother Robert Look. Pvt. Embert Grant was the only son of Leon and Henrietta Grant. Embert graduated from C.F.H.S class of 1943. He enlisted on Nov. 16th, 1943, received his training at Camp Blanding, FL and Camp Van Dorn, MS. He was killed in action somewhere in France Dec. 4th, 1944. His parents were notified on Jan. 1st, 1945 by the War Department. The Grants lived at the intersection of Saco Road and Tibbettstown Road. Staff Sergeant Lester S. Look, ball turret gunner on the Flying Fortress “Norma J.” at 24 received the Air Medal and Oak Cluster for “meritorious service” for 10 separate bombing attacks with the 571 Bomb SQ, 390 Bomb GP (H) over Nazi Europe. He was killed in action over Germany on Oct. 10th, 1943. ” and is buried in Holland. In 1943 Robert Look was drafted into the army. He served in the Infantry 75th Division. A letter from E. M. Sutherland, Colonel, Commanding officer of the 119th Infantry to his parents Lester Look Sr and Lillian reads in part “I wish to express to you my heartfelt sympathy and deepest regret over the loss of your son, Pfc. Robert E. Look, who was a member of my command. He was killed in action November 23rd (1944) in Western Germany and is buried in Holland.
An agreement (handwritten) is hereby acknowledged between the parties subscribing to this as follows; A. W. Bucknam on one part agrees to furnish to Capt. Robert P. Plummer, planks, timbers and spars to the amount of four hundred dollars to be used in the construction of a schooner about one hundred and thirty five tons burthen, to be launched about the first of September eighteen hundred and forty eight, and so take one sixteenth part of said schooner at reasonable bills in payment as far as it may go and the balance to be paid in cash when said schooner is completed, And Ao [as of?] the above conditions the said Capt Plummer subscribes and agrees to make good to the said A. W. Bucknam. Columbia Feb. 22/48 (signed) Robert P. Plummer (and) A. W. Bucknam. This material courtesy Kenneth and Mary (Bucknam) Kane.
The only vessel I could find launched in 1848 at Columbia was the schooner E. Wright, 157 tons and it belonged to Isaac Carlton.- Chuck Hammond
On August 3rd, 1965 the Maine Forest service “Fire Danger” index was Class 5, the highest possible reading. The “build up index”, a gauge of fire-fuel conditions on the forest floor was at 88 at Centerville. A build up index of 40 or more is critical. (At the height of the fire the index reached 101) On August 4th at 10:30 AM on Kelley peat bog at the base of Mitten Mountain, Centerville a truck with no spark arrester backfired and ignited the peat causing one of the largest fires in Maine history. At 11AM workers called the tower watchman on Mitten Mountain for help. Forest Ranger David Grant of Cherryfield rushed portable Indian pumps to the seen but soon realized that more firefighters and equipment were needed. By 2PM two and a half acres were consumed. By 4PM there were 35 men working on the fire, the temperature was near 80 degrees and the wind was blowing 18mph from the west. The fire soon exploded across the bog and into the woods. By nightfall the fire had consumed more than 400 acres and 100 firefighters were on the scene. On August 5th the fire raced out of control for five miles consuming 9000 acres of forestland. State officials put the word out to all the northeast states seeking firefighters and firefighting equipment. Two float planes dropped water on the fire. Civil Defense set up a feeding unit to serve the 500 workers at Centerville. Local town fire departments were nearly stripped of their equipment and volunteer firemen. I remember being bussed with other students from college to work on this fire. My uncle George Curtis (Harrington) was a forest ranger and I remember him driving Johnny Beal (also from Harrington) and I around in his patrol pickup truck putting out flare-ups with Indian pumps in all ready burned areas. At noon on Friday, August 6th, Route 192 between Wesley and Machias was closed to traffic. At 3:30PM the fire jumped the road. Two Canadian Canso water bombers joined the team. In the next three days they dropped 176,720 gallons of water in 188 trips. On Saturday, August 7th the fire reached a wet area and the wind shifted to the southwest making it possible on Sunday for firefighters to make a complete 25 mile fire line around the entire burn. Some interesting facts;
I could find no record of any homes burned. Crews were kept until August 13th and patrols continued through September until the last smoke was observed on October 3rd.
Reverend Othello Goodwin was the much loved pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was born in St. Albans on July 9th, 1867. He preached at Moro and Smyrna in 1899, and in Columbia, Columbia Falls and Indian River in 1901 to 1903. On November 5th 1902 he married Agnes Mae Robinson at the home of her parents Frank L. and Aurilla Robinson in Columbia Falls. Reverend F.L. Hayward officiated. After refreshments the couple left on the evening train for Boston and other points. The Methodist Episcopal parsonage was being put in order to receive them upon their return. Othello came down with typhoid fever while on their honeymoon and died three months after their wedding. Agnes died at the age of 39 in 1915 of melanoma cancer.
There is a stained glass window that bears the name of Pastor Goodwin in this church which is now the Methodist Church on Church Hill Circle.
Stained glass window in the historic Columbia Falls Methodist Church dedicated to Reverend Othello Goodwin (1867-1903) pastor from 1901-1903.
Prisoners of the war of 1812
During the War of 1812, Washington County residents John Puffer and Henry Caler (full name, Jost Henry Caler) were prisoners of war. John Puffer (1793-1877) was born in Canton, Massachusetts and Henry Caler (1777-1867) in Waldoboro, Maine. Both were captured at sea by the British during the War of 1812, John in July, 1813, and Henry in June, 1814. John, a privateersman, was captured while a prize crew member aboard a captured British packet ship. Henry, along with a brother, a cousin and one other, was taken from a Waldoboro fishing sloop which the British then burned.
Both were initially held on Melville Island in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and later in Dartmoor Prison, Devonshire, England. John and Henry were at Melville Island at different times, but their periods of confinement in the notorious Dartmoor overlapped by approximately eight months.
Both settled in Washington County about ten years after the war, John Puffer in Columbia and Henry Caler in Centerville. They arrived in the same year, 1826, and lived and died in the towns where they settled. It is not known if they knew each other while in large, overcrowded Dartmoor, but they must have been acquainted later while living just a few miles apart in sparsely settled Washington County.
At the ends of their long lives, brief notices of their deaths appeared in the Bangor Daily Whig and Courier, each with mention of their Dartmoor imprisonment. Tibbetts and Lamson’s Early Pleasant River Families of Washington County, Maine also makes mention of this in John Puffer’s case - but does not for Henry Caler. John Puffer’s grave in Columbia is well marked with an inscribed stone and is decorated on patriotic holidays, appropriate recognition for an American prisoner of war.
It is not known whether Henry Caler's grave receives the same recognition, or even if its location is now known. Early Pleasant River Families, p. 68, reports an inscribed gravestone. However, a Find A Grave search locates only the grave of his wife, Dorcas Caler d. May 30, 1854, in the Richard A. Caler family cemetery, Centerville - and provides no information on Henry's grave. Perhaps a descendant or some other interested party would have information on the burial location, or want to investigate. Thanks to Homer Morrison and Ronie Strout for this snippet.
On the way to Montegail Pond from the Tibbettstown Road you pass through Robinson’s swamp in the woods a little before breaking out onto the blueberry barrens. Today the road is paved and one may not even notice when passing through this small wetland. It is not even named on the DeLorme map but locally it is called Robinson’s swamp. In bygone years at certain times of the year Robinson’s swamp was the obstacle that could change an hour’s trip to Montegail, Grass, or Peaked Mountain Ponds into an all day adventure. I have heard many stories from my in-laws about getting stuck in that swamp. Robinson’s Swamp is named after Frank Leroy Robinson (1852-1930) and his wife Aurilla (Hubbard, 1875-1942). Frank L. as he was called was experienced in setting up mills and for the times moved with his family quite often as his skills was needed. He was born in Exeter, Maine. His mill experience begins in Jerusalem, Franklin County in 1881 when he bought a half interest in a mill. In 1882 he bought the other half. Later in 1882 the family moved to Alpena, Michigan on Lake Huron to build a mill for Charles Richardson. They stayed 3 years and then moved back to Maine in Palmyra. In 1886 he went to Caribou to build a mill for Charles Allen. In 1887 the family moved to Salmon River, New Brunswick, Canada to build a mill for Stevens and Robinson (no relation). After this they moved back to Palmyra where Frank L. had a shingle mill. In 1894 he went to Stacyville plantation where hemlock logs were being stripped of bark for the Frank W. Hunt shoe leather tannery. Aurilla and the family moved there in 1895. Frank L. and Aurilla now had five children, Agnes, Walter, Maude, John and baby Frances Margaret. They built a portable mill, dwelling, barn, ice house and a boarding home. In 1901 the family moved to Columbia Falls and built a mill below the falls. They lived in the mansard roof house on Main Street which was diagonally across from Brad Tibbetts and Willis Allen’s store. Frank L. (Robinson Lumber Co.) built an office near the mill and a store with a large hall upstairs. The hall was used for dances and social events. Their son John was a talented piano player and played for many of these events. In years later John showed silent movies in the hall twice a week. Later this building became Oscar Allen’s garage and the hall was used for roller skating. In 1902 Frank L. bought blueberry barrens and timberland in township 19. This purchase also included the swamp which has become known as Robinson’s swamp. Agnes Robinson married the Rev. Othello Goodwin, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church which is now the Methodist Church on Church Hill Circle. There is a stained glass window in this church that bears the name of Pastor Goodwin. Frank L. was having “breathing problems” which seemed to be worse near the ocean “salt air” so in 1905 he sold the mill, home and store and moved the family to Harvard, Massachusetts. There is much more to tell about this family so this history snippet is to be continued. My source for most of this information is Ancestors and Descendants of Frances Robinson Mitchell compiled by Frances Robinson Mitchell of Orono –Veazie, Maine 2012.
The Deblois (also shown as De Blois) precision bombing range opened in 1948. Activities at the bombing range were part of everyday life for those living in and around Columbia Falls in the 1950s; noisy jets streaming overhead; sonic booms that were louder than fireworks and shook the windows in your home; military men and their families that settled in, became familiar to us and their children went to our schools. The U.S. Department of Commerce Coast and Geodetic Survey Lewiston Sectional Aeronautical Chart dated May 8, 1961 shows a ‘Restricted Area R-3901” to an altitude of 39,000 feet near Columbia Falls, more precisely an 11.8 mile square from latitude 44° 40’, longitude 67° 42’ north to 44° 50’, 67° 42’ west to 44° 50’, 67° 56’ south to 44° 40’, 67° 56’ and then east to beginning for a total of 140 square miles. The range includes parts of Townships 24 and 25 and all of Townships 18 and 19. “A Restricted Area is [was] an area in which there is a hazard, usually invisible, to flight or navigation such as aerial gunnery, guided missile, artillery, or other type firing.” The area was restricted Monday through Friday from 1000 to 2400 (10AM to 12PM). The “Appropriate Authority” was Comdr., Dow AFB, Bangor, Maine. It is easy to lay this area out on map No. 25 in the Delorme Atlas. It is quite surprising that the area includes the residential areas of Tibbettstown and Epping and the popular recreation areas of Pretty Pond, Machias River Wigwam Rapids, Peaked Mountain Pond, Montegail Pond, Schoodic Lake and the Great Heath. Of course the actual bombing practice took place at specific targets. On October 19th, 2012 Bun Ward showed me in TWP 18 where the barracks was. I had been by here dozens of times and never knew the significance of this isolated site. It is west of Montegail Pond about 1/8 mi beyond Northwest Brook, a flat area on the south side of road (Lat 44° 45, Long 67° 48). The only evidence we found that anything was ever there is a buried pipe and an electric conduit, now part of the area is a gravel pit. There were several targets which consisted of circular driveways with mounds in the center. Bun showed me two targets that remain evident on the north side of the road, one is about 200 feet in diameter near the barracks across the road and the other is 1/10 mile in circumference located some distance away (Lat 44° 45, Long 67° 49). Target practice consisted of dropping bags of flower, low explosive live target bombs, and shooting live ammunition. The sonic booms were caused by aircraft jets breaking the sound barrier. The Aircraft Noise Abatement of 1968 and the Noise Control Act of 1972 have provisions for dealing with aircraft noise pollution and sonic booms are rare now. The bombing range closed around 1963. Other stories of interest are: an enlisted man got lost while hunting and froze to death; at least two local women married military men stationed there; Gary McLaughlin from Harrington used his home built Ford model A snowmobile to take necessary emergency supplies to the men stranded for days at the base after a huge snowstorm. It was the only vehicle around that could get through the deep snow; A local couple made a living selling salvaged souvenirs shortly after the base closed; Glen Crowley said he and his friend Terry Grant in 1968 found a bomb while they were hunting. They contemplated shooting at it but then thought the better of it and called Terry’s father, Forest Ranger David Grant who called the bomb squad. Thanks to Bun Ward for showing me around and Wilbur Porter for lending me the aeronautical charts.
The Deblois Bombing Range operated by Dow air base in Bangor was in service from 1948 to about 1963 near Columbia and Columbia Falls. This is a typical sign that one would see as they approached target areas. This particular sign was at the hand carry boat launch site on Pleasant River at The Great Heath.
Gary McLaughlin from Harrington used this snowmobile to take necessary emergency supplies to the men stranded for days at the Deblois Bombing Range barracks after a huge snowstorm in the late 1950s. Gary built this snowmobile himself on a Ford model A chassis it was the only vehicle that could get through the deep snow to the base. Gary said “it was like riding in a camp; you came in by the back door and hung your coat on a hook on the wall”.
Who was Louis A.R. Pieri? At the old radar site near the north end of township 19 there is a large stone with a bronze plaque that says “This site is dedicated to Louis A.R. Pieri with the hope that it will provide peace to the land that he loved”. Louis Arthur Raymond Pieri (1897- 1967) was an American basketball and ice hockey executive and coach. During the 1918–1919 season, Pieri was the head coach of the Brown Bears men's basketball team. In 1929 Pieri became the general manager of the Rhode Island Auditorium in Providence RI which was home to the Providence Reds hockey team. Also in 1929 he was named general manager of the Providence Reds. The team became a charter member of the American Hockey League in 1936. Under his leadership, the Reds won eight AHL division titles and four Calder Cup championships (1938, 1940, 1949, 1956).
As GM of the auditorium, Pieri was responsible for booking events, and filled the nights when the Reds were absent with boxing, wrestling, hypnotists - anything that would draw a crowd. Pieri's promotion skills allowed him to rise to a prominent role among his fellow arena owners and managers in the new Arena Managers Association of America. In 1940 he and eight other arena managers founded the Ice Capades.
Pieri was the owner of the Providence Steamrollers, a Basketball Association of America team that operated from 1946 to 1949.
From 1950 to 1964 he was a minority owner of the Boston Celtics. Following the death of owner Walter A. Brown on September 7, 1964, Pieri became co-owner of the team with Brown's widow, Marjorie Brown.
The American Hockey League presents the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award annually to its outstanding coach.
From the December 2003 issue of the Downeast Salmon Federation’s newsletter Intervale the Pieri family of Little Compton, RI owned land at the Wigwams on the Machias River, frontage on Mopang Stream and a cabin,
often referred to as the “Arthur
The railroad was a key mode of transportation in Washington County. Pulpwood, fish, lobsters, beans, and berries all left by rail to be sold throughout the Northeast. Passengers as well as freight covered long distances rapidly. Eri Drisko was a railroad line crewman for Central Maine Railroad and became a section foreman. The foreman was responsible for maintaining a “section” of track about 10 miles long. His section was Columbia and Columbia Falls. The crew traveled on the tracks using a small car, first hand powered later powered by a small engine. Their work involved re-gauging track to insure it was properly spaced, replacing worn out ties, fixing equipment, maintaining switches, and maintaining ballast support for ties and track. They worked with metal shovels for earth and gravel, wooden snow shovels, picks, axes, sledgehammers, and both pinch point and wedge point bars for tamping earth to insure the track was solid. Snow and ice were constant concerns during winter months; fire was the worry in the summer. Working for the railroad was a great job during the Great Depression. The railroads were still vital and kept running even as the Depression put so many people out of work. Line workers were paid 12 cents and 19 cents for a days work. The foreman was also responsible for keeping the books for his crew. The foreman was paid 90 cents per day. Supported with one’s own garden and animals, a steady railroad job took the sting out of the depression. By Elliot Drisko, submitted by Ronie Strout.
The Addison Observer November 21, 1928- Former News Reporter from Columbia Falls- “We in in receipt of a very interesting letter from Mrs. Fronie Sawyer Smith, a former resident of Columbia Falls, but now living in Portland, Maine. Mrs Smith received her first teacher’s certificate when fourteen years of age, having received some training from Helen Coffin, a native of Harrington, who later became principal of Farmington Normal School. Also she attended Cherryfield Academy for a time and attained the distinction of being the keenest mathematician among eighty pupils. She taught in Hancock and Washington County Schools for years and also special schools in the evenings, and helped many a sailor boy who did not have the privilege of attending the regular sessions. Mrs. Smith was a correspondent and featured story writer for the Lewiston Journal for many years and contributes occasionally now. While a resident of Colorado, the centennial state that came in with school suffrage for women, she joined the W.C.T.U. [Woman's Christian Temperance Union] the president of the Union was at that time being a native of Addison, Me., and was a leading figure in securing suffrage for women. Mrs. Smith, a long time resident of Columbia Falls, returned to Portland last year in time to attend the State Normal School Convention and also the third quarter Century Club meeting presided over by the Governor. More recently she attended the Cumberland County W.C.T.U meeting as a permanent State of Maine official for the advancement of Maine women and girls. She is a member of Wescogus Chapter O.E.S. at Addison and of the Methodist Episcopal church at Columbia Falls.”
Prior to March 23, 1863 Columbia Falls and Columbia were one town, the former being at that date incorporated by Legislative enactment. Columbia was first settled soon after the Revolutionary War and was the 104th incorporated town February 8. 1796.
Since the incorporation of Columbia Falls the business of the “new town” has seemed to receive a new impulse. Within half a dozen or so years several young men of enterprise and good business ability have introduced themselves with success.
John II Crandon Esquire is engaged in shipbuilding, which gives employment to a large number of people. He is the son of Joseph Crandon, Esquire, who followed trade and ship building for a long time, but has nearly retired from active business except what lumbering and vessel building he is interested in at Jonesboro.
Mr. Jerome P. Wass is another of the young active and enterprising men of the town. He is engaged in trade and transactions in real estate that has given increased value to such property. About a year ago, he sold the Crandon Store stock of goods to L. Leighton 2nd and son and bought the homestead, several acres of land and the stock of goods of George Harris, Esquire. His speculative turn makes business and creates trade and brings prosperity to himself. Mr. Harris is about to remove to Machias; when Mr. Wass will occupy the Harris homestead.
L. Leighton and son are doing quite an extensive trade, keeping a well-stocked variety store. Messrs. T Wilson and son with the two before named are the principal traders in town.
Mr. B. Farrell keeps a clothing store and cuts and makes garments to order.
Mr. Otis S. Tibbetts is the principal lumber dealer. Has purchased the mills, timberlands etc, a few years ago of George Harris and Company, for $100,000. This was the largest purchase of this kind of property ever made by one person in this county. Mr. Tibbetts has been engaged in lumbering; for many years and has been prosperous. Messrs. J. H. Crandon, Hillman Allen, Richard Allen and some others do some business in lumber.
Since the retirement of Hon. J. Lippincott from active business on account of impaired health one Law Firm VIZ: F.C. & E. H. Nash, attended to the business and supply the demand on the legal profession. They appear to be successful and are probably the only instance in this country where husband and wife constitute a Law firm. Mr. Nash was admitted to the bar six or seven years ago and Mrs. Nash in October last year. Mr. Nash is a graduate from Tufts College and has the reputation of being a rising young lawyer. Mrs. Nash is a woman of superior education, excellent culture, with a keen since of modesty and propriety and at no time has been unmindful of what she assumed when she chose law for a profession. The public mind was not prepared for such an “innovation” a woman a lawyer! Hence the prejudice of members of the bar, the prejudice of the people, the “horror” of a woman out of her sphere, had to be lived against, lived above and outlived, calling for patience, forbearance and charity. Mrs. Nash had a purpose. She cherished no wrong intent. She felt the criticism, in some cases acrimonious, but she retorted not. Now, she is in the profession for which she had desired in girlhood, and her prospects of gaining the members of the profession and credit for individual merit, are in no wise questioned.
The townspeople no longer see Dr. A.S. Chandler, the old doctor and his old white horse, performing the duties of daily calls upon him. For half a century the Doctor (took care of the town), and its not strange that his face of good cheer is greatly missed. His son, Dr. C. P. Chandler, at Addison is an extensive practitioner and Dr. Harding, formerly of Ellsworth, is now located at Columbia Falls.
New houses have been built, and old ones repaired showing that the town recently is now prosperous. One of the best hotels is located here, viz: The Columbia House, by G. Wilson Jr.
It is said that one of the objects of dividing the town was that the old town was getting too Democratic for some of the Republican leaders, hence the desire for a new town so that a Republican majority should prevail.
Weather true or not the results rather checks human calculations, or recent elections show Columbia Falls to be largely democratic, while Columbia is in danger of becoming a Republican Town.
When the railroad is built, with the waterpower and general opportunities for developing business, controlled by the young, energetic men, time is not for off when Columbia Falls for life, growth and prosperity will take rank as a flourishing town.
Leonard Tibbetts gave this information (Copied as written from the Machias Union dated 1873) to Ronie Strout in 2005 and she passed it on to me.
Addison Observer, June 24, 1931: The Tibbetts Town Union Grange, No. 326 has taken on a new lease of life. The Chapter has been reorganized and under a band of capable officers it this end of the town of Columbia Falls. For many years it has been the custom of the grange to have a Children’s Day program, and so on Thursday last, over a hundred people gathered at the Union Grange Hall, and strangely enough, nearly seventy of them were children – where a free dinner was served. A very fine program was given by the children in the afternoon, including songs, recitations and dances. Children Day of 1931 will long be remembered by the little ones. Mr. Lester Look is the able master of this grange. Thanks to Ronald Gray for submitting this clipping.
“The Lost Nation” from the Machias Union March 29, 1881. “Mr. Ed: A queer episode occurred at our Annual Meeting. Many persons have said and many declared that they know it to be so, that three residents in town did not pay so much taxes as they ought to by 100 to 400 percent: that the said trio were very rich men, and if they didn’t pay all the taxes in town they ought to be made to pay quite the whole! Our assessors heretofore have been considered sharp, clear-headed men. They were thought to be careful in ascertaining amount of taxable property each resident had to be taxed for, no one allowed to escape knowingly or willingly! This spring the ‘complainants’ resolved within their own breasts that they would have a change, the old Assessors should go out and a new Board go in who would assess taxes on Gov’t bonds and every mill of value possessed by each one April 1st! So wrapped in furs and flannels they visited the “Lost Nations” at the North, the valley, Acadia, Jerusalem, Corsica, and other points and districts East and South and pledged every voter to Come to Town meeting and vote right for assessors. The voters came according to promise; the old board was deposed, a new board chosen so quietly that the village people, especially the non-assessed ‘millionaires’ know nothing of the move until the Moderator announced the results! There is rejoicing now! The taxes are going to be exactly equal in 1881! Columbia Falls, March 22 (1881).” Thanks to Ronald Gray for submitting this newspaper clipping.
Machias Union 27 June 1876: “J. Crandon, Esq., and Capt. G. Colson of Boston, owners of Dyer’s Island, at the mouth of Pleasant River, are stocking it with sheep. They have about 300 now and expect to put on 1000 in all. The island contains nearly one thousand acres. Capt. Colson is putting up a building intended to accommodate shepherd and visitors to the island, a kind of summer house. G. Wilson, Esq., of Columbia House, is putting up or finishing a building near the east end of the bridge for a drug store in the lower story and a telegraph office on the second floor. The telegraph office will be in working order in July and will be a great convenience to this village and neighborhood. A post office has been established at Columbia Branch District, Wm. H. Allen postmaster. This will accommodate the Branch, also the north part of town very well, as well, as much of the business, drawing lumber, shingles, &c, is to Addison Point via the Branch.”
A Civil War Spy from Columbia Falls. This narrative originally appeared in the Lewiston Journal Illustrated Magazine on June 29, 1918 and has reappeared in A Distant War Comes Home, Maine in the Civil War Era by Donald Beattie, Rodney M. Cole and Charles G. Waugh. Briefly this is how the story goes. There is no evidence that a Winchester family ever lived in Columbia Falls so it is believed that the family name is fictitious but there are clues to who this family might be. Mrs. William Winchester of Columbia Falls was the mother of girls and boys. The oldest son, Will Jr. decided to serve the Union effort to keep the country together. Mrs. Winchester had a dear friend, Mrs. Hollbrook in the south below the Mason Dixon line who was also from Columbia Falls. Her heart was with the North but she had married a man from the South. Mrs. Hollbrook had two sons that went away to fight the Yanks. The two friends had schemed to make a handsome suit of gray that would allow Will to slip behind Confederate lines and carry out his self imposed duties as a spy for the Union. Will new nothing of the southern ways so was planning to act as a deaf mute. He stopped at Mrs. Hollbrook’s home for advice and the two of them decided that playing a fool was the easiest disguise of all. Will told folks at home many years later that playing a fool came natural to him. He used Mrs. Hollbrook’s home as sort of headquarters, and came and went generally after dark. He loitered around town and eventually soldiers took him in. He practiced letting his jaw droop and let his mouth hang open to emphasize the simple look. He acquired an offensive snore. He found that being a nuisance and an annoyance to be helpful to his cause. He drooled and stuttered. He occasionally threw a “fit” – rolled over and over, coughed, turned red in the face, appeared to be strangling, and became rigid. He played silly tricks on the soldiers and told harmless lies. His child like capers misled the southern boys into believing that he was a half-witted tramp. He was able to move freely about several rebel camps. They called him “Bandy-legged Bob” because of a hitch in his walk, also “Stuttering Steve” and “Foolish Freddy”. He fetched water and split wood for them and all the while reporting movements and details to the Union soldiers. He sometimes changed his disguise from camp to camp, even dyed his hair. There were close calls that required him to run away. He found the Negroes to be his best allies. One black matron even hid him for days in her cabin after he became a suspect with a price on his head. He came back to Maine with malaria, a bullet in his leg and a cache of stories to entertain his friends. Will never applied for a pension nor received any Federal aid stating “the fun he derived from the experience more than compensated him for the trifling injuries sustained”. Thanks to Ronie Strout for loaning me this material.
John Bucknam (1746 – 1792), who was born in Falmouth, ME, was at Pleasant River by 1762, established a wharf, a store, a lumber mill and a shipyard. Later his son William Bucknam built ships in his father’s yard. This was located on the eastern bank of the Basin. In 1802, James Bailey moved to Columbia Falls and built a fulling mill on the old dam site. He ran this until his death in 1822. After that it was run by Jotham Lippincott and Henry Bailey. Fulling is a step in woolen cloth making which involves the cleansing of wool to eliminate oils, dirt, and other impurities, and making it thicker. A carding mill was located on the west side of the river. It was built by Dr. Caleb Haskell who was at Columbia Falls by about 1800. Samuel Bucknam owned it for many years. It was the first mill of its kind built in this section of the country.
- Excerpts from Town Historian, Gloria Hayward’s soon to be released history book of Columbia Falls.
History Snippet- The United Methodist Church received its bell from the Knights of Pythias with the following agreement: “Agreement dated this 18th day of November, A.D. 1963 by and between Halcyon Lodge No. 107, Knights of Pythias, Columbia Falls, Maine and the Trustees of The Methodist Church of Columbia Falls, Maine. It is hereby agreed that the Trustees of the Methodist Church Columbia Falls, Maine, may have the use of the School Bell now in the Knights of Pythias Hall (formally known as the Hamlin Hall School), under the following conditions:
That the bell will be installed in the belfry of the Methodist Church in Columbia Falls within a reasonable length of time, and remain in their possession as long as they are active as a Board of Trustees for the above mentioned Church.
If at any time they fail to meet the above qualifications, ownership of the Bell shall revert to Halcyon Lodge No. 107, Knights of Pythias, Columbia Falls, Maine.
If for any reason Halcyon Lodge No. 107, Knights of Pythias, Columbia Falls is in-active, ownership of the Bell shall revert to the inhabitants of the Town of Columbia Falls, Maine. Halcyon Lodge No. 107 Columbia Falls Maine [signed] ‘M. D. Tibbetts’ Chancellor Commander; Trustees, Methodist Church Columbia Falls, Maine [signed] Albert H. Richard, Harold W. Allen, Dorothy Lord, Laurence M. Drisko, Reginald Hathaway”.
Record of Town Meeting 1863. Columbia Falls was incorporated March 25, 1863 (separating from the town of Columbia). The first Town Meeting was held April 6, 1863 at 10 am in the forenoon at the Hamlin Hall. Elected officials: Moderator- George Ruggles; Clerk- Charles A Wilson; Selectmen- Joseph Crandon, Rufus Tabbutt, John Bucknam; Assessors- Daniel Carlton, Richard Allen, William Allen; Treasurer- Henry Bailey; Agent- Charles Wilson; S.S. Committee- Henry Bailey, James L. Bucknam, J. W. Farnsworth; Auditor- Gowen Wilson; Fence Viewers- William Bucknam, John Magee, Jr.; Constable- Alfred A Lippincott; Pound Keepers- Gilbert L. Tibbetts, Gilbert L. Bucknam; Surveyors of Wood- John J. Bucknam, John Magee, Jr., J. M. Dunphe,
J. H. Crandon, Jas. Bucknam, S. B. Lothrop; Surveyor of Piles- John H. Crandon; Fish Committee- James Bailey, Gowen Wilson, F. H. Peterson; Tything Men- J. Magee, Jr., William Bucknam; Field Drivers- Andrew J. Kingsley, George Bowels, Samuel G. Worster, R. W. Bucknam. Money raised in 1863: Support of schools- $300.00; Town debts- $1,400.00; Repairs of bridges- $50.00; Town poor- $200.00; Miscellaneous- $150.00. Information provided by Gloria Hayward, Town Historian.
A look back at C.F. Town meeting 1928. At the annual town meeting held in Union Hall at Columbia Falls, the following officers were elected and the following sums of money raised: W.H. Allen, moderator; Frank Tabbut, town clerk and treasurer; S.H. Allen, George W. Bucknam and D.W. Hartford, selectmen, assessors and overseers of the poor; Josephine Allen as a member of superintending school committee for three years; S.H. Higgins as a member for one year; Lester Look, road commissioner; C.F. Wilson, auditor; Clayton Grant, tax collector, rate of commission (.009) nine mills on the dollar; E.I. Drisco, fire warden; all other officers to be appointed by the selectmen. Money appropriated: Roads, bridges and sidewalks, $2000; officers’ fees, $950; support of poor, $1400; snow breaking, $50; abatements, $25; interest on town debt, $375; town debt, $1280; miscellaneous account, $500; interest on school fund,$30; high school and common schools, $3600; janitor and fuel for high school, $200; text books, $250; supplies and incidentals, $410; repairs on school buildings, $250; Insurance on school buildings, $225; high school library, $25; fire warden, $2.50; state aid road, $533; Anti-Tuberculosis Association, $25; lighting streets, $450. Voted to revise the jury box, and the name Wellington Rockwell to be placed therein. Voted that taxes shall become due July 1, 1928, and that the tax collector shall settle with the town Feb. 15, 1929. - News clipping from Ronie Strout collection.
The 1927-28 Columbia Falls girls basketball season. The C.F. high school girls basketball team has been very unfortunate this season in many ways, namely: 1- When the basketball season began only eight girls went out for basketball and before any games were played, one from this small number left, leaving only seven; 2- Only three of these seven had any experience before in playing; 3- After three games had been played another player was forced to leave because of sickness, leaving only six players and no substitute to complete the schedule; 4- Five of the players lived out of the village at a considerable distance, and for this reason were not able to get as much practice as needed. They were finally forced to cancel remaining dates because of lack of players. If their sir regular players had continued they would undoubtedly have been champions of West Washington County. Never the less they are proud to own the following schedule consisting of four victories and only two defeats: C.F.H. 57, Alumni 7; C.F.H. 69 , Cherryfield 2; C.F.H 19, Harrington 21; C.F.H. 18, Harrington 24; C.F.H. 22, Jonesport 10; C.F.H. 44, Jonesport 10; C.F.F. 229, Opponents 74. The line up: Alvina Libby, rf; Mary Grant, lf; Eva Libby, c; Edna Worcester, lf; Hazel Look, rb; Elva Worcester, sc. The team loses Elva Worcester at graduation. She is the strongest guard on the C.F. team and is considered one of the best guards and a match for any forward in Washington County. Whenever the teams heard of an excellent guard on the opponent’s team, they would place Elva against her, then the greatest trouble was over. Captain Eva Libby will be with the team next year and if she exhibits such excellent playing as she has in the past the team should [not] worry about getting baskets. She has been known to shoot 29 baskets in one night. Who can beat that? She is considered to be as good a shot as there is in Eastern Maine. Mary Grant and Alvina Libby are the other two forwards, although not very good shots they have done some excellent passing and transferring the ball to Capt Libby. Edna Worcester and Hazel Look are strong guards and quick on their feet – no forward on the opponent’s team had the chance to ask, “Where are the guards?” The team wishes to express their appreciation and gratitude to the townspeople and the coach, M. Addington for the fine support that they have given them through this season, also to their manager Syldania Young. The girls team has been honored by an offer to play the following teams: Washington Normal; Brownville H.S.; Shead Memorial H.S., Eastport; and Woodland H.S. Those who were awarded letters for this and last season were: Elva Worcester; Hazel Look; Mary Grant; Marjorie Morris; and Mary Richards. – From a 1928 newspaper clipping provided by Ronie Worcester Strout.
Sporting Tips Column of the Bangor Daily News- 1927- 1928, Columbia Falls and Jonesport Games
“Twas December 16, 1927,
A cold and snowy night
That Jonesport came to Columbia falls
For a basketball fight.
This game had aroused the interest
Of people near and far.
And many towns were represented
By basketball fans and stars.
The door was opened at six o'clock,
The slow ones chances were slim--
For long before eight 'clock
The hall was filled to its brim.
Long before the players came
Their crowd did cheer and sing;
And when the girls took their places
The old town hall did ring.
The referee blew the whistle
The ball was put in play
Jonesport worked with might and main--
But C. F. led all the way.
And when the game was over,
Hushed were the voice of women and men.
For the referee announced that awful score
C. F. 44 and Jonesport 10. - Also supplied by Ronie Strout
History Snippet – 1928 Minstrel Show a Big Success . The local Dixie minstrels gave their first performance, Monday April 2nd at 8 P.M. The ladies were arrayed in yellow Pierrot -style costumes and cone hats, exquisitely decorated with black pom-poms. The men wore derby hats, flashy brilliants and gaudily made-up suits, and of course every-one looked their parts with ebony-black faces and distended red lips. The interlocutor wore the conventional Prince Albert. The Dixie minstrels were: Mrs. Lillian Ramsdell; Mrs. Amy Bailey; Mrs. Bernie Ross; Mrs. Wakefield; Mrs. Carrie Norton; Mrs. A.V. Houghton; Mrs. Hattie Morris; and Gertrude Allen; with Fred Champion; Frank Allen; Otis Tibbetts; Percy Ingersoll; Frank Allen Sr; and Reginald Hathaway as end men. The interlocutor was Rev. A.V. Houghton. The programme opened with Bohemia Opening Chorus as the curtain lifted. Fred Champion sang: “Lets get together” after introductory jokes between each end-man and the interlocutor. The song Program included the following: “My Mary” by H.V. Houghton; “In Wrong, So Long by Percy Ingersoll; “Old Fashioned Rose” by Fred Champion; “Look Out Below” by Percy Ingersoll;” Then They Start all Over Again” duet, Gertrude and Frank Allen Jr.; “Orange Blossom Moon” by Mrs. A.V. Houghton; “De Wes’ Wind Blows from De Wes’”, Fred Champion; “Down Along some Shady Lane” duet, Mrs. Carrie Norton and Mrs. Amy Bailey; “Pat Casey’s Runabout” Frank Allen Jr.; and Finale by entire company. The chorus of most of the songs were repeated by the minstrels with patter dances by Fred Champion, Otis Tibbetts, and Frank Allen Jr. Many stunts were put on to cure the gambling tendencies of the end-men and to prove that “You can beat a man at his own game”. It was a continual programme of good humor. An unusual large crowd went away thoroughly satisfied that their local talent gave them their money’s worth. The Church funds were increased by $33.60, although the total receipts were $43.60. Play books, music tamborines and clappers and the town hall were among the expenses. Mrs. Eva Bucknam has been the loyal standby through thick and thin. She has given many evenings and the use of her home for three weeks, and led the instrumental and musical part of the programme with other valuable suggestions. This snippet is from a 1928 newspaper clipping provided by Ronie Strout. Unfortunately the clipping does not identify the newspaper. It was however a statewide paper as evidenced by the other news.
History Snippet: In 1903 before electricity came to Columbia Falls modern acetylene gas lighting was installed in the Columbia Falls United Methodist Church. It was a huge chandelier hanging from the ceiling in the center of the church. The source of the gas came from a generator which was inside a small building located on the east side of church and behind the Chandler house. The original chandelier is still there but it has been electrified. There was also gas lighting in Union Hall. Its generator was located across the street near what is now the post office. By the 1860s gas lighting was being widely used through the United States. In the cities natural gas was piped in and provided fuel for lighting the streets, homes and businesses, but for farms and homes in the country and small towns the fuel for gas lighting was acetylene which could easily be generated on site. Acetylene gas provided an extremely bright, white light. The amazing thing about acetylene is that it can be created by adding water to calcium carbide which is a manmade compound (looks like small rocks). In the early 1890s a new process with electricity made it commercially viable to manufacture calcium carbide (carbide for short). All one had to do was set up a gas plant and pipe it to the lights, except that you had to feed it water and carbide regularly and then there was that awful white lime mess that was left over from the carbide which had to be cleaned up. It smelled bad too. The instant water (even a thimbleful) touches a piece of the carbide, crude gas arises ready for a match. This made it possible to have carbide gas lighting for small hand held lamps, even early bicycle, motorcycle and automobile headlights used carbide gas. A single pound of carbide that you can hold in your hand like a piece of coal, contains five cubic feet of acetylene gas (to be released by water), the equivalent of two quarts of kerosene, sixty-two cubic feet of natural gas or one hundred and fifty cubic feet of propane.
This original acetylene gas chandelier was installed in the United Methodist Church in 1903 before electricity came to Columbia Falls. It hangs from the ceiling in the center of the church. The source of the gas came from a generator which was inside a small building located on the east side of church and behind the Chandler house. The fixture has since been electrified.
History Snippet: The Billy Bridge was a wooden bridge that crossed Sherb Brook on the “New Road” also called the “Central District Road”. This is the same road that goes from the village to Tibbettstown. “New Road” was being used on mailing addresses as late as 1971. As a result of the law in 1988 when Maine voters approved the statewide deployment of Enhanced 9-1-1 service, this road was officially named the Tibbettstown Road in the late 1990s. At some time prior to 1917 a new concrete bridge was built over Sherb Brook downstream of the old bridge. This new bridge was also called the Billy Bridge. The remains of the old wooden bridge could still be seen in the 1970s. There is no bridge at all now. Sherb Brook flows under Tibbettstown Road through a culvert. If anyone knows the origin of the name Billy Bridge please email me at email@example.com.
Photo from Roberta Hammond collection
Brothers Dan (left) and Horace (right) Look (Circa 1917) standing on the concrete “Billy” bridge which crossed Sherb Brook on the “New Road”. The original wooden “Billy” bridge was located a few hundred feet upstream. The New Road was officially named “Tibbettstown Road” in the late 1990s after the statewide deployment of Enhanced 9-1-1 service.
History Snippet: Sleigh Ride to Columbia (Before Columbia Falls separated from Columbia) – The Machias Union Tuesday, February 15, 1859: “On Tuesday last, about 50 persons, ladies and gentlemen, including the Machias Cornet Band, went to Columbia on a sleigh ride. The Band was advertised to give a ‘Promenade Concert’ in Hamlin’s Hall; a dance was also contemplated, to succeed the Concert, and all hands promised themselves supper at the Columbia House (the home is now owned by Chuck and Roberta Hammond). The exit of such a large party from the town, made some difficulty, for those, who at a late hour concluded to join, to procure suitable teams, but all were fortunately well provided for. We are indebted to Matthew for a good team for the occasion, who just in the niche of time politely informed us, that he had ‘just one more left.’ The weather was just warm enough and traveling excellent. The party left at one o’clock and arrived at Columbia at half past three P.M. The sudden immigration filled the Hotel exactly. – One could hardly turn around without jostling his neighbor, but as each one naturally possessed a pretty good disposition, and being on a ‘time,’ too, as well as being in the presence of an accommodating landlord and an agreeable landlady, (Gowin Wilson Jr. and his wife, Eliza (Wass)) there were few or none who made wry faces, or who did not contrive to enjoy it. Supper was all ready at six o’clock, which, as regards the hour, we approve of and commend it as an example to hearty eaters and dyspeptics. With the quantity, quality and variety with which the tables were provided we heard no one complain. Neatness and order prevailed. Judging of the comparative quiet which occurred during supper-eating, we conclude that the demands of the inner man were uppermost, soliciting, and receiving undivided attention. After supper the Company repaired to the Hall, where the ‘Promenade Concert’ was to be. The Band did their part well, but the promenaders were few and fearful, only a few of the ‘pooty’ lads and lasses venturing to march to music. Those who were not dancers commenced ordering their teams at half past eight, and nearly half the party were homeward bound by nine. The Band and those participating in the dance, did not leave till two or three in the morning. All arrived home safely, satisfied with the excursion, its events and happy termination.” This would have been quite an adventure. The trip each way was two and one half hours long in the winter. They would likely have had a bear skin lap robe and a foot warmer with live coals. Ladies would have worn a hood and scarf, and a muff for their hands.
History Snippet Winter in the 1930-50s: Town roads were not regularly plowed and there were no school buses so several families moved to the village for the winter making it easier for their kids to attend school. Rosa Morris Dykes remembers skating at night on Pleasant River behind the house now owned by Philip and Valerie Worcester. Of course Pleasant River had a dam at that time. Dykes particularly recalls the time Ansel Rockwell saved Geraldine Ramsdell’s life when she skated into an open water where local men had been cutting ice that day. Dykes also remembers sliding on Point Street from the Everett Allen house on the second hill all the way down town. One time Stanley Look and Everett Allen were sliding double, pancake style one on top of the other on the same sled. They lost control and went into a snow bank, Stanley was OK but poor Everett was buried and had to be dug out. Dick Grant recollects “you could often slide all the way to the fire station it was slow at first but you picked up speed at the next steeper hill. I had a sled with metal runners which was fast, Mother wanted to go down town. I talked her into riding with me on the sled. She was wearing a fur coat. It was icy. We got going at a pretty good speed and Mother said she didn’t like it much and was going to get off. I said I don’t think so!” John Tibbetts reminisces “Generations of young people (from my father's & mother's time at least) skated on the Pin Head which wouldn't have been too far from your house [Chuck and Roberta Hammond’s] and on that side of the river. I suspect the new Rt #1 destroyed it but maybe not. I skated there many winters. Folks would bring wood and a fire would be built to keep us warm. One could skate up river to the "iron bridge" (railroad bridge, still there) but not down river very much at all due the rips and faster water which kept the ice thin at best. One reached the Pin Head by going down the road across from and opposite the front corner of Dr. White's house [now Charley and Nancy Herr’s]. One would travel the road a short distance then turn into and cross a field on the left to the river. I suppose it was called the "Pin Head" because it was a small and round sort of cove in the river.” Roberta Hammond has fond memories of skating on the Pin Head with friends, Lois Hurlbert, Jane Tibbetts, Jimmy Bucknam, Jane and Mary Hathaway, Winston Grant, Merton Allen Jr., Wayne and Janice Merritt and many others. The boys would have a bonfire. Wayne Merritt recalls skating on the Pin Head “every time we formed one of those ‘whip’ lines where everyone held hands and whipped around faster and faster in a circle I’d be the one on the end and would get cast off into a snow bank”.
History Snippet Christmas in 1894
Store Keeper, Levi Leighton’s diary – “Dec. 20th, 1894: One of the finest days ever known in the month of December, yet trade was awful dull. I got a bottle of Kendal’s Kidney Cure and took two doses which made me feel better. I must take it according to directions and must be carefull in diet. I have become convinced that my liver is out of order. Doct. White was telephoned for to come immediately to Jonesport and he took one of our teams as it was a difficult midwife case. Horace (Levi’s son) worked all day on town books, and Ell (Bowles) was out in the morning. Christmas trade was dull. The boys are skating on the river in the evenings. Should be made to study some. Dec. 21st: Almost a summer day. Although so pleasant and the traveling not bad very few out for Christmas goods. No money must be the cause. The dullest day we have had for the winter. Had the blues all day. The deer hunters are coming out and make an addition to the already big crowd of loafers. Lucy (Horace’s daughter) sent by mail to Obediah Allen a pair of homemade mittens knit by herself, as a Christmas present. A few more days and this year will be connected with the past, but will be remembered as one of the hardest years for business that we have had for a long time. Many have died on that account. Dec. 22nd: So warm that the roads got muddy again. About all day settling with Capt Cole and Capt. Perry. Both have hauled up their vessels for the winter. Also settled with Wilson Leighton. Frank (Horace’s son) went down to his grandfather’s and stopped all day. Finished the new school house in the Pineo District. School will commence there next Monday. White Daisy (probably a horse) went to Machias to be gone a few days. Many horses are idle now and cannot pay their keeping. No Christmas tree will be erected in the village this year. We are fast hustling back to the good old times of our fathers and mothers. Dec. 23rd: Sunday, one of the most disagreeable days of December. We had to build big fires in our houses and stores to keep out the freezing cold. Such a sudden change made us all shiver. Mary, my sister fell downstairs through the front trap door in the pantry and hurt herself very badly. She is now in helpless condition. Misfortune seems to follow her footsteps. Our hens laid seven eggs today which are now twenty four cents per doz. I have read the papers and all over the state a suspension of business is noted and extreme poverty is found in many families. Poverty will learn them hereafter to practice more economy. Dec. 24th: A fine pleasant day for Santa Claus to finish up his purchases for Christmas. He has been round quite busy today. A referee’s court was held here, Cleaves vs Joseph Bridgham. Brought some company to the hotel. Duncan Campbell hauled over two loads of round wood lath edgings for the store which we bought of Brad Tibbets, for kindling wood. Mary some better. John F. Pineo not gaining any. School commenced in the new school house, now the best school in town. Tomorrow is Christmas but it will not be observed here. I had to leave off taking my medicine for it made me sicker every day. Threatened a rain storm at night. Dec. 25th: Rained in the morning and warm and foggy all day. The dullest Christmas we have witnessed in many years. Not a Christmas tree erected in town. Horace and his family had a Christmas supper at Harry Bucknam’s. White Daisy got home from Machias about 4 O’clock P.M. No religious services in town, no drunken men, or boys seen. Quiet reigned supreme all day. Some trade, very little riding done. Mary’s lameness a little worse. Had Doct. White. Cleaves assigned to Pattangall and Dalot. If these times hold much longer few merchants can stand the pressure. They can not sell goods and get pay in a starving community.” Thanks to Gloria Haywood for loaning me Levi’s diary.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
History Snippet reader feedback- About Maine’s first female lawyer (DCP Legal History December 4-10), Dick Bedard adds that in 1872 Clara Nash lived in the house at 61 Point St. where Richard Bailey grew up. Clara and her husband Frederick were probably renting the house because there are no recorded deeds that would indicate that they ever owned property in Columbia Falls.
Another reader, John Tibbetts adds to the Gus Barton story (DCP November 13-19) an event that he witnessed: “In the 1950s Fred Callen brought a 1950 Lincoln Cosmopolitan automobile to Columbia Falls when he came for his annual vacation at Montegail Pond. Gus bought the car from Fred and drove it to his store every morning parking it facing the river by the side of the building. Gladys Allen who owned the ‘old Hotel’ and lived in a wing of the building when she came home on summer vacation from teaching in Bridgewater, MA had a vintage 1930s Plymouth car, in pristine condition, which she only drove when here in the summer. Winters found the lovely car garaged, covered, up on blocks (to prevent the tires from losing their round shape) and the battery removed. On one fine summer day (in the early 1960s) Gladys decided to drive to Gus’ store to make a purchase at the same time Gus decided to go somewhere in his car too. As Gladys approached the store Gus was already out of sight inside his car. Not knowing that Gladys took the easiest spot to park which was some feet back from Gus’ car on the edge of the street but directly behind it. Before Gladys got out of her car Gus started his and without looking behind backed up and hit the side of her car a good whack. Then Gus, thinking he had not given the car enough gas to get onto the road since it was a slight upward grade, drove ahead some, gave the car more gas and backed up with such good force he hit Gladys’ car and set it to rocking back and forth on its springs. Perplexed, Gus drove ahead into his customary space possibly with the intent of trying harder to get into the street. Before this could happen however, Gladys flew out of her car and around it to the side of Gus’ car and was wrapping on his car window. One can only imagine the conversation that then took place between the usually sedate Miss Allen (wearing her high button boots that had gone out of style at least 40 years before) and Mr. Barton. The most amazing thing was that Gladys’ lovely car was hardly scratched as a result of Gus’ bombardment. They certainly don’t make cars like that anymore!”
Levi Leighton was still running his Columbia Falls store in 1894 at the age of 76. He had to stock his store in the fall of each year with supplies for the whole forth coming winter. He bought some things locally but most of his stock came by way of Addison (the Point). Sometimes ships came all the way up the Pleasant River to Columbia Falls. Here are some excerpts from his diary: Sept. 26th- Schooner WAVE arrived at the point with freight. It took it took five trips with double teams; Oct 6th- flour arrived at the Point. Sold a few barrels before night; Oct. 8th- got all but 20 barrels (flour) up from the ship, sold 55 barrels today. Bought some potatoes at 40 cents per bushel; Oct15th- bought two pigs at $2.00 each. Hauled one load of coal up from the Point (about one ton). Also hauled up some grain; Oct. 17th- hauled up two loads of coal; Nov. 8th- bought one cord of old growth hardwood for the store for $3.00; Nov. 12th- No pork or grain for sale in town, waiting on the Schooner WAVE. Got two hogsheads molasses into cellar – one winter supply. Bought a few potatoes for 40 cents per bushel, some beans for $3.75 per bushel; Nov. 14th- hauled two loads of freight from Schooner WAVE at the Point; Nov. 15th- hauled one load of freight up from the Point; Nov. 17th- Schooner WAVE got up to our wharf (Columbia Falls) and discharged. Bought some apples; Nov. 19th- Schooner MARCIA BAILEY got up to our wharf. We intend to ship potatoes on her; Nov. 20th- We got our goods off of MARCIA BAILEY and carried some empty kerosene barrels and bags aboard of the WAVE. Stored 12 barrels of apples that came aboard the MARCIA BAILEY; Nov. 21st- Put aboard MARCIA BAILEY 28 barrels and 29 sacks of potatoes which we ship to Boston. Thanks to Gloria Hayward for loaning me the Levi Leighton diary.
Maine’s first female Lawyer, Clarissa (Clara) Hosmer Hapgood Nash (1839-1921) was educated at Pierce Academy, Middleboro, MA., Appleton Academy, New Ipswich, NH and graduated, advanced class, State Normal School, Framingham, MA. She taught in high schools of Marlborough and Danvers, MA. On Jan. 1, 1869 she married Frederick C. Nash (lawyer) of Columbia Falls, ME in Acton, MA (They met while he was a US Circuit Court Judge). In Columbia Falls Mrs. Nash studied law under her husband’s guidance and was admitted to bar of Supreme Judicial Court of Maine on Oct., 1872, the first woman admitted to the bar in Maine and New England and the fifth in the whole United States. This happened at a time when women’s rights were limited to roles within the home. In 1869 Mrs. Myra Bradwell of Illinois was denied an appeal to practice law by the Supreme Court of Illinois stating “God designed the sexes to occupy different spheres of action, and that it belonged to the men to make, apply and execute the laws which was regarded as an almost axiomatic truth”. Mrs. Bradwell appealed to the United States Supreme Court and her appeal was denied on the grounds “it certainly cannot be affirmed as an historical fact that the practice of law by women has ever been established as one of the fundamental privileges and immunities of the sex”. And then the court invoked “The permanent destiny and mission of women are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. This is the law of the Creator”. The attitude of the Washington County Bar and the Supreme Court of Maine was refreshing compared to this background of historical discrimination. A committee of members of the Washington County bar, Mr. Granger and George Walker of Machias and James A. Milliken, was set up to review Mrs. Nash’s application and qualifications. They unanimously approved her application, but the final acceptance had to be done in court. William G. Burrows of Brunswick was the presiding Justice. After examining the Clara Nash papers he said “I am not aware of anything in the Constitution or laws of the State prohibiting the admission of a woman, possessing the proper qualifications, to the practice of law. I have no sympathy with that feeling or prejudice which would exclude women from any occupations of life for which they may be qualified. I direct that she be admitted”. In October, 1872 Clara Nash was admitted to the bar. She formed a partnership with her husband and practiced law in Washington County.
In 1873, Mrs. Nash was active in the Maine women’s suffrage movement and led a petition drive from Columbia Falls. In October of 1873, Mrs. Nash, while six months pregnant, appeared in court for the first time to make opening remarks in a jury trial, another first. The Nash’s had a son, Frederick Cushing, born on January 3rd, 1874. In 1876 she and her husband moved to Portland and then to the Boston area. Their son, Frederick Nash, also became an attorney. Clara Hapgood Nash authored a volume of poetry in 1909, entitled Verses Published by Cambridge, MA University Press.
Photo courtesy Dick Bedard
Maine and New England’s first female Lawyer, Clarissa (Clara) Hosmer Hapgood Nash of Columbia Falls was admitted to the bar in October, 1872 and practiced law in Washington County.
Milton (Millie) J. Barton (1875-1947) married Gertrude L. Allen (1889-1990) in 1906 and they lived in the home now owned by Peter and Barbara Doak. Millie was the mail carrier for Centerville under a contract held by his brother Gus Barton. Millie delivered the mail to Centerville residents starting around 1900. Milton’s horse got so acquainted with the road between Columbia Falls and Centerville that even during the winter with deep snow on the roads there was no need for the driver to steer. The horse would plow through the snow picking his own best path to Centerville and return, stopping at just the right mailboxes along the route. Sometimes, in order to deliver the mail to the patrons in outlying areas, it was necessary to walk most of the way on snowshoes. Millie hardly ever missed a day. He was the mail carrier right up until he died in 1947.
Millie Barton photo from Roberta Hammond Collection
Milton (Millie) J. Barton (1875-1947) was the mail carrier for Centerville for over 40 years until he died in 1947.
Gus Barton photo from Roberta Hammond Collection- Gus Barton (1872-1969) standing in front of his store which was destroyed by fire in 1945. The area is now the Ruggles House parking lot.
Photo from Roberta Hammond collection- The Coffin and Knowles sawmill next to the Union hall in Columbia Falls was Gus Barton’s first job in the 1880s. Part of the sawmill actually was in the river.
A reader adds the following to the Gus Barton snippet above: “I found the slide that I took of Gus Barton on his 97th birthday, March 27, 1969; and he is holding my youngest son, Jonathan Alden Bedard, 4 weeks old, in his lap. On that date, this is a photo of the oldest and youngest people in this area, which no doubt took in more than Columbia Falls and Columbia. Gus is inside the old store building that was located across the street from your home [Chuck and Roberta Hammond’s], at the end of the bridge on the water side. I believe Rose Dickson purchased the building and had it torn down. After I moved to Columbia in Sept. of 1968 and began my teaching principal job in Jonesport, I found out that Gus sold the Bangor Daily News paper, and I would stop by each morning on my way to Jonesport to pick up my copy of the paper for that day. I would often walk into the old building and find Gus asleep in his chair with his hand cupped together in a way that allowed one to deposit the coins into his hand without disturbing him”. Dick Bedard
Photo courtesy Dick Bedard
March 27th, 1969 Gus Barton on his 97th birthday is shown here holding 4 week old Jonathan Alden Bedard. They were the oldest and youngest people in the Columbia/ Columbia Falls area at the time. Gus died later the same year.
Photo courtesy Dick Bedard
The George Drisko building (Columbia Falls 1969) was located between what is now the Salmon Federation building and the bridge. Gus Barton’s newsstand and bus station occupied a tiny space at the west end behind the phone booth. George and Hilma Drisko lived in the apartment on the second floor. The roof seen on the left is the building on the site before the present Downeast Salmon Federation Hatchery was built.
The Columbia Falls Brickyard was located on the east side of the Pleasant River. The brick company road was off what is now route 187 just beyond the Friendship Trap Co. Here are some newspaper accounts of the building of that yard.
February 21, 1888 - Henry W. Bucknam started cutting timber for a 48’ by 36’ brick yard building with 18’ long posts. Construction on the brickyard is expected to be started in the spring. June 19 - Bucknam from Columbia Falls and some capitalists from Boston propose to manufacture pressed bricks and terra cotta lumber. The two story main building will be 30’ by 30’ to which will be annexed a 12’ tunnel,” sharer dryer”, 53 ‘ by 110’ and an engine house 30’ by 30’ made of brick. The plant will consist of a Penfield Brick machine, a corrugated clay crusher, a disintegrator for reducing clay to a pulverous state and a horizontal pug machine. The whole thing is to be driven by a 75 horsepower Atlas engine. The machinery is expected to be in operation by the middle of September. When running to its full capacity, it is expected to produce 50,000 bricks and 75 tons of terra cotta per day. A 300 foot wharf will be erected for shipping. December 18 - Bucknam has a small crew at work and the new industry seems assured. January 15, 1889 - there are 6 men employed preparing a foundation for a large building to be erected in the spring. Samples of the clay have been sent to expert parties and pronounced to exceedingly well adapted for the purpose intended. February 19 – Bucknam, agent for the Brick Yard Co. reports that the foundation is about completed and building construction will commence soon. July 30 – the brick yard is turning out brick and will be ready to do extensive business soon. The clay is pronounced to be the best yet found for making brick. September 24 – We will soon hear the whistle of the steam engine in brick yard. Our new industry, the brick yard is progressing finely. A short suspension is just now made, discharging part of the crew, while they burn the kiln which they have made and build a dry house about 50 feet long. They are also building quite an extension to the wharf. Mr. King is now in Boston, but is expected back here soon. December 10 – The brick yard company has quite a large crew at work on the dry house and putting in the machinery. Four masons are putting in the brick work. December 24 – The yard is pushing right along employing about 24 men. Eight masons are completing the dry house which is 160’ by 60’. E. A. King is here from Boston assisting in construction and installing the machinery. January 21, 1990 – The dry house is finished and brick manufacturing will start in a week. This new industry will employ quite a few men. King is back to resume his superintendence in the brick yard. About 30 men are now employed. April 1, Forrest, son of U. N. Ingersoll received severe injuries by being caught in the large wheel of the engine at the brickyard. He was held in the machinery for three circuits of the wheel. He broke his arm in 2 places above the elbow and his head and side are badly bruised. April 6 – A tug suitable for towing vessels on the river will be needed this coming season because many vessels will be required to carry lumber, ice and brick. May 6 - The Columbia Falls Brick Co. has recently finished 400,000 bricks, 300,000 of which are contracted for a school house in Quincy, Ma. The output this spring has been about 20,000 per day and is expected to grow to 30,000 daily at full capacity. The company has expended $44,000 in the construction of the plant. Preparations are going on for building 4 patent kilns, each having a capacity of 450,000 bricks. To facilitate business the company has purchased the steam tug, Vim which is expected to arrive from Philadelphia this week. The present weekly payroll is $850.00.
January 7th, 1890: “Frank W. Sawyer, of Milbridge, Dep. Collector of Customs, has been stopping at the Leighton House [Columbia Falls] looking after discharging two Province vessels with coal at the brick yard”. Also on January 7th “Schr. Energy, Capt Graham of and from Parsboro, N.S., with a cargo of coal for the Columbia Falls Brick Yard Co., was towed from the mouth of the river up to the brick yard 29 ult. [?], by tug S.B. Jones, Capt Trafton, of Machiasport. This is the first cargo of coal and the first English loaded vessel that has ever passed up through the main bridge and the second to enter the port of Addison, Schr. Amherst Advocate, Capt. Smith, being the first from the same place with coal for same Company, arrived at the Point a few days before the Energy, and was towed up one day later, 29th. The two cargos of coal at the yard, the force of workman employed and the extensive brick work for the dry-house, now nearly completed, give evidence of extensive business operation in the near future. The brick manufactured at the yard and being used for the dry house are said to be of excellent quality. With their facilities for manufacturing at the time, machinery new, and men unacquainted with the work, they could mould from 60 to 90 brick per minute”. May 20: “The Brick Yard Company has shipped three cargos of brick and have three more cargos ready for shipment. They have purchased a new tug boat in Providence, R.I. and Captain Ira Thompson and engineer Charles Woodward are bringing her here. [Charles Woodward was the Chief engineer in the brick works] She will ply on this river, mostly for the Brick Yard Company”. June 16, 1891, Eastport: Schooner Mildred A. Pope arrived here Sunday from Columbia Falls with a cargo of 70,000 bricks for the Custom House building”. June 28, Columbia Falls: “The schooner Modoc is loaded with bricks at the brick yard”. June 31: “The Brick Yard Co. are contemplating making repairs on their steam tug, putting on a new wheel, etc. The Brick Yard whistles everyday and occasionally the steam tug whistle can be heard”. December 22: “H.W. Bucknam has returned from Boston where he has been in the interest of the Col. Falls Brick Yard Co”. February 23, 1892: “The Brick Yard Co. has gone into insolvency”. April 12: “The Brick Yard is sold and the lien claim holders are anxiously waiting for their pay and to get further employment”. November 8th: “We are sorry to report the loss of our Brick Yard by fire, which burned the 2d inst [?] about 5 o’clock a.m. caused by over heating one of the tunnels in the dryer, and not observed by the night watchman. We are all sorry for it furnished labor for quit a number of men. The store, stable and cook house were saved. All the coal sheds, driers and mill were burned. The boiler not much injured, insured for eight thousand dollars. Enough left to make it quit an object to build again. The best clay and best factory for making bricks, wood handy and cheap and clay bed near the bank of the river on level with the crusher. We hope that some capitalists will have the courage to try again”. December 25, 1900: There is prospect for better times for Columbia Falls in the future… The agent for the Brick Yard Syndicate has been here looking over the plant and it is said that work will begin at once making repairs and that a new engine will be put in ready for the spring”. February 19, 1901: “H.W. Bucknam with a small crew commenced work in the brick yard, Monday. The old engine has been moved out and the foundation is being laid for a new one. Charles Woodward, engineer, also Fred Crandon are at work there. A large crew will soon be back at work”. From the late Dr. Elliot H. Drisko notes worded this way: “M.U., Columbia Falls, died 15 March 1901, Henry W. Bucknam, youngest son of Mrs. Emeline (Chandler) Bucknam and the late James Bucknam”.
The Columbia Falls Brick Yard continued from the Downeast Coastal Press October 30-November 5. The brick yard did resume operation as evidenced by the following information from Brick, publication Vol. XVIII, No. 3, March 1, 1903: “New England Brick Co., Boston, Mass. Among the many interesting brick enterprises in New England, that engaged in [manufacturing brick] the New England Brick Co., may certainly claim a large share of interest. This company was incorporated in December, 1900, and has an annual output of 200,000,000 brick. It operates 31 yards, more than half of which are in the vicinity of Boston. The plants are distributed as follows: Five in Cambridge, one in Belmont, one at Medford, Mass., six at Epping, three in Exeter, six in Rochester, N. H., one at Saco, Me., one at Schenectady, N. Y., two at Mechanicsville, N. Y., one at Columbia Falls, Me., one in Hooksett, N. H., the others being found at Thornton, Middleboro, Bridgewater, East Brookfield, Still River, Harvard, Turner’s Falls, and Greenfield. The largest and best equipped plants are at Mechanicsville, N. Y., which have a capacity of 30,000,000 yearly. The local yards at Boston turn out about 60,000,000 a year. The five yards at Cambridge are of great interest to the visiting clayworker as they present the best type of New England brick manufacture”. There is a plan of the Columbia Falls Brick Company’s land recorded at the Washington County Registry of Deeds in Machias in Book 10, page 53. It shows the road, layout of the buildings, the wharf and the clay bank. Bun Ward told me that when he and Brenda got married they found several whole bricks clearly marked N.E.B. (New England Brick). They used these bricks in the fireplace mantle of their home. If any readers have knowledge of buildings that were constructed of Columbia Falls bricks please call me at 207-598-8274 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Greenwood Cemetery Society was a very active social group which maintained the lovely small cemetery in Tibbettstown at the intersection of Tibbettstown Road and the Montegail Road. For one fund raiser they published a book called Helpful hints, Crafts, & Recipes. The Columbia Falls library has recently acquired a copy. In this book there are directions for making a crocheted candle, an angel ornament, a walnut shell skunk magnet and lots of other crafts. There are several recipes, among them are a cherry nut cake, a prune coffee cake and a banana split cake. There is a section of helpful hints including warming pipes in winter and removing crayon from linoleum.
On the lawn of the Union Hall there is a monument which reads “This monument erected by the Greenwood Cemetery Society July 4, 1958 to honor the brave youth of Columbia Falls, who so unselfishly entered our Armed Force to help Keep America Free. They left their families and their friends to fight for their country dear. ‘We salute this valiant band, the noble saviours of our land. They shall be honored for many a year’. Whittier”. At the dedication ceremony David Morris (17) played taps and his sister Roberta (13) placed a floral basket. The cemetery society still exists today mostly in members Charley and Dawn Robbins and Eleanor Galen. Charley has been maintaining the cemetery grounds for years now. Dawn says they have a CD in the bank which will last a few more years. New members are encouraged and anyone interested should call Dawn at 483-4111.
Greenwood Cemetery Society Ladies circa 1910 in front of George Sinclair’s store which was near Ansell Rockwell’s place on the west side of the Tibbettstown Road.left to right standing – Mrs. Herbert Young, Mrs. Philander Worcester, Mrs. Lester Look, Mrs. Lorey Grant.
The following information is from Rich Tabbut who did some research at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath on the Tabbutt/Tibbetts family of Sea Captains and their ships of western Washington County: Andrew Tabbut of Addison -schooner SULTANA of Columbia 1845-47, schooner TWO BROTHERS of Jonesboro 1853, schooner WAVE of Addison 1856; Andrew Tabbut 2nd of Addison - schooner ARGO 1863; Joseph M. Tabbut of Addison - schooner ARGO of Addison 1857-58, schooner EVERGLADE of Harrington 1863; Lincoln Tabbut of Addison - brig B. YOUNG of Addison 1876, G. L. BUCKNAM of Columbia 1858, schooner GOLDEN EAGLE of Machias 1875; Stillman M. Tabbut of Addison - schooner WREATH of Columbia 1849; Thomas Shepard Tabbut of Addison – Schooner ANN LOUISA of Addison 1838, Schooner PILGRAM of Addison 1829 - 47, Schooner DOLPHIN of Addison 1813; William Tibbetts of Addison – Schooner COLUMBIA of Columbia 1800, Schooner MARK of Addison 1807, schooner PARROT of Addison 1802; Charles Tabbutt (hometown unknown) - Brig MELISSA of Jonesport 1847-49, Brig SARAH AND ELIZABETH of Addison 1838-44; Daniel S. Tabbut of Columbia – schooner WREATH of Columbia 1847-48; Edward R. Tabbut of Columbia – schooner FRANCIS COFFIN of Machias 1877; Holmes W. Tabbut of Addison – schooner VIENNA of Rockland 1855, schooner HARRIET of Addison 1876, schooner S. & B. SMALL of Jonesport 1861; John H. Tabbut of Harrington – schooner SUSAN B. THURLOW of Harrington 1872-74; Obed Tabbut of Jonesport – Schooner BANNER of Charlestown Mass 1838, schooner CYGNET of Machias 1845, schooner FOREST of Machiasport 1841-42, schooner SUPERIOR of Addison 1833; S. M. Tabbut (probably Stillman M. listed above but hometown not specified) – schooner HASCA of Cherryfield 1872.
Pleasant River Grange, No. 433 was organized May 7th, 1904 and held its first meeting in the Wescogus Hall (now the Masonic Hall). Around 1907 the Grange built a new hall on the former site of Captain Obed T. Crowley’s house which burned. In 1968 the Grange closed and gave the hall to the town of Addison for a $1.00. In March of 1906 the Grange completed a signature quilt with 49 ecru squares with red sashing and 496 red embroidered signatures of folks from the Pleasant River area. Edwin W. Look was master at the time. It was likely a fund raising project for the Grange. Each off white square was signed in pencil with approximately 10 signatures which were probably sold at a few pennies each. These signatures were then embroidered over in red embroidery floss. It appears that some people signed more than one square or there were sometimes more than one person with the same name. This antique quilt will be on display at the Columbia Falls annual quilt show at the Union Hall on October 6th, 2012 from 9am to 3pm. Find your ancestor’s name below and come and see where they actually signed it on the quilt.
|Lucy M. L.||Allen|
|Mr. & Mrs. S. V.||Ingersoll|
|Mr. J. E.||Look|
|Mr. W. M.||Look|
|Mrs. J. E.||Look|
|Mrs. W. M.||Look|
|Mrs. Amous W.||Tabbutt|
Union Hall has played host to Columbia Falls’ cultural and civic life since 1849 including church services, town meetings, weddings, receptions, graduations, plays, minstrels, basketball games, music recitals, dances, quilt shows, junior speaking contests, freshmen receptions, and graduation balls. In the 1940s and 50s each member of the Delta Alpha Club was responsible for raising funds once per year for the Columbia Falls United Methodist Church. Hazel Morris always met her annual obligation by producing a minstrel or maybe a play in the spring. The minstrels were either black face or Irish. They were hilarious and very popular. In the early 50’s at one talent show high school buddies, Dale Higgins and Ben Morris decided to be a horse. Hazel Morris helped with their costume. Dale was the horse’s head and Ben was the horse’s ass. During basketball season the hall took on a whole new look. Wooden grids were placed on the inside of the windows to protect the glass and the delicate molding on each side of the stage was sheathed over. Benches were placed along the sides of the hall and bleachers were set up on the stage. Basketball will probably never be played there again as the goals, score board and window grids are long gone. The new municipal building is much more suited to playing basketball. There are however many events planned for the old Union Hall.
Events scheduled all ready include: the annual quilt show on October 6th of this year; and in 2013- on March 25th Town Meeting; on April 6th an 1863 era Civil War Costume Ball/Contra Dance; on June 28th a free event, Civil war impersonator, Charles Plummer portraying Joshua Chamberlain will be talking about the part that the 98 volunteers from Columbia and the 32 from Columbia Falls played in winning the war; on June 29th a free all day display of local historic artifacts; and on June 30th a free ice cream social on the lawn.
Polaroid Photo by Thelma Look courtesy Roberta Hammond
A youthful Country and Western singing group performing at Union Hall in the early 1960s. Left to right Janice, Leighton Drew and Gail. They are the children of Leighton and Alice Grant
The 432 ton schooner, Isaac Carlton built in 1883 was the last of 5 ships constructed by Isaac Carlton. A schooner of this size would have been about 150 feet long. Isaac and his nephew Henry O. appear to have been partners in this project based on ledger entries from September 1, 1881 to September 1, 1884 when the account was closed. They kept track of each other’s time and lost time by the day at $1.00 per day. Most of the entries were in 1882 which coincides with other records showing the vessel was finished in 1883. One of the largest snowstorms on record hit the east coast on January 9th, 1886. After beating about the bay all night at about 8:00 in the morning on January 9th the Schooner Isaac Carlton with Captain E.E. Drisco aboard in route from Norfolk, Va. to Boston went ashore at Scituate, Ma. and began to break up. The ship’s crew took to the rigging. The life saving crew had barely finished the work of rescuing and caring for the crew of the Joel Cook wrecked on Third Cliff Beach when they were compelled to start through the deep snow in a blinding snowstorm for Fourth Cliff Beach, Humarock where the Carlton was stranded, a distance of 2 miles. Arriving at the scene at about 11:30 in the morning the surfmen found it to be one of great difficulty to rescue the crew. Four times they fired the Lyle gun to get a line aboard. They finally succeeded only to have the line parted. Mr. Walsh of Station No. 10, Massachusetts Humane Society brought a new Hunt gun from a mile away through deep snow drifts and on the first attempt threw a line aboard. The first man ashore had a hard time of it. The cable had not been placed high enough and he was dragged through the water. The Captain came ashore next in the breeches buoy because he had been injured. After all nine men had been landed safely they forced open an unoccupied summer cottage and built a fire. The water soaked and half frozen sailors were soon restored to activity. Dry clothing was supplied by the Women’s National Relief Organization. The Isaac Carlton with its cargo of coal was declared a complete loss. Later however, the List of Merchant Vessels of the United States 1899 has listed a vessel Humarock and states it to be formerly the schooner Isaac Carlton. Newspaper headlines of January 9th, 10th and 11th read: New York Times “Buried under snow”; “A great Arctic wave” Washington Post; “The great storm” Hartford Daily Courant. After the storm came a great wave of extreme cold. The Hudson River froze over in New York Harbor. The harbor froze in Nantucket and no one could get on or off the island for a week. The great storm and extreme cold was still making headlines through February 5th.
The Carleton’s of Columbia Falls: Daniel Leighton Carlton (July 8th, 1808 – August 7th 1897) was a ship carpenter, clothier and farmer. Isaac Carleton (Jan 30, 1812 - July 27, 1895) was a shoemaker, tanner and shipbuilder. Daniel’s son, Henry O. (1856-1911) was also in the family boot and harness trade as well as shipbuilding. Isaac Carlton kept a business ledger from 1845 to 1885. New boots cost $3.75 to $6.50 at a time when skilled wages were only $1.00 per day. There are many, many entries for boot repairs ranging from .30 cents to $1.00. A pair of shoes costs 1.00 to 1.12. Many of his services were bartered with hides, deer skins, labor, beef, bark [?], hake and cod fish, boards, knees and treenails[for shipbuilding]. Here is a letter I found in the book: “Addison May 21, 1880 Dear Sir, I want you to make a pair of boots. Calf on thick boot [?]. Last as we talked last fall. I want them double sole and the backs a little wider than common. So they will go on easy. No 9 and good stock. Enclosed 5 dollars if not your price I will make it right with you. Send them by mail as soon as you can for my feet is wet every day. N.P. Chandler. No 9, good room in the toes. Send them to Indian River post Office”. It is not known if the Carlton’s were all involved in a single family business or not, but the ledger clearly shows that his nephew, Henry O. was involved in the shipbuilding part of his business. Isaac built 5 schooners - the E. Wright, 1848; Mary E. Gage, 1852; Callao, 1867; Dolly Varden, 1872; and the Isaac Carlton, 1883. Isaac served in the Maine State Legislature 1887-88.
The Carlton’s owned the house that Bion Tibbetts's has now and all the land adjoining it down to the present Municipal building. Daniel lived in the house beside the Municipal Building and Isaac lived where Bion does now. They sold the house beside the MB to Fred Tibbetts, it subsequently burned, and Fred built the house which is there now. They also sold the lot for the house across the street from John Tibbetts. The Carlton’s are buried in Great Hill Cemetery.
The ship, Isaac Carlton has an interesting history which will be the next snippet.
Columbia Falls had a commercial scales set up right next to Main Street for weighing horse drawn hayracks and wagon loads of goods. Weighing hay was very common in the old days because many homes had a horse for transportation or a cow for milk. The weight of a load of hay could very a lot depending on how loosely or densely it was packed. Hay was sold by weight. It was also used for weighing blueberries and other goods on horse-drawn wagons or on trucks as well, even sometime a cow. The scales were located between Seth and Lucy Allen’s dry goods store (and later Josephine Leighton’s) and The Columbia Falls House (not to be confused with the Columbia House). The wooden platform scales were entered from Main Street. The scales and the bit of land on which they stood belonged to Bion B. Tibbetts Sr. and were a part of his store business conducted in the Levi Leighton building which he owned on the Northwest side of Greeley Square. Those scales were originally on the left side of the Tibbetts' store and were moved to the later location presumably because there was more room there. Early pictures show the scales located beside the store. By the time Bion Tibbetts Sr. retired around 1935, the scales were in little use and they remained in place for many years until Mr. Tibbetts death in 1945 when they became property of Harvey I. McCollum of Jonesport (husband of Mr. Tibbetts' daughter Marie. Upon Mr. MCCollum's death in 1948 they were bought by Morris Tibbetts, Bion Sr. Son, and were taken down sometime in the 1960's and the metal of the scales themselves were used to strengthen a new cement platform at 25 Point Street. (The scales did nothing to enhance the strength of the platform and the platform is long gone!) Morris Tibbetts' son, after his father's death, sold the land occupied by the scales to Mary Ann Riches Masterson, owner at the time of the Old Hotel, since that land had originally been a part of that property. Dick Grant remembers walking by these scales every day going to and from school. On the east side of the platform there was a board wall or possibly an enclosure which held the read-out mechanism. It is not known if the scales were “spring” type with a dial or “balance” scales with graduated weights. There is a visible mound, evidence today of the old scale’s location on the east side of Pamela Johnstone’s house (The Columbia Falls House aka old hotel).
Elna Hartford sitting on the Columbia Falls commercial wooden platform scales used for weighing horse drawn hayracks and wagon loads of goods circa early 1950s.
Bygone days of blueberrying.
The keeper of the clock, Richard Campbell took me on a guided tour of the clock and bell tower of the Historic Union Hall. We start with Rick leading the way and climb the ladder rungs nailed to the studs on the wall. It goes straight up. The space is so close that you can lean back and rest your back against the opposite wall. At the top we crawl out onto the narrow wooden walkway that provides a path through the insulation of the attic space. Standing up is not possible due to the pitch of the roof. As we crawl toward the center the space gets taller but standing is still not advisable until we get passed the two menacing wooden pegs of the post and beam construction that protrude into our headroom. “Grab these on your way by then you won’t be apt to bump your head on them” Rick advises. We arrive at the clock and it is impressive, heavy cast iron frame, brass works and the name “E. HOWARD, BOSTON MASS”. The frame is painted green with gilt pin stripe accent. The tick tock sound is as soothing as one you might find on the mantle at home. It is 7:55 pm and we read all the history and names written and carved on the wall as we wait for the 8:00 striking. Some of the wall inscriptions read: “this clock was put in position by P.B. Griffith of Cherryfield, July 1889; Otis R. Tibbetts, janitor Nov. 1, 1926 to Aug. 15. 1927; C.F.H.S. Oct. 18, 1938; Seth Higgins, janitor for Mar. 18, 1931; M.S. Willey; E.E. Bowles; Doug Sawyer, 1998-2001; Jim Burke, 96, keeper of the clock; Doug Black; Dave’s electric 11/30/02, new lights; Rick Campbell 2-13-02” and to my surprise! “Roberta Morris, Columbia Falls”. This had to have been written before June 1st, 1968 because she became Mrs. Hammond on that date. The original “Directions for the care of a tower clock” are framed under glass and posted on the wall. Suddenly there is a whirring of a mechanism on the side of the clock and this tugs and releases a wire cable (8 times) to the striker. The bell is struck 8 times. The sound seems no more intense than if I were standing on the ground several houses away. The clock strikes on the hour, every hour 24 hours a day. I once asked a guest staying at the Columbia House how well he slept last night “I slept very well from 11:00 to 12:00, from 12:00 to 1:00, from 1:00 to 2:00, from 2:00 to 3:00 and so on all night”. Local people are all used to it and sleep right through. Rick winds the clock. It is an eight day clock but he winds it every 7 days. It takes 200 easy revolutions of the crank to wind up the weights for the striker but the winding of the clock weight is much more strenuous, fortunately only 25 crank revolutions are required. The weights are wooden boxes filled with rocks. We go up one more flight of stairs to see the bell. It is a cast bronze bell about 36” in diameter and very thick. The name and location of the foundry and the date “G.H. Holbrook, East Medway, Mass. 1840” are visible on the side of the bell. The bell is fixed in position with no clapper as the striking is done with an iron on the outside. The bell was also used to sound a fire alarm in years past. One more level up is the four way gear mechanism which operates the hands of each of the four clock faces.
The Calithumpians are Coming! On the 4th of July 1898 there was a parade of about 4 horse drawn wagons on Main St. in Columbia Falls and a photograph was taken of one bunting decorated wagon loaded with people turning onto the west end of Church Hill Circle. It turns out that Calithumpians are not a race of people nor are they from Calithumpia. Calithumpian is not a noun it is an adjective. It simply describes a boisterous, raucous group loudly singing and chanting and probably this is accompanied with the pounding and banging of pots and pans. This practice seemed to be popular in the northeast United States and Eastern Canada in the last half of the 19th century. The word calithumpian is probably an alteration of English dialect for gallithumpian which is a disturber of order at elections in the 18th century. Calithumpain is often used as a synonym for charivari (or shivaree or chivaree, also called "rough music") which is the term for a French folk custom in which the community gave a noisy, discordant mock serenade at the home of newlyweds. A community also used noisemaking and parades to demonstrate disapproval. Today we find the word calithumpian still used. In Fredericton, NB there is the Calithumpian Outdoor Summer Theater. You can find Calithumpian in the names of bands and on Twitter,Youtube and Facebook.
The 4th of July 1898 Main St. Columbia Falls, a bunting decorated wagon loaded with Calithumpian people turning onto the west end of Church Hill Circle. Calithumpian is an adjective describing a loud, boisterous, raucous singing and chanting activity as would be expected at a 4th of July Celebration
life at home in Columbia Falls during WWII The U.S. Government issued blackout restrictions along the East Coast, enforced by Civil Defense wardens (locally called air raid wardens). In the beginning of “blackouts” street lights were shielded so that the light only shone down and could not be seen from the air. Later in the war street lights were turned off completely. The top halves of automobile headlights were covered. Shades were drawn in windows of homes. Frank Reynolds (Addison) was superintendent of the Ground Observer Corps (GOC) which was a World War II Civil Defense program of the United States Army Air Forces to protect against air attack. These local civilian volunteers stood scheduled watches 24/7 at coastal observation posts and used naked eye and binoculars to watch for German aircraft until the program ended in 1944. Slow moving blimps patrolled the coast. These blimps could be seen from CF. Rosa (Morris) Dykes remembers when she was a child that her father Winslow Morris pointed to a blimp in the direction of Addison that had stopped moving and said “something was up”. Sure enough soon there was a flurry of aircraft (US) activity in the area. Word later came that they had killed a German sub and debris was floating ashore. (I could not find any official record of this). Columbia Falls was in the path of one of the North Atlantic air ferry routes which was a series of Air Routes on which aircraft were ferried between the United States and Great Britain during World War II. This permitted short range single-engine aircraft to be flown from air bases in Presque Isle and Bangor (Dow) to Great Britain using a series of intermediate airfields in Newfoundland, Labrador, Greenland and Iceland for fueling. It was a common sight to see waves of aircraft, 8 at a time, heading east over CF. During World War II the Hathaway Brothers bean factory canned tremendous quantities of beans, crab-apple jams and marmalades for the US Government to be used by armed forces. Rosa remembers weeding a bean field for Hathaway brothers on Great Hill by route 1 and hearing the distinct sound of a jeep approaching. Every 20 minutes it seemed that a patrol jeep carrying 3 soldiers would go by. There was a driver, a passenger with rifle and a machine gunner in the back. These jeeps ran continually from Machias to Milbridge and back. During World War II the Hathaway Brothers bean factory canned tremendous quantities of beans, crab-apple jams and marmalades for the US Government to be used by armed forces. There was suspicious activity on the east and west banks of the Pleasant River below Addison. Apparently in the evening there was a signal light flashing across the river in both directions. This was investigated after several evenings. It turned out to be a couple of young lovers signaling that the coast was clear as the parents were away. The government introduced rationing because certain things were in short supply including gas, tires, batteries, sugar, meat, butter, coffee, silk, nylon, things made of rubber or steel and much more. War ration books and tokens were issued to each American family. (These books and tokens are highly collectable now.) There was rarely any candy or ice cream. Donald Ramsdell would upon occasion get a small amount of ice cream in his store and spread the word that it was for kids only. One scoop each for a nickel. People saved tinfoil, lard and grease. Scrap metal and anything made of rubber was recycled. High school students held scrap metal drives. Women would meet at the Methodist Church Vestry for “bandage wrapping or rolling” of material provided by the Red Cross. Shoes were rationed. Coupons for shoes were issued to everyone, but that didn’t mean you could get a pair. You might send your coupon to Sears Roebuck only to get it back after 6 to 8 weeks with a note that shoes were not available. Firewood was in short supply. There were plenty of trees in the woods but there was no one to cut it since the men folk were off fighting the war and most other able bodied people were away in the shipyards and factories manufacturing the goods needed for war. The old people, mothers and children left behind had to fend for themselves. Families with cars were allowed 4 gallons of gas per week (if available). Farmers, doctors and businesses that could show a need for gasoline could get more. During WWII many homes displayed a flag in a window indicating that a member of the family was fighting in the war. This flag called blue star flag was usually hand made by mothers. It was a small white flag of about 6” by 12” with a red border and a blue star for each member serving in the military. This star would be replaced with a gold one if a member was killed in action. This practice was the origination of the Gold Star Mothers.
Photo Courtesy Caroline (Allen) Fellows
During WWII metal was in big demand. Here are some Columbia Falls High School students sitting on a pile of metal that the High School and Longfellow Grammar School collected on a scrap metal drive. This pile was up to the second floor windows of the school building. The Grammar School received a 25.00 Savings Bond for their effort. Left to right, back row: Anita Stevens, Cecil Rockwell, and Letitia Tyler, Front row; Richard Grant and Gloria Allen.
History Snippet of Columbia’s 100th Celebration from 1796 - 1896.
On March 17th, 1896 at the annual town meeting the Town of Columbia voted to raise $75 to be used to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the town. The following people were appointed to the Centennial Committee: Jesse L. Nash, chairman; M.F. Ingersoll, secretary; George H. Leighton; V.N. Look; George C. Coffin; Augustus Dunbar; E.A. Foster and Jethro P. Hartford. The Committee appointed Asaph H. Leighton as President of the Day, Levi Leighton as Historian and Rev. E.K. Drew of Harrington as Chaplain. The celebration was held on July 4th at Lower Epping Corner (That is the 3-way corner by Julia Worcester’s and Sawyer’s barn, the upper corner being the 4-way by Pea Ridge and Station Road.) A sunrise salute was fired by Jethro P. Hartford. A street parade was held at 7 am (early!), baseball at 8am and dinner at 12. The Harrington Brass Band played all day. At 1:30 pm exercises were moved inside the Union Church (in Epping not to be confused with the Union Church/Hall in Columbia Falls) due to inclement weather. The church was crowded. The meeting was called to order by the President and the following program was carried out: Music by the Band; Prayer by the Chaplain; History by the Historian; Singing by the Choir; Speeches by John F. Lynch and George W. Drisko; Oration by Rev. A.J. Turner of Columbia Falls and Lastly – Singing “America” by the audience and giving three hearty cheers for the speakers and the town of Columbia. Fireworks and a dance ended the great Celebration of the old town of Columbia.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Businesses in Columbia Falls in 1922. B.B. Tibbetts – General Merchandise, Groceries, Dry Goods, Boots and Shoes; L.W. Grant – Blacksmith, Repairing a Specialty; W.E. Bailey – Furniture and Bedding; Robinson’s Garage – Gasoline, Oils, Tires, Accessories; Pleasant River Canning Co.- Growers and Packers of “Rosemary Brand” Fancy Maine Blueberries”; Robinson Land and Lumber Co.; John I. Thompson – Trucking and Passenger Service; Tenny’s Lunch Room and Bakery – Confectionery, Tobacco, Cigars, and Peanuts; Ralph Norton – “Buy your goods at this store where your dollar does its duty”; W.H. Allen – Paints and Varnishes; Mary R. Chandler – Registered pharmacist; Bernice E. Allen – Dry and Fancy Goods; and Fred R. Ramsdell – Dealer in Cattle, Horses, Used Cars, Trucks, and Farm Implements “Better Business every year, There is a reason”.
Doc White (left) and Ralph Norton chat on the bench in front of Ralph Norton’s store in Columbia Falls (circa 1940)
The arrival of this flyer could not have been more timely since blueberry season was about to begin. The flyer in my family’s possession belonged to Geo. Sinclair and Katie Sinclair. On the back in pencil is the tally of blueberry boxes raked by Geo. Sinclair, Still Tabbutt, Katie Sinclair, Joseph Sinclair, and Wing Sinclair dated August 16th. One has to wonder if this paper was kept all these years for the historic value of the railroad or the importance of the accounting on the back.
The Washington County residents did approve to appropriate $500,000 for track construction, 4700 votes to 825 (Columbia Falls - 127 yes, 0 no). The railroad track construction was started at both ends and the last spike was driven where they met somewhere between Columbia and Columbia Falls on October 22, 1898. The railroad came to Columbia Falls with great fanfare in 1898 connecting Downeast Maine with the rest of the country. The construction created many jobs for Columbia Falls. Lester Look at 17 years old bought a farm from his grandparents with his earnings. The A.R. Loggie and Pleasant River blueberry factories shipped their blueberries by rail and received their boxes, cans, and sugar by the same way. The railroad transported local logs, lumber, pulpwood, and the mail. Store owners received their goods via the railroad. Roberta Hammond remembers that her pet, “Bonnie Dog” came by train. I remember my father sending us a pet dog, “Zipper” from Florida by train. Hazel Morris bought a freight damaged chair that was refused by the purchaser at the Columbia Falls station. Local residents took shopping trips to Ellsworth and Bangor. There was a huge refrigerator shipping crate in the basement of the Columbia House which had been converted to a coal bin. Where I grew up in Harrington you could see the trains go by across the field from the house. There was one old steam locomotive that was used only occasionally in the 1950s and it was exciting to see it go by. My mother would alert us “here comes the black train” (the locomotive was black). Roger Wakefield was the Columbia Falls station master for years. Roger was an avid fly fisherman and tied his own flies while on duty at the station. He could seemingly tie flies and work the telegraph all at the same time.
Pullman car passenger service for the Washington County Railroad was initiated in June of 1899. This photo is believed to have been taken of the whole town turning out at the Columbia Falls train station for the first passenger train on June 27th, 1899.
Graduation in 1911 and 1912
The land for the first high school was conveyed to the Inhabitants of School District No. 1 by George and Lucy Ruggles in 1873. It is generally assumed that the two story building was erected soon after that. The second story was unfinished. This school operated only one term each year in the winter months as a grammar school but the town appropriated money for a free high school most every year since its incorporation in 1863. The building was named Longfellow in 1894. An article in the 1908 town meeting was passed to finish the second floor. As soon as the second floor was finished the most advanced students in the grammar school were started upon a high school course in a single room. The first high school teacher was Arthur Lee Todd from Georgetown, Maine. The first superintendent of the school union of Cherryfield and Columbia Falls was Mrs. Frances C. Jewett. In 1909 one of two stairwells was converted to another classroom heated by a Perfection Portable Heater. An assistant, Miss Gladys Nash from Cherryfield was hired and taught English, Latin and French. There were two students in the Columbia Falls High School’s first graduating class of 1911, Milton B. Gray and Ida M. Peterson. The class of 1912 were Carolyn Allen, Ethel Dorr, Clarence H. Drisko, Mildred Etta Drisko, and Dorothy L. Hathaway. Their motto was “Labor Conquers all”, Class colors were blue and white. The 1912 elegant textured folded rag paper dance card reads:
Thursday Evening, June 13
Order of Dances
March and Circle School Committee
Lady of the Lake Alumni
Plain Quadrille “Ethel”
Waltz “Eat, Drink and be Merry”
Order of Dances
Round Dances “Aunt Kitty”
Boston Fancy “Philip and Dorothy”
Two-step “Milton and Nancy”
Waltz, German Ball Team
Plain Quadrille Dramatic Club
Five-step “Captain Obidiah”
Soldiers’ Joy Soyez Joyeuse”
Waltz “Then we’ll All Go Home”
Donald C. Bucknam
Milton B. Gray
Horace L. Grant
Frank E. Drisko
Hugh R. Drisko
Ray F. Looke
Recently I was thinking about possible future history snippets and one of them on my list is the Pineo Lumber Co. This reminded me of some personal memories of Pineo Lumber Co. and more…. When I was 14 I wanted a boat. I had watched my father build skiffs for years but like the cobbler’s children that never had any shoes he never got around to building one for me. I asked my cousin Chet Nichols Jr. to take me to Pineo’s Lumber mill to get the materials. He was 15 and all ready had his driver’s license and best of all had his own car. It was a green and white 1956 Chevrolet. He’d all ready had a fender bender and the passenger side headlight pointed straight up to the sky. It was a spectacular sight to see a ray of light pointing skyward when he was driving it on a foggy night. The mill in 1960 was on the Tibbettstown Road. Behind the counter was an old man (Fred Pineo) and he asked me what I needed. “I want to build a boat”. “How long a boat?” “I think 12 feet”. What kind of wood?” My father’s boats were always cedar so sounding like a professional boat builder I said “Cedar”. “What about the transom? You going to use cedar for the transom and the stem”? Oops, The professional boat builder didn’t know what kind of wood was used for transoms and stems so I casually said “what do you recommend”? “I’d recommend oak. Do you want live edge”? Holy mackerel I don’t know anything! So, I gave up and showed him my “deer in the headlights look”. I got live edge because it was cheaper. “You going to use galvanized nails?” “Yep”. The cost was $27.00 for everything. Chet Jr. and I loaded it all directly onto the roof of the car, no roof carrier, no padding, no nothing. We ran the ropes through the windows. I think old Fred had been watching us from inside because he sent someone out to make some adjustments to our lines. One week later Larry Nichols, Paul Farren and I were rowing this boat in Harrington River. My Dad gave me an old 3.6 HP Firestone outboard motor that was stuck. My Uncle Chet (Sr.) helped me get it going. We had a lot of fun in that boat. Our center of operation was the tidal area around the Harrington’s old town wharf right in the center of town, but we did navigate from as far downstream as Fryeville and upstream as far as the old swimming hole behind the Bonnie Brook restaurant just beyond the Bigelow ball diamond. Later I kept it a Ward’s cove for clamming. At the end of one summer season my girl friend, Roberta Morris and I went down to Ward’s cove to bring the boat home. I was driving my Dad’s dump truck with the boat loaded in the back. It was upside down with the bow up over the headboard and cab with the stern against the tailgate. When we arrived at route one Roberta said the boat was missing. We retraced our path back down the Marshville road and saw it in the middle of the road with Lester Burgess (Sr) standing over it scratching his chin. It suffered only minor damage a tribute to its “professional” builder.
Growing up I worked on my grandfather, Henry Nichols’ dairy
farm which was across from Narraguagus
High School (before the
high school was built) with my Nichols cousins, Chet Jr, Kenny and Larry. One
of the seasonal jobs was hauling sawdust for cow bedding from Pineo’s mill. There
were 100 milking Jerseys so a lot of sawdust
was needed. The farm truck was a 1956 Ford F600 with rack body. Parley Grant
used to drive it and take one or two of us cousins to help shovel it full from
the big sawdust mountain. Perley drove rather slowly and I remember my cost
conscious grandfather saying at the beginning of every trip “roll it, Perley”. When
I got my driver’s license at 17, I started driving it to the mill. My
grandfather never once told me to “roll it.” That truck would do 80 MPH loaded!
Mothers on the Tibbettstown Road
wouldn’t let their kids play outdoors when we were hauling sawdust. I would
back the truck right up the sawdust pile as high as it would go. This made
shoveling in to it all down hill. I loved the aroma. It was hot work because decaying
sawdust created heat and the further you burrowed into the pile the hotter it
got. We used the wide aluminum shovels. It took us about an hour to load by
hand. Sometimes when the mill wasn’t busy Gordon Smith or Ralph Pineo would
load us with the big loader. We took advantage of it and hung around the mill
an hour anyway. The load on the truck was covered with a tarp but there was
still a cloud of sawdust that followed and pelted pedestrians like birdshot. We
always stopped at Delia’s or Moore’s
(in Harrington) and bought popsicles for 11 cents each. The truck had a false
headboard that slowly moved the loaded sawdust to the back where it fell into a
conveyor and was blown into the barn. This was all powered by a tractor pto
which made unloading fast and easy, and then we were back on the road again for
A few years later Ralph Pineo’s girlfriend Laura Wright and Roberta were attending Beal College together and were roommates. Many, many late Saturday nights Ralph and I followed each other home from Bangor. One night when I was in the lead I suddenly heard a horn blowing and saw flashing headlights in my rear view mirror so I pulled over and stopped. It was somewhere in Black’s Woods. I barely got the car stopped when Ralph yanked my door open, grabbed me by the collar, hauled me out of the car, and started shaking me. “Chuck, wake up! I have been blowing my horn and flashing my lights for over a mile! You have been sleeping- you were all over the road!” I think Ralph saved my life that night. Thanks Ralph.
Lester Look Jr.
Lester Jr. and Robert were the sons of Lister and Lillian Look. They lived where John Porter’s “Church” is now. A sister Hazel Look Morris and her daughter Lillian (Rosa) Morris Dykes together in 1983 visited the graves of Lester Jr. and Robert in the Netherlands. Rosa says “We were very impressed with condition of the cemetery, everything was perfect”. There is a collection of items about these three soldiers on display in the Wreaths Across America museum here in Columbia Falls including pictures of the graves. On November 11th 1990 The Columbia Falls United Methodist Church during its Sesquicentennial Celebration honored the lives of Lester J. and Robert Look with a Eulogy by Patricia Luce Pratt and special music. This Service was arranged by their sister Audrey Look Luce. Very little is known about Embert Grant and any information readers may have would be appreciated. Lester Look Sr. lost two sons and his wife in a very short period of time. A very interesting coincidence is about a newspaper clipping “Second Member Of Columbia Falls Family Killed In Action” held in the possession of the family all these years since 1944. Roberta Morris Hammond, my wife after we had been married about 30 years in the 1990s happened to inadvertently turn this clipping over and read the back side. Much to her surprise there is an article “West Harrington” about my mother, Beatrice Nichols (and others) in Ellsworth welcoming my father, Sgt. George Hammond home again from the armed forces. He was wounded in the ankle during the war.
The Wreaths Across America Museum memorabilia collection for brothers, Lester Jr and Robert Look who were killed in action in WWII. Both men were sons of Lester and Lillian Look. Roberta Hammond, niece is reading WWII letters that they sent to their family back home.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Photos courtesy Alice Grant Collection
Mary (May) Ruggles Chandler (born January 8th, 1875) was a lifetime resident of Columbia Falls. She graduated from Washington Academy. May’s father, Samuel Henry Chandler (1831-1883) was an apothecary, and her grandfather, Alpheus Spring Chandler was a doctor in Columbia Falls for 52 years. May wanted to be a doctor like her grandfather but in those times it was difficult for a female to become a physician. She decided to attend the University of Maine's College of Pharmacy and she graduated with a degree. She became Maine’s first registered female pharmacist. She taught school for a couple of years after graduating. In 1906 her brother, Alpheus Chandler opened a new store in the Levi Leighton's commercial building and she opened her own pharmacy within this store. After Mr. Chandler died the store and the pharmacy were separated within the same building. In 1945 the building burned and the space is now the Ruggles House parking lot. May never married and she lived with Fred and his wife Christiana and their daughter, Bertha Mary Champion. May didn’t like cooking, but in a pinch one time she volunteered and did the cooking. No one could eat it! And she said “OK, I’ll stick to pharmaceuticals”. They lived on Church Hill Circle in the second oldest house in Columbia Falls. This home was located on the east side of the Methodist Church and was torn down just a few years ago. Postmaster, Willis Allen, his wife Beatrice and May Chandler were the greatest of friends nearly all their lives. Annually on Willis’ birthday May would send a card addressed to Willis Allen P.M. (postmaster) and on her birthday Willis would send her a card addressed to Mary Chandler O.M. (old maid). Eventually the Champions moved to Connecticut and May moved into the Columbia House on Main Street with her cousins, Anna and Grace Crandon. Miss Chandler was an intellectual, a deep thinker, a lover of learning, of fine music and all that goes with a classical education. She was a highly regarded member of our community, respected by old and young, life-long citizens and new comers as well. Dr. Joseph Keil, upon settling in Columbia Falls and opening a medical practice, soon made Miss Chandler's acquaintance and when out of town on vacation left Miss Chandler in charge of his office and caring for his patients. Mary Ruggles Chandler alone was “the savior of the Ruggles House”, Elizabeth Ruggles, Thomas' granddaughter and last resident of the house did all she could, without any money to spend on it, to preserve the house. Following her death it was Mary Chandler who persuaded her cousins into forming the Ruggles Historical Society and keeping the house intact rather than accepting offers to sell all or parts of the house and the one remaining piece of Thomas Ruggles' furniture, a large and rare sideboard. From the death of the last resident of the house, Elizabeth Ruggles in 1920 to her death in 1955 Miss Chandler worked tirelessly seeing to the restoration of one of the finest houses in Maine and in fact a house that was termed "the finest small house in the world" by a well known and well traveled architect. Fortunately, Miss Chandler lived to meet and work with Edward Browning Jr. and his wife Ellen Douglas Browning in the formation of the present Ruggles House Society in 1948. Miss Chandler saw to the transferring of the property from the Ruggles Historical Society to the newly formed society which has carried on Miss Chandler's work to this day. Mary Ruggles Chandler stands tall among those of our citizens who have contributed significantly to our small town. May died in the Columbia House upon returning from the post office with the mail on November 4th, 1955.
Many thanks to all the people who help me with these history snippets especially Roberta Hammond and John Tibbetts. – Chuck Hammond
photo from Alice Grant Collection
The 1893 Columbia Falls baseball team. Left to right, back row – Unknown, Alphius Chandler, Gus Barton; middle row – Winn Perry, William Tabbutt, Unknown, Unknown, Fred Ingersoll; front row – George Coffin, Unknown, Bert Allen, Hershel Allen, and Willis Allen. If anyone can identify the unknown men please email email@example.com
Big snowstorm Friday, May 11, 1945: The snow storm covered the area from the Berkshires to Maine with 26" recorded in New Hampshire, 15" in Maine and in Vermont, and 10" in Massachusetts. It set a record in Portland for the latest snowfall ever (7 inches). It began Thursday evening and fell all through the night blanketing Bangor, northern and downeast Maine with a heavy slushy mess which uprooted trees and felled telephone poles.
When history is written and recognition jotted down,
There will be many chapters on the folks of Tibbettstown
The list will include Tibbetts, Tabbutt, Grant, Young and Dorr,
Worcester, Drisko, Hartford, Matthews, and probably many more,
Duguay, Donovan, Sinclair, and Clark will be found,
Their history will stay alive when they’re underground.
It would take most of the pages in a very thick book,
To list all the quotes of Enoch, Gil, Phide, Joe and Hook.
Those memories of the past as most Tibbettstowners know,
Seem like only yesterday instead of a half-century ago.
Those folks living now can look back with pride and love,
At the memories of their dear ones who got called up above.
Some old timers still remain, they are quite often seen,
Especially two mothers, nicknamed Aunt Nora & Aunt Queen.
There is also tireless Clarence of blueberry rake fame,
Many of his bone have been broken,
But he’s active just the same.
Lil is very active and may be seen on a cool fall day,
Driving her ancient pick-up or spreading her blueberry land hay.
To all those who have passed away, what else can be said,
Except you live in our hearts although up yonder you were led.
To all those who remain it can be said without mirth,
You are of hardy stock, you’re the salt of the earth.
Your strength, will and spirit, whenever life dealt a poor hand,
Made dark times seem much brighter when you took the proper stand.
This poem honors all Tibbettstowners, but soon you’ll openly see,
It is dedicated to a remaining oldtimer – cheerful Queenie B.
Queen set her marriage trap, and captured her man Joe,
She was very happy indeed to change her name to Mrs. Drisko.
They raised a very fine family, but like the roots of a big oak tree.
They soon grew and branched out, all descendents of Queenie B.
She toiled hard and long at the side of her laboring man,
And although she sometimes tired, she always kept things well in hand.
She raked berries on the barrens, hoed the potatoes, peas and corn,
Almost daily she did cooking in the wee hours of the dawn.
Her house was always open, everyone was welcome,
The motto that she lives by is be honest and fair.
Many years have come and gone and it should be no surprise,
That time and toil blurred the vision in both of Queenie’s eyes.
Her mind is sharp as ever and her health is more than fair,
She still listens to the ballgames from her favorite living room chair.
A big question no one wants answered, no one is anxious to see,
What would Tibbettstown be like, without Queenie B.
Written 1979 by Donald S. Higgins (1910-1993) as a tribute to his mother-in-law, Queen Bess (Worcester) Drisko (1887-1984)
1928 Masquerade Ball
On Thanksgiving night in 1928 there was a Masquerade Ball and supper at the Columbia Town Hall to benefit the Cemetery Society. More than $100.00 was taken in which netted $79.10 for the cemetery. Three prizes were given for best costumes: to Mrs. Bertha Look for representing a butterfly; to Horace Look and his sister Hazel Look for being dressed as pilgrims; and to Oden Rice who was dressed as an old woman. Two quilts were drawn off after the dance and were won by Dan Smith and Leroy Worcester.
History Snippet - Muskrat-Big Demand-High Prices reads the postcard ad for The Frank L. Singer Fur Co. Peekskill, NY during the great depression of the 1930s. Maine muskrat was fetching a warping $3.50 for an extra large, 3.00 for large, 2.50 for medium and $1.75 for a small fur. No. 2’s and damaged ones were also purchased and were paid in proportion to condition. Compare this to the new 1938 Federal Fair Labor Standards Act law which established the minimum wage of only 25 cents per hour. Winslow H. Morris, 1907-1984, was a trapper and fur trader. When Winslow and his wife Hazel (Look), 1911-1989 were expecting their 2nd child they had no idea how they were going to pay the doctor. On Jan. 17, 1936 when their son Benjamin was born Winslow trapped a mink! He was the Sears daily award winner on December 2, 1939 for 1 raccoon, $3.50, voucher #2438. He is quoted in a Sears Tips to Trappers magazine “I have shipped my furs to Sears for the last 4 years. All my dealings with Sears have been most satisfactory”. Sears (and Montgomery Ward) made money selling traps and supplies to trappers and of course on the furs that they purchased. Tips to Trappers was an annual magazine of about 30 pages written by “Johnny Muskrat”. It contained articles and photographs about ways to find and trap animals and prepare their pelts. It included letters from readers, technical information, state by state trapping seasons & limits, and fur market news. Each issue included shipping tags for mailing packages to a Sears raw fur depot and instructions on how to prepare and mail pelts to Sears.
Photo as published in the 1940 Sears magazine Tips for Trappers. Winslow H Morris of Columbia Falls Me with
his 4 year old son Benjamin on a trap line.
Winslow was paid $3.50 for a Raccoon fur and was a Sears daily award
The Hathaway Brothers was started in 1935 by J. Wyman (Bill) Hathaway in association with his brother Reginald Hathaway by canning chicken in their mother’s home and cranberries in a 2 car garage in Columbia Falls. J. Wyman did the selling. In 1936 they started canning green and wax beans. In 1937 the operation moved into a vacant building on the Station Road near the railroad in Columbia. Steam energy would be supplied by a used wood burning locomotive boiler. The bulk of the production was beans but they also canned blueberries, beets and clams. Wages for factory workers was about $2.00 per day. Through the 1940s there were about 100 employees. During World War II the factory canned tremendous quantities of crab-apple jams and marmalades for the US Government to be used by armed forces. By 1950 farmers all over Washington and Hancock Counties and even Presque Isle and Lincoln were supplying beans to the Hathaway factory. Beans were harvested by hand as well as tractor drawn machinery. Robert Mahan was the factory foreman. The factory process like an assembly line consisted of: snipping off the ends by machine; manually inspecting the beans on a conveyor belt and picking out the inferior ones (usually done by women on each side of the belt table; cutting the beans by machine; blanching; canning machine; sealing machine; cooking machine; and finally cold water cooling. Cans were labeled with the appropriate label after receiving orders from customers like IGA, A&P and the military. Bill Hathaway died in 1958 and the factory went out of business shortly after that. In 1961 a small group of local investors attempted to revive the factory but it did not survive very long. From the book Modern Maine Vol. IV, 1951 “In all, few industries growing up along the Maine coastal region during recent years have had as beneficial effect on the economy as has the firm of Hathaway Brothers”. The factory building burned in the late 1960s.
photo courtesy Roberta Hammond
Picking beans by modern machinery for Hathaway Brothers Canning Factory circa 1957. Vance Pineo driving tractor, David Morris looking cool, Marvin Pineo filling burlap bags.
The Hathaway Brothers Canning Factory (the bean factory), Station Road, Columbia,
Maine in 1942. The company was
started in 1936 by J. Wyman (Bill) Hathaway from Columbia Falls. They canned mostly green and yellow string beans
for the military, A&P, IGA and others until shortly after his death in 1958.
Belmore Look (he was called Belmore) of Columbia Falls
was a seaman. He kept a notebook which has been passed down by the Look family.
In 1872 there is an account with Capt. W. J. Look for services loading the
schooner Rosana. He went aboard the schooner Uncle Tom on November 17th,
1873. She was built in Addison in 1868. He
signed on the schooner Henry on July 20th, 1874. Interestingly on
that date he lent the Captain $2.00. The Henry was built in Columbia Falls
circa 1845-46. On Aug 20th he received $30.00 from Capt. Nash presumably
for 30 days service. Mr. Look signed on the J.C. Nash on April 16th,
1876 for $28.00 per month. The J.C. Nash was built in Harrington in 1870. He
boarded the Schooner Express on April 13th, 1880 for $20.00 per
month. In 1880 E.B. Look became captain of his own ship but apparently still
worked on others part time. On September 17th 1880 he signed on the
Schooner S.W. Perry for $20.00 per month. The Captain was N.M. Ingersoll. The
ship was built in Harrington in 1875. In Boston
he received $10.00, one bbl of flour at $6.75, one bbl apples at $1.25, and 12-1/2
lbs Ralhing (?) at $1.50. It appears that these were counted as wages. Back in Columbia on December 26th
and 27th he received $22.25 in wages. In January (1881) he received
a total $20.00 in goods and wages. He
signed on the schooner Julia on May 31st, 1881 for $25.00 per month.
The Julia was built in Harrington in 1864. On April 6th, 1882 he
shipped on the schooner Express. In Boston he
received $23.00, in Bath on June 4th
he received $2.00, back in Boston
on June 13th he received $34.25. Capt. Belmore Look’s wife
(Charlotte Farnsworth) had a sister, Priscilla who was married to Seth Bryant.
They built the ship Little David in Cherryfield. She was a 37’ schooner of 15
tons. The Bryants lived in Stoneham, Ma but they
summered in Columbia
Falls on Great Hill where
Phillip and Valerie Worcester live now. Capt. Look ran regularly from
Jonesport, Columbia Falls and Addison to Boston
and New York
carrying butter and venison. The green A. H. Reid Jonesport Butter and Creamery
chest is still in the Look family. There
is one account of him carrying 26 bbls of fish chum for O.N. Nash from Addison on November 15, 1883. He often took his family by
ship to Jonesport for the 4th of July celebrations. Capt. Look
discouraged his children (Lester, Fred, Seth and Editha) from ever going to
sea. On one trip up the Pleasant River Capt. Look told a passenger that he knew
every rock in the river and about that time the ship hit something hard and he
said “and there is one right there”.
Captain (Eugene) Belmore Look (1853-1915) age about 40 years old. He ran the schooner Little David for Priscilla and Seth Bryant from 1880-1910 on a regular run from Downeast Maine to Boston and New York carrying butter and venison.
The Ship John H. Crandon, a Barkentine of 495 tons, built in 1875 by John H. Crandon at the Crandon shipyard in Columbia Falls. Photo courtesy Roberta Hammond.
From A History of Columbia and Columbia Falls written by Nancy Green and Historian, Clarence H. Drisko, 1976: The 1860 census showed a population of 1265 for Columbia. In 1863 the Town of Columbia divided, and the town of Columbia Falls was incorporated on March 25th. The minutes of the last town meeting, March 24th, 1863, the day before the separation did not mention why the towns separated. Columbia Falls held its first town meeting on April 7th, 1863. The Civil War was at its height. The 1870 census showed a population of 668 for Columbia and 608 in Columbia Falls.
In March 1936, 15 inches of rain falling in 14 days
together with melting snowpack caused extensive flooding throughout Maine and New England.
Ice jams also helped produce some of the worst damage in this great flood. In Maine 5 people were
killed. Columbia Falls did not escape this tragedy but
fortunately there was no loss of life. Pleasant River overflowed its banks and water ran
right over the bridge. Cellars flooded, sewers backed up and piles of logs were
Photo courtesy of Roberta Hammond
On Friday, March 13, 1936 Pleasant River overflowed its banks and flooded the bridge in Columbia Falls Village. Road commissioner Lester Look is seen here placing sandbags on the bridge.
Photos Courtesy of John Tibbetts
Elijah Hamlin (born 1800 in Livermore, Maine - died 1872) was a lawyer, businessman and historian. He was the older brother of Hannibal Hamlin future Vice President of the United States under Abraham Lincoln. Elijah was trained as a physician. He went to Brown University, but graduated from Colby College in 1824. He moved to Columbia, Maine and practiced law. The 1830 census confirms this: states his age between 30-40 years old; lists his wife age 20-30 years old; 3 children - 1 female 10-15 years old, 2 females and a 1 male under 5 years of age. He set up a law practice in Waterford, Maine. Elijah was a land agent and helped open the Aroostook County to settlement and eventually settled in Bangor, Maine in the early 1830's. He ran for Governor of Maine in 1848 and 1849 as a Whig. He also served in the Maine Legislature and was the Mayor of Bangor from 1851-1852. He died in Bangor July 16, 1872 and is buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery. Hamlin Hall on Church Hill Circle, Columbia Falls was named after Elijah Hamlin. It was built in 1857, a two story Greek Revival architectural building with a grade school on the first floor and a hall on the second floor. The hall was used for many events including traveling shows. It was the meeting place for Knights of Pythias during the first half of the 20th century.
When the town had abandoned the building and the Knights of Pythias were going to sell it Mrs. Gertrude Tibbetts was determined the bell would not be sold with the building. The bell had been given by Elijah Hamlin in honor of his brother Hannibal (the Vice President under Lincoln). Mrs. Tibbetts got a group together and persuaded the lodge to give the bell to the Methodist Church. This group got the bell taken down and put up in the church belfry. An agreement was signed between the church and the lodge to insure the bell always remains here in Columbia Falls. There is a copy of this agreement in existence today.
Hamlin Hall, Columbia Falls named for Elijah Hamlin, older brother to Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, Built 1857 with elementary school downstairs, large hall upstairs.
Edison invented the phonograph in 1877, the Edison Speaking Phonograph Company was established in 1878 to market the machine, and in 1879 it came to Hamlin Hall.
An 1868 Leap Year Party
On Friday night, February 28, 1868 there was a huge Leap Year party at the Columbia House in Columbia Falls. There were 40 couples listed in the guest register (do the math - 80 people plus the staff!). The 29th of February was very important in the world of romance, in particular for women. On that day women were allowed to propose to men. I found references to this tradition as far back as the 5th century in Ireland. In 1288 a Law by Queen Margret of Scotland (a child of 5 years old) states that during the reign of her blessed majesty that a maiden lady of high and low birth, shall have the liberty to propose to the man she likes. This tradition of leap day, also known as bachelor’s day, was recognized by the 17th century in the play The Maid’s Metamorphosis (1600). And perhaps the tradition can be dated back to the medieval ages with this quote attributed to Chaucer “In Leap Year they [women] have power to choose, The men no charter to refuse”. This tradition is one of simple gender role-reversal. Women and girls can take the bold initiative by inviting the man or boy of their choice out on a date, asking them to dance, or even propose marriage. In keeping with this tradition the Columbia House guest register lists only the lady’s name and gent. It is interesting because these family names are very familiar to us and many of their descendents are living in the area today. All the guests are listed this way - Mrs E.A Bucknam and Gent, the rest of the guests are: J.F. Bucknam; S.R Kingsley; M.A Harris; (Miss) Alice Crandon; Alice Crandon; (Miss) Ruth Crandon; (Miss) Julia Bailey; E. Lorthrope; (Miss) A.J. Brown; (Miss) Mary Coffin; L.M. Peterson; L.A Dunphe; A. Campbell; A.D. Peterson; C. Chandler; J.W. Peterson; (Miss) L.A. Dunphe; (Miss) E.L. Dunphe; (Miss) M.B. Harris; (Miss) B.C. Keene; E.A. Woodward; S.A Farrel; C. Pineo; A. Lippincott; (Miss) S.B. Lippincott; R.W. Wilson; J. Bailey; G.H. Chandler; L.B. Bucknam; Nancy Hathaway; and E. Reed all from Columbia Falls; M.A. Chandler; L.A Nash; R. Cage; D. Wafs; and (Miss) E.F. Bucknam from Addison; H. Coffin; L. Ramsdell; and Small from Harrington. Gowin Wilson Jr. ran the Columbia House from 1846 to 1883.
Photo of an actual print made from the original engraving circa 1860, courtesy Roberta Hammond.
The Columbia House (AKA Gowin Wilson Tavern) built circa 1834, home of Gowin Wilson Jr., operated as an inn with stables and a tavern from 1846 to 1883, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, located at 182 Main St. Columbia Falls.
In 1861 two years before Columbia and Columbia Falls separated there were 9 school districts. Their locations were: Tibbettstown, Cynthia Dorr Hill (Turkey Hill); Epping, lower corner; Epping, upper corner; Saco; the Branch; Webb District; Rockwell District; and the Village.
Central District School (AKA Rockwell District School) Circa
Left to right front row- Willard Grant, Harvey Rockwell, Willie Rockwell, Fred Worcester, Charley Worcester, Willard Worcester, Joe Drisko; 2nd row- Foster Higgins, Howard Grant, Will Rockwell, Anna Rockwell, Ina Drisko, Lena Tabbutt, Lucy Higgins, Hattie Worcester, Hannah Drisko, Esther Tabbutt, Eva Grant, Hattie Drisko; 3rd row- Maggie Tabbutt, Maggie Rockwell, Mammie Drisko, Lizzie Drisko, Editha Look, Blanch Magee, Elsie Tabbutt, Teacher Willie P Magee; Back row- Bessie Dorr, Lizzie Donovan, Suzie Ingersol, Bertha Rockwell, Harry Drisko, John Magee, Fred Look, George Higgins, Lester Look, Charles Drisko, Jared Rockwell.
Valentine sent in 1888 to Miss Mary Farnsworth from husband to be, Rufus Tabbutt. It is a multilayered die cut card with gilt and floral decoration and features Cupid with his mandolin.
Photo courtesy of Roberta Hammond
Mary Farnsworth Tabbutt 1868 - 1941
Photo courtesy of Roberta Hammond
Rufus Drisko Tabbutt 1865 – 1923
Photo courtesy of Roberta Hammond
A Valentine History Snippet
In 1888 (124 years ago!) Rufus Tabbutt (age 23) sent a valentine to his sweetheart, Miss Mary Farnsworth (age 20), who was away visiting her sister in Stoneham, Ma. It was a long courtship and they finally married in October 1893. Mary and Rufus never had any children. It has been said that Mary would shingle the roof while Rufus did the cooking. We do know that Rufus was a cook for logging camps. Mary always carried a black umbrella and a big black satchel. Everyone always wondered what was in it. One day when she stopped at Dan (nephew) and Thelma Look’s house she set the bag down and wondered off to pick blueberries. Thelma couldn’t resist looking into the mysterious black bag. What a disappointment! This great big bag held only a small change purse and a hankie. Mary was very afraid of thunderstorms. One night during blueberry season a very serious thunderstorm blew through while they were camping at Pretty Pond. Rufus rolled his eyes toward heaven and said “easy Lord, my Mary is scared of thunder”. Rufus always had a nice, fast horse. Should Rufus and Mary be coming from town and another buggy happened to be on the road, a race was sure to ensue. Rufus loved a good race. Mary however was not so keen on racing and would be beating Rufus about the head with her umbrella.
Mary’s parents were Joseph W. Farnsworth of Jonesboro and Eliza (Pineo) Farnsworth of C.F. Joseph was a grandson of Hannah Watts Weston, the Revolutionary War heroin. His mother, Betsey, was the 5th daughter of Hannah and Josiah Weston. Betsey married Asa Farnsworth and Joseph was their 11th of 12 children. Joseph and Eliza built their home not far from her parents on Tibbettstown Road. Lester Look purchased this home from his grandparents (Eliza and Joseph) when he was only 17 years old. He earned the money by working on the construction of the new railroad in 1900. This home passed on to George Stillman Look (grandson of Lester and is wife Lillian (Sinclair) Look) and his wife Jean (Hartford) Look where they raised 5 children who are all still living in the area today. The house no longer exists.
The Pleasant River Canning Co. packed blueberries under the Rosemary Brand from the early 1900s to the 1960s. One thing that made Pleasant River different from other blueberry packing companies is that it was a cooperative, that is, it was owned by the blueberry growers. In the heyday as a blueberry processor all the blueberries were canned, primarily in #10 and #300 cans. They were packed in water and in syrup to be sold on store shelves or sold to bakeries and the like. Rosemary blueberries were shipped all over the United States and Canada and there was an excellent market in Hawaii. All shipping was done by rail car which also brought the empty cans already in the cases in which they would be shipped out. Those going to Hawaii went by rail to San Francisco and from there by boat. When the market changed and other processors were beginning to freeze berries PRCC stopped actually packing their own berries and started selling to other processors. The factory location was on the Centerville Road right next to the railroad tracks. Some of the original building still survives but has changed ownership. The Company’s receiving station for freshly picked blueberries is across the Centerville Road from it’s original location. There are a couple of Rosemary label designs that are occasionally found in antique and collectable shops today.
Pleasant River Canning Co. Factory 1917
Please email us if you can match any names to faces.
The L.A. and A.R Loggie blueberry canning factory (the Red Factory) built circa 1900 and demolished circa 1958. It employed about 100 men, women and children including pickers each season in the early 1900s. It was located on the east side of the Tibbettstown Road and very close to it. The site was between the railroad tracks and Church Hill before Route 1 bypassed Columbia Falls in 1960. Basically it was where Route 1 is now. Reportedly Loggie sold this building to Northeast Blueberry Co. The Loggie company also owned a factory in Vanceboro.
In 1880s the company was one of the largest packers and exporters of fish in Atlantic Canada. They had general stores, they exported salmon, mackerel and other kinds of fresh and fresh-frozen fish, clams, smelts, canned lobster, and finnan haddie. They owned a fleet of 25 fishing vessels.
By 1904 the company’s largest output was no longer in fish. The Loggies then had 13 huge ice houses. They were a major producer of wild blueberries, for which they operated 17 canneries in New Brunswick, Quebec, and New England. At Loggieville, Canada they operated a can and box factory and an electricity generating plant. They had a number of unrelated business interests as well, such as fox ranching and river and harbour dredging.
In the Columbia House guest register there is an entry for January 8th, 1868 for a leap year party for a large group (18 couples) of Machias citizens. It was the custom of the times that on leap year, ladies could ask men to dance, they could ask for dates and even propose marriage. So in keeping with that tradition the guest register lists the lady's name instead of the gentleman's. Most of those family names are still around the Machias area today. There is a "1" to the right of 7 of the names and I believe these couples may have stayed all night. They would have had to come by sleigh if snow or carriage if bare ground, quite an adventure and especially for those going home late at night. The Columbia House is listed on the National Register of Historic Homes and is located at 182 Main Street, Columbia Falls.
There was an old chest that didn’t look like very much. It was something that my grandmother had had in her home ever since I could remember. When this chest was given to my father it still didn’t mean much to me until the day he opened it and started to sift through its contents. Within this chest was evidence of life from a time long before mine. . .
She wrote poetry that told of the every day life and people around her. This unknown lady of so long ago was my great-grandmother who so eloquently wrote in poetry and wrote stories about the people and life in Indian River. It wasn’t long before we, my Dad and I, began typing and sharing her poems for other family members to hold and cherish.
At this same time my dad started to re-print some of the family and village photos of that long ago time. It was my grandmother on my father’s side that saved all these wonderful treasures. Within the same treasures in that old chest, my dad found the journals and diaries. It was at this point he knew the most important mission at hand was to create a book for all to read.
The book he created with the help of some of the folks from Indian River is titled Indian River Village and Its People. This book is available by contacting my Dad, Ronald Gray, at: 877 Indian River Road, Addison, ME 04606 or calling 207-483-4492. Please make checks out to: Indian River History Museum in the amount of $35.00. Shipping is approximately $3.50 per book.
Submitted by Grace Falzarano
Some Interesting Facts About The Beginnings Of What Is Now The Town of Columbia Falls
On April 4, 1796 citizens of what is now our town of Columbia Falls gathered together with the rest of the citizens of the town of Columbia at Gowin Wilson’s home, just across the river from our Historic Town Hall, in the very first town meeting and transacted the following business. Capt. Nathan Whitney was voted moderator, Joseph Patten was chosen town clerk, David Wass, Thomas Ruggles and William Wass were elected selectmen, Obidiah Allen was chosen constable, and Elisha Coffin treasurer. The same men chosen as selectmen were also appointed assessors and William Ingersoll was voted tax collector. They appointed men as surveyors of highways, of lumber, of shingles and in charge of fences. They also elected three men to be in charge of hogs and decided “hogs may go at large by being well yoked. (One might assume this is one of the reasons why photos taken in later years show nearly every home surrounded by fences. Also perhaps hogs were the reason for the state law making the town clerk responsible for stray beasts. This law is still on the books, so if you see any stray beasts in town you know now what you should do!) Note: The spelling of names of citizens is above recorded as they are spelled in the record of the first town meeting.
A second town meeting was held on May 2, 1796 to raise “160 dollars to defray town charges 100 of which for schools” and “240 dollars for highway repair”. The fish committee was empowered to control “the taking of fish” and a committee was formed to make financial settlement with No. 6 [Addison] which had been a part of the total Pleasant River settlement prior to the incorporation of the Town of Columbia.
Thus it was that town government, in much the same form as we have today, came to our settlement surrounding Pleasant River in the spring of 1796. The river still flows in our midst and we are still her people living in and carrying on this historic community founded so long ago. When we meet at our next Annual Town Meeting in March of 2012 we will be meeting for the 216th time such a meeting has been held in our village. For two hundred and sixteen years our citizens have been meeting yearly to elect our representatives to carry on town government for us and to carry out our wishes as expressed by our votes in that meeting.
Years ago a writer for The Boston Globe writing about the Charles River said, “Thou hast taught me silent river”. A poet has written, “The river flows not past but through us”. Nancy and Clarence have said, “But whatever time may give or take away….it is our river, and we are its people.”
I have briefly written here about our town’s history with the hope that our history, like our river, may flow through us and renew and encourage our interest in our town. It has been said the New England Town Meeting is our purest form of democracy in the world – direct government of the people, by the people and for the people. Let’s show our interest by attending meetings, being willing to serve in elective positions and sharing our ideas and working together to continue to make Columbia Falls the great place to live that it is and always has been! -John Allen Tibbetts
With permission of The Record staff, I would like to continue to write about our town, its buildings and its people. Thanks to you who have taken time to read these four installments recounting some of the history of our beginnings. Your comments and suggestions are still welcomed. Below listed are the sources I have used writing “In The Beginning”. - J.A.T.
A HISTORY OF COLUMBIA AND COLUMBIA FALLS NANCY H. GREENE & CLARENCE H. DRISKO NARRAGUAGUS PRINTING CO., CHERRYFIELD, ME 1986, 1976
1910 CENSUS AND HISTORICAL SKETCH OF COLUMBIA FALLS, MAINE RICHARD N. BEDARD NARRAGUAGUS PRINTING CO., CHERRYFIELD, ME. 1990
HISTORIC WASHINGTON COUNTY A PROJECT OF THE WASHINGTON COUNTY BI-CENTENNIAL COMMISSION
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF LEVI LEIGHTON 1890 LEVI LEIGHTON BROWN THURSTON COMPANY, PORTLAND, ME 1890
CENTENNIAL HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE TOWN OF COLUMBIA FROM 1796 TO 1896 LEVI LEIGHTON, ESQ. PRESS OF THE REPUBLICAN, MACHIAS, ME 1896
A COPY OF THE TOWN RECORD BOOK OF THE TOWN OF COLUMBIA 1796 TO 1863
Back to Part Three
The earliest homes of record, built in the 1790’s, in Columbia Falls village, were built on the east bank of Pleasant River. Thomas Ruggles’ home, built on a small hill overlooking the west bank of the river, the falls and the salt marshes beyond, was built in 1818 and is today possibly the oldest house, still standing, on the west side of the river. Ruggles’ home was followed closely by that of Samuel Bucknam, 161 Main Street, in 1820 and doubtless Bucknam’s was followed by the Lippincott/Bailey house at 162 Main Street. These three houses were very likely constructed by the same builders given the many similar interior and exterior finishes.
I don’t mean to indicate all settlement took place in the village. It is well-known many early settlers traveled inland and settled in areas known today as Saco, Epping, Tibbettstown and The Branch and to other areas of Townships 12 and 13 as well. One must remember we are talking about what are today the towns of Columbia and Columbia Falls. The early history of both towns is inseparable until the two parted company in 1863. It is interesting to note here that the Selectmen of Columbia Falls recently reconstituted a long defunct recreation committee whose sole purpose, as we are told, is to plan a celebration of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of our town in 2013. One might hope this committee will consider the history of the towns of Columbia and Columbia Falls to include the fact our citizens have a history of self-government dating to the incorporation of the town of Columbia in 1796 and that many of the citizens, who were the founding fathers of the town, were indeed residents of the falls village, now our Columbia Falls village and further that the earliest meetings of record were held here in our village as I will go on to briefly recount.
According to Nancy Greene & Clarence Drisko’s history of Columbia Falls, “The first formal record, signed by persons living in the Pleasant River Valley [which then included Addison], was a Petition dated 1770, appealing to the Governor of Massachusetts for a Justice of the Peace.” (The Province of Maine was a part of Massachusetts until 1820.) This petition stated the need for protection of the law from “a great spirit of mobbing, rioting, cursing, swearing, fighting, threatening, stealing and the pulling down of houses such as they couldn’t sleep at night without fear. (Life wasn’t easy in 1770, was it?) However, most of the signers of this petition were residents of the area known today as Addison. Other petitions, for various reasons, followed until, by act of The Great and General Court of the State Massachusetts and signed by Governor Samuel Adams on February 8, 1796, Townships 12 and 13 were incorporated as the Town of Columbia.
Now begins the carefully written and beautifully penned records of our Town of Columbia contained in leather-bound, ledger-style books. First entry: “Agreeable to a warrant to me directed from the Honorable Alexander Campbell Esquire I hereby notify and warn the inhabitants of the Town of Columbia qualified as the law directs to assemble together at the dwelling house of Mr. Gowin Wilson [Sr.] in said Columbia on Monday the fourth of April next  at ten o’clock in forenoon to act on the articles following…” The articles that followed, much like today, required the election of a moderator, a town clerk, three or more selectmen, and such other town officers as required by law. After this business was concluded the meeting was continued to two o’clock in the afternoon when they reassembled to cast votes for state governor and representatives to the state legislature (Great and General Court). This record is signed by Joseph Patten, Town Clerk. –John Allen Tibbetts
Continued next Friday. The author would appreciate any comments, additions or corrections by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail: P.O. Box 133 Columbia Falls, ME 04623 or by phone: (207) 483-2245
Some Interesting Facts About The Beginnings Of What Is Now The Town of Columbia Falls
Part One of this series, published last Friday, ended with the quotation “it is our river, and we are its people”. This gave me cause to remember that throughout most of our history our river flowed through Columbia Falls in clear view of its people. Commercial interests flourishing along its banks kept the riverbanks clear of alders and other growth. Now, we can barely see our river because its unused banks have become overgrown. I hope sometime soon the Town Fathers will take note and have these river banks in the village cleared so, once again, the river can be viewed and enjoyed by its people.
In 1990 local historian, Richard N. Bedard, wrote and published 1910 Census and Historical Sketch of Columbia Falls, Maine. In the twenty-one years since publication it has been a valuable research tool both for those interested in genealogy and because it begins with a very concisely written historical sketch of Columbia Falls. In his historical sketch, Mr. Bedard writes, “Prior to the 1750’s, little is known about the history of this area. American Indians obviously lived and traveled throughout the land and their name for the Pleasant River was Wescogus, which originated in a small lake about ten miles above this place, and was known to the Indians as Melopskiskis”.
Most likely the Vikings next visited our shores as those brave people explored and at least tried to make lasting settlements in North America. It is also likely that still later other European explorers touched our shores and maybe even explored our river, which was navigable to the falls. Mr.Bedard quotes a 1913 interview with Samuel Bucknam, son of John and Mary Bucknam who were among our earliest recorded settlers. Samuel Bucknam said, “The first framed house in this village was erected by William and Noah Mitchell who came from Falmouth about 1760. They were attracted here by the hay that they could secure along Pleasant River and this [hay] they had taken back to Massachusetts in a vessel. Later they came as settlers”. Interestingly, Laurence Drisko, who prided himself in knowing the history of Columbia Falls, was talking with me shortly after the little old house, then owned by Eleanor and Maurice Galen, was torn down to make way for their trailer home. Mr. Drisko said he thought the oldest house in Columbia Falls had just been torn down. He didn’t say much more about it but in thinking about his comment years later it came to me the house he spoke about was on the bank of Mitchell’s Brook located just west of Levi Leighton’s home at 135 Main Street, now owned by Cherri and Tom Hudson. Maybe Mr. Drisko was correct and this was the “first framed house” referred to by Samuel Bucknam.
Other historians have written the first crude log homes were built on the east side of Pleasant River, below the village, where Levi Leighton, in his Centennial Historical Sketch of the Town of Columbia 1796 to 1896 records evidence of old cellars on Bryant’s Hill and Coffin’s Point. Time has probably made it impossible to determine exactly where the earliest settlers lived. However, we do know that by the 1790’s Columbia Falls village was well established with substantial homes having been built by John & Mary Bucknam (204 Main Street), Joseph Wilson (18 Church Hill Circle and torn down a few years ago), (190 Main Street – no clear evidence of the builder) and Gowin Wilson Sr. (located near the river across Tibbettstown Road from 180 Main Street (Wilson’s house has been gone for many, many years). - John Allen Tibbetts
Part three will be published next Friday
The author would appreciate any additions or corrections to the above information.
Sources are credited when used and a list of sources will be published with the last installment.
The old Centerville Schoolhouse (town office building) was torn down several years ago and Jerry Blackburn saved a 3" by 4" stud which had a handwritten poem upon it. It was written in pencil, signed and dated. This stud was in the wall behind old horsehair plaster. It was difficult to read so Jerry took it to Peter Doak, principal of Narraguagus High School and asked if students would transcribe it. They were excited to do it and here is their transcription:
This is a fine frame it is built with strength & might
It stands on a hill of beauty and delight
Oh may it long stand [tall] for the owners good
and every year be filled with school [days] good
It will be a fine building with plenty of room
May fire or tempest never it consume
M. D. Chandler
May 1, 1858
The Record staff would appreciate any information from readers on the history of the old Centerville school and about M. D. Chandler.
Somewhere, tucked away on a shelf, in a closet or storage box, many of you who were here or had family here in 1976 probably have a copy of A History of Columbia and Columbia Falls which was published “In Honor of The American Bicentennial, 1776-1976” by The Columbia/Columbia Falls Bicentennial Committee. The authors, as noted on the front cover of this glossy white covered pamphlet-size book, were: from Columbia, Nancy H. Greene (Writer) and from Columbia Falls, Clarence H. Drisko (Historian). Clarence Drisko passed away many years ago and more recently so has Nancy Greene. Their collaboration on this little book brought forth some beautiful writing as well as some carefully researched information on the area of Maine where we live and more particularly our town of Columbia Falls. Now, some thirty-five years after publication, I think it is worth repeating some information it contains for those who have never read it and who are interested in knowing about the land on which we live and our river before, as Robert Frost says, “we were her people”. So I start this little series as Nancy and Clarence did by here quoting their beautifully written introduction THE BEGINNING. -John Allen Tibbetts
About two million years ago the earth entered into that long seemingly endless sleep called the Ice Age. During this time glaciers passed across the face of the land, and by their great size alone, gouged out mountains and valleys, vast plains, and jagged coastlines. Eventually they melted and ran into the sea, leaving behind thousands of lakes, ponds and rivers. One of these rivers is called the Pleasant…..“
For centuries this river made its way, undisturbed, from its source, the Pleasant River Lake, past many landmarks, then unnamed, but know today as Crebo Flats, El Meadow, Pine Island, the Great Heath. When it reached the Barrens it was flowing across land that had once been under the sea. Before the Ice Age, the ocean waters covered much of the land, and the coastline extended farther inland. The clay soil that many of us have homes on today was once mud flats, and the gravel land we know as Blueberry Barrens was the shoreline. As the glaciers came and went, spanning the centuries, the topography changed, the waters receded, and what remained is the land as we know it today.
As the Pleasant River made its crooked way across the Great Heath, it became home for beaver, otter, and muskrats. Moose, deer, and bear; foxes, porcupines and raccoons all had their drinking places along its banks. As it reached the place we now call Saco Falls, it was moving rapidly, rushing over the rocks, soon to be joined by the North or Upper Branch (Little River). It slowed a bit at Low’s Bridge, but hurried again at Burnt Mill Rips, and as it reached the Falls, it was rising and falling with the tide, the beginning of the long trek for the Atlantic Salmon. Before flowing through Addison and on to the sea, it was met on the western side by Branch Brook, itself divided into three small tributaries, Ingersoll Branch, Dyke Branch, and West Branch. Now the land along the river changed from barren to wet marshland. Here ducks and geese were plentiful and the marsh grass which later become vital to the settlers, bent before the wind. Here too would be the shipyards which would make the Pleasant River Valley hum with activity for awhile, and to quiet again as an era ended. Other industries would flourish along its banks, and families would settle in a growing community.
This year, 1976, the year of our American Bicentennial, the river still flows the same course, nourishing the land, the wildlife, and the people, but there is less activity along its route. A pinnacle has been reached; at least for awhile. But whatever time may give or take away….it is our river, and we are its people.”
-Nancy H. Greene & Clarence H. DriskoContinued on Part Two
The next day the Bangor Daily News reported: “Destroyed were the B.B. Tibbetts Block, which contained two occupied apartments, the H.A. Barton grain store and a drug store owned by Miss Mary R. Chandler; the Methodist Church Vestry, housing also the town library; and the residence of the Rev. Russell Fowler, the Methodist pastor…” The article goes on to say the tenants in the apartments on the second floor of the store building were Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Oliver and Mrs. Gladys Hayward and her children, Donald, 17, Lois, 11, and Juanita, 8, who escaped from the burning building but had no opportunity to save any possessions. All three buildings were a total loss and only the Fowler’s were able to save some of their things including Mrs. Fowler’s piano. The roughly 2000 books in the town library were also lost. By John Tibbetts--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Denton True "Cy" Young (March 29, 1867 – November 4, 1955) was an American Major League Baseball pitcher. During his 22-year baseball career (1890-1911), he pitched for five different teams. Young was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937. One year after Young's death, the Cy Young Award was created to honor the previous season's best pitcher. BUT he was not from Columbia Falls.
Ten years after Denton True Young was born in Ohio, Irving Melrose Young was born in Columbia Falls (July 21, 1877 - January 14, 1935). He was also a pitcher in Major League Baseball (from 1905 to 1911). He played for the Boston Beaneaters/Doves, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Chicago White Sox. His nicknames were Young Cy Young, Young Cy or Cy The Second. He is buried in Columbia Falls at The Ruggles Cemetery (top of Great Hill on the north side of the road). A street has been named after him off the Tibbettstown Road in Columbia Falls.
Writes the New York Times, “Young ‘Cy’ Young gave the champion New Yorks (Giants) a sample of his pitching powers in the first game of a double header in this city to-day by allowing them only three hits during the entire nine innings.”
For more information on Young Cy Young click biography.
Pitcher Personal information
Born: July 21, 1877 Columbia Falls, Maine
Died: January 14, 1935 (aged 57) Brewer, Maine
Maine Player information
Batted: Left Threw: Left MLB debut: April 14, 1905 for the Boston Beaneaters Last MLB appearance: August 25, 1911 for the Chicago White Sox Career statistics Win–loss record 63-95 Earned run average 3.11 Strikeouts 560 Teams
Boston Beaneaters/Doves (1904-1908), Pittsburgh Pirates (1908) Chicago White Sox (1910-1911)