Diary of Christopher COBURN

The following is taken from a diary of Christopher Columbus COBURN, transcribed by his son Ferdinand. The diary begins 1 January 1871 in Crystal, Maine. It is mostly centered around Northern Maine - Aroostook and Penobscot Counties. There are quite a few people mentioned in it (most of them just briefly), but maybe you'll see a relative and learn something you didn't know before (where he was, when he was there, and maybe what he did for a livelihood). It is presented in eleven parts.

Part 1

1871 - Crystal, Aroostook, Maine

worked for W. H. COFFIN, a neighbor
worked for Leonard W. ORDWAY, another neighbor
home of Silas DOBLE at South Moluncus
worked making cedar shingles for Hiram B. HERSEY of Patten
worked in COFFIN's mill
Liberty DREW of Patten, Penobscot County
fell trees for Hiram WILLEY at Silver Ridge
Nov, 1871 sought out a location for the Golden Ridge Road
ran lot lines for COFFIN
worked for Joshua BRYANT
worked for Hiram GRANT driving logs
worked for Stephen DILNO
falling trees for Roscoe ORDWAY
hauled buckwheat for R. D. ROYAL
went to Patten and traded horses with Samuel WIGGEN
hauling logs to America COBURN of Patten
cut wood for three days for the Widdow WESCOT
made shingles for Roscoe NOYCE
purchased the shingle business for NOYCE & DARLING
rolling logs for J. P. LESLIE
pealed bark for COFFIN Brothers
worked for William MITCHELL
worked for George FINCH
worked for Joshua GOODWIN
worked for Ezra BLAKE
worked for William BURGESS
worked for James PARKER
worked for Anderson DARLING
purchased W. S. EVAN's share of the new house
Jesse SMITH's at Silver Ridge
Set up with the body of Solon BERRY, who died that evening, April 21st, 1875.


Part 2

April 26-30th (1875) cutting wood for R. D. ROYAL, Jacob FRYE and self.

...Continued piling in June and hauled dressing , plowed and planted potatoes, besides working a few days for Bradbury HERSEY and Anderson DARLING

....Balance of month (July) worked for several different people, including neighbors ROYAL, DREW, and BURGESS, and haying and hoeing. The 30th he was published for marriage to Miss Nancy J. MOORE of Patten, Maine, and was married Aug. 3rd, 1875.

...Oct. 15-22, the rest of October and the first few days in November working on the county road....On Nov. 17 he attended the funeral of Frederick MOORE a brother-in-law....

July the same busy choring about home until the 12th when he went haying for Richmond HAMILTON till the 28th.

The 3rd of Aug. he reports attending the sick. July 30th his first child, Lucy, was born. He and wife visited her parents at No. 5 on the 18th. All Sept. it was harvesting grain and falling trees. Sept. 25, "My little girl died. Did not work."

...On Mar. 26 (1877) he attended town meeting, 7th of April he was boreing fence bunks for M. HAMILTON.

...The first part of July was mostly given to work for Richmond HAMILTON, then back to home work, haying, harvesting and general farming through the rest of the year 1877.

...Town meeting was Mar. 25 and on the 13th of April he corked shoes for the drive, going to work the next day for Martin MAINE and continued on the drive until May 4th, earning $31.50. About this time butter sold for 25 cents per pound, tea 70 cents and corned beef 9 lbs. for 54 cents.

...The greater part of July and a few days in August he hayed for Acey DREW. On the 19th he moved from his state lot farm to his father's on Cow Team Road in Crystal. Picked cranberries on the big bog Aug. 27. The same labor for himself continued up to the 16th of September when he finished the month for Levett PETERS.

Oct. 1-5 worked for DREW. Monday, Oct. 7 began digging potatoes, and on the 17th began work in COFFIN's mill. The most of the time for the rest of 1878. ... COFFIN job lasted till Jan. 9, 1879. Until Feb. 2--Sunday--cutting wood for self & others. Feb. 3 to Mar. 13 worked for Zenus LITTLEFIELD. Mar 15 to 22 cut wood for HERSEY.

...April 23 went on the drive for Ira B. GARDINER, finishing May 6. Most of the rest of May worked for John GARDNER.

...April 18, 1880, begins a lapse in the diary. He came down with black diptheria, following the death from the same disease of his first son, Henry at age of 2 years and 9 months.


Part 3

The diary starts again Sept. 27 (1880), when he moved his wife to his wife's mother and step father, John MCDONALD's. Her own father had previously died and her mother married again.

...On his brief stays at home he worked for different people, including the family doctor, Benjamin WOODBURY.

...Dec. 18th he moved his goods to the house of William MITCHELL in North Patten. Dec. 24 he moved his wife from MCDONALD's at No. 5 to George MCKENNEY's.

...April 25, 1881 he went on the drive for KELSO, shifting over to Mr. WEBSTER on the Corporation drive May 25 for a couple of days...

...May 10, 1882 to June 5th driving for JOY & DUDLEY. This June 9th he planted potatoes and then went to peeling bark for WARREN & COFFIN, keeping at that till about the middle of July.

...The wood business was carried on till April 19, 1883, when he was hired for driving for a Mr. PARKS....Late in May his wife's brother Elmer MOORE and brother-in-law William H. SCRIBNER appear on the scene working with him a few days... Through the month of Sept., 1883, it appears that he and SCRIBNER joined forces and worked for each other and other people together.

Oct. 12, COBURN moved into a house owned by Louis HUNT, probably in upper Crystal. ......The month of February, 1885, he worked in the lumber woods for a Mr. LOVEJOY. ...May 12 he finished for WARREN & COFFIN. June 22 to July 4 falling trees for Roscoe ORDWAY.

Oct. 7 it snowed all day and the next day he finsihed digging his potatoes and the following week dug potatoes for Neighbor COFFIN.

...Most of Dec. he was exploring, same as cruising, for Coolidge WHITE.

Jan., 1886, building a camp at the pond (probably Peaked Mountain). He evidently did no farming that summer but worked out by the day much of the time falling trees most of the time for WHITE at $26 per month. About the middle of Jan., 1887, he quit for WHITE and went to work for a Mr. MITCHELL, in the woods for nearly a month.

May 3 he went on drive for Coolidge WHITE until the 27th, when he went to Trout Brook Farm, where he worked for Mr. PALMER. June 9 he repaired his canoe and went down the East Branch and out home. He worked around there until June 26 (Sunday) when he went in to the HUNT place, a mile below the East Branch House on that river.

...Sept, 1887 about a month here he was guiding a Dr. MORRIS up and down the East Branch.

...Oct 23 he caught a lynx. 25th started a stone wall under the barn. This wall was built of field stone without cement and backed up with small stone and was still in perfect shape when last seen many years later by the compiler of this diary. (Who by the way, was his son, Ferdinad COBURN).


Part 4

The spring of 1889 he spent trapping with John FRANCIS, a full blood Indian of the reservation on Olemon Island in the Penobscot River near OldTown. From this Indian he learned much about trapping, and with him he caught many muskrat, beaver, bear, and other wild animals including fisher (or black cat), otter, lynx, etc.

May 23, took a Yearling bear from a trap at BAKER's camp on the way from Grand lake to Hay Lake on the Sebois where he went to "histe dam" meaning to open a sluice in the dam to let out water for driving. April 30the he purchased a birch bark canoe from John FRANCIS. This summer again was partly farming, working out and interspersed with cruising for lumbermen. Oct. 8 he was taking care of his mother who went to the hospital the next day. The most of Nov. he worked at MITCHELL & LESLIE's Bowlin Falls lumber camp.

November 28 he took his family to mother-in-law MCDONALD's at Mt. Chase. (I, the compiler, distinctly remember that Thanksgiving dinner of turkey with all the trimmings and ending with rice pudding full of raisins. That was over 60 years ago at this writing. Feb. 1951.)

The fall and winter 1889 and 1890, beside working in the woods for MITCHELL & LESLIE he did some trapping for himself. After the MITCHELL & LESLIE camp was vacated he set a bear trap there and on May 8 found a bear in it. (The bounty at that time was $5 paid by the state.) He caught several bears that spring, taking up his traps July 7, as the fur then began to shed and was not salable.

Sept. 11, 1890 he again started for the woods, getting home once or twice before Oct. 1. After four weeks working for neighbors he started again for East Branch. Up to Feb. 23 he was only occaisionally home.

Feb. 23, 1891 he and Elmer MOORE began to make snowshoes for sale, small sizes at $2.25 and man size for $3.50, finishing this operation Mar. 13.

Sunday, Mar. 15 his father, Silas (COBURN), died sitting in his chair in front of the fireplace fire, at 9 o'clock P. M. Buried on the 18th. On the 25th he is getting ready for the spring hunt (bear trapping). June 28, after taking up his bear traps, having caught several bears, he started down river in canoe. Getting to the mouth of the Mattawamkeag Stream, he went up that stream and on home, arriving July 3rd. The farming this summer consisted of raising a few potatoes and getting in the hay. Late in Dec. he went in to East Branch and stopped at the old MITCHELL & LESLIE camp, where on the 30th he shot a deer and a caribou. The next day he got another caribou and a moose, and went up to his camp at Stair Falls. He then returned home.

Jan. 13, 1892 brother-in-law of Mrs. Coburn, WILLIAM SCRIBNER, moved his family in. They all lived and worked together and Mar. 2 when another brother-in-law, Elmer MOORE joined and they began to make snowshoes beside working out by the day. The first week in April Mr. Coburn started his bear trapping on the East Branch. The traps were 8 and 10 steel spring traps with a lever. Before steel traps he set "dead-falls" made so that when sprung a heavy log fell across the bear's neck. He made occasional trips home, working a day or two and back into the woods, until July when he took up his traps, and gathered in his hay. This was the summer that the right of way was surveyed and cut by the Bangor & Aroostook railroad from Mattawamkeag to northern Aroostook County, and several trips to that section were made. In Sep. he was making a sporting camp at Katahdin Lake, where he guided parties hunting. FRANK CRAM of Bangor was among the sportsmen. In October, 1892, a log house for SCRIBNER was begun and finished in Dec. In Nov. a member of one of his sporting parties was accidentally shot in the leg. He reports good wheeling up to Jan. 10, when it snowed all day.


Part 5

Mar. 7, 1893 his mother, (Laura FOBES) died peacefully in bed at 7:45 A. M. She would have been 83 years old April 18. On the 22nd of March he and Elmer MOORE went into the cedar railroad tie business which ended June 1. This summer saw quite a bit of farming as well as other work.

The winter of 1894 the activities covered cutting of wood for self (Christopher Columbus COBURN) and customers; also some telegraph poles. The summer of 1894 was a repetition of 1893. This summer, 1893, his son Ferdinand is mentioned as helping. He was in his 14th year. During the hunting season he guided sportsmen. Nov. 14th he went to Crystal Station (four miles) to see the first train go over the new track. During the summer of 1893 his wife left home and the following summer was divorced and was given the custody of the youngest boy, Arthur. The first winter Mr. Thomas ASHER and wife kept house for him and the second Calvin PALMER, wife and daughter kept house for him. After the railroad went through a new industry started up, that of cutting hoop poles, to go along with the other lumbering and wood cutting. An incident occurred Feb. 27th, 1895 when Edgar BUMPAS of Patten went out of his head and landed at the house and had to be taken care of until the authorities took him away Mar. 2nd. Mr. Coburn was on the sick list from April 15th till the 27th. This spring son Ferdinand shared the bear trapping and cruising. Seven bears were taken and the traps were taken up July 11.

Aug. 15th, started on a tramp trip up through the "garden of Maine" the northern section of Aroostook County, carrying light camping equipment including a small "A" tent and cooking utensils. The first night camped two miles north of Houlton; second, near north line on Bridgewater; and the third day a quarter mile west of Presque Isle. At one place on the road we passed a farm where 50 bee hives stood in the yard and here we purchased 4 1/2 pounds of honey for 40 cents. On the 18th, Sunday, we went only five miles to a camp ground in Washburn. The next two days we passed through Woodland and Castle Hill camping just south of the latter place. 20th went through Ashland and camped at Ox Bow road, on the old military road from Bangor to Fort Kent. We stayed one night at Mt. Chase and on the 23rd arrived home, having traveled about 150 miles, and seen some beautiful fields of grain and potatoes. Balance of summmer worked out until hunting time, then guiding. At the end of hunting season he trapped for small furs in around East Branch and on occasional trips home worked out by the day. Caught a fisher Mar. 12, 1896. Set first bear trap April 24 at SMITH's camp. Caught a bear in this trap May 9th. On the 18th of July, after taking up bear traps, he started for Mt. Katahdin with a party including his two oldest sons. Went up the old Appalachian trail through the basin there ice was found among the rocks, and just at the crest between the two main peaks of the mountain a large bank of snow where the snows of all winter had drifted over from the table lands. A sizable stream of water was running from this snow which was fast melting in the hot sun. On arriving on the mountain a cloud drifted over them shutting out all the view. They spent one night at Katahdin Lake and the next night they camped at a spring on the north side of the mountain soon after reaching the heavy timber. Returning home early in August he and the boys started a wood for Leonard ORDWAY which was finished Sept. 5, over 31 cords of four foot wood. During this job they camped in a tent on the site. After election day the diary states that he went to the East Branch with sportsmen. His party got a moose Oct. 6, as well as several deer and other game. On finishing his guiding, Nov. 17, he went back to Patten and on the 30th, after working for different people, he moved his household goods from the PEAVY house in Patten village to PARKER's camp in Happy Corner. The last month of 1896 he was hunting for himself and then went to Patten where he worked for B. O. DREW (Liberty's son) and others. March and April, 1897, making snowshoes, until the 26th when he went in to East Branch and started his spring bear-trapping.


Part 6

July 1, 1897 took a week's trip up Mt. Katahdin with a party, including sons, Ferdinand and Oren. Clouds again obscured the view. Returning to Patten he worked about the village through the summer interspersed with a few fishing trips and visiting until the middle of October. Among the lucky sportsmen tis fall, as usual, securing moose, deer and caribou, were the ROWELLs from Boston and the FILER party from East Hampton, N.Y. In December of that year and the first three months of 1898 he was trapping, noting the capture of a fisher Dec. 20, and making snowshoes. In April he started trapping for bear and muskrats, fishing, etc. After taking up his traps, July 11, the bulk of his activities were spent working for CURREN & HOWE at Trout Brook Farm. He started guiding again Oct. 1. After the guiding season between hunting trips he prepared to make snowshoes by getting wood for bows and shaving hides for the filling. Dec. 10, he and the boys moved from the CRAMP house where they had lived a year to the Jerry FOOTE house in the village.

January through April, 1899 making snowshoes and working out. The boys attended Patten Academy. Twelve days in May worked for Con MURPHY on the drive, tending dam and running errands. Then cruising, etc. till June 7, when with his sons he went to Grindstone on the East Branch, where Ferdinand took the train for East Hampton, N.Y., to work for Mr. FILER, having just graduated from Patten Academy. He and Oren then went up to Mattawamkeag from which place they went by train with their canoe to Kingman and thence by water to Island Falls, and home to Patten. After about a month of working out and taking fishing trips the diary says they commenced work with Lonson GRANT, self and Oren.

July 7. Again, trips into the woods and jobbing took up the time until school began for Oren and hunting and guiding for the father. He records moving, Dec. 14, to the Samuel W. ROBBINS place on Fish Stream, and working out, and the 8th of January, 1900, starting the snowshoe business, which with wood-cutting and occasional days working out, lasted till near the end of March.

April 24, moved my goods into the ORDWAY school house. About this time he went to work for I. B. GARDINER & Sons as handy man on the drive using his canoe much of the time. June was a month of cruising and fishing trips, starting July 10 on GARDINER's second drive.

In August, 1900 he seemed to change his stomping ground to the vicinity of Masardis and Oxbow in northern Aroostook County, where he moved his household goods Sept. 7. Here his work was guiding and general jobbing, and his son, Allard joins the group, and preparations are made for more snowshoe business. Snowshoe work goes on until late in February, 1901 when the group begins cutting pulp wood, in addition. This goes on April 9, when the St. Croix bridge went out by flood. Here he began running a ferry for the town of Masardis and kept it up until the 20th when a new bridge was completed. They were now living in the LIBBY house in the village. Cutting wood, bushes and seed potatoes for the farmers kept them busy well into June. He moved again, this time into an old school house in town. Through the most of July, 1901, the three worked out and then went down the Aroostook River to Presque Isle and up to Caribou, Maine, and rented a house in that village from Pete DIONNE. They worked around this village till fall. This fall Oren and Allard entered Caribou High School and their father went down to his old hunting ground on the East Branch, where his first party was the FILERs and Felix DOMINY and also in the party was his eldest son, Ferdinand. This party arrived Nov. 11 and hunted for two weeks. The sporting season was short this year and he went back to Caribou. The boys left school early in January, 1902, began cutting wood. Some they cut and sold and then took a big wood joy for W. B. LAFFARTY, lasting through March. They then moved into a house owned by F. B. DOE for whom they worked through April, May and most of June, 1902. After a few day's respite he again worked for DOE up to the end of September. At this time he looked up a new hunting ground between Portage and Eagle lake on the Ashland Branch of the Bangor & Aroostook R. R., and did some guiding. Nov. 8 he went to Portage to meet the FILER party and while gone the camp burned with all his camping goods except the clothes on his back and the rifle which he had with him.


Part 7

Jan. 17, 1903, our subject went to Caribou and after seeing Oren located in Warren BILLINGWOOD's moulding mill he moved his household goods to Portage. After shipping his goods he went up to Peram and Jan. 23 struck out through the uncharted forest direct for Portage, by compass, arriving the next day. The first half of 1903, with Allard, jobbing aound, made some snowshoes, cut wood and cleared up a houselot. Also started building a house. July 10th his youngest son, Arthur, came up from Moro and they all went to Caribou for a few days. Returning to Portage Arthur went home and the routine continued. He had moved into his new house May 19th although it was not completed. He changed works with his cousin, Arthur COBURN, who was also building himself a house on the shore of Portage Lake, this summer. Mr. Coburn had learned to ride a bicycle and Sept. 16, 1903, he started for Caribou on his wheel. When within five miles of that village, while coasting down a hill, he was thrown by hitting a stone in the road and had to be carried to town. He did not know, until several weeks later, that he had fractured his hip, and without proper care that leg constracted so that ever after he walked with a limp. He lay two weeks in bed at the Widdow SUTHERLAND's before he could get out. He was not able to go back home to Portage until Oct. 15th. ... He visited relatives in Lincoln: Sidney and Will WARREN, Stephen DILANO and Leonard DOBLE. He went to Old Town May 2, 1904, and from there to Patten where he says he got lodging and breakfast for 50 cents. He arrived at Portage May 6 where he fell into the old rut of cruising, fishing and working for his neighbors. He dug and stoned up a cellar under his house. June 10 he went to Caribou, again going through the woods. He worked around Caribou until the 18th of July when he went back home. His work around Portage was as usual until the 16th Of Sept. He says he saw a bull moose Aug. 2 while fishing up Mosquito Brook.

Sept. 17 he went to Caribou and worked for C. H. DOE & Son. Oct. 17 he went back to Portage and spent the rest of the month hunting. He worked about his home town the month of November and then hunted during the first half of December.

December 19 he again went to Caribou and worked for Merl VARNUM the rest of that year and up to middle of January, 1905, going back home by rail on the 16th. The next two month he was busy around the village. From the 14th to the 25th of March he took a trip to Presque Isle, Caribou, Island Falls, Sherman and Patten. The next trip he took was to Caribou to his cousin, Arthur's and Smyrna Mills and Patten. Arthur had lately moved to Caribou. When he returned home, May 6 he bought two cows and went into the milk business in a small way. He made a fence and cut hay this summer. August 7 to 24 he spent most of his time fighting fire for the town. The week of Sept. 23 to 30 he made a trip down to his old hunting ground on the East Branch of Penobscot. The first week in October he made another trip to Caribou and Washburn, and the 18th he went to Stacyville to meet a hunting party headed by Norman BARNES from East hampton, N. Y. and take it to the East Branch territory.

.... April, 1907, Allard took in the family of a Mr. CLARK and our subject says he and son Ferdinand sold their Portage place to Fred DOBLE and he went to work on a lot purchased by F. R. Coburn on the shore of the lake.


Part 8

In January, 1910, he (Christopher Columbus COBURN) built a camp on Ferdinand's lot in the village, moving in Jan. 18. He worked most of this winter cutting wood for himself to sell and for others, much of the time being accompanied by Fred DOBLE. In March he records shipping a car load of wood to Masardis, unloading seven cords Mar. 12. At one place he says he bought the hide of an illegally killed cow moose from Game Warden JORGENSON, for the makings of snowshoes. In May he worked for Miss Clara ORCUTT at Oak Point, Portage, a couple of weeks. During the last week in May he worked for James ESTEY at Masardis. During the summer he worked on the road for the town of Portage several days, and made numerous trips for brief stays at his son Ferdinand's in Ashland.

....About three weeks on from Nov. 26, he was helping John C. WRIGHT who was surveying down the river from Ashland, below Sheridan opposite Frenchville. The record for the rest of that year and the first month of 1911 is of actions around Portage. Ferdinand must have sold his lot in the summer of 1910, because he rented Arthur (DULLEY or BULLEY)'s house Aug. 29 at six dollars per month and Sept. 10 Oren and family moved in with him. ...

On May 8, 1911, he went to work for Mrs. L. A. BROOKER in Ashland, and was still there until July 22. After a couple of weeks at F. R.'s he again went to Portage and bargained for a lot on the lake shore with Samuel STEVENS, and began clearing it up and here he built himself another camp and worked for Fred PETERS who lived next door. In addition to his other activities he did a little hunting in October and Monday, Nov. 6, he commenced work for a Mr. RICHARDSON at his lumber camp on the west side of the Aroostook River below Sheridan, where he was till Dec. 22. He spent the rest of that month at Ferdinand's.

Jan. 1st, 1912, he was at his youngest son's at Moro, Me. Arthur's mother had died during the past summer, and previously to that he (Arthur) had married Lottie MAXWELL with two children. He stayed with Arthur, cutting wood, etc. until the 17th when he went back to F. R.'s in Ashland, returning to Arthur's Jan. 29, where he worked with and for him until the 12th of March. He then went to F.R.'s in Ashland and worked around there, staying at Ferdinand's until he went home to Portage May 23. He planted a small garden on the camp lot and cut and peeled some pulp wood, beside working out. Sept. 21, he purchased a canoe and entertained, over Sunday, Ferdinand's wife and Mrs. Simon DAVIS of Patten. Oct. 12 he moved Mrs. Fred DOBLE and goods into the YOURK house where the rent was $6.00 per month. Allard, his 3rd son and his wife spent a few days with him at this time, and he and Allard hunted.


Part 9

Nov. 1, 1912, he (Christopher Columbus COBURN at 64 years of age) closed up his camp and moved out to Ashland, to Ferdinand's and went to work for Arthur WALKER until Nov. 24. A few days work around Ashland and a little more work at Portage and then, Jan. 4, 1913, he took a room with his son Oren who was then living in the FINSON Block in Ashland. He was cutting wood most of the time from then till Mar. 28, when he moved back to his camp on the shore of Portage Lake. Here he planted some garden on the camp lot and also potatoes and other things on land of R. A. DAGGATT, and on May 30th he went to Ashland and bought a cow and led her home. Beside working out and doing a little milk business, he cut some hay, put a fence around the lot and built a cow stable; but Oct. 7, he sold the cow and after working around a few days he took up a canvassing job of nursery stock for CHASE Brothers. Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27, he had sold enough so that the company gave him a turkey and he had it cooked at Ferdinand's for a family gathering. By the first of the year 1914 he had let up on canvassing, having covered much of the territory in the towns of Portage, Ashland, Masardis, Ox Bow, Smyrna Mills, Oakfield and Moro. The first three months of this year, while living at Ferdinand's, he worked at odd jobs for different people, including wood cutting.

Monday, Mar. 30, he went to Portage, shoveled his camp out of the snow and moved in, and until near the middle of July he kept busy working for himself and others. July 4th and Sunday the next day he entertained a bunch of his relatives from Ashland. About the middle of July he went to Ashland and fixing up his bicycle he did a little more canvassing for his nursery firm. The next four months he was going from place to place, stopping only a few days at a time, covering some new territory, going as far east as Mapleton and as far south as Moro and Oakfield, sometimes at Portage and others at Ashland. On one day, Sept. 14, while at Portage he says he voted for the governor of Maine.

Dec. 8, after spending a few days at Ferdinand's in Ashland he started for Moro, where he went to work for his youngest son, Arthur, and Arthur's stepfather, Hanibal DARLING in the wood and lumber work.

Feb. 14, 1915 he returned to his camp at Portage and in March he cut ice 26 inches thick and filled Fred PETER's ice house. April 1st he went out to Mrs. S. S. GILMAN's in Ashland and tore down a building for the lumber which he freighted to Portage and on the 9th hauled it to his camp. He planted the ground by the camp into potatoes and garden truck. He jobbed around town in addition to his own work until June 22, when he began to clear the right of way for a town road up the shore of the lake on the land of Samuel STEVENS, having the wood and pulp to sell. In August he started to build a 'sleeping camp" in addition to his home. After finishing this and harvesting his crop, he left for Moro to work for COBURN & DARLING again, stopping a day or two at Ashland, with Ferdinand.


Part 10

This was the story from Nov. 15 to Feb. 11, 1916. On the latter date he (Christopher Columbus COBURN, at 68 years of age), went to Ashland and was at Ferdinand's until Mar. 3, when he and his second Cousin, Jasper COBURN, went to his camp at Portage. Jasper stayed with him till the 23rd of March, when he, Jasper, went back to his father's, Arthur Coburn, who had moved back to Ashland from Caribou, where he had been for two or three years. The subject of this diary remained at home cutting and storing ice for himself and others. He attended town meeting Mar. 27. About the middle of April he was hewing timbers for a new building, presumably for Fred PETERS next door. The first part of May he plowed and planted his garden and worked on the PETERS building. He says that he celebrated his birthday, May 20, by taking his grand daughter, Elizabeth, to the movies, staying with Ferdinand over night at Ashland. Back home, his son Arthur and family of Moro came to visit on the 27th and they all went to Ferdinand's in Ashland and Sunday, the next day, they went over to Haystack Mountain for a picnic breakfast, returning through Frenchville and Sheridan. Arthur returned home and his father back to Portage. June 12 he went to Allard's in Ashland and back home. About this time he was working on the town road back of his camp, grubbing stumps and grading, beside his garden work and helping PETERS. Sunday, June 25th Oren Coburn and family and Miss Flossie SMITH, of Ashland spent the day with him on the shore of the lake at his camp. July 2, Sunday, he visited at Elwin GARDINER's in Ashland. Gardner married his second cousin, Bertha COBURN. After spending the 4th at Ferdinand's, Arthur came up from Moro and picked up him and F. R.'s family and took them in his Ford to Presque Isle, Fort Fairfield and over to Grand Falls in New Brunswick, and back. The rest of this summer and fall up to Nov. 10 was more or less routine work around town. The whole month of August he was working for a Mr. MAGILL, the place and nature of work not given. And the month of October he was up at Red River working for George SUTHERLAND. Various times he visited his sons in Ashland and entertained them at his camp. Sept. 11 he voted at the state election and Nov. 7 at the national election. Nov. 13, after spending Sunday at Ferdinand's in Ashland he went down to Moro, where he worked for COBURN& DARLING for a month. Then back to Ferdinand's and began working for the American Realty Company which had started a project across the Aroostook River from Ashland, finishing the year.

Jan. 25, 1917, finished work for the American Realty Co., and staying a few days with Ferdinand, went to Portage Feb. 3 and to camp the next day, having to shovel the snow away to get in. Feb. 14 and 15 he threshed out his yellow-eyed beans that had been stored at Sam. STEVEN's, taking dinner with Cousin Arthur's family who had moved to Portage again. He put in some time for Mr. MAGILL again, apparently on the shore of the lake north of Oak Point. Mar. 22, he went to Ashland and worked three weeks for Ferdinand. Then back home.

April 10, 1917 he records as the roughest day of winter, snowing and blowing all day and night. Jobbing around town unitl May 28, he again went to Moro and was working on a new log house for son Arthur, whose buildings had been destroyed by fire from lightening, a short time before. They also built a stable and began to peel pulp. He made a short trip to Ashland and Portage where he planted potatoes, peas and beans for Ferdinand on his lot by the camp, and then back to Moro. Here he worked on Arthur's farm and new buildings; also making sleds, peavy stocks, pulp rack, etc. Aug 5, which was Sunday, Ferdinand and family came down in their new Ford touring car, and again Sunday, Sept. 2. This time they drove down to the old homestead in Lower Crystal. The next day he went back with Ferdinand and to Portage and helped harvest the crop. This time he shipped his goods to Moro, and going back himself, he continued work on the farm and building a shop and then in the woods. He reports a heavy snow storm Oct. 11, breaking down trees and telephone wires and other damage. Nov. 13 to 23 he was in Ashland helping build a stable-garage for Ferdinand, returning to Moro on the 24th, where he worked for Arthur through January, February and most of March, 1918.


Part 11

April 2, 1919, (Christopher Columbus COBURN) met friends, Mr. and Mrs. HUNT from Millinocket, at Patten and on the 5th accompanied them to Ashland to visit a couple of days with Ferdinand. Returning to Moro he continued with son Arthur. Among some of his chores was the building of a wagon body and a stone-drag. Friday (the day he always said was his lucky day), May 23, he set his last bear trap, at the old EMERSON camp. No report that he caught anything, but took up his trap June 13th. The week end, June 28 to 30, he spent with Ferdinand and family visiting Ashland and Portage for the last time. The whole month of July, 1919, the record reads peeling bark and working in the garden. They also did some haying.

This haying operation continued to the end of the diary, Aug. 11, 1919. It is coincidental that Christopher Columbus COBURN ended his life doing the thing he most enjoyed, that of hand mowing in the hay field. He was a super man with the scythe. He often told the story of a feat he accomplished earler in life. He went out into an oat field at sunrise with two sharp scythes; came in to noonday dinner and had them mowed five measured acres; a record that is is doubtful has ever been beaten or even equalled. More that half his existence he suffered more or less with a double Groin Hernia, and after trying many patent contraptions, he made himself a truss from elastic belts and cotton pads, which allwoed him to do almost any kind of work with very little trouble. In mowing he could cut a nine foot swath and carry it all day, or he could walk or cut wood from morning till nicht with ease. One day he walked a distance of about forty miles and over a great part of that milage he carried a pack on his back weighing 75 pounds.

This last day he arose on Monday morning, ate his usual hearty breakfast and went singing to the stump piece with the other men, including his youngest son, Arthur, and mowed with the best of them. Just before noon as they were finishing the field, he sat down and leaned against a stump to rest and when the other men came along to go home he had past away with a smile on his face, holding his scythe swath in his hands.

The funeral services were held in the house he helped build and his body was borne by his four sons to its last resting place, the little Moro Cemetery a few rods from the house. He had lived a varied and useful life and left this present world without any known enemies.

END OF DIARY OF C. C. COBURN,
TRANSCRIBED BY HIS OLDEST SON,
FERDINAND RUPERT COBURN