This month: The Halls will test your knowledge on some of
Maine’s items of history!
The program committee has scheduled the following events for 2008:
July 20, 2008
Marilyn and Al Hall will do their Maine Antique Quiz
August 17, 2008
September 13, 2008
Winslow, Maine - Yard Sale
September 21, 2008
Nelson Madore on "Voyages" (his work on French-Canadian settlement history)
October 19, 2008
(unconfirmed) Kennebec Historical Society
TMG Workshop meets on the 3rd Saturday of the month
From the Board of Directors
During the June Board of Directors meeting it was proposed, and adopted, that the library should be closed from the day after the December meeting — the 22nd of December, until the Saturday before the March meeting — the 14th of March. The hours for March 14 will be 11:00 am until 5:00 p.m. Mark your calendars! No library hours during the winter season!
by Barbara Gunvaldsen
As there was no regular meeting in June there is no Secretary’s Report to provide here. Here are a few words from Barbara regarding the June 14th Taconnett Genealogy Fair:
Sundry Observations on the Genealogy Fair
Yes, we need to raise money and we need to break even with costs but this is what we do! This is where we guide newcomers into our number and this is where we can show off the resources available. And this is where we discover what resources are available locally that are not part of our umbrella.
Perhaps the biggest Stand-Out Item was the number of serious genealogists. They came with notebooks and lots of questions.
Secondly, there were an impressive number of newcomers to genealogy. This brings up the issue of enthusiasm without a clue. Genealogy is becoming popular and the volume of information available on the internet makes genealogical research look so easy. Perhaps we, as a chapter, ought to do a booklet on general procedures so that some of these eager-but-clueless individuals do not become discouraged and fall away.
Thirdly, having period costumes was a nice touch that people seemed to enjoy. It was also a good promotional device.
People seemed to enjoy the presentations. Maintaining a table myself, I could not attend any but the reports I heard were all positive.
The array of informational tables was pretty good. At least, I never heard any comments like “I wish that there was something for [fill in the blank].”
Because Lee Brock filled in for me, I was able to have lunch at the lunch table and that was a great experience. There was a great amount of networking among strangers (something that I have always maintained is on the greatest benefits of professional conferences). Amateur genealogists were advising and helping each other and some of the cluelessness (that I mentioned earlier) was corrected right here.
Lastly, I think that we were pretty impressive: colorful and extensive. Having the Library open was a real benefit to everyone. I’m glad that we started with these fairs and I believe that we get every bit as much out of them as the people who attend.
Barbara Gunvaldsen, Secretary
This will be my last Library Report, as I have resigned as Chairperson of the Library Committee. We had the plant sale and the Genealogy Fair, and both were well attended.
Many members helped set up and clean up for both these activities. A book sale downstairs is on going. I hope there will be lots of help to keep the Library in good shape.
Added to the shelves since the May meeting:
“John Strickland Descendants of Hadley Mass” by Edwin Strickland III 2008.
* From Margaret Viens: “Vital Records of Appleton Maine Prior to 1892”
* From the Horne collection: Deeds of Melitiah Raymond of Ripley & Wayne; Estate papers of Joseph Works of Mercer; Deed of William Bradford, of Winslow, from the Indians in 1761; Winslow misc. town records;
* From Barbara Gunvaldsen: “Vital Records of Fairfield”
* From Thelma Brooks: “Howe(s) Family of Barnstable Mass”; “Preble Family Notes”; “Emerson Family”
* From Gerry Gower: “The Story of Mt. Desert Island” by Samuel E. Morison 1960; “Weston (MA) A Puritan Town” by Emma F. Ripley 1961; “The Cole Family of Prospect Harbor Me”; 2 vols “Workmans of Gouldsboro” 1988 & 1990 by Bernice Richmond; “Winter Harbor” by Bernice Richmond 1943; “Publications of Colonial Society of Mass” vol 36 & 37.
* Also from Gerry the following have been put up for sale: “Gouldsboro Early Families”; “Boston Taxpayers 1821”; “Everyday Life in Early America”; “Beacon Hill’s Col. Robert Gould Shaw” by Marion Whitney Smith
by Jan Weymouth
Starting with July 2 and for every day the library is open, we will have two people volunteering. At least one will have a key to the building and will be responsible for opening and closing the building. The volunteers for June and July were: Barbara Gunvaldsen, Jan Weymouth, Kay Marsh, Rowena Perry, Janet Boynton, Carolyn Browne, Herb Brock, Enola Couture, Cheryl Patten, Suzanne Talbot, and Marie Harrington. Several of these have volunteered more than once.
Jan Weymouth <email@example.com>
from Fred Clark
Just a reminder about the yard sale in September folks. We will need to start gathering items for the sale. Collection point and persons will be forthcoming.
MAINE MEMO, from Cheryl Patten
The following articles (to be continued over several upcoming issues) are some "old" (no date) Maine Memo columns from the Portland Telegram. Each one has a series of questions related to historical Maine information and a brief answer. I hope that all readers get a kick out of this “old” information.
ME Sunday Telegram; Fred Humiston - “Maine Memo”; undated - from Hope Horn Collection
Building Went A ’Traveling
A York reader wants information concerning Portland’s “traveling building.”
He probably refers to the first Cumberland County Court House, a public building that led a rather hectic career, aside from what went on within the structure.
From 1775 to 1816 it stood on the site of Portland’s present City Hall. Moved to Exchange Street in 1816, it became the Freewill Baptist Church.
Later it was moved to Green Street (now Forest Avenue) and placed on the present site of the Telephone Building, where it became a soap and candle factory.
Demolished about 1880, it had done considerable traveling, city-wide, for a building.
* * * * *
From Hartford, Conn., comes the query, “Can you give me the name of the first city in the nation to practice non-segregation?”
Portland, Maine, was probably one of the first cities, if not the first city in the nation, to practice non-segregation.
From 1829 to 1857, a segregated school for Negroes was part of the school system. Known the “Colored School,” or the “Abyssinian School,” it enrolled about 80 students.
The School Committee finally closed the school, ruling that it was to the greater interests of the Negro students to attend the regular schools, and to the school system in general.
* * * * *
Oscar Clarke Smith of the Bronx, N.Y., writes: “Some years back you did a story on hotel meals in Portland, in the old days. As I was traveling through Maine then and enjoyed several of these meals, I would appreciate a ‘repeat’ on the item. In these modern times of rising prices, it leaves a pleasant memory.”
In the good old days when food was cheap and plentiful, Maine hotel proprietors were eager to please the patrons and provided bountiful meals at low cost.
In Portland, the top floor dining room of the Congress Square Hotel had a unique custom, but one that appealed to Mainers with hearty appetites.
A patron did not need to go to the bother of making his choice from the menu: two of this, or one of that, with an extra charge for something else. All that was necessary was to sign his name at the bottom, then the waitress would bring him a good-sized portion of every item on it - for one dollar!
“Our public houses and hotels,” a Portland author wrote in 1874, “are among the best in the country, and therefore, among the best in the world . . . notwithstanding the magnificence and costliness and magnitude of some hotels in Paris, London, Dresden and Vienna.”
GUNPOWDER PLOT AT SKOWHEGAN
In the many stories of Mainers in the Civil War do you know the one about the Skowhegan ladies who were not satisfied’?” a New Hampshire reader writes.
With the outbreak of the Civil War, when patriotic fervor in Maine was at its height, the men and boys fairly swarmed to the enlistment booths. The boys claimed to be older and the oldsters claimed to be younger, and more than a few not in the proper age group marched away with the men who were.
The beat of the full-bodied drums timed the tread of martial feet, the Old Flag was displayed everywhere, patriotic songs were sung and rallies held to raise funds. Groups of ladies were organized to study nursing, to make clothing for the volunteer and to wrap bandages. It was an exciting time and a busy time, with a promise of dire fate for the wretched Rebels.
The ladies of Skowhegan, like the ladies in other Maine towns, were involved in all the activities, yet they were not satisfied. Surely three must be something else they could do to show the world that they were loyal Union folks?
So they studied on the matter and finally ciphered out what to them seemed like a sound idea. But it had to be kept hush-hush, a problem for any female and here was a whole town full, pledged to secrecy.
Somehow, and secretly, the ladies managed to get a substantial supply of gunpowder and stash it away. Secretly they trained for the project in mind, and how this was managed in a small town remains as a miracle of all time.
Then one Saturday afternoon in April, the doors of the shed where it was kept swung back and the ladies of Skowhegan rolled out the town’s single artillery piece. To the surprise of the startled onlookers and the entire male population, the forward females handled that canon like a veteran gun crew and treated the neighbors and anybody for ten miles around who wasn’t “deef,’ to a 34-gun salute.
* * * * *
In reply to the query respecting Portland’s first police matron, we submit the following.
The Portland Police department had its first matron in 1887, when Mrs. Mary J. Raymond became a member of the force on the recommendation of the local Women’s Christian Temperance Union.
In 1887 a police signal system was installed, with twenty call boxes placed in different parts of the city, while the boys were about it, they added a horse-drawn patrol wagon.
In 1911, the Paddy Wagon went modern, when the horse-drawn vehicle was replaced by the first motorized patrol. Modernization having caught on, in July of 1912, the first police boat for Portland Harbor was placed in operation.
The Portland police were the first in Maine to be equipped with radio and patrol cars.
[More next month . . . ]
If you have missing ancestors, send your query to Jeff Linscott, editor, and I will publish them as space permits. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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Taconnett Falls Officers - 2008
President Fred Clark Vice President Robert Chenard Secretary Barbara Gunvaldsen Treasurer Laton Edwards Membership Enola Couture Board of Directors Thelma Brooks
Janet Weymouth as Past President
Editor Jeff Linscott
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NEWSLETTER - Volume 12 Number 7 - July 2008