Harpswell Historical Society
The Harpswell Historical Society is dedicated to the discovery, identification, collection, preservation,
interpretation, and dissemination of materials relating to the history of Harpswell and its people.
Our Society was formed some 31 Our Society has moved and pre-
years ago. At that time Thurlow Al- served the District # 2 School. Built
exander was President and I was Vice in 1829, it is close to being ready for
President. Harpswell School children to visit. The
What our Society has become has last students were there in 1913.
exceeded by far the hopes and dreams Our society has been entrusted with
of our first board of directors. This has the care and future of the Fishermen’s
been accomplished by the caring and Memorial Statue on the tip end of
good will of a great many people. Our Timothy Bailey’s island.
Society benefits from a town with a rich We have created a Museum with
and colorful history. many artifacts to see. One of those
Our Society preserved the Tan-Ea- artifacts was used by the true natives as
ton-Hackett house and in the process much as 6,000 years ago. We have fire
formed the Harpswell Heritage Land proof and climate controlled archives,
Trust. the safest place in the town of Harpswell!
For more than twenty years in agree-
ment with the Town of Harpswell, we Contents
Harpswell Historical Society
have cared for and brought visitors
President’s Report ................. 1
into The Old Town Meeting House, a History of The East Harpswell
National Historic Landmark. On each
929 Harpswell Nexk Road
Baptist Church ................ 2
Harpswell, Maine 04079
4th of July there you will hear a reading Board Meetings ................... 3
Baptist Church at 7:00 pm
with a speaker, music and
of the Declaration of Independence by HHS Buildings and Sites: .... 4
refreshments provided by
the Sebascodegan Island
The program will honor
musket toting rabble-rousers known as Oral History in Harpswell .... 4
at The East Harpswell
the gift of the church
Home Folks of Harpswell and
the Harpswell Militia. Other Poems ................... 6
Our Society, with the cooperation Annual Meeting ................... 6
of the Harpswell Garden Club, has Harpswell Historical Society
moved and preserved Centennial Hall. Membership .................... 6
It has been a community building for Ideas for the Future .............. 7
We are the repository for the oldest from Memorial Day through Columbus Ideas for the future students on classroom activities in
records of the Town of Harpswell. We Day. Please come and visit. Harpswell in the 1800s.
We need your help in improving and
hold records and artifacts for the Kellogg At this time there are two great • Volunteers to build benches for
expanding the activities of the HHS, and
Church, The West Harpswell Baptist things for you to know. First is the gift the 1800s District 2 school house
eagerly solicit and welcome your ideas
Church, The Grange and The Friends of of $25,000 dollars from the estate of behind Centennial Hall.
for future directions of the organization.
Eagle Island. There is currently an exhib- Frances Linnell. Second, is the gift of the • A volunteer to research the history
The HHS belongs to its members and
it of paintings by William Gilcrist at the East Harpswell Baptist Church. Our So- of relations among the various
the town and should reflect their views
Museum. Mr. Gilcrist died in1926 and ciety has become part of the fabric of our parts of Harpswell (excluding
on what it should be doing. In par-
lived for a time on the Cundy’s Harbor town. Well respected for its good work, recent issues such as LNG and
ticular, please give us your feedback on
Road. Other examples of his work may it is just what our founding members school closures!).
HHS activities, including the Museum
be seen at the Portland Museum of Art had hoped for. • A volunteer to expand the 1800
at Harpswell Center. How could we do
and The Farnsworth Art Museum. The Respectfully Submitted, and 1900s old-time kitchen ex-
Museum is open on Sundays from 2 to 4 David Hackett III, President hibit at the HHS Museum.
• A speaker for our winter speaker
• We are also looking for objects to
event in February.
display in that exhibit. When you
• Lobstermen who will show us
are cleaning out your attic or barn,
how to make lobster traps and talk
History of The East informally about lobstering then
please consider donating that old
Harpswell Baptist Church milk bottle, iron, washboard, pot,
creamer, chair, table, wall hanging,
Recently the Sebascodegan Island in 1817. The original members in- • A current or former school teacher
1920s calendar, waffle iron, skillet,
Garden Club deeded the East Harpswell cluded members of the Curtis, Purinton, to manage a day-long teaching
toaster, plate or eating utensil to
Baptist Church over to the Harpswell Coombs, Rich, Snow, Totman, Dingley program for elementary school
Historical Society which is now respon- and Raymond families. The original
sible for its care. records of the church are lost, but all
The East Harpswell Baptist Church indications are that the society used the
was built in 1843 on land purchased that old East Harpswell Meeting House built
year from Isaac Rich 2nd by Stephen at Cranberry Horn about 1767 for their
Purinton Jr. “in behalf of the proprietors meeting place, prior to the building of
of the Meeting House which we now this present church. The society’s greatest
contemplate building on Harpswell Is- period of growth was during the period
land”. The deed was signed by Isaac Rich from 1840 to the Civil War, with most of
and his wife Betsey, and witnessed by the families on Sebascodegan listed. The
Isaiah Snow and Simeon Hopkins. Two list of the members of the society is in
of the pews in the new meeting house the Raymond papers kept at the Pejep-
were listed in the appraisal in 1845 of scot Historical Society Archives. Other
Stephen Purinton’s estate: Pew Number familiar Island names on the list are the
19 to Eunice H. Purinton, Pew Number Coffins, Aubens, Herseys, Holbrooks,
32 to Priscilla Lunt. Trufants, Doughtys, Catlins, Andersons,
The Free-Will Baptist Church and Goddards, Smalls, Ridleys, Toothakers,
Society of East Harpswell had been Stovers, Eastmans and Watsons.
organized during the ministry of the While regular services have not been
Reverend George Lamb of Brunswick held for many years, the church had South Harpswell
Home Folks of Harpswell homework by kerosene lamp and its first restoration work and series of Board Meetings
Harpswell fishermen hauled their boats services during the 1930s under the
and Other Poems in the late fall by hand with the help of leadership of Charles F. Huff of Orr’s
All members are welcome to attend
both the board meetings and the public
With each new membership or ten or so friends and relatives. You can Island, and funds for its care have been meetings. If you wish to attend a board
renewal of $25.00 or more (coupon obtain a free copy of this unique book continued ever since. The Sebascode- meeting, or have a comment, please
below), you will receive a free copy of by joining or rejoining the Harpswell gan Island Garden Club was formed contact David Hackett (833-6322),
the book of Harpswell remembrances Historical Society at the contribution during the 1960s to continue the res- Box 121, Harpswell, 04079.
and poems, Home Folks of Harpswell level or higher. toration of the church. The old church
and Other Poems by Frank Linwood has continued as the site of weddings,
Bailey. We hope that a new generation christenings and summer vesper ser-
of Harpswellians will find interest and Annual Meeting
vices, keeping alive for the future this
appreciation of the people and history Aug 12th at 7:00 pm Annual Meet- special place in our community.
of Harpswell through the words of ing—East Harpswell Baptist Church.
Mr. Bailey. His vivid, rich portraits The program will honor the gift of
of his neighbors and his many poems the church with a speaker, music and
on life in Harpswell throughout the refreshments provided by the Sebasco-
year recall a less hurried time in our degan Island Garden Club.
community when students did their
The Society would be grateful if you decided to send in your membership or
membership renewal dues with this newsletter. You are welcome to use the form below.
Many of you have missed several years. We will welcome you back.
Harpswell Historical Society
$10.00 Individual $15.00 Family
$25.00 Contributor $50.00 Patron
$200.00 Life ___.__ Other
Town, State, Zip_____________________________________
Winter address, if different _____________________________
Your Contribution is tax deductible.
Please make your check payable to Harpswell Historical Society
and mail it to Harpswell Historical Society; 929 Harpswell Neck Road,
Harpswell, Maine 04079
The East Harpswell Baptist Church
uncles, cousins, children and neighbors. Harpswell ship captain Frank.
What about that lobsterman who lives • Life in Harpswell, Maine in the
next door? What about that guy who Early to Mid 1900’s by third,
used to work at the old US Navy fuel fourth and fifth graders at Harp-
farm (now Mitchell Field)? Didn’t swell Islands and West Harpswell
your aunt used to work at one of the Schools (1997-98).
old hotels in Harpswell or the old store • Occupations of an Earlier Harp-
on Orrs Island? Our Society president swell by West Harpswell School
Dave Hackett can provide advice on how students
to do an oral history. Or, the Internet • Movie on Mackerel Cove.
is an excellent source of information • Memoirs of the Harpswell Cot-
on conducting an oral history, includ- tages by Lena Towle Salomon
ing sample questions and preservation • Cundy’s Harbor Incident during
methods. When you complete an oral the Revolutionary War by Carrie
history, please consider placing a copy of Chapman Purington.
Merriconeag House, Harpswell about 1890 it in the archives at the HHS.
The Harpswell Historical Society Did you know that Harpswell has
Museum and website (http://commu- had 15 different school houses since
HHS Buildings and Sites: speaking events. Please support your
nity.curtislibrary.com/hhs/) already have
town’s history and the HHS by using 1758? Do you know where they all were
• Harpswell Historic Park at Harp- a number of oral histories, including: or are? One was the building that now
swell Center including: these facilities!
• Memories of Anne Francis Hodg- houses the Blackbird Café and Homes
o HHS Museum (Open Sundays
2-4 PM from Memorial Day to Oral History in Harpswell kins, daughter of well-known and Harbors office at the intersection of
Route 123 and the Mountain Road.
Columbus Day or by appoint- Oral history is the recording, pres-
ment at any time) ervation and interpretation of histori-
o Harpswell Cattle Pound cal information, based on the personal
o Centennial Hall experiences and opinions of the speaker.
o Old District 2 School House It often takes the form of eye-witness evi-
o Old Meeting Hall and Center dence about past events, but can include
Cemetery (owned by Town, folklore, myths, songs and stories passed
administered by HHS) down over the years by word of mouth.
• East Harpswell Baptist Church It is an invaluable way of preserving
(Cundy’s Harbor) the knowledge and understanding of
• Fisherman statue at Land’s End older people, but can also involve in-
(Bailey’s Island) terviewing younger generations. (From
You can visit these buildings and sites Wikipedia).
at any time or in some cases through Build your own personal legacy in
prior arrangement. In addition, Cen- Harpswell! Do you want to make his-
tennial Hall and the East Harpswell tory and leave a valuable legacy to future
generations of Harpswell people? Put Schooner John A. Allen nearly ready for launch from the Allen shipyard, Clark’s Cove,
Church buildings are available for rent Harpswell, Maine, 1902. The ship carpenter standing on the shore was Freelon Smith—the other
at nominal cost for public events such together an oral history by interview-
individuals standing on the deck are unknown, but probably included some of the Allen family.
as weddings, theater groups, clubs, and ing your grandparents, parents, aunts,