Harpswell Historical Society Newsletter

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					                                                                                                                   Harpswell Historical Society
                                                                                                                                                                                  Summer 2009

                                                                                                     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.

                                                                                                     President’s Report
                                                                                                         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
                                                                         Wednesday, Aug.12th

                                                                         the gift of the church

                                                                                                                                                                Home Folks of Harpswell and
                                                                                                     the Harpswell Militia.                                        Other Poems ...................     6
                                                                         Annual Meeting:

                                                                                                         Our Society, with the cooperation                      Annual Meeting ...................     6
                                                                         Garden Club.

                                                                                                     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
                                                                                                     133 years.
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-
                                                                                              things better?
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,
                                                                                                   and now.
                                                                                                                                               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
                                                                                                                                               the HHS!
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
                                                                                                                                                                            Page 7
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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
      Name _____________________________________________
      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
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                                                                                             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,
                                                                                                                                                                                  Page 5
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