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Volume 10 | Issue 1 | 2013

Maine’s History Magazine

Aroostook County

Lightning Strikes The Great North Woods

Natural phenomena causes great fires in 1800s

President Nixon’s Loring Telecast His last televised broadcast as president

Fort Fairfield’s Dick Curless “Songs for the lonesome road”

www.DiscoverMaineMagazine.com

Aroostook County

Inside This Edition

2 3 It Makes No Never Mind James Nalley 5

Maine’s History Magazine

Lightning Strikes The North Woods Natural phenomena causes great fires in1800s Charles Francis

8 Northwoods Vernacular l Lumberjack cuss words and more Charles Francis

Aroostook County Publisher

11 Bible Point In Island Falls l Left lasting memories on a future President James Nalley

Jim Burch

13 Thinking Outside The Icebox l Adjusting to life in Aroostook County Christine Laws

Liana Merdan

15 Garrison Hill Radio Station - Radio NBD Was housed in the old Hancock Barracks site Charles Francis

Designer & Editor Advertising & Sales Manager Tim Maxfield

Advertising & Sales

19 Aroostook’s Great Gravenstein l The heirloom apple has been honored by Slo Food International Charles Francis

Barry Buck Tim Churchill Mike Conlon Chris Girouard Tim Maxfield

22 The Snark Missile At Presque Isle l An important stopgap measure Charles Francis

Office Manager

28 The Founding Of Benedicta l Small community almost became a college town Charles Francis

George Tatro

31 Old Maine Woman: Stories From The Coast To The County An excerpt from the novel by Presque Isle native Glenna Johnson Smith Glenna Johnson Smith 34 President Nixon’s Loring Telecast l It was the last televised event before his resignation Charles Francis 37 Annette Jackson, Game Warden’s Wife l The lady who took to Umsaskis Lake Charles Francis 42 My Unforgettable Trip To Presque Isle l New York woman returns to her mother’s birthplace Karen Maher 44 Fort Fairfield’s Dick Curless l “Songs for the lonesome road” James Nalley 48 Caribou’s Samuel Matthews l The story of the Maine worker Charles Francis 50 The Genealogy Corner l Using the earliest census data Charles Francis 54 Easter Water And The Resurrection Of Christ a St. John Valley tradition Charles Francis 57 The Passing Of Father Stanislas Vallee And the relocation of St. Bruno de Grand Riviere A.C. Clegg

Liana Merdan

Field Representatives

Contributing Writers

A.C. Clegg Charles Francis | fundy67@yahoo.ca Christine Laws Karen Maher James Nalley Glenna Johnson Smith Published Annually by CreMark, Inc. 10 Exchange Street, Suite 208 Portland, Maine 04101 Ph (207) 874-7720 info@discovermainemagazine.com www.discovermainemagazine.com Discover Maine Magazine is distributed to town offices, chambers of commerce, fraternal organizations, shopping centers, libraries, newsstands, grocery and convenience stores, hardware stores, lumber companies, motels, restaurants and other locations throughout this part of Maine. NO PART of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from CreMark, Inc. |Copyright © 2012, CreMark, Inc.

SUBSCRIPTION FORM ON PAGE 60

Front Cover Photo: Main St. South, Presque Isle #102093 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www. PenobscotMarineMuseum.org All photos in Discover Maine’s Aroostook County edition show Maine as it used to be, and many are from local citizens who love this part of Maine. Photos are also provided from our collaboration with the Maine Historical Society and the Penobscot Marine Museum.

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DiscoverMaineMagazine.com

It Makes No Never Mind

by James Nalley

B

y the time you begin reading this issue of “Discover Maine” magazine, the summer tourists have been long gone and the snowmobiles now outnumber the cars on the road. Yes, it is the dead of winter up in what is affectionately referred to as “The County” or for those in the tourist trade, “The Crown of Maine.” In addition to the astounding 2,300 miles of snowmobile trails, this particular county includes several recognitions such as being the largest county in the United States by land area east of the Mississippi River as well as being larger than the states of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined (which is not hard to do). However, I noticed one particular aspect that has helped form Aroostook County into what it is today: this northernmost area is so far away from the largest cities in Maine (as well as any other large city), that over time, its residents have been portrayed as being distant from any aspect of Maine government. Such “remoteness” has even inspired politicians to suggest

that Aroostook should either become a part of Canada (which wouldn’t be a bad thing due to the mostly free national healthcare system) or actually making the county its own state. Could you imagine? Let us welcome the 51st state in the union: Aroostook! But seriously, it is not surprising if one looks back into its history. With “ownership” that has ranged from the Micmac and the Maliseet Indians or the French to even Massachusetts of all places; Aroostook is certainly a special area. Naturally, some of its well-known historic towns are named after forts (Fort Fairfield, Fort Kent) since former settlers had to constantly defend themselves from everyone from the locals and the French-Canadians to bears and other hungry carnivores. Other locations such as Presque Isle (by the way, the county’s largest city of approximately 10,000 people) saw plane after plane depart for England in World War II with many that never returned home. What this translates into for us readers is a regional history that is filled with fascinating stories that range from hardships against nature to prominent residents that made a difference after donning a pair of snowshoes. So, enjoy the warm fire and the barbecued moose meat as well as these stories and hopefully, the snowmobiles out-

side of your window will not disturb you too much. In the meantime, let me close with the “Top 10 Reasons You Know You Are from Aroostook County”: 10. Your child’s Halloween costume is large enough to fit over a snowsuit. 9. You have five favorite recipes for moose. 8. Your local hardware store is busier than most toy stores around Christmas time. 7. You can tell the difference between a squirrel and chipmunk from 200 yards away. 6. You owe more for your snowmobile than your car. 5. The mayor greets you by your first name. 4. The trunk of your car doubles as a freezer. 3. Your house has no front steps, and the front door is four feet off the ground. 2. You believe that driving is better in the winter since the potholes get filled in with snow. 1. You agree that the four seasons are winter, still winter, almost winter, and construction.

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Lightning Strikes The North Woods

Natural phenomena causes great fires in 1800s by Charles Francis

H

ave you ever noted a bare mountaintop in the north woods? They are there, and in abundance: barren, devoid of trees. They shouldn't be. With the possible exception of Katahdin every mountain in Maine was once covered by luxuriant growth. Why are there barren mountaintops then? The answer is fire. According to the Maine Forest Service “Over 90 percent of all forest fires in Maine are caused by humans with backyard brush burning.” The Forest Service says “The only fire that can't be prevented is that caused by lightning.” The first great north woods forest fire occurred in 1825. The immediate cause was lightning. Lightning wasn't

the underlying cause, though. The early 1820s marked the first great push by loggers into the north woods. They left behind vast areas of slash and debris. The slash dried, tinder-like, and lightning did the rest. The same thing happened again in 1837. When we think of the fires that have devastated Maine, the fires of 1947 are probably the first that come to mind. 1947 has been chronicled as “the year that Maine burned.” The '47 fires weren't in the north woods, though. They were in western Maine and along the coast. North woods forest fires haven't received the attention of those in the rest of the state. In fact, there is just one

truly comprehensive study devoted to north woods forest fires. It was published back in 1948. The book is Historic Forest Fires in Maine by Charles B. Fobes. Charles Fobes' book is something of a classic. It is very readable, even riveting. Fobes says right away that he won't deal with the fires of 1947. Mind you, he is writing just a year after Maine burned. Why didn't Fobes take up the '47 fires? He says there are already too many accounts of the disaster. For Fobes, the north woods is the area north and east of the Penobscot. He describes the region as originally covered by spruce, fir and northern hardwoods. The hardwoods included (Continued on page 6)

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(Continued from page 5) beech, sugar maple and yellow birch. Note that white birch is not mentioned. Yet there are plenty of white birch in the north woods today. Fobes traces this abundance directly to past forest fires. His point is that forest fires totally altered the makeup of the north woods. The Forest Service has a percentage breakdown for the cause of forest fires. It reads 23.5 burning debris, 19.5 arson, 14.7 machinery, 12.4 miscellaneous, 8 campfires, 7.2 lightning, 5.6 smoking, 4.8 children, 4.4 railroads. These percentages are modern-day figures. Back before the north woods began to attract large numbers of people, hunters, campers and the like, lightning was the number one cause of north woods fires. Lightning is still a cause, though. The Forest Service notes it. There are any number of stories of individuals experiencing lightning storms in the north woods. Many of us have seen lightning playing about Ka-

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tahdin's peaks. There is a story of two boys camping by a north woods lake. Lightning struck between them, completely melting an axe blade. Though burned, the boys recovered from their experience. There is a folk belief that lightning never strikes twice in the same spot. Nothing could be further from the truth, though. This is especially true in the case of tall structures. The Empire State Building has been struck as many as twelve times in 20 minutes. However, it is unusual for individual human beings to be struck repeatedly by lightning. The most amazing case is the park ranger Roy Sullivan, who has been struck by lightning seven times. He used to live in a mobile home surrounded by a dozen lightning rods. He killed himself in 1983. Certain trees are known to be prone to being hit by lightning. The oak is one. When there were elms, they were also

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often struck. It has to do with height, height and some say the capacity of the tree to retain water. I was hiking in the Grindstone area along the East Branch of the Penobscot more than a fair number of years ago when I came upon a tree that had recently been hit by lightning. The tree was beside the remains of an old homestead. The tree was an oak with a diameter of three and one half feet to four feet. The tree had been devastated by the strike. Evidence of the strike could been seen in the ground and in the remains of the old home. It seemed that the strike had first touched the top of the tree. Bark and leaves were scorched for some twelve or fifteen feet downward. From that point on the bark was stripped from the tree. It seemed that the lightning had gone inward. At a point where the large limbs began, the lightning must have divided, as it continued to de-

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scend cutting deeper into the trunk. As to the main limbs of the oak, they had been sheared off the trunk at the butt to produce holes in the ground where they landed. Where the lightning touched ground, it looked as if a bomb had gone off. The trunk was split into a half dozen or so major sections and a myriad of smaller ones. The sections were splayed out on either side for from ten to twenty and more feet. At ground level the lightning appeared to have traced along or through the tree's roots so that the earth looked as if it had been plowed by a single blade plow again and again. In two instances the furrows extended out in one direction for between forty and fifty feet. In the other direction the lightning had passed into the old foundation of the dilapidated home, blasting huge foundation stones aside and following some old pipe to the far side where it again went underground.

It is no wonder that the ancient Greeks associated lightning with the most powerful of the gods, Zeus, and the Romans called lightning Jove's bolts. So little of the heart of the oak remained that it would have been difficult to find a piece large enough to make a baseball bat. What was it that struck the great oak I saw and caused most of the early fires in the north woods? Lightning is a giant spark of electricity. A typical lightning flash contains about 20,000 amps and several hundred million volts. This compares to a standard household current of 15 amps and about 115 volts. Typically, a lightning flash is only 1 to 2 inches wide. The step leader that initiates the lightning flash propagates downward from the cloud at a rate of about 320,000 feet per second or about 220,000 miles per hour. We now return to the barren mountaintops of the north woods. Charles Fobes says they exist because of past

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forest fires, fires of the nineteenth century. The fires burned not only trees but also ground cover. This meant wind and rain erosion. The bare mountain tops are there because the fire devastated areas which had never formed a soil deep enough that a forest covering could make a comeback. And even if it had, the trees that would have come in wouldn't have been the old sugar maple and beech, but rather grey and white birch and the like. Most of us feel the brute forces of nature have been largely tamed. If this were the case, though, there would not be a market for lightning rods. Nor would there be a need for lightning safety rules, rules we never think about except when there is a thunder storm. Lightning can have lasting consequences. The next time you see a barren mountaintop in northern or eastern Maine think how long it has been since trees grew there. ❦Other businesses from this area are featured in the color section.

aL rry’s Wood Products Larry MacArthur

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Crandall’s ardware H Glidden Paints

Makita & Dewalt Tools

(207) 746-5722 8 Main Street East Millinocket

Aroostook County

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Northwoods Vernacular Lumberjack cuss words and more

by Charles Francis

W

e all know the expressions “to swear like a sailor,” “to cuss like a stevedore” and “locker-room language.” They point to the fact that under certain circumstance and among certain individuals cussing is an accepted mode of expression and communication. The circumstances are, of course, male dominated. You don't find many lady stevedores. By implication, the two other circumstances also are male dominated. The occupations are working class. Cussing or swearing is the language of choice for working class males. At least that is what is implied. Cussing isn't just a working class male phenomenon, though. It is found in the middle class, and women swear, too. Think of the exasperated mother chas-

tising her daughter with “Your mouth is like a toilet.” Still and all, cussing and swearing have a male provenance. Cussing and swearing seems to fit with men in rough and tumble settings. It acts to enhance the fact that men engaged in physical occupations and pursuits can inflict and endure pain. Cussing is a sort of masculine advertisement — like wearing heavy boots, exposing one's muscles or having a massive belt buckle. It shows a willingness to break taboos and informality of atmosphere. It is used in circumstances where there is a lot of freedom, freedom from having to watch what one says. Sailors and stevedores aside, it is doubtful that there is an occupation of the last few hundred years that has en-

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joyed greater informality and freedom from having to watch one's language than that of lumberjack. Lumberjacks and cussing just naturally seem to go together. Take, for example, the following lumberjack inspired ditty: Its all very well to be profane When life is as dark as night But the man worth a fuss Is the man who can cuss When everything 'round him is bright Stewart Holbrook's Holy Old Mackinaw is one of the greatest books ever written about logging in North America. Holbrook begins his story of logging in Maine of 1631 with the first “authentic” sawmill operated by water power. He also includes Bangor with

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DiscoverMaineMagazine.com the chapter “The Flowering of a Lumber Town.” There jacks come out the the woods to raise cane in the Devil's Half Acre. Folklorists and linguists have studied the Maine or Downeast vernacular. One of the most respected of these, Richard Dorson, did so in the Washington County area. Polite textbook writers don't often give examples of salty cuss words, and students of traditional culture like Dorson usually follow this tradition. For example, in Tall Trees, Tough Men Robert Pike makes a point of emphasizing the “Great Loude Oathes” heard by early travellers in the woods. We don't know what the oaths are, though. The closest Pike comes to identifying any is when he cites an article in a Maine newspaper in which a woman accuses her lumberjack husband of being a “galloping, ralloping, randy Dandy.” But then Mainers are known for replacing taboo words with mild euphemisms. The term “wicked” comes to mind here. It is a cuss word and one that is generally recognized as unique to Maine. This brings us to just what is cussing and how does it relate to the north woods in particular. In the time period that Stewart Holbrook begins Holy Old Mackinaw the north woods began almost at the coast. Then as towns and villages sprang up it retreated inland. And loggers and their unique language usages went with it. As the lumberjack was born in the Maine woods so was his cussing, and that cussing gave us Maineisms like “wicked,” “By Gorry,” the more gen-

erally used “Judas Priest” and a lot of other even more colorful and saltier cuss words. If there is one thing that all cuss words have in common it is that they bear an emotional charge, an emotional charge that most of us would not prefer to have running through our thoughts. If one accepts the sentiment expressed in the little five line ditty above, lumberjacks are an exception to this conjecture. They are proud of their cussing. As for cussing itself, some linguists identify five types of swearing. The five are as follows: a sense of awe for God, fear of Hell and disease, disgust for bodily secretions, hatred for those different from us and reactions to depravity and sexuality. Cussing falls into two broad divisions, dysphemism and euphemism. Dyphemism brings to mind the most disagreeable aspects of what is being named or referred to. It is used to emphasis just how awful something is. Euphemism is used to avoid calling up unwanted emotions. The following cuss words with north woods origins or associations run a gamut from mildly euphemistic to taboo. Wicked is mildly euphemistic. Frig is mildly dysphemistic. As mentioned above, “wicked” seems limited to Maine. Frig can be heard outside Maine in the Maritime Provinces of Canada. Wicked and frig are used in place of various forms of the F-word. Depending on circumstances, wicked and frig have expressive and/ or cathartic value. As one wit said, the

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language of sexuality forces the speaker “to choose between the language of the gutter, the nursery and the anatomy class.” Given the fact that cuss words materialize and turn over rapidly — it is estimated there are over 2000 for a wanton woman — the longevity of north woods cuss words, especially those of the mildly euphemistic variety, is striking. The commonality of Judas Priest serves as an example. It is a substitute for Jesus Christ. There are a number of variations that seem particularly Maine, such as Judas H. Priest and Judas H. Kentucky. What the H. stands for and how Kentucky made its way to Maine as a cuss word seems lost to the vagaries of time. By Gorry is a mildly euphemistic north woods cuss word. Gor or By Gor are a bit stronger. Both have been identified as Maine localisms or possibly regionalisms. There are no instances of their use as cuss words far from Maine's primal forests. Both terms reference God. The crafting of cuss words has exercised the human mind for about as long as there has been language. In some cases it has been elevated to an art form. Chaucer and Shakespeare serve as cases in point. Probably no single group of individuals were as proficient at cussing as the Maine north woods lumberjack, though. As proof of this, their creativeness is still serving us today. ❦Other businesses from this area are featured in the color section.

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Bible Point In Island Falls Left lasting memories on a future President by James Nalley

I

n September 1878 a small group of travelers arrived by train at the Mattawamkeag Station en route to Island Falls, Maine. Accompanying them was a 21-year-old man from New York City who was eager to explore the wilderness of Maine for the first time in his life. After traveling 36 miles in a horsedrawn buckboard wagon, they reached the residence of William “Bill” Sewall, who was hired to be their guide. Over the next few days, Sewall and his nephew, Wilmot Dow, guided the group throughout the area where they camped at the confluence of the west branch of the Mattawamkeag River and First Brook. Every morning the young New

York City man would walk alone to a point along the river where he would read scripture from his Bible. He would eventually become the 26th President of the United States, known as Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. This period would also unite Roosevelt and Sewall to form a life-long friendship that lasted even after his presidency. Even though Sewall was an experienced woodsman and guide, he never drank or smoked. He was also known to have faithfully read his Bible each day, much like Roosevelt. According to a letter by Sewall, “Theodore was a different fellow to guide from what I had ever seen before. I had never seen anybody that was like him, and I have

held that opinion ever since.” Roosevelt would make another trip to Islands Falls to visit his friend Sewall in March 1879. This time Sewall met Roosevelt at the Mattawamkeag Station and they rode by sleigh toward the OxBow region, where they hunted and fished, again with Dow as a guide. Just six months later Roosevelt returned for an eight-day trip to Mt. Katahdin, where they traveled 46 miles by wagon to the OxBow region and then paddled 50 miles in a dugout canoe up the Aroostook River to Munsungan Lake. As the summer ended and the majority of wealthy students headed back toward college directly from their posh residences, Roosevelt remained (Continued on page 12)

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112 Main St. Suite 4 East Millinocket, ME

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CREDIT CARD DEBT A PROBLEM?

BANKRUPTCY MAY BE A SOLUTION... __________________________ Are you a candidate? Free Consultation Keep Your House & All Personal Property? Discharge All Non-Gov Unsecured Debt? Also providing a broad range of legal services:

REAL ESTATE • SOCIAL SECURITY • PERSONAL INJURY

207-463-2285 7 Sherman Street Island Falls, ME

Timberland Owners Wanted Looking for Long Term Lot Improvement?

Cunningham Brothers, Inc. If You Own Timberland Call For A Free Consultation

207-365-4028 Benedicta, ME

40 years experience in woodlots

calculationsinc.com

Certified Professional Logger

Aroostook County

12

(Continued from page 11) in Maine and chose to return in a more untraditional manner. According to Maine’s Department of Conservation, “When Mr. Roosevelt was ready to return to his studies at Harvard, Sewall and Dow guided him to the railroad by a different route. They took him in a birch-bark canoe down through Mattawamkeag Lake and Mattawamkeag River to Kingman, where Roosevelt took the train to Boston.” Roosevelt subsequently finished his studies, and it was not until 1884 when he saw Sewall again. The pair would spend approximately two years together on Roosevelt’s cattle ranches in the Bad Lands of Dakota Territory. Afterwards, Roosevelt began his slow rise toward political fame, and although they corresponded frequently, the next time the pair was reunited was at the White House for the presidential inauguration in 1901. Roosevelt would never get the chance to return to Island Falls again. Although Roosevelt’s colorful life included a wide array of activities that ranged from serving as New York City’s Police Commissioner and hunting on an African safari to leading his “Rough Riders” up the San Juan Hill in Cuba, his memories of Maine were incredibly special even four decades after

his first visit to Island Falls. In a letter titled “My Debt to Maine” dated March 20, 1918, he vividly writes: I owe a personal debt to Maine because of my association with certain staunch friends in Aroostook County; an association that helped and benefited me throughout my life in more ways than one. It is more than forty years ago that I first went to Island Falls and stayed with the Sewall family… I was not a boy of any natural prowess and for that reason the vigorous out-door life was just what I needed… And I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was rather tired by some of the all-day tramps, especially in the deep snow, when my webbed racquets gave me “snowshoe feet,” or when we waded up the Munsungan in shallow water, dragging a dugout, until my ankles became raw from slipping on the smooth underwater stones, and I still remember with qualified joy the ascent and especially the descent of Katahdin in moccasins, worn because I had lost one of my heavy shoes in crossing a river at a riffle. Today, the site where Roosevelt, Dow, and Sewall once hunted, fished, and explored is a 27-acre property located on the southern end of Mattawamkeag Lake. Established by the State of Maine in 1971, it was appro-

priately named the “Bible Point State Historic Site,” which offers fishing and a number of spectacular hiking trails. In 1921 a plaque was placed on the spot where Roosevelt once sat in solitude with his Bible, inspired by the beautiful and serene surroundings. The plaque’s inscription simply sums up the special location and the man’s legacy: This place, to which a great man in his youth liked to come to commune with God and with the wonder and beauty of the visible world, is dedicated to the happy memory of THEODORE ROOSEVELT. Stranger, rest here and consider what one man, having faith in the right and love for his fellow man was able to do for his country.

❦Other businesses from this area

are featured in the color section.

FRANK LANDRY & SONS, INC. ~ Raymond Landry ~

• Backhoe • Bulldozing • General Contracting • Plowing • Screened Gravel • Road Construction

538-7506 Patten, Maine

R.H. Auto Sales & Rentals

New & Used Car & Truck Sales Rentals Daily, Weekly, Monthly

Utility Trailer Sales 26 Sherman St. • Island Falls 106B Houlton Rd. • Island Falls

463-2829 Cell: 446-6703

We’re ! Bigger

Jerry’s Shurfine

To Serve You Better! Full line of Groceries, Fresh Meats & Fish, Produce, In-Store Bakery, Cold Beverages, Beer & Wine, Frozen Foods, Ice, Film, Live Lobsters (seasonal), Live Bait, Fishing Supplies • Agency Liquor Store

Airtight Cookstoves & Heating Stoves

The Pioneer Place, U.S.A. Country General Store

Check Our Weekly Flyer for Great Buys Throughout the Store

Farm & Home Supplies • LP Gas Refrigerators Sock,s • Gloves • Quality Footwear • Fencing Supplies Hard-to-Find Items • Bulk Foods & Spices

Mon-Wed 7AM-6PM, Thurs-Sat 7AM-7PM, Sun 9AM-5PM

Old Fashioned Service & Down to Earth Prices

463-2828 Route 2, Island Falls, Maine

2539 U.S. Route 2 • Smyrna, ME

207-757-8984

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DiscoverMaineMagazine.com

Thinking Outside The Icebox Adjusting to life in Aroostook County by Christine Laws

M

oving to the County meant leaving behind a nice refrigerator. Oh, we didn’t actually own it or anything, but still, those vast glass shelves and that spacious freezer had plenty of room for all the essentials: Brigham’s Mississippi Mud ice cream, cappuccino silk pie, and lots of root beer. Would the new fridge hold all that? I wondered. We moved to a place in Linneus where the new fridge was really an old fridge—harvest gold, gaunt, and as loud as a mosquito in your ear. The refrigerator held what we needed but as it turned out, two-thirds of the essentials weren’t available at the local grocery store, anyway. Soon the men from Sears arrived with another refrigerator. One of them wanted the little fridge we were getting rid of; he said it would be the perfect place to stash his soda when he was hanging out in his garage. But I was happy to have a roomier, quieter fridge once again. Then two years later we moved to a cabin in Smyrna where we didn’t

have electricity. For six weeks we also didn’t have a refrigerator, which wasn’t all that bad considering it was a 16x24 cabin — who had room for a fridge? But I wondered how things would go without one. As it turned out, eggs and bread didn’t need refrigeration if you ate them fast enough. Then we had lots of canned food, too. Cheese molded somewhat quickly that July, but we still had plenty of food to eat. Eventually we borrowed an old gas refrigerator. But its freezer had only enough room for one container of Ben & Jerry’s, and I don’t even think they make Mississippi Mud. Besides that, the fridge went through a hundred pounds of propane every week. When it failed the soap-bubble test, we decided to drag it onto the porch and get a fridge that ran on kerosene instead. The freezer was bigger than the previous one had been, but for some reason kerosene fridges are pretty slim overall. Maybe that is because the average person who uses one is at his camp for the long weekend. Not our situa-

Lilley Farms

T&S Market

Your Local Dairy Farm Since 1946

• Breakfast • Lunch • Dinner • Hot & Cold Sandwiches • Pizza Open Mon-Sat 6am-9pm Sun 8am-9pm • Groceries • Gas

lilleyfarmsnaturalbeef.com

~ Serving the area for over two generations ~

Natural Holstein Beef

Raised & Processed Locally Antibiotic Free No Artificial Growth Hormones Lean urg Hamb le For Sa

757-8470 (Jim) 757-8570 (Perry) Call For Pricing & Availability 597 Smyrna Center Rd. • Smyrna, ME

tion. How were we going to cram two weeks’ worth of groceries into a fridge that small? I wondered. But somehow it held what really mattered, and it did a good job of keeping the milk and meat cold. The only problem was that every few days it would let out a noxious odor to announce that its wick needed to be cleaned once again. These days we’re back to using an electric fridge — white, wide, and odor-free. But I realized something about all those refrigerators we had while living in the County. Somehow — no matter what kind or size of fridge it was — we always had enough room for what we really needed. And when we didn’t have a fridge at all, we still found something to eat — even if it wasn’t one of the essentials.

❦Other businesses from this area

are featured in the color section.

Bruce Wallace, Owner

532-6672

209 Hodgdon Mills Rd. • Hodgdon

Owned & Operated by the Wood Family For Over Twenty Years

Cars - Appliances Steel Removal Copper - Brass - Aluminum Propane Tanks

WE PICK UP! 207-757-7800 372 Thompson Settlement Road • Oakfield, ME

LJRecycle@Fairpoint.net

Aroostook County

14

Main Street, Houlton, ME. Item #101049 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

SETH SUITTER Do It All Handyman 8 Years Experience

Commercial/Residential

FREE ESTIMATES _______________________

SNOW SERVICES

Snow Plowing • Sanding • Private Roads Camps • Shoveling Roofs Roof Ice Removal • Shoveling Decks & Walkways

_______________________

Lawn Care • Mowing •Tree Planting & Removal • Gutter Clean Outs Spring/Fall Cleanup • Pressure Washing Chimney Cleaning • Siding • Roofing Carpentry • Drywall • Flooring Masonry • Painting • Power Brooming Hardwood Floor Sanding Scrap Metal & Junk Removal

694-8365 Responsible ~ Reliable

MACS TRADING POST “Maine All Climate Sports”

Guns • Ammo • Camping Gear Fishing Tackle • Ice Fishing Supplies & More Everything You Need To Enjoy The Outdoors

~ Seed Potatoes ~ ~ Processing ~ ~ Table Stock ~

Old Town Canoe & Kayak Dealer

NEW & USED GUNS Mon.-Fri. 8-5p • Sat. 8-2p

532-9700

382 North Street, Route 1 • Houlton

532-6714 3 Sugar Loaf Street

Houlton

15

DiscoverMaineMagazine.com

Garrison Hill Radio Station — Radio NBD Was housed in the old Hancock Barracks site by Charles Francis

L

egend has it there is a ghost to be seen at the very top of Garrison Hill. The apparition is said to be that of a vampire. Just how a vampire came to be associated with Garrison Hill is a mystery that may never be unravelled. If truth be said, ghosts of soldiers wearing early nineteenth century uniforms would be better explained as appearing on Garrison Hill. After all, the hill was where Hancock Barracks was built during the border conflict famous as the Aroostook War. Hancock Barracks aside, there is a better candidate for a Garrison Hill ghost, a ghost that has long been ignored or perhaps best de-

scribed as forgotten. Back at the time of the Great War, World War I, Garrison Hill sported a United States Navy installation. Though southern Aroostook County's Garrison Hill is far removed from the ocean, our country`s Navy thought it the perfect place for a radio listening station to monitor German marine transmissions. Why would the Navy choose Garrison Hill as the site for a radio listening station? There are a number of obvious reasons. Garrison Hill has elevation. It commands the surrounding countryside. This is why Hancock Barracks was constructed here on twenty-five

Compliments of

Forrest W. Barnes ~ Lawyer ~

207-532-6501 Fax: 532-7271

Email: woodybarnz@myfairpoint.net

30 Market Square, Suite 4 Houlton, Maine

Offices - Houlton, Lincoln, Hampden, Sherman Mills, Caribou, Presque Isle, Mars Hill, Calais

1-800-287-2291

C.B.’S TRUCK N’ TRAILER WE KNOW YOU’RE NOT RICH

Owned and Operated by Barry Stackhouse

SO YOU MIGHT AS WELL BE COOL

694-4982

acres purchased specifically for that purpose by the federal government. It may explain why William H. Cary, father of Shepard Cary, built a home nearby. The elder Cary just may have enjoyed a walk to the hill's summit to view sunrises and sunsets. Then there could be another reason, that of expedience. The exact latitude, longitude and a host of other pertinent geologic and geographic facts relating to Garrison Hill were known elements back when the United States entered the Great War. They were known because of a survey by the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. (Continued on page 16)

Aroostook County

16

(Continued from page 15) In September of 1887 James Baylor of the Coast and Geodetic Survey took readings of the azimuth, latitude and magnetic elements of one particular location on Garrison Hill. The exact location of the readings was “over one of the granite piers at Hancock barracks.” A copy of James Baylor's work for the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey is now in the possession of Harold Nelson of the Maine DOT. Nelson is the Maine DOT's Senior Geodesist. He has researched the Navy's Garrison Hill Radio Station — Radio NBD. The details of James Baylor's visit to Garrison Hill are as follows. In July of 1887, the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey instructed Baylor to “occupy a number of magnetic stations in the New England States.” Baylor established five such stations in Maine. Besides the one at Garrison Hill, the sta-

tions were at Damariscotta, Millbridge, Vanceboro and Danforth. Baylor took his Garrison Hill readings on September 5, 6 and 7. Besides the above mentioned information, Baylor carefully recorded time of observation, magnetic declination, dip and intensity. Baylor's information was correlated with the other readings he collected in Maine and throughout the rest of New England and with the magnetic station in Washington, D. C. The Navy used this information in deciding to establish the Garrison Hill Radio Station. It should be noted that the Navy maintained other listening stations in Maine. The first one in operation was the Otter Cliffs Naval Radio Station, Radio NBD on Mt. Desert Island. Listening to the airwaves on Garrison Hill was a tedious and less-than-stimulating assignment. It did, however, re-

quire concentration and attention to the least possible indication of a marine transmission. Early radio signals were generated by a spark transmitter. In order to make sure that generated signals would be received, radio operators made their transmissions as broad and as blunt as possible. When they sent a message it would occupy a spectrum that would have included all of today’s approved broadcast bands and then some. Basically, radio senders operated from the theory that brute force was needed to reach a point of reception. The problem with this was that their transmission could blanket all other radio receivers and any transmission that was weaker. Even though by 1917, when the Garrison Hill Radio Station went into operation, radio transmission had begun on newly instituted band widths, many

Indulgences for all gift needs

Wiggy's Trading Post Monday-Sunday 10a-4p

207-532-2189

Serving Aroostook County for over 55 years... Standing by to meet all of your tire needs!

66 Main St. • Houlton

Your One-Stop center for tires, Quality Automotive Repairs and Maintenance!

Photography • Paintings • Books Woodworking• Jewelry • Cards • Pottery Stained Glass • Glassware • Fiber Art

Antiques • Glassware

207-532-9119

Tues.-Fri. Noon-5 • Sat. 10-2 • SACAP.US

Serving you better from 5 locations! Houlton

135 Bangor St. 267 North St. Lincoln Outer Broadway Presque Isle 30 Rice St. Caribou Off the Bypass

532-2211 521-2402 794-3310 764-1800 492-1500

STATEWIDE TOLL FREE

1-800-660-2212 WWW.HOGANTIRE.NET

Kevin CarmiChael

masonry • Residential & Commercial • Fireplaces • Brick Veneer • Structural Block Over 30 Years Experience

551-4033

PO Box 673 • Houlton, ME 04730

Welcome to Wiggy‛s Trading Post. At Wiggy‛s we offer a wide selection of merchandise: Toys, Antiques, Used Furniture, Books, Collectible Glassware Old & New, Plus Much More!

Collectibles • Books

As Houlton‛s newest mini-mall we offer up to nine different vendors renting space in our store featuring Furniture, Nascar, Collectibles and Vintage and Costume Jewelry. 16 Bangor Street • Houlton, ME

TheThirsty Dawg Don’t forget to visit

“The Dawghouse”

“Warning: Some Dawgs Bite”

~ Kent Good - Owner ~

Aroostook’s Premier Beverage Store 500 Beers ~ 300 Wines ~ 30 Countries We Can Help With Your Holiday Party Needs!

207-532-0130

Mon-Sat 7a-5:30p ~ Closed Sunday 9 Florence Ave. • Houlton, ME

17

DiscoverMaineMagazine.com

transmissions were still instituted from the standpoint that brute force was the best method to utilize. This, then, was the state of radio as the men assigned to Garrison Hill listened for transmissions. And not only was listening for transmissions a problem, so was sending, as it was possible for some brute force transmission to blanket Garrison Hill messages. The Garrison Hill radio utilized magnetic detectors and galena crystals which were standard for the time. Both were typical for the period in that they had very poor sensitivity or selectivity. If Garrison Hill had possessed a police scanner, the job would have been easy. All that an operator would have had to do would have been to listen until a message was picked up. Instead, he had to continually search the airwaves for transmissions. However, Garrison

Hill operators did have one factor in their favor. This was the Navy’s own research into wireless communication. When the United Sates entered the Great War the Navy had just begun establishing its own radio band widths and was experimenting with the use of tuned circuits so that it was possible to use a calibrated dial for sending and receiving. The equipment that Garrison Hill was supplied with had these innovations, plus something that was even more advanced. The circuits of the radio had the earliest wave traps to minimize interfering signals. Even with these sophisticated advances, however, it was necessary for operators to put in long tedious hours listening for the least little indication of a transmission and to calibrate and re-calibrate to eliminate interference. Garrison Hill was once regarded as

STAIRS WELDING R.L., INC. Roger Larson, Owner

Serving the Woods Industry with all types of Logging Trailers and Heavy Duty Cab Guards __________ Custom Metal Fabrication

315 North St., Houlton

1-800-427-9675

❦Other businesses from this area

are featured in the color section.

• New cars and trucks from Toyota & Ford • Quality used cars and trucks - all makes and models • Guaranteed in-house financing through Fresh Start Finance Co. • Full Service Tire & Auto Center • Modern Auto Body Repair Shop

“YOU DESERVE THE BEST!”

Hodgdon, Maine

www.YorksofHoulton.com

532-9253

Stardust Motel • Phones • Full Bath • Satellite TV • Air Conditioning • Refrigerator • Smoking Rooms Available • Ionic Breeze Air Purifiers

one of the best of all sites for a radio station in the eastern United States. This was due to the fact that there was little in the area to provide manmade electromagnetic interference. In addition, there were no natural obstructions due to the vast expanse of open forest land. Garrison Hill Radio Station’s heyday came in the early days of wireless transmission when atmospheric conditions to the southwest in the urban centers of Boston and New York often precluded clear reception. It was undoubtedly due to these factors, as well as the fact James Baylor had established a magnetic station over an old Hancock Barracks granite pier that led the Navy to establish a listening station on Garrison Hill.

Clean comfortable rooms

1-800-437-8406 • 532-6538

672 North Street, Houlton, Maine 04730 2 miles north of I-95 on US Route 1 Just off Interconnected Trail System (ITS ) #83. Easy access from the trail to the parking lot.

KERRY GOLDING CONSTRUCTION • Excavator • Bulldozer • Dump Truck Logging Roads / Low Bed Service Free Estimates • Fully Insured

538-9044 • Cell: 532-1695 Littleton, Maine

Aroostook County

18

Kelleran Street, Houlton, ME. Item #106984 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

BROWN DOG PLUMBING

Kelley Masonry • Chimneys • Chimney Tops • Pre-Cast Overlay Panels • Concrete Floors • Jacking • Structural Work & Much More! Jon Kelley ~Proprietor

BROTHERS REBUILDING •New Construction •Additions •Remodeling Fully Insured ~ Free Estimates Adrian Boyce and Crew General Contractor/Carpenter

Free Estimates • Fully Insured Over 35 Years Experience!

207-949-7824

“Third Generation County Resident” Residential • Commercial New Construction • Remodeling

~ NO JOB TOO SMALL ~ Fully Licensed & Insured

Graig J. Hill

Master Plumber 207-694-4281 207-532-9223 graig.hill@hotmail.com

Cell: 207-521-6043 • Home: 207-521-6270 18 School Street, Bridgewater ME tracyboyce33@yahoo.com

Bridgewater • Maine

Littleton Repair We work on Cars, Trucks, Snowsleds, Lawnmowers, Garden Tractors, Tillers, Snowblowers...If it’s got an engine,

Freshly Prepared

Home Cooked Food

LUNCH

DINNER

WE CAN DO IT! 207-538-0848

Tues-Thurs. 11-8p Friday 11-9p Sat. 7-9p On Sun. 7-7p

ITS 83

538-0991 Route 1 Monticello

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DiscoverMaineMagazine.com

Aroostook’s Great Gravenstein The heirloom apple has been honored by Slo Food International by Charles Francis

A

pples don't often make the news, but recently the old fashioned Gravenstein — along with a limited number of other so-called “heirloom” apples — has proved itself worthy of headlines and hype. The Gravenstein — a treasured symbol of Maine's and Aroostook County's agricultural heritage — has been added to the nonprofit organization Slo Food International's Ark of Taste, a worldwide compendium of foods that have historic and cultural value as well as great taste. As of this writing, the Gravenstein is only the sixth product with Maine or Aroostook County ties to earn a place on the Ark. According to Slo Food International, the Gravenstein is “one of those great all-around apples.” You can eat it off the tree and it’s great for baking — it makes a great apple pie.” Slo Food describes itself as an “eco-gastronomic membership organization that educates people about how their food choices affect the rest of the world.” It has 80,000 members worldwide. Slo Food's Aroostook County headquarters or convivium, as Slo Food calls its local organizations, is in

Littleton. Angela Wotton is convivium leader. While true old fashioned Gravensteins — a yellowish-skin fruit with flecks of red — are not usually sold in the conventional grocery store, they can be found at some farm stands. It and other Aroostook County heirloom varieties like Stowe, Northern Spy and various Russets are just a few of the heirloom varieties that take an effort to find. Aroostook County is known around the world for its potatoes. However, in the late 1800s a number of Aroostook farmers felt that the future of farming in the County was to be found in growing apples. There were two reasons for this. The first being that in the middle part of the nineteenth century, late blight and the Colorado potato beetle sharply reduced the Maine potato crop. The second was that hardy varieties of apple trees that thrived in the Maine climate were being introduced into the County. There is some confusion as to the exact variety of the first apple grown in the Aroostook region. In 1875 a hardy variety of apple known as the Duchess of Oldenburg

was introduced into Aroostook from New Brunswick. This is usually identified as the beginning of successful apple raising in northern Maine. John Dudley of Castle Hill was the first Aroostook farmer to send barrels of Duchess apples to Boston. There is another candidate for the first Aroostook apple variety, though. This is Stowe's Winter Apple. Francis Stowe and his wife came to Perham in 1861 from Marlboro, Massachusetts. This was before there was any easy means of access to what was to become Aroostook County. They traveled up the old Military Road to Houlton and then practically hewed their way through the woods to Perham, where they took up farming on one of the state lots. There are two stories involving Francis Stowe's introduction of the apple to Perham and the county as a whole. One comes from John Dudley, who was probably the most successful Aroostook apple grower of the late 1800s, and the other comes from Rufus Stowe, the son of Francis Stowe. According to John Dudley, the Stowes, having heard there was no fruit raised in the Aroos(Continued on page 20)

SCOVIL Building Supply, Inc. Dalton Scovil, Prop.

“See Us First or We Both Lose Money”

425-3192

5 Libby Rd. • Blaine, ME

SCOVIL APARTMENTS Presque Isle, Fort Fairfield Mars Hill and Bridgewater P.O. Box 220 • Blaine, Maine 04734

Phone the office for information

425-3192

Al’s Diner

Home Cooked Food Since 1936

~ Daily Specials ~ Homemade Breads, Desserts & Rolls Plenty of Parking

Open Daily

for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

207-429-8186

Your hosts: Jay & Melissa Peavey 87 Main Street, Mars Hill, Maine

Aroostook County

20

(Continued from page 19) took region, brought some apple seeds with them, which they planted in 1862. According to Rufus Stowe, his father sent back to Massachusetts for apple seeds some years after he arrived in Perham and then planted them. Stowe's Winter Apple quickly gained a local reputation, because it would keep longer than any other apple, with the exception of the Ben Davis variety. In addition, the fruit itself, while looking somewhat different from other apples, was sweet, tender and juicy, and medium to large in size. In appearance, Stowe's Winter was greenish yellow with small white dots and a yellowish texture. The first farmers to work extensively with grafts from Francis Stowe's apple tree were James and Oliver Nutting of Perham. The Nuttings, like John Dud-

ley, were among the more successful farmers in the County of the late 1800s. Oliver Nutting, besides being a farmer, was also something of a political power, being a several-term state senator. It was through Oliver Nutting's efforts that Stowe's Winter spread throughout the Aroostook region. Nutting found Stowe's Winter especially easy to topgraft, and grew seedlings which he made available to other Aroostook farmers through the Maine State Pomological Society and later the Maine Agricultural Experiment Station. By 1890 there were some 65,000 apple trees in Aroostook County. In 1895 a Maine State Pomological Report credited the first tree Francis Stowe grew as being largely responsible for the Aroostook apple boom. By 1900 the number of apple trees in Aroostook County had

increased to 170,000. While Stowe's Winter was still popular, the Duchess of Oldenburg and Dudley's Winter, which had been developed from Stowe's Winter and Duchess, were being shipped all across the country. As for the Gravenstein, just about every Aroostook apple grower nurtured Gravenstein trees. Today, however, they are relatively scarce. According to a report of the Maine Agricultural Experiment Station, a hailstorm in the 1930s followed by a period of unseasonably intense Spring cold wrecked havoc among Gravenstein trees. Perhaps the Gravenstein and other heirloom varieties of apples have a future. If they do, it will be in part because of the efforts of Slo Food and local Slo Food conviviurn leaders like Angela Wotton of Littleton.

❦ Other businesses from this area are featured in the color section.

Shaw

Financial Services • Asset Management • Financial & Investment Planning • Life, Disability & Long-term Care Insurance

429-9500

53 Main Street, Mars Hill, ME

Ryan.Shaw@vinsonassociates.com

Bear Paw Inn OPEN YEAR ROUND!

• Free Wireless Internet • Cable TV • Fridge - Microwave • Continental Breakfast

All rooms recently renovated 94 Main Street Mars Hill, ME 04758

(207) 425-6241

Across the street from ITS 81/83

WAITING ON NEW LOG FROM BEN www.mainebearpawinn.com

CLIFFORD L. RHOME CPA, PA Specializing in individuals and small businesses

(207) 764-5800 34 North St., Suite 3 Presque Isle, Maine

We Buy, Sell & Trade Guns

Johnson Wool • Muck Boots Large Selection of Firearms! Snowmobile & ATV Registrations Hunting & Fishing Supplies/Licenses

If You Love the Outdoors, You’ll Love Us!

768-3181

191 Parsons Rd. • Presque Isle benstradingpost.com

WOODLOT MANAGEMENT SERVICES Serving the County for over 27 Years!

• Planning • Appraisals • Harvest Supervision • Boundaries, Tree Growth • & Other Tax Advice

Bruce Wilkins, ACF, Licensed Forester

207-764-4728

Email: bwilkins@maine.rr.com Presque Isle, Maine

McCluskey’s RV Center Northern Maine’s Largest, Oldest, And Only Full Line RV Dealer

Parts & Service For:

Sierra • Hornet • Salem • Cherokee Georgetown • Cardinal • Sprinter

(207) 762-1721

www.McCluskeys.com Houlton Road Presque Isle, Maine

21

DiscoverMaineMagazine.com

Presque Isle Exchange Hotel, Presque Isle, ME. Item #109348 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

Sleepy Hollow Storage “An Extra Closet!”

“Our service is what we stand by”

Aroostook’s Finest Supermarket

764-4405

120 Caribou Road • Presque Isle

www.TheriaultEquip.com

Alan Clair

Owned and Operated by the Graves Family Since 1935!

207-764-0585 207-488-6954

— Presque Isle —

Storage Located at 1022 Mapleton Road

207-769-2181

217 Parsons Rd., Presque Isle

Business Office at Aroosta Cast, Inc.

CONSTRUCTION

BUILDING CONTRACTOR

Building & Remodeling

• Remodeling of all Types • Custom Built Cabinets • Home Construction • Ceramic Tile • Hardwood Floors Installed & Refinished • Paradigm Windows - Replacement or New Construction • Custom Wood Shop & Wood Repair

All Types of Finish Work Kitchens • Baths • Decks Garages • Additions Carpentry • Driveway Plowing

~SINCE 1979~

34 Park St., Presque Isle • 551-5831 Alan 551-5831

Derek 551-7806

764-5310 227-5486

Presque Isle, Maine

Aroostook County

22

The Snark Missile At Presque Isle An important stopgap measure by Charles Francis

T

he Snark missile represents the high water mark in the military history of Presque Isle. Though some might disagree with this statement for a variety of reasons, the fact that Presque Isle's population peaked with the deployment of the missile and then began to decline with its decommissioning presents a good argument to back up the proposition. Presque Isle Air Force Base, the only Snark missile base ever, received its first operational missile on May 27 1959. On March 18, 1960 the first Snark went on alert status. Eleven months later, in February of 1961, thirty Snarks were declared operational. A month later, in March, President Kennedy declared the Snark "obsolete and of marginal military value." June 25, 1961 saw the official end of the brief history of the Snark. The missile is now viewed as a relic of the Cold War. Much the same has been said for Presque Isle Air Force Base, even though the base's origins are to be found in World War II. In some respects, the Snark mis-

sile was one of the most remarkable weapons ever designed for military purposes. Unlike most weapons of a military nature, the Snark could be retrieved. The Snark could fly missions of up to 11 hours duration and return for a landing. That is, it could return if the warhead did not detach. If the warhead did not detach, the Snark could be flown repeatedly. One sidelight of this remarkable fact, one which designers were criticized for, was that the missile did not have landing gear. This meant it was necessary for the Snark to skid to a stop on a flat, level surface. The flat level surface that was most often used for Snark landings was at Cape Canaveral. Today that landing strip is still known as the “Skid Strip.” Presque Isle Air Force Base began as Presque Isle Airport. The history of the airport dates back to the beginning of the Depression. In 1930 the Civilian Conservation Commission (CCC) set out two grass runways on a 250-acre field. One runway measured 1700 feet

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in length, the other 1000 feet. The CCC also built a small hangar. At least that is what most records seem to agree upon. The same can be said for the first to use the airfield on a regular basis. Early commercial use of the airfield appears to have centered on Northern Maine Airways and Boston & Maine Airways. The federal government appropriated Presque Isle Airport for Presque Isle Army Airfield in 1941. Presque Isle Army Airfield was a vital component of the total World War II air transport system. Its major function was as a ferry base for Britain-bound planes. The Presque Isle field was one of the country's two main ports of North Atlantic aerial embarkation. (The other was Dow Field in Bangor.) Presque Isle Army Airfield was deactivated in September of 1945. Except for use as a communications facility, the entire military installation was placed on reserve status. Equipment was either moved or stored. Buildings were winterized.

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With the rise of Cold War tensions in 1948 came the rebirth of Presque Isle Army Airfield as Presque Isle Air Force Base. For most of the decade of the 1950s fighter-interceptors were stationed at the base. The interceptors included Sabres, Shooting Stars and Scorpions. The image-producing nature of the names of the interceptors is worth drawing attention to. Sabres, shooting stars and scorpions have a decidedly different emotive quality than “snark.” The name snark comes from a poem by Lewis Carroll, “The Hunting of the Snark.” It has an Alice in Wonderland flavor. The name is also applied to a small, Styrofoam sailboat, a bathing suit sort of boat. Lewis Carroll's snark wasn't anything like the sailboat, however. Lewis Carroll presents a variety of snarks. The most lasting image, though, is found in the line “Some have feathers and bite, and some have whiskers and scratch.” In short, a snark is dangerous, as was the missile it provided a name for. The Snark was an intercontinental cruise missile. From its very inception, it was viewed as a stopgap measure until the deployment of Intercontinental ballistic missiles. This explains

why there was only one Snark missile squadron. The Snark was a limited time program to gain some intercontinental missile capability until Intercontinental ballistic missiles became available in quantity. The official name of the Snark squadron was the 702nd Strategic Missile Wing. The 702nd did its test firing off Cape Canaveral in Florida. Firing failures were so much an everyday occurrence that the ocean off Cape Canaveral was described as "Snark infested." The Snark was a cruise missile with a nuclear warhead. It was the only intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear cruise missile ever deployed by the United States. The 702nd Strategic Missile Wing, like the bomber wing at Loring at Limestone, fell under the jurisdiction of the Strategic Air Command (SAC). Despite the fact the Snark was an SAC project, funding for the missile was low, and the program always seemed dogged by an overall lack of interest. The expected completion date of 1953 passed with the design still in testing and SAC becoming less and less enthusiastic. The ICBM was the top missile priority. The Snark was not a fixed-base missile. It was launched from a mobile

launcher, a light platform. During the final phase of flight the nuclear warhead separated from the missile's main body and followed a ballistic trajectory to the target. Upon separation, the missile body performed an abrupt pitch-up maneuver to avoid colliding with the warhead. In all, the Snark was a complex weapon. Its launch was susceptible to human error and its final targeting was susceptible to mechanical error. In addition, its celestial navigation system was regarded as suspect, no Snark ever falling closer than four nautical miles from its target. Presque Isle grew the most population-wise during its days as a military installation. In 1940 the population of Presque Isle was 7939. In 1950 the population was 9954. In 1960, it was 12,886. In 1970, it was 11,452. The phasing out of Presque Isle Air Force Base could have spelled economic disaster for the community. However, in 1966 Presque Isle was named an All-America City. Enterprising citizens saw to the acquiring of the old Snark base and turned it into an industrial park. At the time of the All-America City designation, the park had twenty-nine tenants with a payroll of $2.7 million.

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Ashland House - Hunter surrounded by moose antlers on porch of Ashland House in 1890. Item #1442 from the collections of the Maine Historical Society and www.VintageMaineImages.com

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Come in out of the cold this winter and warm up in Penobscot Marine Museum’s new exhibit

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Great Northern Paper Co. Mill, East Millinocket, ME. Item #100622 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

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Municipal Building, East Millinocket, ME. Item #105490 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

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The Founding Of Benedicta Small community almost became a college town by Charles Francis

J

ust south of Sherman Mills and off of I-95 is one of the most historically unique villages in the State of Maine, Benedicta. Benedicta is not an incorporated town. Some years ago, the residents of Benedicta voted to become a plantation. That vote, in itself, makes Benedicta unique, as there are only a few Maine towns that have voted to become unincorporated. Another unique fact about Benedicta is that it comprises but half a township. Most municipal divisions in Maine comprise close to a full township and sometimes more. Benedicta, from the time the first settlers went there, was a half township. It is Benedicta's founding, however, which makes it truly unique, for it was the second Catholic Bishop of New

England, Benedict Fenwick, who was responsible for its creation. And, had it not been for the fact that Bishop Fenwick first came to Maine to pay homage to the martyred seventeenth century Jesuit priest Sebastian Rasle, there would never have been a Benedicta at all. Bishop Benedict Fenwick succeeded Jean Cheverus as Bishop of New England. Cheverus had also taken a special interest in Maine. He had served here as a priest, and he had consecrated the first Catholic church in Maine, St. Patrick's in Newcastle. Fenwick followed in Cheverus' steps in taking a special interest in Maine's Catholic parishioners. In 1834, Bishop Fenwick purchased the one half township that would be named for him from the Massachusetts General Court. The previous year,

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he had visited Madison on an entirely different matter, one that allowed him to see the need for his office taking a direct hand in aiding Catholic immigrants, particularly Irish Catholic immigrants, in settling in New England. In 1833, Bishop Fenwick purchased an acre of land at Old Point in Madison. Old Point had been the location of the seventeenth century Jesuit mission of Sebastian Rasle. Here, the French priest had ministered to the Norridgewock Indians, until the tribe was virtually wiped out in a raid by Rangers from southern Maine early in the 1700s. Rasle had been brutally murdered in the attack. The acre that Fenwick purchased at Old Point served as the foundation for a Catholic cemetery in Madison. In addition, Fenwick had a tall white shaft erected in memory of

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DiscoverMaineMagazine.com the martyred Sebastian Rasle. Besides visiting Madison, Fenwick toured through many of the towns in Maine where Irish Catholics, fleeing from Ireland's potato famine of the period, were attempting to establish themselves. Everywhere, the bishop noted outright hostility toward Catholics. The windows of Catholic churches routinely had rocks thrown through them, and Catholics, especially priests, were regularly harassed on the streets. Out of this experience came Fenwick's idea to establish a Catholic refuge in Maine, and he summarily set out to acquire what would become the town of Benedicta by purchasing half of Township 2, Range 5 and offering lots there at bargain basement prices. The first settlers began arriving in 1843. Among them were David and Joseph Leavitt, who began the first timber operation in the immediate area. Timber would provide the base for the community's economy for the first few decades of its existence. Then potato farming would become the economic mainstay of Benedicta and the surrounding region. By 1872, the population of the half township had grown to

the point that it was incorporated and named in honor of Bishop Fenwick. Benedict Fenwick had even more grandiose plans for his northern Maine acquisition. Like Bishop Cheverus before him, Fenwick was a strong believer in higher education. Boston was already the site for what would develop into the prestigious Catholic university, Boston College. Fenwick, however, saw the need for another Catholic university in New England, and his immediate choice for its location was his northern Maine holdings. To this end, he saw to the establishment of a Catholic school taught by nuns to serve the community children. His grander scheme, that of a Catholic university far from the hustle and bustle of the city, however, took shape in Worcester, Massachusetts and evolved into Holy Cross University. One can only wonder how the establishment of such an institution of higher education in Benedicta would have affected the economy and social structure of northern Maine. The town of Benedicta ceased to exist for some of the same reasons that Bishop Benedict Fenwick sought to establish it. Its fine Catholic school run

by nuns fell victim to the Maine Department of Education's restructuring program for education across the entire state. The Department of Education, seeing education as a leveling process, succeeded in getting Benedicta to give up its Catholic school. While it is true that the Department's campaign was not directed at Catholic schools alone — private schools all across the state came under the Department's scrutiny — it did result in a much more expensive educational system for Benedicta. The educational costs were, of course, borne by the property tax. So, in part, Benedicta's demise as a town can be traced directly to the majority view, as represented by the state, that everyone be the same. Catholic education as envisioned by Bishop Fenwick, who saw his half township as a Catholic community free from the harassment of the greater population, succumbed to what some might consider the modern-day equivalent of persecuting minority viewpoints and practices.

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Aroostook River, Presque Isle, ME. Item #109350 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

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Old Maine Woman: Stories From The Coast To The County

An excerpt from the novel by Presque Isle native Glenna Johnson Smith

by Glenna Johnson Smith

F

or nearly seven decades the geography of Aroostook County has become a part of me. Now, after reading Dakota: A Spiritual Geography, by poet Kathleen Norris, I see more clearly my changes. Norris prefaces her work with the quotation, “Tell me the landscape in which you live and I will tell you who you are.” (José Ortega y Gasset) I grew up on the coast of Maine in a cozy village with houses nestled together, protected by a low hill and many ancient trees. Then, in 1941, I, as a new farm wife, moved to The County, a land with massive, silent, empty spaces. Although I felt at home with the people I met, it took several years for me to be comfortable with the

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place. First I learned to admire the big sky — the giant, inverted bowl that fits snugly over almost flat fields and gentle hills. Sometimes when I see a potato field that rolls right up to the sky, I believe that if I walked across that field I could see the whole world. On my early morning rides to the schoolhouse where I taught in those new years, I noticed the colors — cold pewter gray, bright Wedgwood blue, and sometimes a carnival glass riot of orange, gold, and red as the winter morning sun splashed the snow and the sky. As a child I stared at the bay; in Aroostook I stared at the sky and learned to love its moods. It took me longer to accept the empty stretches. In fact, I didn’t realize how

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much they were a part of me until years later when I was thinking of retiring and moving back to the coast. Yet, always when I came home from a visit downstate, the wide vistas of fields welcomed me as I drove north of Houlton. I even imagined that there was more good air here — that breathing was easier. I take the time to watch and breathe — and I have learned to live in harmony with the dramatic changes of the seasons — the quick leap from snowbanks to potato planting, the soft greens of early spring, the miles of flower gardens when the potatoes blossom, the crisp fall when giant mechanized insects crawl over the brown earth. I still have a love-fear relationship with winter. When the weatherman tells (Continued on page 32)

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(Continued from page 31) me it’s twenty-below with a wind chill of minus-forty, I huddle close to the stove, my only problem being to stay warm. Or if I must start my creaking, cold car and keep an appointment or buy groceries, I see myself as a puny thing in a spluttering little metal box, trying to show off before God. I used to fear the days and nights when the swirling snows made an arctic wilderness of our farm, when the plows were conquered, when I couldn’t leave home, and nobody else could come in. Yet at some point through the years I began to feel reborn in this isolation. As a captive in a cold, white world I could take a long look at my place and the people in it. One night when I was a young wife, a group of us walked on the crusted snow from Easton to Easton Center. We sang and laughed as the moon made shadows on shining snow-mountains. For a few hours, we ordinary farm peo-

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ple and our ordinary routines ceased to exist. Sometimes at the farm I’d go outdoors on a cold night and look at the stars. I’d listen to the silence and to a humming I couldn’t define. I fancied it must be angels be looking down. In some ways a blizzard is like the ocean of my childhood; both are fearsome and beautiful, and both jolt me to an awareness of my world. For many months winter dictates the rhythms of my life. Then in April I am delighted again to see the drifts shrink, to hang my washing outdoors on the line, to hunt for crocus blossoms and then fiddleheads, and to see young parents taking babies out in strollers — babies who are seeing their first springtime. In Aroostook, it took me longest of all to love the winds. The stiff breezes back home on the coast rattled the chimney, blew the dry leaves down the street, and embarrassed us girls

by flipping our skirts into the air. But they were generally tame winds, reined in by the tall trees and the hill. On the farm, though, the gales howled across barren fields and hit the buildings with such ferocity that it rattled the windows, tore at the shingles, and snapped at the foundations. Then it would turn tricky and be calm for a minute, only to gather such force that I would be sure the windows would break, the chimney would fall down, or the shed roof would fly away. And that wasn’t the worst of my fear. If I were alone in the house I’d huddle, shivering by the fireplace, sure that something or someone was banging on the door, creaking up the cellar stairs, or dragging across the shed chamber. Finally one night, angry at my cowardice, I went outdoors without a lantern and walked all the way around the buildings. Although my heart was pounding,

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nothing jumped out of the shadows. I was alone with the flying clouds, the stars, and the wind. That night was the beginning of my conquering my fears. Yet, after, I still played the radio at top volume, trying to drown the mournful sounds. I can’t remember exactly when the wind became my night music as I read, or when it became my earth mother, lulling me to sleep at bedtime, waking me softly in the morning. It has been a slow process, me becoming Aroostook. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be in another place. Although I resist change, I believe I adapt fairly well to new situations when I have to. I could be content in Portland, Maine, or Portland, Oregon. Still, call me provincial, call me an old fogy — I hope I never find out who I’d be outside The County. This excerpt is from Glenna Johnson Smith’s Old Maine Woman, Stories from the Coast to The County. (www.

islandportpress.com) In this highly acclaimed memoir, Smith writes with eloquence and humor about the complexities, absurdities and pleasures of the every day, from her nostalgic looks at her childhood on the Maine coast in the 1920s and 1930s, to her observations of life under the big sky and among the rolling potato fields of her beloved Aroostook County, where she has lived for nearly seven decades. The book also includes some of her best fiction pieces. Glenna Johnson Smith was born in 1920 in Ashville, Maine, in coastal Hancock County. In 1941, she graduated from the University of Maine, married, and moved to a farm in Easton, in Maine’s Aroostook County. A teacher for many years, she also was heavily involved in school and community theater productions. Her writing has appeared in Echoes and Yankee magazines and other publications. She now lives in Presque Isle.

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President Nixon's Loring Telecast It was the last televised event before his resignation by Charles Francis

T

he summer of 1974 could have been a banner summer for President Richard Nixon. It could have been but for the fact he resigned the presidency. Though memories of Richard Nixon's last months in office are now fading into the mists of history, there are still many Americans who have vivid images of the former President's last weeks in the White House. These images culminate with his and Pat's exodus from the White House lawn by helicopter. There are, however, those in Maine who have a different set of memories regarding Richard Nixon's last weeks in office. Those memories center around July 3. On July 3, 1974, President Nixon

and his wife Pat flew into Loring Air Force Base from Moscow. From Loring, the President gave his last upbeat television address to the American people. Harold Jones is one of those Mainers who has particular memories of that July event. Harold was one of those who welcomed President and Mrs. Nixon back to the United States from Moscow. Harold did so at the express invitation of the White House. And Harold has been kind enough to share some of his memories of that now-forgotten July 3 swansong of the soon-tobe-disgraced President with Discover Maine readers. Back in 1974 Harold Jones was Chair of the Maine Republican Party. This explains how it was that he was

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extended an invitation to meet President Nixon and his entourage when they flew into Loring Air Force Base from Russia. Harold Jones has County roots and connections. His mother's family, the Waltons, moved to the Caribou area from New Brunswick in the mid-nineteenth century. A few years ago, when Harold was organizing a family reunion and researching family history in preparation for it, his first thought of a resource was Dan Collins, father of Senator Susan Collins. When Harold called him, the elder Collins was preoccupied, dealing with a flood that threatened his lumber yard. Collins did refer Harold to a resource, the Caribou town librarian.

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Harold Jones remembers his White House invitation to Loring as something of an “alert.” The White House was preparing a major television address to the country and wanted a crowd present. Nixon's address came as a result of the third Nixon-Brezhnev summit talks. With the passage of time many have forgotten that the early 1970s were peak years in the Cold War. The Nixon-Brezhnev summit talks came about as an attempt to lessen Cold War tensions. They included such points as arranging limits on anti-ballistic-missile systems and the testing of nuclear weapons systems. The third just-completed summit strengthened these limits. The third summit also concluded agreements on trade, health and construction. The United States and the Soviet Union were to institute exchanges of information, personnel and experts in the latter three areas.

As the above brief comments of the third Nixon-Brezhnev summit indicate, President Nixon had a good deal of positive information to share with the American people. This is why the White House scheduled a major television event for July 3 from Loring, the first American touchdown point for Air Force One on its return to the country. Loring Air Force Base must have been a hubbub of activity on that particular July day in 1974. The President's address was to be carried by CBS TV. CBS even had foreign affairs and White House specialists for commentary. Of course, there was all sorts of then stateof-the-art technical paraphernalia, with cables and lines snaking about and the inevitable officious television producers, directors and camera people on hand. Vice President Ford flew into Loring to greet the President. He brought the Nixon daughters, Tricia and Julie, with

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him. The White House saw the broadcast as a major photo opportunity, one which would include the entire Nixon family. On the Maine side of the program, there were a host of local and state political figures in attendance. These were headed by Governor Kenneth Curtis. Democrat Governor Curtis, along with a number of other significant Democrats, were present to help provide a sense that the President was doing the country's business — a business that was being conducted for all Americans. Harold Jones and a contingent of Republicans flew to the County from Augusta by chartered plane. His group was on hand to see Air Force One and its escort planes touch down at Loring. Jones was part of the VIP group that was escorted aboard the President's plane. There, he and others spoke with the President, the President's family, and official staff. (Continued on page 36) FULL SERVICE RESTAURANT & SPORTS BAR

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(Continued from page 35) Harold Jones believes, and the records indicate, that the Loring telecast was the last national television broadcast President Nixon made before his resignation. The President did make a number of public appearances between the Loring telecast and his resignation. One was at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. It was broadcast on radio. On August 5, Nixon made public the recorded conversations that led to his resignation. The resignation took place on national television on August 8. The reason the President gave for the resignation was loss of his base of support in Congress. After resigning, the former President and his wife flew to their home in San Clemente, California. Later they moved to New York. The procedures leading up to the closing of Loring Air Force Base were in the works when President Nixon made his July 3 telecast. There is a certain degree of irony in that fact. Loring's closing and President Nixon's termination are somehow irrevocably joined. Many thanks to Harold Jones for sharing his memories of this piece of northern Maine and national history with the readers of Discover Maine.

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Annette Jackson, Game Warden’s Wife The lady who took to Umsaskis Lake by Charles Francis

W

hat sort of person takes to the deep woods, the very, very deep woods, the north woods, to live a life of seclusion? Sure, there are tales of hermits, recluses and the like who choose to live miles and miles from the nearest tiny community to get away from civilization and the claustrophobia of just one too many people — even if that number doesn’t top a dozen. They are the sort whose closest friends are animals. They talk to the deer, racoons and grouse they attract with a bit of feed. Mayhap they sleep with a pet pig. Hiram Johnson, the hermit of Chesuncook Lake, slept with two baby porkers. Hiram burned to death in his camp after shooting a man. The record doesn’t say if Hiram's pigs

went up in smoke, too. While some choose to make a life for themselves in the deep north woods out of a desire to get away from it all, and for no other reason, there are those who choose to make the woods a home because their jobs take them there. We’re not talking about loggers here. Loggers aren't all that solitary. Most often they are surrounded by other ‘jacks. And, too, theirs is a seasonal sojourn. It isn't all that hard for those who have some knowledge of the north woods to come up with occupations that require individuals to live in isolation far from civilization for extended periods of time. Until fairly recently the tall green fire towers maintained by the State and some of the big timber companies had to be manned. (Manned is

probably the wrong word here, as some observers were women.) Then there are dams requiring permanent supervision. Bangor Hydro was a north woods presence as far back as the first half of the twentieth century. And what about game wardens? The State has stationed game wardens in some pretty isolated spots. In fact, it is because of her game warden husband Dave that Annette Jackson came to make a home for herself and family on Umsaskis Lake well up the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. Of course, back when Annette and her family lived at Umsaskis the Wilderness Waterway wasn't thought of as such. The Jacksons lived at Umsaskis during the Depression. Dave Jackson (Continued on page 38)

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(Continued from page 37) must have thought himself fortunate to have a secure job during that troubled era. Perhaps that's why he asked Annette Hetu of Jackman to become his wife in 1932. Dave had a home to take his bride to, a 255- square foot camp. Enlarged, the camp would eventually serve as home for three of the couple's children. Umsaskis is far up the Allagash. Between it and the community of Allagash lie lakes and rapids. Long Lake is nearest to Umsaskis. Then come others as well as rapids like Horserace. When the Allagash was free of ice, the Jacksons traveled by canoe. In winter it was snowshoes and dogsled. That's the region where Annette Hetu chose to live in marrying Dave Jackson. It's where she chose to make her home and be her husband's helpmate. Annette Jackson wasn't a stay-athome wife. When Dave was out on patrol or when he was called out on an emergency, Annette was more often than not with him. Annette Jackson was

skilled with canoe and rifle. She fished and hiked, whatever the season. It was what being married to a game warden was all about. Annette Jackson was a bit more than a game warden's wife. She was a writer and an exceptionally skilled one at that. She wrote of sunsets, the call of geese in autumn or spring skies, and of the sounds of the waters of the Allagash and Umsaskis as they lapped sandy shores. She wrote of her life as a game warden's wife, and she put that story and the story of her husband and family into a book. Annette Jackson's book is My Life in the Maine Woods: A Game Warden's Wife in the Allagash Country. It just may be a classic. At least some think it is. There are those who compare it to the writings of John Muir and Edwin Way Teale. The most recent edition of the book has a foreword by Cathie Pelletier. She calls the book a “door to a museum.” Pelletier sees Jackson as capturing the essence of a past way of life,

of the steam log hauler and the single bit axe. When the book first appeared, in 1951, Louise Dickinson Rich spoke of it as arousing “envy in the hearts of all those who love the outdoors.” My Life in the Maine Woods came recommended to me by Kevin Quist. Kevin is a Maine Guide. He operates out of Stockholm, where he and his partner Lindy Howe, also a Maine Guide, have a sled dog kennel, Heywood Kennel. The pair take sportsmen, photographers, ice fishermen and the like into the north woods by dog sled. It may just be the dog sled connection to the Jacksons that first interested Kevin in My Life in the Maine Woods. The most recent edition of the book has a picture of Dave and Annette Jackson and a pair of sled dogs in harness on the cover. Cathie Pelletier and Kevin Quist clearly have their reasons for liking Annette Jackson's book. Because of Louise Dickinson Rich's praise, one almost inevitably must make a comparison

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DiscoverMaineMagazine.com with We Took To The Woods. For me, however, there is a more obvious and meaningful comparison. If one wishes to find companion works to My Life in the Maine Woods one need look no further than Dorothy Boone Kidney and her two books on living in the Allagash. Like Annette Jackson, Dorothy Boone Kidney accompanied her husband into the deep north woods. The couple lived at Lock Dam on Chamberlain Lake, where Milford Kidney tended the dam as an employee of Bangor Hydro. Dorothy Boone Kidney, whose work appeared in Discover Maine Magazine before her passing, wrote two books of her Lock Dam experiences, Home in the Wilderness:Away From It All in the Allagash Wilderness of Maine, and Wilderness Journey: Life, Living and Contentment in the Allagash Woods of Maine. Kidney's work, like that of Annette Jackson, is aimed at those who have lived in or near the woods or have dreams of doing so. The comparison of Annette Jackson's writing to the likes of Edwin

Way Teale aside, My Life in the Maine Woods is important for a reason other than the fact that it may be a classic of the ecological genre. What Jackson does is to memorialize a Maine game warden. While there are any number of Maine game wardens who deserve to be so honored, there are few that have been so. My Life in the Maine Woods is replete with the everyday activities of Dave Jackson. He organizes a 500 - man search party for the crew of a downed Royal Canadian Air Force bomber. He comes home with a bullet hole in his hat. He brains a bobcat he had picked up, thinking it already dead, by swinging it against a tree or rock. Are these the activities of a run-of-the-mill individual who just happens to live in the woods? To me they are the exploits of a larger-than-life figure. If I were to compare Dave Jackson to anyone, it would be to his contemporary Caleb Scribner. Both men were game wardens in the same time period,

from the Depression to the early 1950s when both retired. Scribner's home base was the Katahdin region. Scribner was Warden Supervisor for Division H, the division which included Umsaskis and Allagash Plantation, the warden posting Dave Jackson was assigned to in 1938. Scribner was Jackson's boss. Caleb Scribner was as remarkable in his way as Dave Jackson was in his. Sadly, except for all-too-short sketches, no one has yet to write in depth on this other remarkable north woods game warden whose work life encompassed many of the formative years of Baxter State Park. Annette Jackson's My Life in the Maine Woods is a remarkable book. It is remarkable in its timelessness. The fact that it deals with the 1930s and '40s in no way detracts from its immediacy. It is worth reading for no other reason than it reveals there is little that separates the basic thinking and motives of those of seventy and more years ago from those of us living today.

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My Unforgettable Trip To Presque Isle New York woman returns to her mother’s birthplace by Karen Maher

A

fter 38 years, I was finally able to return to the town where my mother was born, raised and buried – Presque Isle, Maine. My husband and I visited there early April, partly as a vacation but mostly to visit the town and place where my mother is buried. My mother died when she was 33 of a heart attack, leaving me at the age of 3 without a mother. It goes without saying that being raised without a mother is not always easy. I was always aware of her absence and of the loss I had incurred. There was always a feeling of unrest, of obviously missing something. My mother married my dad, a man from Caribou in 1933, and the two of them set out for New York to start their lives together in “the big city.” I was born in the mid-forties and

three years later she passed away. My dad brought her to Presque Isle, her home, to be buried. For years I wished she had been buried closer so I could visit. This month we drove up to Presque Isle. What a beautiful and peaceful town Presque Isle is. I visited the cemetery many times in the days I was there. The people in Presque Isle are warm, caring people. Everyone I talked to made me feel at home. From Cook’s Florist to Hendrick’s Motel to the Northeastern Motel and all the wonderful shops there, everyone was helpful, kind and willing to talk with me about my mother and Presque Isle. I learned things I never would have known had it not been for Barbara. There were many significant pieces of information that I learned of on my

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trip and I want to thank Barbara for taking the time to aid me in the process of closure I so desperately was searching for my whole life. I fell in love with your town, Presque Isle. Even though I was born and raised in New York. Visiting Presque Isle felt like coming home. I left your lovely town with a peaceful feeling in my heart, knowing this is where my mother should be. It is hard to express in words the warm, content feeling I left Presque Isle with. I will never forget peoples’ kindness and generosity to me. I plan to return to Presque Isle again this summer knowing I can put flowers on my mother’s grave and feel at home walking through your town. My thanks to all of you who touched my heart with your warmth.

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Aroostook County

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Fort Fairfield’s Dick Curless “Songs for the lonesome road” by James Nalley

D

uring the 1960s, the continental United States included a network of high-capacity, high-speed, interstate highways that linked its vast territory. As the highways expanded in size and number, the tractor-trailer trucks were also becoming larger, heavier and stronger, which led to longer transportation distances and many lonely hours on the road. For these “bigrig” drivers, one of the most popular ways that they could stay awake was by listening to music about the everyday life of truckers. Within the decade, the new genre of “trucker country music” had become so popular that many record labels were releasing albums with themes that ranged from loneliness and unrequited love to tragedies on the road. Among the bright new stars were

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names such as Red Simpson, Jerry Reed, and one of the best, Dick Curless, who was known for wearing an eccentric eye patch. Richard W. Curless was born in Fort Fairfield, Maine on March 17, 1932. Curless grew up in a musical family listening to strains of French-Acadian music and songs sung by his father who worked as a heavy equipment operator. After moving to Massachusetts at the age of eight, Curless began his professional music career at 16 years of age playing in a local country-western band known as “The Trail Riders.” A year later, he began touring with country singers “Yodeling” Slim Clark and Al Hawkes, as well as hosting his own radio show in Ware, Massachusetts under the stage name of “Tumbleweed

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Kid.” In 1951 he made his first recordings on the Standard Record Label in New York and married his wife, Pauline, later that year. But after six months of marriage and a baby on the way, Curless was drafted into the Korean War. Even though he had a bad eye (the reason he later wore an eye patch), and some heart issues, he was still sent to Korea for a twoyear tour of duty. Fortunately, his medical problems kept him from fighting on the front lines and he served initially as a truck driver and then as the country-music host for the “Rice Paddy Ranger” radio show on the Armed Forces Radio Network. He would eventually make the popular single “China Nights” under the stage name of “Rice Paddy Ranger.”

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After happily and safely returning home to Maine in 1954, Curless continued his music career with appearances on both radio and television shows as well as popular one-night shows at the Silver Dollar House in Bangor. But as his health condition fluctuated, he spent his stronger moments in the spotlight and the weaker ones in the privacy of his home completely separated from the public, which occurred through the majority of 1955. In 1956 Curless received his big break as a country-western singer — performing a successful rendition of “Nine Pound Hammer” on the CBS network’s “Arthur Godfrey Talent Show.” Afterwards, he signed a contract with Event Records in Westbrook, Maine and hired Sol Tepper (an experienced manager who also worked for Dean Martin) and toured throughout the country with popular shows in Hollywood and Las Vegas. But unfortunately, the physical demands

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Dick Curless

(Continued on page 46)

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(Continued from page 45) formances proved to be too much for him. He returned to Maine and isolated himself to recover from illness and fatigue. After Event Records dissolved, one of its former owners created a new record label in Boston known as Tiffany Records. Faithful to Curless, he had him record his debut album “Dick Curless Sings Songs of the Open Country” that consisted of pre-recorded singles of “I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven” and “Deck of Cards.” This was also the time when Curless met a well-known copywriter and radio host, Dan Fulkerson, who wrote and dedicated the song, “A Tombstone Every Mile” to him. The song’s lyrics told the story about an extremely dangerous stretch of highway through the Haynesville Woods Mountain Range, where many truckers had died. The touching and tragic lyrics included stanzas such as: All you big men who roll the trucks along Better listen you’ll be thankful when you hear my song You have really got it made if you’re haulin’ goods

Anyplace on earth but those Hangsville Woods It’s a stretch of road up north in Maine That’s never ever ever seen a smile If they’d buried all them truckers lost in them woods There’d be a tombstone every mile When the song was recorded and released in 1965, it became endeared to the hearts of truck drivers throughout the country. Due to the single’s success, Tower Records bought the rights to all of his Tiffany albums, and Curless signed a deal to re-issue the albums, including “Tombstone Every Mile.” The song received a top-five listing on Billboard’s country charts and it remained in the Country Music Top Ten throughout the summer. From 1966 to 1968, Curless toured the nation with the “Buck Owens All American Show,” and eventually recorded 22 Top-40 hits by the end of his career, including “Big Wheel Cannonball” and “Hard, Hard Traveling Man.” After his success in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Curless recorded in-

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frequently but continued to release a slow stream of Top-20 Country Music hits. According to a “Black Cat Rockabilly” article written by Pete Hoppula, “In 1973, Capitol Records released the fabulous live LP, “Live at the Wheeling Truck Drivers Jamboree” produced by Joe Allison. He also moved to Branson, Missouri, recorded for some indie-labels, and toured the Northeast and Canada. In 1975 Dick had most of his stomach removed, but he never really recovered from his health problems. His last albums somehow foretold his eventual fate, which included titles such as “Welcome to My World” and “It’s Just a Matter of Time” (recorded in 1987) and the highly emotional “Traveling Through” (recorded in 1995). On May 25, 1995, the “Baron of Country Music” finally succumbed to stomach cancer and he died at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Togus, Maine. As stated in his song “Whispering Hope,” perhaps

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C&J Service Center Over 38 years servicing the county! 24 Hour Towing Major & Minor Repairs

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Caribou

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he was ready to hit the road: Singing a song of forgiveness softly I hear in my soul Jesus has conquered forever sinned with its fearful control Whispering hope of his coming how my heart thrills at his word Oh to be watching and waiting ready to welcome the Lord.

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Vince Anderson II, Owner Custom Body & Paint Work Collision Repair Specialist Glass Installation Free Insurance Appraisals NO JOB TOO BIG!

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Aroostook County

48

Caribou’s Samuel Matthews The story of the Maine worker by Charles Francis

well-known figure in Caribou, where he had one of the first law offices in northern Aroostook County. For much of the twentieth century his name was barely more than a footnote in the annals of Maine history. Then as the twentieth century rolled over into the twenty-first, the Historical Labor Statistics Project at the University of California at Berkeley working with the National Science Foundation discovered some of the work he did in 1890 and began to publish its findings. This was followed by a film documentary done in 2004 at the University of Maine on the life of the woman factory worker in the nineteenth century. The film was based on studies Matthews did in 1888. Following the Civil War there was an explosion in Maine industry. In fact, there is evidence to support the contention that Maine was well on its way to becoming a manufacturing state. As would be expected, there was no

system in place to regulate this change in the Maine workplace. Until 1887 Maine had no system in place to regulate this change. Until 1887 Maine had no system of labor laws. Each manufacturer made his own rules in regard to wages, hours and working conditions. The result was — as Samuel Matthews wrote in 1904 — “that women and children of all ages and conditions were often huddled into unsanitary workrooms, and days of all lengths, from ten hours to fifteen hours, were expected of them the year through.” The first laws regulating working conditions in manufacturing in Maine were, of course, crude. Moreover, the state had no real system of onsite inspection, and the inspectors it had were almost totally lacking in experience. Matthews would change this situation, so much so that today his work has become the fodder for learned dissertation.

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In 1887 the Maine Legislature enacted the state’s first comprehensive system of labor laws. That same year Acting Governor Sebastian Marble appointed Samuel W. Matthews of Caribou Commissioner of the Maine Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics. As head of this seeming dry bureaucracy Matthews performed yeoman work, work that is now serving as a base for research for academics from the University of Maine at Orono to the University of California at Berkeley. Samuel Matthews was one of the most influential figures to make Caribou his home in the decades around 1900. In addition to serving as a Maine commissioner for almost thirty successive years, he founded one of Aroostook County’s first newspapers, Caribou’s Aroostook Republican. Samuel Matthews was once a

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49

DiscoverMaineMagazine.com Samuel Matthews came to Caribou in 1879. He was accompanied by his wife Mary and their two daughters Carrie and Hattie. Matthews opened his Caribou law office that year. The next year he founded the Aroostook Republican. He would eventually sell the paper to A.W Hall. It is still published today. Samuel W. Matthews was born in Hampden in 1832. He graduated from Waterville College (now Colby College) and taught school for a number of years at Lee Academy in Lee and in North Carolina. He prepared for the Bar in law offices in Bangor. During the Civil War and for a number of years after that he worked for the Department of Internal Revenue. This was the time period when the country instituted its first income tax. Some of Matthew’s responsibilities included enforcing this controversial new law. Matthews also served in the Maine Legislature prior to coming to Caribou. According to the first 1887 report of the Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, working conditions in Maine industries were almost uniformly bad. Among other things, there

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was “no fortnightly payment of wages” and “sanitary conditions in many… establishments were defective” with some “unbearably bad.” The latter were characterized by “poor drainage, lack of sewerage and little ventilation.” By 1903, however, Matthews was able to report that “The change in sanitary conditions, both in mills and workshops… has been marked and gratifying.” Matthews went on to say that “As a rule the mills and workshops of Maine are today among the best kept buildings in the village or city where located…” The reason why modern-day researchers have found the century and more old work of Samuel Matthews so useful has to do in part with the way he collected information. Matthews began by collecting data through mailings. He found the procedure completely unsatisfactory. However, the solution was to send trained inspectors directly to the workplace to collect information. Information regarding payment of wages, working and living conditions were collected and recorded first hand on the spot by interview. In his first years as Commis-

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sioner of the Maine Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics Samuel Matthews continued to maintain his Caribou law office. As time passed, however, he was forced to give his legal practice up to concentrate on his responsibilities in Augusta. Caribou was to remain his home, though. Just how much direct correlation there was between improvements in the Maine workplace and the data collected by Matthews’ Bureau and his inspectors is difficult to determine. Matthews himself said that “nine times in ten… [improvements] are directly due to the constant care, the suggestive and sometimes imperative word of the watchful inspector, who is on duty twelve months of the year.” If this is the case, Samuel Matthews’ legacy is indeed a remarkable one not only to the academic of today but for our grandparents and great-grandparents who once made up the Maine industrial work force.

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Aroostook County

50

The Genealogy Corner Using the earliest census data by Charles Francis

Moses Burleigh of Linneus shows up on the 1850 census as Moses Burley. Contemporary transcriptions of the 1850 census have a notation as to the correct spelling of the name. With a bit of digging you can up with the interesting statement that Humphrey Chadbourn was the 1850 census taker for southern Aroostook County who misspelled Burleigh. He “was the least literate of the county's assistant marshals, misspelling the names of states as well as common first and last names.” The person who wrote this was undoubtedly trying to explain why so many residents of towns like Linneus, Hodgdon and Molunkus Plantation have oddly spelled names on the 1850 national enumeration. As for misspelled states,

there are fewer mistakes here. Most states and Canadian provinces are abbreviated. However, Chadbourn wrote Connecticut as “Coneticut.” If you find it surprising that census taker Humphrey Chadbourn was an assistant marshal, don't be. It doesn't mean Chadbourn was a United States Deputy Marshal. Starting with the first census and continuing on up to 1860, the collection of census data was the responsibility of the federal marshal service. The marshal for a particular district hired assistants to collect data. The sole responsibility of the assistant marshal was the collection of data. Humphrey Chadbourn did his job as a census taker then went back to his regular job, that of a carpenter in Molunkus

Plantation. Humphrey Chadbourn wasn't all that unique in being less than literate as a census taker. The census for 1840 has the same spelling for Burleigh, that of Burley. The name is spelled correctly on the 1830 census, though. But, then, Moses Burleigh took that census. That was when Linneus was a part of Washington County. The point to the above discussion is not that early census records have little value for the family historian or genealogist, but rather that one must be on the lookout for errors in these early records. Census data, no matter how flawed, is of vital significance for the family historian and family tree maker. That's why genealogists chomp at the bit for

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the next census data to be released by the Bureau of the Census. (1940 census data was released in 2012. That tells you how much of a grace period everyone has until the salient census facts about them become public record.) The census of 1850 is sometimes described as the first truly useful census − at least useful for the family historians. The reason for this is that the 1850 census made the individual, rather than the household, the central unit of analysis. From 1850 on, the federal census solicited specific information on every free person in the country. This meant the name of every free person was written down. Previously, only the name of the family head appeared. This doesn't mean, though, that earlier census data is valueless as far as information regarding wives and children is concerned. The first federal census was taken in 1790. The questions were few, and

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geared toward determining the size of the population, as well as some basic distinctions regarding sex, age, and race. The household formed the basic census unit. The head of each household was required to report the number of free white males under and over sixteen years of age, the number of free white females, the number of other free persons, and the number of slaves living therein. The censuses of 1800 and 1810 recorded ages of household members in greater detail. Age ranges were as follows: under ten, ten to sixteen, sixteen to twenty-six, twenty-six to forty-five, and forty-five up. A distinction is made for male and female, other free persons such as servants and slaves. For the family historian the changes are significant. Age helps one distinguish children from parents, and adult children from grandparents.

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The censuses of 1820 through 1840 followed this initial pattern. Incremental refinements were made, however, in both the procedures and questions. 1820 asked for “foreigners not naturalized,” and occupation was delineated as agriculture, commerce and manufacturing. The was also a distinction between “slaves and free colored.” The latter two groups were enumerated by gender and age: under fourteen, fourteen to twenty-six, twenty-six to forty-five and forty-five up. In 1830 standardized forms were printed by the government for the first time and distributed to enumerators. 1840 saw questions for deaf, dumb and blind. Age groups were further refined. The expanding number of questions reflected a growing interest among Americans in using the census for social scientific investigation. (Continued on page 52)

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Aroostook County

52

(Continued from page 51) The 1850 census was composed of six schedules. These pertained to the free population, the slave population, persons who had died in the previous year, agriculture, manufacturing, and a final schedule which requested information on taxes collected, schools, libraries, newspapers, church accommodations, pauperism, and crime for each locality. From the standpoint of the family historian, the breakdown of age on the census is extremely important. Age can help narrow an ancestor's birth year or make sure you have the right ancestor. We will take the Humphrey Chadbourn enumeration of Moses Burley as an example. Chadbourn has Moses Burley living in Linneus and he has Moses Burley living in Hodgdon. The Moses Burley in Linneus is sixty-nine. The Moses Burley in Hodgdon is thirty-two. Chadbourn has a Caroline P. Burley, age thirty-five, living in Linneus. He has

Caroline Burley, age twenty-six living in Hodgdon. By themselves these fact are of little value. What is necessary is to consider them within the context of the broader genealogical picture. Moses Burley, the elder, had a son named Moses. The latter is the one residing in Hodgdon. Moses the elder had a daughter named Caroline. This is the Caroline residing in Linneus. The Caroline in Hodgdon is the wife of Moses Burley the younger. This is an example of census data fleshing out already known facts. This leaves us with the matter of the spelling of Burleigh. The further one goes back in time in searching out ancestors the more likely one is to encounter alternative surname spellings. Burleigh family records suggest there were more than a dozen distinct branches of the family in old England. All claimed a common ancestor. Not all used the same surname spelling. The same is true for most of us. My own

name can appear as the surname Francis or the surname Frances. Our census taker Humphrey Chadbourn can have his surname appear as Chadborn or Chadbourne and so on. A surname like Burleigh has a good many spelling possibilities − Birdley, Burdley, Burly, Birley, etc. Early record keepers − be they census takers or church record keepers or immigration officials − wrote, and then their hand moved on. What their hand left was what their brain registered. How often have you given your name to someone to write down and have seen them err in spelling. Bear this in mind the next time you see your surname misspelled. There are a lot of Humphrey Chadbourns out there.

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Aroostook County

54

Easter Water And The Resurrection Of Christ

A St. John Valley tradition by Charles Francis

For generations, St. John Valley Catholics of Acadien and Québécois heritage have risen early on Easter morning to fill a container with Easter Water. Usually it is the family head who performs the spiritual chore. Like as not, he tramps through snow, his breath streaming in the still dark air. It is that early. It may even be before three in the morning. It is usually before sunrise. The Easter Water tradition is almost always of an early morning. It is almost always an Easter morning tradition, though there are those who hold to a Holy Saturday Eve of Easter tradition. Easter Water collected in the above manner is holy water with the power to cure. This point isn't official though, according to Marc Pelchat, a Catholic priest who teaches theology. Pelchat describes the Easter Water tradition as “a cultural manifestation of faith.” It isn’t a sacrament or something that is promoted by the church. But it is not denounced, either. There are local St. John Valley au-

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thorities who say the Easter Water tradition of the valley came from Quebec. However, it is still practiced by Acadiens of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Reverend Guy Pilote, the 70-year-old priest and rector of Ste. Anne’s Basilica in Ste. Anne de Beaupré, Quebec, remembers that as a child he drank Easter Water his father had fetched before sunrise from a spring on the family farm. The same is true of Willie LeBlanc of Pubnico, Nova Scotia. Locally − in this case meaning anywhere in the northeast where the French culture is in evidence − the Easter Water tradition is thought to have been introduced to New France by pious Catholic colonists from Normandy and Brittany, and to have spread in rural areas during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. However, the tradition exists in Germany in association with Easter egg gathering. There is a reference to Easter Water in the Baltimore Catechism, though the reference in this case has to do with water blessed on the day before Easter, Holy Saturday. There are also

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Protestant traditions involving Easter Water, notably in sects where baptizing on Easter Sunday is of particular significance. Then there is the matter of a pinch of salt being added. Finally, there are traditions as to how long Easter Water should be kept. These latter range from one year to almost indefinitely. The early morning ritual of collecting Easter Water for medicinal reasons would seem particularly French. By tradition, the Easter Water would be kept for a time of need. At least this seems true for the St. John Valley and of the Canadian provinces where the valley's antecedents came from. The water would be dispensed to a youngster exhibiting symptoms of coming down with a cold. If the child complained of overall aches and pains, a bit would be mixed into bath water. The French for Easter Water is l’eau de Pâques. While the traditions involving l’eau de Pâques vary, the most common belief seems that to be its most powerful, Easter Water must be drawn just before dawn from running water. It

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55

DiscoverMaineMagazine.com can come from a spring, a stream or a river. It can't be drawn from a well or a lake. In some traditions the water must be running from east to west or west to east. Prayers are often said and hymns sometimes sung while the water is being collected. Easter Water is associated with the resurrection of Christ. Christ rose from the dead in the very early morning; 3 a.m. is particularly significant. Therefore, water collected from the proper sources early Easter morning is believed to possess the Christ-like power to heal various health problems. Skin sores and aches and pains are among the most often cited. A recent work on French-Canadian culture, Les Quatre Saisons dans la vallée du Saint-Laurent, Quebec, describes one family's tradition as follows: “On Easter morning, we get up and get Easter water before dawn (that’s very important). This water, which is taken from a stream or a river, has special properties. It never goes bad (and) it cures skin ailments (and) vision problems. Drinking it at the source ensures a healthy year ahead.” The prayers associated with the drawing of Easter Water also reflect traditional culture − meaning particular family tradition − rather than church tradition. The prayers are to bless the

water. Wording seems a matter of personal choice. Here are three. “O Jesus my savior, purify this medical water that cures all evil.” The second is “Behold the water, so pure and fertile, good and medicinal for all kinds of ailments. The last is “It is God who purifies this medicinal water that cures all ailments and which is fertile for everyone.” It should be noted that the prayers lack the formality associated with the church. They would seem instead to reflect folk tradition. In contrast with the above traditions, the New Catholic Dictionary has the following entry for Easter Water. It reads “One of the varieties of holy water, so called because it is blessed with special ceremonies and distributed to the people on Holy Saturday Eve of Easter.” The Baltimore Catechism No. 3 is a bit more specific. It states “The water blessed on Holy Saturday, or Easter Water, as it is called, differs from the holy water blessed at other times in this, that the Easter water is blessed with greater solemnity, the paschal candle, which represents Our Lord risen from the dead, having been dipped into it with a special prayer.” The Easter Water tradition is sometimes linked with other early Easter morning practices. One of these is the belief that the sun dances on the hori-

zon on Easter morning as it rises. The occurrence is a celebration of the resurrection. For some it is an instance of the supernatural, for others a way to get stay-a-beds and children up early. One Acadien, Éléodore d'Entremont, has a bottle of Easter Water that has been preserved since 1917. Éléodore collected the water as a youngster. He says “It has remained remarkably pure and limpid over the decades.” Éléodore and his wife, Marie, still preserve it. Perhaps the Reverend Guy Pilote of Ste. Anne’s Basilica has the best explanation as to the significance of l’eau de Pâques. “Easter water” he says “is a symbol of life, of the resurrection. It’s not a sacred or magical thing. It’s a symbolic gesture, like a blessing of a medallion or the lighting of a candle. It makes us think of things like the light of Christ [and] helps remind us of our Christian life.” This may just explain why Ste. Anne's and a good number of other churches keep a barrel of blessed water available for anyone who wishes to draw from it. We all have those special things of particular meaning.

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inc.

Over 15 Years Experience & Fully Insured

Excavation Concrete Foundations/Slabs Retainer Walls • Septic Sytems Snow Removal • Demolition Loam/Gravel Crusher Dust & Rip Rap Available Bruce Plourde, President • Fort Kent, Maine F RE E E S TIM A TE S

207.316.3006

Mike’s Auto Repair

Complete Auto Repairs New & Used Parts Available Domestic & Foreign Repairs Locally Owned & Operated by Mike Malmborg • Over 35 Years Experience •

834-6647

South Perley Brook Road • Fort Kent, ME

Aroostook County

56

Main Street in Fort Kent, ME. Item # 100835 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

DENNIS CYR One Call Has It All!

County Home Inspections T.P.I. State Certified Building Inspector 20 Years Experience

_________________________ First Choice Construction • All Types of Building & Remodeling Projects • MUBEC Certified Builder • Drywall & Interior/Exterior Painting 25 Years Experience

_________________________ Heritage Trail Storage& Rental

• Clean & Dry Storage • Low Monthly Rates • Snowmobile & ATV Heritage Trail Access • Folding Chair Rentals • Bicycle, ATV & Trailer Rentals • 10’ x 40’ Parade Float/Outdoor Stage Rental

_________________________ Snow Runner Kennels Fall & Winter Sled Dog Rides

_______________________

207-834-3862

100 St. John Road • Fort Kent, ME lydencyr@roadrunner.com

Northern Timber Trucking 834-6761 or 834-2360 226 Market Street Fort Kent Mills, Maine

T HE A ST RThe O County N AP

PLIC

ATORS LL

C

Your Quality Applicator for Potato Sprout Inhibitor ~Covering All of Maine~ 16 Industrial St. • Mars Hill • Maine

Phone 429-9449 Cell 694-1452

Ashley Brewer: Area Representative • We are confident that you will find your dining experience a pleasurable one. Enjoy! •

St. John Valley Realty Co. 8 East Main Street Fort Kent, Maine 04743

Tel: (207) 834-6725

Full Menu • Fresh Cut Beef Cooking From Scratch • Fresh Seafood Vegetables Cut Fresh Daily

207-834-3055

250 West Main Street • Fort Kent www.swampbuckrestaurant.com

Real Estate • Rents • Management Michael Albert, Broker/Owner

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DiscoverMaineMagazine.com

The Passing of Father Stanislas Vallee And the relocation of St. Bruno de Grand Riviere by A.C. Clegg

Reverend Stanislas Vallee was not feeling any better. Even the joys of spring held no interest for him. His short, almost black hair was slicked down with fever. He was certainly in need of proper medical attention. Cyrille Michaud undertook the necessary journey, rowing the weak Fr. Vallee along the St. John River, to St. Basile. Cyrille could see a drastic change. Fr. Vallee was not the same animated and enthusiastic man of a few, short months ago. Respect and love were felt by the entire parish and went with him. Fr. Vallee needed no proof of his parishioners care and concern. These were not easy times by any means, Fr. Vallee knew that. Many of his parishioners were of Acadian descent and had been forced into resettling. Dispossessed and uprooted, it was a continuous struggle to make a success of their new home, Violette Brook. (Named for one of the first settlers, Francois Violette, Violette Brook was later known as Van Buren and became incorporated as a town in March of 1881, a part of the newly created State of Maine.

Fr. Vallee had been chosen by both the Bishop of Portland and the Bishop of Quebec. In fact, he came from the province of Quebec. Close ties had remained between the two Diocese where Van Buren was concerned, since its transfer to the Portland See, in 1870. The next year it had been decided that the community’s growth warranted a new church. Also, the center of business had shifted into Van Buren, (a distance of 1 1/2 miles from the church position at the time.) Therefore, it was a natural conclusion to build the new church at a new site. 4 1/2 acres of land were purchased from Benoni Violette, for two hundred dollars, on the corner of Main and St. Mary streets, still its location today. However, it was this proposal, to move the chapel St. Bruno de Grand Riviere to its new location, that had caused so much consternation. Also, it was the resituation of part of the original structure that had been the cause of Fr. Vallee’s illness. You would have thought that Cyrille Michaud would be the one rowed to St. Basile. He had

Charette & Son Drywall

FIREWOOD

Nearly 31 years

834-3795

26 South Perley Brook Rd. • Ft. Kent Mills, ME

(Continued on page 58)

J.R.S.

Steve Charette: Owner

of experience • Residential • Commercial • Sheetrocking • Taping • All Ceilings • Licensed & Insured

slept on the premises of the half-built church until its completion, including the winter months. A sad but necessary precaution, Cyrille even carried his shotgun to deter minor acts of vandalism and thievery. Perhaps this reaction of hostility by some of the parishioners could have been anticipated. Acadians characteristically anchored their communities with the Roman Catholic Church. The priest was the center of all proceedings, he was an arbiter of disputes, a teacher, a lawyer, and he primarily spoke French and set standards for their moral code. He was the bastion of their heritage. Naturally the Acadians’ feelings for their religion meant that any changes were initially viewed with suspicion. First Fr. Philippe Beaudet was leaving and now there was a plan to move the chapel. It must have seemed to be a lot of upheaval. Msgr. Bacon, Bishop of Portland, made a concerted effort to dispel the angry mood. Here was a delicate matter, one that needed an experienced pastor to guide the venture. It was not

Serving the St. John Valley Since 1944

834-3103

35 West Main Street • Fort Kent, Maine 04743

quigleysbuildingsupply.com

834-4139 • 436-0841

Seasoned wood cut to any length or tree length Fort Kent, Maine

Aroostook County

58

(Continued from page 57) a choice made lightly. He consulted Quebec and the appointment was dwelt upon for quite a while. The choice made was Rev. Stanislas Vallee. He was well qualified to deal with the ongoing plan, having completed such a project in the province of Quebec. So, that fall of 1871, Fr. Vallee became the 9th Pastor of St. Bruno’s parish, joining in the midst of a controversy. It was just as well that Fr. Vallee had participated in designing the building of a church before because the original contractor left the project after a disagreement. Fr. Vallee knew what was needed, and fortunately there was a skilled builder and carpenter living in the town, Israel Michaud Sr.. The Franco-American love for their church was once again demonstrated, as Israel Michaud Sr. became integrally involved in building the new church. His sons Cyrille and Remi, looking so alike they could be twins, were amongst the other townspeople who helped with either labor or materials. Work was able to resume and the church began to grow. Slowly but surely the layers of squared logs became recognizable. The carpentry was splen-

did. The beveled corners were pegged and reinforced by the knees and roots of the Tamarac tree, and not a single nail was needed. The walls were three and a half feet thick and had the strength to uphold the spire, built with such care alongside the main building. The spire was laboriously hoisted into place late in the fall of 1873, just 2 years since Fr. Vallee had arrived. It was a heartening sight, a testament to community spirit. However, there was a lingering sadness about the last mass celebrated at St. Bruno de Grand Riviere on November 1st, 1873. Who knows why the decision was made to transport the old presbytery to the new site. Unfortunately, it could not be known that this complex and grueling task would exact a high price. For after the building was lifted from its foundations and affixed to gliders, Fr. Vallee carried the Blessed Sacrament into the house and journeyed to Van Buren. The 30 pair of oxen were strong and willing, but the building was a great burden. They made their way slowly. Cracks and fissures were made by the to and fro trundling. The freezing temperatures could not be kept at

bay and Fr. Vallee was himself frozen. Then, the presbytery was left on pilings, driven into the structure, leaving more nooks for the winter temperatures to invade. Fr. Vallee was not feeling any better. The warmth of his parishioners care could not help. The harsh winter had caused his condition to worsen. The spring thaw was the first chance to go for help. Having no money, Fr. Vallee gave his bed, his only possesion, as payment to Cyrille. (It was a replica of the spool bed and is on display at the Acadian Village, Van Buren.) Fr. Vallee was not to recover from his sickness. He never returned to Van Buren. He died in 1875, at the home of his brother, a pastor at St. Jerome du Lac St. Jean. Fr. Vallee was 45 years of age. Perhaps it is not all of the story when Monica Dionne Ferretti says that the Acadians “would not have survived as a people without the help of God and his apostle, the missionary priest.” For surely their own determination, their faith and their ability to smile in the face of adversity are the rest of the story, inspiring their pastors’ to extraordinary achievements.

❦ Other businesses from this area are featured in the color section.

Music Haven, inc. You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.®

“Serving Aroostook County Successfully For Over 30 Years”

834-6544 Craig Thibodeau

178 West Main Street • Fort Kent

Normand Plourde M A S PL OURDE Specializing in... N • Chimneys R • Stone & Tile Designs Y INC. • Interior Painting ~ Free Estimates • Fully Insured ~

207-231-0236

DORIS’ CAFE

“The Valley’s Finest Home-Cooked Food”

Hours: Monday-Friday 5AM to 2PM (Serving Breakfast & Lunch) Saturday 5AM to 12 Noon (Serving Breakfast Only) Closed Sunday Linda Daigle, Proprietor

834-6262 345 Market Street • Fort Kent Mills

59

DiscoverMaineMagazine.com

C. Nadeau Furniture storefront in Fort Kent, ME. Item # 100836 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

Ford Credit

RENT•A CAR

Fort Kent, Maine

Beef & Pork Sides Available! Straw & Hay Available! We Sell Live Piglets!

Steven P. Pelletier, President

(207) 834-3173

Toll Free: (877) 215-1760 213 East Main Street • Fort Kent

pelletierford.com

207-543-1032 Frenchville, Maine

Aroostook County

60

Log hauler at Portage Lake in winter. Item # 103146 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

Enjoy Discover Maine All Year! Discover Maine Magazine is published eight times each year in regional issues that span the entire State of Maine. Each issue is distributed for pick up, free of charge, only in the region for which it is published. It is possible to enjoy Discover Maine year ‘round by having all eight issues mailed directly to your home or office. Mailings are done four times each year.

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Subscription Rates: $40 Schools, Libraries, and Historical Societies receive 10% off!

Send payments to: Discover Maine Magazine 10 Exchange Street, Suite 208, Portland, Maine 04101 Or call 1-800-753-8684 to subscribe with Visa or MasterCard

61

DiscoverMaineMagazine.com

School buildings in Caribou, ME. Item # 104753 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenboscotMarineMuseum.org

Lake Road

GROCERY

VOISINE BROS., INC.

Timber Harvesting & Consulting

398-4131 • 398-4130

Mike Nadeau, Vernal Nadeau

NADEAU TRUCKING, LLC

Open Mon-Sat 5:30a-8:00p Sun 7:00a - 8:00p

Kajais Redemption 436-1297

7 Sly Brook Rd. • Soldier Pond, ME

Logging Contractor

156 Main Street, St. Francis, ME

• Pizza • Hot & Cold Sandwiches 834-6377 • Gas ~ Beer & Wine • Groceries 10 Sly Brook Rd. • Soldier Pond

Call for daily schedule

WHITE OAK, INC.

207-834-5859 Soldier Pond • Maine

154 Main Street St. Francis, ME

398-4130 • 398-3519

Aroostook County

62

Highland Ave. in Houlton, ME. Item #106981 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

BALD EAGLE

TRIPLE M TRUCKING, INC. Trucking • Logging Road Building

Carney McBreairty, President

207-398-3245 Allagash, ME

Has your business been operating for 50 years or more? If so, give us a call. We may feature your business in an upcoming edition.

Discover Maine Magazine (207) 874-7720 • 1-800-753-8684

Manager: Tom Roy Owners: John Martin & Gary Voisine

Phones • Air Conditioning Cable TV • Private Decks 2 & 3 Bedroom Apts. Hot Tub Suites •Efficiencies In-room Coffee Makers Continental Breakfast Boat Rentals • Tanning Bed Private Beach •Coin-Op Laundry Complimentary Wireless Internet Phill LeBoeuf

3232 Aroostook Rd. PO Box 347 • Eagle Lake, ME 04739 Mention Discover (207) 444-4535 Maine Magazine and receive $5 off Fax (207) 444-6133 your next stay

overlookmotel.com

Lottery Tickets • MEGABUCKS Grocery Items Soda • Beer • Wine Prepared Sandwiches Videos Propane • Diesel • Gas

The Consistent Store DAILY LUNCH SPECIALS! FULL SERVICE TAKEOUT 10AM-7PM Monday - Friday 5AM - 9PM Saturday 7AM - 9PM Sunday 7AM - 8PM

444-5115

Fax 444-4666 3318 Aroostook Road Eagle Lake, Maine Convenient to ITS Trail

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DiscoverMaineMagazine.com

Business

Directory of Advertisers Page

A&D’s Print Shop.........................................................23 A&L Construction, Inc.................................. ..............41 Acadia Federal Credit Union........................................59 Alan Clair Building Contractor.....................................21 Albert Fitzpatrick..........................................................14 Al’s Auto Sales............................................................ 50 Al’s Diner......................................................................19 Anderson’s Store...........................................................49 Aroostook Foam Insulation..........................................33 Aroostook Hospitality Inn............................................33 Aroostook Medical Center.......................................... 32 Aroostook Milling Co................................................. 29 Aroostook Monuments................................................ 54 Aroostook Real Estate..................................................38 Aroostook Roofing & Sheet Metal............................... 5 Ashland Food Mart, Inc............................................ . 44 Auto Acceptance Center.............................................. 46 Ayotte’s Construction, LLC......................................... 32 Bacon Auto & Truck Care............................................48 Bald Eagle... ................................................................ 62 arnes Law Office...........................................................15 Barresi Financial, Inc....................................................41 Bear Paw Inn............................................................... 20 Ben’s Trading Post....................................................... 20 Bento’s Grocery, Diner & Sports Bar.............................9 Blue Moose Restaurant................................................ 18 Bouchard Family Farm................................................ 40 Bragg Painting Contractors......................................... 48 Bread Of Life Bulk Food & Specialty Store............... 41 Brookton General Store............................................... . 8 Brothers Rebuilding.....................................................18 Brown Dog Plumbing..................................................18 Brownlee Builders........................................................11 Buck Construction........................................................43 C&J Service Center......................................................46 C&R Towing................................................................44 C.B.’s Truck N’ Trailer...............................................15 Calculations, Inc...........................................................11 Camp Wapiti ..............................................................29 Campbell’s Service Center............................................6 Caribou Chamber Of Commerce & Industry ............47 Caribou Inn & Convention Center.................Back Cover Caribou Theatres .......................................................46 Caron & Son Paving....................................................38 Cary Medical Center....................................................36 Central Aroostook Chamber Of Commerce................ 23 Chanel’s Service.......................................................... 50 Charette & Son Drywall.............................................. 57 Chickadee Realty......................................................... 10 Cindy’s Sub Shop........................................................ 46 Clifford L. Rhome, CPA.............................................. 20 Clukey’s Auto Supply.................................................. 41 Colin Bartlett & Sons, Inc........................................... 10 Cote Construction....................................................... 28 County Abatement, Inc. .............................................. 4 County Qwik Print....................................................... 40 County Denture Center................................................ 42 County Electric............................................................ 47 County Environmental Engineering, Inc..................... 37 County Home Inspections............................................56 County Stove Shop...................................................... 35 County Wide Vacuum Service..................................... 48 Crandall’s Hardware.................................................... 7 Cunningham Brothers, Inc........................................... 11 Currie Roofing............................................................... 8 Daigle & Houghton, Inc.............................................. 39 Dana’s Carpentry......................................................... 46 Days Welding & Construction.................................... 8 Dean’s Motor Lodge.................................................... 45 Dennis Cyr................................................................... 56 Dinah’s Laundromat.................................................... 55 Dolly’s Restaurant....................................................... 53 Doris’ Cafe.................................................................. 58 Duane Thompson’s Masonry....................................... 32 Dube’s Custom Meat Processing................................. 53 Echoes Magazine......................................................... 48 Emery Lee & Sons, Inc................................................. 6 Evergreen Manufacturing............................................ 52 Evergreen Trading Co., LLC....................................... 52 F.A. Peabody Company ............................................. 15 Fieldstone Cabins.........................................................54 First Choice Construction.............................................56 For Paws Grooming & More........................................32 Frank Landry & Sons, Inc....................................... . .12 G.J. Auto Body..............................................................47 Gary Babin’s Groceries & Meats................................. 53 Gerald Pelletier, Inc. ..................................................26 Gerard Raymond.......................................................... 59 Giberson-Dorsey Funeral Home.................................. 45 Gil’s Lock N’ Key........................................................ 51 Graham’s Warewashing & Laundry Repair................. 42 Graves’ Shop N’Save................................................. 21

Business

Page

Gray’s Custom Builders............................................... 27 Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber................................ 55 Greater Houlton Chamber........................................... 15 Greater Madawaska Chamber..................................... 52 Griffeth Ford.............................................................. 35 Ground Tek, Inc.......................................................... .55 H&R Block.................................................................. 24 H&S Garage, Inc....................................................... ..51 H.C. Haynes, Inc.......................................................... 5 Haines Manufacturing Co.,Inc.................................... .42 Hanington Bros., Inc.................................................... ..8 Heritage Trail Storage & Rental...................................56 Highlands Tavern............................................................7 Hillside Apartments.......................................................51 Hillside IGA....................................................................4 Hogan Tire.................................................................. .16 Home Town Fuels, Inc............................................... . 45 Houlton Band Of Maliseet Indians.............................. 29 Houlton Higher Education..................................... ......14 Huber Engineered Wood, LLC............................ ..........3 In Home Care.................................................... . ......... 6 Irish Setter Pub............................................................ 22 J&J Originals............................................................. . 42 J.P. Handyman Service................................................ .10 J.R.S. Firewood...................................................... .....57 JEI Sports............................................................. .......29 Jerry’s Shurfine........................................................ ....12 Jimmy Plourde’s Carpentry............................... .............5 Jones Electric........................................................... ...10 JSL Metal Recycling........................................... .........17 Katahdin Valley Motel..................................................10 Kelley Masonry..................................................... .......18 Kerry Golding Construction.........................................17 Kevin Carmichael Masonry................................... .....16 Key Realty.......................................................... .........41 Kinney Auto Center............................................ ...........9 Kirkpatrick & Bennett Law Offices.................... .........48 Knight’s Grocer...................................................... ........9 L&J Trucking and Recycling................................ .......13 LaJoie Growers, LLC........................................ ..........36 Lake Road Grocery.......................................................61 Lakeview Restaurant............................................... ....54 Larry’s Wood Products...................................................7 Leisure Gardens............................................. ..............43 Leisure Village................................................. ............43 Lennie’s Superette..........................................................5 Lilley Farms........................................................ .........13 Limestone Chamber of Commerce................... ...........45 Littleton Repair................................................ ...........18 Long Lake Camps & Lodge........................... ............54 Longlake Construction.................................................49 Long Lake Sporting Club Restaurant.............................5 M. Rafford Construction.......................................... ....33 M. Roy & Co................................................................39 Macs Trading Post........................................................14 Madawaska Pharmacy, LLC.........................................51 Mai Tai Restaurant........................................................34 Maine Historical Society................................................4 Mark M. Marquis Plumbing & Heating........................51 Marquis Tree Works......................................................53 Mars Hill IGA................................................................4 Martin Builders.............................................................36 Martin’s General Store..................................................36 Martin’s Motel...............................................................52 Masardis Trading Post..................................................44 Matheson Tri-Gas..........................................................31 McCain Foods...............................................................30 McCluskey’s RV Center............................................... 20 McGillan, Inc Earthwork Contractor............................45 McGlinn Electric, Inc...................................................43 McGlinn’s Plumbing & Heating...................................24 McNeal’s Trucking Co..................................................34 Memories Of Maine Gallery...........................................6 Mike’s & Sons Sales & Service....................................38 Mike’s Auto Repair.......................................................55 Millinocket House Of Pizza...................................... .....6 Mitch’s Heating.............................................................54 Mockler Funeral Home.................................................47 Monticello Mini Barns..................................................30 Moon Dance Studios.....................................................24 Mooseshack Restaurant & Bar......................................40 Music Haven, Inc..........................................................58 Nadeau Logging, Inc.....................................................55 Nadeau Trucking, LLC.................................................61 North Country Auto......................................................22 North Woods Real Estate..............................................26 Northeast Applicators, LLC..........................................56 Northeast Packaging Company.....................................33 Northeast Propane.........................................................47 Northeastern Supply Co................................................47 Northern Door Inn........................................................37 Northern Electric, Inc...................................................44

Business

Page

Northern Lights Motel...................................................31 Northern Prosthetics & Orthotics..................................33 Northern Timber Trucking............................................56 Orion Timberlands, LLC...............................................44 Overlook Motel.............................................................62 Pamola Motor Lodge..................................................... 7 Patrick E. Hunt, P.A......................................................11 Patrick St. Peter & Sons, Inc.........................................46 Pat’s Pizza......................................................................31 Pelletier Ford.................................................................59 Penobscot Marine Museum...........................................25 Percy’s Auto Sales.........................................................21 Peter’s Truck and Trailer Repair...................................30 Pleasant View Tree Farm..............................................29 Plourde Masonry, Inc....................................................58 Presque Isle Inn & Convention Center.......... Back Cover Quality Paving & Grading............................................36 Quigley’s Building Supply............................................57 R.F. Chamberland, Inc..................................................54 R.H. Auto Sales and Rentals.........................................12 Red Moose Gifts............................................................27 Rendezvous Restaurant.................................................45 Rentown........................................................................30 Riverside Inn Restaurant...............................................24 RJ’s Pavers....................................................................50 Robert Charette Home Improvements..........................24 Robert Pelletier General Contractor..............................38 Robin’s Restaurant........................................................35 Rockwell Properties......................................................28 Rockwell Tires Plus......................................................28 Rozco............................................................................37 Russell’s Motel............................................................ 34 S. Paradis & Son Garage..............................................53 Sandra’s Kitchen & Pizza To Go................................. 53 Saucier’s.......................................................................49 Scovil Apartments........................................................19 Scovil Building Supply, Inc.........................................19 Service First Automotive..............................................44 Seth Suitter...................................................................14 Seven Islands Land Company.......................................49 Shaun R. Bagley Construction ......................... .......21 Shaw Financial Services...............................................20 Shining Moon Whole Health Center.............................34 Sleepy Hollow Storage..................................................21 Snow Runner Kennels...................................................56 St. John Valley Realty....................................................56 Stairs Welding R.L., Inc................................................17 Star City IGA..................................................................4 Stardust Motel.......................................................... ....17 Stew’s Downtown Sight & Sound.................................30 Sturdi-Bilt Storage Buildings........................................28 Swafford Master Plumbing...........................................49 T&K Awards.................................................................27 T&S Market..................................................................13 T.C. & Sons Welding.................................................... 11 Tenney’s Country Store.................................................43 The Bradford House..................................................... 11 The County Federal Credit Union...................................3 The Crow’s Nest Restaurant & Event Center...............32 The Forum.....................................................................23 The Maine Soapstone Co., Inc......................................34 The Olde Rustic Attic....................................................31 The Par Grill..................................................................35 The Pioneer Place, USA...............................................12 The Ski Shop............................................................... 50 The Swamp Buck Restaurant........................................56 The Swap, Buy, Sell Guide...........................................23 The Thirsty Dawg.........................................................16 Theriault Equipment.....................................................21 Tidd’s Sport Shop.........................................................28 Town of Madawaska.....................................................52 Triple M Trucking, Inc..................................................62 Tri-State Equipment Service & Repair...........................8 Tulsa, Inc.......................................................................49 Umcolcus Sporting Camps.............................................4 Uncle Buck’s Archery Shop..........................................42 Underwood Electric, Inc.............................................. 43 University of Maine Fort Kent......................................39 Vacationland Estates Resort............................................3 Visions......................................................................... 16 Voisine Bros., Inc..........................................................61 Voisine Cedar Mill........................................................53 Wardwell’s Construction & Handyman Service.................... 30 Web X Centrics.............................................................24 White Oak, Inc..............................................................61 White’s Service Station........................................... .....48 Wiggy’s Trading Post.............................................. .....16 Willard S. Hanington & Son, Inc......................... ..........3 Woodlot Management Services............................ .......20 York’s of Houlton.............................................. ...........17

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2013 Aroostook County

BK COVER

Aroostook County


2013 Aroostook County Edition