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Volume 11 | Issue 1 | 2014

Maine’s History Magazine

Aroostook County

Madawaska’s Roland Gammon’s Northern Trading Co. Faith Is A Star Baby boomers all remember Jade East

Caribou native friend of Albert Schweitzer

Cpt. Clark Gable’s Presque Isle Visit Hollywood star flew five combat missions

www.DiscoverMaineMagazine.com facebook.com/discovermaine

Aroostook County

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Inside This Edition

Maine’s History Magazine

3 It Makes No Never Mind James Nalley 4 Were You Born Before 1945? Times sure have changed Kenneth Smith 8 Haynesville Poetry Maine’s iconic country song Charles Francis 11 The Genealogy Corner Discovering an ancestor’s occupation Charles Francis 16 Captain Clark Gable’s Presque Isle Visit Hollywood star flew five combat missions Charles Francis 20 The Sherman Bear A good laugh David M. Parker 26 Wilderness People Stories of personal North Woods encounters Dorothy Boone Kidney 33  Bus Driver Fond memories of childhood Karen Carlton 35 Aroostook’s Place Names Remembering our roots Christie Cochrane 41 Roland Gammon’s Faith Is A Star Caribou native friend of Albert Schweitzer Charles Francis 44 Madawaska’s Northern Trading Co. Baby boomers all remember Jade East Tom Kent 47 Maine’s Northern Border Dispute We almost lost the St. John Valley to England Brian Swartz 50 Comet Light A visit to 1908 Fort Kent Cara Chamberlain 55 Savage Sunday A story of the war years & every mother’s fear Hazel Cameron

Aroostook County

Publisher Jim Burch

Designer & Editor Liana Merdan

Editorial Assistant Kelly Merdan

Advertising & Sales Manager Tim Maxfield

Advertising & Sales

Dennis Burch Chris Girouard Matthew Lynch Tim Maxfield Aaron Stoddard

Office Manager Liana Merdan

Field Representatives George Tatro

Contributing Writers Hazel Cameron Karen Carlton Cara Chamberlain Christie Cochrane Charles Francis fundy67@yahoo.ca

Tom Kent Dorothy Boone Kidney James Nalley David Parker Kenneth Smith Brian Swartz

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 © 2013, CreMark, Inc.

SUBSCRIPTION FORM ON PAGE 53

Front Cover Photo: Main St. Fort Kent, item #106055 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

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h yes, as the familiar chill in the morning air reminds you of colder times and the extremely long winter ahead, it is time to peruse through this edition of “Discover Maine,” which honors the residents and fascinating history of Aroostook County. Fittingly known as the “Crown of Maine” by the tourist industry, this county is not only the largest county in Maine, but its land area is greater than the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined! Historically, this sizeable land area was the center of an international controversy in 1838-39 when a “war” occurred between the United States and Great Britain. No, this war was not fought with guns and artillery, but it primarily included significant posturing and an exchange of harsh looks and dirty words. Called by various names ranging from the “Aroostook Controversy” and the “Aroostook Incident” to the “Pork and Beans War” (which is a reference to the diet of the idle soldiers), the initial problem was that the border had never been clearly designated. In addition, logging on both sides seemed to cross over haphazardly into the op-

posing territory and eventually, British troops were rushed from Halifax to guard this vague line on the map. Fortunately, the opposing governments acknowledged the seriousness of the situation and persuaded the Governors of Maine and New Brunswick to form a truce. Besides, at the time, the need for another war was last on the list of governmental agendas, especially after bloody conflicts such as the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Long story short, Great Britain and the United States quietly agreed on a border and created a treaty after which Lord Ashburton claimed, “The whole territory we were wrangling about was worth nothing.” Apparently, Ashburton was premature in such a statement. What he didn’t know was that this area eventually contemplated secession to become its own country! However, it remained as “The County” and it slowly expanded its wilderness to include approximately 2,400 miles of snowmobiling trails, which is a blessing to those who thrive on flying through densely packed woods at 45 mph while sitting on a 177-horsepower “muscle sled.”

Well, my short time with you here as come to an end. So, enjoy the articles in this issue as you re-familiarize yourself with how to stay warm. I will close by following up on last year’s “Top 10 Reasons You Know You’re from Aroostook County” with “10 More Reasons You Know You’re from Aroostook County”: 10. You believe that everyone from the city has an accent. 9. You’ve taken your kids trick-or-treating in a blizzard. 8. You believe that driving is better in the winter because the potholes get filled with snow. 7. At least twice a year, the kitchen doubles as a meat processing plant. 6. You head south to visit your cottage. 5. The local paper covers national headlines on one page, but it requires six pages for sports. 4. You get stuck on the roof with your snow blower. 3. You know which leaves make good toilet paper. 2. The mosquitoes have landing lights. 1. You actually “get” these jokes.

In these pages you will see businesses from Aroostook County & Northern Maine which take great pride in serving the public, and business owners and employees who also take pride in being Mainers. A complete index of these advertisers is located on the inside back cover of this issue. Without their support, we could not produce this publication each year. Please support them!

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Aroostook County

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Were You Born Before 1945? Time sure have changed by Kenneth Smith

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ool-gathering-day dreaming I was – as the book of Joel proclaims (chapter 2 V28). “Old men shall dream dreams.” I was reflecting on all of the changes and innovations we elders have witnessed. We who were born in the 1930s during the ‘Great Depression’ also experienced the privation of WWII, surviving (eight) other wars and 12 presidents.Yankees of my generation were raised with the admonition “fix it up, wear it out, make do or do without.” I determined to catalogue and group items that were not invented yet or unavailable (new cars) before the end of WWII. What we grew up without:

Household: microwave ovens, range hoods, air conditioners, gas and electric water heaters, self-defrosting refrigerators, self-cleaning ovens, bread makers, non-stick cookware, blenders, food mills, electric clothes dryers, dishwashers, garbage disposal units, trash compactors, home vacuum systems, wireless phones, answering machines, home security systems, smoke detectors, portable rug shampooers, BBQ grills, electric blankets, air or foam mattresses, drip dry – wash and wear clothes, bikinis, aluminum foil, plastic wrap and food bags, recliners, WD-40, duct tape, hot

tubs, plastics, hair dryers, synthetic clothing fibers (nylon-acrylon), artificial Christmas trees, velcro, scotch tape. Food: T.V. dinners, out of season veggies, pre-packaged meat, instant coffee, low-cal and lowfat foods, yogurt, home delivery pizza, frozen foods, super markets, health food stores, food stamps. Medical: polio vaccine, multi vitamins, steroids and antibiotics, tranquilizers, specialized pain killers, birth control pills, abortion on demand, lasers, M.R.I., body scanners, A.I.D.S. screening, DNA testing, bone marrow and organ donors, organ transplant,

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DiscoverMaineMagazine.com heart and lung machines, micro and orthoscopic surgery, cosmetic surgery, contact lens, artificial joints, kidney dialysis, EEG, EKG, EMTs, paramedics, cardiac defibrillators, hospice care. Tools: Ride on and self propelled lawn mowers, weed whackers, log splitters, chainsaws, paint sprayers, portable compressors and generators, pressure washers, battery powered and pneumatic hand tools, brush chippers. Vehicles: SUVs, four-wheel drive pick-ups and cars, motor homes, RV campers, ATVs, snowmobiles, powered scooters, air bags, child seats, auto radar, seat belts, hover craft, helicopters, hydrofoils, commercial jet aircraft, jet boats, bullet trains, space craft, moon and mars rovers, nuclear powered subs and ships, 150 H.P outboard motors, snow blowers. Electronics: personal laptop computers, color TV, cell phones, tape recorders, answering machine, cordless phones,

internet, cable and satellite systems, CBs, CDs, DVDs, IPODs, video games, global positioning units, FM and satellite radio, fax machines, surround sound, LEDs portable radio, e-mail. Services: credit cards, ATMs, shopping malls, fast food restaurants as in KFC, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, Dairy Queen, automatic car washers, movie, tool, furniture rentals, roto rooters, fitness centers, tanning salons, multi-lane highways, lawn care companies, child day care cnters, 911 emergency operators, FedEx, hotline help counselors, Rent A Car and U-Haul agencies, school crossing guards, female cops, OSHA, EPA, consumer protection advocates, state lotteries, big box stores (Toys R Us, Walmart, J.C. Penny, Kmart, etc.), school breakfast and hot lunch program, door to door school bus pick up. Recreation: little league baseball, midget and junior hockey, youth

soccer programs, PAL, basketball, indoor tennis and skating rinks, scuba and sky diving, mountain biking, water skiing, parasailing, go carts, golf carts, rock climbing, bungee jumping, summer rec and after school programs, giant theme parks. The reason I set this down is to demonstrate a paradox. These elaborate inventions, innovations and services are touted as ‘must own’ conveniences, labor and time saving, health promoting devices. Why then the universal complaint that people are working longer hours, even forgoing vacation and never have enough time!? You may wonder how we survived without these modern conveniences. The following will provide clues as to why there is such a generation gap, actually a gorge. 1. Walked more than rode. 2. Ride usually meant bicycle not car. (continued on page 6) 3-Season Cozy Wilderness Hideaway Secluded Cabins Housekeeping & American Plan

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Aroostook County

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(continued from page 5) 3. Talked to each other rather than stare at the boob tube or computer screen. 4. Read books and wrote letters. 5. Played outdoors after school rather than camp indoors with computer games and visiting chat rooms. 6. Sports and games were unsupervised by adults. We made our own rules and settled our own disputes. 7. We mowed grass rather than smoked it. 8. Popped pop and not pills. 9. Said grace and ate supper as a whole family. 10. Parents taught and enforced manners. 11. No meant no, not maybe. Curfews enforced. 12. Fished, hunted, boated, swam at every opportunity. 13. Spent more time chasing fly balls than girls.

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14. Did any and all odd jobs for the neighbors to earn spending money. 15. Used our imagination while listening to Gang Busters, Lone Ranger, I Love A Mystery, and The Shadow on the radio. 16. Music provided by Big Bands, Andrew Sisters and Ink Spots, not today’s discordant gibberish. 17. Passed clothes down to younger siblings or swapped with neighbors. 18. Picnicked with family and friends on weekends. Hard to envision what the next 20 years will produce, but it will be exciting.

DID YOU KNOW? In the 1960s Great Northern Paper Company’s mills in Millinocket & East Millinocket were producing 20% of all the newsprint in the country.

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Do You Enjoy Writing? Do You Love Maine? Do You Love History? If so, give us a call. We Are Always Looking for History writers to Contribute to our Magazine!

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Aroostook County

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Haynesville Poetry Maine’s iconic country song by Charles Francis

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letter writer mourns the loss of a woman with lines of sad poetry. Highway deaths are the subject of an iconic Maine country song. Two brothers who don’t quite fit with the incrowd and who may be mentally challenged are the brunt of some malicious girls’ humor. An elderly woman places flowers at her own grave site. All have something in common ― they relate to the Aroostook community of Haynesville. The above mentioned letter may have been written by an Albert Cook. It was sent to a William Cook of Eddington in 1851. The letter has monetary value. It went up for auction. The value relates to the fact it was mailed

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from Haynesville. Not many letters bear a Haynesville postmark from that long ago time period. In addition, the letter bore no stamp and consisted of a single piece of folded paper. Old stampless folded letterws are sought after by certain collectors. Their collection is sometimes described as a subcategory of stamp collecting. The iconic Maine country song is, of course, Dick Curless’s A Tombstone Every Mile. It is considered here with the view that song lyrics may be regarded much as lyric poetry. It was written by Dan Fulkerson, a Bangor-based songwriter and copywriter, working at television station WABI, and released in 1964. Curless was from Fort Fair-

field. Tombstone was released on Allagash, a subsidiary of Capitol. The song describes the terrible loss of life on the road passing through the Haynesville woods. It was frequented by truckers hauling potatoes south to Boston and beyond. There are a fair number of stories about deaths along the road. Some even go so far as to say spirits of the departed make an appearance on occasion. The two brothers and the malicious girls and the elderly woman who placed flowers on her own grave site are subjects of poems by Alden Nowland. In the general time period of the 1950s, Nowland worked as a journalist and newspaper editor in Hartland, New

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DiscoverMaineMagazine.com Brunswick. He wrote poetry that was directed at the American market. The poem of the two brothers is called Georgie and Fenwick. Their last name is Cranston. The names are fictitious. Nowland changed the names to, as they say or in this case, as he said, to protect the innocent. And Georgie and Fenwick are most decidedly innocents. Nowland also said that while he visited Haynesville, Maine and got his inspiration for Georgie and Fenwick there, he opted to call the community Hainesville. (There is a Hainesville in New Brunswick.) The same is true for the elderly lady whom he named Mary Talbot, and her cemetery, the Hainesville Cemetery. Riverside Cemetery was the inspiration for the poem which is titled In the Hainesville Cemetery. The four poems under discussion here have something in common besides the fact they have a connection to Haynesville, Maine. They all deal with

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emotion and clear intention. Our 1851 letter (written on March 1) quotes some poetic lines in speaking to the loss of Elira: “long shall her memory be revered…” Elira, or else the writer’s world, is compared to “the shorn lamb.” It appears the writer was a musician. He is going to play “in Jimmiesbrook (Scagrock) and then to play at a ball at Libbies.” There is a reference to “23 miles” and “the mouth of the Aroostook road…” Scagrock is most likely a reference to Orient. The Aroostook Road is probably the old Military Road. It would seem we have a rather sensitive type, a musician, expressing himself as best as he can over the loss of a person dear to him. That is the intent of the letter. The writer does end, however, with the statement there is a “Neighbor lady who picks out wives for him nearly every day…” I drove through the Haynesville woods one winter. It was in 1965 at

night, just before Christmas, and there was a good deal of snow. I had a little sports car. It was a Triumph Spitfire, not the car for the season or conditions. I went off the road rounding an icy curve and into a snowbank. A passerby pulled me out. A Tombstone Every Mile is given some of the credit for the construction of Interstate 95. Was this the intent of the song’s writer? I doubt it. However, Fulkerson’s song is most definitely emotional. Death and dying is an emotional subject. The poem George and Fenwick is about a game. The game is a nasty one. The brothers are “in their thirties and unmarried.” They “live with their parents on a potato farm/six miles north of town.” The two are “afraid of girls.” On a Saturday night girls “…in short pants/…stop/ to tease them.” Who do people play games? Who do the girls tease Georgie and Fen(Continued on page 10)

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Aroostook County

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(continued from page 9) wick? They do so because it’s fun, an extension of the rough-and-tumble play of childhood. The girls have created a little show, a skit. But Georgie and Fenwick don’t play. The play is bullying and no one wants to play with a bully. One of the girls says to Georgie “do you want to take me home tonight?” “Everyone laughs/ but Georgie and Fenwick…” “…They look/ like rabbits frozen/ with the fear of a gun.” The game that Nowland described here and fully captures is the kind that brings forth dark laughter. It’s laughter that comes at the expense of others and because of the frailties and misfortunes of others. In the Hainesville Cemetery deals with emotion and intentional behavior. Mary Talbot was born in 1887. Her husband John was born in 1885. John died in 1955. John Talbot’s gravestone has his dates. Mary’s has but the one. Mary puts “…a jam jar of water and tu-

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lips/ on her own grave.” Why? What’s the explanation for his behavior? “The Talbots,” Nowland says “are people/ who make the beds before breakfast…” They also “…set the breakfast table/ before they go to bed.” Mary could have had a hole dug and waiting for her. But that would have been carrying intent too far. Flowers were the thought, a traditional expression of emotion. The works cited above say something about the nature of Maine, small town Maine. In a sense they are meditations, but perhaps that’s what all poetry is. Their images say something of small town life, fortunes and misfortunes, that speak to something larger. We should all relate to them. That’s what makes small town Maine unique, whether that small town be a Haynesville or some other.

DID YOU KNOW? In the Hollywood movie Seven Days in May there is a line saying “The President’s vacationing at Drew’s Lake in Maine.”

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

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The Genealogy Corner Discovering an ancestor’s occupation by Charles Francis

M

y very earliest ancestor of record is a Scot by the name of Fleury Coggin. I have approximate dates for him in the first decades of the 1400s. Besides the fact he lived in Glasgow, I know nothing more of his life, but for his occupation. Fleury was a fence viewer. The position of fence viewer was once an important one. Most Maine towns had fence viewers in the nineteenth century. The fence viewer was elected at a town meeting. It was a part-time position, but integral in maintaining a stable community and society. Fence viewers were arbiters of property rights. They saw that boundary markers and lines of individual lots

were kept up. In an urban setting, such as Glasgow, Scotland, the position of fence viewer was a full-time job. It was a mark of social position, as it entailed a good deal of legal responsibility and know-how. Finding out when your great-grandfather was born, died and when he married that childhood sweetheart who lived in the house down the road is interesting, but our ancestors become more intriguing the more we learn about them, such as what they did for a living. In addition, determining greatgreat grandpa’s occupation can suggest new avenues for research that you might otherwise not consider. In short, obtaining your relative’s

occupation may send your research in directions you hadn’t anticipated. Perhaps your relative owned a hotel or maybe he operated a general store with another family member. This information can lead to newspaper articles or county records that glean further information into the lives of your ancestors. One of the more interesting examples I know of using occupation as a tool in genealogical research involves the town of Island Falls. The family name being researched is that of Webb. John Webb lives in Chatham, New Brunswick. His family originally came for the Miramichi, where they made their living in the lumber mills of the early 1800s. Webb traced a branch of (continued on page 12)

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Aroostook County

12

(continued from page 11) his family to the southern Aroostook region by following a trail of lumber mills. That trail seems to stop just short of Island Falls, or that is as far as John Webb was first able to trace it. The trail that John Webb of Chatham started with begins with James Webb of the Miramichi. James Webb is a great-great uncle to John. The trail ends in Island Falls with another John Webb. However, for a time, John of New Brunswick wasn’t even sure if the John Webb of Island Falls fell within his collateral line. The reason for this is that John of New Brunswick had a John Webb of Maine working in a lumber mill in Mattawamkeag. And he had a John Webb owning a general store in Island Falls as well as a hotel. His question was were they one in the same? Genealogists and family historians often succumb to a pitfall known to

psychologists as “confirmation bias.” This particular bias is summed up “No matter what we humans think about, we tend to pay more attention to stuff that fits in with our beliefs, than stuff that might challenge them.” To say it in another way, when we arrive at a theory or belief, we are better at noticing evidence that supports it, rather than evidence that runs counter to it. The theory or belief we are talking about in this specific instance is that of John Webb of New Brunswick. This John Webb is convinced he can follow his family line solely by occupations associated with the lumber trade. James Webb of Miramichi, New Brunswick, married Ella Bell in 1856. The couple were married in a Presbyterian church. Following the marriage, the couple moved to Ludlow, where their son John was born in 1858. John Webb of New Brunswick has his collat-

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eral line cousin working as foreman of a mill in New Limerick, and in a similar position at a mill in Mattawamkeag. The next place John Webb shows up at is in Island Falls. There is a problem with this John Webb, though. He has no connection to the lumber trade. The John Webb of Island Falls owned the Exchange Hotel. He also owned an ice business and a taxi cab line. With his nephew, Vinal Webb, he operated a general store. There is no record of his being involved in any way with the lumber trade while in Island Falls. John Webb and his wife, the former Mary Snow of Sangerville, were members of the Baptist church. Even though he found a brief biography attesting to the aforementioned facts, and the fact that John Webb of Island Falls was born in Ludlow and worked for many years for mills in New Limerick and Mattawamkeag, John Webb

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13

DiscoverMaineMagazine.com

of New Brunswick wasn’t accepting of the possibility that the two Maine John Webbs were one in the same. The question is what to do with a situation such as this. The first rule of thumb for building a family tree is don’t make assumptions. Making assumptions is the same as holding preconceptions. It’s confirmation bias. If your ancestor was from a farming community, don’t assume he farmed. If he held one sort of job for a time, don’t expect him to have stayed with it all his life. The first thing to do in documenting occupation is simply to gather relevant information. Start with old family letters, greeting cards, and newspaper clippings before beginning to build an occupational profile. If the subject in question lived in a small community, the local newspaper might be the best place to begin searching. If it is

a smaller community, contact the local library and ask if they have newspaper archives. Library information is usually easily accessible. Obtain a Death Certificate. These often list the main occupation of the deceased during his lifetime. Contact the funeral home that attended to the burial. Funeral homes often have a good deal of family and personal information, including military history, names and addresses of the family of the deceased, as well as his employment history. The two John Webbs that John Webb of New Brunswick was not, or could not reconcile into a single individual, were, of course, one and the same. John Webb was an Island Falls selectman. Because of him, Island Falls got its first sidewalks. Webb was a leader of a group calling for public water supply for the town. These facts are ascertainable in town records.

John and Mary Webb had one child. He died when just two years old. The couple did not have any more children of their own. However, they did adopt a son. His name was Walter Webb. These facts are available in a local history. John Webb of New Brunswick at first found it difficult to accept how his relative’s life had changed. When he collected all the information he could, however, he discovered much more than he ever expected. Discoveries such as this are part of the rewards of researching family history.

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1938 map of Houlton (plate 09) available at www.Galeyrie.com

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Early view of Main Street in Mars Hill. Item #102246 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

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Aroostook County

16

Captain Clark Gable’s Presque Isle Visit Hollywood star flew five combat missions

by Charles Francis

W

Clark Gable was one of thousands of American airmen that came to Presque Isle in World War II. The community was the site of an important air field during the war. Bob Hope stopped in Presque Isle, too. Gable came as a military man, though. His military career began when he enlisted as an Army private. Hope’s stopover was that of an entertainer. He was never in the military. Hope was on his way to Europe to entertain troops. 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 fer-

hen is a king not a king? In the case of Clark Gable, it was when the “King of Hollywood” was a captain in the Army Air Corps. Of course, when Captain Gable was granted a pass to attend a party at a private home during his Presque Isle stopover, he was definitely the “King.” Gable was proclaimed “King of Hollywood” in 1938. Ed Sullivan ran a poll in his newspaper column and 20 million fans voted Gable “King” and Myrna Loy “Queen” of Hollywood. It was a bit over four years later when the “ King” made his Presque Isle visit. That was in the spring of 1943. Gable’s stopover was courtesy of the 351st Bombardment Group.

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17

DiscoverMaineMagazine.com ry 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.) When Clark Gable came to Presque Isle he was the world’s biggest movie star. There is no one today to be considered his equal. You have to look to the past to find comparable figures and there are few of those. Before Gable there was Valentino; after, there was Brando. That’s about it. Gable was Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty and he was Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind. That’s what made him “King of Hollywood.” He was still “King” when he made The Misfits in 1961. So how does all this celebrity jibe with Gable, the Army captain? Gable once said “This ‘King’ stuff is pure bullshit…” He did, however, make movies for the Army. That was at the

request of military higher-ups. When Captain Clark Gable stopped over at Presque Isle Army Airfield, it would seem he had every expectation of flying combat missions. And he did fly in combat. On more than one occasion the “King” came close to dying. Clark Gable held the rank of captain because he was a unit commander. He was head of a six-man motion picture unit. The unit’s responsibility was making recruitment films. Gable was more than just a military film maker, though. He trained as an observer-gunner for B-17s. He flew five combat missions, including one to Germany, on the Flying Fortress. During one of Gable’s missions, his fortress was damaged by flak and attacked by fighters. The attackers knocked out one of the engines and shot up the stabilizer. In the raid on Germany, one crewman was killed and two others were wounded. Flak went

through Gable’s boot and narrowly missed his head. When word of this reached MGM, studio executives began to badger the Army Air Corps to reassign their valuable screen property to non-combat duty. This raises the question ― did Gable expect or intend that he be put “in harm’s way” when he enlisted. The answer to this has to be yes. Clark Gable did not have to go in the military. Born in 1901, he was too old to expect to be drafted. Army Air Corps enlistees averaged eighteen to twenty-one. Even if in the Army, Gable could have opted to run his film crew and have done nothing else. That was what the Army wanted from him anyway. Gable’s name on a film and his very recognizable voice as a film narrator were all the Army brass wanted from their star. So why did Gable enlist? (continued on page 18)

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(continued from page 17) Some biographers say Gable enlisted because his wife, actress Carole Lombard, died in a plane crash. Lombard died in January of 1942. Gable enlisted in August of that year. Before her death Lombard suggested that Gable enlist as part of the war effort. MGM, however, was reluctant to let him go. Until Lombard’s untimely death Gable had gone along with studio bigwigs. Following Lombard’s demise, Gable made a public statement that prompted Commanding General of the Army Air Corps “Hap” Arnold to offer Gable a “special assignment” in aerial gunnery. Gable had earlier expressed an interest in Officer Candidate School (OCS), but he joined the Army with the intention of becoming an enlisted gunner on an air crew. MGM arranged for a studio cinematographer and close personal friend, Andrew McIntyre,

to enlist with and accompany him through training. This in part explains the film-making assignment. Gable and McIntyre were subsequently sent to USAAF OCS Class. Both completed training and were commissioned as 2nd lieutenants. This brings us back to just what Gable intended when he enlisted. What was his motivation? The use of the word motivation here should in no way suggest the motivation of the actor or actress but rather moral or even legal evaluation of actions. To determine what Clark Gable intended when he enlisted in the Army one must ascertain what he knew when he enlisted, not what he wanted. An act is unintentional only if its upshot is quite unforeseen. For example, you may intend to touch someone without hurting them, and, yet, as things turn out you may hurt him or her. Clark Gable knew if he passed the Army physi-

cal he would become a private. General Arnold offered Gable an assignment as an aerial gunner. These are the facts as Gable knew them. A good deal has been written about Clark Gable’s career in the military. Biographers mention his visit to Presque Isle in passing. The party Gable attended during his stopover was in Woodland or it was in a home somewhere outside of Presque Isle. That is the extent of the matter. However, those who saw Captain Gable that evening ( if evening it was) saw a remarkably moral individual. That is how Clark Gable must be looked upon given the extent of his intention on enlisting in the Army. Clark Gable was awarded the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. The medals are consistent with his career in the Flying Fortress. Captain Gable returned to the United States to edit a film, Combat Ameri-

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19

DiscoverMaineMagazine.com ca, in November of 1943. He intended to return to combat. There was a shortage of aerial gunners. By the time work on the film was completed the personnel shortage of aerial gunners was over. Gable was promoted to major in May of 1944. September came and went but Major Gable had no orders. He requested and was granted a discharge. There is a little known sidelight to Clark Gable’s career in the Army. Adolph Hitler put a price on the head of the “King of Hollywood.” It seems Gable was one of the Hitler’s favorite actors. The dictator wanted the “King” captured alive and brought to him.

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Aroostook County

20

The Sherman Bear A good laugh by David M. Parker

D

ad and I drove into the town of Sherman and parked our car beside the old Bangor & Aroostook Railroad station. Railroad photography was my hobby in the early1960s, and we were hoping to spot a freight train somewhere along the mainline. I was feeling pretty optimistic, so I reached for my Kodak camera before we started walking toward the station. Seeing the old building again brought back many pleasant memories. When the B&A operated passenger trains, our family often took the train from Bangor to Sherman to visit relatives. From those earlier experiences we remembered that Sherman was the

ideal place to check for southbound trains. The mainline through Sherman is straight as an arrow almost to Island Falls. If a train were coming south out of the county, it could be seen for miles. Dad and I squinted into the hazy distance up the line and, sure enough, we saw the faint glimmer of a headlight. The light dipped from view a couple of times as the train entered low spots along the southern Aroostook terrain. Soon the train was close enough for us to see the blue and yellow locomotive. Engine 50 rumbled slowly past us as squealing brakes brought the train to a stop in front of the station. I took some photos of the train

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while Dad started chatting with the crew. Since my dad was a B&A employee, crew members were always happy to talk with him. The conductor told Dad that the train was going to leave the mainline and back up the five mile branch to Patten to pick up some cars. He suggested that, if we would like, we could ride the caboose to Patten and back. Well, of course, we were delighted to go. So we walked back to the caboose, climbed aboard and took our places at the rear railing. After the brakeman turned the switch, the train started backing up the branch towards Patten. We had not gone far before the

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21

DiscoverMaineMagazine.com brakeman alerted us, “Keep a sharp eye out. A few days ago we saw a bear along this section.” Dad and I became much more attentive, scanning the track ahead for any sign of the bear. As the train approached a sweeping curve to the right, the brakeman shouted, “This is your lucky day. There he is!” He pointed to a distant dark object beside the track. As the train rounded the curve, the object appeared to move. “Look,” said the brakeman, “he’s walking right across the track.” Dad and I were ecstatic. Here we were riding on a caboose, and, as an added bonus, we were watching a Maine black bear. Once we had rounded the curve, the dark object stopped. In our attempts to get a better look at the bear, we failed to notice the crew members elbowing each other and smiling broadly. The train rolled closer and closer. Slowly our excitement turned to confusion and our confusion to embarrassment. We

realized that the dark object was not a bear at all, but a big sign on a post beside the track. It had only appeared to move as our perspective changed while rounding the curve. We admitted that we had been fooled, and we soon were laughing with the crew. After gathering some cars in Patten, our train returned to Sherman. Jumping off the caboose step, we thanked the crew for the enjoyable ride and especially for the glimpse of local wildlife. As we drove home from Sherman, Dad and I discussed our day’s adventure. We agreed that we were not the first victims of the train crew’s mischief. No doubt, that Sherman bear had been eagerly pointed out to every unsuspecting rider up the branch line.

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Aroostook County

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1938 map of Presque Isle (plate 08) available at: www.Galeyrie.com

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Fort Street in Presque Isle. Item #109366 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

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Parade on Main Street in Presque Isle. Item #102092 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

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Masonic Building in Limestone. Item #101485 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

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Aroostook County

26

Wilderness People

Stories of personal North Woods encounters by Dorothy Boone Kidney

F

or 29 years, except winters, my husband Milford and I lived in a cabin in the remote Allagash wilderness of Maine with no neighbors where we tended a dam for the Bangor Hydro-Electric Company and registered canoeists for the Bureau of Parks and Recreation. While there, we became acquainted with, and learned about, caretakers, guides and hermits. The Allagash Region has its share of hermits. A hermit is a difficult person for anyone to attempt to analyze. For reasons of their own they have fled from the outside world and sought refuge in the thick wilderness. They seldom have a visitor, seldom get any mail, and con-

versation is of no importance to them. A hermit named Fred Harrison lived alone for years in the secluded Hudson Pond area relying on his pilot-friend Ray Porter of Patten for supplies and a rare trip out. Porter landed on the pond one day and walked up to Fred’s cabin to pay him a visit. In the well-kept, clean cabin at lonely Hudson Pond he found a penciled note. The note read: I killed myself because I killed my baby dog for chasing a deer. I threw my pistol into the lake after I shot baby dog. I didn’t have enough nerve to shoot myself. I didn’t have to shoot my dog. No one knew she was chasing deer but me. I want to suffer because I think

it was a crime to shoot my baby dog. If you find this, Ray, I’m all done living. I’m on the bottom of the lake beside my baby dog. (The Maine Law stated that game wardens may shoot dogs chasing deer.) Ray Porter found Fred’s body in the lake, one heel caught on the edge of a crude wharf. He tied the body securely then flew back to Patten and notified the authorities. No living relatives could be located. A sad story of the tragic end of a hermit. A man can become pathetically attached to his dog when living alone – so attached that, in Fred’s case, it caused his death. Milford and I knew another hermit,

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DiscoverMaineMagazine.com Hiram Johnson, who lived in an abandoned horse hovel on Cuxabexis Cove on the north end of Chesuncook Lake. One year we were exploring the shores of Chesuncook Lake and we ran across his low, dismal shack on the shore. The water was low there and we had to climb over endless pieces of bleached dri-ki after we docked our boat to reach his place. Although Hiram had a reputation of not being friendly, he was friendly to us. He had a small, thriving garden beside his hovel and he proudly showed us the bountiful crop of peas. We had our movie camera with us and we got his picture as he moved about in his garden. Hiram was a big man. He wore wide, olive-colored suspenders and his clothes were clean. He hunted, fished and trapped for a living. Something about this strange, lonely hermit touched my heart. “Hiram,” I asked him, “do you ever

get out to civilization?” “Sometimes I go to Greenville,” he told me, “but after I get there, I just stand on the corner and watch the hundreds of cars go by then I turn and walk back here to my place at Cuxabexis.” Apparently Greenville held no interest for the old hermit. I learned later that Hiram would sometimes leave his cabin in the dead of night and walk through the woods twenty miles to Chesuncook Landing and from there over sixty miles to Greenville after supplies and then walk back again. One pilot told me that he had seen Hiram walking down frozen Chesuncook Lake with a heavy pack on his back in forty-below weather on his way to Greenville. The pilot would land his cub plane on the ice and offer Hiram a ride but Hiram always refused. He didn’t want to be beholden to any man. Hiram was a strong man. He had been known to haul 1,100 pounds of

grain up the ice of the lake on a sled just like a horse – a strong man and a lonely man. Before we left Hiram the day he showed us his garden, I stood looking at the face of this lonely old hermit. I searched for some comforting, friendly words to say as we left him. I couldn’t think of much to say so I extended my hand and shook his. “God bless you, Hiram,” I said sincerely, with a silent prayer in my heart for him. A pitiful look stole into his eyes and he gazed off into the distance with an expression on his face that showed me that my silent prayer and a few words of kindness had reached the hermit’s heart. I didn’t see Hiram again but I used to pray for him often over there on the wind-swept shore of Chesuncook. And Gordon Kilgore, a counselor for the St. Croix Voyageurs, saw him occasionally and told us that Hiram always inquired about us. Our few words of kindness had made an impression on him.

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(continued from page 27) One day we crossed Chamberlain Lake in our boat and walked in to Mud Pond in the direction of Chesuncook. “How far would it be over to Hiram’s from here?” I asked Milford. “Over fifteen miles,” he said. It would be a rough fifteen miles over murky terrain and we felt we could not go that day. At Christmas-time I sent him a Christmas card. And one summer I wrote him a letter inviting him over to Lock Dam on Chamberlain Lake to see us. I hoped that someone would paddle the many miles from Chesuncook Village to his place to deliver the letter. There were lumbering operations going on in the Cuxabexis area. And the lumbering company decided to build a road for hauling lumber through the Cuxabexis Stream area where Hiram had lived since 1900. The proposed road would go right through Hiram’s hovel-home. Lester Spear, a represen-

tative of the lumber company, went to tell Hiram that he’d have to move. Hiram didn’t want to move and he threatened Spear’s life. Spear returned to Hiram’s camp the next day with the sheriff. As the two approached the hermit’s camp, Hiram fired, dropping Spear in front of the doorway. He called out to the sheriff that he would shoot anyone who touched Spear’s body. Johnson was fairly deaf so the sheriff didn’t argue. The sheriff returned to his plane to radio Greenville to send a doctor in. The doctor walked to within six feet of Spear’s body. Although he heeded Hiram’s warning not to touch it, he could determine that the lumberman was dead. As the sheriff and doctor returned to the plane, Hiram set fire to the smaller of the two shacks and made a dash for the second. A little later the second shack burst

into flames and members of a rapidly growing posse of deputies, Forest Service men, and game wardens presumed he had slipped away into the deep woods. We picked up the news on our twoway radio. Remembering that I invited Hiram over to Lock Dam and had shown him sincere friendliness and a deep personal interest, we felt that he might be making his way through the woods to our camp. We wondered what we would do. We watched and waited but Hiram didn’t come. His body was found in the fire ruins of the second shack. Hiram had no relatives. People said he was eccentric and likely he was. But there will always be a sadness in my heart as I recall the appreciative, pitiful look in his eyes when I grasped his hand that day and said, “God bless you,

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Hiram!” These are accounts of two hermits who ended their lives in tragic ways. But there were other hermits scattered through the vast region that lived happy, contented lives and died natural deaths with the knowledge that they had lived in a pleasant way. Caretakers cannot be classed in with hermits although some of them live alone in isolated places the year round. The caretaker’s work consists of looking after a lumber camp or dam. His company pays his wages and makes sure that he receives supplies. Often he works until very old and the company provides for his care some place in civilization. A caretaker is likely to be well-educated, alert, and with many lively interests. Such a man was Jim Clarkson who lived as caretaker at Lock Dam yearround for thirteen years. Jim kept him-

self posted on current world events and could discuss politics intelligently with anyone who stopped in. Although he had lived in the woods all his life, he had read widely and was keenly interested in life. Jim enjoyed solitude, too, though, more than most people. People told me that Jim often made the parting remark to his callers, “Well, goodbye, glad to see you come and glad to see you go!” I had never seen Jim myself but I knew that he was a tall man. Our camp had been built especially for him. I could reach only the first shelf of the cupboard, and the nails on the walls for clothes were way out of my reach, He was an ingenious man, too. He had made a dandy fly swatter out of a piece of screening with a wooden handle attached. Many of the kitchen utensils and tools in the workshop had been made by Jim himself.

Clair Desmond lived alone year ‘round on Telos Lake, too, as dam-tender. Clair had merry, blue eyes, a wonderful dry sense of humor, and could not be considered a hermit in any sense of the word. Clair was friendly and generous. Whenever he paid us a visit at Lock Dam, he always brought something to us – a quart of his own maple syrup, some vegetables from his garden, or a jar of preserves, and we grew to love Clair. Life in the Allagash was more enjoyable because of Clair. Later Jim Drake was caretaker there. Jim was hospitable and made the best coffee I ever tasted. He, too, became our good friend. We also became good friends with many guides. Year after year we looked forward to their stopovers at Lock Dam. Some of the guides were of Indian descent. Oliver Bernard was one of the best guides. Oliver’s father was (continued on page 30)

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(continued from page 29) an Abenaki Indian and his mother was a Maliseet. Although in his sixties, he still walked with the ease of an Indian and his brown face showed a long acquaintance with the outdoors. Jack Tomah was part Indian and another much sought-after guide. Some of the guides were French. The Jalberts, Willard and Sam, from St. Francis and Fort Kent, were world-famous guides. Many considered them the best in the Allagash. We became close friends with a long list of guides – Bucky McFadden, Jess Johnson, Paul Edmond, Stacy Osbourne, Derl Sherman, and Fred Munster besides many others during our seasons of living in the Allagash. Good guides are wholesome folk to know – they are as brown as squirrels, as light-footed as rabbits, as wise as the owls in the tree tops, as tireless as the eagles, as alert as the deer in the forest,

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Bus Driver Fond memories of childhood by Karen Carlton

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recently received a letter from my friend, Suzy, a school bus driver in Southern Maine. Her job never seems to phase her, and she claims to have very little trouble with the students on her route. She is cheerful, exuding joy, and has good humor, but I doubt any of them would want to be on her bad side, as she can be a rather formidable character when crossed. I know times have changed since we rode the school bus. Remember when there were no worries about drive-by shootings, kids bringing weapons and bombs on board, or bus drivers who had secret lives as child molesters? Back in the 1960s, in our small town, the worst things that could happen on our bus involved making a mess with food, and the ones who thought they could get away with lighting up a cigarette, resulting in being suspended for weeks. Suzy says she seldom yells at the kids or resorts to drastic measures. She simply pulls the bus to the shoulder of the road when someone gets out of line, and permeates them with The Look. She doesn’t even have to turn around, they can see her face from the rearview mirror and know they had better shape

up, and fast. I know what she’s talking about. It reminds me of another bus driver who had that look down pat. Mr. Stoddard drove me and about forty other students to school from the time I started seventh grade until I graduated in 1972. I never thought of my bus as #31. It was always “Mr. Stoddard’s bus.” Every morning he greeted us with a smile, always calling us by name. He sat proudly in his seat, wearing a dark blue pressed uniform with “Maynard” embroidered in a red circle above the left shirt pocket, and a cap that he tipped respectfully. He was willing to have the radio tuned to the station with the current Top 40, noticed when we wore a new coat, and asked us about our grades. If we were late, he patiently waited and didn’t comment on it. If we had a lot to carry, he reached out a hand to help, reserving the front seats on band days for my sister’s French horn, Harry Fowler’s trombone and Bimmy Cook’s cello. A quiet man, Mr. Stoddard was kind, yet firm. Sometimes there was an incident where he used The Look, then he called the troublemaker by name and

A FAMILY TRADITION FOR OVER 60 YEARS

pointed; that was considered to be his one and only warning. If the behavior continued, which it seldom did, he pulled to the side of the road and calmly asked the student sitting in the front seat to change places with the offender and that was that. No other action was required. He had his rules, which we were fully aware of. There was to be no gum chewing, hair pulling, making out, eating, putting our feet on the seats, yelling, or rough-housing of any kind. Period. We were safe, protected, and respected. We rode Mr. Stoddard’s bus. On my last day of school, I boarded Bus #31 for the final time. After completing final exams that morning, my mother planned to pick me up to go shopping for graduation party supplies. As I climbed the metal stairs of the bus, Mr. Stoddard smiled at me like always, then handed me a rose. I shyly gave him a little hug, then sat down in my seat, feeling embarrassed. On graduation night, my parents gave me six red roses, as was tradition in our town. All the girls carried them as we walked into the gym to the strains of Pomp and Circumstance. I don’t know if anyone noticed I had an extra rose in (continued on page 33)

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(continued from page 33) my bouquet, a shade darker and a little droopier than the rest. On my way out that evening, I had plucked it from its vase and tucked it in with the others. Even then, I knew I would remember Mr. Stoddard as caring, consistent, honorable, and upright; a man of integrity. From him, I learned what I needed to know about kindness, respect, and doing a job so well that others couldn’t help but notice. I wish I could tell him what a positive effect he was on my life. Instead I wrote to Suzy and told her about my old bus driver, and to encourage her, reminding her she is affecting those students who ride on her bus each day. One by one by one…

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Aroostook’s Place Names Remembering our roots by Christie Cochrane

M

aine is a tapestry woven of many brightly colored threads that form an intricate pattern unlike any other design. Following each of these threads to their source, we find people of many different cultures and languages who came to this territory for many different reasons. Early Indians migrated to find better hunting grounds; following the rivers that form an easy network of transportation. European explorers came to this new land searching for adventure, hoping for easy wealth and acquiring new lands. When settlers were attracted to Maine early in the 1600s it was important to claim the land and name it, for they saw it as free and recognized no previous ownership.

They showed neither concern nor recognition for the fact that Indians had settlements throughout the area. That evidence is clear still today in the many names of Indian origin that have continued to name our rivers, lakes, towns and counties. To appreciate this contribution to our tapestry that is Maine we need to find the meaning and origins of the names given by the early people. To study the names gives us insight into the ethnic background of our state. How important it is to know our history, our ancestry, and our roots and not to forget where we came from, who we are and where we are going as the people of Maine. To develop a

sense of history and consequent understanding, acceptance and tolerance of all Mainers, including those who still choose this land, destroys the myth of the Maine Yankee as English colonial descendants. We are, indeed, a unique tapestry. Aroostook County, the Northern portion of the state, is a great expansive cap on the head of Maine, with an area of about 6,500 square miles and a population of some 86,000. The Indians gave the area this name, meaning “beautiful river,” referring to this branch of the St. John. It is unusual to have a town borrow its name from an animal, but Caribou, (continued on page 36)

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(continued from page 35) of Micmac Indian origin, does remind us that this member of the deer family did once roam freely in northern Maine. The first white settler came from New Brunswick, traveling the St. John River to the Aroostook River where he built a lumber mill. The Cochrane family decided, when a son went hunting and killed a caribou, that it was fitting to name their area for this animal. It is good to have this reminder that the caribou once was here in Maine. The Indian names, large from the Abnakis (also spelled Wabnaki) show their thinking in choosing words from their culture. They named places after the natural resources or wildlife, the geography of an area or myths that were an important part of early Maine. In this way they explained the characteristic of a place, showing the good hunting places or the best routes to following in traveling. Masardis, an Indian name, refers

to the junction of the St. Croix and Aroostook Rivers at this point, meaning “large stream.” Until 1832 when Thomas Goss came to the area from Presque Isle, this was Abnaki land. Madawaska, “having its outlet among the reeds,” describes the area first settled by the Acadian French in the late 1700s. The long trek from Nova Scotia, to save themselves from persecution by the British, gave them distance and security on a new land. The Madawaska territory offered the Acadians a crude and hard life, isolated and living by their own ingenuity to preserve a rich culture for everyone to appreciate and admire to this day. The Allagash, an area, a river, a lake, a town in Maine’s North Country, is half a million acres of unspoiled wilderness, a river that flows north unlike most rivers, a lake that feeds the river and a small town. This Indian word,

shortened from their original word, Allagaskwiganmook, means “a bark cabin lake,” a sure reference to their settlements in this remote, hidden and beautiful place. The French connection in the county remained strong and influential. A people of deep faith in God, they expressed their devotion by extending early parish names to their settlement. Their devotions to the saints and their intercession speak to us in the town names: St. Agatha, St. Francis, St. John and St. David . Frenchville attests to the nationality of the early settlers who chose to be remembered as the builders of this town. Presque Isle, one of Aroostook’s cities, was given its French name to describe its location. A peninsula among the twisting of the Aroostook River and the Presque Isle Stream, the city is “almost an island.” The meaning remains

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the same, though the French pronunciation has been Americanized. Grand Isle is indeed named for a great island in the St. John River, one of the few names retained since the title was given by the French Acadians. Nearby Lille is an area named for the city in France by French residents when their claims in the state were extensive. The Franco-Americans who live there hope to retain this connection with the mother country, though even now it is being contested. Benedicta in the southern part of the county was an experiment and venture pursued by Bishop Benedict Fenwick of Boston. Here he planned to develop a community and establish a Catholic college in this area of deep wilderness. The settlement grew and prospered from the fertile farm lands and successful lumbering operations attracting many industrious Irish families

from Boston, but the Bishop’s plan for a college did not materialize. Rather, because of distance and sparse population, he built the college in Worcester, Massachusetts, now Holy Cross College. Not all immigrants came to Maine for the same reasons; some groups from foreign countries were invited. During 1860s the population of Maine suffered serious loss, partially because of the state’s involvement in the Civil War. The lack of labor to utilize our natural resources – fertile land, virgin forests, expansive quarries, boundless water power – was a serious problem to the state leaders. The idea to invite and encourage Swedish farmers to relocate was first suggested by Governor Israel Washburn, one of the seven sons of that remarkable family from Livermore Falls. After the Civil War, Joshua Chamberlain, Maine’s war hero, now

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The North Maine Woods organization manages the public use of nearly 4 million acres of public and private forest land in northern Maine, including much of western Aroostook County.

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the governor, pursued the idea, and Hannibal Hamlin gave his strong support to the plan. The plan was to send a commission to Sweden to recruit settlers, including a Swedish Lutheran pastor. Each man was entitled to 100 acres. The first group included 22 farmers, 11 women and 18 children. That successful venture became the towns of Sweden, New Sweden, Stockholm and Jemtland. Early settlers seemed to be inspired by nature when they named some of their towns. Like the Indians, they recognized the force and beauty of the new land, and these names continue to remind us of the meaning of our surroundings. In 1839 when soldiers came to protect the northeast border of Maine, they camped on the shore of a lake not named. They were so impressed by the flocks of the bald-headed eagle that (continued on page 38)

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Aroostook County

38

(continued from page 37) they named it Eagle Lake. Clean water was another gift of nature and one particular area was found where the water was crystal clear. A lake, a stream and the settlement in the area were given the name Crystal, another reminder of natural beauty, unspoiled by man, The forests found by early settlers were, of course, a challenge as well as opportunity, and unique in their original growth. Ashland is an important center in the county, with an interesting reason for its name. True, the ash tree was prevalent in the area, but also here is an example of honor given to a national figure, Henry Clay, whose estate in Kentucky was called Ashland. Mapleton speaks of the most common trees in the area, a natural resource that gave the town its earliest industry of logging and saw mills. How great must have been the beauty of Autumn

in Mapleton. Oakfield, called the Switzerland of Aroostook County, was found to be hills of oak that surrounded the cleared fields. This name must have reflected the oaken strength of the settlers who came so far north. Winterville as a name speaks clearly of life in an area where winter is long and deep. The geological formation of northern Maine was recognized by early settlers. The presence of limestone deposits was obvious enough to give the name Limestone to a town and a stream. Frequently, early settlers claimed land by using their own name to identify a town, a privilege certainly earned by the hard work of clearing the land and starting a new life. The Houlton family came from Salem, Massachusetts.

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Incorporated in 1831, the oldest in the county, Houlton was for years the extreme northeastern outpost of the United States. Bridgewater on the eastern border has a Massachusetts connection also. A portion of the town was given to Bridgewater Academy in that Massachusetts town; another portion was given to Portland Academy. Bringing a good education to northern Maine was vital to the early settlers. Littleton is a name possibly reflecting its size, but also another land grant, directly north of Houlton, given to Framingham Academy by the Massachusetts Legislature. Makings trails, and finding directions in the wilderness was difficult. Some towns marked specific locations. Easton and Orient, both on the eastern boundary of Maine, are appropriate names using different word ori-

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gins. Easton is an Anglo-Saxon word whereas Orient is Latin in origin. Our language allows a great and interesting choice of words. Westfield would seem to refer to a direction also, but apparently it is named for a town in Massachusetts. The connection here was academic. Again, the Massachusetts Legislature granted a tract of land for establishing an institution of learning, in this case Deerfield Academy. Respect for historical figures of our nation is often found in the place names of our county. Here Aroostook is no exception. Sherman was named for a Senator from Ohio, John Sherman, an American statesman, Secretary of the Treasury and State, writer of the Anti-Trust Act and an abolitionist. Van Buren notes the importance of this eighth president of the United States for he was in office from 1837-

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1841 during the period of the Aroostook War. Here on the west bank of the St. John River came the Acadians from Nova Scotia in 1755. Blaine, another town on the eastern boundary is named for a Maine Congressman from Augusta. He was the Secretary of State under Harrison and was nominated for President in 1884. Blaine was also a writer of political history books. The town of Hamlin helps us remember Hannibal Hamlin who was the vice-president during Lincoln’s first term. His interest in the growth and development of Aroostook as farm land is obvious in his effort to bring Swedish farmers to the area. There is great merit in this honor paid to him. Washburn, in reality, honors a whole family of outstanding men, but most specifically it was named for Israel Washburn, the eldest of seven sons all

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of whom served their country locally and nationally. In 1861 when the town was incorporated, Israel was Maine’s governor. The town received, in appreciation of this honor, a library of 200 choice books. His family is one to be remembered for their complete dedication to this entire nation. Fort Kent in the northernmost part of the county and Fort Fairfield on the eastern border are yet reminders of the border dispute in the early 1800s when boundaries were not yet clearly established. As protection for these separated areas, forts were built against the contenders from New Brunswick. The Aroostook War imminent for many years did not become open conflict, but was settled by skilled diplomacy. Both of these fort towns were named for the governor Edward Kent and John Fairfield who were in office during the critical period of 1838-1843. (continued on page 40)

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Aroostook County

40

(continued from page 39) The town of Amity in the southern part of the county carries a message, “a name which attested the harmony and peace among the early settlers.” Living always in the present and absorbed by its joys and its sorrows, its successes and its problems, we do need to look both ways, back to the past and ahead to the future. In history we find ourselves in the stories that are there, but too often forgotten. Each person has a story to tell, every place name has a wealth of history. All of these are more important than a succession of dates and wars. Until we know our past and understand it, we cannot fully live our present, nor can we wisely plan our future. For you who do not find your place name here because of the limitations of time and space, we urge you to learn the origin and the stories that make your own place an interesting journey into your past. ❦ Other businesses from this area are featured in the color section

Kirkpatrick & Bennett LAW OFFICES Hugh S. Kirkpatrick Patrick R. Bennett ATTORNEYS AT LAW Downtown Mall • Caribou, ME

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Early view of the Catholic church in Caribou. Item #115390 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

Bacon

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Roland Gammon’s Faith Is A Star Caribou native friend of Albert Schweitzer by Charles Francis In 1961 Roland Gammon had a wonderful idea for a book. Gammon decided that he would ask well-known people to write a brief statement on the role of prayer in their lives. Two years later the book came out. Gammon had collected brief religious and philosophical monographs of some of the notable figures of the time, fifty-five in total. There was J. Edgar Hoover, Mahalia Jackson, Paul Tillich, George Romney and Walt Disney, to name but a few. The title of Gammon’s book was Faith Is A Star. It was immensely popular. It covered a wide variety of persuasions and professions as the above brief listing suggests. Hoover was the country’s chief law enforcer. Jackson,

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America’s greatest vocalist of the period. Tillich, the most influential Protestant theologian of the century. Romney, a sometime candidate for the presidency. And, of course, Walt Disney. Walt Disney’s statement in Faith Is a Star is indicative of just how good an interviewer and editor Roland Gammon was. For the first time Americans learned just how deeply religious the creator of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck was. People learned that Disney had grown up in an upright and moral family, that he had been brought up a Congregationalist and had been active in DeMolay. The individuals Roland Gammon interviewed for Faith Is A Star rep-

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resented almost every faith found in America. Because of this the work must be described as ecumenical. This is understandable given that Gammon was of an ecumenical bent. He was a Universalist. From 1961 on we would call him a Unitarian Universalist. 1961 is the date of the merger of Universalism and Unitarianism. Roland Gammon played a part in the merger. Caribou-born Roland Gammon was a very rare individual, a religious man who looked to each and any faith for meaning and principle. In essence, Gammon’s religion was without creed. Its guiding principle was service. The latter point explains why Gammon and Albert Schweitzer had a deep and trust(continued on page 42)

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Aroostook County

42

(continued from page 41) ing relationship. Gammon assisted the great humanitarian in putting down on paper what were almost his very last words. Roland Gammon’s early years include undergraduate studies at Colby College and graduate work at Oxford University. During World War II he served in the Army Air Corps. Following his discharge from the service he was a reporter for both Time and Life. Roland Gammon wore many hats. He was an executive: he was president of World Authors Ltd., president of Editorial Communications Inc., and a partner in a Manhattan public relations firm. The latter firm represented John F. Kennedy when Kennedy was preparing his run for the presidency. The firm had as one of its tasks educating Kennedy as to what it meant to be Catholic. As a Universalist, Roland Gammon was at one time or another president of

the Universalist Church of New York City, a Unitarian Universalist minister, dean of the All-Faith Chapel of the Universalist Church of New York City, and Director of Public Information for the Council of Liberal Churches. (CLC). (The latter organization was a forerunner to the merged Universalist and Unitarian churches.) At one point the CLC was in such dire financial straits that Gammon had to raise part of his own salary. First and most importantly, Roland Gammon was a lecturer and writer on religion. Besides Faith is a Star, Gammon’s books include Believers Are Brothers, Truth Is One and A God For Modern Man. Gammon’s works are representative of the Unitarian Universalist ecumenical perspective. Roland Gammon may be described as theologically liberal. His books speak of the search for spiritual growth.

That search can look anywhere. It can look to beliefs that seem widely divergent, as divergent as Judaism and Hinduism, as divergent as Islam and Confucianism. As Director of Public Information for the Council of Liberal Churches in the years leading up to the merger of Unitarians and Universalists, Roland Gammon had editorial responsibility for the joint publications program of the two churches. As such, he was the right man for the right job at the right time. As is understandable, the merger of Unitarians and Universalists was not all that smooth a road. In the early 1900s an attempt was made to join the two sects and the Society of Friends and the Central Conference of American Rabbis. The common ground was that of liberal theology. The attempt at merger failed, primarily because of

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Universalist conservatism. In the 1920s the Congregationalists approached the Universalists with the idea of a merger. Again Universalist conservatism prevailed. The fact that Roland Gammon, a Universalist, was Director of Public Information for the CLC prior to 1961 was a factor in the Unitarian Universalist merger. It speaks to Gammon’s ecumenical views. These same views speak to Gammon’s collaboration with Dr. Albert Schweitzer. In the first week of September of 1965, Gammon helped Albert Schweitzer compose his final written public statement. The title of that statement is usually given as “Schweitzer’s Struggle to Find Life’s Meaning.” Because of Schweitzer’s fame as a physician devoting his life’s energies to helping the poor of Africa, it is a valued document. The Schweitzer piece was written in Africa. It is viewed as controversial. The reason for this is that it was com-

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

posed as Schweitzer lay on his death bed. The extent of Roland Gammon’s contributions are unknown. It is a disjointed piece of writing, consisting of what appears as fragmented thoughts. Some see it as having been dictated. Schweitzer speaks of all men, black and white, as brethren. For him Gandhi was a Christian Hindu. Violence may only be mastered by nonviolence. The ideas are Unitarian Universalist. They are also the ideas of a Gandhi and a Schweitzer. They are ideas that occur over and over in the writing of Roland Gammon. Roland Gammon died in 1981. He was sixty-one. He was a kind and gentle man of deeply religious beliefs, simple beliefs. He understood religion much as Albert Schweitzer saw Gandhi as both Christian and Hindu: religion, all religion, was a source of moral principle. That was his star.

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Aroostook County

44

Madawaska’s Northern Trading Co. Baby boomers all remember Jade East by Tom Kent

J

ack, as we all knew him, was the son of Austrian/Hungarian immigrants. He was born in Philadelphia, but grew up in the Union, New Jersey area. Jack was a master machinist, tool and die maker by trade, and dabbled in chemistry and fragrances as a hobby. He met and married a Maine native, Marie L. Sirois of Van Buren. Marie at the time was teaching and living with her brother in New Jersey. They had one son, John J. Vollmann Jr.. Jack, being an avid outdoorsman, was always looking forward to summer vacations when the family would return to Marie’s native Maine. Jack enjoyed his fishing and sometimes he’d also sneak a few days in the fall for hunting. Tired of the city rat race, in the mid-1950s, the

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Vollmanns returned to Marie’s St. John Valley where they began a fishing tackle business, developing a very good line of fresh water lures known as Cojacs. Jack was still fooling with his hobby and created a line of shampoo products called Acadian Queen as well as restroom deodorizer blocks. These he would peddle door to door, so to speak, from the back of his Studebaker station wagon. Then came the early 1960s, Rock and Roll, etc. College students had become a bit more affluent and were traveling to the islands on spring break. They were returning with a cologne called Canoe. Before this time men’s fragrance consisted of the Bay Rum and witch hazel the local barber applied when they got their hair cut, or of Old

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45

DiscoverMaineMagazine.com Spice or Aqua Velva. This Canoe was a bold change from these old standbys. It was at that time that Mr. Vollmann was advised that Swank Inc. of Attleboro, Massachusetts, a leading manufacturer of men’s accessories, was actively considering the addition of a men’s fragrance line to their product lines. Mr. Vollmann secured an appointment to make a presentation of a fragrance he had developed that indeed smelled a great deal like Canoe. Dressed in his plaid shirt, baggy pants, moccasins, and red plaid jacket, almost a trademark of Jack, he boarded the B&A bus for Attleboro. Swank liked his fragrance submission, but asked if he could make it in green, as they were doing a good deal of business in men’s Jade jewelry. Mixing a few colors together, ironically from an old Old Spice gift set box, he showed them a green-colored cologne that they very much liked. Someone in the group asked, “What goes with Jade?” A gen-

1938 map of Madawaska (plate 04) available at: www.Galeyrie.com

tleman present, representing the New York ad agency handling the Swank’s account, Don Berard, responded, “East. Thus was born the name Jade East, which Swank would later trademark and distribute. Jade East became almost an overnight success, marketed as a prestigious men’s cologne and after shave. It actually created the men’s fragrance industry in the United States as we know it today. Upon his return from Attleboro, armed with the initial purchase order from Swank, John and Marie, with the help of what was then Northern National Bank, created Northern Trading Co. Inc., a contract packaging company to fill, label, and package Jade East for Swank. Jade East continued to be the main product of Northern Trading until the early 1970s when Swank introduced another line, Royal Copenhagen and later Flora Danica, a ladies line. Northern’s affiliation with Swank continued until the 90s when Swank decided to

sell their fragrance business. Northern Trading continued to manufacture and fill for the new owners, T’Sumura International. It now runs under the new name Evergreen Manufacturing. Located in the heart of the St, John Valley, Madawaska is their home. Evergreen Manufacturing’s work force is made up of mostly native French- Acadians, a very dedicated, loyal and hard working group. It is not at all uncommon to walk through their operation and hear the employees discussing a filling, labeling, or packaging problem in French. Since a great many of the components supplied by Evergreen’s customers come from France, the ability of the employees to communicate with the many foreign visitors is definitely an asset.

Aroostook County

46

Early view of Main Street in Madawaska. Item #101308 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

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Discover Maine Magazine has been brought to you free through the generous support of Maine businesses for the past 21 years, and we extend a special thanks to them. Please tell our advertisers how much you love Discover Maine Magazine by doing business with them whenever possible. Thanks for supporting those businesses that help us bring Maine’s history to you!

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Maine’s Northern Border Dispute We almost lost the St. John Valley to England by Brian Swartz

Y

ears before he negotiated the 1842 treaty defining Maine’s northern border, Lord Ashburton of Great Britain left his mark on two Maine towns. Signed in 1783 by Britain and the United States, the Treaty of Paris had described a geographically vague northeastern America border: “a line drawn due north from the source of the St. Croix river to the highlands, along the said highlands which divide those rivers that empty themselves into the St. Lawrence, and those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to the northwestern most head of the Connecticut river.” By 1794, when Britain and the United States signed Jay’s Treaty (named for American negotiator John Jay), both countries agreed that Maine’s eastern border extended along the St. Croix River from Calais to the Chiputneticook Lakes to Monument Brook, considered the river’s northernmost source. Then the border followed the “line drawn due north” to an indeterminate location somewhere nearer the Aroostook River (according to Britain) or the St. Lawrence River (according to the United States).

If American claims held, Maine’s northern border would lie just a few miles south of the latter river and would effectively sever overland communications between Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. To offset this potential strategic disaster, Britain arbitrarily pegged the northern border as running roughly east to west on a latitudinal line somewhere between Presque Isle and Houlton. The disputed region’s primary inhabitants were Acadians who had arrived in the upper St. John River after their expulsion from Nova Scotia by British troops. The War of 1812 did not militarily impact the region, although British forces occupied eastern Maine until 1815. After the war, the virgin timber and expansive unoccupied lands stretching from the upper Penobscot Valley to the St. John Valley lured loggers, farmers, and land speculators northward. Maine gained independence from Massachusetts in 1820; with the state’s eastern, western, and southern boundaries already delineated by the St. Croix River, Piscataqua River, and Atlantic Ocean, legislators decided the northern boundary lay near the St. Lawrence River. Thus Maine would sprawl across the

upper St. John River, a region already governed by New Brunswick. Maine and Canadian loggers cut trees claimed by Augusta and Fredericton, British officials arrested and imprisoned a Maine land agent in the late 1830s, and the resulting contretemps saw Washington and London suddenly facing a shooting war along an obscure international boundary. Sabre-rattling by Maine and New Brunswick alarmed both countries’ leaders, who respectively dispatched Daniel Webster and Lord Ashburton in spring 1842 to negotiate a treaty that would officially identify Maine’s northern border. The two men already were friends when they sat down to negotiate in Washington, D.C.. Born in October 1774, Lord Ashburton was already well traveled in the United States. Representing Barings House (a privately held bank), Ashburton arrived in Philadelphia in 1795 to meet with Pennsylvania Senator William Bingham, then in serious financial difficulty. According to www.upperstjohn. com, “William Bingham, one of the biggest investors in Maine lumber lands … had purchased several million acres of land [in 1786] but was (continued on page 48)

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Aroostook County

48

(continued from page 47) unable to meet his payments” by the mid-1790s. American banks would no longer finance the Bingham Purchase, a name that echoes through Maine history, but Barings House might buy the property if Lord Ashburton deemed the land a worthy investment. So Ashburton traveled to Maine with Bingham, his wife Anne, and their daughters Anne Louisa and Maria. Ashburton inspected Bingham’s extensive woodlands, chatted affably with the Bingham girls, and recommended that Barings House purchase from Senator Bingham approximately 2 million acres in eastern Maine. Stretching north from modern Route 1 across Routes 9 and 6, the land encompassed interior Hancock and Washington counties. Barings House relieved William Bingham of 2 million acres (and its affiliated debt), and Lord Ashburton relieved him of Anne Louisa by marrying her in August 1798. Ashburton’s younger brother would later marry Maria Bingham. Lingering in the United States into the early 19th century, Ashburton played a critical role when Barings House provided the necessary financing so the United States could acquire the Louisiana Purchase from France. Ashburton later returned to Britain and won election to Parliament in 1806. He remained active in business and, to a lesser extent, in politics for the next

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few decades before gaining his baronetcy in April 1835. Daniel Webster, Lord Ashburton, and their entourages gathered in Washington, D.C. seven years later to solve the difficult question of Maine’s northern boundary. Ashburton was “a good man to deal with, who could see that there were two sides to a question,” Webster described his English counterpart. Amicable negotiations resulted in 12,027 square miles exchanging hands: 5,012 square miles to Britain and 7,015 square miles to the United States (specifically to Maine). Webster and Ashburton established Maine’s northern boundary along the line that exists today; Britain maintained its vital overland connection between Quebec and the Maritimes, and the American Senate and British Parliament quickly signed the treaty. Not before Maine officials blew a political gasket, however. In Augusta, Franco-phone politicians viewed the Acadians with contempt; who cared if Madawaska residents lived in Maine or New Brunswick? But those 5,012 square miles lost to Britain represented valuable timber lands that state officials wanted back! Some British politicians also savaged Ashburton for surrendering 7,015 square miles to the upstart United

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States. Verbal opposition soon lost steam in Maine and Britain, especially after Ashburton and Webster unveiled a map dating to early December 1782. On this map, which was sent to Count de Vergennes in Paris, “I have marked with a strong red line, according to your desire, the limits of the United States, as settled in the preliminaries between the British and American Plenipotentiaries.” The accompanying letter was signed by Benjamin Franklin, who evidently had used a camel-hair pencil to identify Maine’s northern border in 1782. Jared Sparks, an American scholar, had discovered the letter and map in Parisian archives earlier in 1842. He forwarded copies to Washington, and senators ratified the Webster-Ashburton Treaty after reviewing the map. Webster brought the map to Maine, where politicians quickly realized they had not received a raw deal with the new treaty. On Franklin’s map, Maine’s northern border extended along an eastwest line south of Mars Hill. The Webster-Ashburton Treaty moved that border north to the St. John River, so Maine gained more territory than Franklin had envisioned in late 1782. The Maine Legislature accepted the new border, and Lord Ashburton returned to Britain. He died in mid-May 1848 and left a respectable legacy —

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including two towns in eastern Maine. Lord Ashburton was born Alexander Baring, eldest son to Sir Francis Baring. After purchasing 2 million acres in eastern Maine from Senator William Bingham, Barings House sold the land to lumbermen and settlers. Sometimes entire townships became towns; Township 16 did so in 1825, and its residents named their town Alexander. Township 6 also incorporated as a town in 1825; residents living in the St. Croix River community named their town Baring. So Lord Ashburton lives in Maine history as Alexander and Baring, rural Washington County communities created on land purchased by British investors in the mid-1790s.

DID YOU KNOW? About sixty years before Maine gained statehood, the Governor of Quebec granted 200 acres of land to each family “in order that they might practice their religion with more freedom and less difficulty.”

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Aroostook County

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Comet Light A visit to 1908 Fort Kent by Cara Chamberlain Light pollution overwhelms night sky in much of this hemisphere. We regret our losses, but believe in change, progress, the inevitable goose step of technological complexity. Though we may not entirely like them, we have e-mail now and faxes and satellite TV. There’s no going back. But in northern Aroostook County, it’s still possible to park the car halfway between Portage and Eagle Lakes, turn everything off, get out, and greet the primeval stars. The stars don’t change. Not by any human scale, at least. Tree limbs scrape each other in the wind and make sounds that remind my son of bears and long-extirpated wolves, and we spot the old standby winter constellations. Orion. Pleiades. Canus Major. Hyades. They look much the same as they always have, I imagine. But then, this March and April, there’s something new ― Comet Hyakutake. A dusty beacon unraveling light halfway across the sky. New for us. But really an avatar. A recurrence. Previous comets, some habitual visitors, have splashed this same ephemeral light on our sky many times

before. The fizzled mid-80s Halley’s Fort Kent was completed in 1902, this Comet. Comet West in the 70s (this northern terminus, like a western fronone I saw from my mother’s bedroom tier town, was booming. The populawindow in Salt Lake City, Utah — it- tion nearly doubled between 1890 and self almost another cosmos away from 1908, from 1,826 to 3,500. Moreover, Aroostook County). And then there 1906 was the biggest season the area was, as my grandparents described it, had ever seen for potato exports — rethe incomparable incandescence of portedly 100,00 barrels went south on Halley’s in 1908. the Bangor and Aroostook. 1908 itCelestial events install a reassuring self was no slouch for potato harvests, logic and redundancy into our exis- though, ironically, these were bad years tence (and thus their loss to light pol- for starch production, requiring small, lution is particularly ironic since cha- less than choice potatoes of which there os and disorder seem the rule in those were few in such high quality harvests. urban tangles most deprived and most In 1908, Fort Kent also shipped out in need of starlight), but, I wonder, nine deer and two moose carcasses for does human life — its daily rhythms, the delectation of non-Aroostook gourthemes, and trappings — really change mands. so much? Would I recognize myself at Even in boom times, though, the all in the thoughts of a thirty-something numbers seem foreign. Fort Kent Mill Fort Kent resident who had stepped Company, the town’s leading industry, outside one April evening eighty-eight provided steady employment for some years ago to admire Halley’s grand tail? sixty men. The ranks of the Mill’s emFinding my way around Fort Kent ployees swelled in winter to between just eight years ago into the century, I 120 and 140 men who worked the timDiscover Maine Magazine might believe I had arrived at a simi- ber harvest. And in the winter of 1908(207) 874-7720 • 1-800-753-8684 lar, but, after all, alien world. For one 9, 350-400 men with 80 horses would thing, once the Bangor and Aroostook cut 12-14 million feet of logs on the Railroad extension from Ashland to Allagash and St. John Rivers for W.H.

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DiscoverMaineMagazine.com Cunliffe Company. It’s a good bet that no one in 1908 Fort Kent worried about corporate downsizing or about national deficits. Most people raised at least some of their own food so the weather rather than the strategies of presidents and speakers of the house and CEO’s was of real, ever-present concern. A 1907 photo of Fort Kent that Lisa Ornstein, director of the Acadian Archives, kindly let me study shows more open fields surrounding town, fewer trees than now. There is no levee to protect against St. John floods, and Pleasant Street is a country lane surrounded by fields of what is perhaps buckwheat. Potatoes, peas, and onions were other important non-monetary or “kitchen” crops. Chances are, my 1908 counterpart never imagined she could provide varied menus for the family supper. There was no Shop n’ Save, but, according to the stereotype advanced by Madawaska Training Center principal Mary Nowland, any local girl worth her salt could concoct a mean pot of pea soup. Was a woman in 1908 concerned about staying fit? No one bought treadmills or exercise tapes in those days, but women were beginning to assert themselves as athletes. This was, however, still new territory. A brochure written by Clarence Pullen to advertise the Bangor Aroostook’s new Fort Kent extension, acknowledges, if condescendingly, the woman outdoor enthusiast:

The question of suffrage may wait, but her enfranchisement into the pleasures of the canoe and fly-rod is a right that no woman will ever give up to the monopoly of man again once she has experienced the fun of going a-fishing. Well, even if Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Picabo Street weren’t available as role models, there was always the average woman farmer who put in a full day doing dishes, toting babies, carding wool, tending chickens, hoeing gardens, and handling the wash. In the Fort Kent of 1908, there were telephones, but there was no electric company. A woman might have wondered how it would be to drive an automobile. Joseph O. Michaud had, after all, just patented a new power transmission. But horse-drawn sled or carriage was still the standby transportation and would largely remain so until the 1920s. Without the ever-present electrified night, a Fort Kent woman wouldn’t have needed to go south of Eagle Lake to see Halley’s at its best. She could have crossed the St. John River to Clair, New Brunswick, on Joe Long’s new footbridge, and, halfway across, wrapped her seal coat tighter over a white shirt waist and long skirt, as she looked up at the comet and wondered if the rumors were true, if its vapors were deadly. Dangerous, at least. She’d have known that ginger in warm milk was a cure for colic, that bathing the feet in

cold water with mustard could put out a fever. There was no Tylenol or Bayer’s, and no AIDS, but she might have had first-hand knowledge of TB or cancer. She might have thought about the burning of St. Louis Church in 1907 and about how Father Decary now had to hold services on the second floor of the newly built school that rose from the original church’s foundation. She might have wondered what the new church — to be started next year — would look like and if she could afford to send her children to the Little Franciscan Sisters of Mary for the 50 cents a month tuition. Would she have wanted her sons and daughters to attend the Madawaska Training School? The girls might become teachers and be able to support themselves, even if they didn’t marry. But they might lose their facility with French. Would her sons work at Fort Kent Mills? Would one of them learn to run one of the seven shingle machines there? Would they work the 350-acre company farm? Would they take over their father’s farm when he was too old? I doubt this 1908 woman’s soul was so different from mine. Maybe she envied the wealthy — the Cunliffes and Mallettes. She might have liked to gaze in the window at Sawyer’s jewelry shop, a small square plank building at the far end of Military Square, and then decide that such luxuries weren’t real(continued on page 52)

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Aroostook County

52

(continued from page 51) ly for her, after all. Or she might have bemoaned the scarcity of her shoe size not at Reny’s but at George Page’s general store with its steep eaves and capacious balcony. Did Theriault’s carry the latest fashions for her oldest girls? A bolero and gored skirt? Egret plume hat? How could she explain to them that these were just too expensive not to be handmade at home? And should she allow these headstrong teenagers to crimp their hair? She might have admired the brand new hotel built by J.C. Levesque of Clair, the elegant long veranda of the Hotel Morneault, the three-story steam-heated W.J. Robbins and Company drugstore and harness shop. These were boom times, so maybe she could afford entertainment. No, not a movie at Plourde’s Century Theater, but a traveling vaudeville act at the 500-seat opera house. Or ragtime mu-

sic. Or a dramatic reading. She wouldn’t have known about Microsoft or microwaves, but she could sew like a demon, undoubtedly, a coat-lining of perfectly spaced, uniform stitches. She could probably card and spin wool with an expert hand. And she could peel a potato in seconds flat—no Osterizers in those days, but she might have imagined and wished for such a gadget. Maybe she worried about politics. Since William Dickey’s demise in 1899, state legislators weren’t that influential. The Duke’s 33 terms at the State House, though, were a mixed blessing for Fort Kent. He got the Madawaska Training School built and part of its charter was to preserve the French language, but its mission was, above all, to teach English. Would she have shrugged and thought, “That’s progress for you”?

My 1908 doppelganger probably worried as much as I did about change, wondered if civilization was in decline, if the comet portended good or ill. If she thought about the state of the world, she might have seen ominous signs: trouble in Europe, mass starvation, rebellions and revolts in places she couldn’t even locate on a map. What did the end of the Russo-Japanese War mean? Would the Japanese, as a popular song joked, really run the United States? What kind of a world would her children inherit? Would the big timber and potato harvests continue? Stars and the irregular, but not chaotic, visits of comets are grand continuities that prompt me to imagine other, more intimate continuities. I’ll bet if I could cross Long’s foot bridge over the St. John in the cold late-winter of 1908, I’d recognize not just that strange beacon of comet light, but also the re-

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current, familiar human worries for children, the stirring and venal commercialism, the fragility of economic well-being, the scent of still-frozen soil just beginning to welcome a flow of spring melt water.

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St. Louis Catholic Church in Fort Kent. Item #106048 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

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Aroostook County

54

1938 map of Fort Kent (plate 03) available at: www.Galeyrie.com

St. John Valley Realty Co.

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Savage Sunday A story of the war years and every mother’s fear by Hazel Cameron It was lunch time and they had just returned from church. The men folks were in the barn doing the chores while Mrs. Chambers prepared the noon meal. She always enjoyed Sundays. It was the one day when all of the family could be together, except, of course, for the children who had married and had homes of their own. Soon the men would be trudging through the large drifts and sculptured mounds of swirled snow that the wind had blown between the barn and the house. The Farmer’s Almanac had predicted a lot of snow this year and once again they were right. The cars passing on the road could not be seen

from the house. Only a swish could be heard now and then as the occasional traffic passed by the plowed opening of the driveway. As she carefully placed six plates on the table, she recollected when all of her children were at home. This same dining room had seemed so small and crowded. She smiled as she recalled when her husband had carried the table home on his back shortly after they were married. But as the children left home, one by one, a leaf had been removed – a sort of growth ritual, like the measuring marks against the pantry wall. Her thoughts were interrupted as she heard the stamping of many heavy snow boots on the porch, stomping and

half word sounds as the fellows shook and bullied the snow from their clothes. The thought of the teasing and joking that would go on this day made her warm inside, the kitchen and food smells sharper, the hickory log snappier. The kitchen door opened and her husband and four sons bunched in. “What’s for lunch, Mom?” asked her oldest, as he pulled at the strings of her apron once, twice, missing and finally that last tug so that she barely caught the falling cloth with her knee. “Well,” she said with mock firmness, as she retied the apron. “I can see that this is going to be another one of those days!” But her serious tone fooled no one. She (continued on page 56)

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Aroostook County

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(continued from page 55) loved their teasing and she loved them all. It was all very simple. “Alan,” called the father as he sat in his kitchen rocker while the last minute touches for dinner were being made, “Snap on the radio for a few minutes.” “Can’t we have just one day without that foolishness?” she had started to ask, but Alan had already turned the knob – just that one snap, hidden by dish and settling sounds. “Harbor, President Roosevelt is scheduled to address the nation within minutes. We repeat, Pearl Harbor has just been attacked by the Japanese Empire. Listeners are advised to remain near a broadcasting station.” She looked at her four sons, each face frozen in startled movement. An image of uniforms flashed and left – all things forever changed, here, now, before a voice in the room had yet been given sound. Something extraordinary had happened so suddenly, some intru-

sion between the warming routine that had been her life and some inexplicable horror that was going to be now – how was she ever to endure the change of it – and still no one had really moved, had really created order from the radio’s sounds. January, February, March and April, all passed. With Spring came the extra chores, though each season brought extra chores. The banking had to be removed from the house; the winter wind had blown shingles from the barn, and they had to be replaced; new stakes had to be cut for the pasture fence. So many things to get done before spring planting started. She wondered how her husband could possibly get all of this done by himself, and she wondered if he ever felt that he couldn’t, and if he’d tell her after all. They never talked about that Sunday, never joined in the “Where-wereyou-when-it-happened?” talk at the

local market or at the church suppers. They didn’t talk about a lot of things those days. Inside the house she had just finished the spring cleaning of the upstairs. She leaned against the stair railing. So pointless, she thought. There are just the two of us after all. She on the third step, weary, feeling a frailty she had never associated with herself before, only with older folks or those with a poorer share of things. She stared at the white banner in the window, the banner with the four blue stars. It was supposed to be a symbol that this household had four sons serving their country. For her it wasn’t that at all. It was a reminder, every day, of what she would later call to herself as that aching time, the time when everything was heavy, and dreading and savagely fearing – the time after that Sunday.

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Early mill scene in Fort Kent. Item #100833 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

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Aroostook County

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Theatre in Fort Fairfield. Item #100818 from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection and www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org

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DIRECTORY OF ADVERTISERS

Business

Page

3-D Carpentry .................................................................. 52 A&L Construction Inc. ................................................... 17 A.N. Deringer ................................................................... 13 Acadia Federal Credit Union .......................................... 57 Alan Clair Building Contractor....................................... 34 Albert Fitzpatrick ............................................................ 14 Al’s Diner .......................................................................... 16 Ant Hill Home Improvements & Exterior Design ......... 38 Aroostook Foam Insulation ............................................ 24 Aroostook Hospitality Inn .............................................. 23 Aroostook Milling Co. ......................................................21 Aroostook Real Estate.com................................................ 30 Ashland 1 Stop ................................................................. 36 Ashland Food Mart, Inc. ................................................. 37 Auto Acceptance Center .................................................. 41 Avondale Kitchens ........................................................... 21 Ayotte’s Construction, LLC ....................................... ..... 22 Babin Construction ......................................................... 49 Bacon Auto & Truck Care .............................................. 40 Barnes Law Office ............................................................ 12 Barresi Financial, Inc. .................................................... 35 Bear Paw Inn .................................................................... 16 Belanger’sAuto Electric, Inc............................................... 49 Ben’s Trading Post, LLC ................................................. 34 Bloomer Law Office ...........................................................12 Blue Moose Restaurant ................................................... 14 Bob’s Service Center ........................................................ 43 Bouchard Country Store ................................................. 29 Bouchard Family Farm ................................................... 29 Buck Construction, Inc....................................................... 36 Bull Moose Taxi ............................................................... 19 C&R Towing ..................................................................... 36 Campbell’s Service Center ............................................... 7 Caribou Area Chamber of Commerce ........................... 40 Caribou Automotive Repair Service .............................. 41 Caribou Inn & Convention Center....................... bk cover Caribou Theatres ............................................................. 39 Caribou Trading Post ...................................................... 24 Caron & Son Paving ........................................................ 28 Caron Builders ..................................................................33 Cary Brown Trucking & Excavating .............................. 7 Cary Medical Center ....................................................... 27 Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce.....................18 Charette & Son Drywall .................................................. 56 Clifford L. Rhome CPA, PA........................................... 35 Clukey’s Auto Supply ........................................................ 3 Colin Barlett & Sons, Inc. ................................................. 5 Cornerstone Christian Academy .....................................25 Country North Gifts ........................................................ 13 Countryside Retreat, LLC .............................................. 42 County Abatement, Inc. .................................................... 5 County Denture Center ....................................................34 County Electric ................................................................ 39 County Home Inspections ..................................................56 County Super Spud .......................................................... 15 Crandall’s Hardware ......................................................... 6 Cunningham Brothers, Inc. .............................................10 Daigle & Houghton ........................................................... 33 Daigle Oil Company ......................................................... 58 Dana’s Auto Sales ............................................................. 35 Deep In The Woods Gift Shop ........................................ 36 Dennis Cyr ........................................................................ 56 Desjardins Logging .......................................................... 57 Dolly’s Restaurant ........................................................... 47 Doris’ Cafe ........................................................................ 56 Duane Thompson’s Masonry .......................................... 22 Dubois Contracting .......................................................... 28 Dubois Law Offices .......................................................... 41 Dunbar Construction ....................................................... 14 Dunbar Equipment .......................................................... 14 East Branch Lodge .......................................................... 8 Evergreen Manufacturing ............................................... 44 Evergreen Trading Co. LLC ........................................... 44 F.A. Peabody Company ..................................................... 4 First Choice Construction ...............................................56 Fish Stream Kennels ......................................................... 9 For Paws Grooming & More .......................................... 22 Forest Diversity Services Inc. ......................................... 51 Fort Fairfield Chamber of Commerce ........................... 37 Foss & Sons, Inc. ............................................................... 8 Four Daughters Redemption .......................................... 38 Francine’s Pools & Spas .................................................. 51 Frank Landry & Sons, Inc................................................ 9 Galeyrie Maps & Custom Frames................................... 56 Gary Babin’s Groceries & Meats ................................... 49 Gerald Pelletier, Inc. ........................................................ 19 Gerard Raymond ............................................................. 47 Gervais Fence ................................................................... 38 Giberson-Dorsey Funeral Home ..................................... 37

Business

Page

Grammy’s Country Inn ................................................... 11 Grave’s Shop ‘N Save Superstore .................................... 18 Gray’s Custom Builders .................................................. 19 Greater Fort Kent Chamber of Commerce ..................... 55 Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce ....................... 13 Greater Madawaska Chamber of Commerce ........... 44 Griffeth Ford .................................................................... 26 Ground Tek, Inc. .............................................................. 55 H&S Garage, Inc. ............................................................. 46 H.C. Haynes Inc ..................................................................8 Haines Manufacturing Co., Inc. ..................................... 18 Halfway Home Pet Rescue ............................................... 39 Hand Me Down Antiques ................................................. 18 Hanington Bros., Inc. ........................................................ 9 Hayes Drywall ..................................................................... 8 Hebert Pharmacy ..............................................................27 Heritage Trail Storage & Rental ................................. 56 Hillside Apartments ..........................................................43 Hillside IGA ........................................................................ 3 Hogan Tire ........................................................................ 14 Home Town Fuels, Inc. ......................................................... 25 Houlton Higher Education Center ................................. 12 Huber Engineered Wood, LLC ....................................... 21 IHP Industrial Heating & Piping Co. ............................. 40 Industrial Street Storage .................................................. 35 In-Home Care .................................................................... 6 Inn of Acadia ................................................................... 42 Irish Setter Pub ................................................................ 34 Irving Woodlands, LLC ................................................... 52 J. McLaughlin Construction, LLC ................................. 20 Jal-Bear Carpentry, Inc. .................................................. 30 Jandreau Carpentry ......................................................... 54 Jerry’s Shurfine ................................................................ 9 Joe’s Auto & Truck Repair .............................................. 44 Joe’s Country Store .......................................................... 58 John’s Auto Repair ............................................................ 6 JSL Metal Recycling ........................................................ 14 Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce .......................... 7 Kauffman Metals .............................................................. 20 Kerry Golding Construction ........................................... 13 Key Realty ......................................................................... 16 Kirkpatrick & Bennett Law Offices ............................... 40 Knights’ Grocer ................................................................. 8 Knot II Bragg Farm ..........................................................39 LaJoie Growers, LLC ...................................................... 27 Langille Construction, Inc. .............................................. 26 Larry’s Wood Products ..................................................... 7 Lee R.C. Theriault, CPA .................................................. 54 Leisure Gardens ............................................................... 17 Leisure Village .................................................................. 17 Lennie’s Superette .............................................................. 7 Limestone Chamber of Commerce ................................. 38 Long Lake Camps & Lodge ............................................ 28 Long Lake Motor Inn ...................................................... 48 Louisiana Pacific Corp. ................................................... 21 LP Building Products ....................................................... 21 Lucky Dog Boarding House ............................................ 12 M. Rafford Construction ................................................. 24 Macannamac Camps ........................................................ 19 Madawaska Pharmacy, LLC ........................................... 27 Maine Historical Society .................................................. 57 Mainely Magnetos ........................................................... 49 Maine Solar and Wind ..................................................... 30 Mainers to the Bayou .................................................... 29 Mark’s Towing Service & Auto Repair ........................... 41 Mars Hill IGA ................................................................... 3 Martin’s General Store .................................................... 30 Martin’s Motel .................................................................. 43 Masardis Trading Post ..................................................... 36 Matheson Tri-Gas ............................................................ 23 McCain Foods ................................................................... 21 McGillan, Inc. Earthwork Constractor .......................... 38 McGlinn Electric, Inc. ..................................................... 36 Mike Bourgoin & Son ...................................................... 30 Mike’s Family Market ..................................................... 38 Miller’s Discount .............................................................. 55 Mitch’s Heating .................................................................51 Mockler Funeral Home .................................................... 39 Monticello Mini Barns ..................................................... 22 Mooseshack Restaurant & Bar ....................................... 28 Morning Star Art & Framing ......................................... 35 Murray LaPlant ................................................................ 8 Music Center Inc. ............................................................. 46 Music Haven, Inc. ...............................................................28 Nadeau Logging, Inc. ....................................................... 54 Nadeau Trucking, LLC ..................................................... 58 Nickerson Construction Inc. ........................................... 10 North Country Auto ......................................................... 5 North Maine Woods ............................................................ 37

Business

Page

North Woods Real Estate ................................................ 19 Northeast Applicators LLC .............................................. 4 Northeast Propane ............................................................ 40 Northern Door Inn ............................................................32 Northern Lights Motel ..................................................... 24 Northern Maine Print ........................................................... 28 Northern Timber Trucking ............................................. 54 Orion Timberlands, LLC ................................................. 37 Overlook Motel & Lakeside Cabins ................................... 58 Patrick E. Hunt, P.A. ........................................................ 10 Pat’s Pizza ......................................................................... 24 Penobscot Marine Museum ............................................. 31 Percy’s Auto Sales ............................................................ 17 Peter’s Truck & Trailer Repair ....................................... 20 Presque Isle Inn & Convention Center ......................bk cover Quigley’s Building Supply .............................................. 55 Quint Construction .......................................................... 11 R.F. Chamberland, Inc. .................................................... 48 Randy Brooker General Contractor ............................... 25 Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. ........................ 6 Rendezvous Restaurant ..................................................... 38 Reno The Painter and Carpentry ................................... 30 Retrax ................................................................................ 26 Rick’s Market ................................................................... 6 Riverside Inn Restaurant ................................................ 17 RMJ Cash Plus ................................................................. 22 Robbie Morin Paving, Inc. ............................................. 55 Robert Pelletier General Contractor ................................... 29 Robert’s Jewelry ............................................................... 26 Rockwell Properties ......................................................... 20 Rockwell Tires Plus .......................................................... 20 Roger’s Plumbing & Heating .......................................... 43 Rosette’s Restaurant ........................................................ 50 S. Paradis & Son Garage ................................................. 48 Salmon Brook Valley Maple Syrup ................................. 39 Sandra’s Kitchen & Pizza To Go .................................... 49 Sargent & Tweedie Transportation ............................... 15 Saucier’s Grocery ............................................................. 41 Scovil Apartments ............................................................ 15 Scovil Building Supply, Inc. ............................................ 15 Service First Automotive ................................................. 37 Shallie’s Place ................................................................... 15 Shaw Financial Services .................................................. 15 Shear Energy Hair Salon ................................................. 9 Sleepy Hollow Storage .................................................... 34 Snow Runner Kennels ........................................................ 56 Social Envy ........................................................................ 23 St. John Valley Pharmacy ................................................ 54 St. John Valley Realty Co. ...................................................... 54 Star City IGA .................................................................... 3 Stardust Motel .................................................................. 12 Stewart’s Pressure Washing Services .............................. 11 STEaD Timberlands LLC ................................................... 9 Storage Solutions .............................................................. 18 Sturdi-Bilt Storage Buildings, LLC...................................... 10 T&S Market ...................................................................... 11 T.A. Service Center ............................................................36 T.W. Willard, Inc. .............................................................. 41 The Bradbury Barrel Co. ................................................. 5 The County Federal Credit Union ................................... 4 The Cubby Fund & Thrift Stores......................................... 23 The Forum ......................................................................... 18 The Pioneer Place, USA .................................................... 10 The Salvation Army Thrift Store....................................... 20 The Store on Sugar Shack Road ...................................... 57 Theriault Equipment ........................................................ 16 Thomas W. Duff Financial Advisor .................................. 6 Town of Madawaska ......................................................... 27 Triple M. Trucking, Inc. ................................................... 58 Tulsa, Inc. .......................................................................... 42 Umcolcus Sporting Camps ................................................ 5 Uncle Buck’s Archery Shop ............................................. 16 Underwood Electric, Inc. ................................................. 35 University of Maine Fort Kent ........................................ 28 Valley Motors .................................................................... 52 Valley Steam-Way ............................................................. 42 Village Acadien .................................................................. 43 Vintage Maine Images ...................................................... 57 Voisine Cedar Mill ............................................................ 47 Water ‘N Woods ................................................................ 25 White Oak, Inc. .................................................................. 58 Whited Ford Auto & Truck Center .................................. 16 White’s Service Station .................................................... 42 Willard S. Hanington & Son, Inc. .................................... 4 Winn Service Center ........................................................ 7 Women’s Imaging Center .................................................... 27 York’s of Houlton .............................................................. 13

2013-14 Aroostook County 60

Aroostook County

1877 map of Aroostook County Available at: www.Galeyrie.com


Aroostook County 2014