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Summer 2009


The Newsletter of Freeport Historical Society Keeping the Past Present Since 1969

[ P A R T

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Peary’s Freeport ‘Archipelago’ Incorporating, with permission, excerpts from the correspondence file of Admiral Robert E. Pearyin the George J. Mitchell Special Collections, Hawthorne – Longfellow Library, Bowdoin College By J. D. Davis Continued from the Dash, Spring 2009


he next letter was two weeks later, written on stationery from Arthur Palmer’s store in South Harpswell. It mentions a phone call, something that couldn’t be done from Eagle Island, so the letter must have been a follow-up to a phone conversation probably placed from Palmer’s store. It read as follows: June 5th, 1907 My Dear Captain: I have phoned Mr. Reynolds that you will be there between 3:30 and 4:30. You and he will arrange the matter of Shelter I. and I shall come up tomorrow or send a check. In regard to Pettingill’s make an offer of $1200, and if acceptable make deposit and receive option. If not accepted get authoritative price. I am willing to pay a fair price for certain of these islands, but I shall pay no more fancy prices as on Basket Island or shall I submit to having prices run up on me because of the matter becoming public. Will meet you at the Steamer tonight at South Harpswell.

July 3rd, 1907 My Dear Captain: In regard Crab Island, kindly mark out the following program. Write Nayer, tell him you have written your party that he is willing to sell for $800 and ask him to send you at once, all information that will be needed in looking up the title. Then I want you to see if you can find a tenant for the island for two seasons for $100. If you succeed, I should want you to have Nayer come in to see you, and have him include the furniture in the cottage, bedticks , mattresses, stores, tables, chairs, dishes, etc. in the purchase price. Then we can conclude the matter and the rental for this summer would enable me to put the cottage in repair. (Points re Crab Island)



early a month passed before there was another letter to Captain Morrill. Although there had been no previous reference, apparently Peary planned to purchase Crab Island, located in Freeport waters not far from Bustins Island. Here also for the first time there is mention of another Freeport island that Peary had already purchased: Pound of Tea.

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The island as you know is said to contain 2 and ½ acres, steamboat landing is ¾ mile distant. Steamer passes several times a day. It is covered with a good growth of grass and has three fine oak trees, a willow and fir on it. The house has two rooms and a kitchen and attic, cellar and piazza. There is a small outhouse (combination wood shed and water closet), also a well and brick clam oven. The island is only a short distance from Freeport and Bibbers Island, [Bustins] and has a fine view in every direction and gets every breeze that stirs. There is fishing off the rocks on the north and east sides, and an abundance of clams in the cove on the south end. It is a great place for a family with children. Driftwood for fuel. I have bought Pound of Tea for my daughter Marie. I shall have no time to do anything with it this year. See if you can find anyone to pay $25 for exclusive camping rights on the island for the entire season. The location of the island is at the entrance to Freeport Harbor directly in front of Casco Castle. Together with its own natural beauty makes it an ideal place. The steamers, as you know, pass within a biscuit toss of it. On both these matters I will pay you the usual rental commissions. Peary


he initial part of the above letter is confusing. It appears to indicate that a man named Nayer was the owner of Crab Island and Peary was hoping to buy it from this gentleman for $800 and have the contents of the cottage included in the deal. Three days later the Commander had his eye on another Freeport island—at least he was calling it an island. Today it is commonly called Little Flying Point! New York, July 6th, 1907 My Dear Captain: I think I should like to know something in regard to Little Flying Island, just off the mainland north of Sister Island. I have been informed by a man who said he himself sold Upper Goose Island (said to contain about 100 acres) that it is owned by a man of the name of Day in the firm of Emery Waterhouse and Co. Kindly see if you can verify this and if any price is placed on the island. Very sincerely,


ith this momentary focus on Little Flying ‘Point’, attention on Freeport islands comes to an end in this correspondence. Acquisition of these Freeport islands is confirmed in the old Freeport tax records stored in the archives of the Freeport Historical Society. The records for 1907 indicate that Marie Peary had become the owner of Pound of Tea Island. Subsequent annual records indicate she continued to own the island for years with her identity often being registered as ‘Maria’ Peary. Many years subsequent to her marriage she finally was noted as ‘Maria’ Stafford! More confirming information appeared in the tax records for 1909 where Robert E. Peary is listed as Webster’s Unabridged owner of Crab Island and defines archipelago as follows: the being taxed not only for the “Any large body of water island but also for the cottage thereon. Peary was also studded with islands.” listed at that time as the owner of Pettingill Island. No evidence was found of Peary purchasing any other islands in Freeport waters. Apparently “Little Flying Island” eluded his grasp, or perhaps his interest faded when he found it had a tenuous intertidal connection to the mainland. Through the years until 1919 ownership of these three islands was regularly recorded in the Freeport tax files as belonging to the Peary family. Then in 1920, ownership of Crab Island and Pettingill Island was noted as being held by Peary’s estate, inasmuch as the Admiral died February 20, 1920. Although the man who had succeeded in acquiring his personal ‘Freeport Archipelago’ was no longer living, the Peary family retained ownership of these pieces of Casco Bay for many years. Finally, in 1951 the Peary estate sold Crab Island. Four years later, in 1955, the Admiral’s widow Josephine Diebitsch Peary died at her Portland, Maine residence, and the next year her daughter Marie Ahnighito Peary Stafford—‘The Snow Baby’—sold Pound of Tea. The next year, 1958, Marie sold Pettingill Island, and Peary’s ‘Freeport Archipelago’ was no more. Webster’s Unabridged defines archipelago as follows: “Any large body of water studded with islands.” Whether the portion of Casco Bay lying within Freeport boundaries fully meets this definition might be debatable, but it makes for a good story! “Thank You” to John D. Davis for the excellent and informative article on Peary. (A special thanks to the Freeport Town Assessor’s Office for confirming sale of the islands.) i

R. E. Peary Grand Union Hotel, N. Y. City

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Davis Foundation Awards Archaeological Grant


reeport Historical Society (FHS) has been awarded a $5000 grant from the Davis Family Foundation to conduct a Phase 1 Archaeological excavation around the area of the privy/tool shed at Pettengill Farm, the society’s nineteenth-century salt water farm on the Harraseeket River. From August 3rd7th, Historical Archaeologist Norman Pictured is the “two-seater” found in the privy. L. Buttrick and his team will be doing field work on-site. FHS members who are interPrivies and other areas where ested in observing or participating everyday items were frequently disin this “dig” need to register with carded are known to be rich sources Vanessa Rodriguez at the FHS of material culture. This work is office (865-3170) 45 Main Street. being undertaken to further illumiMembers are invited from 9:00amnate the lives of those who lived on noon or 1:00pm-4:00pm from Tuesday the farm and to provide a guide for August 4th through the 7th. Memthe replacement of the privy/tool bers may register for one or more shed structure(s). day segments.


During each period the total number of observers/participants allowed on site will be limited to 15 so that work can take place in a timely and orderly fashion. For those who are actively participating, professional archaeological techniques will be shared. Please register early to avoid disappointment! i



ath Savings Institution selected Freeport Historical Society as one of its non-profit partners for its new Neighbor to Neighbor promotion. For each new “e-checking” account opened, Bath Savings will donate $25.00 to the non-profit that the account owner selects. We received our first $25.00 check in June! Thank you very much for selecting us as a recipient.

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n our last issue of The Dash, we announced that Brown Goldsmith’s were commemorating Freeport’s maritime heritage and her famous privateer, The Dash, by creating a 14 k gold Dash charm. For each charm sold, Brown Goldsmiths makes a $20.00 donation to Freeport Historical Society. Last month we received our first check. Thank you very much to them and the customer who purchased the lovely tribute to the Dash! i


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and to the “Freeport Flag Ladies,” for their respective efforts in preserving the historic landscape in town. In addition, three winners were selected in our Raffle. Vice-President Kate Arno led the festivities inviting Trustees Tom Ingersoll and Tori Baron to assist her in drawing the winning tickets. Claire Betze won first prize; second prize was won by Eleanor Goldberg, and third prize by John Howard. An array of scrumptious hors d’oeuvres were provided by Azure Café and served to guests by Azure’s gracious owner, Jonas Werner. Delicious wine was donated by Freeport Trading Company and an assortment of other beverages was donated by Freeport Cheese & Wine. Yummy candy was provided by Wilbur’s Of Maine. Thank you all very much for making our 40th Anniversary so special. i

n May 28th, the 40th Annual Meeting of the membership of Freeport Historical Society took place at the Freeport Community Center on Depot Street. The business meeting portion of the agenda was led by Trustee President Bill Muldoon, and Officers Cito Selinger, and Todd Nicholson. It was an evening that celebrated our 40 year history (featuring a thirty foot, four-decade timeline), featured a keynote speech by Greg Paxton, Director of Maine Preservation, focused on Freeport historic preservation activities in recent years, and honored our volunteers. Ed Bonney was presented with the Mel Collins Community Service Award. Our 4th Annual Preservation Award was jointly given to Kathy and Howard Lowell

Celebrating our fortieth anniversary In front of Harrington House were current and former Trustees, employees and volunteers.

Four Charter Members of Freeport Historical Society: L-R, Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., Dot Maybury, Sally Rand, and David Coffin.

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Ed Bonney was presented with the Mel Collins Community Service Award for his years of service to Freeport.

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• David & Dorothy Glendinning • John & Sally Amory • Fore River Foundation • James Kise & Sarah Smith • J.A.Y. Enterprises • Arthur & Edith Sweeney • Betty M. Bibber • Richard A. Lord in memory of Jane Small Lord • Verna Noble • Joan Falkins • Alain Roos • Sarah Walsh • Edward M. Bonney • Larry & Marsh Welsher

A N N U A L • Wheaton & Elinor Hudson • Margaret M. Kiely • David & Jan Leeman • Ruth R. Pease • The Saunders Building • Linda R. Swanson • Lani Graham • Casco Bay Ford • Sam & Kathy Smith • Camy & Rob Goodwin • Caroline Southall • Steve & Edit Dubord • Dorothy P. Jordan • Joan Garber • Harry & Joan Virtue • Tom & Jule Whelan • Alan Hall • Morton & Evelyn Panish • Helen Clarkson • Fred Goldrup • Ruth K. Gruninger • Henry & Ingrid Thomas • John Kirsch & Pat Keegan • Inez M. Davis • Jay & Julie Flower • John Karp & Heidi Bishop • Chris Leighton • Cordelia Lane

• Andrew Despres • Miriam Schneider • Howard & Kathy Lowell • Norm Buttrick • Dale and Carol Hudson • John and Eleanor Davis • Sally Rand • Todd and Cynthia Doolan • Peter and Holly Horne • Elizabeth and Rod Duckworth • Gaetano and Phebe Quattrucci • Janice and Merrill Fogg Jr. • Nancy Randall Clark

• William Berkowitz & Nancy Walsh • Jean D. Whiting • Thelma W. Dunning • Wendy Whitacre • Colleen Sanders • Perry & Sue Bradley • Judith & Bernard Elfring • Elizabeth Maule • Martha B. Kenney & James B. Bannar • M/M John Boyne • William & Beth Muldoon • Jessie Reighley • Linda L. Bean • John W. L. White




• M/M David Hurd • Jeanne Little Fox • Edgar Leighton • Deb & Chris Pinkham • Nan Baker • Sally & David Conrad • Ralph & Marilyn McMahon • William & Elizabeth Peerenboom • Chris & Jayne Soles • Anne & Robert Ritchie • Todd & Gloria Nicholson • Nelson Larkins • Lynne & Jay Espy • Cornelia & Robert Santomenna • Ben & Anne Niles • Mary E. Dyer • Jack & Deede Montgomery • Jack M. Doughty & Gloria Fogg DeGrandpre • Malcolm & Susan Collins • Sara Hayes & James C. Chute • Miriam & Charles Butts • George Connick • Peter & Louise Price

• Henry and Carol Lukas • Doug Fuhr • Tori and Robin Baron • Suzanne N. Earle • E. Ann Westervelt • John and Katherine Pierce • Elizabeth H. Ruff • Sandra Brown and Bruce Brown • Herbert Taylor • Brown Goldsmiths • Anne B. Zill • Chilton Furniture • Peter and Mabel Gerquest • Joe and Susie Saunders • Janet and Paul Aliapoulios • John and Carol Farrell • Cricket Hunt School • Thomas and Janet Ross • Mark and Liz Standen • Elizabeth N. Thayer • Betty Jean Hilton • C. Michael Sandberg • Lucille P. Dennison • Kelly and Michael Thibodeau • Mary Beth Willhoite • David & Laura Hench

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• Tony & Charlotte Ingersoll • Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Field • Barbara Hadlock • Jessie Moore • Alexander Abbott and Jennifer Melville • Gerald and Mary Kennedy • Rita Armstrong & Frank Rogers • Katherine Arno • Leon & Lisa Gorman • Gerald & Mary Kennedy • Vicki M. Lowe & John Lowe • Bath Savings Institution

• F. Donald & Lorna Dorsey • Hope W. Haug • Barbara Skelton • Robert and Jean Aranson • Kathryn Ball • Cynthia & Cito Selinger • Anne LeClair • Clarabel Marstaller • David Latulippe • John & Catherine Cunningham • Helen H. Cromer • Kimball & Mollie Mason • John & Katherine Nelson • Mr. H. Vance Smith • Esther O’Brien • William & Charlotte Bower • Nancy Marston • Josephine B. Bail • George & Joyce Denney • Nancy Fox & Jon Edwards • Patty & Ned Wight • Judith Miskell • Laura & Cliff George • Mark & Beverly Curry • Peter B. Rice & Co., Inc. • Judy & Gordon Hamlin • Steve Bradbury & Wendy Harlan









ictured on the left is Donald B. MacMillan. One of the two gentlemen on the right is Rufus Soule Randall. Which gentlemen is Capt. Randall? Who are the others that are pictured? Where are they and what is the event?

For 2010, our programming theme of Freeport-Amusements, Entertainments, and Oddities, allows us to focus on pastimes ranging from church socials, Minnie Brook Dance Hall, Casco Castle, baseball, and the Dairy Maids Festival and more. Please be in touch with your recollections on leisure time in Freeport. We’d love to speak with you and share your remembrances via our programs and exhibits. And, if you have items— photos, ticket stubs, baseball uniform or other artifacts or documents- we’d welcome the opportunity to take loan of them.

Happenings at Harrington House


green space in the center of the village”, stated Christina White, FHS Director. Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., Director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, reviewed the fence design and was “…pleased to approve this project .” In early autumn, once all the work is complete, FHS members and the public will be invited to the Harrington House courtyard to celebrate.

hrough the generosity of Freeport Community Improvement Association (FCIA), The Denney Block, and Joyce and George Denney, Freeport Historical Society’s headquarters at Harrington House will be graced with a handsome granite and black iron fence beautifying its Main Street perimeter. FCIA was the lead advocate for this project. It’s Chairman, George Denney and the FCIA Directors felt that the fence for Harrington House served the organizational mission "to enhance the environment and quality of life for all Freeport citizens and visitors through the beautification of our village and its pathways." George and Joyce felt that the FCIA mission and their own goal of “supporting efforts that make a difference,” came together beautifully in this project. In terms of the courtyard green space, Mike Marino and Camplin/Marino have contributed landscaping materials and labor and even donated four apple trees, two Yellow Transparent and two Wolf River, bringing a bit of the Harrington family orchards back to the property! “We are expecting to install the fence this summer and with other landscaping improvements to our courtyard , we will be able to share a much-improved, beautiful public

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his handsome black iron and granite fence that will be installed along Main Street at Harrington House.


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• Richard T. Reynolds • James Place Inn • Earthscape, UNLTD • AEC Engineering Geotechnical Consultants • Jameson Tavern • Freeport True Value • Autowerkes Maine, Inc. • Peter B. Rice & Co., Inc. • J.A.Y. Enterprises Hardware • Bath Savings Institution • George Lawrence & Lynn • Riley Insurance Agency • Frost Gully Violins • Bow Street Market Pierce - REMAX Heritage • The Saunders Building • Northeast Financial • Brown Goldsmiths • Strouts Point Wharf Co. • L.L. Bean, Inc. Services - Mary Holmes • Casco Bay Ford • Taggart Construction, • Maine Dry Stone • Gritty McDuffs • Chilton Furniture Inc. • McMahon Creative • Hampton Inn • China Rose Restaurant • Toole & Powers, P.A. • Maine Optometry, P.D. • Harraseeket Inn • Comfort Suites • Zachau Construction • Motion Media Film & • Hilton Garden Inn & • Cricket-Hunt School Video Conference Center • Mark M. Dorsey, Inc. Visit our website and find direct web links to our participating business sponsors! The Dash Summer 2009 Harrington House 45 Main Street, Freeport, ME 04032 The Dash is published four times annually by Freeport Historical Society for its members.

Mary Holmes

Our New Public Exhibit Hours Monday, Thursday and Friday 10 AM-5:00 PM and Saturday 10 AM-2:00 PM and by appointment To conduct research, please call for a convenient appointment Please call 865-3170 or go online at


Membership does have its benefits! A copy of the book Tides of Change: A Guide to the Harraseeket Historic District, a trail map of Pettengill Farm, and our quarterly newsletter, The Dash, are included. And members receive three hours of research time in our archives (a $75.00 value) and invitations to all Society events and exhibits at free or reduced rates. Name

Bill Muldoon – President Tori Baron – Vice-President Cito Selinger – Secretary Todd Nicholson – Treasurer

Address Town




Executive Director Christina White

! $20 Individual

! $10 Senior

! $10 Student

! $50 Family

! $30 Contributing

! $150 Sustaining

! $75 Supporting

! $150 Corporate

! $50 Supporting Business

Please make checks payable to Freeport Historical Society and mail to 45 Main Street, Freeport, Maine 04032, or join us online at

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Freeport Historical Society Board of Trustees Rita Armstrong Kate Arno Michelle Broderick Nancy French Peter Gerquest Laura Hench Mary Holmes Tom Ingersoll Kathy Lowell Jen Morrissey

Assistant to the Director Vanessa Rodriguez Collections Manager Ned Allen Printed on Recycled Paper

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S A V E T H E D A T E S Freeport Village Walking Tours

Approximately one-hour, starting at Harrington House Thurs August 13th, 11:00am Saturday, August 15, 10:00am Thursday, August 20th, 11:00am Thurs August 27th, 11:00am Saturday, August 29th, 10:00am Thursday, September 3rd, 11:00am Saturday, September 5th, 10:00am Watch for more dates and times. Due to demand, early ticket purchasing for the tour of your choice is encouraged. Reserve your place at 865-3170, Tickets: $7.00 Adults; $2.00 Children ages 10 and younger; $5.00 FHS Members:

September 12th, 9:00a-Noon Pie Perfection Workshop- learn to make an award-winning, delicious pie with Debbie Thurlow. Debbie, who owns Debbie’s Pies (available at Pineland Farms) is a passionate pie-maker with 30 years experience. Book your spot by calling 865-3170 for this fun and informative workshop taking place at Freeport

Community Center (Depot Street) $5.00 for FHS members, $10.00 non-members. Each participant needs to bring their own rolling pin, large mixing bowl, and pastry cutter. With your new skills, confidently enter our first annual Pettengill Pie-Making Contest and be crowned Pie Queen or King of the Day! Sunday, October, 4th, 10:00a-3:00p 34th Annual Pettengill Farm Day.

September 12th, 9:00a-4:00p Dry Stone Wall

Building Workshop at Pettengill Farm with master craftsman and British Dry stone wall member, Chris Tanguay. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn and work with Chris. Lunch included in the $55.00 fee. Sign-up Now – Registration is limited to 20. FHS Members have priority.

October 4th, 34th Annual Pettengill Farm Day at

historic Pettengill Farm, 10:00a- 3:00p- a wonderful day for everyone with a 19th century magic show, barnyard animals, olde-tyme music, tug-o-war, cider press, geocaching, apple hucking and so much more…

Freeport Historical Society Harrington House 45 Main Street Freeport, ME 04032

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Dash Summer 2009  

Freeport Historical Society Sumer 2009 Newsletter

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