Sunday, December 1, 2019

Her Story: Eleanor (Syphers) Garner (1911 – 1988)

Eleanor (Syphers) Garner was born in Cornish on August 26, 1911, the daughter of Dr. LeRoi S. and Charlotte (Bolton) Syphers.   

She attended Cornish and South Portland schools and graduated from Gorham Normal School in 1931.  She received her bachelor’s degree in education in 1966 and master’s degree in library science in 1970.  Eleanor taught English and government at Porter High School and was librarian at Sacopee Valley High School for 15 years, retiring in 1981.  

Eleanor was very active in women’s club work.  She was a member of the Kezar Falls “21 Club” for 57 years, director of District 13 of the Maine Federation of Women’s Clubs from 1949 to 1951 and president of the Maine Federation from 1956 to 1958.  At the time of her death, she was    parliamentarian of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, New England Regional Conference. 

Eleanor was a member of the United Riverside Methodist Church of Kezar Falls for 39 years, and a member of the United Methodist Women.  She was also a member of the Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society and president of the Kezar Falls Circulating Library. 

In 1959 Eleanor S. Garner was named in the “Who’s Who of American Women”. 

In 1931 she married Allen F. Garner.  They resided in Kezar Falls and had a son, William A. Garner and daughter, Ruth Elizabeth Garner.  Eleanor died April 2, 1988 at the age of 76.

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society 
wishes everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Her Story: Barbara (Henderson) Korn

Barbara (Henderson) Korn was born on Sept. 16, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois. She was adopted by her maternal grandparents and grew up in Sioux City, Iowa. Barbara received a degree in journalism from the Iowa University and was employed in the advertising department of Julius Garfinkel’s, Inc. in Washington D.C. in 1948. She received her master’s degree in Library Science from Columbia University in 1966. From that point on she was devoted to books and reading and became a lifelong librarian.

She married Gerald (Jerry) Korn in 1948 and they purchased the historic “town farm” in South Parsonsfield in 1966. Barbara became very involved in her community as a volunteer in the Head Start program, York County Born to Read program, and the Limerick Public Library. She was instrumental in reopening the North Parsonsfield Public Library in 1982 and was overseer and voluntary librarian.

Barbara was also well known in Maine historical circles and fought successfully to preserve Parsonsfield’s Old Town House and have it placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Barbara and her husband had three daughters, Ellen, Margaret and Susan. She died November 1, 2008 at the age of 82 after a life of service to her community.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Her Story: Flora Ridlon Carpenter (1898-1998)

Flora Ridlon was born in Porter, October 16, 1897, the youngest of 6 children born to Herbert and Ella Ridlon.  She attended local schools and graduated from Porter High School in 1915 after which she lived at home, taught school at the Black School house and studied voice in Portland and piano in Cornish. From the beginning music was her life.   

In 1920 she completed, in one year, a 2 year course of public school music and voice at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.  She taught 2 years in Kezar Falls and Cornish, 3 years in Martha’s Vineyard, MA as Supervisor of Music and then 1 year in Derry, NH.   

In 1926 she married Walter B. Carpenter and lived in South Portland for 3 years.  She stopped teaching at that time but continued to study voice and was an active member of the Rossini Club of Portland (a prestigious music club). In 1929 they returned to Porter where her son was born in 1932.   

Flora resumed teaching as Supervisor of Music in public schools in Porter and surrounding towns, a position she held for 30+ years retiring in 1958.  She also taught piano and voice to many individual pupils from Porter to Limerick and Freedom, NH.   

She sang solo in her sweet soprano voice at many weddings and private events. In 1936/7 she was a member of the women’s quartet “The Bell Canto Singers” who gained a name for themselves through concerts and radio broadcasts.  

She was active in the Riverside United Methodist Church where she was organist for 20 years and choir director for 30 years.  

She was a member of the Western Maine Music Festival Association, the Maine Educators Association, the 21 Club, and Order of the Eastern Star.  

After a long full life Flora died at the age of 100 in 1998.

HISTORICAL SOCIETY MEMBERS ARE REMINDED THAT OUR ANNUAL POT LUCK THANKSGIVING LUNCHEON WILL BE HELD AT THE WEST-DAY AMERICAN LEGION HALL on Mountain View Avenue, Porter – November 9th at 1:00 pm.  Please call 625-7019 or e-mail to let us know if you plan to attend, if you are bringing a guest and what you would like to bring to share.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Upcoming Program at History House

Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society
invites the public to their next meeting
and Free Program
“A New Life for
the Kezar Falls Woolen Mill”

Presented by Scott Mounce

Scott will be talking about his plans, hopes and dreams he and his
brother, Mark, have for the old woolen mill buildings.

Kezar Falls Woolen Mill
Also, drawing of the raffle quilt winner

Saturday, October 19, 2019
at History House
Meeting - 2:00 pm program to follow

92 Main Street
Kezar Falls Village (Rt. 160)
History House

Her Story: Florence Mabel Stanley Higgins (1886-1984)

Florence, just 16 years old at the time of her father’s death, took over clerking at the Kezar Falls Post Office at which her father had been Postmaster.  She then worked as a clerk in a dry goods store according to the 1910 census, perhaps the store her father owned at the time of his death in 1902.

In 1915 she married John Warren Higgins who worked at the County Registry of Deeds and they established their life in Skowhegan.  Florence became an accountant with the Registry of Deeds and, with her husband, amassed enough money to be able to make substantial bequests in her will. 

A widow and childless at the time of her death in 1984, Florence remembered her home town in her last wishes. Porter was the recipient of several bequests which benefit the town to this day.  Honoring her oldest sister, she left stock certificates to the town, the interest to be used to fund the Evelyn Watkins Scholarship to one male and female graduate of the local high school each year.  She established the Florence Higgins Beautification Fund for beautification projects in the town and established the Florence Higgins Fund to be used to assist the needy in the town as well as an education scholarship for Porter students, a fund which has assisted hundreds of Porter residents. Perhaps her most important contribution to the welfare of this area was her donation of the property for the Sacopee Valley Health Center which was key to that becoming a reality.

Soon there will be no one alive who ever knew Aunt Flossie, as she was affectionately called, but her legacy will live on in her support of education and the town of Porter.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

HER STORY: Helen Stearns Merrifield (1900-1970)

Helen Stearns was born August 6, 1900 in South Hiram, Maine, the daughter of Frank E. and Bessie M. Stearns.  She attended local schools and graduated from Porter High School in 1919. She taught school at Baldwin and later was employed as a clerk at the Ridlon Drug Store in Kezar Falls.  In 1922 she married Harry Merrifield and they made their home on School Street, Porter. They had one child – Elizabeth Ann. 

In 1956 she was named correspond-dent for the “Portland Press Herald”, “Evening Express” and “Sunday Telegram” covering the Kezar Falls area.  In 1961 she was awarded the Gold Press Card for the best small town coverage.  Besides working for the Portland papers, Mrs. Merrifield also had been a community correspondent for the “Sanford Tribune” and the “Carroll County Independent” of Ossipee, NH. 

Helen was also very active in civic and charitable organizations.  She had been treasurer of the Town of Porter, was often a ballot clerk, and active in the Republican Town Committee. During WW II Helen was secretary of the local branch of the American Red Cross and successfully managed its fundraising campaigns and blood donor activities.  

She was a participating member in the Methodist Church and several women’s clubs, the Kezar Falls Library Association, the Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society and Porter High Alumni Association.   

Her life was dedicated to loving care of her family and of service to her church, her community and her country which she deeply loved.  She liked people and touched the lives of many. Helen Merrifield passed away November 22, 1970. 
Helen’s reporting kept local residents informed about what was happening in our towns for many years.  The news from this area has been sadly neglected ever since.