Friday, November 1, 2019
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 email@example.com 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
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.
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
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.
Sunday, September 1, 2019
One of our favorite local remarkable ladies included in this exhibit is Dottie Locke.
Dottie's portrait in First Person Rural: A Portrait of a Maine Town by Patricia Turner