Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Spotlight on: Harvey E. Granville

First Principal of Porter High School and co-founder of Sokokis Lumber Company

Harvey E. Granville was born in Parsonsfield January 7, 1874  to Rufus M. and Carolyn (Pentz) Granville.  He attended local schools and graduated from Parsonsfield Seminary in 1892 and taught school for 15 years. Mr. Granville was the first principal of Porter High School and later principal of Bean Memorial High School in Brownfield.  He also served as superintendent of Porter and Parsonsfield schools.

Mr. Granville served his community in many ways.  He was on the Par Sem Board of Trustees starting in 1915 and was vice president and chairman of the executive board for 20 years.

In 1908 he, with J. Merrill Lord and Frank Fenderson, founded the Sokokis Lumber Company on the Ossipee River in Kezar Falls where he served as treasurer and then president for many years.  At that time he was a Director of the Limerick National Bank.

Mr. Granville served for several years in both houses of the Maine State Legislature during which time he sponsored the bill creating 3rd class roads and led the battle for the first gas tax measure.  He was keenly interested in farming and road building.  He was also active in the local fraternal organizations: Drummond Masonic Lodge in Parsonsfield and the Knights of Pythias in Kezar Falls.

Harvey Granville married Allice E. Fogg on January 1, 1903 and they had two children – Harry F. Granville born in 1903 and Francis Granville born in 1904.  They resided on Elm Street in Kezar Falls Village, Parsonsfield.  Mr. Granville died Aug. 18, 1948 at the age of 74.  His wife died April 14, 1982.  They are buried in the Kezar Falls Burial Grounds Cemetery.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Spotlight on: J. Merill Lord


  J. Merrill Lord was a man of wide interests.  By profession he was a lawyer specializing in real estate law and law related to the developent of hydroelectric power.   He was a pioneer in the development of the telephone system in Maine, founded an insurance company and owned and managed a large apple orchard farm and a lumber mill.  Business did not absorb all of his energy, for he was a member of the State House of Representatives in 1906 and served in the State Senate in 1917 and 1919. He was a member of several local fraternal organizations and took an active part in all phases of community life. 

  John Merrill Lord was born in Parsonsfield, Maine on March 29, 1866, the son of Daniel and Josephine (Merrill) Lord. He attended Parsonsfield public schools and graduated from Parsonsfield Seminary.  In 1891 he graduated from Boston Univisity Law School and taught law there for two years.   He then returned to Parsonsfield because of the ill health of his parents and commenced his law practice, later to be known as Lord & Fenderson, which he continued until his death.  Upon the death of his mother he became owner of  the 235 acre farm which he devoted entirely to apple orchards. He retained interest in this farm run by his sons under the firm name of J. Merrill Lord & Sons.  
  About this time he built the first telephone in Parsonsfield, a single wire connection between two private homes, and was instrumental in the formation of the Ossipee Valley Telephone Company, which he later sold to the New England Telephone Company.            In 1899, in partnership with Frank D. Fenderson, he founded an insurance company known as Lord and Fenderson which continued until  1901 when Mr. Lord took over the entire control of the company which he directed until the time of his death.  He sons continued to carry on the business.  

  In 1908 he founded the Sokokis Lumber Company in Kezar Falls in association with Harvey D. Granville and his law partner, Frank Fenderson.  This company continued for many years long after his death.  He married Sarah May Churchill, and they became the parents of five children: Theresa, Frank W., Myron O., Daniel B., and Phyllis Evelyn Lord.      Mr. Lord passed away February 28, 1920 at the age of 54.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Spotlight on...Ina Stanley Emery

Without this lady, the Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society and History House may never have existed.   Ina Naomi Stanley was born November 7, 1892, the youngest of six children born to Preston J. Stanley and Naomi (Stacy) Stanley.  Her father was a prominent Kezar Falls business man and her five siblings were also well known in the Kezar Falls area:  Sidney B. Stanley, Orman L. Stanley, Sherman P. Stanley, Florence M. (Stanley) Higgins, Evelyn M. (Stanley) Watkins.

She graduated from Porter High School in 1908 and taught at a one room school house in Porter for a short time before attending the New England Conservatory of Music.    In 1925 she married Frank W. Emery who died in 1929.   Ina continued with a career in music, both as a teacher and soloist.  She taught music in Maine and New Hampshire Schools for 36 years including a 22-year stretch in the Saco School System. 

At various times she was the soloist at churches in Kennebunkport, North Conway and Saco.    While a teacher, she was actively involved in the Saco Teacher’s Association and was a delegate to the National Education Association Convention in Chicago in 1940.  Upon retirement in 1962 she returned to her home in Kezar Falls.

Mrs. Emery was the prime motivator behind the formation of the Parsonsfield Porter Historical Society in 1946.  She was elected as its original president and held that office until 1979.  She launched the drive to purchase the society’s museum in 1955 to become know as “History House”.  The house was originally built by her father, Preston J. Stanley who owned it from 1888 to 1894.  She was a true historian collecting and compiling historical and genealogical data as well as artifacts and furniture for History House.   
Ina was very active in her church wherever she resided including the Kezar Falls Riverside Methodist Church where she organized the Fidelis Class.  Ina’s friend and companion of 40+ years was Margaret Strout, who shared her love of history and many interests.   Ina passed away December 25, 1987 at the age of 95.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Spotlight on...Allen Garner (1842 - 1925)

This post begins a series which will highlight notable people from Porter and Parsonsfield.

   Mr. Garner was an outstanding businessman who played a major role in the development of this area and was interested in everything that pertained to the civic welfare of the community. One of his many contributions was toward building the Kezar Falls Circulating Library. 
 He was born in Bedford, England, November 9, 1848, son of William and Amelia (Ashton) Garner, one of eight children. His father died in 1848 and in 1854 his widowed mother with her 20 year old son John, 12 year old son Allen and 8 year old daughter Regina, came to Middlebury, Vermont to live with relatives. The following spring they moved to Lewiston, Maine. Deprived of his father in early childhood, Allen was obliged to go to work when quite young. He began work in a factory in Lewiston and learned the woolen mill business. 

   By 1866 he bought and sold a small mill of his own and continued to buy, run and sell small mills until 1881. In the spring of 1881 he came to Parsonsfield, Maine and organized the Kezar Falls Woolen Company that was started by George W. Towle and Elisha Fox for the manufacture of woolen cloth. Under his direction as Superintendent and Agent the mill became a very successful enterprise, largely due to his experience and expertise. In 1894 he was appointed Treasurer of the mill, and became part owner.

   His business operations were not limited to manufacturing alone, but extended into the world of trade. In 1893, he purchased the general store in Kezar Falls of George W. Towle which he placed under the management of Preston J. Stanley.

   At the time of his death he was president of the Kezar Falls National Bank and of the Cornish and Kezar Falls Light and Power Company; treasurer of the Kezar Falls Woolen Company, and president of the Kezar Falls Water Company.

   He was an active member in the Masons, Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias and served as a trustee of the Riverside Methodist Church. He was a prominent member of the Republican Party and served in the State Legislature for Parsonsfield, and Newfield in 1895 and 1896. Mr. Garner was held in high esteem by his friends and colleagues.

   In June 17, 1863 he married Mary D. Jordan of Sumner Maine and they had six children, four who lived to adulthood - Alice G.(Merrifield), Evangeline M. (Chellis), William S. Garner and Florence R. (Norton). He died March 25, 1925. His wife died in 1934.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving (with a side of history!)

The Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society begins this holiday season by wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!

And now for the side of history:

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Scarecrows on Parade!

Each year, about the middle of October, a parade of scarecrows appears on the Porter Town Hall lawn.  This fun event is hosted by the Sacopee Valley Health Center Board of Trustees.  Children are invited to bring an empty gallon milk jug and meet at the Porter Town Hall to join in the fun and using their imagination create their own scarecrow.  Frames, hay and clothing are provided.  The images here show this year’s results.  Although looking a little bedraggled from the recent rain and wind, they were still waving and bringing a smile to passersby on Halloween day.   I am sure they will appear again next October.  Thank you Sacopee Valley Health Center!