Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Letter from Uncle Ted...

Jose W. Fenderson was born in Parsonsfield March 30, 1914 and died January 20, 2013 at the age of 98.  He was the only child of Frank D. and Laura (Jose) Fenderson.  Frank Fenderson was a well-known lawyer in the area.  Jose graduated from Hebron Academy, attended Cornell Law School and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.  He passed the Maine Bar exam in 1941 and practiced law in Sanford for many years.  He never married.  The following letter from his Uncle Ted was sent to him March 18, 1925 when he was 11 years old.  It included these delightful drawings and reads as follows:


Dear Jose
    You tell your father that I am going
to try and get up to see
him in a week or so.
    I want to see you drive
those oxen too.  I am pretty
proud of you for doing so
many things.  I guess you can
drive them a lot better than
I can draw them.
Love to you all
Uncle Ted


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Remembering my Father on Valentine's Day...

   Lloyd Trueworthy, my father, was born in 1920 in Porter, Maine.  He attended local schools and spent his childhood days on the farm owned by his parents  Harry and Minnie Trueworthy. He spent his younger years working closely working with his father learning  how to cut and pack  ice from Trafton Pond, growing  vegetables and raising animals that were sold to the local stores. Lloyd  and his wife Isabel bought their own farm in 1947 located on the Brownfield Road.  After his father's death in 1952  Lloyd took over running the farm where he continued to raise vegetables and sold milk to the Elm Row Dairy. Vegetables, milk and eggs were all sold to Camp Hiawatha (now The Maine Teen Camp) in the summer months.

    Lloyd and Isabel raised five children who in turn helped work on the farm. Arlyn, Ken and Larry still talk about  getting up early in the  morning  going to the barn with their father  to milk the cows and do the chores before getting on the bus at 7:00.  Lloyd used his oxen to cut wood and then sold firewood to the local residents. He was known as a Jack of All Trades. He made his own ox yokes  and ox gourds. He even made the rings and pins for the ox  yokes in his  Blacksmith Shop. Lloyd was well known at Fryeburg Fair where he pulled his own oxen every October.   He became skilled at dousing for water when locals were digging a well. He and Isabel  continued to live on the family farm until his death  in 1980.

  by  Sylvia Trueworthy Pease

These Valentines belonged to Lloyd Trueworthy and are now in the possession of his daughter Sylvia.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

In the thick of it all: Parsonsfield’s Captain Silas Burbank and the Revolution

By 1775, Silas Burbank had already proved he was a political activist set against policies imposed on the colonists by the British King.

Born in 1738 in Newbury, Massachusetts, in 1766 he was a resident of Scarborough and was among the “mob” that participated in what is called the “King Riot.” The group was protesting the Stamp Act by fostering a raid on the home of Richard King, a wealthy Scarborough merchant who allegedly supported the stamp tax. King was father to William King, Maine’s first governor, and Rufus King, who played a large role in the creation of the first Constitution of the new nation.
Silas Burbank was convicted for his participation in the riot and imprisoned in the jail which once stood where the Portland Soldiers’ Monument now stands in Monument Square. There does not seem to be a record of how long he was detained.

By April of 1775 the rebellion against the British had erupted into full-scale war with the clashes at Lexington and Concord. Silas took his 2 sons, 13 year-old David (a drummer) and 11 year- old Eleazer (a fifer), and joined Captain John Rice’s company as a First Lieutenant. Rice was a merchant and innkeeper who lived near Dunstan Corner in Scarborough. Rice’s company was part of the 18th Continental Army and was stationed just outside Boston in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Silas Burbank served under Generals Washington and Putnam while in Cambridge. According to one source, Silas became captain of George Washington’s personal guard and permitted to sit at the table with him and his higher officers.

A story of that time has been passed down through the family:

       “One day at dinner, when Washington began to wait upon the table, he filled a plate and handed it to him first. He was surprised, blushed, hesitated, but finally took it. After he had recovered his self-possession, he began to think why Washington waited upon him first. He came to the conclusion that he looked eagerly at the food on the table (it being a boiled dinner of which he was very fond, and he was also very hungry, having been on duty the previous night, and had no breakfast) and that Washington observed it, and his tender care for his soldiers, prompted him to wait upon him before his higher officers, who had their regular meals. He loved Washington as a father, and often tears would start in his eyes at the mention of his name.” (From: Genealogy of Elisha Piper of Parsonsfield, Me. and his descendants… by Horace Piper, 1889. pg. 30-31.)

In August of 1776 they marched to reinforce Fort Ticonderoga. He joined Colonel Brewer’s regiment January 1, 1777 and was promoted to captain in July. This regiment was known as the 12th Massachusetts and also as the 18th Continental Regiment. In September and October of 1777 he took part in the battles of the Saratoga campaign and was there for the surrender of British General Burgoyne on October 17, 1777, the turning point of the war. In the winter of 1777 he was at Valley Forge and fought at the battle of Monmouth in June of 1778.

When British Major John Andre was caught and convicted of spying, Silas Burbank was one of the men chosen by General Washington to lead Andre to his execution. Andre was hanged on October 2, 1780 for conspiring with Benedict Arnold to defeat the American fight for independence.

The regiment was disbanded on January 1, 1781 at West Point, New York and that completed his service of 5 years, 8 months.

Silas Burbank turned to farming after the war. Around 1805 he and his son Samuel settled in Parsonsfield in the area where South and Cram Roads come together. The 1856 and 1872 maps show 2 Burbank houses in that area. Samuel had 11 children and when his brother David, who was living in Newfield, died in 1809, Samuel took in his 5 children, as well.

Eleazer Burbank moved north to Belgrade, Maine, and established another Burbank enclave there.

Silas died in 1814, aged 78. He is buried in the Burbank-Goodwin-Morrison-Pease Cemetery in Parsonsfield, just off the South Road and just south of where the Cram Road and South Road meet. He is there with several of his family members including his son Samuel, with whom he was residing at the time of his death.

Lyn Sudlow

With thanks to historian Linda McLoon who alerted me to this important resident of Parsonsfield.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Woolen Mill Documented...

   Bruce Harvey has completed a series of black and white photographs of the Kezar Falls Woolen Mill.

   This photograph is of the original mill, before the addition of 1926.  You can view his wonderful images at this site:

Thursday, January 1, 2015

South Hiram Village: Part Two

   In 1964 Dr. William Teg’s History of Hiram stated: “The chief industrial attraction of South Hiram village was for many years the Glen Bobbin Mill which at present is inactive.”

    It was organized in 1918 by Carleton T. Fox and his brother, Charles G. Fox near the site of an earlier shingle mill built by Milton Smith for Eugene Stanley.

The mill employed 20 to 25 people and produced wooden bobbins and spools for the woolen and cotton textile industry for 41 years. In 1941 a fire destroyed the main mill and had to be rebuilt. It was liquidated in 1964. The owner in 1983 was David P. Wurtz. Today it sits idle and unoccupied.

   The Glen Bobbin Mill shown here circa 1950’s. The house on the hill behind the mill was once belonged to Melvin Smith, later Charles Fox. James and Charlotte Black lived here for many years and it is still owned by the Black family.

Monday, December 15, 2014

South Hiram Village - Slab City: Part One

The old mill in South Hiram

   The small village of South Hiram is adjacent to the southeastern border of Porter. It was once part of the Kezar Falls Village Corporation and is therefore considered part of the local area covered by the Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society.

    It was a busy little country village with a school, post office, stores, mills, church and Grange Hall. Today the old post office is an ice cream stand, the Hiram Town Hall occupies the former South Hiram Elementary School, and the MSAD 55 area schools are located here. Nearly everything else is gone.

   This section of Hiram was settled prior to 1820 with the first settler being William Stanley (1776-1822), closely followed by Bartholomew Gould (1764-1822), Captain Timothy Garrish (1764 -1846), and Obediah Gerrish (1796-1861). William Stanley built two saw mills on Stanley Brook prior to 1822. The first on was situated at the outlet of the lower Stanley Pond, and near his residence about 1810. His second mill stood in the village, built a few years later. The nickname of “Slab City” was derived from the thriving sawmill business. 

   George French took this picture of the saw mill in the village sometime in the late 1940's or early 1950’s. The mill was operated by three generations of Stanley’s and was continued by many other owners. It was torn down in 1963 after standing idle and in a state of disrepair for several years. The Allard family home can be seen here behind the mill and just the roof of the South Hiram Elementary School to the left of that.