Sunday, March 15, 2015

Interior Views of Businesses in Kezar Falls, Maine - Part One

 There are many exterior pictures of businesses of Kezar Falls in the collection at History House.  However, the few with interior views add an interesting dimension and better illustrate what those businesses  looked like at that time.  Here are two of them.

Ridlon Brothers Store
According to the 1880 map of Porter this store which is located at the corner of Bridge Street and River Street in Kezar Falls Village was E. T. Edgecomb’s dry goods and grain store.  Brothers Walter and Benjamin Ridlon bought it in 1904 and the family continued to run it until 1962.  The exterior picture was obviously an early view of the building.  The first interior view was circa 1930’s and the larger one was taken in the 1950’s.  Sometime in the 1950’s a fire destroyed the second floor but the building was repaired and continued.  Today it is occupied by The Village Laundry.  

Myron Ridlon’s Drugstore

            Myron Ridlon built his drug store in 1923 a short distance beyond the Ridlon Brothers store on Bridge Street.  It is still the last building before the bridge.  The pharmacy and ice cream parlor were on the first floor and there was an apartment upstairs.  “Ridlon’s Drugstore” operated until 1966.  In 1967 his nephew, Myron Locke re-opened the building as a variety store and snack bar that operated until 1977.  Later it housed a bakery, fabric shop and an addition was added with large windows overlooking the Ossipee River for a beauty shop.  Today it houses apartments and the beauty shop, “Riverside Reflections”.   The picture below circa 1930’s.

 In this view of the drugstore, the soda fountain is on the left with tables for ice cream parlor patrons. The pharmacy is along the back and magazines and comic books were on the rack at the right. Typical drugstore toiletries were to the right beyond the magazine rack.  Myron Ridlon is shown here with his clerk, Iva Cutting.   This photograph is circa 1950.

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.