Friday, December 20, 2013

The Dr. Bennett House, Parsonsfield - Then and Now

   This home, located on the north side of Middle Road in the village, was once the home of Dr. Gilman Lougee Bennett who married Hannah Merrill, daughter of Hardy Merrill.

    Dr. Bennett settled here at Middle Road about 1833 and was identified as the owner on both the 1856 and 1872 map. He died in 1872. His wife survived him and presumably continued to live here.

    The house was also known as the Merrill house, but it is not clear which Merrill it refers to.  In about 1930 the house was purchased by Herb and Helen (Mellish) Peers and the Penek family purchased it from Helen in 1964.

   The house at 776 Middle Road is now owned by Greg Penek. He and his wife still live here.
They have retained many of its original interior architectural features.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Colcord/Welch/Milliken House in Parsonsfield

   Since we printed “Parsonsfield Maine – a Town of Many Villages”, we have discovered several other old homesteads and learned about their history - particularly in the Middle Road area.  Over the next few months, we will present some of those pictures here.

   This is a very old house that played an important role in the history of Parsonsfield.  It is located on the north side of “old” Middle Road that continues east beyond where the pavement ends, not far from the Maplecrest intersection. 

  It a somewhat removed from the central Middle Road Village, but the Parsonsfield 1888 History tells us that Job Colcord settled here before incorporation of the town and opened a tavern. Town meetings were held at the Wiggin’s home and at the Colcord’s home until the first meeting-house was finished in 1795.  It is doubtful that this was the original tavern, as most early buildings were of log construction.  This building is assumed to have been built about 1800.

  Besides a tavern it was also a stagecoach stop.  It was later owned by Andrew Welch and then L.Welch as shown on the 1856 and 1872 maps.  It had passed out of the family by 1888. 
   The Colcord/Welch house still stands today at 1286 Middle Road and is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Its double Cape Cod architecture is unusual.  It has had many owners including William Milliken from 1900 to 1946. Naomi Heckman (his nurse?) lived here from 1944 to 1967.  She sold it to George Coffin who sold it to David Brown 1978.  There have been several other owners since then.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Rufus McIntire of Parsonsfield

   Rufus McIntire served as a captain of the US 3rd Artillery in the War of 1812 and raised a company of over 100 men in York County. He served throughout the war on the frontier of New York. 

   Born in York, Maine, he graduated from Dartmouth with high honors. He came to Parsonsfield in 1817 and lived in Middle Road Village for the rest of his life. He held many public offices including representative to the state government, county attorney, US Congressman, land agent, US Marshall and surveyor.

    He is credited with helping to avert a third war with England by settling the Aroostook boundary dispute. His family occupied the home that was originally built for Benjamin Rolfe.  It is located at the corner of Middle Road and Merrill Hill Road –just below the Town House. He is buried in the Town House Cemetery in Parsonsfield.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Maine and the Civil War - Catherine R. Springer

Memorial to the Ladies Union Aid Society in St. Louis built after the war.
   As we celebrate the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, please note that Catherine R. Springer, originally from Parsonsfield, did her part for the Union as an aid worker and nurse.  She is mentioned in both the History of Parsonsfield and Womans’ Work in the Civil War.

    Catherine was the daughter of Isaac  &  Hannah Redman Lord of Parsonsfield, Maine.  In 1855 she married a successful merchant named Nicholas Springer of St. Louis and moved there. She became known for helping soldiers, widows and orphans.  During the war she regularly visited the hospitals in St. Louis providing comfort and care to the sick and wounded soldiers.

   The Battle of Wilson's Creek in 1861 showed that military medical services on both sides were ill prepared and ill equipped to treat and transport wounded soldiers. Civilian social reformers organized relief societies based on models from the eastern United States. The Ladies' Union Aid Society (LUAS) provided medical supplies and services to Union soldiers, freedmen, orphans, and refugees.

   Catherine Springer was an active member of the Ladies’ Union Aid Society in St. Louis, from the date of its organization in August, 1861 to its final disbanding in October 1865. During the 4 years of its existence, Catherine  Springer performed varied and useful tasks on behalf of the soldiers and their families.

   L.P. Brockett wrote, in Woman's Work in the Civil War (1867) , that Mrs. Springer  "has been among its most diligent workers. In the winter of 1862 the society took charge of the labor of making up hospital garments. She superintended the whole of this important work during that winter, in which 127,500 garments were made.”

If anyone knows anything more about this branch of the Lord family or Catherine Lord Springer, please let us know.