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!

Monday, October 15, 2018

"The Spirit Left Behind" - Presentation

Halloween is fast approaching and in keeping with that theme, the subject of the program at our next meeting is about ghosts.  You are all invited and it is free.

Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society Meeting

Saturday, October 20, 2018
Meeting – 2:00 pm and Program 2:30 pm

at History House
 92 Main Street
Kezar Falls Village (Rt. 160, Porter)

Donna Kennerson will present

“The Spirit Left Behind”

A program of video and audio recordings of spirits she has encountered.

She co-founded a team that worked for six years in people’s homes helping spirits “cross over”.

Do you believe in ghosts?  Maybe you will after seeing this program. 

Maybe you too have ghost stories to tell.  Come share them with us.

Also, the drawing of the raffle quilt winner will be held.

It is not too late.  You can buy raffle tickets at the meeting before the drawing.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Fall Has Arrived!

         With fall comes the urge to prepare for winter. Fuel tanks are filled, wood is split and stacked for the cold days to come.  Harvest is in full swing with apple picking. Pumpkins, squash and potatoes are appearing everywhere.  Fruits and vegetables from our gardens are being canned, frozen or dried.  If you live in the country or have property, it is time to clean up, rake the leaves, take in planters, etc.  All of this a ritual since “the beginning of time”.

         Kids are back in school, fall sports have begun and Halloween is just around the corner.

         It is also a time to enjoy the cooler, bright sunny days and beautiful autumn colors that will soon be gone for another year.

         These pictures by George French depict some typical fall scenes that never grow old.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society

invites you to their next meeting on

September 22 at History House

Meeting at 2:00 pm

Free Program at 2:30 pm

Local Author, Allen F. Crabtree III will talk about

“Preserving Oral Histories”

and will present stories from his book.

This is a fascinating, first-person commentary on a time that has long vanished in history.  The talk is profusely illustrated with old Effingham and family photos and supplemented with observations by his son, local author Allen F. Crabtree.

History House is located at 92 Main Street, Porter
 (in Kezar Falls Village) just east of the Porter Town Hall and 
the Sacopee Valley Health Center. 

FMI – call 625-7019

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Last Chance to See It!




SUNDAY, SEPT. 16TH 1:00 – 4:00 p.m

If you missed this exhibit in June,

this will be the last formal showing of

 “Logging in the Sacopee Valley”

Logging has been an important industry in Maine, including the Sacopee Valley area, since settlement first began here.  Nearly every family has someone who is or has been involved in the logging industry.  Come learn about old-time logging methods, logging camps and life as a logger in the early days

Old time loggers with tools of the trade.

Come tour the house, view all the exhibits and browse our scrapbook collection.

History House is located at 92 Main Street, Porter (in Kezar Falls Village)
just east of the Porter Town Hall and the Sacopee Valley Health Center.

FMI – call 625-7019

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


at the


September 2, 2018  1 – 3 pm

Have you ever visited this historical building?

It is located right here in the Town of Porter and is 
part of our early history.

This is your opportunity to tour this local gem. 

Step back in history to 1824 and imagine attending a Bullockite quarterly service or participating in a Porter Town Meeting here.  This unique building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the very few meeting houses left.

(For more information and pictures about the history of the Old Porter Meeting House, check out the links below.)


Rain or Shine!
Located on Old Meeting House Road, Porter, ME

Directions: from Kezar Falls Village: take Rt. 25 West to Colcord Pond Rd., then right on Old Meeting House Rd. From Porter Village: take First County Rd., bear left at Colcord Pond Rd. then right on Old Meeting House Rd.

FMI call– 625 7019

Sponsored by

Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society

(Sorry, no “facilities” available)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Fascinating Talk at History House

The public is invited to  

Parsonsfield-Porter’s next meeting and free program 

Saturday, July 28, 2018  at History House 

Meeting at 2:00 p.m.  -  Program at 2:30 p.m. 

At History House

92 Main Street in

Kezar Falls Village (Rt. 160) 

          Fay Melendy returns with another interesting program about WW I.  She will talk about the diplomatic history of this period in the Middle East (1918 – 1919) and how nation states created by Europeans resulted in conflicts that continue today.

 “World War I and the Over-promised Middle East”

World War I Ended November 11, 1919 – the war to end all wars?

Far from it!

Fay is a retired attorney, and has an undergraduate degree in European History plus 40 years study of 19th and 20th century Europe.  She is a very interesting speaker on a subject that most of us know very little about.

Here is a history lesson that will help us understand this very difficult situation.   

Sunday, July 1, 2018

A Short HIstory of Yard Sales

Did you know that the tradition of the yard sale (a.k.a. garage sale or rummage sale) got its start on the waterfront docks? 

          In the 16th century “romage” was a nautical term relating to how cargo was packed into the hold of a ship.  The first “rummage” sales were held at the docks and cargo that was unclaimed or damaged was sold at a discounted rate.  By the 1890’s, the rummage sale was a common event held by community groups such as churches or charitable organizations to raise money and many people would donate their unused items to be sold off.   In the 1950’s and 60’s the popularity of yard/garage sales grew and anyone who wanted to dispose of their unused items and raise a little cash for themselves or a worthy cause began to hold sales in their yards and garages.  Today, you can find a yard/garage sale on nearly every corner during good weather.

          What a great way to cut down on waste and recycle perfectly good items that are no longer needed or used!   And who knows what hidden treasures are waiting for you to find.

The Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society will hold their annual


SAT. JULY 7th , 9am – 1pm

at History House,  92 Main Street, Porter (Kezar Falls Village).

Rain or Shine.

Something for everyone.  Come find your treasure!

FMI  625-7019

Friday, June 15, 2018

PPHS June 23 Meeting will be at the KEZAR FALLS THEATER

Once again owner/filmmaker Silas Hagerty will host our June 23 meeting at the beautifully renovated KEZAR FALLS Theater.  As many of you may remember, this is where everyone who lived in this area from the 1940’s through 1971 went to the movies on weekends.  Some may remember it as Welch’s Discount Store Annex.  Silas has done a wonderful job bringing this old building back to life.  It is now his cinematography studio and he very frequently has movies and various other entertainment events here.  We are fortunate that he invites us to have a meeting here once a year and always presents a wonderful program.  Come see what he has been able to accomplish in just a few short years. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018
Meeting - 2pm  
   Program - 2:30pm
at the renovated 
Kezar Falls Theater
21 Maine Street, 
Kezar Falls Village (Rt.160)

Remember, our annual yard sale is coming soon!  It is a great time to clean out attics and garages for the benefit of PPHS!  Check your newsletter for details.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

New Exhibit Opens at History House

ON SATURDAY, JUNE 2, 1:00 – 4:OO pm.

“Logging in the Sacopee Valley”

Logging has been an important industry in Maine, including the Sacopee Valley area, since settlement first began here.  Nearly every family has someone who is or has been involved in the logging industry.  Come learn about old-time logging methods, logging camps and life as a logger in the early days

Come tour the house and view all the exhibits.

History House is located at 92 Main Street, Porter 
(in Kezar Falls Village)
just east of the Porter Town Hall and the 
Sacopee Valley Health Center.

FMI – call 625-7019

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society

Meeting and free program – Public Invited.

 To introduce our new exhibit scheduled to open in June,

we are presenting the film


Another day, another era.”

To be followed by

oral history stories from some of the men and women whose lives

depended on the logging business in the years past.

Saturday, May 19, 2018
Meeting – 2 p.m.      Program – 2:30 p.m.

At History House
92 Main Street
Kezar Falls Village (Rt. 160)
FMI – 625-7019

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Logging in the Sacopee Valley

Logging has long been a major industry in the Sacopee Valley and surrounding towns.  In the early days timber was most often cut in the winter.  If not hauled to local or portable saw mills near by, the logs were transported by horses or trucks to landings along the Ossipee and Saco river banks to wait for spring and high river waters.  In about April after the river ice was gone men called “river drivers” rolled them into the river and floated them down stream all the way to the mills of J. G. Deering & Son and Diamond Match Company on the Saco River in Biddeford.  
River Driving - 1918

River driving was an annual occurrence on the Great Ossipee River from the 1820’s right into the middle of the 1960’s.  Here men are knee-deep in the frigid water of the Ossipee River in an effort to keep the logs moving over the dam at Kezar Falls.  Many logs were destined for mills along the Saco River.  The Kezar Falls covered bridge is in the background and Garner Island is on the right.

Sunday, April 15, 2018


Just a reminder that the first meeting of the Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society will be Saturday, April 28 and will take place at 2 pm at History House.  It is important that members attend as a quorum is needed to elect officers for 2018. 

We will also discuss 2018 activities and the new exhibit theme “Logging in the Sacopee Valley”.  Come hear a local logging story or two and taste some samples of typical logging camp food.

Hope to see you there.

Wilbur Lewis hauling logs with his horses about 1947.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

An Easter Greeting from PPHS!

Wishing everyone a Happy Easter and a much anticipated spring!

(Remember: our first meeting will be later this month!)

Friday, March 16, 2018

1875 – 1885
During the 1800’s there were 57 young men from Parsonsfield who chose to enter the medical profession.  Most moved on to establish practices in other towns and even other states, but that is an amazing number for arural town to boast about.   In addition to college and medical schoolsit was customary at that time to study under the tutelage of a respected physician before starting their own practice.  Two doctors are credited with teaching the majority of them.
Dr. James Bradbury, the second physician to locate in Parsonsfield, was born in York, Maine April 27, 1772.  He obtained a good education and studied medicine in his home town. He settled in Parsonsfield in 1798, and soon acquired an extensive practice in which he continued more than 40 years.  During that period he trained 14 physicians.  In 1843 he moved to Windham to be near his only daughter and died there in Feb. 7, 1844.  One of his students was Dr. Moses Sweat who taught 19 new young doctors during his career of 50 years
Dr. Moses Sweat was born March 18, 1788 in Parsonsfield.  He was determined at a young age to study medicine. According to the History of Parsonsfield, he had all the qualities of mind and traits of character desired of a physician including the requisites: “the eagle’s eye, the lion’s heart and woman’s hand”. He soon won and retained the richly deserved name and fame of being one of the best surgeons in the State.  He became a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society and received a diploma there in 1817, also one from Bowdoin in 1823 and one from Castleton, VT in 1840.

To perform surgical operations at that time period when anesthesia was unknown required fortitude which never failed him.  In fractures and dislocations he was most adept.  In capital operations he had no superior.  He rode long distances and his life was one of incessant toil.

He also served his town and state – in both branches of the Legislature, and was a member of the board of trustees of the Maine Insane Hospital.  He united with Rev. John Buzzell and Robert Blazo to help establish Parsonsfield Seminary and was ever a true friend and benefactor.

He married Miss Eliza Wedgewood of Parsonsfield in 1811 and they had seven children. Two daughters and a son died very young leaving four sons to live to manhood.  Sons, John B. Sweat, Moses E. Sweat and William W. Sweat studied under their father and became physicians.  Lorenzo D.M. Sweat became a lawyer.

Tragically, his son John B. Sweat died of typhoid fever Nov. 11, 1856 after practicing with his father for six years and was a crushing blow from which Moses never recovered.  His wife died in 1860.  Due to these terrible losses and advancing age, Dr. Sweat suffered a paralyzing stroke causing him to cease practice.  He died in 1865 at age 77.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Spring is Coming, It's Maple Syrup Time!

A first sign of spring in New England is the sap running in the sugar maples signaling the beginning of maple syrup production.  This occurs about mid-February through mid-March when the day time temperatures are above freezing and the night temperatures go below freezing.

It is generally believed that the indigenous people of north eastern America were the first people to produce maple syrup long before any Europeans came to this country.  They made a slash in the bark of the sugar maple trees and gathered the dripping sap in birch bark buckets placed on the ground below it. They then boiled the sweet liquid over a fire until it thickened into syrup.

That is still basically how it is done today.  Except now the sap is gathered in buckets, or more often, through plastic tubing that runs from tree to tree which is collected in a large container near the sugar house/shack.  The long process of boiling the sap to make the syrup is done in large pans over a wood fire in the sugar shack.  

There are sugar shacks all over New England. Many exist right here in our local area, both large and small producers, who make wonderful syrup and other maple sugar products.  Pictures below are of the Stacey Farms in Kezar Falls.  The Stacey’s have been making maple syrup products for five generations.  

The 4th Sunday in March the Maine Maple Producers Association sponsor “Maple Sugar Sunday” and all the producers invite the public to their shacks to sample the products and to buy syrup to take home.  Watch for notices of this year’s “Maple Sugar Sunday” to appear soon.

George Stacey boiling sap for the 2018 production of syrup.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Ellen Libby Eastman (1891-1986)

As we enter the tax season we are featuring Ellen (Libby) Eastman who was from Kezar Falls and who was the first woman in Maine to become a Certified Public Accountant.
How can you not love this picture of
Ellen (Libby) Eastman as a young women
with her big smile -unusual in formal
photographs of the time when the subject
was expected to present a more
somber image.
Ellen Holden (Libby) Eastman was born in Porter, Maine October 30, 1891, the daughter of Walter and Arvilla (Walker) Libby.  She attended local schools, was an excellent student and excelled in mathematics.  She attended 1 ½ years at Bates College in Lewiston and taught school for 2 years.
Her next job was with the forward looking Sokokis Lumber Company at Kezar Falls founded by Merrill Lord, Harvey Granville and Frank Fenderson.  That became the most formative 5 years of her life.  Lord, Granville and Fenderson were men of prominence and accomplishment and became her mentors.  They quickly realized her potential for learning and gave her more managerial responsibilities in the office.  She also began reading for the law in the offices of Lord and Fenderson.

With the help of Harvey Granville, Ellen secured contract work with various area businesses for public accounting.  She studied for the CPA exam at night and in 1918 she was the first woman in Maine to become a Certified Public Accountant.  Next she became Town Auditor for Sanford - which at the time was one of Maine’s most important manufacturing cities.  Miss Libby went on to become the first woman to establish an accounting practice in New England focusing on state and federal income taxes.

In 1922 she married Harland Eastman of Springvale. 
Ellen (Libby) Eastman soon came to be recognized as an authority on income taxation and began to appear before the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. Board of Tax Appeals as an advocate for, or representative of, various concerns and individuals seeking tax reform and was elected representative of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants. 
She helped found the first state wide professional women’s organization – The Maine Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs in Portland, Maine in 1921.  By 1925 the Maine Federation became a member of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs and hosted the National Federation’s convention.  She became president of the Maine Federation in 1927. 
About that same time Ellen became acquainted with Margaret Chase of Skowhegan (who later became U.S. Senator from Maine).  Together, working through the Federation, they actively lobbied the state legislature for laws relating to tax reform, the fair treatment of women in the workplace and improved educational opportunities for women seeking a place in the business world. 
Ellen (Libby) Eastman was named the “Pre-eminent Business Woman of Maine” in 1928 and was among the most popular and best loved women in the State of Maine and a role model par excellence for the state’s young women. 
In 1957 Ellen came to Porter to deliver the Historical Address for Porter’s Sesquicentennial.  She always remained in touch with her home town and was a member of the Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society.  She passed away in 1986 and is buried at the Kezar Falls Burial Ground.