Sunday, December 15, 2019

Her Story: Clara (Moulton) Lord (1852 – 1927)

Clara Priscilla Moulton was born March 30, 1852, the 8th of 9 children born to William E. and Priscilla (Towle) Moulton in Parsonsfield. Her father built Parsonsfield’s Town House.     

  She became a school teacher as a young woman and married John B. Lord of Cornish in 1878 and the couple settled near her parents in Middle Road Village. They had one daughter, Katherine who married Fred Gale.  Clara continued to teach through most of her adult life and was active in the Union Church of Middle Road Village, where she played the organ at services as long as her health permitted.

        Clara started one of the earliest public libraries in Maine. In 1900 the library had only 24 books, but it quickly grew to 4 or 5 thousand volumes with subscriptions to 15 different magazines. It was housed originally in the “Cass House” on the SW corner of Merrill Hill and Middle Road. We believe she and John lived there for a time, and then moved down the road to the former Silas Ricker House (later known as the Gale House). Neither of these buildings still exists. The library itself grew and was moved across the street to the Masonic Lodge building where it was on the first floor. After her death in 1927, the library lived on for a time. Helen Peers, another Middle Road villager, became the librarian. It finally ceased to exist sometime in the late 1930’s.

        Born in 1852, she did not conform to the role of the stereotypical Victorian woman. She was active in town affairs; she wrote articles for local newspapers; and poetry for her friends and neighbors. One poem, about the demise of the Middle Road Village post office and its effect on the community, was included in the Historical Society’s recent publication – Parsonsfield Maine: A Town of Many Villages.

        She contributed articles to the Sanford Tribune, the Biddeford Record, the Carroll County Independent and the Granite State News. She was also well known for her “Aunt Jerusha” poems. (If anyone has a copy of one of these, please let us know!)

        She was cared for by her younger, unmarried sister, Hattie Moulton during the final years of life.  She passed away September 25, 1927, two months after her husband’s death.  She was buried in a small family cemetery with other family members located off Middle Road just across from where her parents’ home used to be.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Her Story: Eleanor (Syphers) Garner (1911 – 1988)

Eleanor (Syphers) Garner was born in Cornish on August 26, 1911, the daughter of Dr. LeRoi S. and Charlotte (Bolton) Syphers.   

She attended Cornish and South Portland schools and graduated from Gorham Normal School in 1931.  She received her bachelor’s degree in education in 1966 and master’s degree in library science in 1970.  Eleanor taught English and government at Porter High School and was librarian at Sacopee Valley High School for 15 years, retiring in 1981.  

Eleanor was very active in women’s club work.  She was a member of the Kezar Falls “21 Club” for 57 years, director of District 13 of the Maine Federation of Women’s Clubs from 1949 to 1951 and president of the Maine Federation from 1956 to 1958.  At the time of her death, she was    parliamentarian of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, New England Regional Conference. 

Eleanor was a member of the United Riverside Methodist Church of Kezar Falls for 39 years, and a member of the United Methodist Women.  She was also a member of the Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society and president of the Kezar Falls Circulating Library. 

In 1959 Eleanor S. Garner was named in the “Who’s Who of American Women”. 

In 1931 she married Allen F. Garner.  They resided in Kezar Falls and had a son, William A. Garner and daughter, Ruth Elizabeth Garner.  Eleanor died April 2, 1988 at the age of 76.

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society 
wishes everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Her Story: Barbara (Henderson) Korn

Barbara (Henderson) Korn was born on Sept. 16, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois. She was adopted by her maternal grandparents and grew up in Sioux City, Iowa. Barbara received a degree in journalism from the Iowa University and was employed in the advertising department of Julius Garfinkel’s, Inc. in Washington D.C. in 1948. She received her master’s degree in Library Science from Columbia University in 1966. From that point on she was devoted to books and reading and became a lifelong librarian.

She married Gerald (Jerry) Korn in 1948 and they purchased the historic “town farm” in South Parsonsfield in 1966. Barbara became very involved in her community as a volunteer in the Head Start program, York County Born to Read program, and the Limerick Public Library. She was instrumental in reopening the North Parsonsfield Public Library in 1982 and was overseer and voluntary librarian.

Barbara was also well known in Maine historical circles and fought successfully to preserve Parsonsfield’s Old Town House and have it placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Barbara and her husband had three daughters, Ellen, Margaret and Susan. She died November 1, 2008 at the age of 82 after a life of service to her community.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Her Story: Flora Ridlon Carpenter (1898-1998)

Flora Ridlon was born in Porter, October 16, 1897, the youngest of 6 children born to Herbert and Ella Ridlon.  She attended local schools and graduated from Porter High School in 1915 after which she lived at home, taught school at the Black School house and studied voice in Portland and piano in Cornish. From the beginning music was her life.   

In 1920 she completed, in one year, a 2 year course of public school music and voice at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.  She taught 2 years in Kezar Falls and Cornish, 3 years in Martha’s Vineyard, MA as Supervisor of Music and then 1 year in Derry, NH.   

In 1926 she married Walter B. Carpenter and lived in South Portland for 3 years.  She stopped teaching at that time but continued to study voice and was an active member of the Rossini Club of Portland (a prestigious music club). In 1929 they returned to Porter where her son was born in 1932.   

Flora resumed teaching as Supervisor of Music in public schools in Porter and surrounding towns, a position she held for 30+ years retiring in 1958.  She also taught piano and voice to many individual pupils from Porter to Limerick and Freedom, NH.   

She sang solo in her sweet soprano voice at many weddings and private events. In 1936/7 she was a member of the women’s quartet “The Bell Canto Singers” who gained a name for themselves through concerts and radio broadcasts.  

She was active in the Riverside United Methodist Church where she was organist for 20 years and choir director for 30 years.  

She was a member of the Western Maine Music Festival Association, the Maine Educators Association, the 21 Club, and Order of the Eastern Star.  

After a long full life Flora died at the age of 100 in 1998.

HISTORICAL SOCIETY MEMBERS ARE REMINDED THAT OUR ANNUAL POT LUCK THANKSGIVING LUNCHEON WILL BE HELD AT THE WEST-DAY AMERICAN LEGION HALL on Mountain View Avenue, Porter – November 9th at 1:00 pm.  Please call 625-7019 or e-mail to let us know if you plan to attend, if you are bringing a guest and what you would like to bring to share.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Upcoming Program at History House

Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society
invites the public to their next meeting
and Free Program
“A New Life for
the Kezar Falls Woolen Mill”

Presented by Scott Mounce

Scott will be talking about his plans, hopes and dreams he and his
brother, Mark, have for the old woolen mill buildings.

Kezar Falls Woolen Mill
Also, drawing of the raffle quilt winner

Saturday, October 19, 2019
at History House
Meeting - 2:00 pm program to follow

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

Her Story: Florence Mabel Stanley Higgins (1886-1984)

Florence, just 16 years old at the time of her father’s death, took over clerking at the Kezar Falls Post Office at which her father had been Postmaster.  She then worked as a clerk in a dry goods store according to the 1910 census, perhaps the store her father owned at the time of his death in 1902.

In 1915 she married John Warren Higgins who worked at the County Registry of Deeds and they established their life in Skowhegan.  Florence became an accountant with the Registry of Deeds and, with her husband, amassed enough money to be able to make substantial bequests in her will. 

A widow and childless at the time of her death in 1984, Florence remembered her home town in her last wishes. Porter was the recipient of several bequests which benefit the town to this day.  Honoring her oldest sister, she left stock certificates to the town, the interest to be used to fund the Evelyn Watkins Scholarship to one male and female graduate of the local high school each year.  She established the Florence Higgins Beautification Fund for beautification projects in the town and established the Florence Higgins Fund to be used to assist the needy in the town as well as an education scholarship for Porter students, a fund which has assisted hundreds of Porter residents. Perhaps her most important contribution to the welfare of this area was her donation of the property for the Sacopee Valley Health Center which was key to that becoming a reality.

Soon there will be no one alive who ever knew Aunt Flossie, as she was affectionately called, but her legacy will live on in her support of education and the town of Porter.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

HER STORY: Helen Stearns Merrifield (1900-1970)

Helen Stearns was born August 6, 1900 in South Hiram, Maine, the daughter of Frank E. and Bessie M. Stearns.  She attended local schools and graduated from Porter High School in 1919. She taught school at Baldwin and later was employed as a clerk at the Ridlon Drug Store in Kezar Falls.  In 1922 she married Harry Merrifield and they made their home on School Street, Porter. They had one child – Elizabeth Ann. 

In 1956 she was named correspond-dent for the “Portland Press Herald”, “Evening Express” and “Sunday Telegram” covering the Kezar Falls area.  In 1961 she was awarded the Gold Press Card for the best small town coverage.  Besides working for the Portland papers, Mrs. Merrifield also had been a community correspondent for the “Sanford Tribune” and the “Carroll County Independent” of Ossipee, NH. 

Helen was also very active in civic and charitable organizations.  She had been treasurer of the Town of Porter, was often a ballot clerk, and active in the Republican Town Committee. During WW II Helen was secretary of the local branch of the American Red Cross and successfully managed its fundraising campaigns and blood donor activities.  

She was a participating member in the Methodist Church and several women’s clubs, the Kezar Falls Library Association, the Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society and Porter High Alumni Association.   

Her life was dedicated to loving care of her family and of service to her church, her community and her country which she deeply loved.  She liked people and touched the lives of many. Helen Merrifield passed away November 22, 1970. 
Helen’s reporting kept local residents informed about what was happening in our towns for many years.  The news from this area has been sadly neglected ever since.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society
invites you to their next meeting
Saturday, Sept. 21 at History House
Meeting - 2:00 pm
Free Program - 2:30 pm

“Hattie Moulton Revisited.”
Presented by Sylvia Wilson

More about Hattie Moulton’s life and family as revealed in letters to her.
The William Moulton family was once well known in Parsonsfield and we have become familiar with them through letters and other historical documents.  We are particularly fond of Hattie, the youngest daughter, although we have no picture and never met her.
Perhaps you will be too.
Middle Road Village, Parsonsfield

History House
92 Main Street in
Kezar Falls Village
Route 160

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Last Chance to see "Her-Story"

Welcome to our fall
Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019,   1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society
Last formal showing of  the Exhibit

Remembering the Suffragettes who in 1919
finally won the right to vote for women in Maine
 Honoring some of the other remarkable women of our towns
and the State of Maine
by telling a few of their stories.

Come tour the house and view all the exhibits, browse our scrapbook collection and albums.
History House
92 Main Street in
Kezar Falls Village (Rt. 160)

FMI call 625-7019

One of our favorite local remarkable ladies included in this exhibit is Dottie Locke.
This is
Dorothy Gilman Locke  (1921-2016)
Dorothy Gilman, known to most as Dottie, only child of Arthur and Olive (Gray) Gilman was born in Porter, Maine on the family farm which would remain her life-long home. Unlike most farm girls of the time, Dottie attended the University of Maine Orono receiving a degree in Education in 1942.

She worked for Piscataqua & York County 4-H Extensions, taught four years at Cornish High School, then fourteen years at Sacopee Valley High School teaching home economics to many still living. 

More importantly, Dottie exemplifies the truth that one need not do extraordinary things to be an extraordinary person.  While working full-time, maintaining a busy household with her husband Clayton Locke, and the mother of two she still found time to work for the betterment of her community through her work with the Porter Grange, Riverside Methodist Church, LMR Club, Porter Union Workers and Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society among others.

Dottie was skilled at sewing, knitting and a wonderful cook and used these skills often in her community service.  She was known for years as "the pie lady".

She passed away Sept. 19, 2016 at the age of 95. 

Dottie's portrait in First Person Rural: A Portrait of a Maine Town by Patricia Turner

Thursday, August 15, 2019

at the
September 1, 2019    1 – 3 pm

Come tour this historic building and hear Katherine Rhoda play “Music of the Suffragettes” to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Maine ratifying the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.
Katherine is well known for playing her antique instruments and singing folk songs and other music from our past history.  
This unique building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the very few meeting houses left.

It played an important part in the early history of Porter. As you enter the building step back in history to 1824 and imagine attending a Bullockite quarterly service or participating in a Porter Town Meeting here. 

(For more information and pictures about the history of the Old Porter Meeting House, see our previous BLOG post dated Nov. 4, 2016.)
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)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Save the Date!


Saturday, August 17, 1-3 pm
at Merrill Hill Road just off Middle Road in Parsonsfield.
Come visit what was once the thriving heart of Parsonsfield, Maine.  Both the Parsonsfield Old Town House & the Union Church will be open to the public.

Exhibits, information & photos from past times in the village will be on display in the Town House.

At 2:00 pm Sylvia Wilson will talk about the Moulton family,
former residents of Middle Road Village, based on letters to Hattie, 
the youngest daughter.

Take the Self-guided Cemetery Walk

Learn about some of the illustrious inhabitants who were former residents of Middle Road Village. (Be prepared for rough terrain.)

Sponsored by the Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society & the Parsonsfield Union Church Society.

FMI: 625-8189

Note: no restroom facilities available.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Maine's First Strike

Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society

Meeting and free program - Public Invited.

In keeping with our theme of commemorating the 100th anniversary of Maine ratifying the 19th Amendment, we are presenting a program entitled:

The Great Turn-Out: Factory Girls and Maine’s 1st Strike

An illustrated talk by History Professor and award-winning author Elizabeth DeWolfe

In 1841, nearly 500 female factory workers walked out of Saco’s York Manufacturing Company and paraded up Main Street, chanting and singing.  They gathered at a local church, formed a committee and sent the factory owner a document articulating their complaints about wages, housing, and paternalistic rules.  In this illustrated talk, we’ll explore the life of New England “factory girls,” the opportunities mill work brought, and the challenges of this difficult labor. We’ll see how a strike in one Maine town connected to national agitation for women’s rights, including suffrage. Don’t miss it!

Saturday, July 27, 2019 @ 2:00

(after a brief business meeting.)

At History House

92 Main Street in Kezar Falls Village (Rt. 160)

FMI phone 625-7019

Monday, July 1, 2019


To make this major fundraiser a success again this year, we need donations of sale items. Gently used items that you no longer need but think others may find a use for would be appreciated. (Please no clothes or computers.) They can be left on the porch at History House anytime through Friday, July 5th. Someone will be checking every day and move what is there inside. If you need someone to pick up your items call 625-7019.

The Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society will hold their annual
SAT. JULY 6th , 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 21, 2019

June 29th Meeting at the Kezar Falls Theater

Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society
invites the public to a free program.
at the

Saturday, June 29, 2019
Meeting - 2 p.m.       Program - 2:30 p.m.
21 Main Street,
Kezar Falls Village (Rt. 160)

Owner/filmmaker Silas Hagerty has transformed the former Playhouse Movie Theater into a new theater and sound studio where he features various films and entertainment projects.
He will once again present a program to interest and entertain us.


Sunday, June 16, 2019

HER STORY: Erma Giles (1913- 1976)

 Erma Giles was born in Porter, March 4, 1913 to Edgar and Alice (Brooks) Giles.  She was the youngest of 3 children. She attended local schools, graduated from Porter High School in 1930 and attended Nasson Institute in Springvale.

At age 24 Erma opened a clothing shop on the ground floor of the Malvern Hotel on River St. (owned by her father) and was there for 10 years.  When he sold the hotel in 1947 she moved her shop across the river to the Stanley Block building.  “Erma’s Apparel Shop” served the local community from that location until her father died.  In 1958 she bought the building next to the Kezar Falls Market on Bridge St.   She and her mother lived above the store.   There she continued her shop until her death February 16, 1976,

Erma sold clothing of fine quality, was a respected business woman and was active in the community.  She lived at home to care for her elderly parents and never married.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Welcome to our
Saturday, June 1, 2019,   1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society
Opens a New Exhibit

Remembering the Suffragettes who, in 1919,
finally won the right to vote for women in Maine
and honoring some of the other remarkable women 
of our towns
and the State of Maine
by telling a few of their stories.

The Stanley Sisters: Florence, Ina and Evelyn

Come tour the house and view all the exhibits.
History House
92 Main Street in
Kezar Falls Village (Rt. 160)

FMI call 625-7019