Sunday, February 14, 2021

WHO WAS DR. WILLIAM TEG?

 Anyone who has been interested in the history of Porter, Brownfield or Hiram has probably come across histories of those towns written by William Teg.  But do you know anything about him? Here is his interesting story.


William Teg was born in 1891 in Minnesota where his Swedish father was one of the first white settlers.  He attributed some of his keen interest in rocks to the fact that there were hardly any around his boyhood home.  At age 16 he studied commercial telegraphy at Fargo, North Dakota.  That seems to have started a life of continual study and research.  


Dr. William Teg presenting a copy of the History of Porter to Evelyn Watkins in 1957.


He was a historian and writer and authored histories of Brownfield, Hiram and Porter as well as Vikings and Vagabonds (an autobiography of sorts of his travels abroad), and Almuthicoitt – Land of the Little Dog.  


He was also an archeologist, paleographer, anthropologist and geologist.  He studied theology but gave up the idea of being a missionary. He studied and could speak several languages including Hebrew and Greek and the Norse languages of Scandinavia.   He received a doctorate in physiological therapeutics at University of Chicago, and a doctorate in osteopathy in New York City.  Later he taught anatomy and physiology in New York City.


Teg served in the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War I as a stretcher bearer in the ambulance corps and as a nurse in a field hospital.  After the war he taught physical education in various therapeutic institutions in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  And he took courses at the Dickson School of Memory and studied violin and music at the National Academy of Music in Chicago.  

In 1921 he married Greta B. Bage, a recent immigrant from Finland and they had two children, William B. Teg, Jr., and Ruth (Teg) Sligh.  They lived in New Rochelle, NY.  In 1924 they moved to Hiram, ME, restored an old homestead and established a summer home called “Solitude”.    It consisted of 60 acres between the areas in Hiram called  Durgin Town and Tripptown in the shadow of Bill Merrill Mountain.  They lived there for 5 months of the year, returning to NY in late fall, then full time in later years.  It was a retreat that provided him with an ideal workshop in which to pursue his varied studies away from interruptions.  And its remoteness made it ideal for a wildlife sanctuary.


As a geologist and mineralogist he combed the hills of northern York and southern Oxford counties. He insisted that there were valuable minerals including uranium in the hills of Newfield.  


Both Mr. and Mrs. Teg were active members of the Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society and he spent years compiling information for his History of Porter which he published in 1957 for the historical society in time for  Porter’s Sesquicentennial.


Mr. Teg died at a Bridgton hospital November 5, 1977 survived by his wife,  son, daughter and 2 grandchildren.


We would be remiss if we ignored Mrs. Teg who also had an interesting life and was at her husband’s side for nearly 56 years.

  

Greta B. Teg was born in Kristinestad, Finland, a daughter of Henrick and Ina Damasere Bage, and attended schools there.  Her parents had escaped from France at the time of the Revolution and settled in Finland.  The film, Dr. Zhivago was filmed at her family’s homestead in Kristinestad.  


After training at a Helsinki hospital, Greta served as a doctor on the Russian Front during the Finnish Civil War of 1917, and in 1918 was decorated for her service (cited for valor) by General Carl G. Mannheim, Finland’s national hero.  


Mrs. Teg came to America in 1920 and married Dr. William Teg the following year.  

For 36 years the Tegs spent summers at their home in Hiram, returning to New Rochelle, NY where she took private nursing cases in a local hospital.  


She passed away at a Lewiston nursing home May 7, 1985, nearly eight years after her husband.  Both are interred at the Riverside Cemetery in Kezar Falls, ME.







Tuesday, February 2, 2021

LEVI LIBBY COOK and the Cook families of Porter

 The Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society recently received a copy of a “History of Porter, Maine” by Thomas Moulton, from a relative of the Cook family living in California.  There was an inscription in the book by its former owner, Ralph Eugene Cook –  “If this book is not wanted please send it to the Porter Historical Society, Porter, Maine.  Being the last one “Cook” to be born in the Town of Porter, February 3, 1896 to Herbert E. Cook and Clara E. Towle Cook.”  Also included was a letter written to Ralph from his cousin, Levi L. Cook, January 15, 1939 with some family genealogy.  Knowing a little about Levi Cook, this prompted some research of the Cook family in Porter.

 According to Levi’s letter, the first Cooks in the Town of Porter from whom all of the local Cooks descended were three brothers from Farmington, New Hampshire.  Jonathan, Abraham and Nathaniel Cook came to the Territory of Porterfield in April 1796 and took up homesteads years before the town was incorporated.  They settled on the east side of Colcord Pond.  Many are buried in the Porter Village cemetery and are listed in Porter Vital Statistics.

Jonathan Cook – (Born 1763. Died ?) was the line that included both Ralph and Levi.

(He was Ralph’s great great-grandfather and Levi’s great-grandfather.)  He married Susan Hayes of Farmington, NH and they had 6 children: Abigail, Louisa, Mary, Jonathan 2nd, William and Spencer.


Jonathan Cook 2nd - Born 5/27/1805 in Porter. Died 11/26/1877.  (He was Ralph’s great-grandfather and Levi’s grandfather.)  He married Mary Ann Brooks (1809-1891) in Porter.  They had 10 children:

Sarah Ann – Born 12/11/1827

Jonathan Woodman (Ralph’s grandfather) – Born 2/4/1830

Horace – Born 3/29/1832.  Died 3/4/1909.

George – Born 3/11/1835.  Died 11/5/1911.

Rose Ann – Born 6/18/1837.  Died 7/26/1854.

Lorenzo D. (Levi’s father) – Born 9/30/1839.  Died 8/17/1905.

Arsenath – Born 9/4/1841.  Died 3/16/1868.

Eliza Jane – Born 9/24/1843.  Died 1/24/1916.

Mary Ann – Born 1848.  Died 8/9/1854

Lydia F. – Born ?  Died ? 


Jonathan Woodman was born in Porter 2/4/1830 and died in North Conway 12/13/1891.  He married Margaret-Jane Peary.  They had 7 children: Lewis, George, Mary, Emerson, Ada, Charles and Herbert E.


Herbert E. Cook (Ralph’s father) – Born ?  in Porter.  Died ?

Herbert married Clara E. Towle – Born 2/22/1877.  Died in Porter 5/2/1941.  The number of children born to them is unknown except for 3 boys: Herbert, Ivan and Ralph – Born in Porter 2/3/1896.  Died in California after 1961 but date unknown.


It appears that several of the Cook family moved west.  Ralph’s family ended up in California and his Uncle Horace’s family was in South Dakota, Iowa and California. Lorenzo’s family remained in Maine.


Lorenzo D. Cook ( Levi’s father) – Born in Porter 9/30/1839. Died in 1905 in Cornish. He married Elzira Libby.  Levi’s obituary states that Levi L. Cook was their only son.  No record was found of any daughters.  Quite a bit was learned about Levi. 


Levi Libby Cook – Born in Porter 8/5/1866.  He married Eunice F. Durgin  (photo) on 4/6/1886. She was the daughter of Daniel and Mary (Ridlon) Durgin.  They had 4 daughters who all died in childhood.


Levi grew up in Porter and was educated here.  He attended the Porterfield schools about which he wrote a poem in later years. Levi moved his family to Cornish and his name was listed in the “York County Directory of 1897-1898” as an insurance agent.  The family lived in the former Thomas Richardson farm.  According to “A History of the Town of Cornish, Maine” published in 1994, the farm was located on outer Maple Street toward Kezar Falls.  Later the buildings burned and by 1993 Pumpkinville had been built on that location.  His father Lorenzo died in 1905.

The “1905 Town Register for Cornish” listed in the census:  Levi L. Cook – carpenter, Eunice F. (Durgin) Cook – [wife], Elzira B. (Libby) Cook – [mother] and Josephine Cook – mill operator [sister or cousin?]


Levi’s wife Eunice died 10/7/1912.  His mother Elzira Cook died in 1927.  Levi remarried in October of that year to Annie (Pinkham) Crockett.


Levi apparently had several occupations – insurance agent, carpenter and farmer.  He wrote articles for the Ossipee Valley Weekly newspaper and he wrote poetry.  PPHS has several of his handwritten poems in our collection including the one published in booklet form – “Reminiscences of School Days”.


Mr. Cook was active and held an office in several local organizations; Cornish Townsend Club, Ossipee Valley Oddfellows Lodge No. 54, Greenleaf Masonic Lodge No. 117, Cornish Grange No. 163, Kezar Falls Fish and Game Assn. and was a leader of the Cornish Boy Scouts.


Levi L Cook died from a stroke at his cousin’s home in Cornish on August 3, 1939.  He left his widow, Annie (Pinkham) Cook who later moved to Porter and lived until 1977.




























Levi and Eunice Cook with a daughter (?)







Thursday, January 14, 2021

DAVID W. LEAVITT And His Legacy For The Residents Of Parsonsfield, Maine

   David Willard “D.W.” Leavitt (1880-1948) was born in Parsonsfield, the first son of Albert R. (1845-1924) and Nellie M. Leavitt.  Albert was active in Parsonsfield town affairs as were several others of the Leavitt family, although it seems that the many Leavitts in Parsonsfield were not all closely related.   The Albert Leavitt farm where David was born is still located on Middle Rd. north west of the village. D. W.’s brother, Forest Parks Leavitt and sister, Deborah (Leavitt) Kimball also lived nearby.  It appears that they eventually lived in Florida in the winter and came to Parsonsfield in the summer.

The Albert R. Leavitt farm on Middle Road where D. W. Leavitt was born.

It was later used as a summer home.

   D.W., as he was commonly called, married Bessie Gaylord Leavitt of Boston.  She had spent summers at the Josiah Colcord place near the Leavitt farm.  They had 3 children, Albert Willard (1903-1957), Helen (Leavitt) Mason and Dorothy (Leavitt) Chilton.  D.W. and Bessie divorced later in life and each remarried.  D.W. had another child, Bobbie Rosalind Leavitt, by his second wife.

D.W. Leavitt became known for assembling what is referred to as the Leavitt Plantation which he started in 1932.  He had been interested in development of woodland and in modern forestry practices since the early 1920’s.  He gradually expanded his woodland holdings over the years, buying some 30 abandoned farms to add to the Leavitt property.  He planted trees in all the open spaces, which became the plantation, and he had a dream of eventually planting the entire area.


After Leavitt’s death in 1948, his son, Albert W. Leavitt, took over management of the enterprise.  Fred N. Leavitt of North Parsonsfield, a distant relative, was superintendent from 1938 to 1957 and became manager in 1957 after Albert Leavitt’s death, serving in that capacity until the sale of the property. 

 

In 1960 7,500 acres of timberland from the plantation was sold to S.D. Warren Co. who continued to manage the land as a demonstration forest.  


Documentation in the file at Parsonsfield Town office provides the following information:

The next owner was UBS Brinson, a timber investment management organization. In 2000 it was learned that Brinson was considering subdividing the entire plantation into 13 parcels to be sold at auction. At that time a movement began to seek a way to protect the Plantation from being split up and developed. About 2001 Renewable Resources, LLC, a similar timber investment management organization, purchased the land and negotiations were started to form a conservation easement agreement with them and any future owner to preserve the land forever.

A long period of negotiation and a huge fundraising effort finally brought about the final agreement on April 9, 2003 at a cost of $2,600,000. The final conservation easement agreement with Renewable Resources, LLC was for an 8,600 acre tract (not all contiguous) making up about 22% of Parsonsfield’s land area. An additional 1,100 acres had been added to the original plantation of 7,500 acres.

The “Maine Department of Conservation – Nature Conservancy” coordinated and raised funds for the project with the help of several other sources: “Land for Maine’s Future Program”, “Federal Forest Legacy Program”, “Maine Dept. of Conservation”, the Town of Parsonsfield with donations from residents and friends, a grant from “North American Wetlands Conservation Act”, and “Maine’s Outdoor Heritage Fund”.

This Federal & State partnership allows the landowner to keep their land private while ensuring it remains forest forever through the use of the conservation easement.

Following are some of what the conservation easement provides:

Even if the land is sold in the future, this easement will permanently guarantee it cannot be developed, thereby ensuring it will continue to provide the natural resource values that exist (e.g. timber production, wildlife habitat protection, etc.).

There can be no residential and commercial development on the property, ensuring that it remains as an unfragmented forest parcel. The large 8,300 acre parcel can be divided into no more than 2 parcels. The Pendexter Brook parcel (300 acres) will remain its current size.

The landowner has the right to manage the property for forest products under a forest management plan that will be reviewed and approved by the Bureau of Parks and Lands.

The public is still allowed to use the property for non-motorized recreation activities including hunting, fishing & hiking and appropriate motorized recreational use will be allowed on designated snowmobile trails and town rights of way.

The Town can still utilize a limited amount of gravel on an annual basis for maintaining town roads.

The landowner will still pay taxes to the Town of Parsonsfield under the Tree Growth Tax Program.


The Bureau of Parks and Lands was to establish a stewardship fund to provide the resources to ensure that the easement is monitored periodically and enforced and to meet annually to review the previous year’s activity.

In 2006 ownership of the Plantation changed hands to Heartwood Forestland Fund V Limited Partnership from Chapel Hill, No. Carolina. Two smaller lots were sold to individuals. Of course the Conservation Easement still applies.



Leavitt Plantation today – shaded areas.


It is claimed that this is still the largest contiguous block of sustainably managed forest in single ownership in southern Maine and provides high-value forest products that support the regional economy.






Friday, January 1, 2021

WELCOME 2021 - WITH HOPE FOR A BETTER YEAR.

 

The Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society wishes all of you best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year in 2021.

May this awful pandemic soon end and all the difficulties associated with 2020 be just a memory.  We look forward to opening History House once again and to resuming our meetings, programs and activities for you to enjoy once all of Covid 19 is gone or at least under control.

We want everyone to have their lives back!  In the meantime, stay safe.


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

FIRST NORTH AMERICAN CHRISTMAS WAS IN MAINE

 

"Maine can claim perhaps the best Christmas first: the first Christmas, in 1604. It happened on St. Croix Island, the lost French colony of Maine.

St. Croix Island, now on the border between New Brunswick and Maine, was settled by a small band of Frenchmen headed by Sieur DeMons. Samuel Champlain served as historian and navigator. The expedition included thieves from Paris prisons and noblemen from the court of Henry IV, Catholic priests and Huguenot ministers, artisans, merchants and sailors.

The Frenchmen arrived in June, almost three years before Jamestown started. They built a fort, houses and a handmill, and they planted gardens and a field of rye.

On Christmas day, the French colonists, all men, attended services in a new chapel. They probably held two, one for the Protestants, one for the Catholics.

Then they gathered inside next to a roaring fire, told stories, joked and reminisced about France. They had a feast — perhaps roast venison or rabbit stew.

The St. Croix settlement did not last. Most of the men were felled by a mysterious disease – probably scurvy. By spring they decided to move, packed up their houses and moved to Port Royal, which is now Annapolis." 

- New England Historical Society


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Holiday Greetings from PPHS

Here is a bit of holiday history...


According to the internet, this is the first commercially printed Christmas card. This Victorian era-scene, produced in 1843, was emblazoned with the traditional wishes of a “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you”.


But some 19th Century viewers were far from happy at the imagery which depicted an English family toasting glasses of red wine as a little girl sips from a woman’s cup.


A leading group of puritanicals were quite distressed that in this ‘scandalous’ picture they had children toasting with a glass of wine along with adults and began a campaign to censor and suppress it.  


They kicked up such a fuss over the picture that it took three years before another Christmas card was produced.


 Best Wishes for the Happiest of Holidays from the

Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society!




Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Porter Moultons

 In his History of Porter, written in 1957, William Teg tells us that “On May 22, 1792 a young man from Hampton, N.H. called at the home of Meshach Libby – his name was David Moulton.  In short, he came, he saw, he conquered – he bought the Libby Homestead.  The price?  ‘Sixty pounds, lawful money.’  David departed, but returned on April 27, 1793 to take possession of his property.” 

Meshach Libby, it should be remembered, was the first permanent settler in Porterfield Plantation as was covered in an earlier blog this year.  The red arrow shows the location of the homestead -  M. S. Moulton in 1875.


One of David Moulton’s sons, Thomas, chronicled his family in 1873  in which he wrote this of his father, David, who was born June 18, 1760 and married Dorothy Moulton of Portsmouth, N.H. 



To their family David and Dorothy added six children, all born in Porter:

          John, born December 1794;

          Joseph, born July 1797;

          Sarah, born December 1799;

          David Jr., born August 1802;

          Mary, born January 1805; and

          Thomas, born August 1810.

The Census of 1820 enumerated 7 individuals in the Moulton household who are presumed to be:

1 Male over 45 – David (age 60);       1 Female over 45 – Dorothy (age 50);

1 Male 16 to 25 – Joseph (age 23);       1 Female 16 to 25 – Sarah (age 21);

1 Male 16 to 18 – David Jr. (age 18);     1 Female 10 to 15 – Mary (age 15).

1 Male 10 to 15 – Thomas (age 10);

 Only the oldest son John, at age 26, no longer remained in his father’s home in 1820.  Where he was at that time we do not know, but from his youngest brother Thomas’ aforementioned Genealogical Registry we know that he was by then already making his own way in the world:


David Moulton died in October 1838 and the 1840 Census shows the John Moulton household at that time containing 10 individuals.  His immediate family only accounts for 6 of them:

          1 Male 40 to 49 – John (age 46);

                               2 Males 5 thru 9 – James Coffin (born 1830);                                          and Moses Sweat (born 1833);

          1 Male under 5 – John Jr. (born 1835)

          1 Male 15 to 19 – UNKNOWN;

          2 Females 30 to 39 – Jane (age 39) and UNKNOWN;

          1 Female 15 to 19 – UNKNOWN;

          1 Female under 5 – Sarah Jane (born 1826 and died later in 1830);

          1 Female 60 to 69 – Possibly the widowed Dorothy Moulton? 

In 1850 the members of the household, now all listed by name, were:         

Age

80

Name

John Moulton

Age

55

Name

Jane Moulton

Age

49

Name

Jas C Moulton

Age

20

Name

Moses S Moulton

Age

17

Name

John Moulton

Age

15

The matriarch, Dorothy, at age 80;

          John, age 55;

          Jane, age 49;

          James Coffin, age 20;

          Moses Swett, age 17; and

          John Jr., age 15.

 Dorothy died in January 1853 and was laid to rest beside her husband David in the Kezar Falls Burying Ground.


As they achieved adulthood, John and Jane’s remaining 3 children began to make their way in the world. 

·       James Coffin, after beginning his education in local schools, went on to Fryeburg Academy, Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, then after studying law in Illinois moved on to Minnesota and Missouri. 

·       John Jr. also removed to Minnesota in 1855 where he also was employed in the law prior to his service during the Civil War 1861 – 1865.  He remained in Minnesota after the war engaged in the lumber business. 

Only their middle son, Moses Swett, remained behind.  He married Armine Tibbetts in March 1856.  She was, coincidentally, the sister of Lydia Frances Tibbetts married to Jordan Stacy 2nd and subject in a previous blog on the Stacy family. 

The 1860 Census reflected the changing dynamics of the household.  In addition to John and Jane; Moses, Armine, and their 2 year old son Roscoe Norton; the family included John’s 2 unmarried siblings 60 year old Sarah and 50 year old Thomas. 

The 1870 Census found the family changed only by the addition of a daughter, Jennie, born in 1864 as well as a woman named Anna Libby, 71 years old without occupation.


Thomas Moulton, listed in the census record above as “Retired Senator” had a long life of public service and was a prodigious record keeper.  Many of his papers are housed at our History House and provide an invaluable glimpse into the period.  He is best known for authoring the original History of Porter in 1879 which was the major source for Teg’s History written in 1957. He chronicled not only the genealogical record of his family previously cited but also hand wrote a detailed history of his own life.  In it he wrote of what must have been one of the shining achievements of his career:

It is obvious that public service ranked high with this family.  Thomas says this about his nephew, Moses Swett, in his genealogical record.

By the time of the 1880 Census the head of household had changed with the death of John in 1876.  Son, Roscoe, at age 22 listed physician as his occupation that year, having studied medicine at Bowdoin College.  He went on to graduate from Columbia University in 1882 before establishing a practice in Boston.  He died the following year in July 1883 of diphtheria.Bowdoin College and the Medical School of MaineBowdoin College and the Medical School of Maine Bowdoin College and the Medical School of Maine


The household was dwindling.   Jane Moulton died in 1882 as did Aunt Sarah followed by Uncle Thomas in 1888.  Moses Swett died in 1895 joined by his wife, Armine, 2 years later in 1897. 

At some time during this period Jennie Moulton moved from her childhood home into the village of Kezar Falls.  She lived just down the street from her Aunt Lydia Frances Stacy and they must have enjoyed living near enough to visit often.

                     School Street: top arrow shows her Aunt Lydia Stacy’s home,                                   bottom arrow showing Jennie’s home.

Lydia Frances Stacy, Jennie Moulton Peare & Alice Mason in front of Jennie’s home at 32 School Street, Kezar Falls Village. 

On December 1, 1908 Jennie, at the age of 44, married Albetus Henry Peare, minister of the Riverside Methodist Church and the Ossipee Valley Weekly described her is this way in their write-up of the wedding.


By 1910 her husband had been posted at a church in Conway, New Hampshire as shown in the Census of 1910 and 1920.  She died in January 1923 returning one last time to the town of her birth when she was laid to rest at the Kezar Falls Burying Ground beside her other family members.