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.