The Bethel Journals  Donald G. Bennett, PO Box 763, Bethel, Maine 04217

THE BETHEL JOURNALS—BETHEL MAINE HISTORY AND NEWS

The Bethel Journals

Bethel Maine History

July 14, 2014

 

History

News

People

Places

Events

 

Bethel area history  - an online collection of  publications and photos

Bethel Journal News

July 15, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maine Mineral and Gem Museum

How Bethel’s Newest Institution Started

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After considering various alternatives Dr. Lawrence Stifler and Mary McFadden made a decision to establish a  Maine Mineral and Gem Museum in Bethel.

 

Acquiring the 21st Century Kennett Realty building on Main Street was the first step. A year later the 19th Century Odd Fellows Hall became available and was added to the museum plan. The final museum plan was approved in 2012 by the Bethel Planning Board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Williamson Connection

Becky Bailey and Buster Williamson

Summer Boarders

 The Locke Mountain House

 

 

 

 

At The Blake Hill Dairy Farm

Farm Improvements—July 2008

 

 

 

New cement manure pit under construction at the Blake Dairy Farm on Blake Hill in Bethel;

 the new installation conforms to tightening health and environmental

standards for all dairy farms, it is also a major investment in their business by Brian and Christine Blake who are the …  Continue

Poplar Tavern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1854 TO 1980

 “ The Maine Register for 1854 listed Ithiel Smith’s Tavern as ‘Popple Tree House’. It is noted as Ithiel Smith’s Hotel on the 1858 map.  Charles Bartlett was being taxed for the property as late as 1873. It was Charles Bartlett who changed the name to

“Poplar Hotel”. He operated the hotel for some 26 years prior to moving out of town to Greenwood.”

 

Poplar Tavern was a convenient lodging place for travelers on horseback and in early autos who were vacationers exploring the White Mountains and western Maine. For more reading..

 

 

 

Poplar Tavern 1895—club house being built.

In 1893 Rumford was installing street wiring and electric generating equipment. In 1897 Norway was holding railroad commission hearings on a proposed 21 mile electric railroad. Bethel residents wanted electric lights for their convenience and to keep up with its neighbors.

Read more..

Ellen Locke kept her boarders busy with mountain climbing trips, picnic excursions and sunset picnics as well as helping boarders with their own ideas for things to do.  One of the summer program’s activities was to climb Barker Mountain.  As we learn later, the climb followed much the same route as was chosen in 1959 to be the area’s first commercial ski slope.

Rebecca Williamson Carter Bailey (1913-2003) and Richard F. Williamson  (1918-2005) known by many in Bethel and Newry as Becky Bailey and Buster Williamson were fourth generation descendants of John and William Williamson, respectively, who came to Bethel in the 1820’s from the town of Manorhamilton, Ireland.

Map

Text Box:

The Eddy a new private middle school opened at Newry  Corner. Matthew Ruby named Gould Head of School. John Carter built a huge new barn at Middle Intervale and David and Ann Carter built a beautiful addition to their cross country ski center at Middle Interval.

For many years Riley Plantation has been dear to my heart, and now that it is rapidly passing out of existence, I feel that some record of it should be made while there are people left who have known about it. My ancestors were pioneers in the Sunday River Valley, where they changed the wooded land into productive farms...,

Sunday River Sketches

 

Martha Fifield Wilkins

 

Church meetings at Bethel Hill created added inconvenience and more grumbling by members living north of the river who

petitioned the church body in September 1848 for permission to organize their own church. A church council called to consider the request met in February 1849 and granted approval for a new church.

The little hamlet now known as South Bethel was

begun in 1803 by David Blake, who built mills there. The mills passed from the Blake family to Jonathan Abbot and from him to James Walker.  Walker built the carding and fulling and cloth dressing mills.

John Gould, editor of the Lisbon Enterprise, a weekly newspaper, and author of “The Farmer Takes a Wife,” will speak at the Oxford County Field Day

For Bethel there was never anything quite like it. Not only would Bethel people have a chance to perform in a statewide musical concert- and  with William Rogers Chapman as  the overall director.  Homer Chase of Auburn would be the festival’s general manager. 

The Bethel Chorus of thirty who made the trip to Norway were  ….

Clark S. Edwards - unique place in Bethel history: organized a volunteer Bethel Rifle Company as the Civil War erupted in 1861; was promoted to Colonel—commanded the 5th Maine Volunteer Regiment

committed in the Battle of Gettysburg; promoted to Brevet Brigadier General he was mustered out in 1864; he was appointed by the Governor to the Maine Gettysburg Commission.

From Bethel to a Library of Congress Career

Born on the St. John Hastings farm in North Bethel,  in 1895 he began library service as assistant at the University of Chicago History Group

Library. He held this position for five years before being accepted into the Library of Congress Catalog Division.  Only a few years later, after demonstrating unusual  abilities, he was put in charge of the new Card Division

Three brothers, Benjamin, Jesse and Jonathan became the first three settlers in Sunday River

“The Andover Connection”,  Howard Kaepplein tells the story of their challenges and journey from Methuen, Massachusetts to Fryeburg in the District of Maine and then to Sunday River.

 

 

 

 

       In 1966, the Bethel Historical Society was established to collect, organize,  interpret and publish all forms of historical material dealing with not only the Town of Bethel but the surrounding region.

      Due to continuing widespread support and interest it has grown to  be one of the most respected institutions devoted to history in Maine.

Garland Chapel

Dedicated to Rev. David Garland—most honored and respected in the rolls of Bethel’s faithful workers

Church in Bethel.  In 1890 the 2d Congregational Church dissolved and its members reunited with the First Church.  Plans for a memorial chapel began summer of 1890.

On October 16, 1887, at age 72, Rev. Garland died in the pulpit of the First Congregational

Mahoosuc Community Band plays at Molly Ockett Day—July 18, 2008

On Top of Old Spec by  Eric Wight

 

GASPING for breath, the unseasoned climber will ask,

"How much further to the top?"

Gehring and Upton

1890 School Report

 

The condition of the school houses, as we found them, was, and still is deplorable.

The past committees have had but inadequate or no appropriations for their repairs, and the buildings, in fully half the districts .

Your committee has made, in their judgment, as wise an expenditure of the appropriation for the past year as the amount appropriated would ...

 

Hastings, Maine

by

Randall H. Bennett

Although Ira Kimball goes down in history as one of Bethel’s most successful traders, Kimball

Park is today’s most visible reminder of his accomplishments in the growth of Bethel village.

 They struggled with a lack of a suitable field, using the meadows on Vernon Street or the Intervale Road until the fall of 1930,

when Clarence Bennett provided a location in West Bethel and by 1931 the first hangar was under construction.  The flying field was marked WB in white sand, and Bethel was written on the roof of Crockett's garage in the village. 

Mollyockett’s grave in Andover Cemetery

A Maine Indian, Samoset, appeared before the Mayflower settlers at Ply-mouth in March 1621 to formally welcome the English people to the his country.

1913 -The new Bethel Inn will be open to the public for inspection on Saturday, July 12th between the hours of 2 and 6 in the afternoon—7:30 to 10 in the evening. A cordial invitation is extended to all. Refreshments will be served. 

The name of the first Post-master that can be recalled by the oldest inhabitants is that of Mark Kilgore, who lived a few rods above Poplar Tavern. And Robert Davis retires by Amy Hanscom.

Four short articles about

William Fuller

Explorers

Maple Lane Farm

Town of Bethel Safe

 

Text Box: ”

  Ruel Swain who graduated from Gould in 1944 said that lots of wheel barrow and shovel work was needed to turn the slope into a ski jump, landing and giant slalom course for high school competition

Ski Jumping at Swan’s Corner

 

Names in the News

1886-1900

Stephen Spurgeon (S.S.) Abbot, John Barker , Jarvis C. (J.C.) Billings, Calvin BisbeeSamuel A. BrockJames H. Barrows,  Alpheus S. (A.S.) Bean, Gilman P. Bean,  Nathaniel F. Brown, (1843-1917). Abial Chandler, Jr., (1837 – 1898),  T.A. (Timothy Appleton) Chapman , Timothy H. ChapmanWilliam Rogers Chapman , Col Clark S. Edwards, William Russell (W.R.) Eames, Col Clark S. Edwards,  Henry Farwell , Hon. Enoch Foster, 1839-1913

 

MAPS

 

CEMETERIES

 

  Riverside

 

Old Part

 

New Part

 

 Mt. Will

 

Grover Hill/

Skillingston

 

Sunday River

 

JOURNALS

 

1886

 

1887

 

1888

 

1889

 

1890

 

1891

 

1892

 

1893

 

1894

 

1895

 

1896

 

1897

 

1931

Special Edition

 

1937

 

1944

 

1944 Serving in WWII

 

CITIZEN NEWS SUMMARIES

1958

1959

1960

1964

1964 First Living Nativity

1966

1967

1968

1970

SELECTED BIOS

 

Enoch Foster, Jr. (1839-1913)

 

Goodwin R. Wiley (1846-1911)

 

John George Gehring (1857-1932)

 

William Bingham II 1879-1955

 

William Rogers Chapman

 

Marshall Hastings (1892-1958)

 

 Eben Kilborn (1846-1940)

 

William E. Bosserman

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West Bethel Union Church dedication

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

            

A photo tour of Bonnema Potters scenic tile artistry

Nine intrepid diggers and their leader set out each week from Bethel, bound for an excavation site along Mill Brook just outside of town. Once the location of an old stone dam

and sawmill built by Eleazer Twitchell in 1774, the site is now owned by the Bethel Inn.

Telstar Opens;

Zoning Abolished;

 Henry Hastings Dies Unexpectedly;

Van Telephone Sold; Grand Trunk Station Service Ends

Bethel Station closed and was torn down

The vote at a special town meeting on May 14, 1968 abolished all zoning in Bethel and dissolved the Zoning Board of Appeals

Operation Sidewalk is about how Albert W. Grover took on the task of building a 2700 foot concrete sidewalk along

Main Street in Bethel from the Grand Trunk station to the post office. Work began September 23, 1895. 912 yards of concrete used.

Honor  Roll  Dedicated—November 11, 1944

233 Bethel and Mason Men and Women Honored

The Honor Roll which was erected this fall beside the soldiers monument was dedicated Saturday afternoon, November 11, 1944. , with a special dedication program.

1958  Headline News Wildcat Ski Area opens—Sunday River Skiway Corp created—Barker Mt trails laid out—skating rink at Crescent Park school—Bethel Furniture Stock opens  Bethel Area Development Corp formed

1940, Hanover Co. Buys Stowell Mill

February 1, 1940

 

The Hanover Dowel Co. deal follows some two months negotiations following the destruction of the company’s mill at Hanover by fire on the afternoon of Nov. 25.

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Bethel Savings Bank

And  Some of the Bankers

 

 

Bethel Savings Bank was established in 1872. Oliver H. Mason (1830-1891)was the  bank’s first president. He was a nephew of Moses Mason (BHS museum). Oliver was a successful business man and storekeeper who had been town treasurer. 

Enoch Foster, Jr. was the treasurer and the  bank was located in his law office located next to Foster’s house on lower Main Street.

June 1964—Academy trustees announced start of what would be for Bethel a major change in its school system.

She began her life time career to the Foreign Service of the United States with her government experience in 1944 in the Office of Strategic Services.

Ms. Tibbetts continued service in the Department of State in Washington, the American Embassy in London, the International Cooperation Administration, and the American Embassy in Brussels.

From 1964 to 1969 was American Ambassador in Oslo, Norway. As Ambassador she escorted Martin Luther King, Jr. and his family when he received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in 1964.

 

 

 

Known by hikers and travelers today for its location on a small plain at the junction of Evans

Brook and the unpredictable waters of Wild River, the “town” of Hastings was unique for its twenty-mile logging railroad and for the fact that it was entirely located in Maine—in territory purchased as early as 1912 for what would soon become known as the White Mountain National Forest. 

Bethel Historical Society photo above shows the Hastings store

New owner of Kelley Auto Parts, renovation and make-over of historic Stearns house; part 2 of Western Maine Supply at 50; Western Maine Gem Show at Telstar; Ruthies garden, Farmers Market at Café DiCocoa; new water pipe going in a Vernon Street  Read more….