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Town and School Reports


At the 1886 annual town meeting of Bethel, a motion had been made from the floor for the town’s annual report to be printed instead of the previous practice of the elected town officials giving an oral report. From February 1887 on a printed town report was issued to cover all municipal activities of the previous year, in this case, February 15, 1886 to February 15, 1887. So,  while the report was titled the 1887 Town Report it actually covered the 1886 fiscal year. The school report that follows also reports the school organization and teacher assignments for 1886.  Gould Academy is not covered in Town of Bethel reports.




Town Officers for 1887

Selectmen: Gilman P. Bean, A.W. Grover, C.M. Kimball

Clerk: Stephen S. Abbot

Treasurer: Oliver H. Mason

Superintending School Committee: A.W. Valentine, S.S. Abbott, O’Neil R. Hastings

Tax Collector: T.H. Chapman

Auditor: Enoch Foster

Moderator: William E. Skillings

Town Meeting Held at:  Rialto Hall, March 1, 1887

Town Report Printed at: Oxford Democrat, Paris, Maine




            Real Estate:  $577,505

            Personal:       134,072

            Total:            $711,577

    Poll tax:  546 people @ $2.00 (number of eligible voters)


Total Appropriations:  $11,765.65 for 1886.


The town meeting warrant for 1887 would have been written by the selectmen in office in February 1887, i.e., the 1886 board.


John Barker

W.R. Eames

J.D. Hastings

Selectmen (for the year of 1886)




1887 Town Meeting Warrant

from the minutes of meeting March 7, 1887



                 Articles 1, 2 and 3 – choose a Moderator, necessary town officers and hear reports.


           Voted to accept reports.


Article 4 – What amounts for schools and roads for the coming year.


Voted to appropriate for schools (what the law requires):……………..    $1,661.60

Repair roads and bridges ………………………………………………………… …………… 1,000.00

Support of the poor……………………………………………………………  ………………… 1,000.00

Town indebtedness…………………………………………………………………………………  1,000.00

Other town charges ………………………………….…………………………………………….2,000.00


           Article 5 – To see if the town will vote to raise money for the repair of highways to be assessed as a labor tax.


                      Voted to pass over.


           Article 6 – To see if the town will vote to authorize the Treasurer to hire money and renew outstanding notes.


                      Voted approval.


           Article 7 – To see if the town will vote to appropriate $50. for the Brown Post #84, GAR, to expend on a fitting observance of Memorial Day.


                      Approved $50.


           Article 8 – To see if the town will vote to receive and allow accounts.


                      Voted to allow the following accounts.


           Article 9 – To see what percentage rate will be fixed for collecting taxes.


                      Voted the same rate as last year.


           Article 10 – To see what method the town will take for collecting toll at the toll bridge.


                      Voted that the method of collecting tolls be left in the hands of the selectmen.


           Article 11- To see how much discount the town will make to those who pay money on the highway tax.


                      Voted to pass over.


Article 12 – To see what position the town will take towards building the road lay out on petition of Absalom Farewell and others.


           Voted to raise $125 to build the road.


Article 13 – To see if the town will authorize the Treasurer to issue $10,000 in $500 bonds at 4 percent interest – First National Bank, Portland.


           Voted to pass over.


Article 14 – To see if the town will vote to insure the chair factory building.


           Voted to pass over.


Article 15 – To see if the town will vote to abolish the school districts and a town system of school management and to act on all matters pertaining thereto.


           Voted to abolish the district system of schools and adopt the town system of school management.


Article 16 – To see if the town will vote to unite school districts 15 and 30 and to determine the number of such new districts formed.


           Voted to pass over.


Article 17 – To see if the town will vote to annex school district 23 with school district 15 or with the new school district formed out of school districts 15 and 30.


           Voted to pass over.


Article 18 – To see if the town will vote to unite school districts 9, 11, and 12 or any of them into a new school district and to determine the number of such new districts formed.


           Voted to pass over.



On a motion it was voted that the selectmen appraise all the school property in the town and report the appraisal at the next annual town meeting.


The (1886) selectmen will be in session at nine o’clock on the day of the meeting at Rialto Hall for the purpose of correcting the list of voters.



Special Town Meeting April 16, 1887





1 – To elect a Moderator


         Elected William E. Skillings


2 – To see what action the town will take on bills to the town for breaking (winter) roads in the winter of 1886-87.


         Voted that the town pay the bills.


3 – To see how much will be appropriated to pay such bill.


         Voted to raise $704.69 to pay bills presented.


4 - To see what money will be appropriated to repair the abutments of the Alder River Bridge.


         Voted that the town raise $400 for Alder River bridge.



Bethel October 20, 1887


Appointment of Deputy Town Clerk


Appointed L.T. Barker to perform duties.


(S.S. Abbot, the town clerk, resigned and moved to Denver, Colorado.)







Note:  The report of the school committee below really pertains to 1887.  The report was published for the town meeting of 1888.

The town voted at its annual (1887) meeting to adopt the town system of school management, much to our surprise. A much larger amount of labor was thus thrown upon your committee.


We accepted the burden and have endeavored to carry out the system. Our first effort was to secure good teachers. We have employed no one during the year who has not passed successfully a written examination, and if any have failed to do good work, it has not been from lack of knowl­edge of books.


We next tried to so unite and arrange the schools that every scholar in town should have more opportunity for schooling than it was possible to give under the district sys­tem. We think we have succeeded in this particular.


We think a special appropriation should be made to pay for repairs on school houses : and that in connection with every school some one should be appointed to act in har­mony with your committee and help to arrange for wood and board and the care of the school house.


We know we have made mistakes but trust you will not consider them intentional, and ask for our successors as kind treatment as we have received.



School Committee’s narrative evaluation of the 20 schools maintained in 1887.



DISTRICT 3 Miss Lillian Brown taught the summer school, Miss M. A. Gibson, the fall term, and Charlie Hastings, the win­ter term. The teachers have all worked hard and much has been accomplished during the year.

DISTRICT NO. 4. Miss Hattie L. Johnson taught successfully the summer term, and Alton B. Bryant has kept the winter school equally well.

DISTRICT NO. 5. We have united this school with No. 29 for the year . Miss Arvilla Grover has taught two terms, and Miss Han B. Jewett one. All of them have been profitable.

DISTRICT NO. 8. Mr. Abbott reports Miss Minnie Holt as a good teacher, who did faithful work in the summer. Mr. J. S. Hutchins had his usual success in the fall, and Clinton De Witt instructed faithfully in the winter, but did not compel the scholars to keep as good order as was to be desired.

DISTRICT NO.   10. Miss Blanche A. Smith has had charge pf this school for the entire year, and no expense has been incurred except for instruction, that the school might be as long as possible.

DISTRICT NO.  11. Nos. 9, ji and 12 have been united for the year. Miss Vertie Cushman taught in the summer and fall, and Mrs. E. P. Kimball has had the winter school. Each term has been well spoken of.

DISTRICT NO.  13. Teacher for the summer, Miss May Hodsdon. A good instructor, but in this school failed in discipline. Fall term, Alton Bryant teacher. Winter term, Miss Gertrude Chap­man teacher. The last have been two a success.

DISTRICT NO. 14. Miss Bessie Harden kept both terms to the satisfaction of parents and scholars.

DISTRICT NO. 15. Mr. J. S. Hutchins had one room and Miss Mary Chapman the other for the summer. Both kept good schools. Miss Chapman has remained with her school during the fall and winter. C. E. Valentine has had charge of the other department. He works for the good of the scholars. By advice of the board of health the winter terms were shortened twelve days, preventing all review of work done.                              

 DISTRICT NO. 16.  Miss Mary Barker taught the summer term and Miss Minnie Holt the fall and winter terms. They are both good .teachers, but have not had the support from all the parents which was due them. .

DISTRICT NO. 18. C. E. Valentine taught the summer term by request of the district. Their choice would have retained him for the year. Fall term taught by Miss Lizzie Abbott. Miss Ab­bott has had a large experience in teaching, but found this a very hard school to do good work in, for lack of time. Mr. Home, Jr., taught the winter term. He had less scholars, and therefore could give more time to each one. No. 17 has been united with 18 for the year.

DISTRICT NO.  19. I wish the same degree of prosperity could be enjoyed in all the schools that exists here. Misses Stevens and Otis have been the teachers, and this school is one of the best under our charge.

DISTRICT NO.  21. Mrs. E. P. Kimball taught the fall term. She has been employed here before and was well spoken of.

DISTRICT NO. 22. Miss Lizzie Abbott was in charge during the summer and Mr. C. P. Kimball in the fall and winter. This school is not nearly as large as formerly; but good work has been done throughout the year.

DISTRICT NO.  24. Miss Belle Jackson has been retained throughout the year. The summer term was a decided success; the fall term the scholars appeared well, but the winter term was not what we expected or desired.

DISTRICT NO. 25. Summer school taught by Miss Franc L. Otis, who, during her eight weeks of instruction, gained the respect of both scholars and parents. Miss Jennie Gibson taught in the fall and is a good instructor. Miss Grace Grover taught in the winter and gave general satisfaction.

DISTRICT NO. 26. Miss Clara Ripley is reported as teaching a good school in the summer. Fall term taught by Pedro Gillott, a student from Kent's Hill. Mr. Gillott kept an excellent school, and we hoped to retain him for the winter, but he had a chance to do better. Miss Edith Wheeler was employed for the winter and did her best.

DISTRICT NO.  27. Summer school taught by Miss M. A. Gibson. Scholars and teacher labored in unison and made a good beginning in the year's "studies. Miss Ida Hazelton has been in this school during the fall and winter and has sustained her former reputation.

DISTRICT NO. 28. Summer school taught by Miss Maggie Libby; a very successful term. United with No. 24 for the rest of the year.

DISTRICT NO.  30. Miss Minnie Wheeler was employed for the summer term and failed.





1887 Bethel Journal

The Bethel Journals

Compiled by Donald G. Bennett

May 8, 2008



Gould Academy


1-11-1887: The winter term of Gould’s Academy opened (last month) with about 60 pupils in attendance – a larger number than has been registered at the opening of corresponding terms since the new building has been erected (1881).


Spring term will begin Tuesday, February 22, 1887 and will continue 13 weeks under the management of W. R. Howard, B. S. Preceptor and Instructor in Science, Mathematics and Literature. Miss Susie B. Twitchell - Preceptress and Instructor in English Language and History and by H. T. Johnson, A. M. (Heidelberg and Princeton), who will have charge of the Department of Ancient and Modern Languages. Tuition: $7.00 English and $6.00 Languages. Good board can be obtained at reasonable rates with private families in the village. For further information inquire of W. R. Howard - Bethel, Me.


5/20/87. Gould’s Academy graduation exercises at Ideal Hall (2005, second floor of the Opera House) Thursday, May 19th. Thirteen in the class: three in Business Course, five in Scientific Course, five in Classical Course.  Students at the graduation on the following topics: Government Control of the R.R. and telegraph, Strikes, Joan of Arc, Prohibition, Illiteracy of the United States, The Crusades, A Plea for the Knights of Labor, What is an Education, Chinese Immigration, Protection, and Free Trade.


9/16/87. Gould’s Academy is prospering with 82 students enrolled and more expected for the new term.


12/2/87.  Gould Academy closed last week, November 23.  Public examination on classes: in Greek, Latin, French, Geometry, Algebra and Elocution.  There was large attendance at an evening exhibition – proceeds will go to purchase new apparatus for the academy.






The Advertising Journal



The Elms

Grover & Burnham, Prop.

Bethel Hill   Maine

Guests of the house conveyed to and from the depot to the house free of charge.

(Note this ad appeared weekly on the front page of the Oxford County Advertiser in 1887.)


Gould’s Academy in Bethel


Spring term will begin Tuesday, February 22, 1887 and will continue 13 weeks under the management of W. R. Howard, B. S. Preceptor and Instructor in Science, Mathematics and Literature.

Miss Susie B. Twitchell, Preceptress and Instructor in English Language and History and by H. T. Johnson, A. M. (Heidelberg and Princeton) who will have charge of the Department of Ancient and Modern Languages.

Tuition: $7.00 English and $6.00 Languages.

Good board can be obtained at reasonable rates with private families in the village. For further information inquire of W. R. Howard- Bethel, Me.


November 11, 1887

(Oxford County Advertiser)



Blankets – Wolf Robes


Sleigh Bells

at Hiram Young’s

Bethel – Maine

Harnesses cheap as ever. Whips.





Fall & Winter



E. E. Burnham’s

Bethel, Me.

Miss L. A. Roberts of Portland has been secured as Milliner

and is prepared to do trimming

in the best manner.


1887 Home   Top of this page



















in District









No. Bethel - Locke Neighborhood



Lillian Brown (S) Martha Gibson (F) Chas. H. Hastings (W)








Hattie Johnson (S) A.B. Bryant (W)





North West Bethel



Arvilla Grover (S+W) Han. Jewett (F)





East Bethel



Minnie Holt (S) J.S. Hutchins (F) Clinton De Witt (W)





Swan Hill



Blanch A. Smith (S-F-W)





Middle Interval



Vertie Cushman (S,F) E. Kimball (W)





Chandler Hill



May Hodgdon (S) A.B. Bryant (F) Gertrude Chapman (W)





Water Spout Mountain



Bessie Harden





Bethel, Broad St



J.S. Hutchins (S) C.E. Valentine (F-W) Mary Chapman (All)





Steam Mill



Mary Barker (S) Minnie Holt (F,W)



17 & 18


West Bethel



C.E. Valentine (S) Lizzie Abbott (F) J.R. Home, Jr. (W)








Flora Stevens (S,F) Frances Otis (W)





Bird Hill



Dolly Frost (S) E. Kimball (F)





South Bethel



Lizzie Abbott (S) and C.P. Kimball (F,W)





Grover Hill Road



Belle Jackson





Flat Road



Miss Franc Otis (S) Jennie Gibson (F) Grace Grover (W)





East Bethel



Clara Ripley (S) Pedro Gilot (F) Edith Wheeler (W)





Hapgood's District (Songo Rd)



Martha Gibson (S) Ida Haselton (F)





Grover Hill Rd (South)



Maggie Libby





Bethel, Mechanic St.



Minnie Wheeler (S)  Mary Wingate (F,W)