Journal:  1896 News of Events and People in Bethel, Maine and Surrounding Towns

In the Democrat of March 3, it was reported that Rev. Israel Jordan had read his letter of resignation as pastor of the Congregational Church.

Gehring Fire news 

Dr. and Mrs. Gehring were in Portland where they had  been on account of sickness. The family are now at the “Elms.”  Dr. and Mrs. Gehring will spend March in Cleveland, Ohio and will return to make plans for re-building.

In March the tennis club met at the Elms to extend a welcome home to Mrs. Gehring and to congratulate Edwin Gehring upon his twentieth birthday and to Norman Gehring regrets at his approaching journey to his Cleveland home.

On March 17 it was reported that the Gehrings will go to Portland for one week before leaving for Cleveland; they plan to return in May to attend to building a new home.

The Bethel News was not published the week of March 3 on account of the work on the town reports.

In March 10 news, the Democrat’s reporter wrote that Bethel joined the rest of the state in being flooded but the real damage done to property was comparatively light. Owing to the rain, there were no church services.  On Monday, a few gathered at Odeon Hall for town meeting, but after Hon. A.E. Herrick was elected Moderator and L.T. Barker elected clerk the meeting adjourned for one week.

Mr. Charles Davis, the stage driver, from Bethel to Upton, walked eighteen miles to bring the mails during the freshet.

We learn that Mark Chandler was station agent in Bethel at this time.  A social dance was held at the Rialto (now that the chair factory had vacated the building) on Friday evening.

Mr. C.S. York has gone to Augusta where he will be an attendant at the state insane asylum.

There were three ice jams between Rumford Center and Bethel Hill due to the freshet.

Bethel Village Corporation has elected officers for the year as follows: G.R. Wiley, Clerk; H.C. Andrews, J.U. Purington and J.C. Billings, Assessors; E.C. Park, Treasurer; R.A. Frye, Auditor and LH Barker, Collector.  It was voted to raise about $1600 to use in the interest of the village corporation.

The Bethel News reported on March 11 that Almon T. Rowe, Esq., had sent a check for $25  to J.G. Rich to be presented to the Bethel Fire Department towards the new bell they are about to purchase.  Also Sunday’s mail train brought all the leading New England newspapers.

 The following regular boarders are now installed at the Lovejoy (Bethel) House- Dr. and Mrs. Gehring, George H. Farnsworth, Mrs. S.W. True, Miss Mary H. True, Miss Lillian True, Mr. A. M. True, Mr. E. W. Simpson, Mr. Edwin Gehring, Mr. Arthur B. Turner, Mr. Lawrence Marshall, Norman Gehring, Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Barrows, Eben Kilborn, A.S. Greene, Bertha Salisbury, Clarence Salisbury, Mrs. John K. Salisbury.

Arrangements to welcome the new pastor to the Congregational Church were under way – including a clam and oyster supper prepared and served by the gentlemen of the parish. Dr. Tuell was chef for the occasion.  There was entertainment after supper and the Bethel Art Club “gave some remarkable productions.”

News for March 24 noted that the Gould Academy Athletic Assoc had elected new officers: President, Robert Foster; Vice President, F.P. Bartlett; Secretary, Alonzo Chapman; Treasurer, George Merrow; Executive Committee, W.C. Bryant, Harold Stanley, and Fred Merrill.

Also in the March 24 news was an item about coming entertainment at Odeon Hall.  Three young ladies from London, England will appear on stage.  They will give scenes and acts from Shakespearian plays in costume, selections from English comedies and dramatic and humorous recitals.  Gould Academy will receive part of the proceeds as the appearance is given under the auspices of the students.

By the April 7 newspaper it was reported that Dr. and Mrs. Gehring were in Cleveland with friends.

April 28 news from the Democrat said that on Tuesday several Bethel village people went to Norway to attend the opera and came

home feeling pleased.  Apparently Dr. Johnson a former Gould Academy principal is the owner and promoter of the Norway opera. On Friday of this week an exhibition of drawing was given at Gould Academy by Mr. Smith (?); a sizable group from the grammar school visited the exhibition.

A special news item the April 28th edition said that the new Bethel fire-bell has been put into place.

May 5 news covered a number of Bethel village events.  Schools in town began last Monday.  The Ladies Club met at the home of Mrs. J.B. Chapman.  Thursday the I.O.G.T met to elect officers for the quarter beginning May 1.  The Columbian Club held its last meeting of the season at the home of Mrs. A.E. Herrick. The club will study Grecian History when it resumes meeting in September.  The Maine superintendent of homes for homeless children came to Bethel to bring two little boys from the orphan’s home in Portland to Mr. and Mrs. Peter Wheeler. And Friday evening the “May Night entertainment” was presented at Odeon Hall under the direction of Mrs. E.C. Rowe.  The program included “Twining the May Pole” by little girls. Tuesday evening the Shamrock and Rose will be played at Odeon Hall. Pomona Grange will meet with Bethel Grange on Tuesday.  Mr. E. W. Whitney has been to Saco to place a monument upon the lot of Dr. C.D. Hill.

During the following week in Bethel, reported in the May 19 Democrat, the various centennial committees were busy perfecting their plans.  The Lucier’s Minstrels put on a show at Odeon Hall – a company that always draws a full house.  Gould Academy’s baccalaureate service was held at the Congregational Church with the sermon preached by Rev F. E. Barton, pastor of the Universalist Church.

Cornelia French was valedictorian and Joan Stearns salutatorian for Gould Academy’s 1896 commencement program held at Odeon Hall on May 21.  Fred Merrill, a member of the ’96 graduating class, will enter Bowdoin College in the fall.

On May 29th the Oxford County Teachers’ Association met at Gould Academy.  Speakers for the program included A.E. Herrick of Bethel who gave the welcome, Helen Faunce, Norway; James S. Hutchins, Locke’s Mills, Miss Alice Purington, Gould Academy, Bethel, Miss Twombly, Bethel. Other presenters were from South Paris, Norway and Rumford Falls.  Some of the topics presented were Arithmetic in Rural Schools, Teaching Excises in Language, Methods in Teaching Literature, Geography, Should We Have Written Examinations in Rural Schools, Teaching of English Grammar and The Ideal School.

Memorial services were held in the Congregational Church under the direction of the Brown Post, G.A.R.

From the June 2 Democrat this news is reported: the program for the Bethel centennial is completed.  Mrs. Gehring gave a reception at the Bethel House for the honor of four Tennis Club members who recently graduated from Gould Academy. A St. Louis firm is in Bethel sending out teams who are selling ‘Home Comfort Steel Range’ units.

June 2: The merry-go-round ordered for Bethel’s centennial celebration has arrived and is set up on the Odd Fellows lot and has been started up to the delight of the children.  Judge Whitman of Norway was a featured speaker at the W.C.T.U.’s recent meeting.  The judge’s speech answered the three main arguments put forth by opponents of prohibition – 1. Prohibition deprives a man of his personal rights. 2. It cannot be enforced. 3. It interferes with business.

In the June 16 Democrat, Bethel’s reporter wrote that Bethel has already begun on its second century and the same quiet and dignity reigns that marked it before.  Only the merry-go-round is left of the gay celebration of Wednesday except the pleasant memories that will linger long and lovingly.  From Newry- Everybody went to the centennial at Bethel Wednesday. The weather was threatening but people say the entertainment was a success. West Bethel’s correspondent reported that the day’s weather turned out beautifully after a threatening weather in the morning. The vast throng of people seemed to enjoy every moment of time and every exercise – much patronized merry-go-round and the sumptuous dinner in the hall.  “A happier or more orderly throng of people never trod the streets of out town than on that occasion. No sign of intoxication to mar the pleasures of the day.

The reading circle formed by the teachers in our town is doing very good work and by this meeting to read and discuss the topics connected with their work will be much helped in their teaching.

In the June 23rd Democrat it is noted that at a recent W.C.T.U meeting there were strong arguments given in favor of women’s suffrage.  Also Deputy Sheriffs Wormell and Penley were given a vote of appreciation for their efforts to keep the centennial celebration able to pass into history as a quiet and sober event.

Miss Mary True, daughter of the late Dr. True, has declined an offer to be superintendent of all schools for the deaf in Chicago and has decided to remain here.

On June 23rd, Oxford County Republicans  held the first convention to meet in the new court house at South Paris. Delegates from Bethel included Eben Kilborn, Henry Farewell, N.F. Brown and  E.B. Shaw.

Text Box: Lower Church St—Bethel Creamery building stands to the rear of garage.  By 1939, creamery lot cleared for Gould Academy field house.

The Bethel Journals

January 23, 2010


The Bethel Journals

Donald G Bennett

PO Box 763

Bethel, Maine 04217

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South Bethel 1896

1896 Part II

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