Bethel celebrates 100 years of the town’s incorporation


August 26, 1874, Bethel celebrated the centennial of its settlement. Dr. Nathaniel T. True, the town’s historian, was invited to give the historical address as the core of the day’s program.  In 1874, Major Abernathy Grover had been elected President of the Day.

The June 10, 1896 celebration of the centennial of the town’s incorporation called for a reading of the town’s act of incorporation.


1896 Centennial Program

Grand salute of artillery and bells at sun rise.

Greetings from seven to nine.

Grand parade at ten o’clock sharp.

Trades procession, fire department, G.A.R., schools, Indians, cowboys and bicycle club.

Dinner from twelve until two o’clock. To insure those who take part in the exercises and in the parade, and also invited guests receiving proper attention, tickets are to be issued, and only those holding tickets will  be served with dinner after one o’clock.

Families preferring to bring a picnic dinner will  be directed to suitable places where they can spread the same. Dinner tickets will be furnished by applying to the following committees: Henry Farwell, J. C. Billings, E B Shaw, A M True, H C Barker, E H Young, L T Barker, G R Wiley, Dr. Tuell, A D Ellingwood, A E Herrick, A W Grover.

Music, Chandler’s  band of Portland, Bryant Pond Band.


Reading of the act of incorporation of the town.

Welcome by the president.

Poem written by Mrs. A.E. Herrick.


Short speeches conducted by Toast-master Hon. A. S. Twitchell of Gorham, N.H.

Band concert on the common from seven to eight o’clock.

To conclude with a grad display of fireworks.

Chandler’s full military band of Portland will furnish music throughout the day.

Odeon Hall will be open throughout the day and evening for the reception of visitors and it is earnestly quested that every visitor in town June 10th shall call at the hall and register their names. At this hall there will be a collection of old relics which will be of interest .

All places of business will be closed from nine to one o’clock, by order of the selectmen.

No teams will be allowed on the streets while the parade is moving.  This order applies only to streets over which the parade will pass.


The parade will form at ten o’clock sharp as follows:

Led by bicycle club with fancy horses next.

Section first, A.M. True, aid, forms on Mechanic street.

Platoon of police, Fire Department, Chandler’s  Band, G.A.R., Bryant’s Pond Cornet band, Light artillery(?).

Section 2nd, H.C. Barker, aid, forms on High Street, Schools, Goddess of Liberty,  young lady representing Bethel.

Section 3rd, C.M. Wormell, aid, forms on Elm Street, old people and selectmen, Merchant’s floats.

Section 4th, Company of Anasagunticook led by Tom Hegan, chief.  Indian rangers and cowboys.

   Section 5th, Invited guests and citizens of the town.

   Officers and Committees for the

    Centennial Celebration

President of the day, Judge Woodbury

Marshall, Maj. G. A. Hastings

Vice Presidents, S. B. Twitchell, I.G. Kimball, John Barker, T.H. Chapman, E.G. Wheeler, E.C. Bean.

Committees on procession

G.A. Hastings, C.S. Edwards, H.C. Barker, E.H. Young, Ceylon Rowe.


G. R. Wiley, A. E. Herrick, Dr. J. G. Gehring, J. M. Philbrook, Dr. F. B. Tuell


A. M. True, C. S. Russell, T. F. Hastings

Entertainment for Evening

E.C. Park, Prof W. R. Chapman, Mrs. Gehring, Mrs. E.C. Rowe, Miss Alice Billings

Antiquarian Committee

G.P. Bean, S. I. French, Mrs. C. S. Littlehale, Anna Robertson.

To Solicit Funds

A.D. Ellingwood, J.U. Purington, S.N. Buck.


L.T. Barker, R.A. Frye, A. D. Ellingwood.

Treasurer ,  E.S. Kilborn

From The Bethel News: “Probably the most elaborate piece of decorating was on the house of  A. T. Rowe on Broad St. Mr. Rowe entertained a merry part of friends, and they spent a most pleasant day in almost hiding the house beneath flags, draperies, Japanese lanterns, etc. “

The parade floats were all attractive and some were decidedly artistic.  “The following were represented with more or less elaborateness:

E.C. Rowe, general store

Miss E.E. Burnham, millinery

W.R. Chapman drove a handsomely decorated trap with young ladies.

Fred Farewell, rubber stamps.

Edward King, jeweler

Ceylon Rowe, general store

John Hapgood, fruit, confections.

Bethel Chair Co.

F. M. Allen, bicycles

C.C. Bryant, groceries, meat

D.D. Matheson, meats

C. Bisbee, general store

Ira C. Jordan, general store

E. H. Young, harness maker

Woodbury & Purington, grain, feed, groceries, etc.

S. N. Buck, insurance

E.E. Whitney, marble works.

R.B. Kendall, The Paris Washer


Route of march was up Railroad Street to  Church, up Church to Broad, countermarch at head of Broad and down Broad to the head of Mason. Down Mason to Chapman, down Chapman across Main to Mechanic, down Mechanic to Railroad, down Railroad to Main and up Main to the common.

The last section in the parade was the Company of Anasagunticook led by Tom Hegan and numbered about forty.


The Bethel Journals

January 23, 2010


The Bethel Journals

Donald G Bennett

PO Box 763

Bethel, Maine 04217

Contact me

Guests of Col. Clark S. Edwards gathered in front of his house on Vernon Street to enjoy Bethel’s Centennial celebration.  The colonel himself is standing on the roof of his porch.  See close-up to the right. Irving Kimball, Bethel’s noted photographer may have taken this picture.

Click photos to enlarge







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South Bethel 1896

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