The Bethel Journals

Bethel Maine History

1897 Journal

Chapter One

February 26, 2010


Newspaper articles, Town Reports, biographical sketches, the year’s key events and places in the news.


image010.pngHighlights: Work began on Maine’s most ambitious musical program ever—the Maine Musical Festival.  Bethel singers formed a Bethel Chorus which was part of the grand festival.  All in all, William Rogers Chapman won Bethel’s “Man of the Year” award for his state-wide acclaim in producing the 1897 music festival.

  A.D. Ellingwood sold his interest in the Bethel News to Ernest C. Bowler. Whist parties seemed to have taken over as the top form of social entertainment.  Dr. Gehring announced the opening of his medical practice in Bethel; the Gehring residence became the Gehring Clinic.  Frank E. Hanscom, an experienced Oxford County teacher and administrator, became principal of Gould Academy. In October West Bethel village’s Chapel Aid Society were thrilled to dedicate a new Union church, thanks largely to major financial help from Mr. and Mrs. Alpheus Bean.  There was a flurry of excitement over the possibility of creating a Civil War monument. The Navy had set aside two Parrot cannons and cannon balls for a town monument.  But, like before, in the end the initiative died.  News of a proposed Oxford County Railway (actually a feeder line into the Grand Trunk) from Bryant’s Pond to Rumford Falls plus a second branch to Andover was brought before the Maine Railroad Commission. No decision in 1897.

The town replaced the bridge over Pleasant River on the West Bethel to Gilead road with a new iron bridge.  (See town reports) A petition to open public roads to the old West Bethel ferry crossings was acted on and a request sent to the County Commissioners. At Rumford Falls the Rumford Falls Paper Company was making ready for the installation of what would be the world’s largest paper machine – capable of producing a sheet of paper thirteen feet and nine inches wide.  A group of 23 Bethel Hill men were in the process of forming a Bethel electric light and power company at the end of the year.

 January 1897

Bethel:   The Bethel Chair Factory has been down three weeks for repairs. Young people are enjoying fine skating evenings.  Abial Chandler, Jr., is not so well. He is at the Insane Asylum in Augusta and will remain there until mid March.  Last week two assistant GTR engineers went through this place on a hand-car checking culverts and bridges. The Methodist church ladies have organized a literary circle that will meet weekly.  Middle Interval: Mrs. E.P. Kimball is having some pine timber cut and hauled across the river to Thurston’s mill (at Swan’s Corner?).

The Bethel Water Company held its annual meeting at Attorney Addison E. Herrick’s office in the Cole Block.  The following were elected:  President, Enoch Foster; Clerk and Treasurer, Addison E. Herrick; Directors: Elias Thomas, Ceylon Rowe, Gideon A. Hastings, Enoch W. Woodbury, and Fred W. Sanborn.

Prof. and Mrs. W.S. Wight and Dr. and Mrs. J.G. Gehring attended the Nordica concert in Portland last week. Joan Stearns has graduated from the Portland Business College. She is staying with her sister, Mrs. E. C. Park, in Bethel and has a position in the law office of Herrick & Park.

Prof. W. R. Chapman purchased the Bartlett lot of land in Mayville on which the buildings burned a year ago, will improve it and include it as part of his summer residence here.

Frank Hapgood has purchased the business of George Hapgood on Main Street and will continue to operate the store.  George Hapgood will leave for Florida where he will reside.  Mrs. H. C. Philbrook will leave for Florida to join her husband there. He has built a house and it is now furnished and ready to receive his family.

Locke’s Mills: There is not much business going on in this vicinity now. The spool factory runs about one-half the time, they are having but very few orders. Good times promised after the election (William McKinley defeated William Jennings Bryan) have not struck this place yet.

Maine Musical Festival: The musical festival to be held in Maine in October, 1897, will, it is hoped, be the first of a series of such events. Lewiston has been selected as the focus (which was later changed), and a chorus of 1,000 Maine voices is to be heard in important musical works, under the leadership of Wm. R. Chapman, who is from Maine. Nordica, who is a Maine girl, is to be the leading soloist. There will be an orchestra of 100 pieces.  (Chapman took on the job of creating a Portland Symphony Orchestra for the festival.) The program will cover three evenings and two matinees.

Rumford Falls:  Rain washed out the roadbed of the Portland & Rumford Falls Railroad at Hebron.  Another washout occurred between Hartford and East Sumner.  The railroad has added a heated (box) car in order to safely handle perishable freight.

 Mason: A.S. Bean’s mill has shut down until more snow falls.  The rain storm Tuesday was a disappointment to the men in the woods cutting.

Sunday River: Will Williamson has been to Conway, NH.  David Fleet has stopping logging birch until there is more snow.  Marshall Swain has started a logging job in Riley Plantation.

North Newry:  A lyceum is held every Wednesday night at the Branch schoolhouse.


February 1897

Bethel:   George King’s family are sick with that dreadful disease, diphtheria and one little girl died last Saturday.  Entertainment given for the Maine Teachers’ Reading Circle presented Miss Fannie Rice as elocutionist. Isaac Morrill has shut down his saw mill (on Mill Brook?) and gone into the woods to get out timber of various kinds for manufacture at his mill. 

 The roads are all lively with wood and lumber teams.  Dr. Gehring and his family expect to occupy their new house about the first of March.  The post office examiner gave Mr. Wiley our postmaster a big compliment on the conditions which he found.

The Bethel Chair Factory has leased the large building (on Main Street)  known as the rink  for a term of five years and have moved their stock into it.  The ground floor will be used for the office, general store and show room and the upper floor for upholstery and finishing departments.   Mrs. W.S. Wight has gone to Presque Isle where her husband is now teaching singing school. 

West Bethel:   W.A. Farwell began selling milk every day in the village.  A railroad accident occurred Saturday afternoon when two cars and the tender derailed during a shunting operation. The wrecking train was soon on hand and the road cleared in a few hours. 

Rumford Falls:  Extensive repairs are being made on the Rumford Falls Paper Company’s mill. The largest paper machine in the world will soon be installed. It will make a sheet thirteen feet, nine inches wide.  The water in the river is very low—hardly any flowing over the dam.  Wood is scarce here and is bringing four dollars a cord; eggs sell for twenty cents a dozen and butter is twenty-five cents a pound.  Rents are up among the stars.


March 1897 

Bethel: The Oxford County Pomona Grange met with Bethel Grange at the Bethel Grange Hall on Spring Street.  About 200 sat down to dinner.

Voters at the Bethel annual town meeting elected Henry Farwell, J.C. Billings and C.E. Barker Selectmen for 1897. L.T. Barker elected Clerk and J.U. Purington was elected Treasurer. The school committee members were J.A. Twaddle, Superintendent; N.F. Brown, Frank A. Brown, Mrs. O.M. Mason, and J.S. Hutchins.  The Town Agent was A.E. Herrick and Cyrus Wormell was elected Tax Collector.

Resident real estate value was $553,054 and non-resident real estate was $68,210.  Personal property value for residents was $174,793 and for non-residents $2,175.  Total valuation was $798,232 and the tax rate came to .014 on the dollar (of value).  There were 548 polls (eligible voters) at a tax of $2.00 each.  The total amount appropriated for collection through taxes was $12,345.67

Sunday a gospel temperance meeting was held at the Congregational Church under the auspices of the W.C.T.U.  Addresses were given by the pastors of the three churches and were very pointed and interesting. 

At the annual meeting of Bethel Village Corporation the following officers were elected: Assessors—H.C. Andrews, J.A. Purington, and J.C. Billings. Clerk: G.R. Wiley.  Treasurer—E.C. Park; Collector: C.M. Wormell. Fire engineers—E.S. Kilborn, S.N. Buck, and E.E. Whitney.   Compensation for the fire department was voted as follows: each member to get 50 cents for each regular monthly meeting they attend; and active practice to be held during at least six monthly meetings; each member will receive one dollar for each fire attended. Other appropriations were: $300 for (kerosene fueled) street lights; $365 to pay on corporation debt; $800 for hydrant service; $100 for miscellaneous services and $250 to pay firemen.

The Bethel Board of Health for 1897: Charles D. Hill, M.D., Chairman; Albert W. Grover, Secretary; Ellery C. Park    Read report.  The board warned the Bethel Hill citizens of the need for an adequate sewage system.  It was noted that cases of diphtheria had occurred in only two East Bethel families that year with one death.  Disinfection of schools and public places had proven effective overall.

At the first meeting of the Bethel Federation of Ladies’ Clubs held at Garland Memorial Chapel papers were read by each of the five presidents giving the history of the clubs as follows:  Annie Frye of the Columbian Club; Mrs. Frank Chandler of the W.C.T. U.; Mrs. Hillard Chapman of the Ladies’ Club; Mrs. F.E. Barton of the Universalist Ladies’ Club and Mrs. Andrews of the M.E. Literary Circle.

At Albany’s town meeting voters were in favor of subscribing for stock in the amount of $2,000 for construction of the Oxford Central Electric Railway.

Locke Mills: Walter Herrick has secured the job of hauling mail from the railroad station to the post office.  Prof. L. C. Bateman of Auburn will give six lectures at Hotel hall on the science of phrenology, physiology and physiognomy starting March 1st.  Tramps are becoming quite a plenty in this vicinity.  Three were refused help from the town fathers but were aided by a good Samaritan.

Mason: several are drawing sawdust from A.S. Bean’s mill to Bethel to cover ice. J.C. Bean was just elected town clerk for the 16th consecutive year.  The three oldest men in town attended town meeting-J.C. Bean, 76; N.H. Tyler, 70; and N.G. Mills; 73.

West Bethel—Part of the windows have been put into the new church.  Inhabitants of Gilead and this part of Bethel have petitioned the county commissioners for a ferry across the Androscoggin near this village.

Rumford Falls:  A petition has been signed to the fish commissioners asking for restocking of upper and lower Richardson Lakes.  The Rumford Falls and Rangeley Lakes Railroad averages to haul sixty carloads of logs daily. The number has run as high as ninety.

Sunday River: L.S. Stowe is having a private school in his house taught by Manette Littlehale.  H.M. Kendall came home from Swift River Friday but will return to his work at Chapman’s mill on Sunday.


April 1897

Bethel: Our citizens are agitating the question of a soldiers’ monument. George Plaisted has improved his livery turnouts with newly painted carriages and other improvements. He has contracted to carry scholars this term.  The petition of W.C. Chapman, Gilead, and others to the County Commissioners to establish a ferry across the Androscoggin at West Bethel was turned down.  Hon. J. S. Wright of South Paris appeared for the petitioners and Hon. A.E. Herrick, town agent, represented Bethel. (Based on a special town meeting, this proposal was sent to the County again in November.)

The Bethel Chair Company broke camp on Chapman Brook where expansive lumbering operations have been carried on this winter. Some 500,000 feet of spruce, 500 cords of birch and a large amount of hard wood timber has been taken.  Warren Emery had charge of the company’s logging operation.

Dr. J.A. Twaddle, S.N. Buck, L.A. Hall and Frank Merrill had a large whist party at Odeon Hall. Fruit punch, lemonade, cake and fancy crackers were served. Next week the Lillian Tucker Company will be at Odeon Hall with their highly regarded entertainment show.

Gould Academy scholars left their building for a walk on the snow crust and made it to a sugar camp after a nearly four miles walk. They were pleased with the walk’s reward of a generous supply of maple syrup.  Several of our farmers are circulating in the village with maple syrup.

W.K. Hamlin of Waterford has leased the Bethel Creamery building for a term of years. He has an enviable reputation as one of the best butter factory managers in New England.

The post office question in Bethel has drawn a lot of attention as to who will be the next appointee.  The question has been settled by Washington, D.C. G.R. Wiley the present post master will hold the position for four years from the time it was made a presidential office, which will be until August 1st, 1898.

The Bethel Chorus gave a concert as part of their preparation for the fall 1897 Maine Music Festival.  At the concert greetings were read from Prof. and Mrs. Chapman giving high praise to Bethel’s chorus as being the first in the field to give a concert. Also during the evening the chorus presented Mr. Snyder with a beautiful ivory, ebony and silver baton for his excellent work as director, organizer, coach and singer.

Locke’s Mills: The spool mill is now running on full time with orders ahead and business of all kinds is improving here.

Gilead: D.R. Hastings and father have done the following work on Wild River this winter: 3600 cords of spruce pulp, 115 cords of poplar, 100 cords of birch, 250 cords of cordwood, and 175 cords of hemlock bark and 150,000 hemlock logs – all done with 20 horses.

Mason:  E.E. Whitney of Bethel recently set a fine granite monument for the late George H. Brown of this town. It is of a blue cast and was quarried at Quincy, Mass.

South Bethel: School was closed four days early in the term due to teacher J.S. Hutchins being laid low with the grip.  Isaac Cushman hired his team and himself to Warren Emery for yarding timber in the Chapman Brook district for the two-sledders.

May 1897

At a meeting of the Bethel Water Company directors it was voted to extend the four inch main from the hydrant near the house of N.F. Brown to a point on the street leading to Hodgdon’s mill (on the site of the Clough property), nine hundred and fifty feet from said hydrant and set a (new) hydrant at said point.  News for September 3, reported that the pipe was being laid.

This notice appeared in the Bethel News.  The Brown Post has just received notice from the Secretary of the Navy that the Portsmouth Navy Yard has been directed to issue to the order of their Post, two Parrot guns and one hundred 40lb. spherical projectiles.

Citizens of Bethel, let us wait no longer but begin at once to effect plans for a soldiers’ monument, that those who still remain may know that the lives of the true and loyal soldiers of Bethel shall live on and their names shall be revered for ages when marble slabs shall mark their resting places.

The following week, this notice called for a meeting:  At a meeting of the Brown Post yesterday it was voted to invite the citizens of Bethel to meet the Post at Ladies’ Relief Corps Hall on May 27th at 7:30 o’clock, to determine what action shall be taken in regard to locating the guns recently donated to Brown Post by the government. The notice also called for some action with reference to the erection of a soldiers’ monument.

The Bethel Creamery:  W.K. Hamlin from South Waterford took possession of the Bethel creamery on May 1. He has successfully managed the creamery in South Waterford for the past five years.  He has met with the patrons of the Bethel creamery in Pattee’s Hall to explain his operating procedures and what  must be done  to improve  the prices producers will get for their butter.  High production and high quality must be maintained if we are to be competitive. Our inability to operate the separator system efficiently due to our sparsely populated districts from which the cream is gathered is a major problem to overcome.

Bethel Library: This past year the library has circulated 3,135 volumes. It has received donations of books from friends in New York and Boston.  It received a finely illustrated history of Poland Springs from Messrs. Ricker and Fernald of Poland Springs.  The library’ catalog now has 1,700 volumes and ninety were added during the past year.  Our money income has included $57.11 from loan of books and membership fees; $12.60 , town meeting dinner; interest on the Mason note, $6.00 . Total, $75.71   At the 1897 town meeting, $50 was voted for the Bethel Library. The library association has no debts.

Bethel Savings has declared a 3 1/2 per cent dividend; trustees report the bank is in excellent condition.

At the Bethel village brick school Hugh Poindexter is principal of the grammar school; Mary Chapman teaches intermediate, and Ethel Hammond and Mattie Gibson, the primary.

Dana Philbrook has put out 35,000 strawberry plants this season besides having an acre or more oaf last year’s planting. He also has an acre of Cuthbert raspberry plants that were put out last season. Also, he is about to start another milk route which will make three carts (Farwell, Edwards and Philbrook) in Bethel village.

The first annual meeting of the Bethel Bicycle Club was held and these officers were chosen:  President, H.C. Rowe; Vice Pres., R.C. Foster; Secretary and Treasurer, D.H. Mason; Committee for Rooms, F.A. Leach, R.C. Foster, and E. A. Barker.  The Executive Committee: G.C. Chapman, S.N. Buck and Edward King.

Rumford Falls:  An extension of the Rumford Falls and Rangeley Lakes Railway has been traced to Megantic. The distance is about 60 miles, nearly half of which is in Canada. The Quebec Central has a branch line to Megantic and they are ready to meet the Rumford Falls road at the boundary line.

Mason:  The town Board of Health met and elected the following officers: Addison Bean, Secretary; Arthur F. Morrill, Chairman; and S.O. Grover, 3d member.

At East Bethel river drivers were clearing wood and pulp from the river.

Another Railroad in Oxford County?

The Advertiser reported that a “Feeder for Grand Trunk” was being planned as a new railroad enterprise to be called “The Oxford County Railway”. It was to be a standard gauge with an intersection with the Grand Trunk located in Woodstock.  From Woodstock the line would run northerly through Milton Plantation and Rumford thence northeasterly through Rumford and Peru. Then it would cross the Androscoggin River into Mexico and connect with the Rumford Falls and Rangeley Lake Railroad. Also a branch was planned from Rumford Center that would run northwesterly into Andover. The five directors who were named in the news item were one from Calais, James Mitchell, and four from Portland, Daniel Emery, John Eustis, William Chamberlain and Fred Libby.

Summer Boarders:  The week of May 21, 1897, the Advertiser printed a list of inns with vacancies for summer guests.  City readers take note.  In Bethel: MAPLE AND PINE GROVE FARM, Mrs. E. P. Kimball, Box 260, Bethel; in Gilead: CLOVERDALE FARM, Eben Bennett, proprietor, room for sixteen.

At Skillingston, the old watering tank near the Bethel Steam Mill, used for so many years by the Grand Trunk Railway Co., for supplying engines is being taken down and removed. At Gilead on May 28 it was reported that the Rumford Falls Paper Company drive had passed here last Sunday. In Bethel J.M. Philbrook is making needed improvements to the premises lately purchased of S.D. Philbrook.

The Soldiers’ Memorial Issue: A public meeting was called for at the Relief Corps room to consider the matter of erecting either a soldiers’ monument or a memorial building to the memory of our fallen heroes. At the meeting Hon. A.E. Herrick was elected chairman and appointed the following committee to consider the best method of devising a soldier’s memorial in the town of Bethel. He is to report at a meeting called for June 10th.  Those chosen for the committee were: E.C. Park, J.H. Barrows, G.A. Hastings, E.S. Kilborn, J.C. Billings, Ceylon Rowe, J.U. Purington, I.C. Jordan and Dr. J.G. Gehring.  A letter from Capt. Robbins Brown Grover of Brockton, Mass., was read stating that Grover was ready to give one hundred dollars toward the memorial.

Sunday River:  Leonard Leavitt has returned from Magalloway. Will Williamson is in the news again – bears have killed four of his best sheep.

Pulp wood drive headed for Jay Paper Co. In the May news it was reported that D.R. Hastings, Jr., was moving a large pulp-wood drive down the Androscoggin River to the Jay Paper Co. in Jay, Maine.  This drive would have to pass by Rumford Falls in the Androscoggin River where the Rumford Falls Paper Co. also received pulp-wood coming down the same river.  River drives of pulp wood down the Androscoggin required special handling at the Rumford Falls upper and middle dam. Pulp earmarked for Jay’s paper mill was directed around the town of Rumford Falls in the Androscoggin River and did not get driven into the Rumford mill’s feeder canal.  Pulp wood earmarked for the Rumford Paper Mill was sluiced from the top of the Rumford Falls to the canal leading into the Rumford Mill pond. The photograph below shows a “boom” of pulpwood that will later be released, by-pass Rumford Falls and continues down river to Jay.

power station and falls at Rumford (Randall Bennett photo).jpg

This is a 1930’s photo.  In the upper background is the steel girder bridge over the Androscoggin, slightly nearer is the upper dam, then the power house and to the right foreground can be seen a collection of pulp wood held in place by a log fence or “boom”.  Pulp logs within the boom have been captured there in order to drive these logs past Rumford.  Photo is shown courtesy of Randall Bennett, Bethel Historical Society.

June 1897

Business news – summer of 1897

Once the Bethel News began publishing in 1895, local advertisers provided history with much more detail about whom, what and when than had been available through just the correspondents’ weekly news columns. A sampling of 1897 summer ads accounts for much business news:  Charles Mason was offering a good store location on Main Street for rent or for sale, terms made easy.  W.L. Chapman advertised to let farmers know that he sold Champion mowers and the Thomas (hay) tedders and (hay) rakes. E.C. Chamberlain (Mayville) had six acres of grass, with or without the land, for sale on Bond’s Island above the bridge. Ceylon Rowe had For Sale Cheap, one three seated spring board with pole, one farm wagon, one open buggy, one pair driving harness, one pair working harness and one single harness.

 “Will pay 15 cents for GOOD WOOL - for a few days * Bring it at once - IRA C JORDAN, Bethel, ME. 

Mowing Machine Oil, Fly nets, Carriage umbrellas, whips, etc. at YOUNG’S HARNESS STORE, Bethel. 

FREE To Each Cash Customer for One Gallon of P.R. Molasses I will give a First Class Stone Jug -This offer for a few days only.   C. Bisbee, Corner of Main and Spring Streets, Bethel.

Elberta E. Burnham’s advertisement (photo) represented the town’s probably best known business woman.  E.E. Burnham moved her store to the Cole Block when the building first opened in late 1891. Prior to that she had operated her business in the “Kimball Block” along with Ceylon Rowe.


EE Burnham adv.JPG


More news and comments:


Mason: Rev. Mr. Hamilton of the Bethel Methodist church escorted President Elder Corey to our church.  Elder Corey preached a very interesting sermon.  The two men had walked from the West Bethel depot to Addison Bean’s house where they spent the night.  On their return trip to West Bethel they stopped to visit the new church there now nearly completed. Channing Grover of Bethel was in town with his corn planter – planted corn for S.O. Grover and Levi Bartlett.  Archie Hutchinson has secured a job in Boston as an electric car motorman.

At Rumford Falls a petition (for a feeder line from Bryant’s Pond) to the Railroad Commissioners was freely signed.  A.E. Bartlett is putting in the cellar for a new house (on Franklin Street) for Superintendent E. L. Lovejoy of the Portland and Rumford Falls Railway. New posts for the New England Telephone and Telegraph co have been set in town and the Company’s wires will be transferred to them from the posts of the electric light company.


The June 18th Advertiser reported the launching of the “Berlin Mills Company” which would be the largest steamer, side-wheeler design of the Ohio class, in the Rangeley Lakes region. She has two decks, one for sleeping quarters and the other for general accommodation of the crew. She is intended for freight and tug purposes and can easily tow two million feet of logs. Avery C. Rowell designed the ship. It was built in Portland by J.H. Dyer and was christened by Bertha I. Poor of Andover. Dimensions of the craft are 102 feet long, a beam of 20 feet.


The June 25th Advertiser carried this news item: What milk is pure is a question that has raised “considerable friction between the milkmen and local Boards of Health. The public is not interested at all in any jealousies or feuds that may exist between the cattle commissioners and various Boards of Health as to the best means of stamping out tuberculosis. What the consumer wants is pure milk. This cannot be obtained from diseased cows. “

The article goes on to explain that injections of tuberculin does not harm cattle and does not affect the cow’s milk supply volume.  However, care must be taken that the source of tuberculin used to inject cattle must come from a safe, reliable supplier.

More local June news:

Wilsons Mills:  Minnie Olson is home from Errol on a brief visit.  H.W. Poor, president of the Parmacheenee Club with Will Hart as guide came the 25th of May.  The Sherman party came the 28th of May with D.C. Bennett, H.G. Bennett, George Flint and K.S. Bennett, guides. The stone cutters are at work on the abutments for a bridge. John Carlton and his wife of Bethel are staying at the Flint Hotel; they will take charge of Hell Gate camp.  John Olson and R.A. Story are guides for H.P. Wells, treasurer, and Robert Sturgis, secretary, of the Parmacheenee Club – all went to the lake. Daily mail now and a steamboat belonging to the Club make daily trips from the head of the Aziscoos Falls to the Camp in the Meadows.  The steamboat captain, the engineer and the couple running the camp are all Niles people from Rangeley.

In Bethel, Ira C. Jordan began building a new stable on Mechanic Street. Fritz Gordon is painting E.S. Kilborn’s house on the corner of Elm and Railroad Streets. Dr. Gehring will soon begin active practice here.

The bicycle contest offered by the Bethel News is assuming unheard of proportions for anything of the kind in this place. The publishers will not say who they think the lucky one will be.

Bethel News’ great bicycle contest: June 17th was the closing day of the bike for subscription contest that was started April 7 by the News.  Votes by supporters plus the work done for the paper added to individual contestant scores.  Even the Advertiser exclaimed about how great public interest in the contest had grown. 

Near the end, Mr. Leach of the News office kept an outdoor bulletin board posted with the latest results. The final tally showed Gilbert Tuell winner with 50,362 votes and George French runner-up with 45,239.  J.S. Hutchinson was third and Vera Holt was fourth.  Although Gilbert Tuell clearly won the bicycle offered as a prize by the paper, Mr. Bowler seeing that his newspaper had gained so much favorable publicity and new subscribers from the contest awarded both Tuell and French new bicycles for their efforts on the Bethel News behave.

June 30 – Those bicycles have arrived and Tuell and French are enjoying them extremely well.

A soldiers’ memorial? After a week’s delay, the meeting to address a soldiers’ monument was of no consideration at all. It is probably safe to say that the old soldiers will never be called upon to assist in erecting their own monument in the town of Bethel. Two Parrott guns and round ball shot had been donated to the Brown Post G.A.R. in Bethel if the Post accepted the offer and would pay for transporting the guns and equipment from the Kittery Navy Base to Bethel. Possibly much of the recent enthusiasm for a memorial monument or building came from a series of War Remembrance articles about the Bethel Company. These articles appeared weekly on the front page of the Bethel News. However, in the end, at the postponed meeting there was no decision to continue.

The village musical talent perm formed at the Gould Academy graduation ceremonies in Odeon Hall.  Bennett C. Snyder, star and director of the Bethel Chorus, performed with a solo and with a partner for a duet. There were only two young ladies in the graduating class, Misses Hall and Richardson.  The class motto was “Wait, Work, Win”.

Mr. F.W. Flood of Gould Academy is spending his vacation at his home in Ellsworth. He will go to Andover, Mass where he will study at the Andover Theological Seminary.

W.E. Abbott will manage the butter factory here for W. K. Hamlin, the lessee, from South Waterford.  Abbott will live in Bethel while he is in charge.

The town’s municipal officers have purchased a new Mosler safe weighing 4,500 pounds to safeguard town records and papers. The purchase was approved by the voters. It has been put into their second floor office in the Cole Block. (And as of 2009, it is still there.) It was moved into the selectmen’s office by using a stone drag connected to a fall and blocks then drawn up the stairs to the second floor by a span of horses.

At the Grand Trunk depot: Through the efforts of station agent M.W. Chandler, the long needed improvements in the way of a new cattle yard and also lead ways to the cars have been completed.

Bethel insurance business sold to W.J. Wheeler of South Paris.  June 21, 1897, S.N. Buck’s notice of his sale to Wheeler was in the Bethel News: I have this day sold my insurance business and good will and transferred my companies to W.J. Wheeler of South Paris, Maine, whom I take pleasure in recommending to my patrons, and hope they will continue their business with him.  S.N. Buck

In the same column, W.J. Wheeler also notified Bethel News readers that all applications for policies, indorsements and other changes should be made to me.  Wheeler also confirmed that he had bought Buck’s business which will be transferred to South Paris.

Other local news: Miss Margaret Babcock of Boston will be in Bethel for some weeks for the purpose of receiving medical treatment from Dr. Gehring. E.W. Barker has purchased the old toll bridge buildings which he will remove.  He will sell the timbers from these buildings. Miss Lillian True has finished her year’s course of instruction with her eighteen pupils in music and German. Mr. S. N. Buck has moved into the house owned by Ceylon Rowe at No. 2 Park Street. The house he just vacated has been leased by Will Abbott who has recently taken charge of the Bethel Creamery.

 Gilead: Mrs. H.R. Gammon’s house is full to the rafters with boarders. She has two others helping her – Mr. and Mrs. O.C. Wight. The new hotel keeper here is directing the finishing up and furnishing of the new hotel.  J.W. Bennett’s mill in Shelburne known as the Frost mill burned, no insurance, loss estimated at $1,500.

Greenwood’s large taxpayers reported in the Advertiser:  American Bobbin, Spool and Shuttle Company: $277.16; non resident individual, Elias Thomas, $71.77; resident individuals: E.W. Penley,$99.66; William H. Crockett, $66.72 and Ransom Cole, $63.75.

North Newry: There were quite a number of boarders at the Bear River Hotel (meaning Poplar Tavern).  Fishermen were more plentiful than fish.

 Newry Corner: The ladies of the Union church met on May 26 at the residence of T.H. Jewett for the purpose of re-organizing the Union circle. The following officers were chosen: Mrs. John Saunders, President; Mrs. Warren Small, Vice President; Mrs. Anson Hayford, 1st Asst. Vice President; 2d Asst. Vice President, Mrs. Marshal Swain; Mrs. James Baker, Secretary; Mrs. Charles Bartlett, Treasurer; Committee on work: Mrs. H.S. Hastings, Mrs. Jacob Thurston, Mrs. R. Penly, Miss Ann Rowe, Mrs. Dell Smith and Mrs. Laforis York.  Committee on literary entertainment: Mrs. John Kimball, Miss Ethel Hastings, Miss Maud Thurston, Miss Mamie Baker, Miss Pertie Foster, and Mrs. Bert Harlow. Collector: Mrs. T. H. Jewett. The next meeting will be with Mrs. John Saunders on June 9th.


Newry Corner Union Church (1865-1935) – photo: History of Newry 1805-1955, Carrie Wight.

 Oxford County Railway:  A hearing was held in Augusta before the Railroad Commission. Hon. Charles Littlefield of Rockland appeared for the petitioners.  He was opposed by Hon. George D. Bisbee of Rumford Falls and former Governor Cleaves of Portland representing the Portland and Rumford Falls Railway and the Rumford Falls and Rangeley Lakes R.R.  The issue was approval of the Association of the railway company. A decision will come later.

Newry Corner Union Church (1865-1935) - photo History of Newry 1805-1955, Carrie Wight.



End of Part One – 1897 Journals

Read more in Part Two of the 1897 Journal

Town Reports for 1897

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