Text Box: The Bethel Journals

The Bethel Journals began in 2005. It is my goal to get information about the towns of Bethel and Newry as well as a little about Locke’s Mill  online in the form of narrative sketches and detailed yearly journals. I have found that readers are mainly interested in people whom the know or are related to and events  buildings and images in memory with which they are familiar.
Material for much of this undertaking comes from the Bethel Historical Society. The historical society and its collections I found in the Moses Mason Museum is what got me started. 
What started as a  wilderness settlement dependent on self-sufficiency, changed to a more interdependent community exporting wood products and agricultural produce and importing items such as clothing, food, and “fancy goods”. Employment relied on mills, farms, store keepers, school teachers and professional people.  We were very, very lucky to have a railroad connection to the outside world, such as the Grand Trunk’s shipping docks in Portland.
I started school and finished up through the fifth grade in Arlington, Massachusetts. Arlington and the surrounding towns are history oriented to say the least. Elementary grades were given much history exposure.  Massachusetts required students of all grades to be schooled in drawing. Drawing classes used Pilgrims and early buildings such as water powered mills  as drawing class subjects.
Coming to Bethel at age 10 when my family came here to take over a dairy farm and milk business from my grandparents has sharpened my interest in farming history and  well known farms in Bethel history.  One of the gaps in the work of early Bethel historians was lack of information about the farms and activities outside Bethel village.  For this the county newspapers  I discovered were invaluable sources. The correspondents of the 19th Century were proud of their work in completeness and accuracy.
After a few years I discovered that people both here and away are looking to answer questions in their search for family history or related events—and too where relatives might be buried.  There is a tremendous amount of interest in family genealogy.  Therefore, I have tried to include many personal sketches in the Journals framework.
Much of the success in making information in the Journals available and discoverable has to go to Google. I often use Google to find key information in my own papers. This feature of online history has proven that (1) the detailed account of a year’s happenings and people is often just as valuable (2) as the single subject sketches. 
Contact me with any question you might have.  Always happy to look up an answer if I do not have it in an online document.

About the Bethel Journals

The Bethel Journals

PO Box 763

Bethel, Maine 04217

Donald G. Bennett, Editor

Contact me