The Williamsons of Bethel and Newry

The Bethel Journals

Compiled by Donald G. Bennett

July 15, 2012



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The Williamsons that settled in Bethel and Newry came from Ireland according to the US census records. They were: John Williamson, born 1788, Ann Williamson, John’s wife, born 1789, and William Williamson, John’s son, born 1813, who settled in Middle Intervale in Bethel. The second group of this family was William Williamson, born 1790, and with his wife Eliza moved to Sunday River in Newry and settled near Barker Mountain.  They were on or near former Barker property. David Williamson, born 1822, and his wife, Margaret Bateman Williamson, born 1828, settled further up the Sunday River Road near Monkey Brook on what was also called “The Branch” road which departed from the Sunday River Road in a northwesterly direction.  David was John Williamson’s son by his first wife accounting to the Sunday River Sketches (see Note 1).


Above: the Williamson farm on the Barker Mountain road in Sunday River – circa 1910


The senior Williamson men were born in and came from Manor Hamilton, Ireland. All left Ireland before the disastrous potato famine of 1845 to 1852. Manorhamilton is found in County Leitrim, a maritime county of the province of Connacht in Ireland and the town of Manorhamilton is only 27 km from Sligo located on the shore of Sligo Bay of Ireland’s west coast. 


The Irish name for Manorhamilton means "O'Rourke's small meadow" as opposed to English language reference to Hamilton, the Scottish Planter's manor house (Castle). O'Rourke was the local Gaelic chieftain based in nearby Dromahair whose land was seized by the English and then granted to Hamilton for his services in the European wars of the 17th century. Today many of Manorhamilton’s inhabitants work in Sligo, thus Manorhamilton’s role as a dormitory town has seen considerable housing and some associated retail development.


Others have written that circa 1821, John and William Williamson arrived in the United States from Ireland. According to Eva Bean in “East Bethel Road”, John Williamson is listed as a veteran of the War of 1812 in Bethel town records.  Thus it is possible he came to Bethel after wartime duty but not in time to make the 1820 census.


In the 1830 Bethel census John Williamson is the only Williamson listed as being included in the census. According to the census recorder’s coding of John’s residing in Bethel he was the head of household that included one female aged 40-50 and a second female aged 15-20.


Williamsons_map.pngLapham’s history says that they became known as excellent shoemakers who would travel from house to house with their cobbler’s bench and tools making shoes for the whole family.


Furthermore, Lapham considered John Williamson to be worthy of membership in a group of leading personalities in Bethel’s history – 1774 to 1890 - by including him in a special chapter titled, “ Prominent  Bethel Men Deceased”. Maybe the public image of John Williamson was helped by having Elias Carter as a son-in-law.  Lapham wrote of Williamson that “he was well educated and well versed in ancient history”.  “He was never naturalized, having a strong attachment for England and her institutions, especially the established church of which he was a faithful member. He was a great student of the Bible, which was his constant companion.”  In his later years, he was lovingly cared for by his daughter, Rebecca, Mrs. Elias Carter, and her sons. (Pages 155,156)



After they had arrived in Bethel the two elder Williamson men split up with William Williamson going to the Sunday River valley in Newry. John Williamson’s family settled on the Middle Intervale road at a site near the junction of the Middle Intervale and Swan Hill roads.


The 1830 Newry census reported no Williamsons in town.


In 1835, William Williamson, age 22, son of John Williamson, entered the first class of the Bethel High School at Bethel Hill. (Lapham’s History of Bethel, page 254.) But based on the 1840 census William Williamson, 2nd, was not in Bethel. In the 1840 Bethel census, Williamson listings show John Williamson whose occupation was manufacturer (shoes?) and trades; and William Williamson, occupation agriculture.


In 1847, William Williamson graduated from Medical School at Brunswick and returned to Saco where he practiced medicine for about two years. It appears that he did not like a doctor’s work and returned to Bethel.


About 1850, William Williamson, 2nd, who lived in Middle Intervale, married Lydia A. Bean, a daughter of Justus Bean and Sally Rumney Bean, born March 19, 1830. When they were married, William Williamson had already graduated from the Medical School at Brunswick in 1847 and had practiced medicine for two years in Saco. (Lapham, page 254.) 


In 1860 when the US Census was taken, records show that Dr. William Williamson was living at a dwelling next to his father in Middle Intervale.  The older William Williamson who had moved to Newry was living near Barker Brook uphill from Sunday River and David and Margaret Williamson were living near Monkey Brook on the Sunday River Branch Road.


 Photo below of the Margaret Williamson home was taken by Julia Fleet in 1946 and printed in the Sunday River Sketches.





The 1860 census of Bethel and Newry reported four Williamson families living in the two towns as follows:



In Bethel in Middle Intervale: John Williamson, age 72, Male, Farmer, real estate value: $1,500 personal estate value: $652, place of birth: Ireland; and (his wife) Ann Williamson, age 71, Female, place of birth: Ireland; Margaret-Merlot (?), age 25, Female.


At the next home, William Williamson, age 47, Male, Physician, place of birth: Ireland; and (his wife) Lydia A. Williamson, age 29, Female, Maine, Julia Williamson, age 5, Female, Maine; Henry W. Dunn (this could have been Quinn, age 14, Male.




In Newry the Williamson families were recorded as follows: William Williamson, age 70, Male, real estate value: $1,200; personal estate value: $300; place of birth: Ireland; and Eliza. (Elizabeth) Williamson, age 69, Female; Margaret Williamson, age 26, Female; William H. (Henry?) Williamson, age 19, Male; Richard M. Williamson, age 13, Male, Thomas S. Williamson*, age 11, Male, George C. Williamson, age 8, Male and Albert Williamson, age 5, Male


Note: In the 1860 census records, what is indicated by the visit numbers is that just before getting to the Williamson dwelling, the census taker had stopped at the home of J.S. Barker who lived according to the 1858 map on a private hillside road across Barker Brook from the Williamson homestead. (In 2008, a check of the site showed that the Barker house cellar hole and foundation is still there.)


The second Williamson recorded in Sunday River was the home near Monkey Brook of David Williamson, age 38, Male, Farmer, real estate value: $1,000 personal estate value: $200. Place of birth: Ireland; and Margaret (Bateman?) Williamson, age 32, Female, place of birth: Ireland; Ann M. Williamson, age 9, Female, Maine; Susan J. Williamson***, age 7 Female, Maine; John C. Williamson, age 5, Male, Maine; and William Williamson, age 3, Male, Maine; Ellen Williamson, age 5/12, Female, Maine.


1870 Census




Ten years later when the 1870 census was conducted, William Williamson in Sunday River had apparently moved or died (see below – living with John Williamson in Bethel) because this is how the record read:  Richard M. Williamson, (Head of household) Farmer, age 22, Male, real estate value $700, personal estate, $450, Maine; George D. Williamson**, 17 Male, At Home; Albert Williamson, age 14, Male, At Home; Eliza. Williamson, age 55, Female, Keeping House, born in Ireland.


At the second Williamson homestead on Sunday River, the record showed that David Williamson (NOTE1) had died. Here the record showed, Margaret Williamson, age 41, Female, born in Ireland; Keeping house; Ann M, age 19, Housework; John C. Williamson****, age 16, Male, Working on farm; William Williamson, age 13, Male, At School; Ellen P. Williamson, age 10, Female, At School; Cleveland S. Williamson, age 9, Male, At School.


In 1863, John Williamson (Bethel) loaned or gave in trust $1,200 to David Williamson who in return bound himself and his heirs by a sort of mortgage deed to care for John, then 63, for the rest of his life.  This included taking care of his property and making twice annual payments to John of $25 each payment.  The full deed is appended below.


The 1870 Bethel census reports that for the Williamsons in Middle Interval some notable changes had occurred since 1860.  There were two families in one household or dwelling – the John Williamson house.


One family was listed as William Williamson, 2nd, age 58, born in Ireland and no occupation recorded. (Based on previous information, he was the gentleman listed in the 1860 census as a physician and was thought to be the son of John Williamson.) However, this family included in 1870, William Williamson, age 80, a shoemaker, born in Ireland. I believe that he was the husband of Elizabeth Stuart Williamson who is listed in the Newry census as living on the “Will Williamson farm”.  Also this family includes a girl, Julia, age 14, who was born in Maine.  She must be the daughter of William, 2nd, and Lydia Williamson. Had Lydia passed away?  She is not listed as a Williamson buried in Middle Intervale Cemetery, so if she died she may be buried in a Bean family lot elsewhere.


The John Williamson family in the same dwelling in 1870 consisted of John Williamson, age 82, born in Ireland, now a retired farmer and Jane Williamson, age 76, born in New Hampshire.  John’s first or second wife, Ann, is buried in the John Williamson family burial lot in Middle Intervale Cemetery and her memorial dates are 1789 to 1861.  The same memorial dates for Jane are 1795-1872.


In Bethel at Middle Intervale, cemetery records of gravestones recorded by Eva Bean in East Bethel Road indicate that William Williamson lived from 1788 to 1881. In the Sunday River Sketches, Martha Fifield Wilkins wrote that Dr. William Williamson wife of Eliza. Williamson is doubtless buried at Sunday River Cemetery without a stone. Eliza’s grave is marked. But, Mrs. Wilkins is incorrect because there was a mix-up in identifying William Williamsons. 


John Williamson who is buried in the Middle Intervale Cemetery and whose grave stone shows his birth and death dates to be 1787 to 1887 seems correct.  The stone also indicates that his wife Ann (1789 to 1861) is buried in the same lot inscribed as Jane, his (John Williamson’s) wife, 1795 to 1872, so she died two years after this census.




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 In 1863, John Williamson had worked out an agreement with David Williamson of Sunday River that provided John will security for the rest of his life.  It does not mention a spouse but John did live for 100 years so he lived for a quarter of his live after his wife Ann had died and he was bound to receive “perpetual” assistance from David or his heirs.  Ironically, David Williamson died in 1866 so John outlived David by 20 years.


The 1880 census for Bethel lists no Williamsons at all.  So the question is where is the Williamson family? Old William Williamson has a gravestone in the Middle Interval Cemetery inscribed, William Williamson 1788 to 1881. But he is not listed in the 1880 census?  Then what happened to William Williamson, 2nd?  If old William Williamson was his father and Elizabeth Stuart his mother, then maybe Martha Fifield Wilkins is right in speculating that he is buried in an unmarked lot in the Sunday River Cemetery. But we do not know the date he died – sometime in the 1870’s?


According to East Bethel Road, Dr. William Williamson (2nd), John’s son? , took over his father’s property after John’s death in 1887.  The question is when Dr. Williamson did die and where are he and his wife, Lydia, buried.  Referring to the paragraph above, it is also possible William 2nd is buried with his wife in a Bean lot somewhere else.  Then another question comes up is East Bethel Road correct at all since there was no Williamson family or individual living in Bethel in 1880?  Maybe William 2nd was not John’s son but was William’s son, as a possibility since the 2nd added to his name in the 1870 census.


(1) David Williamson died March 2, 1866 age 44. He was buried in Sunday River Cemetery, Sunday River Sketches, page 111.


* Thomas S. Williamson died January 18, 1869 according to Sunday River Cemetery gravestone inscriptions and listed in the Sunday River Sketches, page 111.


** George D. Williamson died January 30, 1927 according to cemetery records for the Sunday River Cemetery listed in the Sunday River Sketches, page 111.


*** Susan Jane Williamson died February 13, 1869 at age 17; she is buried at Sunday River Cemetery, Sunday River Sketches, page 111.


**** John C. Williamson maybe Charles J. Williamson, who died at age 20 on February 4, 1875. He was buried at Sunday River Cemetery—Sunday River Sketches, page 111.



About 1868, Richard M Williamson married Viola Hastings, daughter of Major Timothy Hastings (North Bethel), age 54, and Sarah A. Stowe, age 52. In Lapham’s History of Bethel he does not list Viola in his book’s section on Family Statistics for the Timothy Hastings, Jr. paragraph.  If Viola was born in 1850, her mother, Sarah Stowe Hastings, would have been 34 and her father 36.  Viola married Richard M. Williamson probably in 1868 because their first child, Lillian, was born in 1869.


In 1869, Lillian f. Williamson, daughter of Richard M. and Viola Hastings Williamson was born at the William Williamson farm at Newry, Sunday River. She died December 5, 1875. (Page 111 Sunday River Cemetery records.)


Frank C. Williamson was born on August 1, 1874 at the Williamson farm. His parents were Richard M, age 27, and Viola H. Williamson, age 24.


The home of Richard M. and Viola H. Williamson burned in 1890. Since the house was not rebuilt until 1893, where did the R.M. Williamsons and son Frank Williamson live ? (Newry Profiles) Viola Williamson died December 10, 1891 in Augusta. She may have been hospitalized there. The Williamson’s son Frank married two years later.


October 13, 1893, Frank C. Williamson married Bertha I. Swan of Errol, NH. Frank and Bertha Williamson probably lived at the R.M. Williamson farm. At this point it is not known where they lived from the time the old house burned until a new one was built.  They moved to Bethel around 1902. (In Frank Williamson’s obituary states that he had been a Bethel resident for 38 years. (See The Oxford County Bethel Citizen, dated Nov 7, 1940.)


A news item from Newry that was printed in the Oxford County Advertiser in February 1895 noted that there was a whist party at the Will Williamson place but Richard M. Williamson was on the sick list.  Very little social news came out of Sunday River during the 1880’s and 1890’s so this item helped in confirming that Frank and Bertha were probably living on the farm at that time.  Their first son, Harry, would be born only six weeks later.


Harry Albert Williamson, first son of Frank and Bertha, was born in Newry, probably at the Williamson farm in Sunday River, Newry on April 11, 1895.  Their second son, Earl Sherman Williamson was born February 11, 1898.  It is assumed that both boys went to Bethel with their parents when Frank and Bertha moved out of the farm. Probably both boys started school in Bethel.


Below is a photograph of Harry (left) and Earl at the Williamson farm with a team of horses hitched to a mowing machine. The photo could have been taken circa 1910 when Harry would have been 15 and Earl 12.  So the boys may have worked on their grandfather’s farm when not in school.


On October 17, 1914 Harry married Esther Frost, daughter of Amos Bean Frost of Newry and Carrie Maim Tuell.  Harry and Esther lived at the Williamson farm at Sunday River.  There is a family photograph taken probably soon after Harry and Esther were married that shows Frank and Bertha seated with Esther, Harry and Earl standing behind them.  This photograph was not taken at the farm as the building in the background was most likely in Bethel. 


Esther Lovina Frost was born in Bethel on October 19, 1893. She died in Bethel on July 23, 1980. Esther Frost’s mother was Carrie Maxim Tuell - born in Paris, Maine on July 21, 1869 and died in Rumford, Maine on July 18, 1959, just three days short of being 90 years old. Esther Frost’s maternal grandmother was Esther Bisbee who was born March 1849 at North Paris, Maine.


Esther Frost’s father was Amos Bean Frost, born October 17, 1850 in Newry and died in Newry on May 9, 1912.  His father was Stephen Frost (1807-1861) and his mother was Dolly Bean Frost. Stephen Frost was the son of Nathaniel Frost, who had been born in Newry. Nathaniel Frost’s father was Moses Frost and his mother was Sarah A. Frost. Esther’s ancestors included Enoch Bartlett and Elizabeth Segar, Stephen Frost’s mother was Olive Bartlett Frost (1779-1852). Olive Bartlett’s father was Enoch Bartlett and her mother was Elizabeth Segar. (Olive Bartlett and Enoch Bartlett, Jr., were sister and brother. The interesting connection here is that Charles R. Bartlett who owned the Poplar Tavern from about 1870 to 1892 was the son of Enoch Bartlett, Jr., I believe.)


In 1910, the Frost family consisted of head of household Amos, who claimed general farming as his occupation, age 67; Carrie M, age 40, mother, Ralph B, age 18, Esther L, age 14, and Agnes M., age 12.  They lived on the Bear River Road in the same neighborhood one might say as the Powers and Knapp families.  The 1880 map of Newry calls the house the N.W. Frost place.


To digress from the Williamsons for a moment – this is a recounting of how the relationships of the Locke Farm in North Bethel, Esther Frost in Newry, the J. Howell Crosby family of Arlington, Massachusetts, including Phyllis Crosby and the Williamsons managed to link together. 


In July 1897, J. Howell Crosby, his wife Daisy, Howell’s mother Sarah P. Crosby and a friend/housekeeper named Sue went to Bethel for the first time to stay at Ellen Locke’s boarding farm in North Bethel. They followed the suggestion of a relative who had stayed there previously.  In 1900 when the Crosby girls, Helen, Phyllis and Ruth were older, the whole family went to the Locke Farm in July and continued to do so thorough 1912.  Ellen Locke died in April 1913. She was buried at Mt. Will cemetery.  By vacationing at the Locke Farm, the Crosby family met many Sunday River residents so that they became friends of many families from North Bethel to Riley.  The Crosby girls met many of their own age at the same time.  This era became a story told by Ruth Crosby in her 1966 book titled, “I Was A Summer Boarder”.


In the summer of 1911, Esther Frost had been hired at Miss Locke’s as a “table girl” or waitress. When the Crosby’s were ready to leave for Arlington, Esther went with them to stay for two years helping Daisy (Mrs. Crosby) and living with the Crosby’s as a member of the family, photo below left.  (One of Howell Crosby’s complaints during these years was, “Why have four daughters if at least one of them can’t be around to help us?”)



While Esther was living in Arlington, she must have seen a different way of life from that of living on Bear River in Newry.


The Crosby house was on Mystic Street that connected Arlington Center with Winchester Center and the Winchester Country Club. During the time Esther lived there regular trolley car service passed by the house making hourly trips between Winchester Center and Arlington Center. She also had the experience of returning to Bethel and the Locke Farm, in August 1912, by auto. On this trip, the other passengers besides Esther and the driver, Mr. Clapp, were Howell Crosby and a Crosby nephew, John Crosby. (This would have been before Route 26 connecting Portland to Bethel was finished.)


In 1916, J. Howell and Daisy Crosby bought the former Atherton farm from Paulus and Louisa Lowe. This property adjoined the Williamson farm in Sunday River. That same year, Earl Williamson started school at Wentworth Institute in Boston and boarded with the Crosby’s at their home in Arlington, Mass. (Daisy Crosby’s “A Brief History”.)  The connection between the Crosby’s had been informal while the Locke Farm years unfolded.  Louisa Lowe came to the Locke Farm to do the washing during the summer and took in laundry work for some of the guests, including Daisy Crosby’s.  During the summers at the Locke Farm, the boarders often took daily trips to climb Barker Mountain.  One starting point was at the Lowe’s farm and the other starting point was at the Williamson farm.   


Earl Williamson went to school in Bethel (probably he lived with his parents, Frank and Bertha who had moved to Bethel from Newry about 1902. Earl was four years old in 1902.) In 1918 he graduated from Wentworth Institute in Boston. While Earl was attending Wentworth, he lived with the Crosby’s in Arlington. He arrived there in September 1916.  In September 1917, Earl returned for his second year at Wentworth. 


Also while Earl was at Wentworth, both Richard M. Williamson and Earl’s parents came to Arlington for visits and stayed with the Crosby’s. In December 1918, Earl went to work for Will Ballard (a Crosby relative) and found a room in Boston where he boarded. (A Brief History, Daisy Crosby)


In 1920, the only Williamson family living in Bethel was the family of Frank, Bertha and Earl. There were no Williamson families living in Middle Intervale. Frank called his occupation that of a teamster and woodsman; Bertha was known as a dressmaker. Earl called his job that of a hostler for a hotel.


In October 1912, Phyllis Crosby entered the Sargent School of Physical Training in Cambridge and graduated from there in May 1915. On December 28, 1921, Earl Williamson married Phyllis Crosby of Arlington, Mass., at a wedding at the Crosby’s home in Arlington.  They returned to Bethel to live and Earl worked most of the time as a carpenter.  The couple first rented an apartment at 36 Broad Street. Later on they lived with Earl’s parents in a second floor apartment at 54 Chapman Street.  (Readers may refer to Earl Williamson’s obituary printed in The Oxford County Citizen, November 1966.) 


On August 30, 1923, Earl S. Williamson, Jr., was born in Bethel to Earl and Phyllis Williamson. (By coincidence, the baby’s great-grandfather, Richard M. Williamson died the same day.)


Richard M. Williamson died on August 30, 1923 at age 76. He is buried at the Sunday River Cemetery along with his wife Viola who died 32 years earlier on December 10, 1891. Besides farming one of the larger farms in the valley, he served five terms as Newry selectman in the years from 1875 to 1898. His obituary said that he was the son of William and Eliza Stuart Williamson and that when he was a young man he married Viola Hastings. Richard Williamson’s funeral service was held at his home.


In March 1924, Harry, Esther and their three children, Phyllis, Richard F. and Doris lost their home at the Williamson farm when the house burned down. They were able to find a place to live temporarily at the James Eames farm up the Sunday River road beyond the covered bridge.


In 1918 Esther Williamson had received title to a camp and lot later called “Hidden Acre” from Richard M. Williamson, her father-in-law. There was a very small, rustic camp, actually a shanty, on this lot probably built by Paulus (Powley) Lowe or James Bachelder, earlier owners.  Harry Williamson moved his family into this camp sometime in late 1924 or 1925. He then built a log cabin building near the original camp which would give the family more space.  The family lived here a few years, until 1930 (the family is listed in the 1930 census as living in Newry), before moving to Upton. (Newry Profiles)


However, the 1930 census in Newry recorded that the family of Harry Williamson was still living in Newry. It listed the following household members: Harry, age 35, Esther, age 36, Phyllis, age 13, Richard, age 11 and Doris, age 6. Harry Williamson’s occupation was listed as a camp owner (probably in Upton) engaged in the operation of sporting camps.


In 1930, the Williamson household of Frank and Bertha was quite large. It included Frank who called himself a woodsman; Bertha, a dressmaker, Earl S., an odd jobs laborer, Phyllis, Earl’s wife, and two children, Earl S., Jr., and Helen.


In May and June, 1933, Earl Williamson tore down the old Atherton tannery building which stood on the bank of Barker Brook, near the former Atherton home, which then belonged to J. Howell and Daisy Crosby. That summer Earl also began work on a camp on the Crosby property that would be a seasonal home for his family. Besides the camp, some of the tannery boards and framing were used to build a wood shed and privy next to the house.  A well was dug and a hand pump used for water supply in the camp. The camp consisted of a large kitchen and dining room and a living room. The second half-floor was the camp’s sleeping loft. There was no bathroom, toilet or tub in the camp. In November 1933, the camp was finished and the Williamsons (Earl, Phyllis, Sherman and Helen) spent weekends there. (Daisy Crosby’s a Brief History)


In 1937, and after the Harry Williamson family had moved to Upton, Harry was killed in a hunting accident. The same year Mildred Grover purchased the camps and land known as Hidden Acre” from the Williamson family.


On November 5, 1940, Frank Williamson died at his home on Chapman Street in Bethel of a heart attack. On his death he was survived by his widow, Bertha Swan Williamson. They had married on October 13, 1893 and had two sons, Harry killed in a hunting accident in 1937 and Earl S. of Newry. Mr. Williamson was a gardener at the Bethel Inn.  His survivors included his wife and son, five grandchildren, Phyllis, Richard and Doris Williamson of Upton and Sherman and Helen Williamson of Newry and an Uncle William Williamson (son of David Williamson) of Concord, New Hampshire.


During the World War II period (1941 – 1946), Phyllis and Earl Williamson lived in an apartment at Westbrook Junior College. Earl was supervisor of maintenance at the college.  When they returned to Bethel and Newry, Earl added a front porch to their camp on Barker Brook and did more to winterize the building as a year round home.  The house was very comfortable with a single oil or wood burning stove in the living room.  For a few years Earl did carpenter work on new houses and remodeling besides working at Riverside Farm.   From 1952 until his retirement in 1963, Earl worked for Rumford contractor Albert E. Hodsdon Jr.   


In 1946, Julia Fleet photographed a number of long standing, buildings of Sunday River that were significant to the valley’s historical records. One of those photographed was the former Margaret Williamson house located on The Sunday River Branch near Monkey Brook (see photo above) and the Celdon Foster property.


According to the Newry Profiles in 1947, Richard F. “Buster” Williamson built a camp for his mother, Esther, on the homestead lot next to the woods road that continued upward along the line of Barker Brook to the Penley Camp. Doris Fraser, Buster Williamson’s sister, told me that Esther’s camp was actually built by Millard Fraser. The camp’s front door faced the cellar hole where the farm house had stood until it burned in 1924.  After the house had burned and no one lived on the property, the barn, a blacksmith shop and a cider press building remained until sometime in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s these were torn down.


In 1958 when work began on the Sunday River Skiway, what had been the road to the Williamson farm and a Penley camp from the main Sunday River Road (The Williamson-Crosby Branch) became the main access road to ski slope development on the north side of Barker Mountain.


Earl Williamson died on November 8, 1966 at the Rumford Community Hospital; he and Phyllis had been living at their home in Sunday River.  He is buried at Riverside Cemetery in the same lot as his parents. After Earl’s death, Phyllis Crosby Williamson spent summers at their Newry home and lived with her sister Ruth Crosby in Orono during the winter.  Phyllis had gone to live with her daughter, Helen Williamson George, in New Jersey in the spring of 1981 after her sister Ruth Crosby died April 1, 1981.  Phyllis died a few months later and is buried in the Williamson lot beside her husband Earl at Riverside Cemetery, Bethel.


In 2005, Richard F. Williamson died. His wife Virginia Williamson inherited his estate including 146 acres of the original Williamson homestead farm. The entire property is managed as tree growth property. 


Sunday River Skiway Corporation had acquired 14 acres from the Williamson homestead property which had been 160 acres.


For about six years the small building originally built for Esther Williamson’s camp, located next to the Jack Frost Ski Shop, housed the “New York Pizza” place which was open during the ski season.  In 2006, the building and property was purchased by John Amann of Bethel. The camp building was torn down. In 2007, Amann build a new larger modern steel framed structure. It was listed on the Newry tax records as the Goat Ranch Building. Amman opened this new business, the Barking Dawg, in June 2008.


Sunday River’s intense development in the 1980’s influenced the Williamson family to save the former farm land from further development. In 1992 Buster, his wife, Virginia, and his sister, Phyllis, established a conservation easement so that 133 acres of the 146 total acres could not be developed. The property is placed in a tree growth tax category. 




Appendix I:  David Williamson bound to support John Williamson for the whole time of his natural life, executed in 1863.


"Know all men by these presents, that I David Williamson of Newry in the County of Oxford and State of Maine, Yeoman, am held and firm­ly bound unto John Williamson of Bethel in the County and State aforesaid, in the sum of one thousand dollars good and lawful money of the United States, to be paid to the said John Williamson, his execu­tors, administrators, and assigns; to which payment well and truly to be made, I do bind myself, my heirs, executors, and administrators, firm­ly by these presents. Sealed with my sign!, dated the twenty ninth day of April one thousand eight hundred and sixty three.


"The conditions of this obligation is such that whereas the above bound David Williamson. for and in consideration of the sum of twelve hundred dollars to him paid by the above named John Williamson, has agreed and undertaken to maintain the said John Williamson during the whole time of the said John Williamson's natural life in the following manner, viz: The said David agrees to pay the said John fifty dol­lars in cash each and every year of the natural life of him, the said John. The said David is also to give the said John the use of one acre of land, one fourth acre in front of the house in which the said John now lives, three fourths to be taken on the opposite side of the road south of the barn and adjoining land owned by Lawson Carter; also to pasture a cow and horse for the said John what time he may wish to turn them out to pasture. The said David is also to give the said John one and one half tons of hay, to be cut and well made and put in the barn, said hay is to be as good as the hay will average 011 the farm. The said John is also to have sufficient room in the barn to put his hay and other fodder, and to keep his cow and horse. The said John is to have the use of the finished-off part over the shed and the sitting room and bed room in the house, and the chambers over the same. He is also to have the up­per part of the shed and a chance for his wagon and sleigh in the lower part of the shed, and a privilege in the hog pen and cellar for his potatoes and other things necessary to put in a cellar, and the use of the passages to and from the above named parts of the house and out­buildings. The said David also agrees to plow for the said John not exceeding one acre of land each year at a proper time for him, the said John, to put his seed in. The land intended above is to include what there is now fenced, in front of the house and by the barn, and the said John may occupy as much more in the pasture adjoining the piece in front of the house as he can properly manure, so long as he cultivates the same. It is also agreed that the said John may get what wood he needs to burn on said farm, but not in the sugar place to cut the sugar trees or the wood that will be necessary to boil the sap. The above named fifty dollars is to be paid one half at the end of each six months.

"In witness whereof I have set my hand and seal the day and year above written.

"Signed, sealed and delivered.

David Williamson in the presence of Elias M. Carter"


(East Bethel Road, pages 126-127, Elias Carter was John Williamson’s son-in-law. In the 1860’s and early 1870’s Elias Carter frequently was elected Bethel town meeting moderator and/or selectman.)


Note 1:  In the Williamson family history there is a bit of confusion about the various and numerous William Williamsons.  If David Williamson was born in 1822 to John Williamson’s first wife who supposedly died in Ireland, then did John Williamson return to Ireland after War of 1812 service in this country?  The oath of support given by David Williamson to John Williamson would strongly indicate David was John’s son.  But much of the early Williamson genealogy has a questionable accuracy.






Front: Bertha and Frank Williamson

Rear: Esther Frost Williamson, Harry Williamson and Earl Williamson. Photo location in Bethel





Earl Williamson and Phyllis Crosby Williamson






Williamson farm home circa 1922.  House pictured was built after the Richard M. Williamson house burned in 1890; this house  burned in 1924 one year after Richard Williamson died.










View of the Williamson farm looking east toward Mt. Will.  Barn in the background survived fire of 1924.













Harry Williamson family: Harry then left to right, Esther Williamson and daughters Phyllis and Doris and son Richard W.










Earl Williamson family at the time of Helen’s graduation from high school in Portland.  Left to right:  Phyllis Crosby Williamson, son Earl Sherman Williamson, Helen Williamson and father Earl S. Williamson.