Names in the News – Bethel Maine History
1886 - 1900
Stephen Spurgeon (S.S.) Abbot, age 27 in 1886, town clerk – noted for his accuracy and thoroughness of work - his father was Jonathan Abbot, Jr., a South Bethel farmer – 1887 – member of School Committee; in October left Bethel for Denver, Colorado, where he partnered in a law firm.
John Barker, age 58, elected selectman in 1886 - son of Captain Samuel Barker whose father came to Bethel from Londonderry, New Hampshire in 1804 – said to have “been much in town office, member of the Legislature and is now County Commissioner. A man of ability and integrity – he was elected selectman seven times and served in the Legislature in 1864, 65 – according to the 1880 Bethel map he lived next to Gilman P. Bean in West Bethel.
Jarvis C. (J.C.) Billings, was born in Woodstock May 8, 1840 but came to Bethel in 1868. By 1904, he had been in the carriage building and general blacksmithing business on Mechanic Street for nearly a quarter century. He sold his business to Fritz J. Tyler in 1898 when appointed Bethel postmaster. Mr. Billings was elected Bethel selectman from 1894 to 1898. He was the first Collector of the Bethel Village Corporation formed in 1889. He was a Bethel Masonic Lodge member and a member of the Odd Fellows.
The Bethel News noted in its 1904 special edition that the recent installation of rural free delivery mail service from the Bethel post office which was a hub resulted in five dispatches and four arrivals of mail each day except Sunday.
Mr. Billings had two children, Robert H. Billings, who in 1904 was in business in Boston, and Miss Alice Billings, since 1896 a teacher of instrumental music at Gould’s Academy.
James H. Barrows, chair manufacturer from West Paris who had been in business with partner Hannibal Brown - circa 1872 to 1886. July 1886 he proposed leasing a plant at Bethel if the town would erect a suitable building. “History of Paris, Maine up to 1880.” From the Journals: 1887: negotiated with the selectmen to obtain another $500 to install steam heat – received authority to lease the new building - famous Shaker Chairs of J. H. Barrows make are taking shape - men are seeking employment at Bethel having been thrown out of work at the J. H. Barrows plant in West Paris - finishing operation moved to New York - Mr. Barrows rented the Charles Harris store for a furnishing [finishing] shop. 1888: recently installed a dowel lathe- birch into dowels. 1889: Received from J. H. Barrows for rent (chair factory) from August 1, 1887 to August 1, 1888: $595.00. 1891: our chair company has reported that July best month ever made since the company was organized. December 1891, Mary Barrows, wife of Mr. J.H. Barrows, died at age 53 in Augusta - funeral in Bethel on December 24th - interment in West Paris.
J.H. Barrows Passes Away. At Hospital in Portland, Tuesday Funeral Services in Bethel, Thursday afternoon.
The Oxford County Citizen, Bethel, Maine
It is with feelings of sadness and regret that we announce the death of our esteemed fellow townsman, James H. Barrows, who passed away Tuesday afternoon at the Eye and Ear Infirmary in Portland. His daughter, Mrs. Frank H. Young, of Bethel was with him at the time of his death.
Mr. Barrows was born in Greenwood, Maine, in 1832. He first married Mary Fuller of Paris, who died several years ago. Later he married Mary A. Young, who survives him.
Early in life he became identified with the manufacture of chairs and continued this business up to within a year of his death. He was actively engaged in business during his entire life, and many years ago made chairs at Snow Falls, in Paris, and later was in the same business in West Paris for 26 years.
Through negotiations between Mr. Barrows and a group of Bethel citizens he came to Bethel in 1886 and established the Bethel Chair Company, with which he continued to be connected until January, 1908, a total of 25 years. He had only been retired for one year at the time of his death.
For many years, while at Paris he served as a trial justice and he also held that position at the time of his death. At the outbreak of the Civil Was he entered the service as a member of Company F. 23rd Maine Volunteers. He was an active member of Brown Post, G.A. R. of Bethel, and a Mason of good standing. In him there has gone from our midst an esteemed and highly respected man, a patriotic and helpful citizen, a kind and sympathetic friend. A man of high ideals and noble impulses, he was always ready to help with his time and personal service in all progressive movements, business, social, educational and religious. He was a man of earnest convictions, unyielding and unconquerable and always a devoted advocate of the highest and best in life.
He was a Republican in politics and very active member and leader of the Bethel Universalist Church and Oxford Universalist Association of which he was president for many years. He had been superintendent of the Sunday School at Bethel.
His funeral was at the Bethel Universalist Church conducted under the auspices of the Masons.
Alpheus S. (A.S.) Bean, born February 18, 1845. He was the son of Daniel and Polly Wight Bean who were West Bethel farmers – industrious farmer, lumberman, and mill operator. He had been postmaster of West Bethel since 1871 (26 years old); in 1880, according to the West Bethel village map, he owned the village center store which also housed the post office. Historian William Lapham wrote of Bean: “is the chief business man in this part of town and a large owner of real estate, a large farmer – also engaged in trade and owns and operates a large steam mill for the manufacture of lumber and for working up lumber into dowels, boxes and various other useful articles”. 1886 covering boards for new chair factory ; 1888 – mill in Mason, social and dance at Bean’s hall, hauling spool stock from Mason, Nov, rebuilding Albany mill; 1889 – February, mill in Mason, foundation for mill expansion, October, building new blacksmith shop, laying out new barn foundation, December, new long board saw about to start; 1890 – Starts up his new long lumber saw mill; starts foundation for new, large barn – 250,000 feet of lumber needed for new barn, November, Good Templars treated to oyster supper; 1891 – May, accidentally falls in his store at West Bethel, laying aqueduct to new barn, new hall nearly finished, town’s largest taxpayer: $272.88, has entries in trotting race, searching for larger rail cars at Gilead. 1892 – Built a dam on Pleasant River near Mason line, cost $500, created a 20 acres pond to provide driving water to move pulpwood into West Bethel.
Gilman P. Bean, age 61 in 1886, – married Abby Cross in 1840 and lived at the Bean homestead farm in West Bethel (on old Route 2). - well known Bethel Hill merchant and trader – landmark store on corner of Church and Main Streets – Gould’s Academy trustee – Bethel Masonic Lodge – Bethel Centennial committee in 1874 – selectman: 1865, 1878, 1880 – later, 1886 - one of the petitioners for the town to consider erecting a building to manufacture chairs. 1887 – Selectman. 1889 water company corporator and Bethel post master 1890.
Nathaniel F. Brown, (1843-1917). Born February 9, 1843 the son of Elijah and Abigail Swan Brown of the Middle Interval district he always made Bethel his home although he spent some youthful years on the Ohio River and in Cambridge, Mass., where he learned the carriage painting trade. Farming for a short time after returning to Bethel, he moved into the village – pursued carriage painting – married Mary E. Goddard in 1868 - purchased and ran the hardware business of Seth Walker and Son. An influential and prominent citizen – member of the Legislature – connected with many town business interests - trustee of Bethel Savings Bank, trustee of Gould Academy and chairman of the Executive Committee; trustee of the Methodist Church. Director of Bethel National Bank - member of Bethel Masonic Lodge. Collector for Bethel Village Corporation in 1890. 1891 – Elected to newly established supervisor of schools position at annual town meeting and in 1894 became member of town school committee for many years; he was town Treasurer for 13 years. He was resident of Spring Street; he was buried at the Middle Interval cemetery.
Abiel Chandler, Jr., (1837 – 1898) born September 21, 1837 - living in the “Chandler neighborhood” – the region bounded by Waterspout Mountain and Walker’s Mountain in the vicinity of South Bethel. He married Ellen Blake. In 1861 he was mustered into the 4th Maine Battery and served for three years – being 27 years old when mustered out. The 1880 map of Bethel shows Abial Chandler, Jr. as owner of the Waterspout Mountain House, a farm inn for summer boarders. In November the Democrat reported Abiel Chandler has sold a part of the Waterspout Mountain Farm to Ira Bean who will run the house for summer boarders while Chandler will look after his Alpine House in Mason Park. (Mason Street had not yet been laid out to connect Chapman and Broad Streets.) Chandler became a knowledgeable correspondent for the county newspapers as well as promoting the Alphine House, built after 1880. In 1891 he was listed as Chaplain in the Brown Post, GAR. Note: There were other Chandler’s active in Bethel’s hotel business – this Chandler group came from North Conway, New Hampshire.
Cemetery monument, in Riverside Cemetery, of Abiel Chandler, Jr. one of Bethel’s best known names in the 1890’s. Chandler was Bethel’s correspondent to the Oxford County newspapers. His erudite, picturesque reports, particularly of the inaugural Riverside Agricultural Fair and musical performances added much to Bethel’s reputation throughout the county.
His epitaph reads: “Passed to the Home Beyond, Jan 8, 1898. Aged 61. Enlisted Dec 21, 1861, as a private in 4th Me Battery after 2 years was detailed in the ambulance corps as quartermaster sergeant where he remained until honorably discharged Dec 21, 1864, a brave soldier”
T.A. (Timothy Appleton) Chapman, born in Gilead on May 23, 1824 – parents George Whitefield and Mary Chapman – educated at district school in Gilead, and at Bethel and Yarmouth academies - before 20 he left for Boston – clerk in dry goods store – married Laura Bowker in Boston in 1850 – moved to Milwaukee in 1857 – opened dry goods store – very successful – 1872 built “one of largest dry goods houses in Northwest” – 1884, later enlarged building and contents destroyed in fire – rebuilt , 17,000 square feet on ground, five stories high – interest in scientific agriculture – experimented with new farming techniques at homestead farm in Gilead - (foregoing from pages 362-364 of William Lapham, History of Bethel, Maine) From Bethel journals: 1889: sent to William Chapman a car load of farm machinery from Milwaukee and some thoroughbred Holstein stock. 1890: visited the homestead farm in Gilead – purchased grove near West Bethel depot as conservation measure. 1891: visited homestead farm in summer, contributed $300 to publication expenses for William Lapham’s History of Bethel, Maine, contributed $200 toward rebuilding of Bethel Methodist Church.
Timothy H. Chapman, age 65 ?, Bethel farmer and tax collector – lived on homestead of Eliphaz Chapman on N. W. Bethel road – 1856 selectman – on 1861 militia roster – married to Sarah Hamlin Newell – later became Deacon of the First Congregational Church.
was born August 4, 1855. His father was Rev. William Rogers Chapman, a Bethel native, and his mother was Emily Bishop Chapman of Haverhill, Mass. He married Emma Faulkner of Chicago. They lived in New York City where he was a Professor of Music. “The History of Bethel, Maine”, William Lapham. From the Bethel Journals: 1888 spending the summer with his sister, Mrs. Jacob Horton, of Mayville. 1889: his mother Mrs. Valentine, from New York, was stricken with paralysis while vacationing in Mayville. and her son, Prof. Wm C. Chapman of New York, is with her as well as her husband. 1890: Bethel; August: a midsummer benefit concert will be given at the Congregational Church will be under the direction of Prof. William R. Chapman of New York, formerly of Bethel. Mr. Chapman as organist, pianist and director will arrange a programme sure to give great pleasure to his many friends who are justly proud of his musical abilities and remarkable success as leader of the Rubenstein Club of New York and leader of other musical clubs of the highest artistic excellence. 1891: Entered trotters in Riverside Park trotting race, at his home in Mayville for the summer, purchased 30 acres of intervale land from Moses A. Mason. Pencil drawing by the author shows the Professor when he was 52 years old. 1892: Prof. Chapman acquired the reputation of being a flamboyant personality in Bethel. This item from the July 1892, Oxford Democrat explains why: “Prof. William R. Chapman and family of New York City, with friends, occupy their summer residence in Mayville. Their retinue of horses, Shetland ponies, carriages and dog carts, with their liveried servants, is quite an attraction on our streets.”
Pencil drawing by the author shows Professor Chapman at age 52. It is possible that in this picture, fairly late in life, he was wearing a toupee.
William Russell (W.R.) Eames, in 1886 age 54, selectman 1883-86 – farmer – lived in North Bethel at end of road that passed through the Philbrook Farm and ran generally parallel to Sunday River (in 1945, Walter Emery’s farm) – a third generation member of Eames family originally coming to Bethel from Dublin, New Hampshire – Secretary of the Bethel Masonic Lodge in 1864 – married Elizabeth Barker of Newry.
Col Clark S. Edwards, 63 in 1887, of Vernon Street was appointed to a Maine battlefield monuments commission by the governor - impressive military career – considered a major contributor to Bethel Hill’s growth and prosperity – businessman, farmer, lumberman, builder, senior Army officer – married Maria Mason, daughter of Ayers Mason – raised seven children – nominated by Maine Democratic Party for governor in 1886 but did not win – born in Otisfield and came to Bethel at age 24 in 1848 – in May 1861 recruited and commanded company of men that became Company I, Fifth Maine Volunteers – served in Army of the Potomac and fought at Gettysburg – promoted to Brigadier General and mustered out in 1864 – had also served as selectman for two terms – built large house and barn on Vernon Street ( 2006, owned by John Head). “The History of Bethel, Maine”, William Lapham. 1887- Governor appointed Edwards to Maine battlefield monuments commission; has large lumber contract; 1889 – house chimney fire occurs as he departs for Gettysburg, one of Bethel’s top taxpayers: $101; 1891 – appointed to Columbia Exposition Commission, hosts reunion of Bethel Company; official visit to World’s Fair in Chicago.
Henry Farwell was born March 17, 1860 in a Middle Intervale family - member of the Odd Fellows order in Bethel – secretary 1888-1891. “The History of Bethel, Maine”, William Lapham. From 1892 Journal: selectman.
Richard A. Frye, age 57 in 1886, attorney at Bethel – great-grandson of General Frye who founded the town of Fryeburg – his father was William Frye who was a Bethel Hill lawyer after coming to Bethel from Fryeburg – Richard graduated from Gould’s Academy and read law in his father’s office – admitted to the bar in 1855 – was secretary of the board of trustees at Gould’s Academy – Judge of Probate – 1861 enrollment in town militia - Bethel Masonic Lodge – in 1867, on committee to petition Legislature for town authority to raise funds to finance toll bridge crossing Androscoggin River at Barker’s Ferry – 1872, appointed to building committee for a new town industrial building for which the town voted to raise $12,000 by issuing town bonds then to lease building – town agent (attorney) 1874, 75 – July 3, 1886, elected moderator of special town meeting called to consider building a factory to be used for chair manufacturing – married Esther Kimball of Rumford – home located on property formerly of his father on Broad Street (in 2006, Kennett Realty office location). October 1886 – petitioner for special town meeting re: chair factory.
Rev. David Garland (1815-1887) was pastor of the Second Congregational Church of Bethel (in Mayville) for 38 years. On October 16, 1887, at age 72, he died in the pulpit of the First Congregational Church in Bethel. Mr. Garland was of a robust constitution, full of healthful vigor, never, having been by illness unfitted for service for a single Sunday during the 38 years he labored in Bethel. During the time of his ministry in Bethel he attended 573 funerals and performed 204 marriages. Due to his location, a vast amount of work from small outlying towns within 25 to 30 miles of his church devolved on him.
“The fruits of his labors in his own parish so far as figures show them, were the addition of 132 to the membership of the church, a goodly number, when we remember his parish was small (Mayville, Northwest Bethel and North Bethel). “ Mr. Garland took a deep and active interest in the educational affairs of this town. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Gould’s Academy some ten years and was Supervisor of the Public Schools for 25 years.
On September 17, 1849, he married Mary Elizabeth Twitchell, daughter of Thaddeus, of Bethel. She died January 23, 1867. He afterward married, December 17, 1867, Miss Mary Jane Baker, daughter of Mr. Elijah Baker of Dalton, N.H., who survived her husband. Reverend Garland was a neighbor of his father-in-law. The former Garland home and that of the Twitchell’s still stand. The church society dissolved in 1890 and the members rejoined the First Congregational Church. Reverend Garland was buried in the Mayville, now Riverside Cemetery. (This account of Rev. Garland’s life as well as Garland’s portrait photograph came from the scrapbook of Evelyn Hamilton that was donated to the Bethel Historical Society.)
Dr. John G. Gehring was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1857 and came to Bethel in 1887, at age 30. On October 20, 1888 he married Mrs. Susie Marian True Farnsworth, of Bethel. At the Congregational Church in February, 1889, Dr. Gehring gave a scientific lecture on the subject of insects. (The news correspondent commented that Dr. Gehring is married to a daughter of Dr. N. T. True – he is stopping in Bethel for his health; he is connected with a hospital in Cleveland.) In March 1889, the news reported that the Gehring’s had just returned from Boston with a carload of new furniture. 1890 – The Gehring’s spent winter months in Atlantic City. At the 1890 annual town meeting in Bethel, Dr. Gehring was elected to the Superintending School Committee. The year would prove demanding for Gehring and Mr. Upton as they would survey and report on 20 schools scattered over 15 miles. In 1891, the Gehrings left for a trip to Europe and wintered in Berlin, Germany.
In February 1896, while in Portland receiving medical care, the Gehring’s home, the former Dr. N. T. True home, burned to the ground. Construction of a new home, see photo below, began during the summer of 1896. 1898 – Dr. Gehring became a member of the board of Gould Academy trustees.
Two views of the Gehring house – early and late. Three major owners were the Gehring’s, William Bingham II and the National Training Laboratories. The building stands near to the home of Dr. N.T. True. The early photo is presented courtesy of the Bethel Historical Society.
Click the photos to enlarge.
Samuel F. Gibson, age 63, a lawyer – his home and office was next to Pattee’s Hall on Spring Street – remarkable career – born in Denmark, Maine – had read law at the office of Howard and Shepley, Portland – three years in California as a clerk in the Quartermaster department – arrived in Bethel as a contractor for Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad – married Moses Pattee’s daughter, Abb – became a trader then took up law practice – elected to membership in newly formed Masonic lodge in Bethel, 1860 – was enrolled in Bethel militia in 1861 – served as Quartermaster Captain for six months in City Point, Virginia running water transportation – Albert Twitchell entered law practice in Gibson’s office – joined Brown Post, GAR – Bethel town agent (attorney), 1858, 1866, 1870 – secretary of his Masonic lodge. 1889 - Sunday morning, October 6th, Samuel F. Gibson, Esq., one of the oldest members of the Oxford bar died at noon, seized with apoplexy. His funeral Tuesday was held at the Universalist Church under the auspices of the F. and A. Masons.
Alvan B. Godwin, age unknown, 1880 Bethel village map show a home of A.B. Godwin on Main Street midway between that of Gilman Chapman (in 2006 The Victoria property) and the post office (which would have put Godwin’s house in the same location as that of the late Dr. Raymond Tibbetts) – member Brown Post No. 84, GAR – member Bethel Masonic Lodge. Mr. Godwin served as a general constable; his name is in the town report of 1892 as being paid for duties as a truant officer and health officer.
Albert Wellington (A.W.) Grover, (1841 – 1908) - represented West Bethel as a selectman – continued as selectman for three more years- Bethel militia – mustered into Company B, Twenty-third Maine Regiment in 1962 – Gould Academy trustee – member and officer holder, Bethel Masonic Lodge – 1874 Bethel Centennial celebration, represented School District No. 25 on the committee – George W. Grover, his father, had cleared the original Grover farm now connected to West Bethel village by the “Flat Rd”. See Bethel Sidewalks. Mr. Grover was a Gould Academy Trustee. He was an Oxford County Justice of the Peace and in this capacity he assisted in the 1905 incorporation of Riverside Cemetery Association.
Buried at Riverside Cemetery “The History of Bethel, Maine”, William Lapham.
Excerpts from the Bethel News in 1904 said this about Major Hastings:
After his education at Gould’s Academy, being one of the first students, he became associated with his father in blacksmithing and later with Woods and Horner, constructors and contractors on the Grand Trunk. He invested largely in timber lands and power privileges in this section and northern New Hampshire which later resulted in financial disaster. However, he again resumed lumbering operations with his brother Maj. David R. Hastings of Fryeburg and later with his son David R. Hastings of Auburn. They acquired extensive holdings of valuable timber lands largely in Batchelder Grant (based in the unincorporated town of Hastings near Wild River.
In public service at Bethel he served as Town Clerk in 1850 and 1851 and as a member of the House of Representatives in 1852. He was a Bethel selectman in 1870,’71 and ’72. He was County Commissioner for one term, was a director of the Bethel Savings Bank and in 1904 had been Superintendent of the Bethel Water Company for fourteen years. He had been President of the Board of Trustees of Gould’s Academy for fifteen years in 1904.
His military service began November 15, 1861 when he enlisted as a private in the 12th Maine – taking part in all campaigns of the regiment and was present at the surrender of New Orleans. He was mustered out of the service in 1866 after participating in the Shenandoah Valley campaign through the surrender of Savannah, Georgia. He was appointed Provost Judge and then served as Military Marshal of West Georgia. He was also appointed agent for the Freedmen’s Bureau in Southwest Georgia. After his release from service he purchased a cotton plantation with a view of settling in Georgia but malaria problems caused him to give the plantation up.
John Decatur (J.D.) Hastings, in 1886 age 61, elected selectman 1884, 85 and 86 – son of John Hastings well know village blacksmith and was brother of Gideon Hastings – a farmer – married to Emma Bean – the lived on the Asa Kimball homestead in East Bethel.
Addison E. Herrick, age 39 in 1886, lawyer - born in Greenwood – Hebron Academy – graduated Bowdoin College – started teaching career – Principal at Bluehill Academy – studied law with Enoch Foster – 1877 admitted to Oxford County bar – then law partner with Foster – parade officer for the 1881 centennial celebration of Bethel’s Indian Raid – 1882 married Minnie Chase of Bluehill – Gould’s Academy trustee – Treasurer of Bethel Savings Bank – later representative in Legislature – built the elegant home on Broad Street ( 2006, Kennett Realty) on site previously occupied by Methodist parsonage. (“History of Bethel”, Lapham) From journals: 1886 Petitioner for chair factory; 1888 - Attorney-at-Law advertisement in Democrat; 1889 - committee on new lock-up building - corporator of Bethel Water Company - committee to survey village for fire hydrants - elected town agent for Bethel; 1890 Secretary of Bethel Water Company – elected Town Agent; 1891 elected to represent Bethel's district in legislature - supported women's suffrage at Augusta - elected Bethel Savings Bank treasurer - elected town agent.
Charles Mellen (Chas. M) Kimball, born February 24, 1839, elected selectman in 1887 (and re-elected the next four years) – represented East Bethel where he lived on the Kimball homestead farm of his father – noteworthy reputation as farmer overshadowed by holding lengthy terms of public office – elected selectman for two terms in 1873 – represented Bethel in the Legislature from 1882 to 1889 – had four children by his second wife, Mary Bartlett, the youngest born in 1884 – first wife died after they had been married a little more than a year – 1874 Bethel Centennial celebration, he represented East Bethel’s School District No. 8. “The History of Bethel, Maine”, William Lapham. See journals for 1887, 1888, 1889 and 1890- town selectman.
William B. Lapham, (1828 – 1894) compiled and published “History of the Town in Bethel, Maine”. It was printed in Augusta, Maine, in 1891 by the Press of the Maine Farmer. 1981 - The Bethel Historical Society published a new edition that contains the full text of the original with a corrected and updated name index as well as a new General index. The 1981 edition also includes an essay of the town’s history from 1891 to 1981. Mr. Lapham’s work has contributed greatly to our knowledge of Bethel in the Nineteenth Century but its greatest value is the compilation of family and individual histories – an extensive, dedicated effort. On page 457 Lapham described the lengths that he and the town clerk of Bethel went to in order to be as complete and comprehensive as possible in obtaining family statistics. Lapham canvassed families listed by the town clerk at least twice to obtain the family information for his history.
Elmer L. Lovejoy (1862 - ?) born in Bethel to a farm family later Superintendent, Portland & Rumford Falls Railroad, resident of Rumford, Maine 1896- 1930+)
William F. Lovejoy was born October 16, 1825 in Rockland; he became a well-know, long term hotel owner and manager of Bethel’s two Bethel House hotels. In 1865, when the first Bethel House burned, he was 40. He left Bethel for a few years to manage hotels in Winthrop and Gray but returned to Bethel and became proprietor of the “New Bethel House” on the south end of the Common. His son, Ferren H. Lovejoy, born in 1857, joined his father in managing the new Bethel House. William joined the new Masonic lodge in Bethel in 1861; he had remained a member in good standing in 1890. During his tenure as proprietor, the Lovejoy’s raised the standing of the Bethel House to one of the finest country hotels in Maine. (Lapham, History of Bethel) In December 1888, the Bethel House hosted a Bethel Masonic lodge supper. In August 1889, news reported that Ferren H. Lovejoy – here from Massachusetts, one of the Bethel House proprietors, was doing much to increase the place’s popularity. In February 1891, it was reported that C.C. Lovejoy (?) had installed a signal system to the flag staff on the hotel’s cupola – daily reports from Washington, D.C., were displayed (presumably the reports were received by telegraph at the rail station). November 1889 news indicated that the Lovejoy’s were making improvements to the Bethel House by moving the stable further to the rear of the main building.
Moses Ayers Mason, (1826 – 1904). He was born April 5, 1826, at the Mason homestead farm north of the Androscoggin River bridge – son of Aaron Mason and grandson of Moses Mason, a Revolutionary War soldier who came to Bethel from Dublin, New Hampshire in 1799 – a farmer and unmarried – in the 1850’s was a charter member of the Bethel Farmer’s Club which had been started by Dr. Nathaniel T. True – a charter member of the Bethel Masonic Lodge No. 97 in 1860 – Mason was an advocate of improvements in farming and agricultural methods. Profitably raising hops – he invested his earnings in timberland and real estate. His father died in 1855 and Moses assumed responsibility for his mother and younger brothers and sisters. In 1872 his mother passed away he persuaded his widowed younger sister (Mrs. Angeline Clark) and four young children to move to the Mayville farm where Moses became their “father” in a large household. In 1893 he sold the old homestead to Charles Ryerson and took an extended trip to the west. When he returned to Bethel he purchased a home at the head of Mill Street where he lived the rest of his life. His land was used for the Riverside Trotting Park in 1890 and Bethel’s livestock show. In the borders of his fields grew the mayflowers which, circa. 1868 inspired the name of Mayville to be applied to the region around the Mason farm. The History of Bethel, William Lapham and “The Bethel News”, April 27, 1904. The Mason Farm, July 21, 1893, The Oxford County Advertiser.
“The sale of the Mason farm, Bethel, on which the Riverside Trotting Park is located has been made. Three years ago a company was organized in this village and leased of Mr. Mason the right to build a track on his land. The conditions were that the company should build the track and give him 25 percent of all the gate money and all he could make outside, and at the end of ten years the track should revert to him or the owner of the farm.
Saturday Mr. Mason sold his entire farm and track to Charles Ryerson of Upton for $10,000. Mr. Ryerson is a large lumber operator and has bought this for his future home. He will continue his lumbering during the winter season. He intends to convert the large two-story house into a hotel.
In the year 1791 Moses Mason, grandfather to the recent owner, came from Dublin, Mass., on horseback bringing with him 1000 silver dollars which he gave for his farm. The farm contains about 200 acres including timberland, and all in one lot. His son Aaron was three years old when his father bought the place , and always lived here. The recent owner will be 68 years old next April, and is unmarried. As soon as the writings can be done he intends going to the World’s Fair; from there to Washington to visit his nephew, and if he doesn’t find a place that he likes better than here, he intends to return and settle down in the same neighborhood. This place just sold has been owned by the Masons for 102 years and there never was a mortgage on it.
Twenty-two years ago Mason’s widowed sister came to make her home with him. She had three boys and one girl. Everyone of the boys are graduates of the Maine State College at Orono. The oldest one is a railroad and city engineer in Washington. The second one is an assayer in a Pennsylvania iron mine. The third is in Massachusetts. The daughter recently graduated from school in Bridgewater, Mass., and is visiting at the homestead. “
Enoch W. Woodbury
Mr. Woodbury was born in Sweden, Maine, on January 18, 1818. His parents were Andrew Woodbury and Sally Stevens Woodbury. He was the youngest of ten children. After serving in various offices he was elected to the State Senate in 1857 and was a member of the House in 1860. He was Judge of Probate from December 1861 to March 1857 when he resigned to become Superintendent of the State Reform School. After resigning from the school he moved to Bethel in 1871. He became one of three business partners with Robert Chapman and J.U. Purington. In 1890 and ’91 he was in Augusta as a member of the valuation commission. His wife died in March 1890. He retired from the firm of Woodbury and Purington.
After his retirement from business, he took up the assignment of news correspondent from Bethel for the Oxford Democrat. In March 1892, Woodbury received a long letter from Dr. John G. Gehring who was touring Europe and wintering in Berlin, Germany. Woodbury posted the letter to the Editor of the Democrat while he was visiting his son in Pottsville, PA. Judge Woodbury was an active member of the Congregational Church in Bethel. He is mentioned as conducting the Sabbath School in Sunday River’s red school house.
For the 1896 Bethel Centennial celebration Judge Woodbury served as honorary President for the Day
John M. Philbrook, born 1840, age 51 in 1891, in Shelburne, New Hampshire – parents, Harvey and Susannah, founded the still active (2006) Philbrook Farm Inn – married Paulina Eames – they lived on the Eames homestead, North Bethel (more recently known as Roberts Poultry Farm) – farmer and cattle broker – gained reputation of very successful businessman – Gould’s Academy trustee – in the 1874 Bethel Centennial celebration he represented School District No. 3 – 1888: Sept, brought 300 head of cattle from Vermont for sale in Bethel; 1889: June, shipped horses for sale in Bethel from Montreal; July, has sold two carloads of horses this spring, December, selling working oxen. 1890: news in March, August, September, November and December – buying and selling cattle through Brighton Market in Boston. 1891: May trustee of Riverside Park Trotting Assoc., seventh largest taxpayer in Bethel, continued selling through Brighton Market, October, awards at Riverside Fair best flock of sheep and best wool, December - has purchased late Gilman Chapman place on Main Street – will occupy after renovations complete ( known in 2006 as The Victoria). In 1896 he was elected to the board of Oxford County Commissioners. . Until the fall of 1895, Mr. Philbrook has resided on his farm about four miles from the village (where the Bethel-Rumford road crosses Sunday River). The 1896 Bethel News reported that Mr. Philbrook is a cattle broker as well as a farmer and has done an immense business in this line for many years. He ships from twelve to fifteen hundred veals and four or five hundred cattle to the Brighton (near Boston) market yearly, besides buying and selling many cattle among farmers and lumbermen. Last summer he erected one of the finest residences in the county in Bethel, which he is now occupying. Mr. Philbrook represented the Bethel district in the Maine legislature three years ago (1893).
Samuel Delano (S.D.) Philbrook, in 1886 age 48, President of Bethel Savings Bank – farmer and livestock dealer - home on Main Street (called Philbrook Place in 2006) – born in Gilead – brother to John M Philbrook – member of the First Congregational Church – Bethel Masonic Lodge – known as a very successful businessman and one to always seek ways to improve Bethel Hill village.
William E. Skillings (1843-1910), in 1886 age 43, father was David Skillings of Winchester, Mass. William Skillings graduated from Winchester High School and from Harvard College in 1866. He died in Bryant Pond, 1910. About 1878, the Skillings purchased the house on the corner of Church and Broad Street known later as the William Rogers Chapman House (in 1990, The Chapman Inn). Owned Bethel Steam Mill Company with his brother, Julius P. – frequently moderated town meetings – Gould’s Academy trustee - member and officer of Bethel Masonic Lodge – committee member for the 1881 celebration of the 1781 Bethel Indian Raid – Justice of the Peace – home on corner of Church Street and the Common, former Ira Kimball homestead (in 2006 it is the Chapman Inn). 1888, W. E. Skillings and his wife have gone to Florida – July, investigating the general possibilities of supplying Bethel Hill with pure water - committee of three composed of W. E. Skillings, G. A. Hastings and S. D. Philbrook were chose to make preliminary surveys. 1889: Moderated annual town meeting; report - W. E. and J. P. Skillings, the largest spool manufactures in Maine. 4th of July, 1889: W. E. Skillings and the Hastings Brothers entertained the citizens with a fine display of fireworks on the Common in the evening. W.E. and J.P. Skillings have just completed a telephone line from their mills to the depot. 1890: credit is due W.E. Skillings for his skillful arrangement and prompt setting of street lights. 1891: W.E. Skillings left Bethel for Boston taking up his officer position with American Bobbin, Spool and Shuttle Company; Mrs. W.E. (Kate) Skillings and daughter left here (September) for her new home in Boston Highlands.
Eugene Lester (E.L.) Tebbetts, (1849-1909) born in Lisbon, Maine he died on Friday, May 28, 1909 at his home in Auburn.
Jacob A. Thurston (1843-1917) was born in Eaton, New Hampshire – then moved to Errol, New Hampshire and after that to Newry. At Newry Corner he established his influence in trading, lumbering and manufacturing. He owned a store, hall and mill – unofficially acted as the “mayor” of Newry Corner much like A.S. Bean’s influence in West Bethel. His lumbering operations included remote saw mill in Riley. In 1892 he bought a farm in Mayville and later moved his family to Bethel. Later he moved the J.A. Thurston Company’s manufacturing concerns to the Rumford area and into a large modern mill at Hale, Maine. His farm at Mayville was highly respected by the town’s farming community. He married Flora Dinsmore; they had one son, Paul C., who succeeded his father in farming and manufacturing.
Ceylon Rowe, in 1886 age 48, well reputed merchant – alumni of Gould’s Academy and academy trustee – Bethel Masonic Lodge member – bother and one time partner of Edwin C. Rowe – included in 1861 roster of Bethel militia – great-grandson of Eleazer Twitchell, one of Bethel’s founding fathers – store on north end of Rowe Block – home in Kimball Park.
Dr. Nathaniel T. True, (1812 – 1887) teacher, medical doctor, historian and naturalist – came to Bethel in 1835 to teach and govern Bethel’s first high school classes. Since then Dr. True has inherited the status of a Bethel and more particularly a Gould Academy icon. Considered by most to be Bethel’s first historian, Dr. True also inherited the job of presiding over Bethel’s major celebrations of historical importance – 1874, Bethel’s Centennial and 1881 – the Indian Raid Centennial. May 20, 1887, Dr. N. T. True died last Tuesday night. Mrs. Dr. True arrived home last Tuesday to find Dr. True sinking fast toward the land of silence. Mrs. Farnsworth came Thursday. Although away from Bethel frequently in the last 25 years of his life the townspeople took great pride in his home’s location at the south end of Broad Street; many it seemed basked in the glow of the image associated with Dr. True’s residence in town and his widespread reputation for intellectual excellence.
Calvin Turner, the veteran lumberman of Bethel, died at Middle Dam Tuesday evening and was buried at Bethel on Friday under the auspices of the Mt. Abram Lodge of the I.O.O.F. Religious services were held at the Methodist church with Susan Hall playing the organ. Scripture reading by Rev. A.R. Sylvester pastor of the Methodist church with the address and prayer by Rev. D.W. Hardy of the Congregational Church, a select choir was directed by J.C. Billings. Mr. Turner came from the Penobscot to the Androscoggin River in 1853. By his industry and integrity he attracted the interest of the large lumbering firm of R.C. Pingree & Co. of Lewiston, of which E.S. Coe of Bangor is a prominent member, and for twenty five years he has had charge of their extensive lumbering operations around the headwaters of the Androscoggin and has had charge of the driving of the lumber. About sixteen years ago he and his young wife moved to Success, N.H., to better promote the objectives of his employers. He remained there until 1880. When he felt that his wife and daughters needed better educational and social privileges he came to Bethel. He purchased a fine residence and fitted and furnished it with a great deal of taste. His wife and two daughters joined the Congregational Church in 1881. In June 1883 he was called to mourn the loss of his wife. In March 1886 his beautiful residence was burned. On April 3rd his oldest daughter died (of typhoid fever). On May 18th that strong man was felled at his post by the same disease that killed his daughter. He leaves four children, three daughters and one son. The respect with which he was held in Bethel was evident in the large concourse at the last sad rites. R.C. Pingree and his wife were present. Woodbury and Purington and E.C. Rowe closed their stores and attended the services with their wives. Sixty members of the I.O.O.F. as well as the wives plus neighbors and friends filled the house. No man in our community enjoyed the respect and confidence of his associates, more than Calvin Turner.
Samuel Barker (S.B.) Twitchell, (1829 – 1905) born March 16, 1829 and died September 30, 1905 lived his whole life on the Twitchell homestead in Mayville where he was born. “There are few people in Bethel who have been as closely allied with the town and its various interests – (he) leaves behind a record all would do well to copy” (The Bethel News, October 4, 1905) Father – Col. Thaddeus Twitchell, mother – Sukie Barker Twitchell. He was only son of five children. His sisters: Abigail married Dr. R.G. Wiley; Roxanna married Alphin Twitchell; Mary E. married Rev. David Garland; Susanna married J.K. Mason. He was educated in the Bethel common schools and at Gould’s Academy as a student of Dr. N.T. True. Initially a trader in Mayville’s only store – traded with lumberman of the lakes region – then allied with his father in clearing and developing family farm into one of best in Androscoggin Valley. Offices included President of Bethel Savings Bank, President of Bethel Creamery Co., Treasurer of Board of Gould’s Academy trustees; 1868 member of building committee for Androscoggin River bridge, 1886 – special committee to carry out measures (selecting and purchasing land, etc.) for building chair factory – member of its building committee - two terms in Maine Legislature 1879 and 1880– elected to town offices numerous times – married Malvina Chapman, 1853, daughter of Timothy Chapman – they had three daughters Marion, Susie B. and Florence Eliza – latter two lived at home with their father. Operated a highly respected boarding house for summer vacationers. Lost his barn in 1888 fire.
Horatio N. Upton, Bethel voters elected Dr. John G. Gehring and Horatio N. Upton to the Superintending School Committee at the 1890 annual town meeting. (The school committee had noticeably grown in importance in town affairs as the shift from a district to a town school system got under way.) Horatio Upton was only 26 when elected. He had been born July 26, 1863 in Carmin, Illinois. However his father, Tilton Upton, died in September 1866. His mother was Martha Newell Tilton, a Bethel native. After her first husband’s death, she returned to Bethel and married Timothy Hilliard Chapman in 1867. Presumably young Mr. Upton grew up in a Chapman family household – probably in the process he had become thought of as a true local citizen. 1892, 1893 and 1894 he was elected Selectman.
Alfred Wilber (A.W.) Valentine, age 45 in 1886, born in Hopkinton, Mass. – Bethel school committee in 1886 - reputation of progressive farming and interest in improving the working conditions of tillers of the soil – leading member of the Bethel Grange – Gould’s Academy trustee – farm located on the North West Bethel road – east of Timothy H. Chapman farm and west of Mayville cemetery – kept a summer boarding house – member of Mt. Abram Lodge, Odd Fellows. 1887 - School committee - implementing change to town school system. June 1888 Deacon A. W. Valentine died at age 47 - deacon in the 2d Congregational Church - leader of the Mt. Abram Lodge, I.O.O.F., - active member of the Bethel Grange.
Seth Walker, in 1886 age 50, dealer in hardware and stoves – came from Chatham, New Hampshire - married a daughter of Ayers Mason – Bethel Masonic Lodge.
Goodwin R. Wiley, in 1886 age 40, his father, Dr. Robert Goodwin Wiley, had moved to Bethel from Fryeburg – G.R. Wiley was secretary of the Gould’s Academy trustees – skilled druggist and pharmacist – prominent Mason – held the second highest office in the Grand Lodge – noted for his excellent clerical work – built the impressive home just north of the academy building – 1874-76: town clerk – general committee member with Dr. N.T. True and Richard Frye, Esq., for the 1881 Indian Raid pageant.
Cyrus M. Wormell, a Deputy Sheriff of Oxford County - Bethel resident, house at intersection of Spring and Main Streets – much involved in town affairs. 1859 - one of seven Bethel men to petition for authority to establish a Masonic Lodge in Bethel – elected treasurer in the lodge’s first board of officers – 1861 mustered as a 2d Lieutenant in Colonel Clark S. Edwards’ Company of Bethel Rifle Guards – discharged February 15, 1862 – possibly due to adverse physical condition. Well respected, energetic law enforcement officer. Among principal hotel keepers on Bethel Hill. 1874 – Bethel Centennial – represented school district 24. (“History of Bethel”, Lapham) From the Journals: 1866 – elected Bethel Tax Collector. September 1886 elections – received 377 Bethel votes for sheriff. Joined other petitioners in October 1886 - requested a special town meeting to appropriate additional funds - equip new chair factory building. 1890 – Fire police in Village Corporation. Intervened and arrested Italian water company workers whose party had turned violent – West Bethel – arrested three men – disruption of a religious service. 1891 – President of the newly formed Riverside Park Trotting Association – arrest of men who broke into steam mill office - official greeter (“the portly form of the president, C.W. Wormell”) to fair goers when the Riverside Fair opened in October 1891.