The Bethel Journals

Bethel Maine History

May 4, 2016








Charles E. Heywood

First President of Bethel Historical Society,

Nature Conservationist, History of Upton, Maine


On May 31, 1966 Charles Errol Heywood (1894-1980) was elected as the first president of the newly formed Bethel Historical Society during a meeting at the Bethel Library.  Mr. Heywood had retired in 1954 from his career as a mechanical engineer and came to Bethel in 1955 where the Heywoods purchased the former Addison Herrick place on Broad Street from Dr. Arthur Walters.


 Charles Heywood held a long term interest in the preservation of unique natural areas and was Chairman of the Nature Conservancy in Maine from 1961 to 1965. In 1983, three years after his death in July 1980, the Step Falls conservancy was dedicated to Charles E. Heywood. He had helped the Nature Conservancy acquire Step Falls as its first preserve in Maine in 1961 and 62. Mr. Heywood also helped in the establishment of Grafton Notch State Park and the Katahdin Iron Works State Historic Monument.

 Although the Charles Heywoods  became Bethel residents, the Heywood family name was well known in Upton, the Lake Umbagog region and yhe Rangeley Lakes area going back into the early years of the 19th Century.  In the Nineteen Seventies the Heywoods sold their home on Broad Street to Robert and Sue Crane and moved to Upton. The Heywoods also had a home in Crystal River, Florida where Charles Heywood was a member of the Seminole Club of Crystal River.


In the summer of 1966 the Heywoods hosted the newly established Bethel Historical Society’s antique show in their barn.  In Stan Howe’s account of the Society’s first ten years, he noted that as a fund raising event it was highly successful.  Charles Heywood served on the Bethel Planning Board as an associate member for a three year term beginning in 1964. Heywood resigned as the Society president in 1968.  As a second connection with Bethel, Charles Heywood’s son, Charles Eaton Heywood married Phyllis Chadbourne of Bethel.  Charles Heywood’s daughter, Joy Eaton Yarnell, was a well known name in Bethel for a number of years.


Charles Heywood was born February 7, 1894 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was the son of Charles Henry and Cora Eaton Heywood.  After he graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute as a mechanical engineer he was

employed by the Society of Automotive Engineers, Chance Vaught Aircraft Co. and the Elastic Stop Nut Corporation of America. After the death of his first wife, Gladys Jones, he married Ellen Murk.  Charles Heywood had two children, Charles Eaton and Joy Heywood Yarnell.


History of Upton, Maine

Charles Heywood completed his writing of the history of Upton and saw it published in August 1973. In writing the preface, he indicates that his work on the book started in 1942 while he was living in Weston, Connecticut. He described how he gotten the idea for a history this way:  old Levi Heywood had been away from Upton for 50 years; he returned in 1939 and then again in 1940.


In his preface for the History of Upton, Maine, Heywood wrote, “In 1940, his (Levi’s) perspective had cleared and he returned for a longer visit. We built the third fence around the Stone Cemetery, and he visited many old friends and localities. And this the history of Umbagog Lake was started, for on a sunny afternoon on my porch overlooking the lake, Levi Heywood, Bertha Morse Judkins and Flora Morse Abbott were talking about the early settlers and I began asking questions.


Charles Errol Heywood died unexpectedly while at Colebrook, New Hampshire, on Sunday morning July 13, 1980.

The  Heywoods’ home on Broad Street—after it was modified to serve as a real estate office. Charles Heywood purchased the property from  Dr. Arthur Walters in 1955.

Bethel Historical Society photos taken at the Antique Show in the Heywood barn in 1966.


Boots: part of General Clark (Edwards) “regalia” exhibit


Photos are on file in the photo catalogs at the Moses Mason Research Room.


In 1973 Charles Heywood completed and had published the “History of Upton, Maine.”.

He apparently started this project in 1942 but due to the demands on his time during WW II he did not finish this piece under after he retired. Photo left copied from his book.

The Bethel Journals

PO Box 763

Bethel, Maine 04217