THE BETHELJOURNALS—THE WILLIAMSON CONNECTIONS

Elias and Rebecca’s son Augustus Mellen Carter was well known in Bethel in the 1880’s while superintendent of Bethel’s corn packing company, a surveyor and civil engineer. It was his son Edward Mellen Carter who married Fannie May Capen (a Middle Intervale neighbor) and their second child, named Rebecca Williamson Carter born in 1913 who married Bruce Bailey.

 

It should be noted that William Lapham’s History of Bethel included 120 personal sketches. Many Beans, Chapmans, Masons, Grovers, Hastings, Twitchells, are included but John Williamson and his son William are the only two personalities who were outsiders coming from Ireland that made the list. This says something about them.

 

Jumping to Sunday River, in the 1830’s William Williamson and his wife Eliza established a farm on land that borders today’s Skiway Road to the South Ridge complex. They raised cattle and sheep as well as made cider from a small orchard. The couple had six children of whom Richard M. was the third oldest. During the late 1860’s he became the head of the house; his father, William, went back to Bethel to live with John Williamson.

About 1868, Richard M Williamson married Viola Hastings, daughter of Major Timothy Hastings of North Bethel. They lost their first child, Lillian, and a son Frank was born in 1874. (Farm house burned in 1890 and not rebuilt until 1893) In 1893, Frank C. Williamson married Bertha I. Swan of Errol, NH. Frank and Bertha Williamson probably lived at the R.M. Williamson farm. They moved to Bethel around 1902. They had two boys, Harry and Earl. In 1914 Harry married Esther Frost of Newry and they lived at the farm.

Grandfather Richard M. died in 1923. 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. This was a very small, rustic camp, actually a shanty. 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 until the early 1930s before moving to Upton.  Harry’s job in Upton:  engaged in the operation of sporting camps and guiding. 1937, tragedy again struck: Harry was accidentally shot and killed by the hunter he was guiding.

Esther Williamson died in 1980; 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. 

Richard F. “Buster” Williamson died in October 2005.

Read more about the Williamsons

Sources: The History of Bethel, Maine by William Lapham; Sunday River Sketches by Randall Bennett, East Bethel Road by Eva Bean; information about Manorhamilton, Ireland from a variety of web sources, and Google Street View images.

Williamson farm buildings probably taken before 1920. House was lost by fire in 1924.  Esther Williamson’s family Phyllis, Richard F. (Buster) and Doris took shelter in a camp a short distance away from the homestead .

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