Higgins Inventory of Household Goods

Transcribed by Ro Stewart.

Know all men by these presents that I, S. H. Higgins of Orrington Penobscot Co. Maine in consideration of one hundred dollars paid me by Evelyn Higgins of said Orrington, hereby sell and convey to said Evelyn Higgins the following household goods now in my house at said Orrington viz:

One black haircloth parlor set consisting of one sofa, 4 chairs, two easy chairs,  one cloth covered; one centre table, one organ, one pine chamber set, one lounge, one ash writing desk with drawers, one extension table six chairs, two featherbeds, two mattresses, two rag carpets and one manila carpet.  Also all the dishes and all other furniture in said house belonging to me. And I hereby put the said Evelyn Higgins in possession and ownership of said property by delivering her this indenture.

Dated at Orrington Maine this 26th day of August, 1886.

Signed: S. H. Higgins

Witness:  J. W. D.

26 Aug 1886 Inventory of household goods from Higgins to Higgins, cr

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Orringtons Illustrated Monthly News, 1910

Provided by Sharon (Bennett) Caron. Transcribed by Anne B. Allen, June 2015.

This letter is believed to have been written by Delia Cottle Smith, Sharon Caron’s grandmother. Delia was Beulah Hardison Smith’s mother-in-law. She was the mother of Vernon Vanbuskirk Smith and his sister Adria, the letter’s other author.

Orringtons Illustrated Monthly News

March 9th, 1910

My dear Boy.  I entended to write to you Sunday but was called out at 3 in the morning –   Ferd came after me and about 4 a dear little [baby] was born – a little girl and looks like Ethel – she is so pleased with it – there nurse was sick and couldnt come so I stayed until today Monday p.m. until they got someone & I got $2.00 for it.  Yesterday was a lovely day – as I went out at the back door there set three [boys] by the side of the house – Arthur K Harold E and Donald B – Adria said Don came in here to see you and was surprised to find you away – he wanted your address but papa couldn’t find it so he said he would write to Whitman – you better send him your address – this has been a terrible day, been raining [pitchforks] all day and the snow is nearly all gone and the ice is not safe now – big holes and I guess it will go out early this spring.

Nattie K is going out of the hen business.  I guess he can make more money at his trade  – he has sold all of his [hens] – it is no use for anyone to try to keep hens if they have a trade – I wish we had his nice hen house down here.  Edd Crowell is still killing [pigs] – he killed 4 last week.  I dident sleep much last night – the baby was fussy until 2:30 this morning so I slept from that untill 6 oclock and I am so sleepy I will have to go to [bed] now and finish this tomorrow.

Tu morning – I will try and finish the news today to send out tonight – you know the old chairs I was going to have you remodel for me – well I got papa at it – he sawed them in two and made me the cutest little [table] like this one – only I put little pieces of dishes on the top into the putty and you cant think how pretty it looks – he done a good job – I have got to guild the edges today and varnish it and it will be done and ready to put my [plant] on.  I do hope you wont get a cold this spring working out in all kinds of weather – there are lots of people around here that have been sick with colds but so far we have all escaped them.  Vida Grenon was real sick Saturday with tonsilitis – the minister and wife went down to Bucksport – he came home and she stayed down over Sunday and she and Vida came up on the 9 train yesterday in all that rain.  I hope she didn’t take more cold but Mrs. Grenon said they couldn’t stay there.

Well we hear the RFD [mail wagon] is coming back to the corner.  They say he can’t go anywhere down there – only to card clubs – he cant get to the theaters so easy down there as he can up here – they are going to move into Grace Reeds house – well now I must go to cooking and your sister has got the dishes washed and wants to write a while so I will give this up to her.

Isent this kind of letter writing fun, the next news will be that Mr. Scogden has bought a 2 years old [horse] – he had him harnessed up and he went good – he is dark red with a white strip in his face.  I had my birthday party and I had a pair of [gloves] for a present – they are tan kid – it is a lovely day today and Ethel Bowden is down here to spend the day, papa is out in the barn making a thill for his gigger – when mama went to Bangor to get my gloves she got papa a [fiddle] record, a medley – it is real pretty – I have had such a nice time to practice on the organ – I expect to be a lovely player by the time you get back – I have read that book The True Hero, do you play on your [harmonica] any.

Well Adria has stoped writing and is playing with Ethel – she has been sick just as you were when Adria was born – she is better now.

Delmont has found a chum – he is with Paul Blare the most of the time – he has never been here but once since you went away.  I don’t miss your presents as I did but I miss you in the pantry – the cake hangs on so long and the baked beans we have hard work to get them eaten and I don’t bake so many either – had Tomy brought Nichols [wagon] when you went away – he says he likes it and I heard today that he was going to move to So Orrington – that is the place for him as he goes down there every morning.

The ice is so poor – lots of holes in it today.

Every one that asks for you says I am so glad for him – not one has said they were sorry you had gone so you see how glad everyone is to have you gone – oh some did say they would miss you.

It is a lovely day so I guess we will go to the Grange tonight all right – have not been since you went away – have you been to see [                ] and [                    ] yet – you can take this illustrated news to him as it will only be published once a month, hopeing to hear from you soon – ever the same with love, Mother & Adria.

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Part 5 of 5: Henry Buxton says…BROOKS FAMILY OF ORRINGTON NOTABLE CLAN

Transcribed by Anne (Bowden) Allen from Henry Buxton’s column for the Bangor Daily News.

Feb. 22, 1937

FIRST OHIO STEAMBOAT MAN

“In 1816, John Brooks constructed the first steamboat ever built in Cincinnati–the first to operate on the Ohio river.  He became a wealthy man and invested most of his money in Cincinnati real estate.  Later Nicholas Longworth, grandfather of the late Congressman Nicholas Longworth, who married Alice Roosevelt, laid claim to this real estate.  There followed a series of law suits which extended over a period of years.  Finally Longworth won and John Brooks became a ruined man.  He died in 1822.

“James Brooks, a son of John Brooks, a native of Orrington, migrated to New Albany in Indiana, established a grocery store, and later was the organizer and president of the first railroad from the Ohio river to the Great Lakes.  This transportation line was known as the New Albany and Salem railroad, and to accomplish its construction it was necessary to build a road 228 miles long through a country which had not yet entirely emerged from the conditions of pioneer life.  But this indomitable man succeeded beyond the wildest expectations of his more sanguine backers.

“When the Civil War broke out, James Brooks was appointed by Secretary of War Stanton, as quartermaster general of the western federal army and the gunboats on the Mississippi river.  He purchased the old Mississippi river flat floats and supervised their conversion into the Yankee gunboats which were a big factor in demolishing the Confederate forts on the Mississippi.  Under the direction of James Brooks supplies were accumulated at Louisville for the use of General Sherman in his historic march to the sea.  At one time during the war, James Brooks loaned the Federal government $240,000 from his private fortune.  He was later reimbursed.”

In tomorrow’s column Mr. Brooks will tell the story of the ancient pottery in the Bangor district.  This is a story which should appeal to many of the old timers who can remember when tinware was practically non-existent and the utensils such as milk pans, jugs and pitchers were made from Penobscot river clay.

 

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Part 4 of 5: Henry Buxton says…BROOKS FAMILY OF ORRINGTON NOTABLE CLAN

Transcribed by Anne (Bowden) Allen from Henry Buxton’s column for the Bangor Daily News.

Feb. 22, 1937 

VERSATILE CRAFTSMAN OF ORRINGTON

“George Brooks’ gift as a craftsman revealed itself almost immediately after settling in Orrington.  He built himself a blacksmith shop and did all kinds of blacksmithing for his neighbors.  I have some of his tools made from iron imported from England.  he also tanned leather for the other settlers, and set up a Dutch windmill.  In company with a neighbor, Simeon Fowler, he made a kiln or two of bricks every year.  He manufactured his own charcoal, and made all of his own nails.  He built the first grist mill in Orrington.

“He was a strong, capable character all around, according to the records that have come down to me, and there was much grief at his death in Orrington, December 15, 1807.  Before he died, he built a comfortable farmhouse for his family.  After his death his widow was married for the third time to Deacon Mark Hatch of Castine.  She was famed over the countryside for her grace and beauty.  She died March 2, 1817, at the age of 68 years.

“After my great grandfather’s death, my grandfather, James Brooks, took over the farm and carried it on.  On the place he built a substantial brick house in which I was born.

“John Brooks, a shipwright, who was my grandfather’s brother, and my great uncle, married Sallie Dean, and in 1814 heard the magic call of the west.  He built an immigrant wagon and transported himself and family from Orrington to Cincinnati, where he built the noted brig Cincinnati in 1815.  This ship was loaded with ears of Ohio corn and cleared for Boston via New Orleans.  John Brooks arranged that some of this corn be sent to his old neighbors in Orrington.”

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Part 3 of 5: Henry Buxton says…BROOKS FAMILY OF ORRINGTON NOTABLE CLAN

Transcribed by Anne (Bowden) Allen from Henry Buxton’s column for the Bangor Daily News.

Feb. 22, 1937 

HEARTH BRICKS FROM GREAT GRANDMOTHER’S HOME

Mr. Brooks drew contentedly on a well-seasoned corncob pipe as we chatted beside a blazing hearth in the spacious living room of his comfortable Brewer home.  Pointing to the hearth bricks, he told me that he dug them out of the cellar hole of his great grandmother’s home at Castine.  British officers were quartered in this ancient house during the War of 1812, and one of them, an artist, was so intrigued by the beauty of Mr. Brooks’ great grandmother that he spent weeks painting her portrait.  This portrait is still in the possession of the Brooks family.

“I dug those bricks out of the old cellar hole in Castine,” he said, “because I thought that it would be pleasant over the years to toast my feet over my great grandmother’s hearth bricks.”

This genial and cultured potter, brickmaker and anthropologist is one of the most entertaining raconteurs I have heard in many a long day, and to listen to him was akin to perusing the pages of a fascinating book.  He spun me a tale of Brookses past and present that not only was livened by the tang of adventure and the sparkle of wit, but contained here and there a touch of pathos.

“My great grandfather, George Brooks”, he said, “was born in Bradford, England, and at the age of 17 left for Newfoundland to engage in the fishing trade.  The following summer he entered the whaling business with a certain Captain Doan of Cape Cod, and there on Cape Cod in 1775 he met Mrs. Mary Atwood Thompson, the charming widowed sister of Captain Doan.  They were married after an ardent and romantic courtship, and the following year migrated with a party of Cape Coders to Orrington.

“My great grandfather took up a wooded grant of 200 acres, built a log house, and cleared 50 acres.  His cabin was located near the dwelling of James Gorton, a squatter, and later he purchased this squatter’s rights.”

 

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Part 2 of 5: Henry Buxton says…BROOKS FAMILY OF ORRINGTON NOTABLE CLAN

Transcribed by Anne (Bowden) Allen from Henry Buxton’s column for the Bangor Daily News.

Feb. 22, 1937 

CANNON BALL THAT MISSED GRANDFATHER

        I was awed when he exhibited a cannon ball fired from the gun deck of the British sloop-of-war Sylph as the English ship was sailing by the town of Orrington in the War of 1812.  Mr. Brooks’ grandfather, James Brooks, was perched on a fence near his home when the ball passed so close to his head that he was literally blown off the fence to the ground, but escaped injury.

        Mr. Brooks’ justifiable pride in the achievements of his ancestors caused him to visit Bradford, England, where perusal of the ancient records in the vicar’s house revealed that his forebears had resided there since the sixteenth century, and many of them were artisans of distinction.

        It is a poetic coincidence that this Brewer potter and brickmaker married Edith White, granddaughter of Joseph White, proprietor of the noted Baptist Mills Pottery, Bristol, England, and a contemporary of Josiah Wedgwood, maker of the famous Wedgwood ware. Mr. Brooks is the proud possessor of several pieces of this ancient ware, including a snuff box, two cream pitchers and a sugar bowl. Mrs. Brooks died recently.

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Part 1 of 5: Henry Buxton says…BROOKS FAMILY OF ORRINGTON NOTABLE CLAN

Transcribed by Anne (Bowden) Allen from Henry Buxton’s column for the Bangor Daily News.

Feb. 22, 1937 

Henry Buxton says…BROOKS FAMILY OF ORRINGTON NOTABLE CLAN

George Brooks Built First Grist Mill in the Town

SON HELPED MAKE HISTORY IN WEST

H.N. Brooks of Brewer Upholds Tradition of Craftsmanship

A strong, dominating strain of expert craftsmanship and artisanry which prevailed among forebears in Bradford, England, centuries ago, and persisted down through the generations until it found expression in America in the genius of shipbuilding, railroad construction and pottery making, are conspicuous in the background of the Brooks family of Orrington.

Seldom may one family boast of such varied and distinctive achievement as this family whose ancestors were among the first settlers of that beautiful Maine village on the west bank of the Penobscot river a few miles south of Bangor.

One of these Orrington Brookses built himself a covered wagon from Penobscot spruce, journeyed westward with his family, settled in Cincinnati and built the first brig and the first steamboat to run on the Ohio River.

Still another of these gifted Orrington Brookses constructed the first railroad to connect the Ohio river with the Great Lakes, during the Civil War served as quartermaster general of the western Union army under Secretary of War Stanton, and at Louisville, Ky., accumulated millions of dollars worth of supplies which enabled General Sherman to make his epochal march from Atlanta to the sea and break the backbone of the rebellion.

And not less distinctive than these Brookses who helped to make history for the United States is Harrison Nash Brooks of the Brooks brickyard, Brewer, who inherits in a large measure the artistry and craftsmanship which has run like a golden thread for centuries in the Brooks family fabric.
Mr. Brooks is a potter of exceptional genius as well as an expert manufacturer of brick, and his excavations in clay deposits in the Penobscot River region have furnished valuable contributions to the anthropological and historical lore of the Maine district.  His house in Brewer is a veritable museum of relics, which have to do not only with the early history of his family in Maine, but with the stirring events of the Revolution and War of 1812.

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Orrington History Resources

  • Bibles, family
  • Brewer-Orrington-Holden-Eddington, History and Families by Mildred Thayer and Families/Mrs. Edward W. Ames
  • Census and Cemetery Records of Orrington, Penobscot County, Maine 1790-1900 compiled by David L. Swett
  • Church records, Methodist and Congregational Churches
  • Comstock and Cline Atlas, Penobscot County, Maine 1875 and other maps
  • Family That Built the Barn by Russell Cox, content on the Wiswell family
  • Genealogy of the Descendants of Robert Goodale/Goodell of Salem, Mass. by George Williams, p. 1984
  • History of Orrington, Maine by H. Russell Cox and David L. Swett C. 1988
  • History of Penobscot County, Maine Illustrations and Biographical Sketches 1882
  • Interview Henry G. Wiswell, Orrington, Maine
  • Maine Historical Magazine 1890  Bangor Public Library and Maine State Library
  • Memories of Maine Magazine: http://www.memoriesofmainemagazine.com
  • Maine State Documents, type Orrington in search bar, digitized records http://statedocs.maine.gov/
  • Newspapers, Bangor Commercial or (Bangor Daily Commercial) 1872-1949 and Bangor Daily News
  • Orrington Historical Society website with Links to Local Resources and to Facebook (account not needed)
  • Penobscot County Probate Records in Bangor, Maine
  • Penobscot County Registrar of Deeds in Bangor, Maine
  • Orrington Penobscot County, Maine from the Wiswell Journals and Account Books 1787-1866, Vol. 7 David Swett
  • Records of Orrington, Maine compiled by David Livingstone Swett Bangor Public Library
  • Roots of a Family, Life in Rural Maine by Gail Anne Rowe c, 2012 Content on the Glidden and McGinley families
  • SAILING DAYS ON THE PENOBSCOT: The Story of the River and the Bay in the Old Days by George S. Wasson
  • Town Register Bucksport, Orland, Orrington, and Verona 1907 by Harry Edward Mitchell

  • Town Reports, 80 years available online
  • Town Reports of Orrington Maine – WordPress.com https://blhanscom.wordpress.com/

  • Vital Records of Orrington, Penobscot County, Maine prior to 1892 / compiled by David Livingstone Swett

Suggestions welcome!

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Orrington Waterways

Edited work by Lois-Ann Holmes, formerly of South Orrington, April 2011.

Clark Falls on Johnson Mill Road, Orrington, Maine

The Clark Falls location is documented back to 1839, when a member of the Freeman family built a flour mill at this site. This mill did not prove successful.

In 1850, Vinal Cooper took over this mill site and operated what was probably the first paper mill in the area. The mill made paper from rags, not wood pulp. Rag paper is superior but cannot be produced in large quantities. The mill was still operating in 1860.

Sometime after that date, the paper mill burned. Vinal Cooper replaced the mill with a shingle mill which the Johnson Brothers took over after 1880 and converted to sawing barrel headers. They also added a gristmill and cider mill to the operation.

The 1900s arrived with automobiles and electricity; there was a decline of industry in town. As of the 1920s, there seems to be no findable record of this mill. There also seems to be no record of the destruction of the buildings which must have been on this site.

The site has plenty of remnants of the old mill with some concrete footings, stone foundation remnants, etc.

For a video of Clark Falls, see the OHS Facebook page.

Walin’tuk Creek from Swetts Pond to the Penobscot River, Orrington, Maine

Another waterway connected to Clark Falls spills into the Penboscot River at the boat landing in South Orrington.  It is Walin’tuk Creek.  Located in a historic area of Orrington, the name of this creek is now Mill Creek. If one looks upstream, visible are the footings where an old mill used to rest.

If you were to follow that stream back from the Penobscot to its origin, you would be at Swetts Pond by the dam.  From Swetts Pond the stream meanders down along Dow Road, crosses under the road, crosses below the dead end of Stump Lane, coming down along Clarks Falls Road, going under Johnson Mill Road, over the Clark Falls, meandering some more along Johnson Mill Road, and crossing under Rt. 15 by the railroad tracks near Quarry Road on its way to the Penobscot.  In fact, were the concrete and earthen Swetts Pond Dam to breech, this is the flood plain it would affect as has happened twice due to beaver.

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Snow’s Corner, District No I: A Poem by Sid Whelden

This Poem Courtesy of the Heirs of Elaine Gray.
Donated to the Orrington Historical Society April 19, 2000.

Snow’s Corner, District No I

A one room school, with it’s two by four yard,
To play much ball in it, really was hard.
We mostly played “Scrub” Hardly room for that?
More suited it was for just Three Old Cat.

Equipment? Town furnished School House that’s all.
To play “Haley Baley Over” with pudding bag ball
No grass grew where we played “Tag” round the school.
Sharp corners, heels flying, the steps the “Gool.”

In Winter

The overflowed brook, gave us our skating,
The swing of our arms, gave us our rating:
In Spelling Matches, with Pierces Crossing,
Miss Read, or, Miss Dodge, doing the “Bossing.”

After the Spelling, The playing of games,
Now so silly? Like this. Some of the names?
Post Office, Green Carpet, and, Needles Eye,
If you didn’t get “picked” you wanted to die.

The Teachers? We had were mostly females,
In memory of them our mind never fails;
Jesse R. Nellie A. Josephine King,
Also Alice Dodge, Who taught us to sing?

Poor Dodge, acted a bit shy with us boys,
None of us added a bit to her joys.
She told me, President, I could be,
So smart? Some Hooey. Now, Look at me?

Male teachers/ The Phillips Boys, Mose, Chas. and Will,
Benton Lenthist, Red Head, Nickname B.L.
He almost pulled off Fred Bennet’s ear, ‘Cause?
He thought Fred to blame, – Maybe he was.

Of all the pupils who went to District One,
We’ll name a few, now, just for fun.
The Bakers and Smiths, from Baker Hill,
The Hilliers, Four, The oldest called Bill.

There was James, Frank, Winnie, or, Dunny,
From a family large. It wasn’t funny.
With Muriel, Arnold,and Steven that’s all,
Of school age, at that time, last name Hall.

Just two Rideouts, A girl and a boy,
The girl Evelyn, and the boy of course Roy.
The Wheldens, Christine, and a string bean kid,
Sidney, by name, mostly shortened to Sid.

The older boys, who in winter time went,
Polly P. Fred B. Hersey S. Galen Kent.
More girls, Daisy O. Ethel H. Hasel S.
Oh, Herbert Snow. Went west! That’s all I guess.

But , Yes, Left out of this tale is the name,
Bertha Freeman, Of Cats Cradle fame.
Teacher, Caught us playing, stood us out in the floor.
Made us play “Cats Cradle,” More and yet more.

The studies we had? I have left them out
All books, We went through and through, just about.
“How far did you go? Then it would appear
You should start again – Just about here.”

They got Algebra for us older guys
Just some more figgerin’ in disguise?
And, though we didn’t attend High School,
Our after life, proved us not a fool.

So, This ends the Saga of District One
No, Let’s say, That’s how it all begun;
There a few of us left, But, Are we old?
By the train of our thoughts, can our age be told.

Sure Sign, ie, Reminising?

Sid Wheldin X His Mark

A Note from Sidney Whelden, found at the bottom of the original typewritten poem: 

Dear School Supervisor –

This was written after my return from a visit to Maine and of course particularly to Orrington (last year 1959). I borrowed my step daughter’s typewriter and by dint of “pick and poke” hope I have made it readable.

Was pleased to see you again! Hope it will be possible to see you next summer.

Sincerely

Sidney

A Note from Orrington Historical Society Member Bruce B.:

Sidney Byron Whelden (b. Winterport 12 Jun 1885; d. Abington, Massachusetts 13 Aug 1975) was the son of Ezra Rodden Whelden (b. Frankfort 12 Jun 1847; d. prob Orrington 04 Nov 1914) and Emma (nee Eaton) Whelden (b. c. 1854 in ?; d. bef. 1892, poss. in Brewer [NFI]). He m. a “Jennie” (b. New York c. 1884) bef. 1920, and she either died or they divorced in the 1940s, as Sid remarried in 1950 in Massachusetts, aged 65.

In stanza 10 of the poem, the Christine mentioned is Sid’s older sister, Christine May Whelden (b. Winterport 18 Nov 1880; d. Jun 1954, m. Charles Wallace Puffer [b. Brewer 04 Feb 1878; d. 1953] on 28 Dec 1904).

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