Tag Archives: Bowden

North Orrington Grammar School, 1928


Names on the back of the photo:

Dagney Erickson, Virginia (?), ?Elmer (?), Phillip Wayman?, Ruth Haywood, Leslee (?), ?Clyde Baker, Evelyn? Harriman, Ella Leathers

Stella Wilson, Ellen Stuart, Louis Bowden, Marvin Hall, Norris (?), A(?) Cunningham, Billy Phillips

Olivia (?), Oved Lepoint, Jodie Foster, Bessie (?), Cl(?) Hyde(?), Clayton, Pauline Smith, Frank Leathers, Granden(?) Gray, Willard (?)

Mary Cunningham, Virginia Jones, Dorothy – Dora Wade, Willard Hall, Ruth Rideout, Colin(?) Rice, Birdie McQueen(?), Richard Emery, John (?)

If you recognize any of these names and would like to submit a correction, please comment below or email info@orringtonhistoricalsociety.com. 

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A Brief Review of Orrington Cemeteries, by Henry Wiswell

Thank you to David Swett for his research efforts.
This text was retyped by Philippa Harvey in March 2011.

          Helen Tupper asked me to give a talk today, and I dragged my feet long and hard because I do not consider myself a good or interesting speaker.  I finally agreed as she said I could speak on town history or my family history, which has been written.  This way it would not require a lot of research on my part as I was not up on the history of cemeteries in Orrington.

          I made the mistake of asking David Swett if he knew where information on the cemetery that was near the old meeting house might be.  He gave me two large, 500 page books transcribed from Historical Society papers and a hundred pages that he had transcribed from the town clerks’ Book #1.  He also gave me his transcriptions of the gravestones of Orrington cemeteries.  WELL!  I am President of the North Orrington Cemetery Association and had wanted this information on the Marston Cemetery to make our files more complete.  I put all this data along with our cemetery data on a spreadsheet and alphabetized it.  Mary Bowden and Abigail Williamson checked it and corrections were made.  I could not seem to stop so I have done the same to all the cemeteries in town, active or not.  The data on the other cemeteries is being checked and these files will be up-graded.  That info, along with cemetery plans, is here for you to look at if you wish.  What a job Helen got me into.  But then, this is the way that most of the jobs that are supposed to be of little effort turn out to be.

          Most of the material I will be presenting this evening is information from David Swett’s research.  Not enough can be said about the effort and determination that he has put into this.  He has or is in the process of copying items about Orrington up to the early twentieth century.  These records include but are not limited to: town clerk records, historical society papers (two volumes), registry of deed records, court records, probate records – and David even went to the county seats of Wiscassett and Ellsworth to do this.  I have arranged the cemetery information from his work chronologically, hoping that it makes sense.

          Orrington was incorporated in 1788.

          In 1780 Joshua Chamberlain (grandfather to Civil War Joshua Chamberlain of Brewer) deeded to the town for $45.00 one hundred fifty square rods, or just over nine-tenths of an acre of land, for a meeting house near where the Town Pound is located on the Main Road with the stipulation that it would be used only for a meeting house, outbuildings, and sheds.

          In 1799 the town elected a committee to see to clearing a road on the town lot to the burying ground and to clear the same.  It is hard to tell if this reference is the meeting house or the Old Settlers Cemetery, but in any case the first cemetery by name or location is from a deed dated 1803, again from Joshua Chamberlain.  It looks like the same lot, only he waived the Meeting House only requirement and allowed a burying ground to be located there.  By 1806 Joseph Rooks, who apparently owned the land on the other side of the road, deeded four-tenths of an acre to the town for $24.37.

          In 1809 the town voted to look into the question of a cemetery located on Benjamin Snow’s property (this had to have been Baker Hill) to see if the town had the title.  Apparently they did not because nothing else is written for this cemetery.

          In 1811 the town bought the private cemetery which is now called Dean Hill from Rev. Enoch Mudge.  They bought one-fourth acre for $75.00.  This was a triangular piece not bordering the road.

          By 1826 the town chose a committee to look into buying a lot from Mr. Wheelden.  This is the Old Settlers Cemetery that is no longer active.  A committee was to procure a deed and fence it in.  The next year the town voted to fence the cemetery near Ephraim Goodale’s.  This must be the now discontinued cemetery on the Goodale Road, which is also discontinued.  In 1828 the town voted to purchase and fence the Old Settlers Cemetery. I believe that your group has recorded the names of these two cemeteries previously.  Swett’s list agreed very closely with yours.

          Again in 1829 the town voted to fence in the burying ground near the meeting house.

          In 1834 a piece of land was bought from Samuel Swett for a cemetery.  This plot became the Oak Hill Cemetery.

          In 1836 the town again raised the question of whether to fence the Meeting House cemetery and the new one purchased from Samuel Swett.

Some of the expenses paid on the cemeteries work were as follows: 

          One day myself on fence ………. $1.00

          A boy for four hours …………….. $.12

          A horse ………………………………..$.12

          In 1850 the selectmen were requested to lay out a graveyard in the vicinity of Nathaniel Marston’s property.  By that fall the selectmen had made a deal with Mr. Thomas Barstow to purchase one and one-fourth acres of land opposite old Mr. Marston’s house.  The property measured ten rods on the road and twenty rods deep.

          In 1855 a committee on burying grounds was appointed, and they finally got down to business.  They (J.H. Nickerson was chairman) purchased eight or ten acres of land from Warren Nickerson Esq. for $500.00 to be paid for over a three year time frame.  Notes and deeds were taken in a private capacity.  The chairman reserved two and one-fourth acres for the burying ground (this abutted the previous lot purchased from Mr. Mudge) and sold the rest for $525.00 with $250.00 down and the rest to be a note for three years.  After deducting $5.00 for interest the town ended up with the cemetery and $20.00 to boot.

          At some point in 1855 the committee examined the burying ground near the old meeting house.  They found very little good ground left and there was no opportunity to enlarge.  They also recognized that the fence was out of repair so they recommended discontinuing this ground.  They also found the graveyard at South Orrington was about all occupied, and it too had no room for enlargement.  They looked around and could not find any other area that would justify paying the price being asked.  A very depressing report was given for the condition and status of all the burying grounds in town.  The committee recommended having one large centrally located cemetery in town.

          Also in 1855 an article was placed in the town warrant in which the committee recommended the corpses be removed from the Meeting House Cemetery.  Friends of the deceased would be consulted to see where they would like the remains moved.  In September of that year the committee was instructed to move the corpses of those for whom consent had been given by the survivors.  Other corpses would be moved to condense the yard, and they would fence in the same.  The Committee on Graveyards gave their second and final report at the September meeting in which they stated that much pains were taken to consult the friends of the deceased and that all had finally consented to have the corpses removed.

          Forty were moved to the upper yard in town. (No doubt Marston)

          Three were moved to Brewer.

          The remaining thirty-eight were moved to the Dean Hill lot. 

          There were one hundred eighty-one moved total.

They were instructed to build a fence around the Dean lot, which they did and described it very well in their report.  Some of the fence from the old yard was used for this.  They also reported that they were able to find suitable land in South Orrington for a cemetery from Mr. Wheelden at $1.50 for two acres, which became Pine Hill Cemetery.  The total cost listed by the Committee was:

          Lot purchase at South Orrington ……………………… $1.50

          Fencing the same …………………………………………….$95.78

          Blasting and digging stones ………………………………$132.71

          Moving one hundred, eighty-one corpses …………..$160.34

          Total……………………………………………………………….$539.29

Note:  This does not add up to the mentioned figure so no doubt there is something left out.  The labor for moving the corpses was typically billed at three days labor at $5.50.  For the next few years several bills were submitted to the town for digging stones and blasting rocks in graveyards.

          By 1859 it appears that one of the old graveyards on Center Drive between Johnson Mill Road and East Dow Road was dug up and the bodies were taken to Oak Hill.   

          It would seem miraculous today if we could get a cemetery moved from conception to completion in the span of one year, but it was accomplished then.

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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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The Bowden Farm

by Bruce Bowden

Article republished from http://www.curranhomestead.org/page30.php with permission of author Bruce Bowden and the Curran Homestead.
Photos courtesy of Barry Bowden.

Located on King’s Mountain in Orrington, just a short distance from The Curran Homestead, this farm was originally the homestead of an early Orrington settler, Ephraim Goodale.  Born in Worcester County, Massachusetts in 1772, Ephraim was part of the large migration of early Americans leaving increasingly congested areas such as Boston and Cape Cod to seek their fortunes in the vast expanses of untamed wilderness in the District of Maine.  (After the Revolutionary War, Maine remained a territory governed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts until achieving statehood in 1820.) He built a homestead at the intersection of the King’s Mountain Road (now called Center Drive) and the busy thoroughfare leading to Swett’s Pond (later known as the Goodale Road); the area came to be known as Goodale’s Corner, and, unlikely as it may seem today due to its rural location, in the nineteenth century it was a hub of activity and commerce, boasting a school, a small store, a brickyard, a harness-maker/cobbler, and a small inn which also housed a post office. Ephraim’s youngest son, Ephraim Jr., married Lucinda Martin (a great-granddaughter of Jonathan Buck, founder of the neighboring town of Bucksport) in 1831, and made this area his home until his death in 1887.

The next owner of the farm, Charles H. Chapman, had been a teacher at the nearby Goodale’s Corner School, and, having purchased the home with his wife Laura from Walter Goodale, resided there until his death in 1931.

Donald F. Bowden purchased this farm in 1932 from Charles Chapman’s daughter, Onata Deane.  Abutting the dairy farm of the man who would soon be his father-in-law, Orrington selectman Raymond L. Perkins, Sr., the farm had fallen into disrepair as Mr. Chapman’s health declined.  While courting Mr. Perkins’ eldest daughter, Thelma, Donald undertook major repairs to the farmhouse and its outbuildings, raising them up with jacks and cribbing, leveling them, hewing new sills and beams, and generally “setting things right.” Donald and Thelma were married in 1934 and began a half-century-long career in farming, which included a dairy herd, wood products, an apple orchard, raising vegetable crops and rearing six sons.

The farm Donald purchased was not overly large, even by modern standards; at the time of sale, it totaled just over six acres. With the gift of ten acres from his father-in-law’s adjoining farm and gradual purchases of abutting and nearby woodlands, the farm eventually comprised several hundred acres, though most of it was not contiguous.

Typical of most farmers in rural Maine, Donald supported his growing family by a variety of means; in addition to the dairy and orchards mentioned above, the farm income was supplemented by the sale of birch logs used for veneer and for plugs to be inserted into the ends of rolls of paper manufactured in nearby Brewer; by the cultivation of vegetable crops for the canning plant in Ellsworth; by the occasional sale of under-performing dairy cattle for beef; by wages Donald earned as the foreman on State road-building projects; and by numerous other industrious means of “getting by.”

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The farm of Donald F. and Thelma (née Perkins) Bowden at Goodale’s Corner in the 1940s. Originally built by early Orrington settler Ephraim Goodale in the early 1800s for his son Walter, the structure was destroyed by fire in 1958. The small clapboard building at far right is the country store owned and operated by Donald’s first cousin (twice removed) Walter H. Bowden.

On February 15, 1958, in the wee hours of a bitterly cold Maine winter’s night, the wood-fired furnace failed and the tinder-dry timbers of the old farmhouse erected nearly a century and a half before caught fire.  The family, clad only in their nightclothes, fled to a neighboring house to escape the subzero temperatures; Donald remained on the scene to await the fire department’s arrival and ensure that any potential passersby, seeing the house engulfed and unaware that all had escaped safely, would not attempt a rescue.  The entire house burned to ashes.  No one in the family was injured, but all of their personal possessions were consumed in the conflagration – with the exception of two leather coats and a chainsaw.  Fortunately, due to the fledgling Orrington Volunteer Fire Department’s diligent efforts, the flames were stopped at the wood shed, thus sparing the remainder of the farm buildings and the dairy herd.

With their home destroyed, the family relocated to the nearby home of Clifford and Beulah Bowden (who were Donald’s brother and Thelma’s sister), and the Bowden dairy cattle and other farm chores were tended from a slightly greater distance.  Over the course of the following spring and summer, the community rallied around the family, helping Donald saw lumber from timber harvested on his woodlots, pouring a new concrete foundation, and constructing the new farmhouse.  Assistance from neighbors, relatives and concerned community members made work progress quickly, and the Bowden family celebrated Christmas in their new home that same year.

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The Bowden farm in May of 1967. Donald and Thelma’s fourth son, Barry, who had graduated from the University of Maine at Orono that same month and was preparing to seek his destiny in the world, climbed to the top of a tall pine tree in the fencerow between the pasture and orchard, and took this photograph of his boyhood home in its last years as a dairy farm. At left is the barn and milk house; center, the garage, wood shed and farmhouse (which was rebuilt after fire destroyed the original in 1958); at right is the shingle mill.

After their youngest son Keith graduated from the University of Maine and left the area, Donald and Thelma sold the last of the dairy herd; the labor-intensive nature of dairy farming was not well-suited to a one-man operation. Donald and Thelma’s grandson Bruce remembers a visit from his grandparents just after the last cow had been sold; as they were about to leave, Donald stated the he was going to do something that he had never done before: After more than a half-century working as a dairy farmer, he was going to buy milk in a store on the way home.

Even though their dairy herd had been sold into other pastures, this was not the end of agricultural activity at the Bowden farm. With the demands of dairy chores such as milking and haying now absent, Donald and Thelma focused their attention on their apple orchards. Donald had planted an orchard comprising over 150 trees in the early 1930s, and these trees bore fruit for the rest of his life. In addition to favorite apple varieties such as MacIntosh and Cortland, there were also pears, plums and apple cultivars which are no longer common: Yellow Gravenstein, Red Astrachan, Red Spy and Northern Spy. In the early 1980s Donald renovated a cider press given to him by his neighbor and brother-in-law, Raymond Perkins Jr., and folks who were fans of Donald’s apples now had another reason to anticipate cool fall weather: cool gallon jugs of sweet cider, freshly pressed from his apples.

The Bowden orchard, May 1967. After taking the previous photograph of the farm buildings from atop a tall pine, Barry turned 180° and captured this image of the trees in his father's apple orchard in full bloom. In the distance (though not discernable) is Brewer Lake.

The Bowden orchard, May 1967. After taking the previous photograph of the farm buildings from atop a tall pine, Barry turned 180° and captured this image of the trees in his father’s apple orchard in full bloom. In the distance (though not discernable) is Brewer Lake.

Donald passed away in late 1992 after several years of declining health, and Thelma continued to reside at the farm for another decade, when her own failing health necessitated a move to an assisted-living facility in nearby Bangor. The farm sat idle for the better part of a decade, with the exception of annual mowing of the pastures by Donald and Thelma’s eldest son Richard. Thelma passed away in 2008, aged 96.

A new chapter in the history of the Bowden Farm has just begun: Donald and Thelma’s youngest son Keith has moved into the home of his youth, and another generation of Bowdens is in residence on the farm Ephraim Goodale carved out of the wilderness so many years ago.

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