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John Pendleton Farrow.

History of Islesborough, Maine online

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CHAPTER IV.
Schools and School-Houses.

■A BOUT the 3'ear 1823 the Legislature made a law re-
quiring- the taxing of real estate for the building of
school-houses, and repairing the same, in the districts
where they are situated, and the town then defined the
districts by limits, not by families or houses. rVmong the
first transactions of the town after the organization was to
divide the town into school districts.

At the commencement of the present centur}- the first
settlers were limited in books, and it is surprising that so
few grew up without learning to read or write. All the
books that they had were the Bible, Watts' hynni book
and the Almanac, which were resorted to on all occasions.
Many who never had but a few months' schooling became
good readers and writers, and spelled correcth- in after life.
The first schools were kept in rooms in some house in the
district, the teacher boarding around from house to house
in the district where he taught school. This practice was
kept up for more than fifty years. Each family would
contribute and haul their proportion of the fuel, which
was used in an open fire-place that burned half a cord a
day. The ferule and birch were often made use of, and at
times with great severity, whenever the teacher thought
necessarv, and were remembered bv the scholars as long-
as they lived. The first school books were the American
Preceptor, English Reader, Webster's Spelling Book,



6o HISTORY OK ISLKSBOROTCiH.

Walsh's AriLhniclic, C.rcenleaPs Graminav and Webster's
Dictionary.

A transient visit was occasionally made by some travel-
in<,» preacher, who would be hired to teach the winter
school, amon,^- whom were Lenniel Rich, Elder Macomber,
and Elder Ephraim Emery. The sunnner school was often
kept by some of the inhabitants' daughters. Among the
first teachers were Masters Powers, Abbott, Hall, W^itham,
Williams, Luce, Trueworthy, Andrew and George Pendle-
ton and Josiah Eames ; Mrs. Christina Thompson, Lydia
Phillips, Eliza Farrow, Betsey and vSally Eames and
Henr\- Rose ; and at that time there was a plan made of
the town, dividing it into seven school districts. I have
made diligent search, but have not been able to find the
plan. After a number of years they added a new district
known as the Bluff, or No. 8. These school-houses
remain on or near the same places wdiere they were first
located more than sixty years ago. That of district No.
I, situated on Seven-Hundred-Acre Island, remains the
same as originally built. It has been kept in repair, and
wdiile not ornamental it is comfortable.

In district No. 2, a new school-house was built a few
years ago, and is called by the inhabitants Dark Harbor
school-house.

In district No. 3 the original school-house is to be taken
down this year and a new one built. The school is known
as the Creek school.

In district No. 4 a new school-house was built a few
years ago. It is of good size with modern seats, is painted
white, and has green blinds. It is built on or near the
same place wdiere the old school-house stood. This dis-
trict is the largest in Islesborongh, and has the most
scholars. The school-house is known as the East Side
scliool-liouse.



HISTORY OP" ISLESBOROUGH. 6 1

111 district No. 5 the school-house was built iu 1864,
tweuty eight years ago, aud this year, 1892, has had ex-
teusive repairs. It is second in size in regard to scholars.
The school-house is known as the Ryder school-house.

District No. 6, called the Sprague or West district, is a
small one, having but a few scholars. The original
school-house is still standing, but is kept in good repair.

District No. 7, known as the Parker district, has one of
the best school-houses in town, having been recentlv
repaired. A high school is being taught in it the present
year. At present all the children in town have good
schools and competent teachers, and many are sent to
seminaries, high schools and commercial colleges, with
but little thought on their part of the hardships those
wdio preceded them sustained in order to acquire an educa-
tion. It remains to be seen whether with their education
they can fulfil their duties of life and make the record of
their fathers.

I wish each school could be supplied with a copy of the
town history, not as a special study, but for reference.
How many good compositions could be written from it ;
and the rising generation would better know what it cost
the first settlers to establish the town.



New Town -House.

In 1892 the town made a handsome appropriation for
1)uilding a new town-house, with accommodations for the
high school. It is built on the commanding eminence be-
tween Crow Cove and Bounty Cove, being the site of the
first meeting-house and town-house. A plan of the build-
ini>- is herein eiven.



62 HISTORY OF ISLESROKOUGH.

a

Rkprkskxtatives To the Legislatur]-: from
islesbo rough.

Josiah l-'arrow was a mciiibcr oi' the coii\-eiitioii for
framing a Constitution, 1S19— 20.

1823, i<S26 and 1829, Josiah Farrow.

1832 and 1836, Tlionias Boardnian.

1842, ..Varnnm Rose.

1839 and 1845, Dexter Farrow. Senator, 1847

1848, 1851 and 1852, Joseph Boardnian.

1855, Cah'in Hanies.

1858, Nelson Gilkey.

1862, Andrew P. Gilkey.

1864, Otis F. Coombs.

1867 and 1869, Thomas H. Parker.

1870 and '74, Calvin W. Sherman. Senator, 1881

1877, , Lorenzo Pendleton.

1880, Winfield S. Pendleton.

1889, Mark P. Pendleton.

1820. Thomas Waterman was the Representative from
North Haven and \'inal Haven, orio^inally Fox Islands;
not of Islesborono-h, as given by the ]\Iaine Register,
Islcsborongh being in the same class.

Justices of the Peace,

and the }-ears their names appear on the records.

John Gilkey, 1805 to 1809

Mighill Parker, 1818-1824

Josiah P'arrow, 1825-1836

John Payne, 1834-1840

Henry Rose, 1835

Francis Grindle, 1838

R. 1). Sprague, 1842-1866

Simon D. Sprague, 1844-1875



HISTORY OF ISLESBOROUGH. 63

Joshua Farrow, 1846-1866

Charles Nash, 1853-1879

Nelson Gilkey, 1861-1879

Rodolphiis Pendleton, 1865

Thomas H. Parker, 1867-1875

William P. Spragne, 1874, last commission dated March
15, 1888.

Joseph A, Sprague, 1878, last commission dated May
15, 1890.

x\lonzo Cooml)s, last commission dated April 27, 1886.

John P. Parrow, commission dated Feb. 6, 1889.

Physicians.

One of the worst troubles the first settlers had to con-
tend with was the want of a physician. There was no
regular doctor here until 1830. When sickness was in
auY of the families they would man a boat and cross
the bay, the people of the lower end going to Lincoln-
Yille, there get a team, and one of the part}' go to Camden
after Dr. Estabrook, he being Ycry popular with the
first settlers, and was employed by them as long as he
would come. He probably was their principal physician
for more than thirty }ears. The people of the upper end
of the town generally sent to Castine after Dr. OliYcr
jNIann. He has crossed the bay a good many times for
the Islesborough familiejs, never refusing to come, no mat-
ter how bad the weather. The town was inde1)ted to the
late Dr. Joseph L. Stevens, of Castine, who was called
there often for a large number of years. The old people
speak of him with great respect. Mrs. Lydia Pendleton
was called when there was no doctor (while the boat was
gone to Camden). She had acquired some practical
knowledge, and became very useful ; was known by the
inhabitants as Annt Lydia Jonathan.



64 HISTORY OF ISLKSnOROrOH,

The earliest plu'sician of \vhoin we have knowledge,
that practiced in Islesboroui^h, was Dr. John Payne. He
was here from 1S30 to 1840.

The next ph)-sician was Dr. Fairfield, who married
Thankfnl Phillips. She was a danohter of PHder Thomas
Ames. He came abont 1840, practicing for several years.
He was a snrgeon in the war of 181 2; served on board
the prixate armed 1)rigantine called the "vSconrge."

Dr. vS. D. Ihiz/ell came here abont 1852, practicing-
here a mimber of ^•ears. He was well ad\anced in years.
He moved away. The date of his death and his age
are nnknown.

Dr. John DeLaski came here from P'ox Island al)ont
1857. He was a man of good edncation, and a skillful
physician. He stayed only two or three years, then
moved back to Vox Island.

Dr. Moses Dakin came here, about i860, from Hope.
He was well advanced in years when he commenced prac-
ticing here. He was here a number of years, and was
respected, but somewhat eccentric.

Dr. Nathaniel Davis was here for a short time, and
though a regular practitioner, was not popular.

Dr. L. W. Hammons moved here in 1885, meeting with
fair success. Having a large family, he thought he could
do better, and moved to Belfast in 1891.

CmRCIIlvS AND jNIKKTIXOt-HouSIvS.

Prior to 1790 the religious ])ri\ileges of the town ^^■ere
few. Occasionally a minister came on to the island and
preached a few vSabbaths. That year Rew Isaac Case,
Baptist pastor at Thomaston, came here and preached,
and in 1791 he organized the first Baptist church. The
inhabitants were for many years Baptists of the old
school .



HISTORY OF ISI.ESBOROUGH. 65

In 1794 the town voted ^20 a year to Thomas i\mes as
minister. In 1800 the town employed the Rev. Charles
Thomas to preach. IMr. Thomas married Rachel Gilkey,
Jan. 30, 1788, and lived on the island many years. Rev.
Charles G. Porter in his memorial address at Winthrop,
1874, says that Mr. Case came here and settled, but I
doubt if he brought his family here. In 1804 Mr. Case
])aptised fort}'-three persons, who were admitted to the
church. The same year Thomas Ames was ordained
pastor of the church, continuing until 1809, when he
removed to Hope.

In 1809 Rev. Lenniel Rich was ordained pastor of the
church. He was born at East Machias, Jan. 10, 1780.
He married, while here, Grace, daughter of John Gilkey.
Published Feb. 16, 1810. He was dismissed in 1819, and
removed to Union or Hope, where he died in 1864.

About 1832 Rev. Ephraim W. Emery came. He mar-
ried here Temperance, widow of Stephen Pruden. Pub-
lished March 10, 1832. She was daughter of Benjamin
Williams. He continued here until after 1834.

Rev. William J. Durgin was ordained pastor of the
church in March, 1843. He died here Dec. 19, 1868.

In 1845 the church membership was one hundred and
twenty-eight. Since this time many other Baptist minis-
ters have preached here.

Many of the inhabitants came to meeting in their boats.
They brought their dinners with them, and would remain
till the afternoon service. Some came on horseback,
their wives riding on behind, the children walking with
their shoes in their hands, and when they got to church
putting them on. The men were dressed with long-tailed
coats made of blue broadcloth, with bright brass buttons,
with a ruffled shirt and a buff vest, a red handkerchief,
part of which would hang out -of their coat pocket. The



66 HISTORY OF ISLESBOROUOII.

ladies were dressed Avith short waists and short skirts ;
their feet covered with shoes, with a ])lack silk bow or a
buckle on top; a rnffle round the neck, and a head dress
called a calash.

The first nieetin^^-house was built wholly or in part b)-
the town. It was occupied b\' the P)a])tists, and by the
town for town meetings. It was begun soon after 1794,
and completed in 1804.' The building was thirty-seven by
forty, two stories high, and but a single door. It was
neatly finished inside and out. There were sixteen large
windows. The porch was about sixteen feet square on
the ground and sixteen feet high, divided into two rooms,
and a stairway to go up into the galleries. The house
was twenty feet posts, with a hip roof. It was placed
nearly north and south, and the pulpit was in the north
end, with winding stairs leading up to it. In front of the
pulpit on the ground floor, was what was called the
deacon's seat. The galleries ran around three sides of the
house. Across the south side were the singing seats oppo-
site the altar. The galleries were nine feet wide, with
four rows of seats rising one above the other. The under
part was plastered. It was finished with heavy mould-
ings. The galleries were supported with hea\\- columns
and finished with capitals. The work was done in a
thorough and workmanlike manner. In 1794 the town
raised fifty pounds to build the house, but it was not com-
pleted till 1804, when they had their first meeting. Mr.
Mark Dodge did the stone work, and laid the underpin-
ning. Simon, his brother, worked with him. Capt.
Stephen Pendleton and Noah Dodge loaned money to the
town f(u- the house. There was no steeple or chimne}-,
and no means of warming the house were provided.

Tithing-men were chosen by the town, whose special
duty was to enforce regulations for observing the Sabbath.




OLD TOWN HOUSE AND MEETING HOUSE.




NEW TONATN HOUSE— 1892.



history of islesborough. d']

First Baptist IMeeting-House, i 794-1804.

Till' follo'c'ing is a copy of tlir oiiiriiml g)Oiiiid flan , 7L'ith tlir names of pi'7i'-07C'iiers.]



Jonathan
Parker




Pulpit



Deacon Seat



Joshua
Dodge



Simon Simon

Pendleton Sprague



Mighill
Parker



Robert
Pendleton



James
Sherman



Elisha
Nash



Mark
Pendleton



David
Thomas


Rathburn
D. Spragne


Jeremiah
Hatch


Rathburn
Dodge


William
Pendleton


Paoli
Hewes


Robert
Coombs


Ellison
Lassell



Elisha
Eames



Robert
Sherman



Josiah
Farrow



— o



Benjainin
Williams


Amos
Williams


Noah
Dodge


Joseph
Pendleton


John
Farrow


John
Pendleton


Joseph
Williams


Thomas
Gil key



Thomas
Williams



Isaac
Coombs



Mark
Dodge



Joseph
Pendleton



Anthony
Coombs



Fields
Coombs



Robert
Farnsworth



Joseph
Boardman



Stairs to Gallerv



This meeting-house was occupied until 1845, when the
Baptists built a new church.



68



HISTORY OF ISLESBOROron.



[Ground plan of the St'cond Baptist A/ft'ti>i,^-//oiise. built in /S./-;, -.cilli Dw names
of the peiu-holders.





1/ «


•J! «

- c
















u

X.

-J


u -


^ r


0.=






I'u


pit




d K
— >c










13 14 !5




r6



&

On






M




42

0-
'-/I


41 40 ;,9


Daniel
Hatch



r.

■€>


Dea. John
Pendleton


Dea. Thomas
Gilkey


Elisha
Pendleton


John
Gilkey


Dea. James
Hatch


Roscoe
Gilkey


Nelson
Gilkey


Robert
Trim


Avery
Gilkey


Elsie
Pendleton


Thomas
Williams


George
Hatch


Eben
Babbidge


Winsor
Williams


Charles
Pendleton


Enima
Farrow


James
Hatch


Edwin
Eames


0. F.
Scott


Catherine
Pendleton


Aniasa
Hatch


Benjamin
Hatch


F. C,
Pendleton


Emily
Pendleton


Nathaniel
Hatch


William
Dodge


Judson
Philbrook


Calvin
Sherman


Lvither
Farnsworth


Charles
Dodge


Justina
Thomas


Joseph
Pendleton


Simon
Sprague


David H.
Rose


Anna
Pendleton


Richmond
Pendleton


Dolly W.
Farrow


William
Farrow


James F.
Grindle


James B.
Adams


Henry
Boardnian


Noah
Dodge


Emery
Williams


Isaac
Warren










Pvam
Hatch




^^iiWiii!::iiiLi.u:!ijii









i-:S-=L^-.^J3'^"^



^<!^_**J!



FREE BAPTIST CHURCH.




FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH.



HISTORY OF ISLESBOROUGH.



69



The Free Baptists built a meetiiig-house at the northerly
end of the to\vn in 1843. Elder Ephraini Coombs was the
first preacher there the same year.



[Croiind plan of thr Fire Baptist Mrrli)i;j:-Hous,\ built in iS^j. -viih t/ir na>.
of pc:c-lioId,'}-s.\




Benj. R.
Redman



Pillsbiiry
Coouibs



Phileiia
Warren



Isaac
iuraress



John
Veazie



Martin
Coombs



Gamaliel
Pendleton



Henry
Coombs



William
Rvder



Stephen
Knowlton



William
Coombs



Pulpit



I,S
Alonzo
Wvman


36

George A.

Warren


16
Austin
Trim


George
Warren


17
Wilson
Coombs


34
p;iizabeth
Sprague


Rathburn D.
Sprague


Mary J.
Warren


19
Andrew P.

Gilkev


William
Veazie


20

P'mery N.

Bunker


SI

David II.

Rose


21

Pillsbury

Coombs

22

John

Veazie


30

Otis

Cooml)S


29
Solomon
Coombs


Joseph
G rover


■ 2S

Solomon
Haynes


24


27
McFarland


"■"'


26

Jairus

Coombs





n ij




=!


a:;^:


, S U






X =


fS


■I. f.



s o



Judith
Wvman



Benjamin
Rvder



41

Thomas H.

Parker



42
p;dgar
Bunker

43
Millard
Parker



44

Noah D.

Rose



45

Samuel

Marshall



46

George

Dix



47
Kdwin
Coombs



4,s
Andrew-
Marshall



49
Shubael
Pendleton



Simon
Dodge



JO HISTORY OF ISLKSROROrOII.

The followiii'i- is a list of ministers or preachers in
Islesboron,y^h, witli the year in which their names appear
on the records :

Re\-. Thomas Ames, 1789- 1807.
Rev. Charles Thomas, 1800.
Rev. Lemnel Rich, 18 10.
Rev. John Still, about 18 10.
Rev. Enoch Stedman, 1817.
Rev. Samuel Macomber, 1825.

Rev. Ephraim H. Emery, i83i-'42, here a.i^ain i873-'76.
Re\-. \'arnum .S. Rose, i844-''65, born in Islcsborouoh,
Rev. William J. Duroin, i844-''67, died Dec. 19, 1868.
Rev. John Clark, 1849-^56.
Rev. A. Ross, 1850.
Rev. I). Small, 1 855-^56.
Rev. William Small, 1856.
Rev. Aaron Clark, 1857.
Rev. PMward Turner, i858-'6o.
Rev. James Small, 1861.
Rev. J. R. Bowler, i86i-'62.
Rev. C. M. Roades, i866-'69, again i872-'75.
Rev. N. E. Everett, 1870.
Rev. Jabcz Eletcher, 1875.
Rev. N. A. Avery, 1879.

Rev. Ephraim Coombs, born in Islesborough, died 1S72.
Rev. Joshua Pendleton, of Islesborough, died at Isles-
borough.
Rev. Hugh R. Hatch, born in Islesborough ^Nlay 20, 1865.
Rev. J. K. West, 1886, Free Ikiptist.
Rev. William A. Atchley.
Rev. David Haggctt, 1877.
Rev. MacIVIaster, 1865.



history of islrsborough. 7i

Fragmentary History and Incidents.

In the war of 181 2, when the English ships were in
Castine, there was a nentrality established between the
settlers on the island, on acconnt of its sitnation. The
inhabitants fonnd a ready market for their prodnce.
Everything that they had to sell brought good prices, and
to a certain extent the}- reaped a harvest. They had bnt
little land under cultivation, and their supplv was limited.
Their money being scarce, they would get together all
that was possible to obtain, and carry it to Castine, and
sell to the English ships. The neighboring towns hearing
of this, would bring their produce over to the island, the
island people carrying it to Castine as their own produc-
tion ; the English thinking Islesborough the garden of
Eden. Their action on this occasion was not patriotic,
but considering the hard times they had to get along, they
were excusable in a manner; and in those days, as well as
the present, they sacrificed principle for money. The
neutrality was not carried out to the letter, in the case
of Mr. Henry Boardman. He had a }'oke of oxen, which
the English wished to purchase for beef. On his refusing
to sell the oxen they told him they would take them with-
out paying for them. Discretion being better than valor
the oxen were sold.

Upwards of sevent}' families were herein 181 2 and 1S13.
Great hardships were endured in consequence of the high
cost of the necessaries of life. Some, without doubt,
would have entered the military or naval service, but on
account of their insular situation thev were not permitted
to join either side. The inhabitants weie not hostile to
the United States government. The harsh and frigid re-
alities of war were sensibly felt. Commerce was at an
end, and hardly a coaster dared \-enture out of the harbor.
The price of pro\'isions was fabulous : flour twentv dol-
lars per barrel ; molasses one dollar and a half per gallon ;



/-



HISTORY OF ISLRSBOROUGH.



tea from two to three dollars per pound ; coffee forty cents
per pound.*

Scarcely half a century has passed since the inhabitants
would carefully rake up the ashes oyer the coals in their
fire ]ilaces, when rctirin*^' for the ni,^ht, as the\- had no
means of li*;litiusy their fires exceptin*;- by a flint and steel,
which was kept in a tinder box. This process of oettino-
fire was obtained with considerable trouble, so if their fire
went out they would often <^o to their nearest neighbor
and oet a fire-brand or some liye coals (in a box with a
handle, which was made for that purpose). The first
matches were of lucifer or sulphur, ignited by drawing-
through sand paper. They were introduced here about
1839. Afterwards a match called locofoco became uniyer-
sal, and at the present time when a person goes yer)- earh-
to a neighbor's house, he will often be greeted with ''Did
N'ou come after fire?"

The first inhal^itants, after clearing a part of their land
and building their log cabin, next proyided themseh-es
with a boat, which was indispensable to them. It was
used for fishing, going to mill, to cross to the main laud,
to sell their produce and get their stores, and was used on
Sunday to go to meeting ; not to attend diyine worship or
go to church, but simply to go to meeting. Some of the
more wealthy, about the year 18 15, purchased horses, and
the first six that were in Islesborough were owned b\-
Rathburn Dodge, Jonathan Parker, INIighill Parker, Wil-
liam Pendleton, John Pendleton and Joseph Boardman.
The)- would ride on horseback, their wi\es sitting behind
them on a pillion, when going to meeting or yisiting; some
of the neighbors. The first carriage was owned by Rath-
burn Dodge, and was called a "chaise."

* Williamson's History of Belfast, page 435.



HISTORY OF ISLESBOROUGH. y^)

When the first settlers came here the island was mostly
covered with spruce, with a scattering of beech, birch and
iliaple. All that had ever been here to stop were the Tar-
ratine Indians, who would \-isit the island in the siimmer.
The waters abounded in fish and the shores in clams.
The wild ducks were plenty in the co\-es, and on the shore
hatched their )-oung. The wild fox dug his hole unscared.
The mink was plenty on the rocky shores, with none to
molest but the Indian, who paddled his birch canoe along
the shores a few weeks in summer. Tradition informs us
that the salmon were so plenty that the first town poor
protested against being served with salmon more than
twice a week.

The island was taken up mosth^ in lots of one hundred
acres. After felling the trees not more than one-third
of the land was fit to cultivate, the residue being ledgy and
swampy. The land that they could cultivate produced
bountifully. One of their principal crops was potatoes,
which the}- would ship to Boston, where they would get
nine pence (i2)^ cents) per bushel. The average price
paid for their land to the proprietors was about one hun-
dred and twenty-five dollars for each farm. They built
their houses one story, with three rooms, bedroom and
buttery on the ground floor. They had one chimnev in
the centre of the house, which would take ten thousand
bricks to build. The fire-place in the kitchen would
l)urn cord wood six feet long. The kitchen w^as orna-
mented with a pole hung from the ceiling used for drying-
pumpkins, herbs, clothes, etc., with a gun hung up on the
partition. They used sand on the floors and cedar boughs
for a broom.

The people were united, and would often club together

and build a coaster, which their sons would often take

charge of at the age of twenty years. Their mone}- was

principally Spanish milled dollars. Their hospitality was

10



74 HISTORY OF ISLHSROROUGH.

unlimited, and the stranger found a Avelcomc at their
table. Honesty and plain dealing were characteristic of
them. The children were brought up to respect the agedj
always using the title "sir" to the men, and would take
off their hats or make a courtesy. Their carriages were
supported by thorough-braces for springs, and were so
well made that the>' would last for half a centur>-. The
first sleigh had but one thill, with tugs hitched to a
whiffle -tree. Now the supposed millionaire, summer
guest, with his span of horses and his barouche, rides the
streets, while those who are native here, and "to the
manor born," look on with an anuised surprise which he
hardly appreciates.

Mr. Mark Dodge owned an island in east Penobscot bay
by the name of Beach Island, which he deeded to his son
Joseph. He got Esquire Nash to make out the convey-
ance. When he signed the deed he wrote his name in
capital letters. "Why did you sign your name all in
capitals, Mr. Dodge?" asked the justice. "Did you not
know that ^lark Dodge was a capital man, sir?"

Jack Farrow was a dog that was a friend to every-
body, and every one was friendly to Jack. He would go


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