Stockton Springs Report
Dawn Furbush emails to advise me of news quite often. I can't tell you how much I appreciate her help. Dawn used to be our town columnist. I believe an illness prevented her from continuing, but it is in her blood now. Maybe we should start one of those bylined columns. Dawn tells me the Shellfish Committee does not meet during the winter months and will resume its meetings the fourth Thursday in April 2013. The committee needs members. She asks that you “please contact the town manager for more information or if you are interested in serving on the committee.”
The Harbor Committee will not meet in December. It will resume its monthly meetings on Jan. 10, 2013.
Donations in the amount of $370 were received on Election Day to the Keep the Heat On heating fund. Thank you to the volunteers who manned the table and to the members of the community that donated to this fund. As most of you know, this fund was established through a fundraiser several years ago to assist town residents who need help heating their homes and may not qualify for assistance through other sources. The fund has already helped two families this month, and winter hasn't started yet. If you need help heating your home, contact the town manager.
The fund will pay for 100 gallons of fuel oil or, if you heat with wood, pellets or propane, the equivalent of 100 gallons of fuel oil. The high cost of everything has all of us tightening our belts, and there are some people in our community who will have to make the choice between medicine, food or fuel. It's my understanding that the LI-HEAP Program at Waldo CAP is backlogged with applications and may not be available until December. This makes it even harder on those who need help heating their homes. If you are able to donate to the fund, please make your check payable to the town of Stockton Springs and write "Heating Fund" in the memo portion of the check. I know I already wrote about the Keep the Heat On fund. But I believe it bears repeating.
The Town Office Christmas tree is going up in the Town Hall. Donations of gifts for children and adults are needed for citizens of the town who aren't able to afford gifts. Anyone in town can come i, during regular business hours and pick gifts from under the tree to provide for their family. There will also be handmade mittens and hats available for anyone who needs them.
Tis the season
Thanksgiving and the aftermath Black Friday have come and gone, and the Christmas shopping season is upon us. Some know that I am opposed to discussing other towns in our column. This column is about Stockton Springs. The other towns have their own columnists. However, this week I am making an exception to tell you the location of Emmanuel Church's Angel Tree. It is at Tozier's Market in neighboring Searsport. I already visited it and removed a boy and girl angel. It saddened me to see that no toys were listed on any of the angels. Only clothing articles were written on the white paper angel silhouettes. A child should not be in need of clothing. Well, a child should not be in need. But if need be on them, they should only need toys. We are putting a toy or two in with ours, just in case the parents were the ones who made the list. You know how parents can be sometimes.
Ladies Aid of Sandy Point
The Ladies Aid of the Sandy Point Congregational Church will be holding their annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 9 a,m, to 1 p.m. at the American Legion Hall on Rte. 1 in Sandy Point. There will be fancywork, homemade baked goods, candy, Christmas items, gift baskets, jewelry, white elephant items and more. There will be a large selection of items at reasonable prices. A quilt will be raffled, and there will be door prizes. Luncheon will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information call 567-3204. Thank you, Mac Smith, for submitting the information on the ladies' behalf.
Stockton Springs Historical Society News
Thank you, Marion Fisher, for emailing me about the Stockton Springs Historical Society's their annual Christmas party at the Colcord House, Station and Main streets at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. All Library volunteers are invited, as always, to share this special time with the Historical Society folks. It will be a potluck dinner, with turkey and dressing, as well as ham, furnished by the Society, along with mashed potatoes and gravy. Those attending are asked to bring their choice of vegetable, salad, breads or dessert. Drinks will be provided. There will be entertainment as well, so come and enjoy.
Mrs. Fisher advises that they know that this year they are competing with Christmas at French's Point. They start at 1 and are usually over by 3 or so to hopefully give folks an opportunity to attend both events if they want.
Tree Lighting at French's Point
The Third Annual Yuletide Community Tree Lighting is being held at French's Point on Sunday, Dec. 2, from 1-5 p.m. This event has grown each year, and this year is no exception. There will be activities for the children, a bazaar with local artists and craftspeople displaying their products -- a good way to support local businesses, artists and craftspeople and finish that last-minute shopping, or start your shopping. Free snacks will be provided by the sponsors of this event -- French's Point and The Good Kettle. The Belfast Bay Fiddlers will perform at 3 p.m. This event is free for children 12 and under and $3 for adults, or a non-perishable donation for the Searsport Food Cupboard. Santa arrives at 4 and the tree will be lighted and caroling at 5 p.m. Come join friends, family and neighbors and welcome the holiday season at French's Point.
Concert in the round
The Mount View Chamber Singers return to the Stockton Springs Community Church on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. These incredibly talented high school young people present a concert in the round that will warm the hearts of the listeners and set the tone for a meaningful Christmas celebration for us all. All are invited, and there is no charge for this very special musical event. Thank you, Mrs. Fisher, for providing that information.
From the columnist
I watched them build the home I grew up in. I was 5 years old and would walk down from the rental the contractor put us in when we moved to Georgia from New Orleans. Our home wasn't quite ready. I went back as an adult and relived the history of the Davis place. I looked at the remains of our tree house, the chips we made in the American brick walls of the house's exterior and noted the trees in the backyard that were not there when I was a child. Our backyard was the neighborhood ballpark.
The home I live in now was built prior to the Civil War. I know most of its history, but some of it is still a mystery to me. My father-in-law, Jack McLaughlin, bought the home from Beulah in 1946. I don't know who Beulah was, or even if I have the spelling of her name correct. But apparently, Beulah was popular woman, as when Jack was on the road for Greyhound, men would toss stones up to Laverne's mother's bedroom and call out Beulah's name. One night Laverne's mother had enough of it and hollered out the window, “Beulah don't live here no more.” I used that incident in a story I once wrote.
Beulah bought the house from Angus Holmes of the Holmes Sardine Cannery, whose remains lie on the shore down below us and are as familiar to me as the back of my own hand.
Jack tells me that Mr. Holmes bought the place from Dr. Cole, whom Jack believed to be the cape's first resident doctor. According to Faustiana Hichborn in the "Historic Sketch of Stockton Springs," that information is accurate. She writes that "Dr. J S Cole, an invalid, moved from Swanville to the Lowder Brook home” in the late 1800s. If Jack is correct,then I am writing our column in the Lowder Brook home. I have no information regarding the owner previous to that time. However, none of the maps I have seen have this house sitting here prior to the Civil War.
Johnathan Lowder, for whom the brook is named, was a gunner at Fort Pownal and is in the Goldthwait Waste Book. I don't know his rank at the time, but the Maine Historical Magazine refers to him as Col. Lowder, and officers resided on the shore side of Fort Pownal. He purchased lots 11 and 12 from Goldthwait, so I assume Lowder Brook would run through those lots. Lowder Brook runs behind out home, turns down in our field and dumps into Fort Point Cove at Grant's Cove.
However, I don't believe he lived on lot 11 or 12. Col. Lowder was noted for his good penmanship and was employed by Robert Treat, who owned the first store in Penobscot Falls, now Bangor. The MHM lists Johnathan Lowder as the owner of Lot 29, just above Mount Hope. Then he moved to Castine and was the Indian agent, or Truck Master. He remained there until 1789, when he returned to Mount Hope and died in 1814.
So, I still don't know who built this house. But all is not lost. Local archaeologists Paul Bock and Sharon Catus are helping me look into the matter on a professional level. We are currently digging in our yard looking for signs of the Indian Carrying Ground and evidence of General Thomas Pownal's first trip to the area. He landed in our cove with 400 men and cut a swath of land to the Jellison Harbor, now Stockton Harbor. After cutting off the point to hostiles from the west, they built Fort Pownal and secured the mouth of the Penobscot River. Hopefully, our efforts will lead to the origins of the house. Perhaps not. But the more I think about it, the more it all begins to make sense to me. Perhaps in searching for the history of this home, I will uncover the reason the Lord brought me to the beautiful town of Stockton Springs.