In 2011, while at the Sandy Point Community Center’s summer yard sale, my family and I went next door to the brick house, which was having an estate sale. I ended up buying an old photo album from 1896 with photos of various Maine locations. By each photo in beautiful script was the detail of where the photo was taken. Some were from Poland Springs and others were from Baxter State Park.

I decided to donate the album to the Penobscot Marine Museum, as there were some photos of ships in it as well. Several of the photos were of Joe Francis, a governor of the Penobscot Nation, and his camp on the West Branch of the Penobscot River. One photo shows him with his family in front of his camp. He was a well-known river and outdoor guide.

Kevin Johnson, the photo archivist for whom I work at the museum, contacted the University of Maine to do more research. An obituary was found for Joe Francis from July 1916, which said that on a trip up Mt. Katahdin with a sportsman, they were forced to spend the night in a lean-to. According to the obituary, the lean-to was next to a large boulder, which overheated during the night from their campfire, split and crushed Joe Francis’ chest. He was never the same after that.

If you ever go to any sales and see old photo albums or diaries, especially those that are local to our area, consider purchasing them and donating them to a museum or historical society to preserve them. Kevin was told that these may be the only known photos of Joe Francis. I have scanned the photos into the museum’s database and they will be available soon for everyone to see. Also, this is a reminder to label your own photos so that perhaps in 100 years your ancestors will be able to see who was in a photo and where and when it was taken.

Kindness Program

On Friday, Jan. 28, with a snow date of Saturday, Jan. 29, three delicious homemade soups, chicken noodle, broccoli and cheese, and beef stew followed by Bread Pudding for dessert, will be available at the Searsport First Congregational Church on Church Street in Searsport. Pickup will be between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. and donations are greatly appreciated. To reserve yours, please call or text Jayne Snowdale at 407-694-8733. The Kindness Program supports the food insecure in the Stockton Springs and Searsport area.

Thought for the week

“The past actually happened but history is only what someone wrote down.” — A. Whitney Brown