WINTHROP, ME., MAT 20, 1871,
Historic Address and Foem in Full.
" Sweet clime of my kindred, blest land of my birth,
The fairest, the dearest, the brightest on earth;
Where'er I may roam — how'er blest I may be,
My spirit instinctively turns unto thee."
SPRAGUE, OWEN & NASH, PRINTBRJ
Origin and Prior Arrangement.
On the fourteenth of March, 1871, by invitation of Rev. Edward
P. Baker, there assembled at a private interview, a few citizens of
Winthrop village, to consider the question of celebrating some-
time during the current year, the one-hundredth anniversary of
the town's incorporation or first organization.* At this meeting
it was agreed that it was desirable to have such a celebration, that
the twentieth of May following was the most suitable day for it,
(that being the day, one hundred years ago, when the first town
meeting assembled,) and that the first step to be taken in the
matter was to secure some prominent gentleman from abroad to
speak on the occasion. Subsequent correspondence procured a
promise from Ex-Governor Chamberlain to be present on the day
of the proposed celebration and address the assembled people ; and
thereupon, in obedience to a call issued by the Selectmen, there
assembled a mass meeting in the Town Hall, April 6th, to formally
consider and decide the question of a celebration, and to inaugu-
rate whatever measures might be deemed desirable in the case.
This mass meeting voted to celebrate the twentieth of May follow-
ing, as the one-hundredth anniversary of the town's first organi-
zation, and elected a central Executive Committee to make out the
plan of the celebration and carry the same into execution, empow-
ering it to raise funds, appoint sub-committees and fill vacancies.
The following persons were chosen on this Committee :
At Large — Rev. Edward P. Baker.
District No. 1 — Cyrus S. Robbins, Mrs. C. S. Robbius.
* At the annual town meeting, held the day before, a vote had been passed to have such a celebra-
tion, and appropriating likewise $150 towards defraying expenses, which vote was subsequently
rescinded, ou the ground that the town could not legally appropriate money for such a purpose.
District No. 2— Josiah Snell, C. N. Maxwell, Mrs. B. P. Briggs,
Mrs. H. A. Stanley, (resigned.)
District No. 3 — Edward P. Whiting, Mrs. Martin A. Foster,
(resigned) Edwin S. Briggs, (resigned) Mrs. Edwin S. Briggs,
District No. 4 — F. H. Mclntire, A. P. Snow, Henry Woodward,
L. P. Moody, Mrs. J. B. Fillebrowne, Mrs. E. P. Baker, Mrs.
Cyrus Bishop, Mrs. J. M. Benjamin.
District No. 5 — Joseph R. Nelson, Mrs. Joseph R. Nelson.
District No. 6 — Nathan Kimball, Mrs. Nathan Kimball.
District No. 1 — T. W. Stevens, Mrs. Samuel Crane.
District No. 8 — John K. Lowell, (resigned) Mrs. B. W. Chan-
District No. 9 — John P. Putnam, Mrs. Albert Sturtevant.
District No. 10 — Nelson Packard, Mrs. Nelson Packard.
Subsequently added, Mr. Abial Robinson, Mrs. Abial Robinson,
Mr. Samuel Jackson, Mrs. Samuel Jackson, Mr. B. P. Briggs,
(I'esigned) Mr. Albert Sturtevant, (resigned) Mr. J. E. Brainard,
Mrs. J. P. Putnam, Mr. Bradock W. Chandler.
The Executive Committee held its first meeting April 8th, and
organized by choosing Dr. A. P. Snow, Chairman,* and L. P.
The plan for the celebration finally agreed upon was (concisely
stated) as follows :
A Salute of one hundred guns, fifty at sunrise and fifty at sun-
set, accompanied by the ringing of all the bells in the village ; a
procession, consisting of all the schools in town, in appropriate
costume ; antiquarian and symbolic representations and the trades ;
literary exercises at the speakers' stand ; music, both instrumental
and vocal ; dinner under a tent, toasts and after-dinner speeches.
For the execution of this general plan the following sub-Com-
mittees were appointed :
* Resigned the office of Chairman, May 11th.
Committee on Invitations and Literary Exercises. This Com-
mittee, among other things, issued the following circular :
THE WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
The citizens of Winthrop, Kennebec County, Maine, are proposing to
celebrate the one-hundredth anniversary of the town's first organization, on .
the twentieth of May next. Extensive arrangements are being made so to
observe the day that it shall suitably mark the lapse of a century.
It is expected there will be, among other things, an address from ex-Gov.
Chamberlain, a historic sketch of the town, a poem, music, a dinner, a proces-
sion of the schools, and antiquarian representations.
It is hoped that all natives of the town, all former residents, all particularly
interested in the place, and especially all to whom this circular is sent, will
make it convenient to be present and enjoy the day's festivities.
T^' * 1. T,' f Committee
Edward r. Baker, > /. ,, ,
^ /-, » Tir V for the town.
C. A. Wing, ) '
Winthrop, April 20, 1871.
About five hundred copies of this circular were sent by mail to
natives of the town, former residents and friends living in other
Committee on Band Music, — which Committee was also made
CoMigTTEE ON Railway Trains ;
" " Vocal Music;
" " Salute;
" " Procession ;
" " Dinner;
" " Speakers' Stand and Tent;
" " Guest Table ;
" " Antiquities ;
" " Arches ; »
Besides the sub-Committees above referred to, there were Com-
mittees appointed in the several districts, who had charge of
spficial departments, «uch as costumes, banners and dinner table.
Much effort was put forth outside of committees. The citizens
of the town contributed largely to defray the expenses of the cele-
bration. The amount of money contributions was, in round num-
bers, $800, to whicb should be added contribution of time, labor,
influence, and pi'ovisions for the table, which were far more in value
than the contributions of money. There was interest felt in the
enterprise outside of Winthrop. The newspapers cordially noticed
the coming celebration, and the Maine Central Railroad Company
•made special arrangements to run extra trains, at reduced fare, on
that day, to accommodate the people.
The oflScers of the day, elected by the Executive Committee,
'President of the Day — Henry Woodward, Esq.
Vice Presidents — J. P. Putnam, J. R. Nelson and J. B. Fille-
Chief Marshal— C. A. Wing.
Ex-Governor J. L. Chamberlain had already been engaged to
give an address.
Hon. S. P. Benson of Brunswick, and J. W. May, Esq., of
Auburn, both natives of Winthrop, had been likewise engaged to
deliver the one a historic sketch, the other a poem.
The speakers' stand was erected in the space in front of the
Town Hall, and the tent (capable of seating one thousand, and
affording standing room for a much larger number) was pitched in
the yard of the Congregational Church. Tickets of admission to
the tent to the number of sixteen hundred were distributed to
the people of the town, and about four hundred special tickets
to invited guests.
The officers of the town appointed for the occasion a special
police force, for the preservation of order.
Public interest in the celebration steadily deepened as the time
drew near, and it was generally conceded for days previous that
on the coming 20th, should the weather be favorable, Winthrop
would witness a gathering of people in its streets such as it had
never seen before, and would probably never again.*
* On the evening preceding, Chandler's Band of Portland, gave a concert of rare artistic music, in
the Town Ilall, which was well filled with a select and appreciative audience.
Was the finest of the spring, — a summer day in fact, as regards
temperature and beauty. A gentle shower of the preceding night
had laid the dust and enlivened the air. The "weather-wise who
'had for weeks before been predicting that the day woul.d be rainy,
were this time shown to be false prophets.
The hour of sunrise was signalized by the firing of fifty guns on
Town House hill, (a brass twelve pounder having previously been
obtained from the polite and patriotic Commandant of the U. S.
Arsenal at Augusta) and the ringing of all the bells in the village.
The hours of early morning witnessed the advent of the citizens
of Winthrop and their families to the tent, bringing provisions for
the tables, the gradual accumulation of people in the streets, and
the hurrying to and fro of officers and committees in the discharge
of their respective duties.
At nine o'clock, the procession commenced to form, under the
supervision and direction of Chief Marshal C. A. "Wing, aided by
Marshals L. P. Moody, C. B. Fillebrowne, B. S. Kelly and A. C.
Carr ; it began to move about ten o'clock, and proceeded the fol-
lowing route :
Starting from the Railway Station, it moved south along Main
street ; thence east into street leading by Oil Cloth Factories to
Royal street ; thence north on said street to Main street ; thence
down Main street into Bowdoin street; thence along Bowdoin
street into Causeway street ; thence into the new street west of the
railroad ; thence to the Railway Station, again into Main street ;
thence along Main street into Elm street ; thence up Elm street,
round through Bowdoin into Main street again, and thence to the
speakers' stand in front of the Town Hall.*
* On its final passage through Main street, its centre being opposite the hotel, the
procession halted to receive into its ranks the officers of the day, the orator, poet and
distinguished guests. Among the gentlemen present, were His Excellency, Gov. Per-
ham ; Ex-Gov. Chamberlain ; Mayor Garcelon of Lewiston ; Judge May ; Hon. S. P.
Benson ; Brown Thurston, Esq., of Portland, son of "Father Thurston"; W. S. Noyes,
8 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
The procession was three-quarters of a mile in length, and
moved in the order of the School Districts, as follows :
1. Winthrop Brass Band.
2. Twelve aged citizens of the town, riding in a carriage, bear-
ing a banner inscribed — " 18th Century."
3. Town ofiScers, bearing a banner inscribed — " 19th Century."
4. A banner inscribed with the names of the officers chosen at
the first town meeting, borne by a lineal descendant of Timothy
Foster, one of the first selectmen.
District No. 1.
1. A banner, on which was inscribed — "District No. 1, the
2. A carriage with Bobbin's nest, containing the four little
children of Mr. C. S. Bobbins, a descendant of the first settler, in
a carriage with banner bearing these lines :
" The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft aglay,"
*ut Bobbins sing and build their nest
Tor our centennary.
3. Carriage containing school children of the District, the girls
wearing blue sashes, and the boys with a blue stripe on their
pants and figure "1" in blue on their shoulders. The carriage had
a banner with this inscription, " We are A, — No. 1." Across the
carriage extended this motto, the only Latin motto in the pro-
cession, " Hoec olim meminisse juvabit."
4. A plain carriage, in which rode the elder people of the Dis-
5. A hay-rack on wheels, containing an old well-curb, sweep
and bucket, a girl playing a melodeon, and people around singing
the song of " The Old Oaken Bucket."
Esq., the publisher of the first newspaper issued in Winthrop ; A. S. Washburn, Esq.,
of Hallowell ; B. H. Cushman and A. B, Farwell, Esqs., of Augusta ; Col. F. M. Drew
of Brunswick, and many other gentlemen of prominence. It was the intention of Hon.
James G. Blaine to be present, but he was unexpectedly called to attend to business in
the Middle States.
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 9
6. An old and noted fisherman of the town carrying a banner
which had for tassels on each lower corner, a cluster of one-half
dozen or so of very little fish, inscribed with the words, " Codfish
Aristocracy." " A few fish in town better than any caught out."
District No. 2.
Seventeen girls dressed in white, with blue overskirts, and
white hats, trimmed with red ; twenty-two boys, with blue sashes,
a gilt star on the left shoulder, and fastened with a rosette of
red, white and blue. They rode in a four-horse and two-horse
wagon, arched with evergreen trees, and elaborately trimmed ;
both horses and wagons decorated with flags, carrying a banner
with "Fidelity" inscribed thereon.
District No. 3.
The girls of this district, riding, wore white dresses, blue
sashes, and the figure "3" on the bosom. The boys, on foot, wore
a figure "3" in their caps, a rosette of Red, White and Blue, on
the left shoulder, and blue sashes. The banner was white, with
gilt lettering, and trimmed with green. Its inscription was —
" 1771—1871." " We cherish the home of our Fathers."
District No. 4, (Village District.)
1. District banner borne by a young man on foot. On this was
inscribed — " Our Common Schools. The tree our fathers planted
we will nourish and protect."
2. An Indian family in a wigwam. The wigwam was con-
structed of evergreen trees and boughs, also surrounded by trees.
In the center was a couch made of boughs and covered with a
wolfskin robe. The family consisted of two chiefs, two squaws
and three pappooses. The women were making baskets, and the
children played with and fed the dogs, while the men stood look-
ing on, with bows and arrows in their hands. All were dressed in
true Indian style.
10 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
3. Eight young men, dressed as pioneers, with axes over their
4. The Primary School, accompanied by its teachers, in a car-
riage trimmed with evergreen. The girls were dressed in white,
with blue sashes around their waists, and white hats, trimmed
with red. The boys wore white pants and shirts, blue sashes
over the shoulder, and red Scotch caps. On their banner was
inscribed — "We are a happy band."
5. A man going to mill, on foot, with the grist on his shoulder.
He was dressed in ancient style, and, although the bag contained
nothing heavier than bran, he plodded along as if read}"^ to drop
under the burden.
6. A barge carriage drawn by oxen, in which were represented
the mothers and daughters of It'll. One was spinning on a large
wheel, another reeling yarn, another combing flax, one carding
wool, one at a quill wheel, another doubling yarn, two knitting
and one mending. All were dressed in ancient costume.
1. Visiting in the last century. A gentleman and lady on
horseback ; the lady riding on a pillion, and both dressed in very
ancient style; he carried a wooden bread trough before him, to rep-
resent the story in the " History of Winthrop," of Mr. Fairbanks
and Mrs. Wood, — the gentleman being a lineal descendant of the
hero of that story and carrying the identical bread trough.
8. A carriage with a canopy, supported by pillars, all profusely
decorated with evei'green. In this were the "Seasons" and "Day"
and "Night." "Spring" was dressed in white, with evergreen trim-
mings ; "Summer" wore white, with pink trimmings, flowers crown-
ed her head, and a large cornucopia filled with flowers, hung at her
side ; "Autumn" was dressed like a harvester, and carried a sickle,
while at his feet were corn, wheat, and a basket of fruit ; "Winter"
was clothed in fur ; "Day" was dressed in white, with blue drapery,
while "Night" wore black covered with stars, a black veil studded
with stars falling over her. On their banner was the inscription —
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. H
" Seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, day and night, shall not
9. A woman on horseback, going to mill, dressed in antique
10. The Portland Band.
11. "WiNTHROp" represented by a young lady dressed in pure
white, with a crown upon her forehead, bearing the word " Win-
throp.' She was standing in an open carriage, and supported a
banner, on which was inscribed — "Winthrop welcomes her friends
on her 100th birthday."
12. Intermediate School, in a large boat on wheels, drawn by
oxen. The boys wore white pants, blue shirts and tarpaulin hats ;
the girls were dressed in white, with blue shawls and aprons, and
hats trimmed with blue. They carried a banner with the inscrip-
tion — "We look to Maine for our seamen."
13. A carriage, with boys, carrying the Maine coat of arms.
14. "Going to church in 1771," was represented by a gentleman
and lady on horseback ; the lady rode on a pillion, and both were
dressed in the fashion of 1771. They were followed by a gentle-
man and lady dressed in the latest style and riding in a nice top-
buggy, representing "Going to church in 1871."
15. A country store, bearing the sign of "Nathaniel Bishop,"
the first storekeeper in town. It contained a great variety of
articles, dress-goods, hardware, confectionery, groceries, &c., &c.
The merchant, dressed in very ancient costume, was busily en-
gaged sweeping his store, in imitation of his worthy ancestor.
16. A carriage with a busy company engaged in domestic em-
ployments peculiar to ancient times. One man was cobbling,
another stripping a broom. One woman was dipping candles in
an old-fashioned iron pot ; the candle rods were ancient, having
belonged to one of our first settlers. Another woman was spinning
on a flax wheel, and a neighbor was making a call upon them,
wearing a scarlet cloak more than one hundred years old, and a
huge bonnet and veil to correspond.
12 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
17. The first "Temperance Pledge" in Winthrop, drafted and
signed in 1829, and containing four hundred and forty names, was
nailed to a staff, and carried by a temperance veteran, on foot.
The names were written in double columns, and the whole docu-
ment was about six feet in length.
18. An ancient parson and lady, riding in an old-fashioned
chaise. He wore a three-cornered hat, big wig, muslin bands and
knee-breeches. She was dressed in a style to correspond.
19. An ancient doctor on horseback. He, too, wore a three-
cornered hat, a big powdered wig, ruffles at his wrists, and knee-
breeches. His saddle-bags were very conspicuous, thrown across
the back of his horse.
20. Fishermen, carrying rods, lines and spears.
21. A hay-rack containing a husking party. They were em-
ployed in husking the corn and finding the red ears.
22. The Grammar School accompanied by the teacher. The
boys walking, dressed as Robin Hood's archers, in white pants,
green tunics, and straw hats trimmed with evergreen, each carry-
ing a bow and arrow. They were preceded by their standard
bearers. On their banner was inscribed :
" Bend the bow and wing the dart,
Let it reach each foeman's heart ;
But the enemy must be,
All that's bad in you and me."
The girls of the school rode in a carriage drawn by oxen, and
trimmed with evergreen. They were dressed in white, with green
waists, pink sashes and hats trimmed with pink. They carried
bouquets in their hands. On their banner was the motto —
"Flowers are the alphabet of Angels."
23. An old-fashioned quilting party, in a carriage roofed and
trimmed with evergreen. Eleven ladies were seated around a
quilt, plying the needle busily, while their tongues kept time with
their needles. All were dressed in ancient style, puffed hair, high
combs, large caps, short waists and big sleeves. One of their
number represented a Quakeress.
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 13
From L. Whitman's Agricultural Works, were six teams. The
first was drawn by oxen, and carried farming implements of
ancient style. Among them were an old-fashioned flax-break, a
winnowing-mill of the old style, a wooden toothed harrow, a plow
and a wheelbarrow fastened together with withes. Two men were
breaking flax. This was followed by a horse team with farming
implements having all the improvements of the age. The next
two teams carried a threshing machine. Following these was a
spring rake, and the last was a revolving rake.
L. P. Moody's tin shop. This contained tin ware of diff'erent
kinds, while a young man was busy manufacturing articles. Their
motto was — " Labor is honorable."
H. E. Morton furnished for the procession a shoe shop of the
last century, the sign reading " Butes and Shues Maid and
Fixed." One man was cutting leather, another stitching with the
bristle and waxed end, using clamps of ancient date, while still
another was sitting on a bench with a lapstone and strap, soleing
Blacksmith's shop of S. Davis. A huge forge and bellows were
in operation, and men hard at work.
John Mcllroy, Agent, of Winthrop Mills Company, put into
the procession a team carrying the difibrent kinds of cloth
and blankets which they manufacture. In the centre was a tall
pine tree, a large eagle perched in the top, and on the tips of
the branches were fastened bunches of cotton and wool.
C. M. Bailey's Oil Cloth Works were represented. Specimens
of the various patterns manufactured there were displayed, while
workmen were busily engaged in stamping oil cloth.
District No. 5.
1. The school childrea of this district appeared in the proces-
sion on foot, the girls wearing white dresses, blue Spanish waists,
white sailor hats, trimmed with blue, and the boys wearing black
1> — r—
14 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
pants with a white stripe on the side, white waists, blue badges,
and blue caps. The banner was white, trimmed with blue, and
ornamented with silver stars, and bore the inscription — " District
No. 5 — Always Ready."
2. Domestic farm-work. A team carrying two ladies, the one
churning, the other making cheese.
District No. 6.
1. A log cabin six feet by four, mounted on a cart, constructed
of rough sticks, the crevices filled up with moss, and the roof
covered with hemlock bark. Visible just inside the door was a
man pounding coffee in a old wooden mortar, and a woman knit-
ting, both dressed in the old style.
2. The school children of this district were on foot in the pro-
cession, the girls wearing white skirts, red sacks, and sailor hats
trimmed with red, and the boys white pants, dark jackets and red
caps. The banner, which was white, trimmed with red, bore the
inscription — "In God we trust."
District No. 1.
The school children of this district, rode in a wagon, deco-
rated with a tree in each corner, a flag of blue and white in the
centre, and having a small banner inscribed with the word,
"Friendship." The girls wore red overskirts trimmed with
white, red regalia, and shade hats trimmed with red and white.
The boys were dressed in regalia of red and white.
District No. 8.
This district went in procession with District No. 5.
District No. 9,
The children of this district were conveyed in a wagon drawn
by four oxen, the vehicle profusely adorned with evergreens,
bearing a flag and banner on which was the inscription, "St.
Mary's— District No. 9."
District No. 10.
This district went in procession with District No. 4.
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 15
The procession having arrived, about 11 o'clock, at the space in
front of the Town Hall, and there massed, and the Chief Marshal
having called the multitude to order, and introduced the President
of the day, there followed the
Exercises at the Speakers' Stand,
which were a brief Introductory Address by the President of the
Day, H. Woodward, Esq. Prayer by Rev. Edward P. Baker of
the Congregational Church. The Centennial Hymn read by Rev,
Mr. A. Bosserman of the Universalist Church, and sung by the uni-
ted choirs of the town, led by Mr. Samuel Thurston of Portland.
Reading of ancient documents by L. P. Moody, the Town Clerk.
Singing the poem, " Marching Along," by a choir of children, led
by Rev. A. Bryant of the Baptist Church, East Winthrop. Historic
address by Hon. S. P. Benson of Brunswick. Poem by J. W. May,
Esq., of Auburn, and an address by Ex-Governor J. L. Chamber-
lain ; the exercises interspersed with excellent music from the
Winthrop and Portland Bands. The parts were all well sustained,
and were listened to with interest by a large concourse of people,
who for three hours stood up beneath a scorching sun.
The multitude then having formed in procession, headed by the
Portland Band, repaired from the Speakers' Stand to the tent, to
which was bountiful and elegant, having been spread upon five
tables, each one hundred and fifty feet long, occupying the main
tent, and one table, sixty feet long, occupying a wing tent.
These tables were literally loaded with almost everything that
could tempt the eye and palate. Tea and coffee, too, were furnished
in abundance. The dinner was strictly picnic; each district of the
town furnished its own provisions and had its own place in the
tent. The center table was spread for the guests. The holders of
tickets having been all fed, and large quantities of provisions
remaining, a general invitation was given at the tent door for all
X6 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
who might desire, to come in and partake, which invitation was
extensively accepted, so that in the end the whole crowd was fed
without money and without price.
All having been amply fed, a short season was devoted to
After-Dinner Sentiments and Responses.
The sentiments were given by Rev. E. P. Baker, and were
responded to by Governor Perham, Rev. A. Bosserman, Arnold S.
Richmond, and B. S. Kelly. Numerous other sentiments had been
prepared, which were not read, on account of the early depart-
ure of the train, which took away many who had been engaged to
respond. However, the few that were read and the responses
to them, together with the music from the Winthrop Band which
was interspersed, constituted a very pleasant episode to the day's
Votes of thanks were then extended to Hon. S. P. Benson, for
his able and elaborate Historic Sketch ; to J. W. May, Esq., for
his lively and pertinent poem ; to Ex-Governor Chamberlain for
his brief but finished address ; to Governor Perham for his presence
on the occasion and his kindly and weighty words ; and to the
Winthrop Band which freely gave its services for the day ; after
which, the national air having been played, the President of the
Day declared the assembly adjourned for one hundred years.
There were on exhibition at the Town Hall, during the after-
noon. Rare and Ancient Relics, to wit :
Genuine autographs of Gen. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Edwin
Randolph and Andrew Jackson, executed on parchment. Exhibited by S. C.
Indian relics — stone hatchet and chisel, found near the shore of Cobbossee-
contee pond. Exhibited by E. Mank.
Continental money, ancient coins, a concordance 212 years old. Exhibited
by Henry Winslow.
Lady's shoe, with wooden heel, worn in 1777.
Eire shovel made and used in town in 1768. Exhibited by Ransom Bishop.
MSS. of D. Allen's and Stewart Foster's services in the Revolution. Ex-
hibited by Mr. Wilbur.
Village map of Winthrop, made in 1810, and Indian tools, exhibited by M.
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 17
At sunset all the bells in the village were rung and fifty guns
fired, making, together with the fifty of the morning, one hundred
in all, in honor of the one hundred years of the town's existence.
And thus ended the 20th of May, 1871, the day to the town of
Winthrop, the most marked and memorable of the century.
It is now admitted by all that the Winthrop Centennial Cele-
bration was a success. The proposition to have such a cele-
bration, when it was first broached, encountered apathy in all
directions, insomuch that the enterprise at the outset had to be
pushed forward almost single handed. Gradually, however, as
the matter came to be agitated, apathy gave place to interest,
and interest to enthusiasm, until at length, the morning of the day
opening so splendidly, a resistless tide of town patriotism swept
nearly all the people from their homes to the scene of the day's
festivities. There was scarce an absentee from the celebration,
throughout the town, except a few who were detained at home by
sickness or other causes beyond their control. There was a hearty
cooperation in preparing for the celebration. The Committees
were made up from both political parties, and all religious de-
nominations. Persons of unlike views and tastes found it a pleas-
ure to work together for a common object.
And among those who thus labored, the ladies of Winthrop,
perhaps before all others, deserve special mention. But for their
skillful planning and vigorous effort, the celebration could have
been scarce else than a failure. They spread the dinner tables,
concerning which, a distinguished guest who saw them remarked,
"that he had never seen tables so sumptuously spread, on so
large a scale." They, too, -were chiefly the authors and arrangers
of the procession, of which, and of the celebration, as a whole, a
18 WINTHROP CETNENNIAL.
widely circulating public journal remarked : "It was a marvel in
its conception and execution."
Extended accounts of the celebration were published in the
Lewi^ston and Kennebec Journals, and accounts less extended in
the Boston Journal, the Portland Press, Argus, Christian MiiTor,
Maine Farmer, and other papers ; neai*ly all the abovementioned
papers having reporters on the ground.
It is estimated that between two and three thousand people
dined in the tent, and that upwards of five thousand people were
present at some portion of the exercises. And yet among all that
multitude there was for the entire day, absolutely no disorder
and no visible drunkenness. Now, that it is passed, the genei-al
feeling of the inhabitants is one of gladness that the town has
witnessed so dignified and grand a celebration, and of confidence
that the memory of it will be a lasting benefit to the place.
Addresses, Poem, &c., at tlie Speakers'
Introductory Address by the President of the Day,
H, Woodward, Esq.
Fellow Citizens : — We turn aside from the ordinary labors and
pursuits of life, that we mny observe this day in such a manner
as shall appropriately mark it as an epoch in the history of our
good old town.
We would here on this day and this occasion, recall to mind the
events of its early history — the labors and sacrifices — the heroic
virtues, — and the intelligent foresight of its early settlers.
Our hills and valleys, and the very spot on which we now stand,
were once covered with the dense, unbroken forest. There were
here no schools, no churches, no village with its busy hum of
industry. Into this wilderness came those noble men and women
who bravely met and endured the privations, toils and hardships
of a wilderness home, that they might make more comforable
homes for the children that should come after them, and plant here
those institutions that, outliving their founders, are a blessing to
us who gather here to-day.
One hundred years ago to-day, in yonder farm-house over the hill
— then a tavern — was born the young town of Winthrop. And
now she has called home her sons and daughters, and invited her
friends, that she may celebrate her one hundredth birthday.
Brothers and sisters — sons and daughters of Winthrop — and
honored guests — with heart and hand we bid you welcome to the
festivities of this occasion. We have killed the fatted calf, and
with you would rejoice and make merry ; not, indeed, over the
returning prodigal, but over the return of those sons and daugh-
ters, who, by virtuous lives and noble deeds, have honored the town
that gave them birth. May we all be the better for this day's fes-
tivities ; — our patriotism more ai-dent — our piety deeper — and our
lives purer — for the emotions which the exercises of this day shall
stir in our hearts. And long may the good old town of Winthrop
— old did I say ? — though she to-day celebrates her one hundredth
20 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
birthday, she Jbas still the vigor and freshness of youth — and long
may she live to bless the world by rearing her sons and her daugh-
ters to noble, achievements in the great drama of life.
Prayer by the Rev. E. P. Baker.
We thank Thee that while " one generation passeth away and
another cometh," Thou, Lord, "art our dwelling place in all
generations." Not in vain do we ask the question, " The Fathers,
where are they V for while their forms have vanished from our
sight, their memories are still fragrant in our hearts. We thank
Thee that while this land was yet a wilderness, the white man
came to it, bringing with him civil and christian institutions ;
that a century ago this day was formed that municipal organiza-
tion under the eegis of which good order and virtue have dwelt
secure ; and that now our people from near and from far, are gath-
ered in formal convocation, to recall the past and honor the memo-
ries of one hundred years. Grant that this celebration may be
conducted without disorder and in a manner befitting the dignity
of the occasion. May the words of orator, historian and poet, be
winged by Thy inspiration ; and in the music of choirs and band,
may we devoutly praise the God of all the earth. May this day
be to us a Pisgah height whence we shall more intelligently view
the solemn and mysterious future that lies before us ; and from this
brief halt in life's journey may we set out with a fresh enthusiasm
to pursue our several careers of usefulness. And when at lecgth
we are gathered to our Pathei's and our bodies I'epose beneath the
sod, grant that our memories may be still precious to those that
survive us, and that our souls, washed in the Redeemer's blood,
may soar aloft to realms of glory, to join the great and good in all
ages who have gone before us. And to the triune God, the Father,
Son and Holy Ghost, be honor and praise, forever and forever.
[Selected for the occasion.]
Father ! to Thee we raise
Our hymn of grateful praise
In long arrears !
We sing Thy blessings sown,
In all our pathway strewn,
And every kindness shewn
These Hundred Years.
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 21
Where once the IndLan trod,
The House to worship God
Its altar rears :
We at its shrine appear,
Whose fathers worshipped here,
In faith and holy fear,
These Hundred Years.
Upon this native soil
Our fathers erst did toil,
In hopes and fears :
We love their pleasant vales,
The hill-sides and the dales,
The legends and the tales,
These Hundred Years.
We love our verdant hills, —
The gently-rippling rills
Delight our ears :
We love the blood that runs
In veins of noble ones, —
The fathers and the sons,
These Hundred Years.
How many a stricken heart
Has felt death's keenest dart
With bitter tears !
In his cold arms have slept
The friend our hearts have kept,
The loved ones fondest wept,
These Hundred Years.
O God ! we know how brief
Our life of joy or grief
To Thee appears.
Compared with Thy Forever !
How short the space we sever.
To be recovered never : —
A Hundred Years.
Our Father ! may Thine hand
Still bless the beauteous land
Our love endears.
In falling, pray restore us ;
In blessing, hover o'er us ;
Make glad our path before us : —
A Hundred Years.
— F. Poole.
22 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
Historic Address of Hon. S. P. Benson,
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Oue hundred years ago to-day, at 8 o'clock in the morning', a
little band of pioneers, who had made their home in an almost un-
broken wilderness, assembled at the house of Squier Bishop to
hold their first town meeting in Winthrop.
We meet to-day in this prosperous, beautiful village, on this
bright Spring morning, in the same town of our birth or adoption,
to trace the history, and to recall the virtues, the toils, the suffer-
ings and the triumphs of our ancestors.
I greet you all, fathers and mothers, young men and maidens,
aye, and the children too, with a warm and hearty welcome to the
pleasures and festivities of this joyous day. For I am sure we are
all of one heart and one mind in celebrating our first Centennial
Pond Town Plantation was the original name of the territory,
comprising Winthrop, Readfield, and part of Wayne, and whoever
will stand upon some elevated spot in this picturesque region, and
survey these lovely sheets of water, eleven in number, might well
apply this term. No, he should not say Pond Town, they are
lakes, and he should say Lake Town Plantation, Mr. Boardman,
in his Sketches of the County of Kennebec, says there are forty-
nine ponds within its limits, nine of which are worthy to be called
lakes, and I add, three of these are our own, in Winthrop or upon
its margin. Why not lakes ? They are larger than some of the
lakes or lochs of Scotland, so celebrated in story and song. Cob-
bosseconte is twelve miles long and two wide, with many islands
of surpassing beauty, while there are lakes in Massachusetts so
small that you might drop one of them bodily into Cobbosseconte
and it would hardly make a ripple upon its shores.
This beautiful chain of ponds and lakes in Winthrop and the ad-
jacent towns, was the great water road of the Indians from the
Kennebec to the Androscoggin river and the interior of the State.
Cobbosseconte stream, which empties into the Kennebec at Gar-
diner, is the outlet of them, twenty in number.
In an article on the language of the Eastern Indians, by the late
Mr. Willis,* whose labors in the Maine Historical Society are above
* See Collections of the Maine Historical Society, vol. 4, pp. 113, Hi. I am also Indebted to Dr. N.
T. True for many more facts pertaining to the Indian language and habits, than I have used.
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 23
all price, I find two depositions taken in 1763 and 1765, in both of
which one point is, that the Indians applied Cobbossecontecook to
the mouth of the stream as it empties into the Kennebec, because
Kdbassa means Sturgeon, conte, abundance of, and cook, place ; and
that it took this name from the sturgeons jumping plentifully at the
mouth of this stream. From this originated the corruption of that
name, Gumscook or Quamscook and Cobscook, applied to our Cob-
bosseconte lake, not because sturgeons visited it, but as the first
of the chain of ponds that empties into the Cobbossecontecook,
The same depositions give to our south pond the Indian name of
Annabescook, translated ■ "Pish Water Place," or "Near the beau-
tiful Water Place," which may have been originally applied to some
Indian village near this lake, aiM then very naturally to the lake
itself. So we call it Annabescook lake because it is Fish Water
Place, and near this beautiful Water Place, our village. By the
same authority the name of our north pond was Maroonscook or
Maronocook, meaning the " Deer Place," and as it is said, one of
these timid creatures within a few years was seen to come from the
west as if chased, and running for dear life make rapidly for this
pond, plunge into its waters and disappear forever. We will hence-
forth call it Maronocook lake.
The Indians evidently had their camping grounds and villages on
the shores of these waters. On the south shore of Annabescook
at East Monmouth, several skeletons have been disinterred, and
numerous stone implements discovered. Dr. James Cochrane of
Monmouth has a curious and valuable collection from this spot,
and the foundations of their wigwams are said to be still visible at
that place. "Sears," of the Lewiston Journal, our M. B., from
whose correspondence I have derived many important historical
facts, has found in his " Garden of Eden " on the shore of Maron-
ocook the same kind of implements.
The great thoroughfare of the Indians was through the Win-
throp to the Monmouth waters, and by a short carry to the Great
Androscoggin Pond in Wayne — where the historian Williamson
says " there is an island upon which there is a burying ground of
the natives" — and so easily down Dead river into the Androscog-
gin ; while by way of Maronocook lake they could pass along the
chain of ponds through Readfield and Mt. Vernon to the Sandy
river at Farmington Falls, called by them Amasagunticook.
Such are the natural channels of communication which the
24 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
Indians had, our own immediate neighborhood occupying a con-
spicuous place. Written history is almost entirely silent respect-
ing those who dwelt in this vicinity. It is probable that the Nor-
ridgewocks and other Kennebec tribes, and the Amasagunticooks
on the Androscoggin river met in common here, as their language
was almost identical.
We can well imagine that lively scenes were enacted on these
beautiful waters by the red men of the forest ; but history and
legend even, fail to give us the knowledge we desire. We leave
them with the cheering thought that civilization and Christianity
have taken the place of savage life, and that the change of scene
which one hundred years have brought about in this town is but
a tythe in the progressive history of the human race.
The whole white population of the Province of Maine in 1*760
did not exceed 17,000. The war-whoop and the scalping knife in
some portions, and the unsettled state of the land titles in others,
had signally retarded its growth. But the cessation of hostilities
at the close of that year between the New England Provincials and
the French and Indians, which had overspread the land with blood
and desolation for nearly ninety years, gave a new impulse to the
settlement of the eastern portion of the Province. The boundaries
of the Kennebec or Plymouth Purchase were also adjusted, with
Clark and Lake and the Pejepscot proprietors in 1758, the Wiscas-
set company in 1762, and the Pemaquid proprietors in 1763. A
liberal policy was adopted by the company towards settlers, and
Pond Town Plantation, embraced wi|,hin their established limits,
was laid out agreeably to their plan. No large tracts were sold
to speculators ; every other lot was marked Settler and Proprietor,
with mill privileges and larger grants to those who would erect
mills. Settlers were thus attracted from Massachusetts and New
Hampshire, most of them young men, the sons of substantial far-
mers, who established themselves in this territory and gave it an
agricultural superiority which it still retains.
The first settler was Timothy Foster. Thomas Scott, a hunter,
had been here before for the purpose of getting furs, and had
erected a hut on the margin of Cobbdsseconte lake, on the farm
now owned by Jacob B. Robbins, which Mr. Foster bought of him
and paid thirty dollars, but failing to take a proper conveyance
he was afterwards sued by Scott's creditors for the property and
imprisoned for about six months — rather severe, in addition to the
WINTHROP CENTENMAL. 25
other hardships of this sturdy old pioneer. He came from Attle-
boro', Mass., some time in 1164, bi'ought his wife and ten children
in 1765, and June 11, 1766 had granted to him his lot of land one
mile long- and one hundred poles wide, containing two hundred
acres. The conditions of his grant were; " That the said Timothy
Foster build an house not less than twenty feet square and seven
feet stud — [none too large surely for the ten children he brought
with him, and the subsequently born to him, for it was the fashion
here in the early days to rejoice in such olive plants in the home]
— to clear and bring to, fit for tillage, five acres of land within three
years from the date hereof, and actually live upon the premises
during said term, or in case of his death that bis heirs, or some
person under them, shall dwell on said premises during said term,
and that he or they, or some person under him or them, shall live
thereupon for seven years after the expiration of said three years ;
reserving to this propriety all mines and minerals whatsoever
within the hereby granted premises, with liberty of digging and
carrying off the same." Thus he was anchored for ten years at
least at farming, for he had no right to the gold or silver, or other
mineral ores, if as plenty as in California. On the same day grants
of land of the same size and on the same conditions were made to
Squier Bishop, of lot number 17 (on McKicknie's plan) and of lot
18 to Ebenezer Bly.
Mr. Bishop came with his wife and six Aildren in 1766, from
Rehoboth, Mass., settled upon his lot (the old Bishop farm) and
was the first innholder in town, at whose house the town meetings
were held for many years. The same year Stephen Pullen, Nathan-
iel Stanley and Benjamin Fairbanks, all young men, came from Mas-
In 1767 John Chandler with his wife and eight children (four
others were born to them here), and Amos Stevens, then eighteen
years of age, hired by him, came from New Ipswich in New Hamp-
shire. To encourage him to build mills, a conditional grant of land
was made on the following terms, viz : "We, the subscribers, the
Committee of the Kennebec Purchase from the late Colony of New
Plymouth, do hereby agree that Mr. John Chandler shall have a
grant of two lots of land, of two hundred acres each, near the
mill stream in Pondtown, and also one other lot in some other place
in said township, upon condition that he gives bonds to build a
saw-mill in one year, and a grist-mill in three years, and make one
26 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
settlement on said four hundi-ed acres, and another settlement on
the two hundred acre lot, both on the conditions aforesaid." Signed
Boston, June 11, 1^61, by James Bowdoin, Benjamin Hallowell,
Sylvester Gardiner, James Pitts, John Hancock ; a fac simile of the
last name shows the same bold hand with which he signed the
Declaration of Independence. In the course of the year 1*768 Mr.
Chandler built a saw-mill and grist-mill on the site of the woollen
miU now owned by the Winthrop Manufacturing Company, and on
the 12th of April, 1769, his two lots of land, nl^mbers 51 and 52,
embracing a large part of the territory of our village, were con-
veyed to him.
Before the incorporation of the town, I find the evidence of about
twenty-five deeds to as many settlers. I wish I had time to read
one of them to you, but it occupies six and a half pages in the His-
tory of Winthrop written by the venerable and beloved Father
Thurston, to which I am indebted for many of my facts. About
two-thirds of these lots were in what is now Winthrop, and one-
third in Readfield.
Mr. Boardman, in his History of the County, says the Eeadfield
part of Pondtown was settled about 1760. That many other per-
sons not in the list, to whom deeds were given, had settled both
in the Winthrop and Readfield portions of the plantation there is
no doubt, for we find names to whom no record evidence of a title
to land is found. *
Gideon Lambert from Martha's Vineyard, Ichabod How from
Ipswich, and Jonathan Whiting from Wrentham, Mass., were all
early settlers, influential men in the plantation, and among the first
oflScers of the town. They probably came with their families in
1766, 1767 and 1768. Mr. Lambert, though a farmer mainly, first
shod their oxen, even if Moses Chandler was the first regular black-
smith. He settled on the lot now occupied in part as the depot of
the Maine Central Railroad. He had been a soldier in the British
army, in the old French and Indian war ; was under the command
of Abercrombie when defeated at the battle of Ticonderoga in 1758,
and served in the Revolutionary War after he came to Pondtown.
Mr. Whiting, in the language of Col. Fairbanks, was "a worthy,
good man," the first Justice of the Peace in town, the first Repre-
sentative to the General Court, and a man of strong moral and
religious principles. At one of the many times when the people
were suflering almost a famine, he had a surplus of grain for his
WIJSTHROP CENTENNIAL. 21
family's use, and yet he put them on an allowance that he might
be able to render more relief to others, and though he might have
had almost any price for his grain, no consideration would induce
him to exceed his established reasonable prices.
Ichabod How had been accustomed in "old Ipswich," to the
luxury of apples and cider. After having determined to emigrate
to Pondtown, as he ate a choice apple he carefully saved the seeds,
and when he came brought them in his pocket and sowed them
on his farm, now owned by John Stanley and Wyman Hanson.
From this nursery sprang the famous Winthrop Greening, the How
Apple, Nelson's Favorite, the Lambert Apple, and I know not how
many other excellent varieties. His daughter, Melicent, the wife
of David Foster, and the mother of my informant, Nathan Foster,
not now but for more than fifty years our townsman, twice our
Representative, a veteran nurseryman and fruit grower, (I am
happy to see him here) partook in the general joy of that first cider
made in town, pounded out in a sap-trough and squeezed out in a
cheese press, and lived to see her husband make on his own farm
one hundred barrels a year, and her town the first in the county,
if not in the State, for the abundance and excellence of both apples
and cider. This mother delighted in telling her children that she
used to count every morning all the apples gi'owing in Winthrop,
to be sure that none had disappeared in the night.
The three brothers, Nathaniel, William and Thomas Whittier,
came early from New Hampshire, and taught the Massachusetts
men a lesson in clearing land and raising crops, which they had
not learned on the old cultivated farms of their native State, — that
corn, wheat, and other crops would grow better on burnt land than
on old worn out ploughed lands, and that every day's labor in fell-
ing trees would yield at least a bushel of wheat.
The number of settlers could not have been large in 1768, as I
learn through the late Col, Fairbanks, who came in IT 6 7, but not
one of the number to whom deeds of land had been given — he
came as a tanner, not farmei' — that it took the whole strength of
the place, both of men and oxen, for a week to haul Chandler's
mill stones from the Hook, now Hallowell. They were taken one
at a time, in summer ; the party encamped where night overtook
them, and when they came to a bad gulley they filled it with trees
and brush as best they could, and so passed on. Until that year
there had been no road, bushed out even, to Kennebec river, and
28 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
the nearest grist-mill was at Cobbossee, now Gardiner. Oxen could
not go for want of a road, and there was not a horse in town, so
all the grists had to be carried upon the shoulders, I will not say
of men, for Mrs. Foster, the wife of the first settler and the mother
of Stephen, the first white child born, as a true helpmeet, once
went to mill for her husband. She crossed the Cobbosseconte in
a canoe, which was' taken back. By some means she was detained
so late that on her return to the shore of the lake it was too dark
to find the liorn used to call for the boat, — (of course she had not
taken a liorn of any other kind) — a cup of tea and social chat with
some Cobbossee family had beguiled the time, and the penalty was
a night alone in the woods.
The early settlers generally selected for their farms the hills and
elevated swells of ground, probably because the growth of wood
was better adapted to felling and burning off, and yielded more
valuable fii'st crops. The spotted-line paths from house to house
gradually grew into town ways, so that the first roads were crooked
and over the hills, and it has been very expensive to straighten
and level them ; and you will all say not very level yet, though
well wrought. Old Major Wood has told me that it took the peo-
ple fifty years to learn that a kettle bail was no longer lying down
than standing up. This was his quaint way of showing that the
highways should have been built around instead of over the hills.
At the incorporation of the town in 1711, with the boundaries,
which I will not read, (Wint. Hist., p. 215), the name Winthrop
was very naturally taken. The settlers from the old Bay State
had learned to revere the character of John Winthrop, the first
governor of Massachusetts, and of his son and grandson, each for
years governor of Connecticut, and all learned scholars, able stales-
men. Christian gentlemen. Thomas L. Winthrop, a descendant,
was one of the proprietors of Kennebec Purchase, and subsequently
lieutenant-governor of Massachusetts. And I may add, the name
is still worthily borne by the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop of Boston.
So we had a good name to start with. Let us see how our town
has maintained it.
At the first town meeting, May 20, 17*11, the following officers
were chosen, viz : Ichabod How, Moderator ; John Chandler, Tim-
othy Foster, Ichabod How, Robert Waugh and Jonathan Whiting,
Selectmen ; Jonathan Whiting, Town Clerk ; Stephen Pullen, Con-
stable ; Ichabod How, Gideon Lambert and Jonathan Whiting,
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 29
Assessors ; Jonathan Whiting, Treasurer ; Gideon Lambert and
Josiah Hall, Wardens ; Abraham Wyman and Gideon Lambert,
Surveyors of Highways.
You see his fellow citizens remembered Mr. Whiting's kindness
in dealing out his grain ; and for years he retained their confidence,
for he was almost or quite every year associated with one or more
of these same men in the administration of town affairs.
Down to this period we have had no records at all to appeal to,
and for many years after the town records are so worn and gone,
the very first meeting lost, that but an imperfect history can be
given. But we do find at a meeting held seven days later, £20
raised to support preaching and other necessary town charges, and
a committee appointed to hire a minister ; and at a subsequent
meeting £50 were voted for the repair of highways, and provision
was made for a burying-ground near Isaac N. Metcalf 's ; and the
"town ordered John Needham, Gideon Lambert and Ephraim Lane
into the box to serve as jurors." Thus early were they called upon
by the Court to aid in the administration of justice. And an old
deputy sheriff has told me that one of the judges, long upon the
bench, not many years ago said in his hearing that among the best
jurors were those from Winthrop. The reasons we may see as we
At the regular March meeting in 1112, John Blunt was chosen
moderator and selectman, — the other officers were nearly the
same. The proceedings of this meeting do not all appear by the
record. But the warrant shows six articles to be acted lapon.
1. To elect town officers. 2. To confirm, if they see cause, the
repoi't of the selectmen on highways laid out. 3. To 2My the
town's just debts — no discretion here — no repudiation. 4. To re-
vise the jury box. 5. To choose a committee to solicit Mr. Gar-
diner to open a place through or round his mill-dam to let the fish
up for the benefit of the town ; and 6th, To provide for the repair
This matter of fishways was followed up by committees and
otherwise, for thirty-five years at least. At a meeting, January,
1806, the Representative to the General Court, Col. Fairbanks, who
was nine years elected to that office, was instructed to " oppose
having Cobbosseconte stream exempted from the fish law of the
Commonwealth." But all their efforts were unavailing. Though
salmon, shad, and alewives were plenty before this dam was built,
no fish from the river came into these ponds after that.
In January, 1773, a meeting was held "to consider a pamphlet
in which the rights and charter privileges are maintained, and
instances wherein they think they are infringed" by the British
government. It was "several times read, considered and deliber-
ately weighed." They then answered four questions in the affirm-
ative, responding to the statements of the pamphlet and the mode
of redressing the grievances of the Colonists, and ordered an at-
tested copy of their proceedings sent to the town clerk of Boston.
Provision was fii'st made for schools in 1774 ; and in the warrant
for 1775 was an article "to see if the town will hire schooling this
year and how much," but the record is defective as to what action
was taken; and besides, the War of the Revolution was upon them.
Immediately on hearing of the battle of Lexington (Apr. 19, 1775)
Nathaniel Fairbanks, generally known as "the Colonel," four sons
of Timothy Foster, Billy, Eliphalet, Thomas and John, Elijah Fair-
banks and twelve more young men from Winthrop, whose names I
have not learned, in the language of the Colonel, "repaired to
Headquarters at Cambridge to defend our beloved country." No
more money was voted for schools from this time till March, 1782.
War had begun, and school was dismissed. Their energies were
taxed to the utmost in the support of their families, in all their
hardships and poverty, and the security of their rights against the
encroachments of the British Crown. That they were intensely
patriotic no one can doubt who will read the town records of that
period. But that they felt, too, their dependence on God in this
great crisis, is apparent by their efforts to maintain the institutions
of the gospel. They had voted in 1774, to build a house for pub-
lic worship on lot 57, (in the Metcalf neighborhood,) nearest the
center of the town ; raised £20 towards it, and £28 to support
preaching and other necessary town charges. The preaching of
the gospel, in the judgment of our forefathers, was a necessary
town charge. In 1775 they instructed their committee "to hire
Rev. Thurston Whiting to preach three months after his time was
out, and one day in a month in the winter, and to effect the finish-
ing of the house."
But they did not forget to maintain the war as well as the gos-
pel. They voted £13, 6s. 8d. to purchase a town stock of powder
and lead, and instructed Ichabod How, their Representative in the
Provincial Congress, to be sure and bring home the town's stock of
ammunition. They also voted to pay the Province rate of money
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 31
into the hands of Henry Gardiner, Esq., "as recommended by the
Provincial Congress," and then proceeded' to elect military officers
"to discipline the inhabitants." And again in 1T75 they chose a
committee to provide preaching, and voted to raise £30 to pay old
arrearages and support the preaching. And to teach a lesson in
punctuality, they voted, "that all persons who do service for the
town shall bring in their accounts in one year or they will not he
paid, but will be deemed generously given to the town."
During the same year, at different meetings, committees of cor-
respondence, of inspection, of safety, to procure provisions,
ammunition and other necessary stores, and to consult with com-
mittees of other towns on the public good and general welfare,
were chosen, with power to engage any sum of money they may
think proper for the purpose.
At the annual meeting in March, 1176, the record is peculiar.
They chose the usual town officers, a committee of correspondence,
inspection and safety, voted not to raise any money for preaching
nor for schools, nor to defray town charges ; elected Billy Foster
captain, William Whittier 1st lieutenant, Josiah Hall 2d lieutenant,
and Benjamin Fairbanks ensign ; but before they got through with
the meeting, voted "to employ Mr. More to get Mr. Thayer to
preach four sabbaths." With all the embarrassments of the war
they could not forego public worship entirely.
In August I find recorded at length the Declaration of Indepen-
dence, which was most heartily received and fully endorsed by the
people. Before that, the town meetings had been warned in the
name of His Majesty the King of Great Britain, afterwards the war-
rants were issued in the name of the government and people of
Massachusetts Bay and of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
It would seem that His Majesty the king had at this time some
friends, for I find on record January 29, 1777, a humble and yet
honorable confession. Signed by two prominent citizens, renouncing
allegiance to "the King of Britain and all his laws as unjust," and
asking the forgiveness of their townsmen and neighbors. That
they were forgiven is to be inferred from the fact that one of them
was elected a selectman two yeai's later.
At a town meeting in April, 1777, Ichabod How was chosen a
Delegate to a County Convention to be held in Wiscasset, and
instructed to do all he can "to prevent sending a Remonstrance
to the General Court against their taxing this State," And the
32 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
records are full of votes of supplies for men and the means of car-
rying- on the war. At one time 74 pounds of powder, 250 pounds
of lead, 250 flints; at another, 2856 pounds of beef, 12 shirts, 12
pairs of stockings and shoes, "agreeably to a Resolve of the Gen-
I regret that my limited time has not enabled me to ascertain the
names and number of men who served in the war. In addition, to
those already stated, Joseph Hezelton was under Gen. Gates in all
his battles until the surrender of Burgoyne. Daniel Allen was in
Lee's army. Reuben Brainerd was also a soldier, and " Capt.
Blunt was ordered to a perilous post of duty, which he bravely
And thus it is believed that the men of Winthrop, then em-
bracing Readfield, contributed according to their numbers and
ability their full share of men, arms and ammunition in fighting
out the Revolutionary War, and procuring an honorable peace.
And at its close their ardent patriotism was expressed by voting
"that the Refugees and declared Traitors to the United States of
America ought to be forever excluded from returning among us."
Nor had they been unmindful of affixirs at home. Without stating
specific votes, liberal provision had been made for the support of
preaching. A church had been formed September 4, 1'7'76, with
twenty-six members, and after two unsuccessful attempts to settle
a minister, the Rev. David Jewett of Candia, N. H., on the 17th of
October, 1781, was invited to become their pastor, and accepted,
was installed January 2, 1782, and became the first settled minis-
ter in town.
At the close of the Revolution many new settlers came, some
fresh from the battle-fields, and others from Massachusetts and New
Hampshire, from educated communities, men of intelligence, who
felt the importance of schools for their children. The Stanleys,
Aden, Rial and Solomon, the Fairbanks brothers, Benjamin, Elijah,
Joseph and Nathaniel, with their thirty-eight children, Stevens
with his eighteen, Robbins with his ten, the Woods, Samuel,
Elijah and Enoch, Dr. John Hubbard, the Pages — Robert and Simon,
the Beans and Craigs, and Jedediah Prescott with his thirteen
children — these, with others already mentioned, became the man-
agers of municipal affairs, and took a lively interest in education
and the general welfare.
I must not pass over the death of Capt. Timothy Foster in the
winter of 1785. It illustrates the hardships of the early settlers.
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 33
In cutting down a tree it fell upon him and fractured his skull, so
that he became speechless. His son Stewart went on snow shoes
to Portland for a surgeon, but could not get him to come. He did
obtain an instrument for trepanning, with instructions for its use,
so that after the broken skull was raised the captain roused up and
spoke rationally, but so long a time had intervened and the inflam-
mation was so great that death ensued, and thus ended the life of
the first settler of Winthrop.
During the war the selectmen and committee of correspondence,
in compliance with an existing Colonial law "to prevent monopoly
and oppression," set the prices on labor, and more than forty
articles besides, almost everything to eat, drink and wear, includ-
ing New England Rum, at five pence a gallon. The catalogue is
a curiosity, and may be found in the History of Winthrop, showing
that living in those days was very cheap, if one had money.
After the war liberal sums for schools were raised, from £30 in
1783 to £320 in 1790, for teachers and school houses. Nor were
the morals of the town neglected. In 1789 they began to put in
force a law authorizing them to " warn out of town" persons who
came into it without their consent. Two females, perhaps of doubt-
ful character, were ordered by a warrant under the hands and
seals of John Hubbard and Samuel Wood, Selectmen, to depart the
limits thereof within fifteen days, and this was duly served by the
constable of the town. A little later, John Clark, fiddler, "a tran-
sient person," was served with a similar process.
During the ten years from 1781 to 1791, the division of the town
was in almost constant agitation. The work on the first meeting-
house, that the people had tried so hard to erect in the center of
territory, was suspended, and attempts were m,ade to build two,
one for the Readfield, the other for the Winthrop part, neither of
which succeeded, and the first was sold to David Woodcock and
taken down ; a part of the timber is said to be in the cider mill of
Columbus Fail-banks, now.
In March, 1791, the town was divided by an east and west line,
five-ninths of the territory retained the old name, and four-ninths
became the town of Readfield.
At the annual town meeting in March, 1792, the following
officers were chosen, viz :
Samuel Wood, Moderator, Nathaniel Fairbanks, Clerk. Na-
thaniel Fairbanks, Samuel Wood, Philip Allen, Selectmen.
34 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
Johu Comiugs, Treasurer. Nathaniel Fairbanks, Philip Allen,
John Wadsworth, Assessors. Squier Bishop, Constable.
The death of Rev. David Jewett occurred a little more than a
year after his settlement, and from that time until 1800 there was
no settled minister, and less preaching' than during the Revo-
lutionary War, — to be accounted for, perhaps, upon the same
principle with the devotional spirit of the sailor in the storm, but
forgotten when safe on shore. Impending danger makes men seek
the aid of a Higher Power than any arm of flesh. But if our
ancestors during this period neglected the heart, they did not fail
to cultivate the intellect of their children.
In 1792, the town was divided into six school districts, com-
mittees of three were chosen for each, and liberal sums of money
expended in the support of schools. In the Snell district, em-
bracing many of the first settlers, in 1797-8, after expending their
proportion of $333 raised by taxation, many of the parents sub-
scribed from $2 to $10 each, and prolonged their school the
principal portion of the time for twenty-one months, making it free
for all the scholars in the district, and that the banner district in
During this year, 1792, twelve heads of families and their chil-
dren formed the Society of Friends, according to the usage of
their denomination, and in 1798 erected a house of worship in the
neighborhood now known as Baileyville. In 1794 a Methodist
class was formed in the Fairbanks' neighborhood, under the care
of Rev. Philip Wager. Nathaniel Bishop, son of the second
settler, and himself the first trader, had been a local preacher of
this denomination. Through his efforts the class had occasional
preaching in the school-house there, and mainly by his indomitable
perseverance, a very neat house of worship was erected on an
eligible site in the village in 1825, a Methodist society of seven-
teen members having been incorporated in 1811.
In 1794 the town meeting-house, so-called, the first built in this
town, was so far completed as to be fit for use in the summer sea-
son; and at a meeting in April, the town voted that the Baptist
church, organized in 1792, in the easterly part of the town, "may
have the improvement of the meeting-house two sabbaths out of
five, and to begin the third sabbath from that date." They occu-
pied it a portion of the time prior to 1800, and occasionally had
preaching in the school-house at East Winthrop, until 1823, when
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 35
their meeting-house, was erected. The house first built stood on
almost the highest point of land in town, — a spot of surpassing
beauty. The late Dr. Benjamin Vaughan of Hallowell, an early
settler there, formerly a member of the British Parliament, but
obliged to flee from England because of his sympathy for and in-
terest in the American Colonies, was accustomed to take his dis-
tinguished visitors to Winthrop, especially to this spot. He
would come by the charming view of Cobbossecontee lake at
East Winthrop, over the old meeting-house hill, and returned by
the Narrow's pond. And he often said this ride gave him the
most interesting scenery in New England.
I have a very vivid recollection of this house in my boyhood.
It was where I was taken to meeting by my parents regularly
every sabbath, a distance of two miles, summer and winter, rain
or shine. The house had only a single floor, no carpet of course,
the underpinning in many places gone, and not a spark of fire for
years. I do not remember how many before stoves were put in ;
but I do recollect most distinctly sitting by my blessed mother
and seeing her clothes sway back and forth by the winds. She
had a foot stove for her comfort, but we children were without,
and thus taught to buff'et the hardships of life by our good father
who shared them with us. The poor horses, too, — no sheds were
provided for them. They were obliged to take the northwest
wind upon that bleak hill, without shelter, except so far as the
first comers could hitch them under the lee of the house. Lucki-
ly for the men, bad for the horses, no societies existed "to prevent
cruelty to our dumb animals."
I mention these facts to show the habits of the second generation.
What must have been hardships of the first ?
A post ofiice was first established, and Silas Lambert appointed
postmaster, in 1800.
The opinions of the people at this time were so various on re-
ligious subjects, and so divided on denominational views that they
could not act as a town in the settlement and support of a minister.
A poll parish was therefore formed, consisting of ninety members,
and incorporated by the name of the First Congregational Society
of Winthrop. Rev. Jonathan Belden, a graduate of Yale College,
commenced preaching in the winter ; in May he was invited to
settle, and on the 27th day of August, was ordained as their pas-
tor, and continued until 1805, when his ministry closed on account
36 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
of the failure of his health. His pastorate seems to have been
successful, as forty-five members were added to the church. The
poll parish was dissolved in 1806 by an act of the Legislature,
and the society again became a territorial parish ; its affairs for
many years were managed by the annual town meeting.
Rev. David Thurston came hero in Ma}'-, 1806, and preached a
few sabbaths so acceptably that on the 10th of November the town
concurred with the church in a call by them previously given to
him, "to settle in the work of a gospel minister, and to give him
$400 a year so long as he shall continue, and $400 as a settlement."
In January, 180*7, he accepted the call, was ordained the 18th of
February, and continued in that relation more than forty-four years,
until October 15, 1851, when it was dissolved at his request. My
fellow citizens have recently placed a tablet to his memory, pre-
sented by the Hon. Seth May, in the rear of the pulpit of the
church, where he had preached the gospel so ably, so faithfully
and 80 long. That tablet bears an epitome of his character and
labors ; but as I read the inscription and have studied the history
of this town, I felt that it should have borne one more tribute to
his worth, as the ardent, efficient and constant friend of education.
On the 6th day of April, less than two months after his ordination,
he was elected one of a committee to " draw up a plan about the
instruction of youth," and to report at the next town meeting ; at
which, held May 4th, there is entered upon the record a report
which was accepted, signed Samuel Wood, David Thurston, Hu-
shai Thomas and Dudley Todd, making a radical change as to the
admission and classification of scholars. And during almost his
entire ministry he was a member of the school committee, under
whatever name the law called it, and for years when the law pro-
vided for no such office. To be sure men of all the professions,
and thinking men of all classes cooperated with him, but to him
we are indebted moi'e than to any other man for the elevated char-
acter of our common schools and the high standard of education
August Y, 1808, the first Sabbath School was established in town,
mainly through his efforts ; and I believe, also, the first in the Com-
monwealth, and that before the separation of Maine. My belief of
this important fact rests upon the Celebration of the 50th Anni-
versary of Sabbath Schools in Beverly, which I attended in 1860.
The occasion drew together an immense concourse of people to
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 3*7
do honor to Beverly as the first to establish a Sabbath School in
New England in 1810, (two years later than ours here.)* A public
dinner was given, and speeches were made by the most eminent
men of the State, in which all honor was given to Beverly, and
especially to the two young ladies who commenced the school as
teachers, the late Mrs. Everett of Brunswick being one of them.
For be it remembered always to their honor, that through all the
intervening period, and now, ladies have been most numerous and
earnest in Sabbath School instruction, and have thus as otherwise
blessed the world. God bless them for it.
As Mr. Webster,f in a letter near the close of his life, expressed
♦ Since writing this Address, I have seen " The Sunday School Times" of September
15, 1860, published in Philadelphia, containing a full account of the Beverly Semi-Cen-
tennial Celebration, "reported expressly" for that paper. The Rev. A. B. Rich read a
"historical sketch" of the first school established in Beverly, and fixed the date as of
September 5, 1810, by quotations from the History of Beverly by Rev. Edwin M. Stone,
and from Memoranda of Hon. Robert Rantoul, Senior. He then says, "two years after
Mr. Kantoul made these memoranda the Rev. Asa BuUard prepared a History of the
Massachusetts Sabbath School Society. In this work he says, "The first Sabbath School,
so far as we are able to learn, in this State, and probably in New England, intended for
moral and religious instruction, was established in Beverly in 1810." On page 124 of
the History of Winthrop, written by Mr, Thurston, I find this statement, " The first
Sabbath School in town, and probably in the State, was established by this church,
Aug. 7, 1808. It has been continued in different forms and with various success until the
present time." I submit, therefore, that whatever honor is due to the town first estab-
lishing a Sabbath School in New England, belongs to Winthrop.
t Instead of giving in this address the extracts I made from Mr. Webster's letter, it
seems to me better to preserve the whole in this note. The opinions of these two dis-
tinguished statesmen cannot fail to impress upon the public mind the value of the Bible
and Sabbath Schools.
JEFFERSON AND WEBSTER— The Bible ajjd Sabbath Schools.
Marshfield, .June 15, 1852.
Prof. Pease — Dear Sir -. — I have received your very able and interesting annual
report of the condition of the New York Sabbath School Association, and read it with
great pleasure and instruction. It is gratifying, very gratifying, to learn that in "a
city where vice and immorality run riot with impunity," a few humble Christians have
devoted their time and energies to the cause of religion, and I fervently pray that your
labors may be crowned with success.
The Sabbath School is one of the great institutions of the day. It leads our youth in
the path of truth and morality, and makes them good men and useful citizens. As a
school of religious instruction it is- of inestimable value ; as a civil institution it is
priceless, has done more to preserve our liberties than grave statesmen and armed
soldiers. Let it then be fostered and preserved until the end of time !
I once defended a man charged with the awful crime of murder. At the conclusion of
the trial I asked him what could induce him to stain his hands with the blood of a
38 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
the hope that it would be, the Sabbath School has been fostered
and preserved from that first school in 1808 here till the present
time ; and it is in all our religious societies, five in number, in-
cluding, in addition to those already mentioned, the Universalist
society, which was formed in 1818, whose house of worship, neat
and commodious, was erected in 1838. It is a most cherished in-
stitution in them all ; has done and is doing a great work in main-
taining the high moral and religious character of the people.
fellow-being. Turning his blood-shot eyes full upon me, he replied, in a voice of des-
pair, " Mr. Webster, in my youth I spent the holy Sabbath in evil amusements, instead
of frequenting the house of prayer and praise." Could we go back to the early years of
all hardened criminals, I believe, yes, firmly believe, that their subsequent crimes might
thus be traced back to the neglect of youthful religious instruction.
Many years ago, I spent a Sabbath with Thomas Jefferson, at his residence in Vir-
ginia. It was in the month of June, and the weather was delightful. While engaged
in discussing the beauties of the Bible, the sound of a bell broke upon our ears, when,
turning to the Sage of Monticello, I remarked, " How sweetly, how very sweetly sounds
that Sabbath bell !" The distinguished statesman for a moment seemed lost in thought,
and then replied : "Yes, my dear Webster, yes, it melts the heart, it calms our passions,
and makes Jus boys again." Here I observed that man was an animal formed for
religious worship, and that notwithstanding all the sophistry of Epicurus, Lucretius and
Voltaire, the Scriptures stood upon a rock as firm, as unmovabie as truth itself ; that
man in his purer, loftier breathings, turned the mental eyes toward immortality, and
that the poet only echoed the general sentiment of our nature in saying that " the soul,
secure in her existence, smiles at the drawn dagger, and defies its point."
Mr. Jefferson fully concurred in this opinion, and observed that the tendency of the
American mind was in a different direction, and that Sunday Schools (he did not use
our more correct term. Sabbath) presented the only legitimate means, under the consti-
tution, of avoiding the rock on which the French Republic was wrecked. " Burke," said
he, " never uttered a more important truth than* when he exclaimed that a religious
education was the cheap defence of nations," '.' Raikes," said Mr. Jefferson, " has done
more for our country than the present generation will acknowledge ; perhaps, when I
am cold, he will obtain his reward ; T hope so, earnestly hope so ; I am considered by
many, Mr. Webster, to have little religion, but now is not the time to correct errors of
this sort. I have always said, and always will say, that the studious perusal of the
sacred volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands. Of the
distinguished Raikes, he was ' clarum et vencrabile nomen.' " I took the liberty of saying
that I found more pleasure in Hebrew poetry than in the best productions of Greece and
Rome ; that the " harp upon the willows by Babylon " had charms for me beyond any-
thing in the numbers of the blind man of Smyrna. I then turned to Jeremiah (there
was a fine folio of the Scriptures before me of 1458,) and read aloud some of those sub-
lime passages that used to delight me on my father's knee. But I fear, my dear friend,
I shall tire you with my prolix account of what wJis a pleasant Sabbath spent in the
company of one who has filled a very large space in our political and literary annals.
Thanking you for your report, and heartily concurring with you in the truth of your
quotation that, " Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people,"
I remain, with high regard, your friend, D. Webster.
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 39
In 1809 the " Winthrop Cotton and Woollen Manufactory" was
incorporated. The stock was taken up principally by the people
of the town ; but at that early day want of experience, and espe-
cially capital, prevented its going into operation until 1814, and it
was never successful in first hands. It was creditable to the men
of that day, and in keeping with their character, to conceive and
carry into effect an enterprize of so much magnitude. (Hanson
in his History of Gardiner says, the Cotton Factory established
there in 1811 was among the first in the country.)
In 1823 the factory went into the hands of Boston capitalists,
was afterwards owned and managed by residents of Winthrop,
and after various changes of ownership, nearly all the time in
operation, it was purchased in 1866 by the present company, en-
larged and improved, and profitably employed at this time in the
manufacture of woollen blankets on an extensive scale, and of
In 1812 the Federal party was in the ascendency, and the war
was not heartily supported. They had opposed the embargo as
ruinous to commerce and destructive to the prosperity of New
England, and had instructed their Representative to the General
Court, Samuel Wood, Esq., "to use his utmost endeavors to have
such Electors of President and Vice President chosen as shall em-
brace those ideas that the good people of the Commonwealth
entertained under the Administration of Washington." And yet
they were law-abiding citizens, and obeyed the summons to Wis-
casset to defend the coast when threatened by the British fleet.
On the Sabbath-day, September 11, 1814, a messenger in full
uniform, bearing the orders of Major Gen'l Sewall to call out the
militia, rode up to the old meeting-house on the hill while the town
authorities were listening to old Parson Scott of Minot. He had
not observed the arrival of this stranger, who was seen by the
Selectmen and the military officers, who immediately began to go
out to learn the news. They were soon followed by others whose
curiosity was excited, and at last the good old parson, who had
just got to nineteenthly in his sermon, saw the commotion and said,
" My dear hearers, I fear I am wearying your patience and will draw
to a close," which he did at once, having then preached, as tradition
says, two full hours. There were two companies of militia at that
time, the one on the east side of the stream commanded by Capt.
Asa Fairbanks, and that on the west side by Capt. Elijah Daven-
40 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
port, both of which were warned that afternoon to meet the next
morning at 7 o'clock ; and at an early hour they were on the march
to Wiscasset. Capt. Davenport being sick at the time, his com-
pany was commanded by the Lieutenant, Capt. Samuel Benjamin,
our respected townsman, recently deceased.
The close of the war, in 1814, was memorable not only for that
relief but for the sorrows resulting from the fatal " Cold Fever,"
during which thirty-seven deaths occurred, half of them in a little
more than two months — followed by the " Cold Season" of 1816,
when frost occurred throughout the county in every month of the
year — the corn crop a failure, the farmers discouraged, and the
" Ohio Fever" prevailing. All these causes turned the attention
of the thinking men of Winthrop, and there were many of them,
to combined effort for the promotion of good morals, material pros-
perity, and the general welfare of the people.
In March, 1815, a society was organized, with Samuel Wood
President, and David Thurston, Secretary, the expressed objects
being "to discourage profaneuess, idleness, gross breaches of the
Sabbath, and intemperance."
In 1818 the Winthrop Agricultural Society was incorporated.
It had existed some years before as a social organization. It was
the first in the county, I think the first in Maine. The first meet-
ing was held July 4th, when a Constitution was adopted stating
the object to be "to improve the art of husbandry and elevate the
calling of the husbandman."
I should be glad to trace the history of these two societies,
under the direction of the most intelligent men in town. The
first aiding the Tythingmeu in the discharge of their duties — dis-
tributing tracts and pamphlets, and holding discussions on the evils
of intemperance — establishing Sabbath Schools in seven school dis-
tricts, and continuing in operation until 1832, when other societies
had arisen, and a vote of the town had been passed instructing the
selectmen and town agent to take proper measures to prevent the
violation of the law, and "to post drunkards and tipplers." The
other (Agricultural Society) was indefatigable in its labors. Tasks
were assigned to its members, each was requested to "report his
favorite source of profit and his net gain," and fines were im-
posed for absence from the meetings. Wheat was imported from
Virginia and Spain to be sold at cost, but "not over a peck to each
member." Special efforts were made "to improve that noble race
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 41
of animals, the horse," to procure the best breeds of stock and
kinds of farming tools ; and at length Cattle Shows and Fairs were
held, with premiums on stock, crops, butter, cheese, and manufac-
tured articles. In 1832 the name was changed to "Kennebec
County Agricultural Society," a splendid Show and Fair held that
year, and a number following in Winthrop, then in other towns,
and finally located in 1856 in the northern part of old Pondtown
plantation, in the good town of Readfield, where "it still lives"
to dispense its benefits and blessings.
The first Agricultural paper in the State was started in Winthrop
in January 7, 1833, under the name of the Kennebec Farmer, Wil-
liam Noyes publisher and Dr. Ezekiel Holmes editor. The name
was soon changed to Maine Farmer, with the motto " Our Home,
our Country, and our Brother Man." It had eleven years of hard
life in Winthrop, was then sold to Russell Eaton and removed to
Augusta, — made him rich in a few years — and is now in the 39th
year of its age, prosperous and useful in the Capital of the State.
Of Dr. Holmes, the editor for thirty-two years, and a resident of
Winthrop all the time, of Samuel and Elijah Wood, and others in
this town who contributed to its columns, I need 'not speak. You
are familiar with their writings, labors, and benefits to the cause
In addition to the common schools liberally supported, many pri-
vate schools have been taught in the village and at East Winthrop,
— Dr. John Boutelle, as early as 1812, for many terms, Samuel
Johnson in 181t, and Mr. Thurston in his own study for years of
his pastoral life. In 1825 Elder John Butler established a school
for young ladies in the higher English branches, at East Winthrop.
He was an excellent teacher ; his school gained a high reputation
and attracted scholars from the river towns and other distant
places. To him we are indebted for many of our. excellent wives
and for a new impulse to the cause of female education.
In 1825 the Congregational Society, by appropriate services,
bade farewell to the old meeting-house on the hill, and dedicated
their present house of public worship iji the village.
It would be most interesting to refer by name to more of the
leading men in town, and state some of their peculiar traits of
character, — that is impossible now — and I must be content briefly
to allude to their combined and associated efforts to improve the
morals, increase the intelligence and promote the temporal and
spiritual welfare of the people.
42 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
In 1827 the Anderson Society was formed for " mutual instruc-
tion in the sciences, as connected with the mechanic arts and agri-
culture." In 1829 a Temperance Society, pledged "to abstain
from distilled spirits," headed by Esq. Wood and Parson Thurston
and followed by over four hundred names — a noble roll, over six
feet long, borne in to-day's procession. In 1830, at the annual
town meeting, resolutions were passed stating the amount of liquor
sold, the evils of the traflSc, and condemning the whole business.
In 1832 Daniel Carr opened the first temperance tavern in the
State, and a society pledged to total abstinence from all that in-
toxicates was formed about this time.
In 1833 our good women formed a " Moral Reform Society,"
which was soon followed by a "Maternal Society for mutual im-
provement." And Mr. Thurston preached in November, 1833, the
first sermon in the United States, (I have his word for it)* showing
the sinfulness of slaveholding, and the duty of immediate emanci-
pation ; and in 1834 a society was organized upon that principle,
with one hundred and seven members.
In 1883, Capt. Samuel Clark being our representative, a lead-
ing man of sterling good sense, procured the passage of a law con-
verting the parish fund, arising from the sale of a lot of land
given by the Plymouth Company for the use of the ministry, into
a school fund. It had been a source of controversy between the
Congregational and other religious societies since 1816 ; and after
a protracted lawsuit, the legal title was decided to be in the First
Parish. The moral right was still questioned. The parish there-
fore voted, in 1832, to surrender it to the the town, the principal,
by the terms of this law, to be kept intact, and the interest divided
annually, per capita, among the school districts. And thus ended
a contention which had injured the cause of religion, by adding a
fund of $2,831.34 to promote that of education.
In 1837, the surplus revenue in the Treasury of the United
States was distributed among the several States, and by this
State to the towns according to population. Many of the towns
carried out the principle and divided it per capita. Winthrop
more wisely put their share, $4,006, into the treasury as other
town funds, and used a large part of it in purchasing a farm for
the support of the poor. Before that time they had quite too
* See History of Winthrop, pages 153 and 154,
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 43
often pursued the inliuinan custom, so generally practiced, of put-
ting their support at auction, to be be sold to the lowest bidder.
Since that time our poor have been kindly cared for on this farm,
with all the comforts of a good home, while economy and humanity
have been found to harmonize by the change. ^
The Aroostook War called for thirty men, who were furnished,
and the Major of the regiment, now Gen. Samuel Wood, detailed
for that service. All returned in safety at its bloodless conclusion.
In 1840, the town first took legal action in behalf of temperance.
They instructed the board to license but one man to sell for
medicinal and mechanical purposes only, and elected a committee
to prosecute all violations of the law. The instructions were
followed and resulted in great good to the community, though one
member of the committee lost his bees and horses' tail for his
fidelity to duty.
In 1841, the Washingtonian Society was formed, based upon
the law of kindness and love, and was instrumental of much good,
not only in our own but in neighboring towns. In 1846, the Sons
of Temperance organized a Division ; their operations embraced
not only opposition to the liquor traffic, but care for their sick
members, whom they relieved at a cost of $214.
In 1847, the Androscoggin and Kennebec Railroad Company
was incorporated, the citizens of Winthrop taking an active part
in the enterprise, and contributing about $30,000 to the stock.
In 1850, a Watchman's Club was formed. This organization
was commenced the year before, and had for its particular object
the enactment of a prohibitory law, and resulted in the passage of
the celebrated Maine Law in 1851. Before that time and since,
there have been in active operation debating societies, lyceums
and social libraries for mental improvement ; a great variety of
female and juvenile temperance societies ; and now there is an
an efficient society of Good Templars, — a large Masonic Lodge,
and a Young Men's Christian Association — composed of men of all
religious denominations of the highest character — with an at-
tractive room free to all, and an inviting library, the value of
whose labors for the salvation of souls will be known only in
In 1854, Towle Academy was erected from the generous gift of
$2,000 by will of Jenniss Towle, in connection with this Town
Ilall standing in our view, at a cost of $7,500. Since then a
44 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
school has been in operation about three-quarters of the time,
during the winter term, combining the advantages of a District
High School and an Academy.
The fruits of all the means of education employed in this town
have appeared in the great number of good teachers supplied not
only for our town and State, but for very many other States of the
Union ; in twentj'^ graduates of colleges, fifteen of Bowdoin, two
of Union, and of Dartmouth, Nassau Hail and Waterville, one
each ; in fourteen ministers, fourteen lawyers and twelve phy-
sicians educated, who have done and are doing good service in the
learned professions. There have been twenty physicians who
have practiced in Winthrop. The first,* who settled here in 1792
and continued in practice fifty years, was Dr. Peleg Benson. Next
to him, Dr. Issachar Snell, who came in 1806, remained twenty-
two years and then removed to Augusta ; both able and respected
physicians, and one a distinguished surgeon. Many of the others
having acquired, and those now here, possessing a reputation for
skill which gives them an extensive business not only in their own
but neighboring towns.
There have been eighteen lawyers — Alexander Belcher, forty-
seven years in the profession, always respected for his integrity
and sound legal judgment. Francis E. Webb, so highly esteemed,
that at his decease he was the Representative of the Town and
County Attorney elect ; a Judge of the Supreme Court of the
State for seven years ; another at this time a Judge of the Police
Court of Washington, and others who have been honored with im-
portant oflSces in town, county and nation.
The number of ministers who have been located in town I can-
not give. There have been seven in the Congregational Society,
of three I have already spoken. The others have been so recently
with us that I need not state the estimation in which they have
been held, especially the present incumbent, "whose praise is in
all the churches." In the Methodist Society the Bishop has sent
us their best men — Joseph Lovell, George Webber, Charles W.
Morse, Charles Munger, Stephen Allen, are examples. In the
Baptist, John Butler, Daniel E. Burbank, H. E. Pierce; and in the
Universalist, Giles Bailey, George Bates, and others, able preach-
* Col. Fairbanks in a letter to Thomas J. Lee, Esq., dated March 10, 1830, makes this statement :
While the History of Winthrop gives the name of Michael Walcott, as the " first regular practitioner
in the place, at a very early period," and Dr. Moses Wing, " was sometime a physician in town."
ers and beloved pastors; you will all agree with me that but few
towns, especially in the country, have been favored with nnen of
so much ability in all the professions.
There are many other facts that the truth of history requires me
to state : — That the old Messenger Ilorse* was brought to Win-
throp in 1816 by Alvin Hayward, from whose stock and that of the
Winthrop Morrill our people and the farmers of Maine have re-
ceived immense sums of money ; That Dr. Holmes in 1855 brought
into Winthrop two thorough-bred Jerseys, from which, and two
b}"" Wm. S. Grant, Boardman saj^s "have come most of the Jersey
stock now in the 'county." You, my neighbors, know what golden
butter 3^ou have made from these cows, and at what prices you
have sold them and their calves ; That Liberty Stanley, early in
this century invented a machine for shearing cloth that has been
in use substantially ever since ; That Ezra Whitman was the in-
ventor of the Parlor Clock, reduced from the old-fashioned Kitchen
Clock, and that he was the pioneer in conceiving the idea of the
Wheel Horse-Rake, the Turbine Water- Wheel, and the Mowing
and Reaping Machines ; though before he carried these inventions
into working perfection other men entered into his labors and
reaped the reward ; That his son Luther Whitman invented the
Self-feeding Drill and Boring Lathe, now used in most of the
machine shops, and many improvements in agricultural imple-
ments ; and that H. A. and J. A. Pitts, twin brothers, invented
the Grain Thresher and Winnower, that took the first premium at
the Paris Exhibition in 1855 — thus thrashing most thoroughly
France, England and Belgium, and making known the practical
and useful character of our inventions throughout Europe.
The character of a people for intelligence may be inferred from
their habits of reading and writing. Judged by this rule I think
our community will compare well with others. Besides the books
found in every household, in the Sabbath School, Christian Asso-
ciation, and social libraries, to which they have access, I learn
through the post offices that 801 newspapers and periodicals were
* For a more particular description of Old Winthrop Messenger and his stock, I refer
to Mr. Boardman's " County of Kennebec," pp. 104, 105. Sanford Howard in 1852 said,
" Maine has, until within a few years, furnished nearly all the trotting stock of any note
in the country;" most of which can be traced to the blood of this old Winthrop horse.
I have no reference of courge to " Gen. Knox," and other horses that have become cele-
brated since that time.
taken last year, nearly two to every family, at a cost of about
$2,000 ; and that 49,625 letters were received, and more than that
number sent out.
I get the following items from Mr. Snell, who took the census of
Winthrop for 18*70:
Product of manufacturers for the year ending June 1, ISVO —
Cotton and woollen goods $325,000
Floor oil cloths 570,000
Agricultural implements 80,000
Boots and shoes 60,000
Tanning and currying 10,000
Building and miscellaneous 50,000
Product of 226 farms of five acres and upwards $181,300
Number of houses in town 452, of which 220 are in the Village
District. Number of families 498. Population 2,229. Total value
of real and personal estate about $2,000,000, being about an equal
amount of each.
Bank of Winthrop, capital $100,000 ; 1 woollen mill; 1 cotton
mill ; 1 grist mill ; 2 saw mills ; 2 tanneries ; 1 manufactory of
agricultural implements ; 4 carriage makers ; 1 oil cloth manufac-
tory, another recently burned and now rebuilding ; 1 clothing
manufactory; 4 blacksmith's shops; 20 stores; 1 hotel — the
Amount of taxes, 1871 —
State ; $5,619.95
Town, viz: Schools 2,167.76
Poor and other town charges 1,600.00
For indebtedness of town 3,000.00
Rate of taxation, 17 mills,
I close with a brief allusion to our record in the War of the
At the first call of the President thirty-eight enlisted, and one
hundred and thirty-five afterwards. All went to the front and did
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 47
good service in the cause of their countiy. One noble young man
fell dead on the bloody field of Gettysburg. Another died of star-
vation at Andersouville. Another brave boy was mortally wounded
in the battle of the Wilderness, eleven days after his whole term
of three 3'^ears had expired. "Tell mother," said he to a c'omrade,
with his dying breath, "I am glad I came, I have tried to do my
duty, and I die in peace." Thirty-nine others fell in battle, died
of wounds or disease, or in rebel prisons.
Thank God that any of our brave soldiers came back to bring
these precious messages and again to live with us happy and use-
ful lives. They will not soon forget at what price victory was
bought, nor will these vacant homes, where aching hearts testify
of their losses, fail to be grateful for the liberty so dearly pur-
chased. As we this day commemorate the progress and the
blessings of the century past, let us gird ourselves afresh for the
opening labors and duties of the century to come; and conse-
crating ourselves and our good old town to the service of our
country and our God, let us transmit to our descendants unim-
paired the civil liberty, the honest integrity, and the holy faith
which we have inherited from our fathers.
The Poem by J. W. iVIay, Esq.
One hundred years ago ! Shall I presume
To wander backward through a century's gloom,
With lyre unstrung, unskilled to gain renown,
And sing the birthday of this good old town ;
Shall I essay, with laboring verse, to tell
Historic tales of what our sires befell
In those old days, when Pond Town was a wild
Where men like hermits lived, nor woman smiled ; —
Those old colonial days when George the Third,
Ruled all the land with his puissant sword.
And sought to force oppression's galling yoke
On subjects loyal till their souls awoke
With sense of wrongs too grievous to be borne,
And spurned the scepteved monarch on his throne?
Is such a theme the theme for me to choose,
And will the Muses my dull heart infuse
With life and fire, so I may strike some chord
That shall a fitting harmony afford ;
So I may wake some echo of a strain,
Though brief and faint, perchance not all in vain ;
Nor feel o'erwhelmed lest my unfinished task
Should need indulgence more than I can ask ?
Kind friends, forgive, and stray with me along.
Nor turn at this, the prelude of the song.
One hundred years ago, this very day.
The first town-meeting (so the records say,)
Was held at an Inn- holder's house, which means
Not what some college boys, with roguish spleens.
Might half surmise, a place where all within
Are held by one without who holds them in ;
But simply that the meeting was convened
At an old tavern stand wherein was weaned
The infant town, then christened, named anew,
And clothed with corporate powers with much ado.
On that great day, — anno urbis concUtce,
No doubt the landlord did his bounden duty,
And furnished freely all the needful aid.
To see that corner stone most fitly laid.
Perhaps a bumper crowned the festive board.
Perhaps with merriment the table roared ;
(For in those times the keeper of an inn
Most always kept a little "sm^iZe" within.)
No doubt the yeoman did good service too.
And put the thing magnificently through :
Chose selectmen and constable and clerk.
And all oflicials, setting them at work
With busy hands, to make the new made town
A little jewel in King George's crown,
For in his INIajesty's ungracious name.
The warrant issued, and the people came.
Thus organized and fairly under way,
Our little ship of State set sail that day
With much of pride and more of future hope.
To bi'ave the storms and with the billows cope.
One plucky man, who from New Ipswich came,
Some years before, — John Chandler was his name,-
Held by conditional grant, as it would seem,
Hundreds of acres, near the old mill stream ;
And made his title good by building mills.
This led to opening roads amongst the hills,
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 49
Giving the outside settlers chance to come
And cart their loads of meal .and lumber home.
And there were other names worthy of note,
Conspicuous, mighty, in those times remote,
Emblazoned on the records, sending down
Leaven enough to leaven half the town ;
Foster, Fairbanks, Stevens, Pullen, How,
Whiting, Brainard, Stanley, and Bishop too ;
Cognomens which in poetry work in
Most musical, as pretty as a pin, —
I cannot mention all — suffice to say
They were illustrious in that ancient day,
And for the town did much,— did more, say some,
Than Romulus and Remus did for Rome.
Other town meetings followed at the Inn ;
In which the freeholders did now begin
To act on matters, some of grave import.
Discussed and passed as in the general court.
Graveyards were purchased, and highways improved;
Bridges were built, and obstacles removed,
Until the river towns beyond the streams
Could now be reached by teamsters with their teams.
Groceries were started, and West India goods
Toiled slowly in through miles of dreary woods,—
The heavy wagon creaking 'neath its load.
The jaded oxen careless of the goad.
The weary teamster stopping now and then.
To quench his thrist, then shout ''gee up" again.
Improvements still advanced, the woods gave way
To waving grain-fields and the reaper's sway ;
And the broad acres newly cleared and burned.
Abundant harvests for the toil returned.
They voted money, pounds and shillings, pence.
In those old days to pay the town's expense ;
They levied taxes on the estates and polls.
Which were collected like the miller's tolls ;
They ordered men into the box by three's,
To serve as jurors in the Common Pleas ;
They favored learning and established schools,
Warned out of town all stragglers, idlers, fools,
Expurgating the trash like tares from wheat, —
Reserving only so much as was meet
50 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
For this good town, whose honored name should be
A synonym for good society.
Religion, too, found early footing here ;
Preaching was hired eight Sabbaths in a year,
And twenty pounds were raised to pay the bills
Ere yet a meeting-house stood on its sills.
And they were careful, too, what men they hired
To preach the gospel from the word inspired.
And sometimes voted that they only would
Hire those whose moral character was good.
The history of the town hath once been writ ;
Much there that's told of course we here omit, —
Yet one or two good things therein set forth
A moment's rhyme we think are richly worth, —
For instance this, illustrative of manners
When men wore homespun, women used bandannas.
A Mr. F. once pillioned his old horse
And started off, ('twas then a thing of course,)
And asked a visit from a Mrs. Wood.
Quoth she : " /'tZ go 'w a moment if I could,
But Pm a kneading bread which I must bake.''''
"If that is ail,''' quoth Mr. F. ''Til make
The ixithway clear. Just take your kneading trough
And jiimx) upon my nag and we''ll be off.''''
No sooner said than done. Both on the beast
With trough and bread, a funny jag at least.
Went trotting back to house of Mr. F.,
Where they arrived but little out of breath.
He built a fire, she baked her batch of bread.
Spent the whole day, at night w^ent home to bed
Same style, — riding as gaily on the pillion
As modern girls would dance a brisk cotillion.
A certain fiddler, most presumptuous grown.
Once pitched his tent without permit in town.
The good folks rallied, but ne'er raised a rout;
In a most legal way they warned him out.
The constable whose christian name was Squier
And surname Bishop, loosed, 'tis said, his ire.
And in a rage e'en warned him oft' God's earth.
Whereat the fiddler trembled at his wrath.
And asking where to go, was answered plain :
''Why, go, you stupid fool, go out to Wayne."
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 51
One most consummate nnisance in those days
Was Dr. Gardiner's dam, with no fishways,
Down at the mouth of Cobb'see Conte stream,—
A source of trouble which got up great steam ;
For the old settlers, they were fond of fish.
And half subsisted on that excellent dish ;
But Dr. Gardiner's dam built tight and high.
Embargoed all the fish from passing by.
Spoiling the up-stream fishermen's delights,
Infringing, too, the fishes' vested rights.
Wronging both men and fish,— a two-fold grief
Which called for some prompt action for relief.
What should be done ? Ah, Dr. G., take heed.
You'll catch it now for your unfriendly deed !
They called a new town meeting and let off
At first a protest, like a gentle cough
Before a sneeze, choosing a board of three
To coax a fishway out of Doctor G.
Coaxing was vain : The Doctor, he said No :
No fish around or through his dam should go.
Whereat the settlers fired a louder gun.
Remonstrating and threatening, both in one.
Here was a casus belli, cause of war
More palpable than Green and Trojan saw.
They did not fight to right this double wrong
But fired full many a protest loud and strong.
And boldly voted,— voting every year
A fresh committee to present more clear
Their grievances against that stubborn dam,
Which locked the stream where once good fishes swam.
Alack a day ! Not ten long voting years
With double shotted protests, barbed like spears,
Availed them aught. That dam, it would not down;
So finally,— they let the thing alone.
But hark ! There is a tumult in the land.
And a more serious conflict now at hand, —
A conflict not of merely local strife,
But one in which a people strike for life.
England, harsh mother, from her sea-girt isle.
Bloated with wealth of many lands the spoil.
Drunken with power — proud mistress of the sea,
Lays heavy tribute by her stern decree
On all the provinces throughout the land ;
52 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
Their voice in eouucil, hushed by her command,
Their sacred chartered rights all cloven down,
Their ministers spmmed even from the throne,
The people helpless, crying for redress,
The monarch laughing at their vain distress.
All, there were murmurings, gathering wide and far,
And stern resolves unmoved by threats of war.
A voice from old Virginia, loyal then,
Electrified the hearts ©f living men
"With words of fire, till flew on every breath
The clarion war cry : " Liberty or Death !"
And where was Winthrop on that trying day 2
Did she not arm in earnest for the fray ?
Ay, this old township heard the trumpet call.
And sent her sons to conquer or to fall.
Those were the times that tried men's souls. Alas !
Should her young sons the dread ordeal pass,
And come again to these their hill-side homes.
To spend their days and find their burial tombs?
Heaven only knew what was in store for them : —
Who speeds the right will sure the wrong condemn.
Prompt at their country's call a score when forth
To the provincial army of the North
Then mustering at old Cambridge, marshaling
To meet the red-coat minions of the King.
The blood, that flowed from many a mortal wound
At Lexington, lay fresh upon the ground.
And the raw infantry were on the drill
For their grand charge at glorious Bunker Hill.
But this is histor'y, — and I need not tell
A tale which every school-boy knows full well :
Only the part this patriotic town
Took in the contest should be written down,
And honorable mention made of those
Who joined the ranks against the country's foes.
But few returned to these new homes to dwell :
Some died of hardship, — some in battle fell.
And some who privateered came back from sea
To share the blessings of a country free.
We must not loiter longer on the way
To tell what happened in the olden day.
Let us advance our pinions to the breeze,
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 53
And, like a good ship o'er the laughing seas,
Fly onward through the lapse of rolling years.
A wayward pilot in the Muse, who steers
Sometimes a devious course, too prone to dash
The craft on breakers with a fearful crash,
Making appalling shipwreck : — let us try
And pass the dangerous breakers safely by,
Bringing our good ship to the offing now
Of later days, — a port which tve do knoio.
Lo, here we come with all our canvass free !
The gleaming beacons on the strand we see,
The old familiar shores, the rocks, the hills.
The emerald fields, sweet lakes and streams and rills, —
A thousand scenes in memory treasured well.
Crowd into view with many a tale to tell.
Dear native town ! May I not bring to thee
A passing tribute, slight however it be, —
Some little word, a token fondly laid
Upon tl*fe altar where our childhood played ;
And where a musing fancy loved to roam.
Enraptured with the beautiful at home !
May I not pause one moment to renew
The dear delights which laughing boyhood knew, —
Here where the hills hold in their sweet embrace
So many a lakelet, touched with native grace ;
Here where the woods in spring-time were so green.
And all the landscape seemed a fairy scene ;
Here where v/e wandered, truants from the school.
And penance paid for many a broken rule, —
Loving the freedom of the woodlands more
Than all the tasks the teacher had in store ;
And willing mailyrs to the rod, if we
Could thus atone for this our truant glee !
Was it the weakness of a boyish heai't
To deem no other scenes could e'er impart
Such wealth of happiness as seemed to come
In those long tramps through woods and fields at home ;
To dote on every nook and pathway where
The wild flowers bloomed and fragrance filled the air ;
To love each hill-top on whose magic height
Our roving footsteps climbed with new delight, —
Till our young hearts leaped up with blissful bound
At all the pictured loveliness around ;
54 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
To sigh for these dear scenes when foi-ced away.
And hoi»esick, pine thro' many a weary day,
Retnrniug often, bag and baggage home,
When no one gave the kind permit to come ?
Ay, call it weakness of a boyish heart ;
It was a yearning which would ne'er depart.
With boyhood's years, — a fondness which would cling
In later life, tho' time and change might bring
Their winter chill, and years of absence quell
The youthful ardor of its powerful si^ell ;
A steadfast bond asserting its control,
A true attachment anchored in the soul.
Come hither, INIuse ! nor longer stop to dream ;
The hour is flitting — gather up your theme
And bear it onward to a fitting close ;
Let not your verse relapse to stolid prose.
These modern times are difterent from the old ;
Improvements come with innovations bold ;
And skill and ci'aft and industry have wrought
Strange revolutions which the sires ne'er thought.
The manufacturer and the artisan,
The farmer, trader, the professional man,
Have long ignored the old-time ways and arts ;
And marvelous changes now in various parts
Have taken place till the fair town has grown
A populous — indeed a wealthy town.
The village here, once called the Chandler Mills,
Lapped in the valley, flanked by ancient hills
On either hand, hath sjjread its borders wide,
And feels to-day almost a city's pride.
The mill-stream winding from the lake above
Is tasked full many a i:)owerful wheel to move ;
And the steam engine brings its force to bear.
Screaming its shrill note on the startled air.
What would the settlers of the old time say
Could they stand here, on this centennial day.
And see the pi-ogress of an hundred years.
And hear the shouts, the pagans and the cheers ?
What would the veterans say ! How would they gaze
Around in strange bewilderment, and raise
Their trembling hands and voices in surprise,
Till tears of joy should moisten their dim eyes !
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 55
Who are the men whoVe helped build up the town,
And laid of late their early burdens down ;
Whose generous hearts were with large love imbued.
Whose labors live, a legacy of good ;
Whose memory green is fondly cherished here.
Whose ashes sleep within the churchyard near !
They claim some mention at our hands to-day :
We have a debt of gratitude to pay
Which this good town with all its wealth and pride
Can poorly pay and ne'er can lay aside.
Th« white-haired father,* who 'neath yonder roof
Preached words of life, enforced with many a proof, —
Who by example and by precept taught
And for long years in every good work wrought.
Did well his part for the dear town he loved
And closed a life of labors well approved.
Another, too, yet in a different sphere,
With kindly impulse, left his blessing here ;
O'er whose low grave the monumental stone
Was reared by grateful townmsen, as to one,
A benefactor genial, kind and good;
A man of culture, generously imbued
With native gifts of intellect and heart, —
A keen, quick mind, most liberal to impart
Its stores of knowledge, brilliant, too, with wit.
Whose ready shafts would like an arrow hit ;
A master of the pen, who if to-day
lie walked witli us would give his genius play.
And bring to these festivities a cheer
Whose note should ring in every listening ear.
Well let him I'est 'neath his memorial stone, —
Here where his life was spent and labor done.
And cherish long, whatever fortune comes.
The honored name of genial Dr. Holmes.
'Tis time to stop. In sooth, how short is time !
Yet time is long when drags a tedious rhyme.
Much must be left unsaid, full much unsung ;
Some random sheets shall here aside be flung,
And we will curb the headstrong, wayward Muse, —
That flighty bird, that warbles so profuse.
* Rev. David Thurston.
56 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
But this protracted stanza should not cease
And die away in these sweet times of peace
Without one earnest word — one loud halloo —
For Winthi'op boys, who, with "the boys in blue,"
Struck the grim monster of secession down,
And gave their laurels to the good old town.
The days are fresh before us, with the glare
Of gleaming bayonets, and the wild blare
Of war's dread trumpet calling loud — "To Arms!
Defend the country, save her flag from harms !"
The fire enkindled, ah, how soon it burned !
The spirit of the ancient days returned.
And Winthrop boys, as i^romptly as of yore.
Were on the war-path, sword in hand, once more.
No idle boasting, valiant in parade.
But cowering timid where the bullets played.
Marred their fair records. On the field of strife
Full many bled and some surrendei'ed life.
They speak to us on this centennial day.
With words more eloquent than tongue can say.
And lay an offering on the alter hei'e
Which this old town may well be proud to bear.
Farewell, the Muse \ Tliis is indeed the last ;
But look ! what vision from the misty jjast
Is this that moves across our pathway now.
With moderate pace all cumbersome and slow ;
What lumbering wagon of the days of old.
What old black horse whose years are all untold.
Whose head and tail and fetlocks all hang low.
Whose tattered harness, built an age ago.
Was made the strain of Time's hard wear to stand ; —
What gray old man who drives with palsied hand
And looks about with quite indifferent gaze
On all the folly of these modern days ;
Whose pride is with the past, v/ho stops his team
In yonder street and seems to sit and dream,
And wonder what this motley crowd are at.
Gazing at him, his team, his coat and hat,
As if the like were never seen before.
And were not stylish in the days of yore ! —
We know him now, tho' we were but a babe
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 5^
AVhen he was old — this same old " U'lcle Jabe."* —
Welcome, old man, we'll gi-asp you by the hand !
You are the sole survivor in the land
Of those old veterans who did sj)eed the plough
In this good town near eighty years ago.
Thrice welcome now, for you have lived to see
This gala-day, with your great country free,
And your old township prospering all the while
Beneath the bow of Heaven's approving smile :
A boon vouchsafed by Providence to few, —
Therefore a wecome hand we reach to you !
Farewell the Muse, coy mistress of all song ! '
Farewell at last ; the end approached full long
At length is reached. Enchantress, fai'e thee well!
Hushed be the echo of thy ministrel spell.
'Tis gone — Our harp is on the willow bough :
The blue-eyed maid retiring, leaves us now,
And goes serenely through the welkin blue,
Waving to us, as we to all, Adieu.
* Mr. Jabez Bacon, upwards o£ ninety years of age, and the oldest inhabitant now living in
58 WINTHROP CENTE-NNIAL.
Address of Ex-Governor Chamberlain.
Fellow citizens and friends : I cannot mistake the spirit of this
greeting. Embarrassed as I ought to be by this extraordinary
demonstration and the consciousness of little desert, I must con-
fess with gratitude that it relieves and reassures me. I had prom-
ised your committee that I would join with you to-day in doing
honor to the memory of the good men and women who laid the
foundations of this town, and those also who have brought it to
this high excellence and fame. But I emphatically assured the
gentlemen that I'had not time to give the least preparation for the
things which ought to be said on such a day as this. He who
speaks for a century should weigh well his words. He should
seek to compress into them something of the wisdom, and set
forth in them some of the lessons, with which the lapse of years so
eventful must be fraught.
It was trying enough, therefore, to feel that whatever I might
be prompted to say on this occasion must be uttered without
reflection, and be lacking both in substance and shape, such as
were due to the day and to the honored assembly. You may
imagine my consternation when, on arriving here, I found myself
announced in the Order of Exercises for what might seem to be a
formal oration. I am glad however to see, in the fact of your
remaining here, that you no longer dread any such thing ; and this
greeting I take as a compliment to my kindness and common
sense, which will not compel you to stand here to listen to many
words be they well or ill prepared. Nor do the admirable addresses
which have preceded, leave you any more to desire, or me any-
thing to say — although much to think about.
Yet, I trust the time will never come when I have no heart to
respond to influences like these ; when my thoughts are not quick-
ened by such recitals ; or when words of congratulation and thanks-
giving do not rise to my lips at the recollection of such noble deeds
as have been wrought here, and of the blessings with which a
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 59
benign Providence has followed honest endeavor. May the time
never come, indeed, when, standing before so goodly and gracious
an assembly thrilled with one great thought, quickened by the
same sacred memories, animated by one great common interest,
and inspired by the communion of high and helpful brotherhood,
my spirit shall not catch something of the scope and significance
of the occasion — thinking nothing which concerns human interests
alien to itself — and touched with a power beyond its own, join in
the vast accord.
I congratulate you, therefore, citizens of Winthrop, upon all
these evidences and exhibitions of prosperity with which you mark
the progress of a century, and illustrate this celebration. I greet
you, men and women and children, as yourselves tokens that the
glory has not departed from this Israel. Nay, I see upon your
very faces that the faith and virtue of those who have gone before
form the matter and mould of your characters to-day — that the
toils and trials, the sufferings and victories of a hundred years
bear bloom in this garland of strength and beauty which surrounds
me. Yes, the century flower blossoms to-day !
One thing I have thought of here is that these fruits are not
borne without labor. Not without toil — both earnest and patient
— do we achieve results like these. Where there is no struggle
there is no victory. Indeed, I have sometimes been so bold as to
think that beyond the value of the things we have won, and per-
chance beyond the glory of the victory, there is positive gain in
the struggle itself. It is good to grapple with adversity — to make
a way for ourselves through opposing circumstances — to fill out,
and fashion, and harden, and polish our characters, by resistance
— not only defensive, but offensive — against besetting forces. By
the attrition of conflict is the discipline of strength. Look at the
people in climes where no toil is needful, where nature pours
plenty and luxury at their very feet, without struggle or sacrifice
of theirs. Have such people any real advantage in these things ?
60 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
Does their character or condition to-day show it ? Does the whole
history of the past tend to show that mere ease is advantage, or
plenty, power ? No 1 the people that are idle and at ease, are
low, feeble, and deformed ; sunk from the type of manhood, a prey
to the stronger, slaves to the stranger, slaves even to themselves.
But what now are the leading nations of the earth ? They are
those that have wrought and wrestled — that have tried and been
tried. They are the people that have battled with adversity — that
have laid their hands on savage nature and subdued the wrath of
the elements. They are the people that have learned the lesson
of power — that force must be directed by skill — that skill involves
discipline — that discipline implies self-denial ; and that self-denial
involves temperance, intelligence and the culture of all good. In
this husbanding and training of strength which toughens the
sinews of the body, is wrought also the fibre of the spirit ; and
hence comes that manliness which is virtue — that strength which
is power — that obedience to law which is the mastery of the free.
These I say are the people who are leaders of men to-day, because
they have mastered the brutal everywhere, both around them and
within them. This is the secret of that all-conquering Roman
might, which mastered the world in its day, and the spirit of
which gives laws in lands its armies never trod, and in a civili-
zation beyond its dream. This, I take it, is why the nations of the
North have almost always overborne those of the South. This is
what gives our race its prestige and position. It is preeminently
this which has given to New England its character. It is this
also which gives our State a marked and honored standing among
her sisters. With a climate that is called rigorous, and a soil that
is called sterile, she has wrought out an industrial, social and
intellectual prosperity, inferior to none. Remote from the great
centres of art, and enterprise, and politics, she has reared men
and women for every sphere of life whom the world could ill have
spared. Is not the lesson nobly taught to-day, that bravery to
do and to endure is more than half the victory.
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 61
But we are here especially to celebrate the organized applica-
tion of individual force, in that unit of civilization — the town.
While listening to this history my thoughts have run back over
the career of towns — the part they have played through the ages
— mightier than that of kings and conquerors. How ancient and
solemn, and august their dignities ! How eventful their histories !
How greatly have they contributed to our ideas of society and
government, of liberty and law. Strongly contrasted too is our
institution of the town from others elsewhere and gone before.
There were the walled towns of the Orient, as a physical defence
against enemies. There were the towns of Greece and Italy once
potent rulers in the earth ; but forgetful of the true sources of
their power, a prey to Saracen and Hun, and Northman, forced to
yield themselves subjects to petty princes who cared for them only
to get service from them, till the people rose from very agony,
and established those famous Municipal Republics, which have
left us the striking lesson that there can be no freedom without
tolerance. There were the towns of the Netherlands and Ger-
many, which passed through a struggle of centuries to gain those
rights which give them fame and dignity, and power among all
nations of the earth. Then the elaborate system founded by King
Alfred in England, in which I half suspect that wise man sought
mainly to secure the equal contribution of citizens to the public
expense — to take care that no man should escape his taxes ! Con-
trasted with all these, though having something in common with
them all, is the idea of our New England town. In contemplating
your history to-day, I see nobler motives at work, and higher ob-
jects involved. Here was indeed something like a Mutual Insur-
ance Company. The hurt of one was felt by all. All conspired
to help each. Each man was strong with the power of all the
rest. It was more than this. It was not merely preservation but
multiplication of good that was sought. Your founders forthwith
set up instruments for the common benefit. They established in-
62 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
dustries and schools, and churches ; and environed them with
sanctions and laws, and customs and ceremonies, that may seem
to us burdensome or even ludicrous ; but which in those times
were absolutely necessary to the welfare not only of the private
individual, and of domestic and social life, but also of public liber-
ty and public government. Hence it has been said that the
ancient rights and dignities of towns lie at the foundation of our
liberties. Impressed from early years with this view, I have been
blamed by some, as evincing in my discussion of public questions,
too much tenderness for the rights of municipalities. And I am
glad when so striking a history as that we have in our minds and
hearts to-day leads us back to the germs of our social order, and
shows us the simple system by which liberty was made to honor
law, and obedience was enjoined only that the free human will
might be protected in its endeavor to work out its best.
Your historian has told us that this is the place where many
good works have begun — that noble men and women have stood
up here, single-handed, and lifted the banner of some high cause
— the Sabbath school, temperance, the abolition of slavery ; — and
without measuring the distance of their humble well-doing from
the goal where perfect victory is heralded, holding on their way
unswerving, constant and content. These beautiful and bold be-
ginnings are a grand feature in the history and the fame of Win-
throp. Is thei'e not also here a lesson of good for us all? Humble
beginnings, gratitude for small successes, while we steadily grow
in courage and strength for greater achievements — is not this the
true way to win ? It is only by the small earnings, only by the
little balances of advantage, day by day and hour by hour, that
we truly grow or gain. There is no alchemy now to transmute
dross into gold. No mighty miracle converts the base to the high.
No fiery chariot waits to roll us upward with sudden and swift
glory. We must walk this road. We must watch and fight.
Often we shall be at a standstill — sometimes actually set back ;
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. 63
still, the balance, if we are brtive aud patient, is on the upward
side! It is what cometh not with observation — the small and
silent winnings — it is this that tells and triumphs. It is thus that
good lives and works, and cannot be lost or die.
The great poet saw not to tl^ bottom of things when he said :
" The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones."
Not so, I deem it. To do evil — to create wrong, and leave that
legacy behind, is indeed a fearful thing, and should warn us to be
wise. But that evil shall endure while good shall perish — believe
it never ! Not thus has the Good Father ordered our lot. Not for
this has lie ordained the toil, the struggle, the temptation, the
trial, the weariness and wounding, and all the chances of this
mortal conflict. "He will not leave us in the dust." No, believe
me, every least triumph over evil, every resistance to wrong, every
cherished purpose of good, every humble and unseen aspiration,
belongs to that which cannot die, and will have part in the resur-
rection. No, the same Grod who from invisible atoms opens these
blossoms and spreads this radiance, will make up also of your
atoms of good a glory yet to be revealed. Behold yonder noble
tree. How from the first it struggled with every adversity that
seemed to human observation more than a match for it ! Benumbed
with cold, and stiffened with ice, dead and buried sometimes —
still, atom by atom it forced its way, made meat of its enemies,
grew by its buffetings and pushed on in the bright company that
strive upward to the sun. Yet you might have sat down by it,
and watched it day and night, and instant by instant, and no
motion of growth could you catch with mortal gaze. But all the
while the broad bright leaf was swelling on, and the stout heart
waxing .stronger, and all the life currents filling fuller; so that
while all your watchers should stoutly deny that there was any
motion to their eye, lo 1 there spreads the glorious form, mighty
and complete, fashioned unto the eternal archetype. So we might
64 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
watch each other, or ourselves perchance, and see no growth or
gain, and yet if the heart be sound and the spirit turned towards
the light, the time will come when we may spread in blessing high
and far, though no man know the humble ways by which we grew.
Be this a comfort to you, who in« silent and modest ways are
patient in well doing. No matter how lowly, how unnoticed,
how unpraised and uncared for your doings ; you shall build up a
character and work a work blessed among men, and not despised
I heard amidst your manifold salutations of the morning, the
music of bells. There struck the key-note of all. Yes, amidst
the booming cannon, waking thoughts of anger, defiance, and
strife, rung high above all the clear tones of the school bell. Was
it not so, Mr. President? Yes, and the^e are the foundations.
Work and worship ! Fight when need is, but always pray ! De-
fence and offence, but above all to know the right ! Make strong
the arm, but keep bright the mind ! Give us the plow, the axe,
the anvil and the loom ; but above all the school and the church.
Let skill turn strength into power, and truth make valor virtue.
TOASTS AND RESPONSES AT THE TENT.
Our good Mother Maine — Who on her daughter's 100th birth-
day is bidden a welcome in the person of His Excellency, Governor
The Governor responded as follows :
He said he came to mingle with the men and women of Win-
throp on their 100th anniversary, and had given himself up entirely
to the enjoyment of the occasion. He was not sure that the sen-
timent is quite correct. He believed that Winthrop was half a
century older than Maine, and that the State itself ought to boast
of being the daughter of the good old mother. Winthrop is one
of the members of the State confederation, and when she rejoices
the whole State rejoices ; and as the telegraphic wires tell of the
great success of this gathering, every town in the State rejoices.
It has been supposed by many that Maine is a rock-bound, hard
State to live in. But when they consider the physical and intel-
lectual strength that is born here, they are forced to acknowledge
that at least it is a good State in which to raise men and women.
There are no farmers in all the broad land that are happier than
the farmers of Maine. Others have a more fertile soil, without
the other advantages which we possess. When we look at our
vast water power, sufficient to carry the present machinery of the
entire j30untry — when we look at our sea coast, nearly 3,000 miles
in extent— our system of railroads, which when completed will
extend from the eastern limits to the Pacific shore, making Maine
the great highway of the nations— we see the great destiny before
us, if we but improve the opportunity. We must introduce indus-
tries here that will keep our young men and women at home ; and
not let the impression go out that it is our sole duty to raise men
and women for other parts of the country. It is, however, grati-
QQ WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
fying to know, that wherever you find Maine men abroad you
generally find men of marked character and influence — men of
courage and perserverance, who are called to fill responsible places.
He referred to the progress that had been made in general reforms,
and complimented the citizens on the success of the celebration.
At the close of his remarks three cheers were given for the
Other sentiments were offered by the toast-master, as follows :
The Winthrop Band — As modest and well-behaved as comports
with the show of so much brass.
Responded to by music by the Winthrop Band.
Our Twin Sister — Whose maiden name was Winthrop until she
married a Mr. Readfield and set up for herself.
The Constitution of the United States — Being now in harmony with
the Declaration of Independence, is a platform on which all can
stand, and from which our country may rise to the height of na-
Responded to by Rev. A. Bosserman.
The Ladies of Wiiithrop — Our better half in name ; our better
two-thirds in reality.
Responded to by the Band.
Dr. Ezekiel Holmes — A pioneer of scientific agriculture in Maine,
a citizen of Winthrop, but belonging to the State at large.
Responded to by Mr. Arnold S. Richmond of Monmouth, for-
merly of Winthrop.
The first Town Meeting which assembled 100 years ago to-day — The
day we celebrate.
Responded to by B. S. Kelley, in the following poem :
'Twas just One Hundred years ago,
If History tells the truth,
There was assembled at Squier Bishop's house
The aged, middle aged and youth.
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. Q>j
The call for this assembling there
Came from Justice Howard, greeting,
That in the name of this Commonwealth
They were to meet there in town meeting.
Prompt at the hour they all were there,
And not one a moment later,
The meeting was to order called,
And Howe chosen Moderator.
A Clerk was to be chosen next.
And without any fighting
They manfully went to the ballot-box
And put in Jonathan Whiting.
For Selectmen they next did vote,
And without a political handler.
And with not a single scattering vote
Elected one John Chandler.
So having now elected one,
And met with no disaster.
They for a second cast their votes.
And put in Timothy Foster.
So far, so good, all things went well ;
There was a third one now
To be elected to the board.
And this was Ichabod Howe.
A fourth man now was to be found.
But soon his face they saw —
Wheeled into line, marched to the box
And chose one Robert Waugh.
They now had four good honest men,
And did not believe in slighting,
So for the fifth one and the last
Elected Jonathan Whiting.
A Constable they now must have,
To keep the boys and girls from foolin'.
So up to the ballot-box they marched
And put in Stephen Pullen.
Then three Assessors they must have.
And must be chosen now.
And with a unanimous vote
Elected Ichabod Howe.
68 WINTHROP CENTENNIAL.
Having their first, they went to work
With steps quick and alert,
And for the second one put in
Their old friend Gideon Lambert.
Honor to whom honor due,
Was a watchword of their liking.
So the honor of the third upon the board
They gave to Jonathan Whiting.
Two Wardens then they wished to choose.
That would be up to time, and pert,
And so no better could they do
Than put in Gideon Lambert.
They canvassed for the other one
Among the crowd, though small.
And finally they they thought it best
To elect Josiah Hall.
Then Highways there were not so good
As those we have to ride on.
And so to fix and mend their ways
They chose one Abraham Wyman.
Another one was needed then
To help to boss the work.
And this they thought in right belonged
To Mr. Gideon Lambert.
And this concludes the officers
That were elected there,
And everything was done up right.
And "done upon the square."
No wire pulling there was done,
The offices filled before,
But when they met to do their work
They looked the company o'er.
They then selected their best men
To fill their various stations,
And "availability" was not known
To the people of that generation.
They only asked, "Is he the man
That is best qualified.
And if elected to the place
Will give the people pride?"
WINTHROP CENTENNIAL. . 69
But now-a-days they never ask
A question such as this,
But "Is he the most 'available' man,"
Is on everybody's lips.
It makes no odds if he can't write,
Or read, or cypher, or spell,
He will answer the wire-puller's purpose the better,
And suit his party as well.
The result of this we have often seen
In mistakes in our legislation.
They legislate for rings and self.
Instead of for the nation.
So let us return to the good old customs
Of the days of our Fathers of yore,
Leave off this "availability" question.
And make qualifications the score.
From 1871 to 1971 :
May we perform well our parts in the several careers appointed
us in the century that lies before us ; — may our several death-beds,
as we sooner or later reach thetn, witness the triumph of the
Christian hope; — and to our children or children's children, as they
shall be gathered in like convocation to celebrate the Bi-Centeunial
of their town, may our memories be fragrant, our names honored,
and our characters models for imitation.
\[AY -20, 1S71.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
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