Roberta Wheaton
EARLY PRINCETON

October 19, 1982


 

(Names and other words that could not be transcribed exactly are in italics. Unknown voices are referred to as ďmanĒ or ďwoman.Ē Comments, explanations, and additional names are in parentheses.) Some stories, memories and history can be found in ďEarly PrincetonĒ by Belmore.


 

Jane Dudley: This meeting of the Alexander-Crawford Historical Society with Roberta Wheaton, our charter member, presenting a program on early Princeton.


 

Roberta Wheaton: Iím among friends. Last meeting, we had a fine man, Mr. Ahlin, who was very well qualified to be a speaker and today youíve just got one of your members. But, Iím just real happy to be here, anyway. And, I have all kinds of props. (Sounds of things being moved, etc.) First, Iím just real pleased - when Jane asked me to do this, I thought, ďOctober, you know, those Princeton women are going to be canning tomatoes and getting storm windows on and just buttoning down the hatches and probably hardly any of them will be able to come, so that it will be safe for me to go over there and talk about Princeton, but see, that backfired. And, I want you to know each other, so if you came in - Verna Lowell is guesting. Sheís from Waite, came down with Mary Williams and this is Verna Lowell. Letís see. Margaret, are you a member? Margaretís a member - I didnít know if she would be or not. Mrs. Clarke has come. I think for the first time, havenít you? (Lindsay Clarkeís widow, Melva Keenís mother.)


 

Mrs. Clarke: Yes.


 

Roberta Wheaton: And, sheís from Woodland. And, probably one of the oldest folks all around this place, but sheís been very helpful to me when I hunt genealogy and history things. And, these ladies over in the corner - Mrs. Bowman and Mrs. - - -


 

Woman: Itís Donna


 

Jane Dudley: Donna Bowman.


 

Roberta Wheaton: Donna and Eunice have come from Addison area this morning.


 

Jane Dudley: Weíre on a first name basis here.


 

Roberta Wheaton: Ok. (Indistinct word) I just get - punch a clock at eight oíclock very easily but I couldnít get myself over here by ten this morning so I admire anyone that came a longer way. Now, Melva is visiting, too, and sheís from Woodland and this is Mrs. Clarkeís daughter. And, Remelda Wallace is come out of pure interest and love for Princeton, I guess, and sheís a Woodland gal originally, so thatís pretty good. Milly (Winckler), Iím glad you woke up. (Laughter)


 

Milly: I really slept late. I heard her whisper and say that she overslept this morning.


 

Roberta Wheaton: Marilyn Carle is a member but sheís brought her sister-in-law and my dear friend, Hilda, one of the Carle girls.


 

Jane Dudley: One of the Carle girls?


 

Woman: One of the Carle girls.


 

Jane Dudley: Oh, good (indistinct word)


 

Roberta Wheaton: And, Marion Kline, you know, and all these and I hope (two or more women speaking at the same time - canít be transcribed.) For the foundation (indistinct words) What I was trying to do chiefly was pick out those people who might be here for the first time and make you feel at home. So, Rachelís - you know, a time or two. (Indistinct comments from two or three women.) Sometimes when I was at work at Georgia Pacific in Woodland, I would be amazed at some of the girls from Calais - didnít really know where Princeton was, and if they knew where Princeton was and had driven through there for some special place beyond, they didnít have any idea where any of the streets were or how you got around there and so forth. So, I thought I would bring an old post card here which I often use to mail out to grandchildren. This gives an aerial view of our town. Itís a very special place in a very special county in a very special state. I hope that - - -


 

Woman: I donít see my house. (Laughter)


 

Roberta Wheaton: I hope that weíre going to learn to think about Princeton. You see this isnít my line, but I do love history so much, and when you do enjoy something, itís - the enjoyment of it is increased by sharing it with other people. And, Iím getting just like Bruce Belmore now. I walk around or I drive my car around down the St. Croix river or over to Crawford or Houlton Road, or something - I imagine where the dam was and who built that house and all these things until Iím sort of living both in the past and in the present. In one very good sense that gives me a fine sense of appreciation for so much that has been done and repaired and built and organized for us to make our lives much easier. And, so, Iíll go back and get an introduction here. Iím going to have to read some things, and - well, letís see how it turns out anyway. I am delighted to be off work. We have to set our vacations a year in advance, so when Jane spoke to me about this, that fell luckily during my vacation. When youíre on eight to five, you have the distinct feeling that youíre missing all kinds of good things, you know, that happen while youíre at work. So, today, I donít know, I might be better off back there in the office. Jane took some liberties when she called me a Princeton historian. She gets carried away when she starts writing. But, Jane and I are real good friends and weíve done a lot of things together. She knows that I like history and she knows I like to talk, but that doesnít guarantee whatís going to happen, you know. So, all things considered, Iím pretty well trapped this morning. In Princeton, I feel that thereís a continuing thread of history. If I were to step up to someone at the Post Office and say, ďWhat do you know about Princeton history,Ē theyíd probably, ďI donít know a thing,Ē and start out. But, actually, after hunting and fishing, probably one of the best things that our town offers is - for entertainment is story-telling. And, if you just kind of go around on Saturday afternoon or Sunday afternoon or right after supper or the middle of the - or out to Big Lake or something, youíll see people gathered and theyíre leaning on the hood of a car or theyíve got a foot stuck up on a chopping block or something and theyíre talking. And, what theyíre doing is telling the foolishness of somebody else or the mistake somebody else made or how they used to do it, or how somebody got away with something. And, actually a lot of people in Princeton know Princeton history because they talk about it. They really do. But, if you go hunt something up, thereís not much thatís written down or recorded. Am I speaking loud enough or too loud.


 

Women murmur ďYes.Ē


 

Roberta Wheaton: Good. Donít want you to miss anything. So, when I was thinking of the subject of history which is very boring to some people. They just donít want to hear about it, you know, if you say history. And, so thatís not boring to me, but how am I going to tell you all these boring facts and make them interesting to you is another matter. So, just a little example of telling stories. Last summer I had to do an errand down to Big Lake and I was in a rush. I had a whole lot of other things to do, too. But, I stopped in at Marilyn Carleís cottage to do this errand, and Rachel and her husband were there and some others, and you know what they were doing, they were telling stories about hired men, and I stayed there and I laughed for a whole hour and I went away just feeling so good. That was the best fun, thatís very typical I think when people get together in Princeton telling what happened before us, and letís hope I can make some of that interesting. I was reading part of a book, Kenneth Beckís ďYesterdaysĒ and the author says that every part of the United States claims a peculiar heritage, a set of traditions and folkways distinctly its own. Traits from pioneer days cling tenaciously in certain localities, and surely they do, right on back to that. As I read it, I thought well if everybody does this - but you see pie for breakfast is a - is a tradition in Maine, and - - Then I was doubly surprised because when I was reading that, I just had a piece of apple pie for breakfast, and then - - -


 

Woman: Me, too.


 


 

Roberta Wheaton: Almost everything weíre doing is changing. Our meals are changing. For example - long before Adele Davis told us that one of the best things we could do would be to eat a piece of steak for breakfast or something - I remember my dad having - heíd already done his chores and all these other things in the dark and he came out and - breakfast was ready and you know, it was warmed up beans and hash and deer steak, and a big pile of home made doughnuts that came out of a whole crock full of doughnuts, and so forth, and - - - So, thatís probably traditional in this area. You started out with a good hot fried breakfast. Mother must have been gone because there was a time when Daddy didnít have a hot breakfast, and he sat there eating a bowl of corn flakes and early in the morning one of our older neighbors named Acey Sprague came in while Dad was eating this big bowl of corn flakes and Acey said, ďI donít like those.Ē He said, ďYou could eat a whole box of those and blow away in a calm.Ē So, just so many things are traditional here. I want to get down to business now. It occurs to me that itís like the ministerís sermons. Sometimes, I say why donít you just take one verse and talk about that for a half an hour, you know. Well, Iím going to try to tell you the whole Princeton history, and coming over I thought, why didnít I just take peopleís personalities, or the story of the old mills, or how the place was laid out and the road system. Why didnít I take just one aspect of Princeton history and stick with it instead of this kind of going all over the place. But, I didnít and so itís too late now. And, as I talk, remember that I am not infallible. I could make mistakes very easily. I love funny things, but Iím not a humorist, myself, and what youíll find is that Iím very sentimental. So, if I tell you different things, youíre almost going to look right into my heart sometimes. If I could just bring out some images of our town that would make you feel like you had a little trip to the past and know us better, that will be satisfactory. When I drove over here today and came right across the four corners in South Princeton, I thought, Moses Bonney would come right out of his grave if he saw how beautiful that was - just gorgeous looking at Pokey Mountain over there, and the colors in the maples and the hills as it slopes down - very beautiful place. Now, I didnít check my facts. Didnít Portland - didnít Portland celebrate their 300th year? Ok. As I thought about Princeton history, I donít feel that itís too long a span of time. Actually itís 150 years for us since weíve been organized. And, of course, Iíve been digging into this, but thatís not too far because Dad was 92 - my dad whoís just passed on. And, he had a good clear mind and he talked and we questioned for years now, and then, in his memory, that would make him born in 1890. Now, Dad could remember his grandfather, and he died when Dad was about five years old, but heís talked about him most of his life. His grandfather made a very strong impression on his life and we feel that the man still makes an impression on our lives. And, that man, John Carle, was born in 1815, (John Dudley said John Carle was likely born before 1810.) and thatís the - thatís the magic year that Moses Bonney came to - from Sprague Falls over to South Princeton and started that. If you think that you havenít accomplished something or that no oneís going to remember you, donít give up. You know, I went out the other day and I picked the grapes off the old grape vine that my great grandfather planted and that gave me such a lovely feeling. It wasnít too long ago that we were hunting up some old photos and we found one of the farm house and it didnít have the veranda on it and the big elm tree wasnít big then, and all these things were different and here was an arbor. So I questioned about that, and oh yes, Daddy says, that was a grape arbor that his grandfather had planted the grapes and built this trellis and as children they played in this special place in the summer. It was a whole lot of fun. They loved to play in there. Well, eventually that must not have done too well as a grape vine or something because - or maybe the arbor wore out. But, anyway Grandfather - Great Grandfather pulled that up and he chucked it down on the stone wall and there it took root and there it is still growing and producing grapes that make most wonderful jelly and jam you ever ate. So, those little touches live on way after us and a lot of them are very pleasant. And, do keep a record of anything that you have, and do tell your children and your grandchildren the stories. Pass them on. Give them an image of their forefathers, the people that went before them and the struggles that they had and the good times that they had. Now, the flow of settlers. I have a couple of scrapbooks here, and Iím not going to brag about them. Theyíre just my own things that Iíve done at home, but Iíve brought them today. That one is of Princeton, and it begins with articles - Princeton histories that have been done at certain times by other people in the past. And, then it has a section of old pictures that a whole bunch of us - Marilyn in particular - has - has - weíve sent away and had restored and copied - these old pictures. And, then at the end of it are the commercial buildings in Princeton right now. And, this notebook - this notebook here is one that I worked on about five years ago, and I really did a great deal of research on it. It might not interest anyone in this room but there wasnít any of that that was written down anywhere. So, I wrote a chapter about the one room school which is actually in the grange hall. And, then I wrote about the Grange Hall as a focal building because everything that we did, we went to the Grange Hall for it. And, then the other chapter was about Pocomoonshine Mountain and in the back of it are some old church notes that list a lot of names from West Princeton and so forth. Letís see.


 

Jane Dudley: Is that one where Jackís motherís picture is in it?


 

Roberta Wheaton: Yes. In the chapter about the school, I tried very hard to go back and line up all the teachers, and in fact, the school closed in 1930 - I donít know when it closed. Anyway, I really was rudely awakened because when - Dad said when he went to school in the Grange Hall - in that first floor of the Grange Hall, that the highest class in the school was graduating that year, so they had been there seven years or so in that school. There was a log school farther on along the road before that. And so, I thought well Iíll go hunt in the town records and find the names of the old teachers, and Dad would tell me who taught him and someone else would tell me who taught them, but I really wanted them in the correct order. And, then I carried that on and tried to get pictures of - of those school teachers, and Jack Dudleyís mother is one of them. And, he so kindly had a reprint negative - - -


 

Jane Dudley: That was so cute. She called up and asked if we knew anyone named Cora Dudley.


 

Roberta Wheaton: Cora Murchie (Cora (Murchie) Dudley)


 

Jane Dudley: Cora Murchie. He said, ďYes, my mother.Ē


 

Roberta Wheaton: He thought he knew her, he said. Jack thought he knew her, and so, itís kind of fun to keep working on that sort of thing. Did your mother teach up there, (Indistinct Name)?


 

Woman: West Princeton.


 

Roberta Wheaton: Teaching?


 

Woman: (Indistinct Words)


 

Other Woman: And, your mother was?


 


 

Woman: (Indistinct words)


 

Other Woman: (Indistinct words)


 

Woman: Sheís been dead now - - -


 

Roberta Wheaton: Now, this is just at the West Princeton school. Youíll find - - -


 

Woman: (Indistinct words)


 

Roberta Wheaton: I didnít finish my story. They did allow me to go and look through the school records. They are awfully good to let me hunt sometimes in these sources. And, I hunted and hunted, and their records were in very good order and right chronological and everything. You know, the law requires them to keep 50 years of records. And, guess what, I remember 50 years of them. And, the ones that I wanted, and all of a sudden - I guess that was my first indication of how old I was getting. The ones I was really looking for were way back behind that.


 

Jane Dudley: Those records wonít be destroyed after 50 years, will they?


 

Roberta Wheaton: Well, apparently - - -


 

Jane Dudley: It seems like they would keep them.


 

Roberta Wheaton: No, apparently they donít always have (indistinct words) The law requires that they keep them 50 years, but they have to - - -


 

Woman: They could give them to the archives.


 

Woman: They could give them.


 

Roberta Wheaton: Well, no, they canít really because they just - you know, what if you were reprimanded or fired or something for some - you know, staying out too late - - -


 

Woman: (Indistinct words)


 

Roberta Wheaton: If you smoked or anything, you got fired, you see. You had to obey all the moral laws and everything if you were one of those early teachers. Your life wasnít your own.


 

Woman: Outside of school (indistinct word) too. Well her name would be Marshie Goldberg. (Talking in background - canít be understood)


 

Roberta Wheaton: I hope this wonít be boring to you, but I think as long as Iím talking about Princeton history, that I better go right on through this. Moses Bonney came over to South Princeton, Iím going to say South Princeton, because thatís what it is to us now, but it was Plantation 15, and it pleased him, and imagine how these families had come in - most of them at Machias from down in lower Maine or Massachusetts and so forth. And, they just kept working up and they;d stay ten years, and imagine that clearing another place and moving on, and this is what this man did. But, then he stayed and was the first settler. Iíve spent now about three years trying to find a picture of him. So if anyone ever came across a tintype or picture of Moses Varney I would dearly like to have it copied. He liked it and talked one of his friends, Samuel or Bob Brown, into coming there, too, with his family not long afterwards. And, so that place was started, and this is located as Township 17. You see it wasnít organized. Nothing was organized. They were just coming here and starting out there. And, they had large farms. 100, 200, 300 acres over in there. Now, later as Princeton grew, it was developed in four districts. And, you remember the old timers used to say ďdeestrict.Ē ďDeestrictĒ And, I wish that I could kind of include in here some of the sayings that I enjoyed collecting, but I couldnít seem to work it in and keep my mind all in order at the same time. But, next, and it was almost ten years later that a group came to - they called that Bonney after this first settler. But, ten years later a road extended from Calais and eventually went through to Houlton years later, and folks came straight up there instead of the way he had through the woods. And, they settled up on the lake and on the river and that became the center of our town. But, at that - when those settlers came, they just lived right on either side of the road. Thatís - thatís what it was. And, we have the record that Moses Varneyís house had a dirt floor, and you remember there was no doctor. They had to just be mother and father and doctor and teacher and everything in those days and just imagine how they - they couldnít stop working to supply their needs. So, it was no easy life. The third district developed back - they came back on down the road and settled down where Brewer Andrews is and that was District Number Three. And, when you talk about these districts and you read about different things that went on - they each had their own schools and they had a certain form of government, too, in those. Now, I was quite shocked when I read something about this, because we go to one town meeting, or to one central meeting for all of our town no matter where we live. And, they apparently had some responsibilities outside of the whole town as a whole. They had district responsibilities. And, the very last one that was settled was West Princeton, District Number Four. And, I might have a tendency to talk more about that because thatís the place I know more about. Thatís where I was born and thatís the place that Iíve researched more. But, I donít think I have a heavy leaning on that in this part right here. So, we have four districts and their first attempt at a government was a Plantation style, and because of transportation problems that didnít work out for them. You see Bonney over here in South Princeton wasnít connected to town. West Princeton over there wasnít connected to town, but they were all in Township 17, in that location and land. And, the state apparently worked this out with them, and then they began to incorporate as a town. So from 1815 to 1832, they were working on that sort of thing. And, it was almost 1850 - it was 1847 before the road between West Princeton and Princeton was completed. They had path roads, they followed the lake and came through the town, but as they were settling different groups came, and I have a list of some of those names. I donít want to offend anyone by leaving out your ancestor or someone that you care about a whole lot, but I didnít make a careful study of a complete list of the first settlers. I had it in this information, but Iím not going to list them all that way today. The people who came to South Princeton must have been the older ones. For instance in my family it was Peter Carle who owned property there in Bonney and it was his two sons who went through the woods, just down over the hill and there used to be some old Sprague holdings there, farmlands and so forth. And, then you turned left and went through the woods and in the winter time, they would use Pocomoonshine Lake when it was frozen over and they traveled part of the way on the lake and then go back into the woods, and they would come right up through where Parks and Marilyn now live, or where Peter and Villa used to have the farm there, or Calvert or Thomas in their time. And, when I started to do - I thought oh boy because Jane and I have gone on a lot of field trips since - oh boy, Jane can have a field trip with the Alexander-Crawford Historical Society because they can walk the old road between South Princeton and West Princeton. And, that road was traveled for many, many years. Our mail carrier right on down it - just retired not long ago, Fred Richards had gone through there many, many times on his route with the horse and even snow shoes through there and so forth. I donít think you could ever put a car through there. Maybe a jeep or a truck.


 

Woman: Is that the old Jerusalem Road?


 

Roberta Wheaton: I think that may be. I donít know if thatís the old Jerusalem Road or not. But, anyway, it crosses two brooks over there and when I was a kid we used to always have a special time that we went down that road, we walked a couple miles because we could find mayflowers there. And, I loved to go in the spring when the fish were there - there are some pools and it was good fishing in some of those places. But, then Iíd always - even way then, Iíd imagine what the settlers did because they went down when the suckers or the horned pouts were running in the spring and took barrels on their drags and they would fill barrels and barrels of those fish and take them back and lay them in the rows of their garden for fertilizer. So, I thought oh, thatíd be just great. They can talk history all the way through. Well, I found out that when Georgia-Pacific put their road between Pokey Mountain and the lake, it goes over into that area and back into it and you canít find your way through there now. Unless you (indistinct word) because itís all mixed up and itís not open. Itís started to grow up anyway, but you still could have followed the old road, but not now, I guess. So, thatís gone. Now, when weíre thinking about these people settling the town, these are some of the families that came to Bonney, and they had a post office over there which closed, oh about 1905, I think. When they had the RFDís then they closed that Bonney post office. And, again, I want to say that if anyone turned up with a letter with the postmark on it, Bonney, it would be fantastic.


 

Woman: I hope I can get you some.


 

Roberta Wheaton: Really?


 

Woman: They arenít authentic, but theyíre photostatic.


 

Other Woman: Is that right?


 

Woman: Theyíre form a history.


 

Other Woman: How wonderful.


 

Woman: All the letters that they wrote back and forth when they went out west, I had all of those up home.


 

Other Woman: Isnít that beautiful.


 

Woman: It told all the hardships that they had up when they went to Minnesota and up to Bent Falls and all them places. They went - - -


 

TAPE TURNED OVER - SOME CONVERSATION LOST


 

Roberta Wheaton: . . . forty first, and then Bob Brown, and I were all these names. That just spread out then. There was Moses Smith and there was Theophilus Libby, and Ebenezer Roth, and Peter Carle, and there were a lot of Spragues and Edgerleys, and Iím going to stop there but there could be a lot of other ones, too.


 

Woman: There were (indistinct name) in South Princeton, (indistinct word)


 

Roberta Wheaton: Were they? In South Princeton, and I donít have that history. I have a lot of work in genealogies where it shows all the families from Baileyís History and so forth which was a lot of South Princeton.


 

Woman: Yes, thatís where the (indistinct words)


 

Roberta Wheaton: These are just generally some of those.


 

Woman: Right.


 

Roberta Wheaton: Thatís Judge Varnum. Thatís one of the early ones. Now, down in town, the people who came up the road - up on what was called the Houlton Road - was Solomon Greenlaw, and his son, Charles Greenlaw, and William Lawrence, and Edna Bates, and then there came a whole lot of Bates families. And, they built wonderful houses there in town. There was Adeniah Munson, and Putt Rolf, and Putt Rolf was a town father for sure. There was Louis Legacy, and Alexis Mercer, and John Varnum and Jedediah Pendleton, and Edward King, and then I stopped there. Of course you could just go on and on, and I may have missed some of the very first ones. I donít know. Out in our town, there were Thomas Carle and John Carle and the Edgerleys, and the Spragues were some of those. And on the old map West Princeton is laid right out with 100 acre lots going on both sides of the road there. Now, I donít know if just listing those is real dull to you or not, but Princeton is not anything at all like the old Princeton was. And, when they started giving us lists of populations for the town, it starts with about 250 and it just keeps growing and growing and growing until it got up to about 1200. I think now 20 years or so it hangs around 1000, doesnít it. Somewhere in and out of 1000. But, that town was just growing. And so, at the risk of having this sound boring Iíd like to read quickly a list of some of the mills, and actually a person would have subject matter for a whole book just on the mills that were in Princeton. And, itís fantastic to imagine all this going on. We have one mill there now and they go out of town or individual people have their own living. And along with all those mills you had the corporation houses which just sold everything. They were a hardware store and a food store and a clothing store and all this, and there were two or three corporation houses. And, several of the people who built mills also built boarding houses, and the streets werenít lined out then and they just followed down along the river and people who came to work in the mills had to have a place to stay. Now, in that little town up there in the past, and this is mostly in the 1800s, also were shops and so forth. There was a bake shop and there was a millenary shop that operated about 30 years, I think. And, there was somebodyís shop named Dayís Shop was mentioned and I donít know what he sold. There was a tin shop. There was the Peabody Shop which sold woolen goods from their mill and had their office there. And, that Peabody Shop or Store was located right there at the light in the Peabody Field and later became the first location of the library. There was a creamery company and there was a jail. Now, see, you didnít know all those was there. It seems to me that Princeton would never again get back to that type of growth that it had unless they find gold there.


 

Woman: There was two or three woolen mills that they used to take their wool up there and have it spun.


 

Roberta Wheaton: Thatís right. Now, letís see, I had a list of mills here. The first thing that was done - by 1851 they built a roll dam and that helped them with the water power, you see. That dam is still there under the water. When they worked on Grand Falls, a lot of us, me included, saw a dam that I never knew was anywhere around and of course other people said of course itís always been there. And, when the water went way down below in the river, below that area, that dam held water back from the river. From 1851 and people thought going across there. In 1852 there was a saw mill, a stave mill and a planing mill. And, that was built by Putt Rolf and Leonard Peabody. And, those staves, by the way, were sold to Eastport for fish barrels, because barrel making was a big industry then, and very important. A lot of things were stored and shipped and everything kept in barrels. There was also a grist mill that was built by Rolf and Peabody for grinding corn and wheat. There was a mill for long lumber and laths and shingles that was built by a Samuel Darling, and heís one who operated a boarding house. There was the William Sargent mill built in 1858. In 1859 there was the A. W. Buckman mill, that was owned by a trial justice, and he was called ďthe squire,Ē but behind his back he was called ďthe sissyĒ because he didnít ever grow very many whiskers and didnít need to shave, and so the squire had two names. James Belmore and Dan Young in Ď58 and Ď59 had a long lumber mill and they worked especially with cedar. Around 1860 a tannery was built by White and Waterhouse. And, the town elected a surveyor of bark, then. There were a lot of related jobs, you see, on this. P. T. Bright and Company had a mill for long lumber and laths. In 1858 the mill of C. Waite and Company was built, and Waite also had the store. Now, (indistinct words) people can guess why that was because Waite Street developed, and Waite Street is Petticoat Hill. We all call it Petticoat Hill, but the real name of that place is Waite Street and it came from this man who built a mill right down at the bottom of it and also had that boarding house. And, then the Peabodys built the woolen mill which made rolls of wool and yarn, and near the woolen mill they also built a spool bar mill. And, one of the last ones was the hardwood mill. It was built by James Murchie of Calais and Charles Eaton operated that. Now, is this your motherís Murchie family, the James Murchie family?


 

John Murchie Dudley: It would have been my grandfatherís uncle.


 

Roberta Wheaton: I see.


 

Man: (Indistinct words)


 

Roberta Wheaton: Williams, Stewart and Woodcock had a shingle mill, and then they bought out Belmore and George Porter. And, then we have A. M. Mason in 1930, coming into the 1930s. He had a lumber mill and then he sold that to Northeast Lumber that was owned by Stewart and Kemper, and then he sold in - they sold in five years to Passamaquoddy Lumber which is a subsidiary of Dead River, and currently we can update that and say that the Hunt Brothers now have this mill. So, thatís how that has gone. In 1865 - and when I read this, I just begin to have shrug. In 1865 all the mills in that area of the road land burned - all of them. Just think of how much was there. It was a mill town. It really was. We were lucky we didnít get those mill houses that usually are in a place like that. Now, new mills were built by Squire Buckner, Waite and Company, Dan Belmore and William Sargent, and James Belmore and George Porter, and they sold out to Stewart and Woodcock, and then Fred Marsha had a mill there and he built his over on the Indian Township side of the river. In 1876 the road mills burned again, except for the tannery and the woolen mill. Now, Putt Rolf rebuilt for the third time, but none of the others did.


 

Jane Dudley: So what - what a tragic happening (indistinct words).


 

Woman: Can I ask you about Putt Rolf. Did he - are you speaking of the mill, the hydro mill up there behind the Putt Rolf house? Was that the mill that he would have built?


 

Roberta Wheaton: No.


 

Woman: No.


 


 

Roberta Wheaton: I had it over here somewhere. So, thatís all Iím going to say on that type of history. A lot of the way Princeton developed depended on the road. You see in the first place they couldnít remain a plantation government because transportation was not good, and their gathering together from these four districts was very difficult. You came to Bonney from Sprague Falls. Five years after that, it said that Captain Louie - I feel that he had probably been up this way a long time, but anyway, in 1820, the Indian, Captain Louie came up the river and settled on the island and stayed there, and in 1831, was the tote road that came from Calais to Topsfield. In 1840, the road from South Princeton crossed to the Houlton Road (indistinct word) when the town was built. So you see from 1815 to 1840 is a long time to try to get on down into the main part of Princeton. They really had to go back to Sprague Falls and go up the river or just go through the woods, and I didnít - you probably stayed home most of the time. And then, the last one was that road - 1847 is even longer before that road was built between West Princeton and Princeton and that is really surprising, actually - 15 years. It connects some of the districts that were all together. How much more time have I got.


 

Jane Dudley: I donít know. I havenít even been watching the clock. Itís so interesting.


 

Roberta Wheaton: Oh, great. Now, letís see. I want to change to a whole different subject. Iím not going to say anything about the churches or the schools. Thereís a whole history of those. (Indistinct words) school in each place and it is wonderful to talk about those schools. I love that. I have a picture of the school in (indistinct words) which one it is, too. Iím not going to talk about the government of the town, the different problems they had or what they struggled, what they tried to obtain, or the societies in the town because with these people, they had groups very worthwhile and most of them continue today. Those are all for some other time or place. I did read in some kind of Maine history that I was going through this summer that a man studying early history here in the Maine area said as soon as people came into these towns - I donít think it was especially true down around Lubec, and Iím not familiar with Eastport, not Lubec in particular. Basically in the towns of this county, as soon as people got their houses built they began to plan for their churches, and down around Machias the way some of them received their grants of land was that they had to set aside a place for the church. And, the author of that book was saying that as he traveled in Pennsylvania and Ohio, a church was sort of the last thing that those people took care of, and it wasnít that important to them. Now, Iím not saying that they werenít religious because itís very possible - it probably is true that they met in homes, and so forth. But, itís a proud heritage we have and one we mustnít let slip and the churches close because those early settlers did found their churches as soon as they could. They didnít delay doing this and so itís nice to study those.


 

Woman: Excuse me. What about the ministerial school blocks that they had. Was that not for education?


 

Roberta Wheaton: Right, and for religion. The wood that was cut on that was supposed to be paid into funds for that. Now, I want to go on to some categories just for fun. And, I have to stop a minute and get my - get my papers here. I want to talk to you about funerals and cemeteries. And, Iím not crazy.


 

Jane Dudley: Is anyone uncomfortable - would like to sit on a chair that has a hard chair? Marilyn, (indistinct words)


 

Marilyn Carle: No, this is all right. I squirm. My backís (indistinct words) I really need a back (indistinct words).


 

Roberta Wheaton: When those first people - when those people first came to town, they werenít expecting to die because they had a mammoth job to do, so they didnít do much planning about cemeteries, and when you think of that, of course they didnít. But, then that happens in life and so as people did die, generally speaking, they buried them on their own land. And, eventually here in South Princeton, when those earliest places, then they set aside that lovely place for a cemetery. It may seem odd to you that I say itís a lovely place for something but I - I do research there and itís very interesting - those trees and the location of it are a very special place. Eventually people expanded and they didnít want to look at graves all the time right out their window and then they set aside the Princeton Cemetery which is out on West Street. And, weíve had a river project in DAR last year where we did get all the names copied from each stone and have made a record of that. We had about 70 pages of that record. Weíre happy to have arranged that. In one of those books right there, there is a picture of the cemetery and itís nothing special at all, but way over back is a building and that was the Hearst house. And in those olden days just maybe a little bit back of me, people arranged their own funerals, you know. And, so, I have a note which again came down through Marilynís family and this is - fooled me a little bit. It was Princeton, February 16. I donít know what year then. ďBrother Libby, I expect Brother Willard,Ē and that would be Willard Edgerly, ďto manage my funeral when the time comes, but should he be away at the time, will you be so kind as to manage my funeral. Your brother in Christ, Thomas Carle.Ē And, Thomas died in December of 1918. On our farm, back of the great big maple, underneath this great big maple tree which is up behind the barn on Daddyís farm, there, is a private cemetery and this is where my great grandfather is buried. He and his first wife had ten children and of those ten, only four lived. One of those four died when she was 22 and the other three married. But, all of those children are buried there, the wife and the father. And, I have a poem that I have loved forever. And, because of this tradition - and, things that happened in Princeton are most likely common in your town, too. But, this poem is very special for us in this area and written by Robert Tristram Coffin and itís called ďThe Last Thing.Ē The hard - itís even know as - - -


 

Jane Dudley: Whatís the title?


 

Roberta Wheaton: The Last Thing. ďThe Last Thing.Ē ďThe hard Maine farmers on our rocky farms did one thing that by far became their best. It was the last they did. When their time came, they used their own hard hillside for their rest. Where they had sweat so much, they wished to lie. Where they had waked so late, they chose to sleep. Heaven, if it was so, was a foreign place. A surer heaven was sounds of cows and sheep. Back of barns they built, their bones should be, by their own bees in their own apple boughs. It would be heaven to be beside the way a small boy built like them brought home the cows. It would be heaven not to have to wait Ďtil dressed up folks remembered them on Sunday, thinking of sorrows and death by acres of graves. Better by the bean patch on a Monday. Home was first and home should be the last. They always suffered being away at night, so when they had to leave the house for good, their stones at least were in the window (indistinct word).Ē And, itís very true of the way those people felt. Now, thereís a little story again in Belmoreís book about manning Joe Kidder. Joe Kidder was sexton for many, many years and worked on this and he said that when Joe Kidderís wife died, he went and dug the grave for her, and a neighbor of his, Louis Neddoe, offered to lend Joe a suit to wear when his wife was buried. And, Joe refused it because he said that his wife had never seen him in anything but the overalls and he guessed that theyíd do. Now, Iíll finish up about cemeteries and funerals. Iíll just do another thing. When I was a child, there was a little thing that older people did that fascinated me. You know how little children play around. They take things all in. So, when my mother would visit my grandmother and my older aunts would be around and everything, sooner or later, it seemed to me that theyíd always gravitate to a certain drawer in a bedroom or in a chest or something and in that drawer was a box with some real pretty clothes in it, and you know, you just had about two changes - you had the one you had on and one for ďSunday Go-To-MeetingĒ and in that box were the clothes that they wanted to be laid out in. And they wanted their family to know where to find it and they wanted to have it prepared. In an older book that I was reading about Kentucky, I read a sentimental thing that each woman made a quilt to lay in her casket. And, I suppose they were plain boxes and not padded or anything and so she would make a quilt and it would be kept for her burial. And, I thought that was very special. But, anyway, these boxes of clothes would fascinate me and they kind of bothered me a little bit. Well, down in Plantation 21 - my sister-in-lawís Joyce Carle, and you read these things that she writes, and sheís just full of stories and funny and stuff and all. And, Joyce said that as - that her family was sort of responsible for the burial sheets so that in her home there was a whole drawer of just special sheets that never were to be used, you see, or touched or anything, and she knew that was what they were for. Then times got real hard, and Joyce said there was a certain period when she still was a little girl and she knew that things were wearing out and werenít replaced or anything, but she - it seemed her sheet was a lot better than what it had been, you know, the week before, when the last time there were sheets on the bed and they were all worn out and that one was so new, and that kid used to worry and worry that she was sleeping in the burial sheets. They must have used them. Weíll just leave that there and go on and Iíll just tell you a little bit about the agricultural fair. Iíd like to pass this around because it fascinates me that our little town - you can go out (indistinct words) Rolf Street and they had a big park there it and had a trotting track and it had a stadium and it had a grandstand and they brought all of their - well just like at a country fair you bring all of your goods in and it was a big deal. It was really a big deal. And, thereís a picture of it here and the people who ran that was the Agricultural Society at the Fair Grounds. And we had a man, Ott Brown, out in West Princeton that was the authority. And, Ott just kind of got everybodyís little secrets down on paper, you know. And, they even had a newspaper once and they circulated it around that neighborhood, and finally there was something in there that told a little bit of something on everybody and they all got so mad that they had to stop this paper called the Lyceum. And, do you know that I canít find a single issue of that anywhere. In any of - Erma Williams may somewhere - her mother had a copy of it. I couldnít find it, and one of Ottís little poems referred to the people who owned the fair grounds and the fair and it refers to actual people and it says, ďThe deacon and the devil, they ran the Princeton Fair. The deacon, he would do what the devil didnít dare.Ē My father would say, ďDonít you say who those (indistinct words) scared about it. Now, when I was looking for some other stuff, I came across this article in an old Calais Advertiser, and itís good - gives you a real good picture of it. And, I only got one comment about it. I sent it into the Calais Advertiser as some old news, you know currently. I sent it in 1980. And, one person called me up and she said, when I saw that byline, I thought whatís going on, because the byline was always ďNews From up the Line.Ē And, that was Harriet Larnerís father that did that wrote that news for years and years. Fred Larner, his name was. Well, this is the way it read. ďWhile looking through a deli - - -Ē excuse me, Iíve got to drop down here. And, before - before I read about the fair, thereís a paragraph. ďThe farmers had some grin on last week. Potatoes took a shoot up to two dollars per barrel and they came in fast. One team hauled 38 barrels. The smiles reached from Dixie to Squirrel Point, and it makes everybody happy when farmers are happy.Ē Now, about the fair. ďThe annual fair held at Lakeside Park was a success. The weather was perfect. There was an attendance of about 6500.Ē See, imagine that. ďAll shots were pulled off,Ē meaning all these races and so forth. ďThe balloon man went up every day. The water sports were grand, the best we ever witnessed and several new water sports were introduced by Roscoe Yates and his boys. There were Indian races, and Susan Simpson did the turkey trot in a canoe.Ē And, he goes on for a couple more items I think Iíll add just for Princeton flavor here. Anyway, canít you just kind of picture that and think itís some far off place. This is from a distance with those trees there now. They took that area.


 

Woman: Doesnít that look strange. It looks right out there.


 

Roberta Wheaton: Yes, it looks right out across the lake.


 

Woman: That looks like a cemetery.


 

Roberta Wheaton: Well, maybe there (indistinct words) Some of the other history was, ďThere are three men we know well, all over 80 years old who have picked up potatoes all fall. Mr. Mitchell, 82, Mr. Marshrow, 83, and Mr. Farrer, 80. Itís no use. Princeton has some smart men for their ages.Ē And, weíre about to have the voting now whether our town will remain dry or not, something that is very particular to us and here was an article, here. You canít write this sort of thing in the paper today. I mean people would get you before the first issue was out. But, ďSunday over 30 Jamaica Ginger carts were found on the wharf. Someone is illegally trafficking in rum selling it in the form of absinthe. A few weeks or a month sawing wood at Machias would probably make these traffickers who are dreaming, poor fellows, or who are too weak to resist seek an honest occupation.Ē Now, when you talk about the trotting, I think - I donít know anything about horses, and some of you may know a whole lot about horses, but I am ignorant about this thing. And, in my own memory, my dad went and courted my mother in Grand Lake Stream. So, thatís like thirteen miles away, and he went with a horse. In all of my lifetime until last year, I (indistinct word) isnít that - wasnít that a hardship. Wasnít that terrible to have to go that distance on a horse and then get back and everything. Well, my brother explained to me that a little trotting horse is born to run. Thatís in their heart, in their soul, and they do get right out and travel right along and he said the three miles between Princeton and town would be covered in ten minutes or so by a good trotting horse. And, of course in early Princeton history there werenít any horses. There were oxen. And, one woman is said to have married a man, not because she loved him but because he had one of the few trotting horses and carriages. And, Ruth Runnell said, ďI never could understand that woman putting that much worth on a horse and carriage.Ē I suppose itís like having a great big car to some people, but anyway. I used to feel real sorry until my brother explained it. A trotting horse just went right along. There was no problem about it. Well, my mother drove a horse, you see. When I was a kid my father had mules and I wasnít to get anywhere around them because they kicked, but I used to ride to town on the wagon, and you know those darn mules would go all the way to town and when they got to Main Street they would always bray. They would always bray. I was just a little kid and I would shrivel way down so no one would see me riding with those darn mules braying. Well, my mother had to go to town one day to get some groceries, and for some reason or other she borrowed Hildaís familyís horse. And, they were quite familiar because people went together and everything. So Mother got out of town just fine and she was doing her errands and everything, and you canít believe this but the darn horse laid right down in the street. In the harness, in the fells, everything, just laid right down there. And, when Mother came out here was this whole crowd of people all around and one of these people was this huge man, Chap Green. And, Chap Green was a horse dealer. You know, he knew all about horses. He instantly knew whose horse that was and everything, you see, and he also was very polite. He stepped right out and said, ďOh Mrs. Peter, Iíll help you with this,Ē you know, and everything. And, then Mother was just about to die with mortification. She was a very particular person, anyway, and this was killing her. But, what Chap Green did, he recognized the horse and he called mother by the wrong name. There are two Carle families out there and after four generations of us, nobody ever kept us straight. So, when he said Mrs. Peter, that was fine, he thought she was Villa and she really was Mrs. Robert, you see, and it didnít bother her half as much. That really disgraced her until she became somebody else. And, Iím going to finish now in just a minute or two. Iím going to tell you a little bit about the hotel

END OF TAPE