Notes on Nathaniel Treat and his family

 

Excerpt from:

Frankfort Maine 1774-1976

974.1 tf82f Maine State Library

 

JOSHUA TREAT

The building of Fort Pownal at Fort Point in 1759 marked the beginning of the settlements along this side of the Penobscot River. Before Fort Pownal was built, there were French Trading-houses at Bagaduce (Castine) and also a fort-Fort George, but the first permanent settlement made by a white man in what originally embraced Frankfort, or on the Penobscot waters, was made by Lt. Joshua Treat in May of 1759.

Lt. Treat was at Fort George as early as August 1750, and worked as an armorer. When Gen Waldo and Gov. Pownal reached Fort George on their way to Fort Point, Lt. Treat joined the expedition. Because he knew the Indian language he acted as an interpreter as well as an armorer at Fort Pownal. At one time, tradition has it. Treat paddled up the river in a canoe with Gov. Pownal and landed on the banks of the Sowadabscot Stream in Hampden, where he acted as interpreter in a conference held with the Tarratine Indians, and introduced the governor to the Chief, Modocowanda. This conference ended all troubles with the Tarratines. Joshua Treat lived near Fort Pownal and continued as armorer until the mid 1770's when the fort was abandoned.

In 1774, Treat built a log house where the Congregational Church now stands. This was the first log house built in Frankfort. Treat also built the first saw mill and the first vessel in what is now Frankfort. When the British came up the river in 1779, they burned the mill, but Treat rebuilt it in 1783.

Treat lived in his log house about ten years before moving to the Point Farm where he spent the remainder of his days. He died in 1826.

William and James Treat, grandsons of Joshua Treat, became Treat and Co. As such, they built and owned many vessels. They also ran an extensive mercantile business. Joshua Treat, 3rd, built the first frame house in Frankfort, and his sons, Upton and Adams, became the firm of U. and A. Treat. This business was in the store later known as McCambridges. The two houses below this store were owned by Amos and Hi ram Treat. Across the street is the Col. Robert Treat house which now is the Waldo Pierce Reading Room. The home of Adams Treat became the Hillside House, a hotel in the early 1900's.

Charles H., son of Capt. Henry and Abigail Treat, was treasurer of the United States under Pres. Theodore Roosevelt. Edwin Parker Treat married Sarah, the daughter of Capt. Andrew Tyier. Minnie Hubbard Treat was the daughter of Robert Treat, Jr. and Ann Eliza Tyier. She married Robert Gordon McKay of Massachusetts.

 

SAW MILLS AND LUMBERING

if one could visualize the expanse of forest and the convenient effective waterpower that existed in the early days of Frankfort, it would not be hard to understand the flourishing lumber business that sprang up in this area. Young men saw the fortune in the spruce, pine and oak that grew on the riverbanks and the business grew in leaps and bounds. Woods were cleared, log cabins and huts were built, and this was the beginning of the community and, later, many fine homes. It is believed that Joshua Treat Jr. built the first log cabin at the site of the present Congregational Church.

Joshua Treat Jr. (and we will find the name of Treat through all of Frankfort's history) built the first of the water powered saw mills on Marsh Stream. This was burned by the British in, 1779 and rebuilt in 1783. Relics of these mills are still evident. Wooden dams were built and log drives were conducted. Ship I building flourished and lumber was shipped far and wide through I the 19th century. Frankfort grew into a thriving lumber town.

Saw mill operations continued into the 20th century. Steam powered mills were started and a book, "An Old River Town", mentions a steam powered mill owned and operated in old Frankfort, by Theopilus Gushing, in 1841. A steam-powered mill on Tyier Lane turned out spool bars in the 1920's. The Turner water powered mill-produced shingles in the 1930s and Mr. Earl Grindell, well known and respected citizen, and long time selectmen of Frankfort, operated this mill the last time it was used. Mr. Earl Grindell and Mr. Clifford Anderson, Frankfort residents operated a steam powered lumber and shingle mill in the 1940s and products were shipped to Bangor. And Massachusetts. There are no operating sawmills in Frankfort now. Mr. James Tripp and Sons conducts a long-standing and successful lumber business.

A land office, organized in 1828, appointed agents to arrange the Sale and Settlement of public lands and this agent was made Forest Commissioner for the protection of the forest lands. It is interesting that at the time of this writing, Frankfort has a I tract of woodland consisting of 1500 acres known as the Town I Forest. This property has been valued at $200,000. And the elected town forest committee of nine men is trying to determine the best possible use of this very valuable asset.


Excerpts from:

"Old Orono Oddments

…a collection printed in the Old Town – Orono Times"

by Dr. A. Douglas Glanville

Compiled and published by the Orono Historical Society 1993

974.1 to74g 1993 Maine State Library

January 6,1988 -The red brick house at 114 Main Street is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Nathaniel Treat House for its original owner. Treat, who built the house in the early 1830s, was an important resident in the middle years of the 1800s, who is barely known or completely unknown to many of the town's present residents.

Nathaniel Treat was born in Frankfort, Maine, and like several others from that town moved up the river to Orono. He came here about 1828 and soon erected and successfully operated what became known as the Treat mill on the Bennoch dam near the mouth of the Stillwater River. He also became a large landowner. In addition to his lumbering operations he became involved in town affairs during his residence here. Between 1832 and 1856 he served eight terms as a Selectman. He was often a member of town committees and involved in projects promoting the towns’ development. He became the 'President of Orono's Stillwater Canal Bank.

Some Orono residents refer to the Main Street house as the Dunn House because in their younger days it was owned and occupied by Charles J. Dunn who became Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Court.

February 3,1988.

A visitor to present day Orono might make an extensive tour of the town without discovering the site of Orono's former brickyard. In fact, there are individuals who have lived in town for a decade or more who do not know that there once was a brickyard here. If one has access to an 1855 map, he will find just east of the railroad tracks and west of Cedar Street an area designated as J. Walker Brick Yard.

In her 1926 History of Orono, Mrs. Hannah Rogers states that bricks were made in the old brickyard as early as 1820 and that the old brick houses in town were made from these bricks. These houses would include the Nathaniel Treat house at 114 Main Street; the Ludo Thayer house, 93 Main Street, painted white and which was the former St. Mary's convent; the brick house near the lower end of Middle Street; the brick apartment house on Mill Street, torn down to make way for Hasbrouck Court; and the so-called "Old Bank Building" at the intersection of Forest Avenue and Bennoch and Main Street. Mrs. Rogers also states that after the old brick houses were built (in the 1820s to approximately 1840), few bricks were made in this yard until 1867 and 1868 when John W. Mayo and his son Dr. E.N. Mayo manufactured bricks for the building now called the Masonic building, at the corner of Mill and Main Streets, and for the tall chimneys and furnaces for burning waste from the mills. She adds that J.W. Mayo was the last to make bricks from the old yard. She does not give the final date, but the cemetery records show that J.W. Mayo died in 1894.

Since most buildings in Orono were made of wood, which was the main product of the sawmill town through much of the 19th century, there was less demand here for bricks thap in towns more removed from the supply of lumber. Their chief local use was for chimneys and fireplaces. Consequently brick making never became one of the leading industries of the town.

March 4,1987.

Political news, especially of the party it favored and presented in colorful language, was frequently a prominent feature of the old Bangor Daily Whig and Courier. On August 26, 1856, in reporting a Republican convention held in Bangor the day before, the editor included the following statement; "The enthusiastic Republicans of Orono, Stillwater, Old Town, and Bradley came down upon us in an immense procession of carriages of all descriptions, from single wagons with three, four and five people in each, up to tremendous four and six horse teams, carrying 15,20 and 30 persons each, bearing all manner of patriotic and quaint devices upon them. The teams, wagons and carriages from that direction alone must have extended a mile or more in length."

Orono's first bank was the Stillwater Canal Bank, which was incorporated in 1835; the accompanying illustration is a photocopy of a two dollar bank note issued by the bank and signed by the President, Nathaniel Treat, and by the Cashier, E.P. Butler. The bank surrendered its charter and ceased to exist after 1842. Its short existence was due largely to the fact that the late 1830s was a period of "hard times" when many businesses failed and many individuals lost their property because they could not pay their debts. The Stillwater Canal Bank was succeeded in 1853 by the Orono Bank, of which E.P. Butler was also the cashier. Later, this bank was replaced by the Orono National Bank.

One of the earliest records of efforts to involve women in Orono's governmental affairs pertains to the annual town meeting of 1911 when there was an article in the town warrant to add a woman to the Board of Park

The following year, at the annual town meeting, John Hutchings was re-elected and the two offending selectmen were replaced. At the meeting the Buffum committee made a report which was accepted along with the following resolution which was made part of the town records:

"Resolved: That the Selectmen of the town for the year 1837, in refusing to receive a committee chosen by the inhabitants thereof at a legal meeting and to afford them such assistance as might be in their power, in order that they might receive a full understanding of the pecuniary affairs of the town under the official control of its affairs, proved that they were unqualified and unworthy servants of the people and made themselves justly obnoxious to their severest displeasure."

In 1855 a series of Lyceum lectures were given in Orono. Included was one of Rev. Coldwell on Relations of Geography and Geology to the History of Men. Another one was an Anti-slavery Lecture by Rev. Frederick Douglass, a leading northern Black of the time, much sought after for lectures.

Rev. Maitby of Orono married Israel Washburn, Jr„ to Miss Mary Ann Webster, daughter of Col. Ebenezer Webster, Sunday evening, October 24, 1841 (Whig & Courier, Oct. 29, 1841).

November 25,1987.

Sometimes a report of the facts "and nothing but the facts" leaves one wondering what events or situation led to the stated facts. Such is the case with regard to an item in the Orono town records for 1835. The record indicates that at a town meeting held on April 8,1835, three selectmen were chosen because the ones previously chosen (March 7, 1835) refused to take the oath prescribed by law." No hint is given in the record as to why the previously chosen selectmen, Ira Wadleigh, Levi Hamblen and Edward Kimball, refused to take the oath. The selectmen chosen to replace them were John Bennoch, Jr., Henry Richardson and Nathaniel Treat.

When we review the early history of the town we are reminded that two years later (as we reported 5/28/ 87 in these Oddments) two of the three selectmen of 1837 were censured for refusing to provide information and for not allowing a committee (consisting of Lower Stillwater residents) to examine the town's books in connection with financial affairs of the town.

In connection with a possible relationship of these two events it is important to remember that at the time Orono consisted of both Old Town and Lower Stillwater (present day Orono) but that they were moving toward legal separation in 1840. Consequently, one may ask if the differing interests of the two communities led to friction, which was reflected in affairs dealt with at town meetings.

What Israel Washburn, Jr. said in his 1874 address when Orono's first town hall was dedicated probably contains the answer to our question. We quote his actual words:

"After the rival villages of Stillwater and Orono had grown to importance in business and population, the inevitable jealousies and rivalries between communities situated as these two were broke out. They appeared especially at the town meetings in the spring, but were felt at all times."

"The separation was amicably effected, and was in the interest and convenience, as well as of harmony and good neighborhood. The two divisions of the old town have been excellent friends ever since the causes of differences were removed."

Workmen's pride of accomplishment is reflected in the following which appeared Aug. 7, 1857, in the Bangor Whig & Courier: "A correspondent informs us that Wednesday Ebenezer Webster's gang cut 6,000 feet of inch boards from pine logs, in one hour. They were all trimmed and piled away within the hour. The logs averaged four to the thousand. We consider this smart work. Our correspondent says if anybody on the river or elsewhere can beat this report, the crew stand ready to beat them in return." At the time Ebenezer Webster was a leading Orono lumberman.

 

November 23,1988.

The issuer of the Bangor Whig & Courier in the later years of the 1830s, following the financial panic of 1837, often contained detailed announcements of mortgage foreclosures and sheriff's sales of Orono properties. These announcements not only provide a dramatic picture of the financial disaster faced by many Orono citizens, but they also often provide detailed accounts of who owned and where specific pieces of property were located. Reference was often made to the book and page where deeds were recorded in the Penobscot County Registry of Deeds. In some instances the early property lines can be traced today. Such is not likely to be the case when a specific tree, a wooden stake, or a pile of stones is given as a boundary marker.

On December 14, 1837, the Bangor Whig & Courier published a copy of a petition by William Smith and others addressed to the State Legislature requesting to be incorporated and empowered to build a boom from Ayers Island in Orono across the Penobscot River to the eastern shore. The purpose of the boom was to catch and hold logs which annually escaped down the river to tide water and thus were lost by their owners and this occasioned considerable financial loss.

On April 14, 1838, John Bennoch and Samuel W. Freese issued a call to the members of the Stillwater Iron Foundry Company to assemble at the office of Washburn and Prentiss in Orono on May 1st at 2 p.m. to accept the company's charter and to elect officers. Washburn and Prentiss was an Orono partnership of lawyers which dissolved later. Each member of the partnership continued the practice of law and became outstanding members of the profession. Israel Washburn continued in Orono, was elected to Congress and then to the governorship of the State. Henry Prentiss moved to Bangor, where he became an outstanding member of his profession in the 1800s.

In the Centennial address given in Orono in 1874, Washburn spoke briefly of the Stillwater Iron Foundry Co. He stated that the foundry was built in Orono on lower Mill Street below the old Sleeper tavern. Because of losses incurred by the failure of parties for whom it had done work, the company was compelled to wind up its affairs after two or three years. The late 1830s proved not to be a good time to launch a new business or industry.

In October, 1838, Nathaniel Treat and 57 others petitioned the State Legislature to be incorporated for the purpose of building a toll bridge across the Penobscot River from Orono to Bradley at Great Works Falls. It was stated that a bridge at that place would be a great convenience to the inhabitants of the villages of Upper and Lower Stillwater and to the traveling public generally who have occasion to travel up and down the Penobscot River. We do not know what action the Legislature took on the petition, but we well know that 150 years later no such bridge has been built, although not many years ago a bridge in that general area was discussed in relation to rerouting highway traffic in this section of the State.

December 14,1988.

In 1840 a number of Orono's leading lumbermen, merchants and politicians were active in supporting the Whig candidate for President, William Henry Harrison, who opposed Martin Van Buren, President and candidate for re-election. Van Buren's re-election was strongly opposed for a number of reasons. The financial panic of 1837 had occurred during his administration and many held him responsible for it. As we have previously indicated in this column (see, for example, August 10,1988) Orono's prosperity, based largely upon the lumbering industry, was badly affected by the panic. Consequently the lumbermen and those dependent upon them for their livelihoods were eager to prevent Van Buren from being reflected.

At its national convention the Whig party had chosen William Henry Harrison to be its candidate for President and John Tyler, who had previously been identified with the Democrats, was chosen as Vice Presidential candidate. Tyler was chosen in the hope that he would win for Harrison the votes of unhappy Democrats who would not wish to vote for Van Buren. Since part of Harrison's home had once been a log cabin and since it was claimed that he served cider rather than wine at his table, his opponents began referring to him as the "log cabin and hard cider candidate. "Rather than taking offense, his Whig supporters eagerly accepted this designation and made it a feature of their campaign in support of Harrison.

In April, 1840, the Whigs of Orono formed an association as an auxiliary of the Penobscot County Whig Associates. The officers they chose included, among others. Dr. William H. Alien, William Averill, John Bennoch, Josiah Bennoch, William Colburn, Gideon Mayo, John Read Jr„ Nathaniel Treat and Israel Washburn Jr. They published an announcement in the Bangor Whig & Courier in which they invited those who wanted a change and who preferred Harrison to Van Buren to call at their "log cabin" (headquarters) which they would find open and where they would be welcome. They added that they would take "hard cider as often as once a month." They added, "We regard this hard cider a most wholesome beverage. It is like Falstaff's sack, and dries up in the brain all the foolish, dull and cloudy vapors...It also warms the blood which before was cold and settled, and has left the liver white and pale, and brings the heart to the deeds of honor and courage. It dispels the fog of error." This somewhat boastful political rhetoric lacked the vehement negativism of some later political pronouncements. We might also point out that not many years later when temperance held sway and some of these same gentlemen took the pledge, they publicly condemned hard cider as an evil spirit.

Harrison won the election, was inaugurated March 4, 1841, and died of pneumonia one month later, April 4,1841. When Tyler became President after Harrison's death, the Whigs were not altogether happy with him when he began to oppose some of their policies and principles. Some years later some of the men who were glad to have him at the "log cabin" regretted it when he supported and joined the Confederacy.

May 25,1989.

3/2/1860 — At Orono, March 24th, of consumption, Martha W„ daughter of Nathaniel and Mary P. Treat, aged 14 years and 2 months.

 

November 23,1989.

If they appeared on a program at which they were asked to identify some of Orono's historic personages, many of the town's older and informed residents could say something significant about such persons as Jeremiah Colbum,John Bennoch, Asa Babcock, John Marsh or Ebenezer Webster. Some, if asked about E.P. Butler, probably either could not identify him or do more than state that he was an early Orono bank cashier. This present day lack of knowledge about him is largely due to the fact that our historians, Israel Washburn, Hannah Rogers, and Clarence Day have given Butler little more attention than to state briefly that in the 1830s he was cashier of the short-lived Stillwater Canal Bank and that in the 1850s he became the cashier of the Orono Bank.

Elvaton (sometimes recorded as Elverton) P. Butler, or simply E.P. Butler, as he usually signed himself, played an active and important role in Orono's business and civic affairs from roughly 1840 to 1880. He was born in 1811 in Frankfort, Maine, and came to Orono in the 1830s. His wife, Abigail, was also born in Frankfort and was the sister of Nathaniel Treat, the prosperous Orono lumberman who owned the red brick house on Main Street which is on the National Register of Historic Places. In his early days in Orono Butler was an apothecary dealing largely in patent medicines. He soon became involved in other matters. As already noted he was cashier of the Stillwater Canal Bank, which was chartered in 1835 but which lasted only a few years. His brother-in-law, Nathaniel Treat, was its president. When the Orono Bank came into existence, Butler was chosen its cashier and he served in that capacity for many years. He was also chosen to be the treasurer or secretary of several Orono corporations. In the middle years of the 1800s the pages of the Bangor Whig & Courier often carried notices signed by E.P. Butler of stockholders' or directors' annual meetings of various corporations.

Butler's activities were by no means confined to the financial concerns of banks and corporations. He played an important part in town affairs over most of his life in Orono. He was elected Selectman several times. He was also a member of the Superintending School Committee for three years. On five occasions between 1840 and 1874 he was chosen Town Clerk. The office in which he served longest and almost continuously except for occasional brief breaks was that of Town Treasurer. His years as Treasurer extended from 1844 to about 1880. His fellow citizens obviously considered him to be a competent and trustworthy manager of the town's money. There were times when they chose him to be Clerk and Treasurer at the same time. If he had kept a daily diary and if it was available to us it would be an invaluable source of information about Orono's financial and civic history in the Butler years. E.P. Butler lived in the house built around 1840 at what is now 17 Oak Street, where it still stands.

Sept 20 , 1990

LAWYERS

Israel Washburn, Jr. Nathaniel Wilson

Some Leading LUMBERMEN John Atwell Charles Buffum B.P. Gilman Nathaniel Treat Eben Webster Elijah Webster James Webster Paul Webster

DOCTORS Wm. H. Alien Alonzo Plummer

Value of Real Estate

$9,050 $10,000

$7,000 $4,200 $29,750 $4,000 $4,000 $2,000 $3,000 $5,000

$2,000 $600

Value of Personal Estate

$4,000 $10,000

$5,000 $650 $6,000 $300 $4,000 $700 $1,700 $5,000

$1,600 $250

 

The lumbermen listed above were at the time Orono's most prosperous lumbermen, except for Daniel White of whom we shall speak more fully below. In addition to the lumbermen listed above there were many others in Orono in the 1860 census but in general the values of their real and or personal estates was not more than $1,000 and usually considerably below that amount. The tabulated data clearly shows that in terms of financial status in 1860 Orono's two lawyers rated considerably above nearly all of its lumbermen.

It was the lumbermen themselves who contributed in large measure to the overall financial well-being of Orono's lawyers in the mid 1800s. The records show that many of them would take one another to court "at the drop of a hat" over some matter having to do with lumbering such as water rights, payment of tolls, timber ownership, etc. The files of the Bangor Daily Whig & Courier of that period listed many such suits being tried in the local courts and the name of Washburn or Wilson were often listed as the lawyer for one or the other of the parties involved. Some of the suits were of long duration and figure prominently in the history on lumbering in Maine.

We thought it would be of interest to compare the wealth of Orono's other small professional group, the medical men, with that of the lawyers. The information derived from the census report and presented above shows that in 1860 Drs. Alien Plummer fell far behind lawyers Washburn and Wilson in the value of their real and personal estates. This raises some interesting questions about the relative frequency with which each profession was called upon and the amount paid for its services. It probably partly reflected the fact that if you had a grudge you called a lawyer and expected to pay more than if you were ill and called a doctor. (In those days you usually called the doctor rather than calling him at his office.)

Above we mentioned the lumberman Daniel White as the one Orono lumberman whose real and personal estate values were greater than those of either Washburn or Wilson. The respective values of White's estates were $16,200 and $20,000. Washburn, in his 1874 Centennial address given at the dedication of Orono's first town hall in commenting upon Daniel White, gave information which indicates why his financial status differed markedly from that of the other lumbermen we have considered. Washburn stated that in the early years the lumbermarket often fluctuated greatly from year to year. Some years the demand was good and sales and profits were correspondingly good. That tended to lead to over-investment in and over-production of lumber the next year. Demand fell and prices were so low that lumbermen lost money and either went bankrupt or at least lost their credit.

White never took great risks. When he made a good profit he did not invest all of his profit in the next/ear's market. Having capital on hand he could hold his lumber when the market was poor and not sell at a loss as many other lumbermen had to. Also, it was his practice to hire the best men, provide the" best food and enough of it, pay fair wages and promptly. The result was that he got from his crews "more good and profitable work than any man in those days could."

Charles Buffum's wife, Lydia, survived him until 1912. Their daughter, Lydia, married Lucius Merrill, Professor at the University of Maine. According to the 1900 US Census, Mrs. Buffum was then living with her daughter and son-in-law, Lydia and Lucius Merrill. The Orono Directory listed them as living at 14 Bennoch Street. Street numbers have changed since that time, but the available evidence suggests that what was then listed as 14 Bennoch Street was the Josiah Bennoch house, which Charles Buffum had bought on his return to Orono from New Hampshire. The 1910 Census lists Mrs. Buffum as then age 81, living with the family of Lucius Merrill, her son-in-law. Evidently, she ended her days in 1912 at what for years had been the Charles Buffum home on Bennoch Street.

October 17,1991.

In the first half of this century the sound of the siren connected with the Fire Department central station was a daily feature of life in Orono. The sound was a powerful one, which normally could be heard throughout Orono. Some of the residents whose roots were local rather than "from away" pronounced it as "sigh reen." Whether that was primarily an Orono pronunciation or whether it was common in other Maine localities we cannot say.

One purpose of the siren was to indicate the location of a fire. The town was divided into a number of areas and each area had its individual number. When a fire occurred the area in which it was located was indicated by the number of blasts of the siren or by the sequence of long and short blasts. This helped the volunteer firemen know where to go to fight the fire if they were not at or near the fire station when the alarm was received. It also helped to inform the public about the location of the fire

The siren sounded each evening at 9 o'clock to indicate the beginning of curfew, the time when children and young teenagers not accompanied by an adult were to be at home and off the streets. Although the ordinance was not always strictly enforced, it tended to reduce rowdiness and vandalism at night. Parents also found it a helpful way to indicate to their young offspring when they wanted them to return home for the night. Some children took the matter very seriously. The writer recalls an occaston when a young boy, barely of school age, was returning home with his parents and the siren sounded when they were two or three blocks from reaching home. He wanted his parents to hurry so that Mr. Jeddrie, the fireman who sounded the siren, would not come and get him for not being at home when the siren sounded.

Another use of the siren was to indicate "no school" days when a heavy snow fall or a freezing rain storm made closing school advisable or necessary. On such occasions, the signal was given at 7 a.m. and was eagerly listened for by those children whose favorite place for spending the day was not the school room.

On weekdays the siren sounded one blast at no-on as a means of making a routine test of it. It also provided a means whereby a person could check the accuracy of a personal watch or clock or know the time if no time piece was immediately available.

After World War II the use of the siren for the various purposes mentioned above was discontinued, and for a time it was missed by some of the old timers who had lived with it and more or less depended upon it for much of their lives. Of course, they, along with the rest of us, can turn up the volume on the television set and let it more continuously blast their ears.

October 24,1991.

In the centennial address given in 1874 on the occasion of the dedication of Orono's first town hall, former governor Israel Washburn spoke about the great political excitement which prevailed in town in the middle years of the 1800s. He went on to say that from 1840 when Old Town and Orono separated, Orono uniformly cast Whig majorities until the formation of the Republican party which replaced the Whig party in the late 1850s.

The pages of the Bangor Whig & Courier give a vivid picture from the Whig point of view of the political excitement in Orono in the presidential election of 1844. The Whig candidate was Henry Clay of Kentucky and James Polk of Tennessee was the Democratic candidate. The Whig & Courier was a strongly partisan newspaper and from it we get very little information about the participation of Orono Democrats in the election.

One of the leading national issues at the time had to do with slavery including the possibility of its elimination or, more likely, prohibiting its introduction in new states as they joined the Union. Henry Clay was more in favor than Polk in prohibiting the introduction of slavery in new states. As a consequence, more Maine voters favored Clay over Polk. Another of Clay's positions which won him strong support from Orono industrialists and business men was his advocacy of a high tariff on the import of foreign products which competed with similar products produced in this country.

Orono Whigs' support of Clay was no weak or half-way matter. On Feb. 19, 1844, the Whig & Courier announced the formation of the Clay Club in Orono. The list of officers elected by the members gives a good indication of who its prominent supporters were. The President was one of Orono's leading lumbermen, Asa W. Babcock. Other officers were Isaac Sanborn, Eliphalet Perkins, Levi Weeks, E. P. Butler, Gideon Mayo, Nathaniel Treat, Abner Starrett, S. H. Joy, Samuel White, Ludo Thayer and Alex Rogers. The Whigs made a great event of setting up a very tall ash pole and flying their political banner from it.

In the months that followed, up to election day, the Whig & Courier carried numerous accounts of the activities of the Orono Club. Israel Washburn, who was becoming a leading Whig political figure in the state as well as locally, gave numerous '"rousing" speeches in support of Whig policies and of Clay. The Whig & Courier carried accounts of speeches by other speakers to Orono voters in which Democratic supporters were vigorously attacked. One of the latter was Hannibal Hamlin of Hampden, who was then a Democratic politician. He later became a Republican and was Lincoln's first Vice President.

The Orono Whigs participated in a number of parades, both at home and in other towns. They attracted much attention when Colonel John Goddard entered a parade with them in his very large wagon constructed for that purpose. It was drawn by ten horses and carried as many as one hundred men at a time. The Whig & Courier gave considerable notice to Orono's flamboyant lumberman and his over-sized wagon. We gave an account of him in this column on Feb. II, 1987.

At the national level, Polk defeated Clay. The Whig & Courier had little to say about the outcome other than to express its disappointment. It was pleased that Bangor had supported Clay over Polk. It made no mention of how Orono had voted, but we understand that it cast a majority for Clay.

 

NATHANIEL TREAT House BED & BRKF

2214 4TH AVE W

Monroe, Wisconsin 53566

608 325- 5656