Readfield Historical Society Newsletter Spring~Summer 2000
Readfield Historical Society Newsletter
Spring ~ Summer 2000

The Internet Connection

 People we have heard from through our home page connection this past winter include:
    Liz Biagiotti Ward whose family lived on the Nickerson Hill Road from 1963 to 1974. She now lives in Bethlehem, NH.
One of the Laubenstein brothers. This family lived in the old Readfield town house on route 17. They actually converted the town house into a residence in the 1960’s.
    June Piper whose family lived in the Gordon Poole house on Church Road. June’s father, Fred, built that house c1950. June will be visiting Readfield in early June.

Another Internet Success Story

    In early April our web master, Dale Clark, received an email message from Marsha Masone asking for directions to Readfield. It seems Marsha was planning a trip here during school vacation to search for her ancestors, the Richardsons. Little did we know she was making the trip alone, and driving  from Virginia.
    Marsha spent time at RHS with curator, Evelyn Potter, as well as visiting local cemeteries. The bonus Marsha did not expect to find was her long lost cousin, Jessie Duerr, from Olympia, Washington. It seems Jessie had visited here several times over the past few years while researching the same family. Evelyn put Marsha and Jessie in touch. When the two women corresponded they discovered  their fathers were close cousins, and the families had lost touch many years ago.

RHS Meeting

    Please join us for the first meeting of 2000 on May 20th at 2:00pm at the Readfield Historical Society building on route 17. Call president David Giroux at 685-9877 with questions or suggestions.
 
 

RHS Member Highlights

    Some of you may have seen Ginger Adell on WGME channel 13 news recently. Ginger, who has a collection of over 1,200 pairs of salt and pepper shakers – said to be perhaps the largest in Maine – was interviewed by Amy Sinclair.
    Congratulations to Dale Clark who recently was awarded the Humanitarian Award for her work with Hospice Volunteers of Waterville Area as bereavment coordinator.

Readfield Grange News

Readfield Grange will have public suppers the first Friday of each month June ~ October at the Grange Hall on Church Road. The home cooked meals will be served from 5:00 to 6:30pm. Prices are $6.00 for adults and $2.50 for children under 12 years. Takeouts will be available. Watch your local paper for menus. Call Audrey Luce at 685-3202 for further information or to donate food. Proceeds will contribute towards repairs of the Grange Hall which was built in 1898.

Local Ladies, the Note-Ables, Recognized

     The Readfield Grange Good Citizen award was presented to the Note-Ables in April. The singing group, comprised of fifteen Central Maine women, lend their singing talents to entertain in local nursing homes, Gardiner Alzheimers Center, and at non-profit fundraisers.
    On Friday, June 2nd at 7:00, the group will perform their second annual fund raiser at the Readfield Union Meeting House. Proceeds from this evening with Irving Berlin will benefit the Union Meeting House. Tickets are $5.00 at the door or can be purchased at the Readfield Town Office.

Summer 2000 Schedule

Sunday, May 28th 10:00~2:00pm Opening Day
Tuesdays 10:00 ~ 2:00pm Month of June
Thursdays 10:00 ~ 2:00pm Month of July
Tuesday 10:00 ~ 2:00pm Month of August
Readfield Heritage Days will take place this year on
August 11 ~ 13, 2000. RHS open during this year’s celebration:
August 11 10:00 ~ 1:00pm
August 12 11:00 ~ 1:00pm
August 13 11:00 ~ 1:00pm
Open other times by appointment – call Evelyn Potter at 685-3812.
    Those who are willing to volunteer a day at the society at any of the above times please call Evelyn Potter at 685-3812 to make arrangements.

Favorite RHS visitor to return August 12th

    Willi Irish of Norlands fame, will return for another visit and book signing during Heritage Days weekend.
    Willi’s new book, One Day Last Week, is the story of an 8 year old girl in central Maine in 1782. The story is based on real events, places, dates and people.
    Copies of her book  Diary of a Maine Farm Boy will also be available. Copies of both books are on sale at RHS for $6.50 and $10.00 respectively.
    Call Evelyn Potter at 685-3812 for further information.

Wish List

Four Drawer file cabinet
Dried split firewood (2 or 3 armloads)
Donations for research and office supplies
Volunteers for building repairs & ground maintenance
Materials or donations towards building repairs
Early Settlers Series
By Dale Potter Clark


Old Settlers Series
by
Dale Potter Clark

The Fifield Family

Fifields arrive in America

On March 24, 1634, the ship Hercules left London, England. Twenty five days later when the Hercules landed in Ipswich, Massachusetts and her passengers descended the planks – William Fifield was among them. William became one of the original settlers in Hampton, New Hampshire where he was given a grant of land in 1640. On June 2, 1641 he was made a freeman of Massachusetts Bay. William served in several offices in Hampton – attorney, selectman, constable, and sheriff. The Quakers praised him for his humanity. All eight of his children were born in Hampton – the first, John, was born in 1645. In 1648 William’s wife, Mary, gave birth to their second son, Benjamin from whom the Fifields of Readfield and Manchester, Maine descend. In 1667 William conveyed land to Benjamin, who was then 19 years of age, and probably anticipating marriage. William saw Benjamin marry, and also enjoyed the birth of Benjamin’s nine children. When William, the American Fifield progenitor, died in 1700 he has exceeded eighty years of age, and had in fact, lived to see forty of his forty-eight grandchildren enter this world.

Fifields of Hampton, N.H.

    Benjamin, like his father before him, had the confidence of the Hampton residents. He served as constable, juryman, selectman, and belonged to the Militia. He also served several terms as Provincial Representative to the Legislative Assembly. On December 28, 1670 he married Mary Colcord, who was also of Hampton. They parented nine children between 1671 – 1689. Their fourth, Joseph, was born in 1677, and carries on the line we are tracing here.
    Benjamin met an all too common demise for the times on the Sunday morning of August 1, 1706 as he left home and started for church. Upon walking around towards the back of his house he was ambushed and killed by Indians. Benjamin died at 60 years of age. His wife, Mary, remained in Hampton Falls, where she died at age 93 years in 1741.

   Fifields remove to Kingston

    Benjamin’s fourth son, Joseph, who was 29 years old at the time of his father’s death, had been married to Sarah Sherburne for over five years, and the first two of their children were two and four years old. Their family of two sons and three daughters was relatively small, but sons Samuel and John carried on the family name with a total of eight sons between them. Around 1694 land was set off from Hampton and on the 6th of August, 1694 it was incorporated as the new town of Kingston. Early after his marriage Joseph settled his family there, where he served as selectman in 1725. He died in Kingston June of 1761 at age 85. His son Samuel brings us to the fourth generation of Fifields in America..
    The fourth generation in America, Captain Samuel Fifield, was born in 1707, and he remained in Kingston his whole life. He served as selectman there in 1755, and again in 1765. Joanna Clifford became his wife on August 26, 1728 when their eldest child, Shuah, was 7 months old – not unusual for those times. Samuel and Joanna had a large family of thirteen children between 1728 and 1754. Of their seven sons, one died at age 11 years. The other six lived to adulthood, married and had families. Three of them, Samuel, Joseph and Ebenezer sent shoots of the family tree to Kennebec County, Maine.
 

Pictures at left is the North Manchester Meeting House formerly known as the Baptist Meeting House. This building was the place of worship for early Fifields in Readfield.

Fifields settle in Readfield, Maine

Ebenezer, born 1751, was the second youngest of his siblings. In 1773, Ebenezer married Mary Sanborn in Hampton, N.H., and two years later their eldest child, Dorothy was born. She was five years old when her first sibling, Weaver, entered the world in February 1780.  Since Ebenezer was a Revolutionary War veteran, we can assume he was absent from his family for the four years between pregnancies. Three more children were born before they left New Hampshire for Maine.  Ebenezer, Jr. in November 1780, Noah in 1783, and Mary in August of 1786. Ebenezer was the second Fifield to come to Kennebec County in 1805, and settled in Readfield’s district#3, on what is now the Belgrade Road (route 135) in a section of town that later became part of Manchester. Ebenezer built his house in 1806, which remained occupied by Fifields for generations.  Ebenezer’s family belonged to the Baptist Society of Readfield, and attended services at the Baptist Meeting House (on route 17) organized by Rev. Issac Case.  The meeting house was moved to North Manchester in 1839 – six years after Mr. Fifield’s death.  Ebenezer, his wife Mary, and several other family members are buried in Case Cemetery in East Readfield. A son, Noah, became a physician and left the state. Weaver, also known as Wyer, built a house and settled on part of his father’s land on the Belgrade Road.
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Pictured above is Case Cemetery founded in 1789. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Eben Fifield, one of the earliest to settle here, is buried in
This burial ground is the resting place for ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Case Cemetery on route 17 in East Readfield.  In the
many of the early Readfield Fifields. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ foreground is the marker indicating his Revolutionary War ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~```service.

 Fifield name “dies out”

Weaver married Roxanna Curtis in 1822. They were also members of Readfield First Baptist Society. Weaver (Wyer) was agent and committeeman for school district#3. They lived on their farm in Readfield all their lives. Family history says Wyer was found dead in a well, and no one knew or saw what had happened. He is buried in Case Cemetery with his parents. There were nine children in this family, but only three remained in Maine – the rest went west to California. Eldest son, Benjamin H. remained on his father’s farm.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Wyer Fifield House c1822

~
Wyer Fifield’s gravestone in Case cemetery reads:~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Wyer Fifield died Nov. 16, 1854 aet. 74 yrs 9 mos.
"Dear husband thou from earth art gone.
Thy sufferings all are wen over.
Thy weary spirit sweetly rests on Canaan’s peaceful shore. “

    Wyer’s son Calvin and daughter Mary S. lived on their grandfather, Ebenezer’s, homestead. Neither ever married, and after Calvin’s death in 1899, Mary appears on the 1900 census in Oakland, California. Benjamin H. married twice into the Hill and Hall families. He and his first wife, Levina Hall, had one daughter who died at 7 years of age. There were no children with the second marriage. Thus, the end of the family name in Weaver’s Readfield branch of the Fifield family.
    Ebenezer, Jr., was the second son, and third child of Ebenezer and Mary (Sanborn) Fifield. He married Isabella Cross Thompson October 1806 in East Kingston, NH. They parented three daughters and two sons. The eldest, Lorinda Sanborn Fifield, married Rev. Thomas Jefferson Dudley, whose daughter, Mary Elizabeth wed Cornelius Adle (Adell). Members of this Fifield/Adell family line still reside in Readfield.
    Ebenezer and Mary’s sons both lived to adulthood, and had families. Elder son, John Thompson Fifield, married to Louisa Hoyt, and they resided in Belgrade. They bore three daughters, no sons. Ebenezer and Mary’s fifth child, Noah, married Martha Richardson in Waterville where they lived out their lifetimes. Their story is a sad one. Of six children, three daughters and three sons, one son died at age 18 in the Civil War, and the other two died at age 14 years. One daughter died at age 12 years, a second married but was an invalid and had only one child. Their daughter, Lucy Ann, married to William Dunlap, resided in Belgrade and they had eight children. Thus the end of the Fifield name in this branch of the family, also.

Another branch of the family tree

    Ebenezer’s nephews were the first of this family to settle in Readfield c1798. Brothers, Joseph and John Fifield, also settled in parts of town that were set off to create Manchester in 1850. In the year 2000 we still find evidence of their presence here when we pass the sign that identifies Fifield Road. At the end of that road, in a remote location only known now by a few local people, is the Fifield Cemetery where John and his wife Sarah Gilman are buried with several of their children. John Fifield’s homestead, built c1806, stands nearby and is still occupied today. John was an orchardist and operated a cider mill. His home remained in this family until grandson John’s death in 1928.
 

John Fifield house, Manchester, built c1806

    John’s brother, Joseph, who married Levina Lyon, and fathered four children, built their home on route 135 near Uncle Ebenezer’s family. Joseph and Levina chose Hill Cemetery in North Manchester as their resting place. Joseph died in 1867 at age 91 yrs. Pictured below left is Hill Cemetery located at west end of Prescott Road, Manchester. Joseph Fifield's marker is located near the very center of this picture.

A Famous Fifield

    Joseph’s sons Sanborn and Hiram carried on the two Fifield farms on Route 135. Sanborn obtained ownership of his father Joseph’s homestead, and known in these times as the Clark place. Sanborn had a son, John, whose son Joseph purchased the large (Colomy) farm on Puddledock Road in Manchester in 1868. The farm, which consisted of 300 acres was the largest in Manchester at that time. Another of John’s children, Eliza, married Albion Nutting. Their son, Wallace Nutting became a famous artist and furniture maker.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~Joseph Fifield c1892~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Joseph Fifield home on Puddledock Road, Manchester c1892

    Hiram took over his cousin Benjamin H. Fifield’s farm – built by Benjamin’s father Weaver (Wyer) Fifield – and presently occupied by the Peaslee family. By now this branch of the family was the only one remaining to carry on the Fifield name in Readfield and Manchester.
Hiram’s son, Marcellus, remained on his family farm and raised his children there. Descendants who have lived in this area for generations can tell stories about members of this family who were psychic, and of phenomenon that went on there many years ago. Marcellus son, Charlie, married Emma Hunt and they parented sons Russell and Shirley. Many of us who grew up in Readfield remember Mrs. Fifield as our second and third grade teacher in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Fayette and Wayne too you say?

    You may remember mention that Ebenezer’s brother, Samuel also sent shoots to Kennebec County, Maine. Samuel’s son Peter had a son referred to as “Captain John.”   This grandson – Ebenezer’s grand nephew – came to Fayette some time between 1830 – 1835. Fayette historian Underwood tells us David Fifield was the earliest settler on “the Ridge.” We also find Peter and David Fifield listed as operators of a sawmill and builders of the town farm in the mid nineteenth century Wayne…but that is another story for another time.
        The Fifield name no longer exists in Readfield and Manchester, but many descendants of this family line can still be found here. It is up to those of us who remember to help keep the memories and the name alive!

The Fifield story was compiled from:
Fifield Family History, Histories of Hampton, NH, Kennebec County, Fayette, ME, Manchester, ME;
Readfield, ME VR’s; Pioneers of Maine and New Hampshire.



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