This past year has been a busy one at Readfield Historical
Society. We began the year with an annual appeal to RHS friends, members
and the community. We were thrilled with the results. Funds raised are
making it possible to paint the building and do long overdue repairs to
our windows. Those who live in the area may have seen Bob Johnson high
up on his ladder with paint brush in hand. We are most grateful to Bob
for taking on this ambitious project! We will continue to improve and repair
the building – outside and inside – as additional funds become available.
As you will see further on in this newsletter this past summer and Readfield Heritage Days found RHS bustling with new activity. Success of our events and efforts were made possible by the many volunteers who willingly gave of their time, talents and resources. I anticipate another year of growth and enthusiasm for Readfield Historical Society and look forward to embracing new ideas and efforts. Thank you to all who have helped make this past year one of the best we have experienced since our beginning and may we continue to work together to make new strides in the New Year!
Artists Roger Williams, Beverly Norton Newton, Olive
Bishop Smith, Irene Adell Potter and Mildred Stengel shared examples of
their artwork throughout the weekend. Many of the paintings were of local
scenes and visitors enjoyed identifying locations and sharing memories.
Thank you to Newton and Smith whose prints for purchase were a great hit!
We filled a Kents Hill School bus for our first Historical Bus Tour with Relief and Friends. Much laughter and enthusiasm told us that riders enjoyed the tour, and in the process they learned much about early East Readfield history and families.
June Piper has returned to Maine to live after many year’s absence. June is living in Old Orchard Beach with her sister Eleanor. Our sympathy to the Piper family who lost their matriarch, Frances, this past year.
We were also saddened by the deaths of Mickey Luce Crowe and Dick Butman. Both had taken great interest in the history of Readfield. Mickey had researched the Luce family genealogy for many years and we will miss her stories and interest. We felt honored when the Luce and Butman families asked for donations in lieu of flowers to Readfield Historical Society. We express great appreciation to both families for the value they place on the work we do!
We also express sympathy to the family of Cordelia Giles. Cordelia, who lived on Factory Square with her daughter Natalie, was the widow of Roy Giles who townspeople affectionately called “Mr. Readfield” because of his generous community service.
Helen Harvey Colburn’s son, Sherman Scribner, died in early October and we extend our thoughts and prayers to Helen – a long-standing member of RHS.
We wish to extend our thoughts also to George Allen and family at the passing of Claire, his wife.
Clinton Adell was “brought home” for burial in August. Clint grew up in Readfield and moved west to California following his service in WWII. Clint’s daughter, Tracie, came in from Nevada for the service. Son Scott and his wife Lia traveled here from Indonesia for Scott’s first visit to his father’s town of origin – and the eastern USA.
Congratulations to Rex and Audrey Luce on their landmark 50th Wedding Anniversary. Also to Harold and Jean (Wills) Macomber. Many friends and family members gathered to help both couples celebrate – who, by the way, were both married on August 11, 1951. The Macombers party was held at Giles Hall on August 4, and all shared in good food, fellowship and music by Steve and the Good Old Boys. This was the first event of its kind at Giles Hall since its renovations were completed. The Luce home bustled with activity on August 11th as friends and family members gathered for a grand celebration. Rex and Audrey’s home is located on the old Luce homestead.
Our thoughts are with Readfield town manager, Greg Gill as he faces a serious illness. We hope for his speedy recovery and to see him back to normal soon!
Bob Johnson has been busy this summer repairing and painting the exterior of the Readfield Historical Society building. As of this writing he has finished painting both sides of the building and has repaired, re-glazed and painted all the upstairs windows. In the spring he will paint the front of the building with a boost from a truck bucket. He will continue to work on the downstairs windows this winter.
Thanks to Russ Walters who spearheaded the replacement of support posts beneath the building’s el. We also want to express appreciation to Readfield Town manager, Greg Gill, for his morale support and donation of materials for this project. He also gave us several old wooden shutters for later use.
As contributions continue to filter in we will make additional repairs and improvements. We welcome any support folks are able to give.
Our thanks to:
John Lord for mowing our lawn throughout the summer months.
Mary “Polly” Mason for sharing her gardening skills. We enjoyed her plant displays on the front porch this summer.
Lenny Reay who has donated his time and materials to build new handicapped access.
Matt Dunn for sharing his time and labors on several occasions.
Two sturdy porch rockers.
Two Screen Doors
The RHS Executive Committee voted this summer to set aside donations
made in memory of Mickey Luce Crowe and Dick Butman to create a special
fund that will help finance a History of Readfield in the future.
RHS collections and town records are comprehensive and hold great historical significance in this area of Maine and yet there has never been an “official” town history published. One of our long-term goals is to make that happen, and we have created this fund as an indication of our commitment. Additional contributions to this fund are welcome. Checks should be payable to “RHS – History of Readfield Fund.”
On October 12 we were saddened to learn of Avis Butman’s death – she passed only three months after Dick, her husband of 50 years. Avis was known for her sense of humor, her dare devil antics, warm hospitality, and she was a good sport! What most people do not know is that Avis was also a published poet. One of her poems (to her children and grandchildren) seemed very appropriate for this issue.
by Avis Butman
Along toward the end of November
There’s not yet cause for alarm
I want you just to remember
It’s Thanksgiving out on the farm.
We all want you to join us
For another of our fabulous feasts
‘Cause gathering with friends and family
is a tradition that I don’t want to cease.
It may not be the food of the Pilgrims
Either homegrown or hunted with gun
Nor it may not be dining par excellence
But it’s always a whole lot of fun.
So we’ll save you a seat at the table
And hope you can make it this year
Please try to come if you’re able
To partake in this season of cheer.
Mom & Dad
Summer 2001 Schedule
Thank you to the following volunteers who staffed the RHS building this
Flo and Bill Drake ~ Albert & Betty Bailey ~ Granville Piper ~ Ginger Adell ~ Freda Black ~ Beverly Newton ~
Evelyn Potter ~ Bud & Edna Walters ~ Doreen Crocker ~
Joanne Hunt ~ Dale Potter Clark ~ Russ & Mike Walters
This year the building was open 10:00am-2:00pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and holiday weekends. Though visitation was down, those who did stop by seemed to enjoy our picture, scrapbook and artifact collection. There also was much excitement about the building projects and repairs.
We are already beginning to think about a schedule for next summer so those who are willing to volunteer their time should call Evelyn Potter at 685-3812.
In this issue we will talk about the Craig family
– a name we often see when reading about early days in Readfield
– and one of the old Craig homes.
James Craig was born in England in 1740 and came to Pondtown between 1764 – 1770. He was one of the very first settlers in this section of Pondtown that later became Readfield, and in 1770 he was among those who signed the petition to incorporate Winthrop. Craig was a large landowner in early Readfield and we know he owned then sold parcels along the west shore of Maranacook Lake and atop Kents Hill. Among his land holdings was Lot#212, located in and around Readfield Corner, which he bought in 1782 from the original owner Ephraim Lane. He constructed a sawmill in 1770 on the upper dam in the section of town we later called Factory Square. Lumber for many of Readfield’s early framed houses was sawed here. Craig also built a gristmill on the lower dam at Factory village and folks for miles around traveled there with their grain. Wagon trails to these mills soon appeared, and in no time they became roads. It was said that all roads in this area led to Craig’s mills - and they continued to do so for 150 years. Also among Craig’s accomplishments, in 1773, was construction of the bridge (now known as Craig’s Bridge) that spans the passage between Berry and Dexter Ponds on route 133 in Winthrop. At that time he lived 1-2 miles south of Readfield Corner. The agreement was that if the bridge survived the winter and spring freshet, he would be paid. The town of Winthrop voted to pay him the following July.
Craig and Robert Waugh – also an early settler of Readfield – took the loyalty oath in 1777. It seems that if there was any suspicion that someone had sentiments favorable to the British crown they could be charged with political treachery by the selectmen at town meeting. The person so accused was then immediately transported and all his property confiscated. The Loyalty Oath was taken by men hoping to ward off any such action. The oath essentially apologized for any “uneasiness to our neighbors or townspeople” by having at any time “declared friends to the King of Britain or talking against the cause of the United States.” They went on to ask for forgiveness, renounce the King of Britain and made the solemn promise to be good subjects of the United States of America. This oath was taken by Craig and Waugh on January 15, 1777.
On the 1790 US census Craig’s family shows one adult male and one adult female. His children were already grown by this time and had families of their own. They were:
1. Eleanor m.1776 John Hankerson of Winthrop
2. Mary m. Benjamin Allen
3. Thomas b.1764 in Deighton, England. m1 Rebecca Brown m2 Rachel Huntoon
4. James b.c1766 m1 Catherine Goud m2 Deliverance Call
James and Anna’s third child, Thomas, was born in Deighton, North Yorkshire, England on September 27, 1764. In 1790 James Craig deeded part of lot #212 to his son Thomas. The deed reads "1/4 acre of land to build him a house thereon... likewise a barn & barnyard on said lot." Thomas married first to Rebecca Brown c1784, and second to Rachel Huntoon on January 10, 1791. Rachel was born in Canterbury, N.H. March 12, 1773. They had eleven children between the ages of 30 and 3years and Rachel was pregnant with the twelfth when Thomas Craig died in 1814 at age 50. Following his death wife Rachel married Samuel White on July 9, 1816 and they had twin daughters Betsey & Emeline S. b.8-17-1818. Samuel White already had 8 children by his first marriage. Their blended brood must have had quite the family picnics!
In 1818 Rachel and Samuel White, sold the Craig home & property to Rachel's fourth child and eldest son, John O. Craig. The deed reads "a certain piece or parcel of land situated in Readfield, including the land belonging to the farm which was owned and occupied by Thomas Craig late of said Readfield." John O. Craig, son of Thomas & Rachel, married Sally Turner, daughter of Capt. Christopher Turner an early Readfield settler. John O. Craig's gravestone in Readfield Corner cemetery refers to him as Colonel. He died 3-9-1881, and Sally died 8-17-1874. Their eleven children were born in Readfield and Gardiner. The eldest was Rozilla who married Edmund H. Frost.
For several years this home left the Craig family but on January 7, 1852 it was sold by Russell B. Norton to Rozilla Craig Frost and her husband Edmund. At that time their sons George and Charles were ten and three years of age. Eight years later Rozilla’s husband, Edmund died but she continued to live there until 1893. Thus the end of the Craig line at this home on Church Road, but I am certain the family would be pleased at the interest taken by its present day residents.
Some of you may remember an old house picture in
our last newsletter with a plea for help to identify its whereabouts? Thank
you to Rex Luce who tells us this house is located on route 17 in East
Readfield and is the present home of Ira Ellis.
Also, Father Scott Mower, who shared this photo with us, was found by a previously unknown cousin who discovered it on the internet with the rest of our RHS newsletter. Father Mower who expressed gratitude for our efforts, reports he has plans to visit Readfield soon and will also make sure the Ellis family receives their own copy of this historic home picture.
I think you are the chosen ones. My feelings are that in each family
there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their
bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that
somehow they know and approve. To you doing genealogy is not a cold gathering
of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. You
are the storyteller of your tribe. All tribes have one. You have been called,
as it were, by your genes. Those who have gone before cried out to you:
Tell our story. So, you do.
How many graves have you stood before now and cried? I’ll bet you have lost count. How many times have you told the ancestors “you have a wonderful family and you would be proud of us?” How many times have you walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for you? I’ll bet you cannot say.
It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who are you and why do you do the things you do. It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying I can't let this happen. The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it. It goes to pride in what your ancestors were able to accomplish. How they contributed to what you are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family. It goes to deep pride that they fought to make and keep us a Nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do.
With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are them and they are us. So, as a scribe called, you tell the story of our family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take their place in the long line of family storytellers.
That, is why you do our family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and put flesh on the bones. Thank you!
(c) 2001-2002 Dale Potter Clark All Rights Reserved