Readfield Historical Society Newsletter Spring 1998

Spring ~ Summer 1999

RHS Building Spruced Up

There has been lots of activity at the RHS building this spring as John Lord replaced and shingled the porch roof.  Shutters have been removed for painting, and windows are being gradually removed for badly needed repairs. The inside has received its annual spring-cleaning, and awaits summer guests. Special thanks to Readfield First Selectman, John Lord, for his ongoing support of the Readfield Historical Society!

Guests Welcome this Summer

We are scheduled to be open:
Saturday,  May 29th 10:30~2:00pm
Sunday May 30th:10:30~2:00pm
Friday, August 13th  11:00~1:00pm
        Local author, Wilma Irish, will be at RHS to sign and answer questions about her book, 1885 Diary of a Maine Farm Boy, which will be available for purchase. 230 year old Relief Savage Gordon will also be visiting RHS on August 13 to share her early memories of Readfield.
Saturday, August 14th  2:00~4:00pm
Sunday, August 15th  11:30~1:00pm
Other times by appointment throughout the
summer by calling 685-3812.

Over 200 Pictures Added to RHS Collection

Our thanks to Roland LaVallee of Winthrop who has recorded many local events with his photographs for nearly 50 years. He has recently donated the negatives of over 200 photographs to the RHS, and we plan to have a display of those which we have had developed, this summer.
Readfield pictures include the Grange, Rainbow Girls, Ladies Rifle Club, Lions Club, and school activities to name only a few.

Eastern Star Memorabilia

Readfield Eastern Star recently celebrated their 100th anniversary with a display of pictures and memorabilia at the Masonic Hall. Soon after, because of lack of member participation, the “Star” became inactive. As a result, members voted to give the photo album of their 100th anniversary, the gavel, and their alter cloth, made by several local ladies, to the RHS.
These will be displayed at the RHS building this summer in honor of the Readfield Eastern Star.

RHS Celebrates 15 years in 2000

Since this Society incorporated in 1985, our membership has grown to 50 paying members 16 of which are from out of state. Over 100 people receive our newsletter. On average, 6 people attend meetings, assist with upkeep and take turns serving as greeters when the building is open. Our 167-year-old, two story clapboard building requires maintenance. Should we not ask the question “are members really interested in keeping the society active?”

Acting Secretary Named

Thank you to Dale Marie Clark who has agreed to be acting secretary until the November election. Other officers include:
David Giroux: President & Acting Treasurer
Russ Walters: Vice President
Evelyn Potter: Historian & Curator

Readfield Heritage Days 1999

Enclosed is a copy of the 1999 Readfield Heritage Days schedule. Also, it is not too late to send in your recipe for this year’s cookbook. Deadline is August 1, 1999.
This year’s celebration is dedicated to the Readfield Fire Department, which will commemorate their 100th anniversary. The Heritage Days book will include a history of the Fire Department, profiles of past chiefs, and pictures. Also included will be some stories of old Kents Hill families.
There are still copies of the 1998 Readfield Heritage Days book and tee shirts available, and the 1999 editions will go on sale in August. Call the Readfield Town Office, (207) 685-4939 for more information or to place an order.

Wish List

1885 Diary of a Maine Farm Boy
by Wilma Boothby Irish

Family historians with Fayette, Maine ties will be interested in this new book.  The diary depicts all four seasons from January 1 to December 31,1885, giving a clear picture of the typical life of a rural Maine farm boy. Irish, a historical interpreter at Norlands Living History Center, has added many interesting insights and explanations of farmer Tuck’s journal entries.
Names that appear in the book include Hewett, Stevens, Fogg, Gile, Jones, French, Gould, Fellows, Parker, McKinnes, Wing, Smith, Palmer, Dexter, Watson, Granville, Wilkins, Tuttle, Warren, Day, Pierce, Richards, Foster, Chase, Drake, Russell, Jennings, Clough, Blaisdell, Underwood, and Strong.
Also included is the 1879 map of Fayette, Maine. A must for your local history book collection. Soft cover, 51 pages.  Limited copies are available at RHS for $10.00 each.

The Internet Connection

RHS Webmaster, Dale Marie Clark, recently heard from Fonda Lawson of Oregon. Fonda had been searching for information on his ancestor, Adeline Victoria Lane/Bean/Berry for years. Adeline, born in Kents Hill in 1839, had migrated west, leaving behind any trace of her family roots. Fonda happened to find our home page at the same time Dale was working on the Heritage Days book, and was actually sitting with the Lane Genealogy before her. She wasted no time finding Adeline’s name, parentage and more! Another Internet success story!

Readfield Corner in 1903


D.D. Merriman’s store was located at Readfield Corner. His ad in the 1903 Register says he was a dealer in Dry and Fancy Goods, Underwear and General Merchandise.  Other Readfield Corner storekeepers at that time included Leighton Bros., Folsom & Masterman, F.I Brown, and G.W. & M.W. Manter. J. Grant Henry was the blacksmith, C.H. Mallett the barber, and J.S. Milliken the physician and surgeon. L.O.Tebbetts, who later became mayor of Waterville, advertised his business as dealer in hats, caps, gent’s furnishings, gloves & mittens, suit cases, trunks, horse blankets, umbrellas, etc. Several of the ads in the 1903 Register boasted a “telephone connection.”


Ithiel Gordon 1790 Census 2-1-5-0-0


Readfield genealogist & historian, the late Mary Hock, used the term “old seed”  when referring to family progenitors. Lets talk, this time, about “old seed” Ithiel Gordon, who was a grandfather to Mary, and to many folks who live in the central Maine area.
Ithiel was born in 1735 in Raymond, NH, the son of Daniel & Susanna (Smith) Gordon. He married Mary Glidden on December 28, 1756 whose mother was Deborah Bean (another old central Maine family). By the time of our nation’s Revolution Ithial and Mary had born 11 or 12 children. He served in the French & Indian War and the War of Independence, then c1783 brought his family to East Readfield  where they settled on Lot#124. Future generations of his family resided on the homestead on the Belgrade Road (Route 135) until the last to live there, Nellie Gordon, died in 1975. Following her death the house was torn down, and the land was sold & subdivided into house lots. A picture of the old homestead can be found in RHS bicentennial calendar which is for sale at the society.
Ithial’s descendants helped settle Mt. Vernon, Vienna, Chesterville and other towns in central Maine.
Children of Ithial & Mary (Glidden) Gordon were:
Josiah b.1757; Ithiel b.1759; Mary b.1761; Susanna b.1763; Jonathan b.1766; Margaret b.1768; Abigail b.1770; Daniel b.1772; Luther b.c1776; Ruth b.?; Sarah b.1775; Possibly a son, Thomas b.?

Thaddeus Richardson

Three Richardson brothers helped settle Woburn, Mass. in 1640, having come to Charlestown c1637. A century and a half later, around 1800, Thaddeus, a blacksmith and great-grandson of Samuel Richardson, came to Readfield with his wife Mary (Sanborn) and family. Their six children had all been born in Limington, Maine between 1779 and c1798.
The first son, Thaddeus b.1779, married Sarah Blethen. Daniel, the second son who never married, drowned in 1806. Fourth son, Asa was given one half of his father’s homestead at the time of his marriage to Sarah Cottle in 1817, but later moved to Augusta. Fifth son, Stephen, died unmarried on the homestead in 1847. Youngest son Joseph is said to have been a Congregationalist minister.
In 1808 the third son, Ebenezer, married Relief Eaton a Readfield native. Ebenezer was a farmer and raised his family of seven children in Readfield. Two died young, four moved out of state, and the youngest, George Frost, farmed on the Sadie Dunn Road. His home is what we call the Jesse Welch house today. Some older Readfield residents remember there used to be an old blacksmith shop nearby. George Frost Richardson married Abby A. Jose of Readfield and their three children were Hattie b.1859, William M. b.1860 Georgie May b.1872.  Georgie married Louis S. Johnson of  Mt. Vernon. They carried on Ebenezer’s farm, and had one daughter, Mabel Johnson.
Louis Johnson was the son of Edwin and Amelia (McVane) Johnson. Their home, which was built by Theodore Marston before 1790, was located on the Fogg Road, just over the Readfield / Mt. Vernon town line. The Johnson house had been unoccupied for many years when it mysteriously burned earlier this spring (1999).

To learn more about early settlers in Readfield go to:

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(c) 1998 All Rights Reserved Dale Potter Clark