PART II, CHAPTER 8.
TAVERNS AND PUBLIC HALLS,
Without doubt, the first public house in this vicinity was established in the year 1740. On the twenty-ninth of October of that year, at a meeting of the Pejepscot proprietors, application having been previously made for encouragement on the part of the proprietors to some suitable person to erect a house for the entertainment of travellers on Brunswick Plain, at the place where the North Yarmouth and several other roads met, it was voted, "That a tract of Land be granted to such person as shall be approved of by the Committee of the proprietors, he giving security for the faithfull and seasonable performance thereof."1
This offer was undoubtedly accepted by some one, and there is reason to believe it was by Robert Spear, who kept a tavern a little west of the old meeting-house, between the years 1744 and 1760, perhaps later. This inn was also a garrison house, protected by a timber fortification, and soldiers were kept in it by the government, for the safety of travellers, as well as for the protection of the citizens. It was used as a public house after the Spanish or Fifth Indian War had terminated, in 1748. Town meetings were frequently held in this inn in cold weather, and here, on Sunday, the people were wont to congregate for lunch and grog.2
The next inn, in point of time, was the one kept, about 1750, by James Thompson.3 This was on the farm at New Meadows, where Bartlett Adams now lives. It was afterwards, it is said,4 kept by his son, Brigadier Thompson, until he removed to Topsham, about 1784.
It was certainly kept either by the Brigadier or some one of that family as late as 1780.5 About 1762, Samuel Coombs was licensed as an innholder.6
1. Pejepscot Records.
2. McKeen, MSS. Lecture, and elsewhere.
3. McKeen, MSS. Lecture. He was licensed in 1761 by the Court of General Sessions for Lincoln County.
4. Peter Jordan.
5. Low's Almanac, 1780.
6. Court Records, Portland.
In 17641 a man by the name of Ross kept a tavern, which tradition places near the site of the present dwelling of Mr. Rufus Jordan, on the Maquoit road, a short distance north of the Morse road. This inn was certainly kept as late as 1777.2
As early as 1767, Benjamin Stone kept a tavern in or near the fort, as is plainly shown by the following extract from the field-book of the company who made the survey of Bakerstown, now Minot, November, 1767. A part of the company, wishing to visit Brunswick, hired a boat, and on Wednesday, November 25, 1767, about "ten of the clock, started, and after rowing about three hours over a calm bay, covered with abundance of wild fowl (we) arrived at the head of Maquoit Bay at the house of Squire Woodside. . . . From Maquoit, we travelled three and a half miles to Brunswick Fort, which is founded on a rock, and built in an exact and regular manner, of stone and lime, in a four-square form, with two bastions on two of the corners, defended by two wooden towers or watch-boxes. This day fair weather. Here we lodged this night, and a pretty good house of entertainment is kept by Benjamin Stone."
From the foregoing, it would appear that Mr. Stone was at this time keeping a public house inside the fort, where tradition says there was a comfortable, two-story house, but it is possible, though not probable, that this tavern was outside, but near the fort, and that the allusion in the foregoing extract to "Brunswick Fort" referred to the settlement around it as much as to the fortification itself. Stone is known to have kept tavern near the Brunswick Falls as late as 1799.3
About 1776, later rather than earlier, a Mr. Curtis is said to have kept a tavern where Thomas Grouse now lives, near where the rail-road crosses the New Meadows River.4 This house was kept as an inn as late as 1791.
The house owned and occupied by the late Doctor John D. Lincoln, which was built in 1772, was kept by Captain John Dunlap as a public house a portion of the time between then and 1800.5
In 1796 or 1797, Talleyrand, the distinguished French priest and political character, visited this country. He landed at Castine, and on his way to Boston he passed through Brunswick, and spent the greater part of the day at this house.6
Where the post-office and engine-house now stand on Maine Street,
1. Nathaniel Ames's Almanac. 1764.
2. Farmers' Almanac, 1777.
3. Nathaniel Low's Almanac, 1799.
4. Peter Jordan. Low's Almanac,1791.
5. McKeen, in Brunswick Telegraph.
there was formerly a building which was for many years a tavern, and
was known, a part of the time, as WASHINGTON HALL. It was built by David Dunning about 1772, and was occupied by him for some years as a private residence. It was afterwards occupied by his son John, who kept a tavern there until 1807, when David Owen bought it and put on a large addition in front, using the old building as an L. Here Owen kept a tavern until about 1812, when Isaac O. Robertson took it and occupied it as an inn until 1815. The latter was succeeded, by Russell Stoddard, who remained about two years.
Ebenezer Nichols, who had been keeping tavern directly opposite ("Morton's"), then took it, and Stoddard moved to a building where the Tontine now stands. Nichols continued as landlord until his death, in 1824, and his widow carried on the business until 1827, when she moved back across the street to the building her husband had previously occupied. While she kept this inn it was called "Mrs. Nichols's Inn." William Hodgkins moved from the corner of Maine and Pleasant Streets into this Washington Hall building when Mrs. Nichols left it. Here he remained for a few years. After it was vacated by him it was occupied as a tenement house and for business purposes, till it was burned, in 1856.1
In 17992 a Mr. Chase kept a tavern which tradition places on the Captain William Woodside place, at Bunganock Landing.
The old tavern which stood in the northwest corner of the college yard, best known as MOORHEAD'S TAVERN, was built in 1802 by Ebenezer Nichols, but was not finished or occupied until early in 1803. Nichols was landlord of it until 1809. During this time it was the principal public and stage house in the town. Mr. Nichols was succeeded, in 1810, by Colonel T. S. Estabrook, who continued in it for some years. After Estabrook left it, a man by the name of Coffin took it, and kept it until 1818, when he sold out to Isaac Dow. The latter kept it until 1820, when he committed suicide. In September of this year it was offered for sale. It was occupied at that time by William Hodgkins. The advertisement stated that it had "six rooms on the lower floor, some large and well furnished; a spacious and con-venient hall, a good cellar and never-failing well. The appurtenances are a large, well-finished stable, with other out-buildings; a good garden of more than an acre."3
Whether the house was sold at this time is not known, but in 1825 Alexander Moorhead was the proprietor. About the year 1831,
1. Dean Swift, Samuel Dunning, and other old residents.
2. Low's Almanac, 1799.
3. Maine Intelligencer, 1820.
Moorhead retired from business, removed from town, and engaged in farming. He was succeeded by John L. Seavey, who kept the house for two or three years. The latter was succeeded by James Elliot, who was proprietor until 1839, at which time Mr. Moorhead returned to Brunswick and again assumed the management of this public house. Moorhead continued to keep it until 1842, when the building was purchased by the trustees of Bowdoin College. It was taken down in 1847 and rebuilt on Noble Street, and is now the residence of Mr. Joyce.1
A short distance west of Cook's Corner there stood for many years what was known as the PUMPKIN TAVERN, so called on account of its sign, which was a large ball about the size of a pumpkin, which it greatly resembled. It was a two-story house built by one Wadsworth previous to the war of 1812-14. Here he kept a public house until about 1836 or 1837. It was seldom patronized by travellers, and was in fact more a groggery than a tavern.
In the early part of this century "pumpkin taverns" were quite common, there being one in nearly every town, and they were all of about the same character,- the resort of the intemperate and depraved.
Soon after the war of 1812-14, Ebenezer Nichols, who had formerly kept the tavern on the hill, bought a one-story house, situated between what is now the residence of Doctor N. T. Palmer and that of the late L. T. Jackson, put a second story upon it, and fitted it up for a public house. Here he kept tavern for a few years, and then moved into the Washington Hall building.
About the year 1817, Russell Stoddard opened a public house, called STODDARD'S INN, in a large building which stood on the site of the present Tontine Hotel. It was built in 1803 for a store, and was occupied as such until Mr. Stoddard took it for a tavern. It was occupied by him until 1825, when it passed into the hands of John Barker and Charles M. Rogers. Barker soon sold out his interest, and Rogers assumed the sole management. The building was destroyed by fire in 1827. This house during its existence was the stage office and principal public house in Brunswick. It had a hall in which entertainments of various kinds were occasionally held. Stoddard had kept in the Washington Hall building for a year or two previous to opening this house.
1. McKeen, in Brunswick Telegraph; also Dean Swift, Samuel Dunning, Mrs. Lamb,
and other old citizens.
The dwelling-house on the corner of Maine and Pleasant Streets, now owned and occupied by Captain Alfred H. Merryman, was built by the Honorable Jacob Abbott for his residence, in 1807. At his death, in 1820, it passed into the hands of his son Jacob, who occupied it until 1823, when he removed to a house opposite the colleges, and this house passed into the hands of William Hodgkins, who fitted it up for a tavern, and occupied it as such from January, 1824, until some time in 1827. The house was known as Hodgkin's Inn, and a hall which was situated in the L of the building was known as HODGKINS'S HALL. In 1827, Hodgkins sold out to Charles M. Rogers, and moved into the Washington Hall building, which had just been vacated by Mrs. Nichols. Mr. Rogers had been burned out on the opposite side of the street, where he had been proprietor of the Stoddard House. He remained in his new quarters for about a year, when he moved to Topsham and opened the Lincoln House in November, 1828. He was succeeded in the charge of Hodgkins's Inn by John L. Seavey, who occupied it as the MAINE HOTEL until 1830. At this time it was repaired and refitted, and Major John Stinchfield took it and kept it until 1837, at which time he bought the house now occupied by Captain Isaac L. Skolfield, and fitted it up for a public house. Mr. James Mustard then became proprietor of the Maine Hotel. In 1840, Mr. Mustard died. The house was then kept for two years by Erastus Niles, and then for a single year by Joseph W. Sargent, when Mr. Niles again assumed the management and kept it until 1845.
James Mustard, son of the former landlord, took it in 1845 and continued until 1849, when Aaron Adams became the proprietor. While under the management of the latter, the house was known as the PEJEPSCOT HOUSE. In 1853 a Mr. Marston became proprietor, but he died within a year, and the house passed into the hands of J. R. W. Hoitt, and was known as the AMERICAN House. In 1856 it was kept as a boarding-house, called the BRUNSWICK. House, by Benjamin Libby. In 1860, John R. Daly occupied it as a boarding-house. He was succeeded, in 1861 by Timothy Bradley, and in 1862 by E. F. Anderson, who kept a public house for a short time.
In 1863, Captain Merryman purchased the house and fitted it up for his residence. The house and grounds were greatly improved and are now an ornament to the village.
The TONTINE HOTEL was built in the year 1828 by a corporation known as "The Brunswick Tontine Hotel Company." The incorporators were Roger Merrill, David Dunlap, Benjamin Weld,
Richard T. Dunlap, and John Owen, 2d. The Act of Incorporation limited the capital stock to "not less than $6,000 nor more than $15,000, in shares of one hundred dollars each. Among the original stockholders were Ebenezer Everett, Esquire, Doctor Isaac Lincoln, General A. B. Thompson, Colonel A. J. Stone, General J. C. Humphreys, L. T. Jackson, Caleb Cushing, R. P. Dunlap, David Shaw, George Skolfield,
THE TONTINE HOTEL.
James Otis, and others. The hotel was built during the summer and fall of 1828, by Anthony C. Raymond, and was opened to the public on New Year's day, 1829. The establishment cost nearly $7,000. On the evening of January 2, the landlord, Colonel Elijah P. Pike, gave a supper to about fifty citizens of Brunswick and Topsham.
The Androscoggin Free Press of January 14, 1829, in a paragraph describing the building, says:-
"It contains thirty apartments besides closets, store-rooms, etc.. and a hall which, for elegance and spaciousness, is not surpassed in the State."!
Colonel Pike continued landlord of the hotel until 1836, when Erastus Richards leased it for two or three years. He was succeeded in 1839, by _________ Holland and Jacob M. Berry. The next year Mr. Berry assumed the sole management of the hotel, and continued its landlord until 1850, when he went to California, leaving the management of the hotel in the hands of Mr. Leonard Townsend. Mr. Berry had been in California only a few months when he died. The contract with Mr. Townsend having been made for a year, he continued the management of the hotel until 1851, when the control of the property passed into the hands of Mr. James Berry, a brother of Jacob. Mr. Berry at once assumed the management of the hotel, and continued landlord until 1867, when he sold out to Mr. H. B. Pinkham,
who conducted the hotel until 1875. He was succeeded by Mr. S. B. Harmon, and the latter was in 1877 succeeded by Mr. Brewster, the present landlord. From the building of the hotel till the completion of the railroad, this hotel was the stage office and the principal public house in town.
STINCHFIELD House.- The house now owned and occupied as a residence by Captain Isaac L. Skolfield, on the corner of Maine and School Streets, was in 1837 purchased of the heirs of Honorable Benjamin Orr, by Major John Stinchfield, and fitted up for a public house. Major Stinchfield kept a tavern there until his death, in September, 1844. His family continued the business for a short time longer, after which the building was occupied by Mr. G. C. Swallow, who kept school in it. From the opening of this public house, in 1837, until the Moorhead tavern was sold, in 1842, there were four public houses in the village, viz., the TONTINE, the MAINE HOTEL, STINCHFIELD'S, and MOORHEAD's.
An inn called GATCHELL's TAVERN was kept near Gatchell's Mills, in the southeastern part of the town, from 1837 to 1850, or thereabouts. It was kept at first by Joseph and Francis Gatchell, and after 1840 by Francis Gatchell alone. It was a famous place for "sprees, " and was the resort of students and others bent upon having "good time."
William P. Storer kept a public house for three or four years from 1837, in the western part of the town, near the Durham line, at what was then known as Storer's Corner.
In 1838, Paul R. Cleaves opened a public house west of "Powder-House Hill," just beyond the corner of Mill and Pleasant Streets. He remained only a year or two, not receiving sufficient patronage to warrant his continuing the business in that location.
About the year 1815, Benjamin Peterson kept a tavern on the Bath road, about a mile beyond Cook's Corner, which was known as the HALF-WAY HOUSE. In 1835 he bought a farm in the town of Jefferson, sold this tavern; and moved away. Probably Thomas Wheeler bought it at this time, as he kept a tavern at this place for some years prior to 1845, which always went, with the college students, by the name of OLD WHEELER'S. It was a large one-story building. Like most of the public houses out of the village, it was a noted resort for carousals.
In 1870, John T. Smith purchased the residence of the late General Richard T. Dunlap, and converted it into a public house, called the BOWDOIN HOTEL.
In 1868 the building owned by Mr. Jotham Varney on Maine Street, opposite the mall, was converted into a public house, and has been occupied as such by different parties until the present time. It is now called the BRUNSWICK HOUSE.
The foregoing comprise all the public houses known to have been kept, at any period, in Brunswick.
The earliest public hall to which we have found any reference was the one in the tavern which stood where the post-office and engine-house are now. At first the hall was known by the name of its proprietor, as OWEN'S HALL in 1807, ROBERTSON'S HALL in 1812. It received the name of WASHINGTON HALL about the year 1815. It was for many years the only hall in which public entertainments were given. In this hall, also, private schools were taught at different times.
STONE'S HALL, on the corner of Maine and Mill Streets, was, in 1812 and subsequently, used for religious meetings and for other purposes not requiring a larger hall.
MASONIC HALL, on Mason Street, now the engine-house and hall of "Niagara, No. 3," was built in the year 1817, and besides being used for masonic purposes, the building has been used at different times for private schools, and, if we mistake not, for public lectures.
STODDARD'S HALL was in the tavern kept by Russell Stoddard in a building which occupied the site of the present Tontine Hotel, and which was destroyed by fire in 1827. Frequent allusions have been found to this hall, and it was probably large and comfortable, and adapted to the requirements of the town at that time.
While Hodgkins kept an inn in the house, now the residence of Captain Alfred Merryman, there was a hall in the L which was known as HODGKINS HALL. In this hall religious and political meetings were sometimes held, and it was also used as a school-room, and for public entertainments.
The TONTINE HALL was, for many years subsequent to its erection in 1828, the principal hall in Brunswick for all sorts of public gatherings, and it has always been a favorite place for balls and assemblies.
HUMPHREY'S HALL was over the store now occupied by Mr. Balcom as a hardware store, and in 1841, and thereabouts, was used for dances and for public meetings, not requiring a large hall.
ODD FELLOWS HALL was, from 1844 to 1849, over the store of John S. Cushing, where Lemont Block is now. The building was burned in 1849, and the Odd Fellows then went into a room over the store of A. T. Campbell, on the corner of Maine and Lincoln Streets.
McLELLAN'S HALL was opened as a public hall about the year 1851, and from that time until the erection of Lemont Hall, in 1870, it was used almost exclusively for public meetings of all kinds and for public entertainments.
LEMONT HALL has been, since its erection, the best hall in town. It is a neat and comfortable room, with a seating capacity of about eight hundred. It is not adapted to all classes of entertainments, but for lectures, concerts, fairs, etc., it is far superior to any of its predecessors.
There is some doubt in regard to who kept the first house of entertainment in Topsham. Adam Hunter, who came to town in 1718, and who died about the year 1779, is said to have kept the first, though not a licensed one. On the other hand, the statement is made by the very same authority1 that Colonel Samuel Winchell, who settled on the Cathance in 1750, "kept the first public house, not a tavern, as is usual now, but his house was deemed the first in town, and for his house strangers used to inquire."
Next to this house, in order of time, was the one kept by David Reed, five miles below the Falls on the lower road to Bowdoinham, near the line. He was licensed May 26, 1761, as an innholder, in the six following years as a retailer, and again as an innholder in 1772, 1873, and 1874.2 (Probably typographic errors on the dates in the original)
In 1762, Samuel Wilson was licensed as an innholder, and for each successive year, down to September, 1766, when his last license was granted.3 John Reed kept an inn, probably this one, in 1768. This last year, William Wilson is mentioned in the Pejepscot Papers as an innholder in Topsham. He was licensed in 1761, and an Isabella Wilson in 1767.4 The precise locality of the two inns kept by the Wilsons is not known, but they were doubtless within the limits of what now constitutes the village of Topsham. The reason for this supposition is, that Samuel and William Wilson owned lots in 1768 opposite the fort,5 and in 1773 there was a tavern kept at Topsham Ferry by a Mr. Wilson.6
About 1770, Mr. John Hunter kept a tavern about two miles from the village, on the road to Bowdoinham. Nothing definite is known as to the length of time Mr. Hunter kept an inn, but it was probably
1. Woodman's, Journal.
2. Pejepscot Papers.
4. Lincoln County Court Records.
5. Plan of Topsham in 1768.
6. Low's Almanac, 1773.
for five or six years. He was town clerk from 1773 to 1775. He died when thirty-two years of age. In 1777 a town meeting was held at "Widow Hunter's." From these facts it is probable that Mr. Hunter died in 1775 or 1776, and he had probably kept tavern for some years previous to that time. Mrs. Hunter carried on the business for some years, until she married Mr. Alexander Rogers. It used to be the custom for parties of five or six to ride from the village to this inn, and for the last one who arrived to pay for the "treat." Town meetings were occasionally held at this house, when the severity of the cold made the meeting-house too uncomfortable. It was at this house that an old negro, who lived, in the vicinity, known as "Bill Fortin," attacked the mistress with warm words of invective, because some one had told him, in sport, that she had said that they had never any black sheep in their flocks until he sheared them.
While Mrs. Hunter carried on this house, an old soldier named Pike (pronounced Peek), returning from the war in tattered clothes and with his faithful musket upon his shoulder, begged of her to allow him to remain and work upon her farm. She consented and gave him plenty to eat and a new suit of clothes; whereupon he remarked that he would stay as long as he lived. In after years he remarked in still stronger terms, that he would remain with her "as long as a single shingle remained on the roof." The old house still stands in its oaken strength, while Pike, a faithful servant, has long since mouldered in the dust. After Widow Hunter's marriage, the house ceased to be a tavern. Mr. Rogers, however, in 1803 and for some years after his marriage to Mrs. Hunter, kept an inn at his own house, and it was the resort for lunch and grog on Sunday noons of all who attended meeting in the old east meeting-house. Here, too, the militia collected on training days, and here the procession was formed when Washington's death was observed, in 1800. The house descended from Mr. Rogers to his son, Honorable George Rogers, and from him to the late George A. Rogers, Esquire, in whose family it now remains.
In 1773, John Merrill was licensed as an innholder. For how long a time he kept a public house is not known.
In 1774, James Purington, and in 1779, John Whitney, kept tavern somewhere in Topsham. Samuel Tilton was licensed in 1778, and John Blanchard in 1791.
In 1792, Brigadier Samuel Thompson kept a public house in the building afterwards occupied by Harvey Thompson, now destroyed, near the entrance to the depot grounds. Hezekiah Wyman was licensed the same year.
From about 1800 to 1829, Francis Tucker kept a public house in the building which is still standing on Main Street nearly opposite the Bank building. This was for many years the principal public house in town.
The old Gideon Walker house, which stood a few rods south of the present Walker homestead, was used as a tavern for some years in the latter part of the last century, as early as 1792 and as lately as 1803.
About 1812 the SAGER HOUSE was kept by a Mr. Sager. It was situated on the northwest corner of Main and Winter Streets, where the Perkins Building is now. It was afterwards destroyed by fire.
From 1822 until about 1855, John Jack kept a tavern in what is known as the Jack neighborhood, near the little river line. During the early part of the time there was a great deal of travel, and the house was generally full. Lewiston was then a small village, and Topsham, Brunswick, and Bath were the markets for all of the interior towns.
From 1814 to 1829, Nathaniel Green was a licensed innholder in Topsham. Between the years 1831 and 1836 he kept a public house for the accommodation of persons attending court, in the building now used by the Franklin Family School. The next year, 1837, he went to Augusta, where he kept the Palmer House.
Prior to 1826 a public house was kept by Sullivan Haynes, and in 1826 by Prince Dinsmore, in a building which stood on the site of the late residence of Mr. Edwin M. Stone on Winter Street. In 1826 the house was burned. It was owned at that time by Captain Samuel Perkins. It must have been rebuilt at once, as in 1828, Charles M, Rogers, of Brunswick, took it and advertised it as the LINCOLN HOTEL, "a new and commodious house." From 1830 to 1834 this tavern was kept by James Mustard. In 1836 it was, kept by Suel and Alden Baker as the TEMPERANCE HOTEL. In 1837 it was kept by Jeremiah Clough. In 1838 and 1839 (and probably later), by Aaron Crowley. Afterwards, for a short time, by a Mr. Moulton. In 1844 by Joseph C. Snow, and in 1845 by A. W. Hewey, during which time it again went by the name of the Lincoln House. After this it was kept by Leeman Hebberd for a while.
In 1817, Thomas G. Sandford, Jonathan Baker, George F. Richardson, Daniel E. Tucker, and Samuel Veazie were all licensed as innholders.
In 1829, Daniel Dennett was a licensed innholder. His house was on the east side of Main Street, a little above the present post office. It was not much of an establishment.
About 1845, George Green had a tavern on the island, known as the WASHINGTONIAN HOUSE. It was afterwards called the ELM HOUSE.
Several of the above-named public houses had halls attached for dancing and other public purposes. Besides these there have, been at different times in Topsham the following public halls:-
In a building which stood on the site of the Godfrey House, on Green Street, there was a hall in which a dancing-school was kept in 1799. This house was purchased about 1804 by Reverend Jonathan Ellis. The hall had a swinging partition in it, the hinges of which were at the top. When this partition was opened it was fastened up to the ceiling by hooks and staples.1
The Court House was occasionally used as a public hall during the whole period of its existence. It was used for a public oration as early as 1804. At a later period it was occupied on Sundays by different religious organizations, and by the town for many years for its annual meetings. It was also occasionally used for travelling shows and other exhibitions.
At a later day the town house, situated opposite the village burying-ground, was the principal place for public entertainments.
Still later, the hall of the Sagadahoc Agricultural Society was, and now is, used for fairs, dances, etc., but it is too large for lectures or for any ordinary entertainments.
Perkins Hall and White's Hall, over stores on Main Street, have been used for meetings of one kind and another, not requiring larger accommodations. The engine hall has also been used for small gatherings. Topsham has never had a hall suitable, in all respects, for public entertainments, the halls referred to being either too large or too small, and not adapted for all occasions for which a hall is required.
About 1762, Richard Starbird and Timothy Bailey were licensed as innholders, in Harpswell.
A Mr. Eastman kept a sailor boarding-house on the east side of Condy's Point, Great Island, before and during the Revolution. The only public house on this island since that time is believed to be the UNION HOUSE, which was built in 1862 by David W. Simpson, and was conducted by him for one year. It not proving a success, he
1. Statement by Dr. Asher Ellis.
gave it up and went to sea. It was bought by Robert Watson, and in 1865 was changed to a church and parsonage, and part of the pews were sold. In 1866 or 1867, Watson bought back the pews, changed the church to a tavern again, and carried on the house for one year. In 1867, James Jewell, the present landlord, hired the house and opened it for company. In 1876, Moses Paul bought the house and had last summer considerable patronage.
On Orr's Island there has never been a tavern or public house of any kind.
In 1829, Elijah Walker was licensed as an innholder on Harpswell Neck.
The MANSION HOUSE was built by Alexander P. Wentworth, now of Brunswick, in 1835, and was occupied by him as a public house for a short time, and was then sold to John Colby, who was succeeded by others whose names have not been ascertained. Frederic W. Dearborn, of Topsham, was the last owner and landlord. The house was destroyed by fire in 1868. Mr. Charles Johnson was licensed as an innholder in 1837, but whether he had charge of this house does not appear.
MAILS AND POST-OFFICES.
At the time of the earlier settlements here, before the establishment of any post-office, letters were brought to the inhabitants by the coasters which plied between Maquoit and the larger towns, or by any chance traveller who might be journeying this way. For a time even after the establishment of a mail-route, letters were sent by coasters as a matter of convenience.
The first mail-route from Boston to the Kennebec was established a little while before the commencement of the Revolutionary war, when, for a short time, Luke Lambard carried the mail on horseback once a fortnight, leaving the letters for Brunswick and vicinity as he passed by.1 The mail was first carried between Portland and Bath, once a fortnight, by Richard Kimball, who went on foot and often carried the letters in his pocket. It was not until about 1800 that the mail was carried oftener than once a week.1 In 1803 there were three mails a week from Boston, which arrived in Brunswick on the third day. In 1804 it reached that place in the afternoon, and in 1805 in the morning of the second day from Boston.2
1. Maine Historical Collection, 2, p. 219.
2. McKeen, in Brunswick Telegraph, July 30, 1853.
Henry McIntyre drove the first four-horse stage from Portland to Brunswick about 1803. He was living, at the age of ninety-three, at New Sharon, Maine, on April 30, 1875.1
In 1802, T. S. Estabrook, of Brunswick (afterwards Colonel), began to carry the mail to Augusta, passing through Topsham and Litchfield. He carried it at first on horseback, leaving Brunswick every Monday. In 1806 he commenced running a passenger coach twice a week. It left Brunswick on Saturday and Tuesday at eleven o'clock A.M.., and arrived in Augusta on Sunday and Wednesday at ten A.M. Returning, it left Augusta at noon on Sunday, and at eight A.M.. on Thursday.2
The first daily mail is thought to have commenced in 18103. In 1824 "no mail from Brunswick could reach the towns on the Androscoggin River, except by way of Portland and Hallowell, and not all of said towns were reached in that way; consequently the publisher of the Baptist Herald found it necessary to establish at his own expense a weekly mail-route as far as Jay, about forty-five miles; passing up the west side of the river and down the east. The United States government, two years later, assumed the route and continued it until other facilities of transportation made it unnecessary."4
In 1836 a new mail-route was established between Brunswick and Turner, passing through Durham, Danville, Lewiston, and Minot. It left Brunswick at eight o'clock on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Another route was established at the same time to Lewiston, through Topsham and Lisbon. A route was also established this year between Brunswick and Harpswell. After the cars commenced to run on the Kennebec and Portland Railroad, there was a daily mail from each end of the road, and in 1864 two mails daily were received and sent.
The first post-office established in Brunswick was in 1793, and Deacon Andrew Dunning was the first postmaster. The office was kept until shortly before the death of Deacon Dunning in his dwelling on Maine Street, just north of what is now Noble Street. The estate remains in the Dunning family, but the present house is not the one in which the post-office was kept. Mr. Dean Swift distinctly remembers being sent to Deacon Dunning's for letters, when a boy, and he says that the deacon kept them in a desk in a corner of the room, and that it was customary for the citizens to look over the letters themselves,
1. Brunswick Telegraph.
2. North, History of Augusta, p. 333.
3. Farmers' Almanac, 1810.
4. Griffin, Press of Maine, p. 74.
and to select therefrom such as bore their address. Robert Dunning, who succeeded his father in 1801, kept the office on the northern corner of Maine and Dunlap Streets.1
In 1824 the office was kept on Mill Street, near the present residence of Mrs. A. J. Stone. In 1826 it was removed to the corner of Maine and Mason Streets, where Lorenzo Day's store now stands. The next year, the office was removed to a building south of the stage house, on the lot now occupied by James Berry, near the foot of the mall, where it remained until 1842, when it was removed to its present location. It was subsequently moved back to the Berry building, and in 1871 it was moved to its present location.
The income of the postmaster at this office during the year 1826 was one hundred and sixty dollars, and in 1845 was eight hundred and sixteen dollars and eighty-one cents. From these sums the post-master was required to pay for office rent, clerk hire, wood and lights. The mails in the latter year arrived at eleven P. M. and two A. M.
On July 14, 1803, Major Lemuel Swift was appointed post-master, in place of Robert Dunning. The appointment was probably made without the knowledge, or at least consent, of Mr. Swift, as he declined to accept it then, as he did also at other times.
The following is a correct list of all the postmasters of Brunswick and the date of their appointment. It is derived from the official records of the Post Office Department at Washington:-
Andrew Dunning, appointed March 20, 1793; Robert Dunning, appointed January 1, 1801; Henry Quinby, appointed January 1, 1804; Jonathan Stone, appointed May 20, 1807; Joseph McLellan, appointed September 15, 1823; Theodore S. McLellan, appointed December 29, 1840; Elijah P. Pike, appointed February 9, 1842; Theodore S. McLellan, appointed September 11, 1843; Joseph F. Dunning, appointed May 2, 1849; John McKeen, appointed September 28, 1850; Robert P. Dunlap, appointed May 13, 1853; Alfred J. Stone, appointed March 24, 1858; Benjamin G. Dennison, appointed April 8,1861; Albert G. Tenney, appointed August 24, 1866; George C. Crawford, appointed April 3, 1867.
The first post-office in Topsham was up stairs in a building which stood directly opposite the bank. Charles R. Porter, the postmaster, was a lawyer, and the mail was kept in his office. He had for an assistant, Oliver, son of Major Nathaniel Walker, who remained with
1. Pejepscot Papers.
him for two or three years, and was then succeeded by his brother, Wildes P. Walker, then a lad of ten or eleven years of age. The following is the list of postmasters in Topsham, derived from the same source as the preceding:-
Charles R. Porter, appointed February 6, 1821; Nathaniel Green, appointed July 13, 1826; Nathaniel Walker, appointed April 19, 1831; John H. Thompson, appointed August 12, 1841; Nathaniel Walker, appointed November 26, 1844; William Ricker, appointed July 19, 1845; Charles E. White, appointed February 9, 1849; John Tebbets, appointed April 11, 1849; Octavius A. Merrill, appointed May 3, 1853; Lewis M. Work, appointed September 22, 1853; Amos D. Wheeler, appointed February 29, 1856; Alexander Ridley, appointed October 6, 1856; Robert P. Whitney, appointed May 6, 1861.
The first post-office in Harpswell was established at the lower end of Harpswell Neck in 1842, about three miles from the old meeting-house, the mail being received at that time every Tuesday. The first postmaster was Washington Garcelon. Residents of Great Island and the upper part of the Neck continued to go to Brunswick for their letters for many years afterwards. There are several separate offices in the town of Harpswell, and the following is the official list of the postmasters in each.
The office in West Harpswell was established October 14, 1847. The postmasters were, Washington Garcelon, appointed October 14, 1847; Ebenezer Pinkham, appointed July 14, 1849; Alcot S. Merriman, appointed April 10, 1850. The office was discontinued May 27, 1854, but was re-established in September, 1862. David Webber, appointed September 11, 1862; Miss Helen M. Webber, appointed December 22, 1865; Miss Lydia F. Webber, appointed June 16, 1868; Miss Margaret M. Thomas, appointed February 28, 1871; Miss Eleanor Thomas, appointed June 15, 1872.
The office at North Harpswell was established February 25, 1864, and Charles Johnson was appointed postmaster on that day.
The office on Orr's Island was established May 13, 1868, and Samuel E. Smullen was appointed postmaster at that time.
Postage on a letter to Boston in 1833 was twelve and a half cents, eighteen and three fourths cents to New York, and twenty-five cents for any distance over five hundred miles.
In 1820 the rates were as follows:-
Single letters, for any distance not exceeding thirty miles, six cents; over thirty and not over eighty miles, ten cents; over eighty
and not over one hundred and fifty miles, twelve and a half cents; over one hundred and fifty and not over four hundred miles, eighteen and a half cents; over four hundred miles, twenty-five cents.
Double letters, or those composed of two pieces of paper, double the above rates.
Ship letters, not carried by mail, six cents.
The following account of the newspapers and press in Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell is mainly derived from a recent work by the late Joseph Griffin, entitled "The Press of Maine," with a few additions, which the character of his work led him to omit.
The first press in Brunswick was set up early in December, 1819, by Joseph Griffin, who graduated at the printing-office of Messrs. Flagg & Gould, in Andover, Massachusetts. His office was, at first, on the east side of Maine Street, facing Pleasant Street. In 1821 he removed to the building opposite the north end of the mall, and which he occupied until his death, in 1875.
For twenty-nine years Mr. Griffin printed, annually, one edition of the Catalogue of Bowdoin College, and for twenty years he printed two editions each year. He also printed sixteen editions (1,600 copies each) of the College Triennial Catalogue.
The first work approximating to a newspaper, or rather to a periodical, which emanated from his press, was in pamphlet form. It was issued in June, 1820. The third number had the following title-page:-
"The Management of the Tongue and Moral Observer. No. III. Price per annum, $1.50. Published & Printed by Joseph Griffin. Issued on the second Tuesday of each Month.
"CONTENTS. - Part 1. The Boaster, consisting of Two Maxims and Reflections. Part 2. The Ill Tongue, consisting of Three Maxims and Reflections. Part 3. Moral Observer, No. III. Melissa; a tale. Observation upon the Passions, addressed to the ladies. Poetry: Mathon's Return. The Season. Communication, suggesting a Legal Act in favor of 'Sitters' or Loafers. An Anecdote."
On the last page was an advertisement of Griffin & Hazelton's bookstore. Only three numbers were printed.
It was followed by the first newspaper that was printed in Brunswick. This was the Maine Intelligencer, a demiquarto of eight pages, published by Joseph Griffin, and edited by John M. O'Brien, Esquire, who graduated at Bowdoin College in the class of 1806.
The publication of this paper was commenced in September, 1820, and was given up at the end of six months, not proving remunerative to the publisher.
The Maine Baptist Herald.-The first number of this paper was printed by Mr. Griffin, July 17, 1824. It was a demifolio. It was edited for about six months by Benjamin Titcomb, Jr., a graduate of Bowdoin College, 1806, and son of the first printer in Maine. After the time named the Herald was under the sole management of the publisher. At the commencement of the second volume it was enlarged to a royal folio size, and continued weekly for six years. During the last two years of its existence it was called the Eastern Galaxy and Herald, the name having been changed in consequence of a larger part of its columns being subsequently devoted to secular interests. In the latter years of this publication the subscribers numbered over eleven hundred, - a larger circulation than can be claimed for any other of the many papers subsequently commenced in Brunswick.
The Herald was the first paper coinciding fully with the faith and practices of the primitive Baptists ever published in the United States. It was also one of the earliest papers in New England to take a stand against the inroads of intemperance, by exposing the causes leading thereto. In 1826 appears in the Herald the first complaint and argument against indiscriminate licenses for the sale of alcoholic liquors.
Androscoggin Free Press.-This paper was a royal folio, twenty-six by twenty. It was edited and published by Moore & Wells, assisted by Charles Packard, Esquire. It was commenced in 1827 and continued about two years. In politics it was the exponent of the principles of the Whig party.
The Escritoir was a semi-monthly magazine of thirty-two pages, octavo, published in 1826-27 by a club of students, of which John Hodgdon was chairman. It was printed by Joseph Griffin.
The Northern Iris, a monthly of thirty-two pages, went forth from the Bowdoin press for six months, in 1829. The editor and publisher was Sumner Lincoln Fairfield, a gentleman from the South. It was edited with ability, but depending on unsolicited patronage it was not remunerative. Mr. Fairfield had considerable reputation as a poet. He died while young.
In 1830 the Brunswick Journal made its appearance. It was a royal folio sheet, published by William Noyes, now one of the editors and publishers of the Saco Independent. Associated with him a part of the time was Henry W. Fairfield, now the printer of the
New England Farmer, Boston. The Journal was a Whig paper, supporting J. G. Hunton for governor of Maine, and Henry Clay for President of the United States. Charles Packard, Esquire, then attorney at law, edited it for a short time, after which Francis D. and John S. Cushing were the principal writers. It was a well-conducted paper, but it was published for only a year and three months.
The Juvenile Key, commenced in 1831, was a children's paper, nine by seven, in neatly printed newspaper form, published weekly for two years. A considerable portion of the type-work of this paper was done by two children of Joseph Griffin who, at the commencement, were only nine and seven years of age, respectively. Their names appeared as publishers. The first, a daughter, is now the wife of a clergyman in New Hampshire; the second, a son, Joseph Warren Griffin, was lost at sea in February, 1849, on his passage to California.
After the suspension of the Brunswick Journal, the Key was enlarged to a twelve by nine size, four pages, to make it more completely a family paper and give room for advertising. From this time it was called the Family Pioneer and Juvenile Key, and was published with good success for four years. It was the endeavor of the editor of the Family Pioneer and Juvenile Key to operate upon the public mind, especially that of the young, by the publication of interesting narratives, setting forth in a clear light, not only the evils of an intemperate use of intoxicating drinks, but the dangers of temperate drinking. The abolition of negro slavery, and of the death penalty for crime, were strongly advocated in the columns of the Pioneer and Key.
The Eastern Baptist was commenced in November, 1837, by Thomas W. Newman, and was continued about a year and a half, when it was discontinued, and the list of subscribers transferred to the Zion's Advocate, in Portland. The paper was started and edited by an association of Baptist ministers. These were, in 1838, David Nutter, Edwin R. Warren, A. J. W. Stevens, and Luther C. Stevens.1
Mr. Newman also published at this time, at No. 2 Forsaith's Block, the Advocate of Freedom. This was a semi-monthly sheet, published under the direction of the Executive Committee of the Maine Anti-slavery Society, and issued at fifty cents per annum. The prospectus stated, "It will explain and defend the principles held by the society and the measures approved by it. It will be a vehicle of the anti-slavery intelligence of the day, and a repository of facts and
1. This account is not given in the Press of Maine. It was furnished us by Mr. Newman.
arguments on the subject of slavery and the measures for its speedy and peaceful removal." The editorial work was done principally by Professor William Smyth. The paper was devoted exclusively to the antislavery cause. There were no local items or advertisements in it. Number 1, Volume I, was printed March 8, 1838. Number 25, the last printed here, was printed February 21, 1839. The size of the paper was twenty by twenty-five. The publication of this paper was continued at Augusta as a weekly paper.
TheRegulator, a royal folio, Democratic paper, was published for two years, 1837 and 1838, by Theodore S. McLellan. I. A. Beard was the editor.
The Brunswicker, a neutral paper, was printed and published for one year, 1842, by T. S. McLellan. John Dunlap, B. A., was the editor. It was succeeded by a paper called The Yagerhamer, of which, however, but two or three numbers were issued.
The Forester was printed in 1845 by Noyes & Stanwood. Its editor was H. A. Stanwood. Only one volume of this paper was published.
The Pejepscot Journal, a weekly sheet, was published at Brunswick in 1846, one year; edited by G. C. Swallow, now Professor of Geology and Agriculture in Missouri.
The Juvenile Watchman was edited and published in 1854 by Howard Owen, who is now one of the enterprising publishers of the Kennebec Journal. It was a small sheet, eleven by sixteen. It was issued on the first and third Monday of each month at the office of the Brunswick Telegraph. It was devoted principally to the cause of temperance, especially among the young. It was discontinued at the expiration of six months.
The Musical Journal was published monthly in 1855 by George W. Chase, editor and proprietor. It had but a short existence.
The Brunswick Telegraph was commenced in 1853 by Waldron & Moore, as publishers, and Wm. G. Barrows, Esquire, as editor. It was afterwards issued by Waldron. & Fowler, then by Fowler & Chase.
The publishers in 1856 transferred their interest to Geo. W. Chase, who published it as editor and proprietor about one year, when Howard Owen, now of the Kennebec Journal, was admitted as a partner, and took charge of the agricultural department. After being connected with the establishment about five months, Mr. Owen became dissatisfed with his unremunerated labors and sold his interest to Mr. Chase. Early in 1857 Mr. Chase abandoned the Telegraph and went to Bath, where he published the Masonic Journal and taught music.
Mr. A. G. Tenney, a graduate of Bowdoin College, class of 1835,
purchased the Telegraph establishment in 1857, reissued the paper, and has since continued to edit and publish it weekly. Of Mr. Tenney's fitness for the position of editor, the Press of Maine1 well says, "To a liberal education and a mind capable of close reasoning and of arriving at logical conclusions, he adds unwearied industry and constant application." Under Mr. Tenney's management, the paper has been particularly valuable for the energy and fidelity which the editor has displayed in his efforts to make it a good local paper, and in this respect it has no superior in the State.
The only paper ever published in Topsham was a Second Adventist paper, which was printed about the year 1844, in a chamber over John Larrabee's workshop on Elm Street. No copy of the paper has been found, and its name is forgotten. The enterprise was abandoned at the expiration of a few months.
In Harpswell there has been but one paper published. It was the Harpswell Banner. The first number was issued in May, 1832. It was published weekly, for six months, by Josiah S. Swift and Jonathan R. Snow. Jesse Snow, 2d, was the agent. It was printed on a sheet six by ten, and the price was four cents for six numbers. In August, J. S. Swift became the sole proprietor and editor. In September, the paper was enlarged to a sheet seven by thirteen, and the next week eight and one half to thirteen and one half, and the title was changed to that of the Literary Banner, terms thirty-two cents per annum; semi-monthly. The last number, however, was issued October 24 of this year. One number contained an advertisement by the editor that he would draw "with accuracy, for one shilling, views of country seats, buildings, etc.; also land and marine views." This paper was printed at the editor's home on Sebascodigan Island. Swift, then a lad, now a clergyman, residing in Farmington, "procured a small font of worn-out type, which bad been thrown into pi in the office of the Bath Maine Inquirer. This he sorted out, laid in a case of his own construction, and having made a wooden chase, some tin rules, and cut a head on a block of wood, he printed a seven by nine weekly paper on an old cheese-press. He received the patronage and encouragement of many of the literati, of Bath and Brunswick. The late John McKeen became a regular correspondent."2 The boy finally abandoned the enterprise to enter the office of the Bath Inquirer, where he remained for some years, and finally became the proprietor of that paper.
1. Page 171
2. Griffin, Press of Maine. P. 197