Monday, November 24, 2014

The Other Plymouth Colony,

Pemaquid, Maine

Did you know that there is a Colonial historic site in Maine that existed at the same time as the Plymouth Colony? It is known as Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1993. Of all the times I’ve taken a day trip down to Pemaquid Point to watch the water boom up over the ledges, never did I know such a site existed. Now that I’ve discovered it, I plan to visit when I’m home.
The archeological site includes 17 contributing sites, 2 non-contributing buildings and 1 non-contributing site. It also includes excavations of 17th and 18th century village buildings, a museum with artifacts found on the site, including musket balls, coins, and pottery; and Fort William Henry, a 20th century reconstruction of the late 17th century fort.

I could tell you the story of this colony in Maine, but there is a site online that does it so much better. Please look at the slide show and other video of the whole development at:

I will tell you that Captain John Smith visited this area before he was ever at the Plymouth Colony.
The area was long an area of strife, notably the two wars called King Phillip’s War and King William’s War. King Phillip’s War, in 1676 involved the attack and burning of English settlements all up the coast, including Pemaquid, by native Indians. These raids resulted in a wooden defense called Fort Charles being built.
King William’s War, including the Siege of Pemaquid, of 1689, was the first of four French and Indian Wars. During this war, Fort Charles was destroyed by the French from Castine, Maine. Inhabitants were killed or taken prisoner.
During the American Revolution, Fort William Henry was dismantled to prevent it from coming into the hands of the British and becoming a stronghold against Pemaquid inhabitants. Here is a post card picture of the rebuilt tower of the fort which was rededicated, I believe at the same time as the Old Fort House on July 22, 1909. Here are pictures of both of those dedications. The photographer is unknown but they both come from postcards by Hugh C. Leighton.
Wikipedia has a wonderful history of these wars which is a good read if you are interested.
Here are more pictures from the site:

Pemaquid Fort Rock…photographer unknown, from a post card
 by Hugh C. Leighton

 Look familiar? Maine’s own “Plymouth Rock?”

Here’s a picture of the Archaelogical site.

More pictures from this National Historical Site:
Leighton Post Card…the Old Fort House at its dedication July 22, 1909

Leighton Post Card…Fort William Henry


What about the Vikings?
There is no definite true account of the existence of Vikings who came long before this Colonial Village was established in 1607. Some say they came to fish…the same reason the Colonials came.
A story in the Sun Journal in Lewiston for August 14, 1967 called “Viking Voyage to Maine and Viking Village near Pemaquid Proposed,” by Eugene C. Peterson, news director of radio station WDEA, asked Maine’s Governor Curtis to recreate the possible ocean crossing of the Vikings in the time of North American pre-history. He also proposed the building of a Viking village near Pemaquid. Both proposals were to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of Maine’s statehood.
Nothing came of the proposal, however, there are several businesses in Pemaquid who use “Viking” in their name.
Evidence of Vikings
Some possible evidence exists that there were indeed Vikings about in the New England area in pre-Colonial times. First of all a sixth of the U.S. population is Scandinavian. All you need do is open a phone book for the coastal area of Maine to see that is a true statement.
Runes have also been found in several places in Massachusetts.  A Rune is any of the characters in the alphabets that were used in ancient times by people of Northern Europe. Such inscriptions have been found along the shores in several places in Massachusetts and also in Popham Beach, Maine.
Here’s an example of a rune. Many of they have been found on rocks. Can you translate this one for me?
Here’s a recent picture of Pemaquid ledges with the lighthouse. Can you imagine those Vikings in an open long boat trying to navigate the treacherous waters off these cliffs?
The existence of Vikings in Maine continues to be investigated. The fact is that Maine not only has a Colonial history, but a possible Viking history too.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone and thanks for listening.

Monday, November 17, 2014


What are you thankful for?

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? It’s a tradition that we all stop and reflect upon what blessings we have, what we love, what we cherish during this Thanksgiving season. The pilgrims gave thanks by sharing a meal with the native Indians on that first Thanksgiving. Do you all individually tell the rest of the people at your Thanksgiving table one thing you are thankful for?
My list of thanks is long. First of all is family. I was so fortunate to have the family I had growing up. We filled the places around my Mother’s dining room table and listened to my grandfather, Herman Winchenbaugh, give the blessing before we ate. He was a lay minister back in my mother’s growing up time and he knew how to orate in his loud voice how much we were all thankful for the dinner before us. I can imagine now my mother’s thoughts as we bowed our heads, “Please make it short, Father, before this food gets cold.”
My family was always behind me in anything I set out to do or accomplish in my life. Even though my mother and father are now gone, the values they instilled in their children sustain us even today. We are there to help each other out if need be. My brother, Ted, carries on as the patriarch of the family, stepping into my Dad’s shoes very well. Thanks everyone. I love you all.
I’m also thankful for all the dear friends I had growing up and especially those I got to know and love during my high school years. As I sit here holding back my tears, we are burying one of the best of those classmates today, Joan Knowlton LaFrance, whose obituary I posted yesterday. Many of our 1959 classmates who live in the area are there right now as the funeral was set for 11:00 am today, the exact time it is right now as I’m writing this. One of our classmates was kind enough to print out my obituary to give to one of Joan’s sisters at the funeral. Rest in peace, dear Joan. You will be missed by all of us.
It seems as though we are losing a lot of classmates in the last couple years or so including Shearer Hooper, Darold Poulin, and George Rundlett. We also lost our dear principal’s wife, Norma Boothby. We all still have fond memories of all of them.
The mentors I’ve had in my educational and professional life I also think of fondly. So many professors and one workshop teacher in particular, Ruby Zagoren Silverstein, come to mind. Even though I came to my true calling later in life, that of writing, I have no regrets. I know they would all be proud of me.
The years at three teachers’ colleges, now all part of the University of Maine; and at Fairfield University; workshops at the University of Connecticut; and classes at the University of Hartford in Connecticut; were not wasted. I learned how to hone my craft and even how to go forward in the promotional end of things. I thank all of these mentors for enriching my life. Just being in an educational environment was one of the most invigorating phases of my life. I continue to learn as much as I can even today.
I leave you with one of my favorite Psalms and a Thanksgiving prayer.
Psalm 100

"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." (KJV)
A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
Lord, so often times, as any other day
When we sit down to our meal and pray

We hurry along and make fast the blessing
Thanks, amen. Now please pass the dressing

We're slaves to the olfactory overload
We must rush our prayer before the food gets cold

But Lord, I'd like to take a few minutes more
To really give thanks to what I'm thankful for

For my family, my health, a nice soft bed
My friends, my freedom, a roof over my head

I'm thankful right now to be surrounded by those
Whose lives touch me more than they'll ever possibly know

Thankful Lord, that You've blessed me beyond measure
Thankful that in my heart lives life's greatest treasure

That You, dear Jesus, reside in that place
And I'm ever so grateful for Your unending grace

So please, heavenly Father, bless this food
You've provided
And bless each and every person invited

--Scott Wesemann
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and thanks for listening.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hey, Joan, Come Bomb the Rotary with us!

We lost one of our regular DeSoto passengers this past week. Joan LaFrance, nee Knowlton, of the Ingraham Hill Knowltons, left this world and left a big void behind.
These pictures encompass some of my most favorite memories of Joan. I spent many happy hours with she and her sisters down in Owls Head and Joan and I shared many happy times at Rockland High School on Lincoln Street in the Class of 1959.
I remember playing basketball with her; of traveling with her and the class to Washington D.C. for our senior class trip and she trying to pack her petticoats in her suitcase to come home again.
Most of all, I remember her laugh and the good times we had with Sandra Sleeper, Violet Carr, and Pat Graves, as we bombed the rotary of a Friday night looking for boys to chase. When I return home I think I’ll gather the gang and make one last lap of the rotary in her memory.

This is Joan’s 1959 Rockland High School Yearbook picture, (the Cauldron). Above her picture it says: “Jo…always good words, never bad. Always happy, never sad.”

This is our high school basketball picture. Joan is in the back row, third from the right.
This is one of my favorite pictures of Joan and the gang.  Here we sit in my mother’s living room on Fulton Street in our graduation dresses. I think Mama had a party for us after the ceremonies. Joan is in the front row on the left with Priscilla (Andy) Smith next to her. On the couch left to right are: Violet Carr, Pat Graves, me, Dottie Childs, and Sandra Sleeper. I’m using maiden names here.
This is her obit as found online at Village Soup:
Warren--Joan Knowlton LaFrance, 73, died Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, at Miles Medical Center in Damariscotta, following an extended illness.
Born in Owls Head Sept. 5, 1941, she was the daughter of David O. and Margaret Everett Knowlton. She attended the Ingraham Hill School in Owls Head and was a 1959 graduate of Rockland High School. While in high school, she enjoyed playing basketball and was very good at it. Throughout her life she was an accomplished seamstress, sewing many of her family’s clothes. She loved the ocean and swimming and enjoyed entertaining at her pool in Cushing. Ice skating was one of her favorites, along with listening to music and collecting Disney movies. She had recently taken a trip with her family to Walt Disney World.
While working at the former F.W. Woolworth & Co. in Rockland, Joan met Wilmer ‘Kit’ LaFrance, beginning a romance that would last a lifetime. The couple was married Oct. 28, 1962.
In pursuit of her husband’s employment as a sales manager, they lived in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Returning to Owls Head, they made their first home on Knowlton Avenue, where they raised their family. In 1988, they moved to Cushing, where they built their dream home on Lovers Lane.
For many years, Joan worked side by side with her husband. They owned and operated Waldoboro Five & Ten, the Remnant Rug Rack in Rockland and Kit’s Carpets in Cushing. In recent years, she resided in Jefferson and for the past 18 months, lived with her daughter and son-in-law, Loretta and Randy Hooper.
Joan was a devoted mother and grandmother, who, more than anything, enjoyed spending time with her family. This included many happy hours at the LaFrance family cottage on Crawford Pond.
She enjoyed knitting and loved to travel and go on cruises. She had a special place in her heart for her dogs, Tasha and Haley. Her family remembered her wonderful cooking and said they particularly enjoyed her mac and cheese and sheet cakes. Holidays and Christmas were special times for Joan and she enjoyed decorating her home for each holiday.
Joan was looking forward with excitement to the birth of her 11th grandchild, due in May.
Other than her parents, Joan was predeceased by her husband, Kit, in 2005; her son Christopher M. La France in 2014; a brother, David O. Knowlton, II; and three sisters, Marion Robbins, Barbara Deabler and Linda Stanley.
She is survived by a son, Scott J. LaFrance, and his wife, Shanon, of Cushing; four daughters, Loretta S. Hooper and her husband, Randall, of Warren, Liz L. Warren and her companion, Steve Chase, of Rockport, Jennifer M. LaFrance and her companion, Mark Eugley, of Damariscotta, and Amy E. Tarbox and her husband, Matt, of Falmouth; 10 grandchildren, Sammantha, Krista, Jared, Allison, Brady, Evan, Cadence, Meggan, Tyler and Bentley; a great-grandchild, MacKenzie; three sisters and their husbands, Betty and Oliver Curtis of Owls Head, Judith and William McCoy of Belmont, N.H., Brenda and Greg Kaler of South Thomaston; as well as many nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Joan’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 17, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Multiple System Atrophy Coalition, 9935-D Rea Road, No. 212, Charlotte, NC 28277, or the American Heart Association, 51 US Route One, Suite M, Scarborough, ME 04074.
To share a memory or condolence with Joan’s family, visit her Book of Memories at

Monday, November 10, 2014

The First Thanksgiving, 1621,
oil on canvas by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1899.
From Google.

We Remember November

November just seems to whiz by us as we anticipate the big holiday for many of us, Christmas, which comes too soon after Thanksgiving in November. There are four dates I always remember in this month: Veteran’s Day on November 11; Thanksgiving on the third Thursday; Nov. 22, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; and the first Tuesday in the month, when we vote.
Throughout history we have seen many events occur in November. The following I found on a site called Please visit there if you want to peruse the complete list. I have divided this piece into “Politics,” “Historical Events,” “In the News,” and “Notable Birthdays.” Of course there will be crossovers, but I leave that to you, the reader.

November 8, 1860-Abraham Lincoln becomes the 16th U.S. President, the first Republican

November 7, 1944-Franklin D. Roosevelt elected to his fourth term, defeating Thomas Dewey, who died on April 12, 1945.

November 13, 1956-The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation on public buses was unconstitutional. Our thanks to Rosa Parks for being so brave in the first place.

November 15, 1777-The Articles of Confederation adopted by the Continental Congress.

November 17, 1800-Congress meets for the first time in the new capitol in Washington. John Adams becomes the first resident of the Executive Mansion, later named the White House.

November 19, 1998-The U.S. House of Representatives begin an impeachment inquiry of President Bill Clinton. It was only the third such proceeding—the others being President Andrew Johnson in 1868 and President Nixon in 1974.

November 20, 1789-New Jersey is the first state to ratify the “Bill of Rights”.

Historical Events

November 2, 1947-The one and only flight of Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose” which was called a flying boat. It flew about a mile at an altitude of 70 feet in Long Beach Harbor, California. It weighed 200 tons and was the largest airplane designed by Hughes. It became a tourist attraction along with the Queen Mary at Long Beach and has since been moved to Oregon.

November 7, 1885-The Canadian Pacific, Canada’s first transcontinental railway is completed in British Columbia.

November 8, 1895-X-rays are discovered by Wilhelm Roentgen at the University of Wuerzburg in Germany.

November 9, 1918-Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicates the throne in Germany and flees to Holland.

November 9-10, 1938-Kristallnacht (the night of broken glass) occurs in Germany. Nazi mobs burn synagogues and vandalize Jewish shops and homes.

November 9, 1989-The Berlin Wall is opened which stood for 28 years as a symbol of the Cold War.

November 10, 1928-Hirohito is crowned Emperor of Japan. After Japan’s defeat in WWII he was allowed to stay and was emperor until he died in 1989.

November 11-Veteran’s Day in the U.S., formerly called Armistice Day.

November 11, 1972-The U.S. turns over Long Binh military base to the South Vietnamese, ending our military participation in the Vietnam War.

November 17, 1869-The Suez Canal opens

November 19, 1863-Abraham Lincoln delivers the “Gettysburg Address” at ceremonies dedicating the “Gettysburg Battlefield” as a National Cemetery.

November 19, 1868- 172 suffragists, including four African American women, attempting to vote in New Jersey to test the 14th Amendment are turned away. Instead they vote in a “women’s ballot box” overseen by Quaker Margaret Pryer.

November 20, 1945- The Nuremberg War Crime Trials begin. 24 former leaders of Nazi Germany were charged with war crimes.

November 22, 1963-The assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas.

November 24, 1859-On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, a book by scientist Charles Darwin began the biggest scientific debate in history because he theorized that all living creatures descended from a common ancestor. Religious factions have fought this battle since it was first published in this year.

November 26, 1789-President George Washington declares the first American holiday to be called Thanksgiving Day, a day of prayer and thanksgiving for the successful founding of the country.

November 29, 1947-Palestine is split into Jewish and Arab land by the U.N. General Assembly which resulted in the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel the next year.

November 30, 1792-A provisional peace treaty between Great Britain and the United States brought forth the end of the “War of Independence” or what we call the “Revolutionary War.”

In The News

These events undoubtedly became the headlines of the day on which they occurred.

November 1, 1950-President Harry S Truman was targeted for assassination by two members of a Puerto Rican nationalist movement.

November 1, 1995-The first local government elections which included all races occurs in South Africa which ended the apartheid system. South Africa had been boycotted for years because of their racial policies.

November 2, 1962-The Cuban Missile Crisis. President Kennedy’s quote of the day: “The Soviet bases in Cuba are being dismantled, their missiles and related equipment being crated, and the fixed installations at these sites are being destroyed.”

November 3, 1948-The Chicago Tribune incorrectly reports that Thomas Dewey beat out Harry S Truman for the presidency.

November 3, 1957-Russia’s “Sputnik II,” is launched carrying a dog named Laika.

November 9, 1965-The great “black out” in the Northeast which affected over 30 million people. It also affected Ontario and Quebec. It all began with a tripped circuit breaker at a power plant on the Niagara River which caused a chain reaction.

November 19, 1978-The biggest suicide in numbers occurs in Jonestown, Guyana. The followers of Reverend Jim Jones, including children, are made to drink cool-aid laced with cyanide. Some members had to be injected when they refused. Jones and his mistress killed themselves after they watched all the members die. California Congressman Leo Ryan and four associates and some reporters were shot to death also as they tried to leave the area at a nearby airstrip after an inspection of the compound on behalf of concerned citizens back home in the U.S.. Only a few members survived.

November 20, 1947-Britain’s Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II, marries Philip Mountbatten.

November 28, 1934-“Baby Face Nelson,” a notorious bank robber in the U.S., is killed by F.B.I. agents in Barrington, Illinois.

November 24, 1969-The U.S. Army charges Lt. William Calley with premeditated murder in the massacre of civilians in My Lai, in Vietnam, in 1968. He is eventually convicted and sentenced to life in prison. However, President Nixon commuted his sentence to three years of house arrest.

Notable Birthdays

Here is a partial list of notable birthdays that occurred in November.

November, 1879-American humorist Will Rogers in Oologah, Indian Territory, now Oklahoma.

November, 1916-Journalist and eventual anchor for CBS News, Walter Cronkite, in St. Joseph, Missouri.

November, 1854-Conductor known for his march music, John Philip Sousa, in Washington, D.C.

November 1861-The inventor of the game of basketball, James Naismith, in Almonte, Ontario, Canada.

November 1867-The chemist, Marie Curie, who discovered Radium with her husband, in Warsaw, Poland. They received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1903.

November 7, 1918-Evangelist Billy Graham, near Charlotte, North Carolina

November 1656-Astronomer and mathematician Edmund Halley for whom Halley’s Comet is named, in London.

November 1853-Architect Stanford White, designer of Madison Square Garden among other edifices, in New York City.

November 1918-Spiro Agnew, Vice President under Nixon, in Baltimore, Maryland. He resigned under charges of tax evasion on kickbacks he received while he was governor of Maryland and even when he became Vice President.

November 1847-Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, in Dublin, Ireland

November 1900-Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind, in Atlanta, Georgia

November 1922-Surgeon Christiaan Barnard, who performed the first heart transplant, in Beaufort West, Cape of Good Hope Province, South Africa.

November 1885-General George S. Patton, a force to be reckoned with during his WWII, service, in San Gabriel, California. After being in harm’s way all through the war, he died of injuries in an automobile accident in Heidelberg, Germany in December of 1945.

November 1840-Sculptor, Auguste Rodin, in Paris.

November 1815-Suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in Johnstown, New York.

November 1929-Grace Kelly, actress and later Princess Grace of Monaco, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

November 1850-Author Robert Louis Stevenson, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

November 1765-Robert Fulton, steamboat inventor, in rural Pennsylvania.

November 1840-French painter, Claude Monet, in Paris.

November 1887-Artist Georgia O’Keefe, in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.

November 1831-James Garfield, 20th president of the United States, in Orange, Ohio.

November 1917-Indira Gandhi, who became Prime Minister of India, in Allahabad, India.

November 1921-One of the first African American major league players, Roy Campanella, in Philadelphia. He played for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

November 1889-Astronomer Edwin Hubble, in Marshfield, Missouri.

November 1925-Robert Kennedy, brother of President John Kennedy, in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was also assassinated in 1968 as he was campaigning for president himself.

November 1694-Author and philosopher, Voltaire, in Paris.

November 1835-Financier Andrew Carnegie, who donated our very own Rockland Public Library, in Dunfermline, Scotland.

November 1846-Temperance leader, Carry Nation, in Garrard County, Kentucky.

November 1607-Founder of Harvard College, John Harvard, in London.

November 1853-Wild West lawman and gambler, Bat Masterson, in Henryville, Quebec.

November 1820-German socialist Friedrich Engels, in Barmen, Wuppertal, Germany. An associate of Karl Marx, he edited the second and third volumes of Marx’s Das Kapital.

November 1832-Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, in Philadelphia.

November 1898-Author C.S. Lewis, in Belfast, Ireland as Clive Staples Lewis.

November 1890-Former president of France, Charles De Gaulle, in Lille, France.

November 1898-Barnstormer Wiley Post, in Grand Plain, Texas.

November 1804-14th President of the United States, Franklin Pierce, in Hillsboro, New Hampshire.

November 1859-Outlaw Billie the Kid, in New York City. AKA Henry McCarty, and William H. Bonney.

November 1887-Horror film actor Boris Karloff, in London as William Henry Pratt.

November 1784-12th President of the United States Zachary Taylor, in Orange County, Virginia.

November 1868-Composer Scott Joplin, in Texarkana, Texas

November 1874-Author Samuel Clemens, whose pen name was Mark Twain, in Florida, Missouri.

November 1874-The infamous Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our little trip through historical November.

Thanks for listening.