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THE SUPERIORITY OF COUNTRY LIFE
SILENCE in our day is greatly to be desired. It is necessary to the thinker. It can be had only in the country, on a homestead removed far from the highway. We have no sympathy with the city dweller who complained he could not sleep in the country because the nights were so still. The weak point of our physique in the present day, is nerves. We force ourselves to do many things under a handicap of confusion. We pay the penalty. It is an unnecessary penalty.
Pure air is now to be found only in the country. It is a question of a short time before the main arteries of our cities will be absolutely intolerable from the fumes of gas. Formerly, in a city of moderate dimensions, one might have pure air. Now it is impossible. Pure water can be guaranteed only in the country. Some of us have not forgotten the uproar caused a generation since by the discovery of a contaminated water supply in one of our greatest cities. In the country one may absolutely guard for a long distance in every direction the source of his water supply. That is to say, he may have water as pure as he likes. Not only so but, if he chooses to pipe it through an old well, he can have it as cold as he wants it, without ice.
Fresh supplies one may guarantee in the country. No wealth is sufficient to insure them in town. Produce brought in to the kitchen immediately from the garden and the farm has a flavor otherwise impossible to obtain. The milk supply particularly is of supreme importance when there are children. Warm, fresh milk, can never be had except on the farm. It can never afterwards be so manipulated as to bring back what it has lost.
Freedom from fire can absolutely be guaranteed in the country by proper construction. In the town, however fire-proof a dwelling may be, one never can guarantee the character of the dwellings about it. Farm properties are poor risks, since a cheap and an inflammable farm house will bring more at the insurance office than at the real-estate office. But the householder who really desires to protect his premises, can go as far as he likes in the country.
The country alone is the home of those who would study nature at its source. The great museum at Harvard has a multitude of flowers done in glass. It is a wonderful achievement. A dweller in Maine, with the title deeds to a farm of fair dimensions, has within the scope of his walk almost as many flowers and shrubs and trees as he can ever count and classify. In their soft freshness and in inimitable fragrance they appeal to him. He may toss his babe among the buttercups and put it to sleep on the daisies. Over it may wave the myriad leaves. The sky is the cradle canopy. It is better to live nature than to write about it.
The most important benefit of country life, however, lies deeper than any of those we have mentioned. It is the reaction on our human nature that arises from plenty of room. The most pernicious thing in city life is its crowding on the streets, in the conveyances, in the rooms. The real dignity of human nature is lifted by the mere fact that space about us is unoccupied by a crowd of human beings. It is easier to think on broad lines when we are in the country. We obtain a better perspective. There is greater truth in our vision. We gain poise and the power of estimating values. In this aspect, country life is more important for the thinker than for those who work only with the hands.
MAINE FARM PRODUCTS - GREENVILLE
MINGO POINT BIRCHES - RANGELEY LAKES
A RANGELEY ROAD
A RANGELEY LANDING
A LITTLE MAINE LAKE - RANGELEY
A RANGELEY SCREEN
A BANGOR-AROOSTOOK ROAD
A MOUNT DESERT COVE
AN ANDROSCOGGIN ROAD - RUMFORD
ALONG RANGELEY BANKS
ANDROSCOGGIN ELMS - RUMFORD CENTRE
A RANGELEY BRINK
A MAINE LAKE BANK - RANGELEY
WHAT EXPLORERS THOUGHT OF MAINE
ADAM OF BREMEN wrote of the Northmen in New England: "Sueno, King of Denmark, to whom I paid a visit, described to me, in conversation on the northern countries, among many other islands, one which had been called Vineland, because the vine would grow there without any cultivation, and because it produced the best sort of wine. Plenty of fruits grow in this country without planting. This is not mere rumor. I have this news from very authentic and trustworthy relations of the Danes. Beyond this land, however, no habitable country is found. On the contrary, everything to the north is covered with ice and eternal night."
A RANDOLPH STREET
This was an impression obtained in America about the year 1000. André Thevet, in 1556, wrote thus of the coast of Maine, referring to the Penobscot river: "Here we entered a river which is one of the finest in the whole world. We call it Norumbega. It is marked on some charts as the Grand River. The natives call it Agoncy. Several beautiful rivers flow into it. Upon its banks the French formerly erected a small fort, about ten leagues from its mouth. It was called the Fort of Norumbega, and was surrounded by fresh water.
"Before you enter this river, there appears an island surrounded by eight small islets. These are near the country of the Green Mountains. About three leagues intO the river, there is an island four leagues in circumference, which the natives call Aiayascon.* It would be easy to plant on this island, and to build a fortress, which would hold in check the whole surrounding country. Upon landing, we saw a great multitude of people coming down upon us in such numbers that you might have supposed them to be a flight of starlings. The men came first, then the women, then the boys, then the girls. They were all clothed in the skins of wild animals."
Abbott, in his history of Maine, speaking of the voyage of Martin Pring, in 1603, says: "On the 7th of June, Pring entered Penobscot Bay. He gives a glowing account of the almost unrivalled scenery there presented. They found excellent anchorage, and fishing-ground never surpassed. The majestic forests deeply impressed them. Upon one of the islands they saw a number of silver-gray foxes. This led them to give the name of Fox Islands to the group. Sailing along the coast in a south-easterly direction, they passed by the beautiful islands which stud Casco Bay, and entered a river which was probably the Saco. This they ascended about six miles. It seems probable that they also entered the Kennebunk and York Rivers. Finding no natives to trade with, they sailed farther south, where they obtained quite a valuable cargo."
MOUNT GREEN IN DAISY TIME - MOUNT DESERT
SUNKHAZE STREAM - MILFORD
AN EVERGREEN DRIVE - GREENVILLE
A MAINE PINE FOREST - WINTHROP
AN AROOSTOOK HERD
MEDDYBEMPS - WASHINGTON COUNTY
LAKE SEBASTICOOK - NEWPORT
The frequency of lakes in Maine is thirty times as great as in the central and western part of the United States. These lakes are situated largely in the mountain sections of the state, so that their waters may be used over and over again in the stream by which they reach the sea.
The working energy of the water powers if fully utilized would equal that of thirty-four millions of men.
Europe is indebted to our clover, which was unknown before the discovery, as sowed grass. In the latter part of the nineteenth century it had become the leading grass in France.
Captain George Weymouth in 1605, coasting along Maine, came to what is now believed to be Monhegan. It appeared to him very beautiful. He judged it to be about six miles in circumference. The anchorage was good, and cod and haddock were caught in abundance. Waterfowl in large flocks were hovering over the cliffs. "They obtained an abundance of delicious salmon, and other fishes in great variety. They also feasted upon lobsters and other shell-fish. Wild currants were found, and luxuriant vines which promised an abundance of grapes. They found the soil to be very rich. Digging a garden, they planted pease, barley, and other seeds, which in sixteen days grew up eight inches. This was the first attempt made by Europeans to cultivate the soil of Maine." [It was hot, but — eight inches! AUTHOR.]
"The charms of Penobscot Bay and River, as witnessed in the illumination of bright June mornings, seem to have delighted these voyagers as they had others who preceded them. The scenery is described as beautiful in extreme, with luxuriant forests and verdant meadows. The river was wide, deep, and of crystal purity. A great variety of birds of varied plumage flitted through the groves, and their songs filled the air. There were many sheltered coves, with grassy banks, luring the voyagers to the shore. In glowing phrase the journalist of the expedition writes: Many who had been travellers in sundry countries, and in most famous rivers, affirmed them not comparable to this. It is the most beautiful, rich, large secure-harboring river that the world affordeth."
"But it was a picturesque scene, as, in the sunlight of that calm June sabbath, the voyagers gazed upon the panorama which encircled them. The ship was at anchor upon the mirrored waters of a solitary cove, far away in the New World. Bays, inlets, and islands were opening in all directions behind them. Birch canoes filled with Indian men, women, and children, driven by the paddle, were gliding from shore to shore. Not far from the ship, on the land, were the few frail wigwams which the Indians had reared. The fire at which the women were cooking, the ascending smoke, the groups gathered around, all combined to present a picture as novel as it was attractive."
In the Gazetteer of Maine by George J. Varney, 1881, it is stated that on the official map may be counted 5151 streams. It is an easy number to remember. If we consider that there are at least twenty beauty spots on every stream, we arrive at pictorial riches unspeakable. Seven of these streams connect interior water-sheds with the sea. Beside that, there are nineteen streams flowing into the sea, but without any connecting streams behind them. What Mr. Varney refers to as an official map is, of course, the state map which was so considered. It must be remembered, however, that this map is largely made up without surveys in detail. There may be, that is to say, on the final maps of the Geodetic Survey, a greater number of streams than Mr. Varney mentions.
The valleys of Maine do not ordinarily reach the dimensions or the steepness of gorges. A very notable exception is the gorge of the western branch of the Penobscot.
In the higher lands of the state a very slight elevation is sufficient to change the destination of the waters. In time of freshet the Penobscot actually mingles its head waters with the Allagash, the Aroostook, and the St. Croix. The Kennebec, with the present system of dams, may be added to this community of waters. The fellers of logs are able to direct the drift of the timber, in many cases, so that it will go down the Kennebec, the St. John, or the Penobscot.
A SHEEPSCOT COTTAGE
Regarding the elevations in Maine, they may be considered as a continuation of the Appalachian chain, extending from Georgia to Katahdin. The form of the Maine mountains is often conical or otherwise of an interesting shape.
Megunticook in Camden is about 1457 feet in elevation, Green Mountain about 1533 feet, both of these are shown (pp. 145 and 256).
The elevation of Moosehead Lake is about 1100 feet above the sea. It is the highest large body of water in the east.
As to the count of lakes and ponds, that has been confused somewhat with their combined area. It has been stated that their number was 2222, and that their combined area was 2200 square miles. The coincidence will bear examination. Nevertheless, Mr. Varney states that on the maps of Maine there are represented 1568 lakes and ponds. We can testify to having found lakes which are not on those state maps, though we believe everything of the sort is shown 0n the Survey map. We should count it therefore, an undoubted fact that the reputed number of lakes is not too great.
We are informed that the state laws forbid the entire shutting off of any lake exceeding seven acres in area. That is to say, a right of way must be accorded to the lake if it is more than seven acres in extent. This provision, of Course, arises out of the insistence in ancient common law on the rights of the common man. It is thus impossible for any one to secure absolute property control in any extensive body of water, although he may own all the land bordering that body.
Absolute ownership in little lakes has, however, been availed of in many instances by those who have stocked these lakes with fish. In one instance an owner used his rights in a commercial way, making a charge by the hour for fishing. His water was so well-stocked that the fisher was not without value received. Private ponds thus make available to their owner a supply of fish, and the raising of fishes is a minor industry. The hatcheries of the state will supply to a proper person stock for replenishing streams, and this without charge. It appeals to the imagination of many to own a private pond. Such persons may easily gratify their desires in Maine.
THE ROMANCE OF THE KENNEBEC
WHATEVER is the basis of the perpetual allurement connected with "old forgotten far off things," we find it in our nature, sometimes so compelling that the past seems more important than the present. Of course it is easy to overdo our love of the old. Life, however, has a breadth and richness dependent largely on its sense of continuity with the past. He who enjoys only the present cannot find as great pleasure as he who thinks of the present as a part of a great whole.
Whether or not it is rational, it is nevertheless true that the people of Maine derive a certain pleasure from the fact that there were settlements on their coasts before the time of the Pilgrims. The island of Monhegan was long a headquarters for fishing before any permanent settlement was attempted. Residents of Cushnoc, now Augusta, are conscious of a better historic sense since they know that Captain Gilbert reached the site of their city in 1607. The river was long an avenue of communication between the sea and the St. Lawrence. The carries are short.
The Pilgrim Colony, as early as 1625, exchanged corn on the Kennebec for beaver skins. Edward Winslow, a man of education, fine feeling, and pleasing manners, was at the head of this little expedition. The Pilgrims were in debt up to their ears, and, as there was a settlement at Kittery, and as the French claimed the region from the Penobscot eastward, the Kennebec offered the only important water route into the interior. The Pilgrims, therefore, at much trouble and expense, procured a patent for the Kennebec region. Mr. Allerton brought back from England, with the patent, goods for trading. Fort Western, therefore, is not the earliest erection at Augusta. The Pilgrims had a trading-house; and Mr. George Francis Dow points out that in 1692 the remains of the old trading-post were then visible, sixty-four years after it was built.
On the first visit to Cushnoc, Governor Bradford states that the leader, Mr. Winslow, was accompanied by "some of ye old standards," by which phrase he refers to members of the Mayflower Company.
It is a matter of special interest to the writer that Governor Thomas Prince of Plymouth was one of seven men to buy the fishing rights of the colony and assume its onerous debts. Governor Prince was a masterful man who may be counted with his associates the first banker of Maine. The idea was conceived to spread the use of wampum. Prince and his associates secured its manufacture in large quantities and the use of it was very much extended. It became the trading currency through which Prince and his friends were able to pay off their obligations and secure a competency besides. The writer now has the court cupboard which Governor Prince placed in his parlor, the dining-room of that day, at the governor's seat, "Plain Dealing," a mile north of the center of Plymouth. This cupboard the governor willed to his widow in 1673. As it was a Plymouth manufacture it was probably made by John Alden, or at least under his superintendence. It was also undoubtedly paid for by trade with the Kennebec Indians, with wampum. The writer feels, therefore, that he now has a very tangible, in fact almost monumental reminder of old Cushnoc.
The Pilgrims really had a corner in wampum, in their competition with the other fishermen and traders.
A son-in-law of Governor Bradford, Lieutenant Southworth by name, was living at Cushnoc in 1654.
It was from Cushnoc that other trading posts were established which were really more in the nature of outposts. Thus Fort Halifax was built opposite what is now Waterville in 1754. In 1752 Fort Richmond had long existed, and a trading-house was built there.
The presence of the Jesuit missionary, Sebastian Resle, at Norridgewock, of course held the Indians at that point in the French interest, and barred the advance of the English beyond Fort Halifax. Rasle was a gentleman of fine attainments. He was also very faithful to his vows, and was thought of by the French as a saint, of whom the English made a martyr, with his followers, when they raided his village.
There were long periods when the frontier wars drove back the settlers, and the trading was neglected. The old patent was revived in 1749, a new company was organized in Boston, and Fort Shirley was built opposite Fort Richmond. A large house still stands in Dresden dating from 1761. It was erected as a court-house and tavern within the parade ground of the fort.
Fort western was built on the advice of Governor Shirley of Massachusetts to overawe the French and Indians. Mr. Dow has very fully and with the fascination that marks his style, set these matters forth in a pamphlet on Fort Western. The edifice is of the highest interest, not only because of its historic associations, but also from its construction of hewn logs. It proved an important station for Benedict Arnold and his expedition in their abortive attempt on Canada. We suggest that this fascinating story be followed up more at length. Aaron Burr, Paul Revere, Captain James Howard, and other notable names are connected with this fort.
SERGEANT LARRABEE'S GARRISON, KENNEBUNK, 1724
Mr. Guy T. Gannett, who was a descendent of the Howard who commanded the fort, has rescued and restored this most important Maine relic, and has presented it to the city of Augusta as a memorial to his mother, Mrs. Sadie Hill Gannett.
As this work is a book of pictures, it cannot enter at length into the romance of the Kennebec, but very early settlements at Popham and other points near the mouth of the river make this stream historically one of the most important regions in Maine. It shares with Pemaquid, Castine, and Kittery the highest antiquity in our national history.
A WONDERFUL OLD EDIFICE
THE old York jail is unique in Maine from the various interests which it stands for. Maine was settled by Church of England people. That is, they sent out the settlers, but the latter were by no means selected for their religious conviction. We find a good deal of complaint regarding the character of the pioneers and fishermen on the Maine coast. No doubt they were the same roving, reckless sort common in a later time on our western frontiers. York was an aristocratic settlement presided over, as was the rest of Maine up to the Penobscot, by the agents of Sir Fernando Gorges. The jail was probably needed. We trust that the Maine people of this day will not think these remarks a reflection upon their ancestors, the solid citizens who came later and settled on the soil. The jail was at once the residence of the jailer and the abode of the evil spirits of that time, or such of them as had been caught. One may still visit the ancient cells and see the slit in the wall through which food was passed. Above, two of the rooms are divided by the swinging panel partition, which indicates that sometimes the rooms were thrown together to provide scope for the dancers. How must the prisoners have felt as they heard light, free feet disporting themselves overhead. The jail has become the nucleus of old curiosities, the outstanding object among them being the wonderful canopied bed, shown in a full page of the author's "Furniture of the Pilgrim Century."
One feels the same sense of antiquity at York as in the oldest Massachusetts communities.
DWELLINGS AT KITTERY
BESIDE the house of Sir William Pepperell, the American general who so distinguished himself, we show the hallway of the Sparhawk house. A carved sparrow hawk, from which the name of the owner was derived, is seen suspended as if in flight.
A KENNEBEC ROAD
A MANCHESTER WOODLAND
A MOUNT DESERT COVE
AN OXBOW SHORE - SOMESVILLE, MT DESERT
MOOSEHEAD LAKE, GREENVILLE
A MOUNT DESERT DRIVE
AN ANDROSCOGGIN VILLAGE - RUMFORD CENTRE
There is in the adjoining room a remarkable fire-place, on either side of which, on a bevel, is a shell-top cupboard. The existence of two such cupboards in the same room is the very greatest rarity. At Eliot, which was once a part of Kittery, there remain at least two other seventeenth century houses with very sharp gables. One of them has been ruined in the restoration, but the other is substantially as built, or could be made so. The Sarah Orne Jewett place, in one of the Berwicks, seems to have been done by the same builder who erected the Wentworth Gardner house in Portsmouth. The sign-board at the street corner, the tall slender trees and the sharp roof line together form a very charming effect.