Thursday, September 29, 2022

Tedcastle Bigelow Perry (1885-1966)

From the Bangor Daily News, October 4, 1966.

    Easton resident Tedcastle Bigelow Perry can rightfully lay claim to being one of the most unusually named men to win election to the Maine House of Representatives, and hiding behind that odd name is the story of a man who for over forty years was a leading figure in the civic, political, and fraternal life of his native town. In addition to serving two terms in the legislature Perry farmed, owned a produce business, was town tax collector, and took high rank in the Odd Fellows and Lions fraternal groups. Born in Crystal, Maine on June 9, 1885, Tedcastle Bigelow Perry was the son of Edwin and Lucy (Dolley) Perry. Bestowed the unique name Tedcastle Bigelow, the origins behind this name are unknown, and Perry is, to date, the only "Tedcastle" this author has discovered.
   A student at the Island Falls High School, Perry graduated in 1903 and shortly thereafter enrolled at the University of Maine, where he was a charter member of the Theta Chi fraternity. He graduated in 1907, and sometime later relocated to Norwood, Ohio, where he was employed with the Allis-Chalmers Co. He returned to the Easton vicinity around 1919 where he purchased a farm "from the Dodge brothers" and married in April 1920 to Pearl Dorsey (1899-1973), to who he was wed until his death. The couple had one son, Vernon.
  In the succeeding years, the name Tedcastle Perry became a familiar one in Easton due to his many activities. A member of the Aroostook County Farm Bureau beginning in 1919, Perry served both Crystal and Easton as their tax collector for many years and was first selectman for Crystal. For seven years he sat on the Easton school board, was for ten years a Boy Scout leader in his area, and was prominent in the local Grange and Odd Fellows lodges. He attained the seventh degree in the Patrons of Husbandry (Grange), was a past grand of the Ridgely Lodge of the International Order of Odd Fellows and was a former president of the Lions Club of Easton. 

From the Fort Fairfield Review, June 14, 1958.

   Announcing his campaign for the Maine House of Representatives in early 1958, Perry won the Republican primary that June by nearly 300 votes. He won the general election that fall, besting Democrat George Haines by a vote of 566 to 203, and took his seat in January 1960. During the 1959-60 session he was named to the committees that counted the votes for assistant clerk of the house, and Natural Resources. This term also saw Perry chair the Easton Town Republican Committee in 1960 and became a director of the Easton Development Co. that same year.
  Going into the 1960 election year Perry was unopposed for reelection, and that fall won the election with 1,287 votes. He again served on the Natural Resources committee during the 1961-1962 term.
  Tedcastle Perry's final years were spent in Easton where, for eighteen years previous to his death, he operated T.B. Perry and Son, dealing in "certified seed potatoes." His final months were marked by failing health, and on October 2, 1966, he died at a Presque Isle hospital at age 81. He was survived by his wife and son and was interred at the Estes Park Cemetery in Easton.

From the Bangor Daily News, October 4, 1966.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Shapleigh Chandler Drisko (1877-1938)

From the Maine legislature composite portrait of 1931.

   A three-term Maine state representative who was first elected in 1930, Shapleigh Chandler Drisko was a farmer and lumberman in Washington County who held a variety of local offices during his life, including school board member, selectman, and tax assessor. The son of Joseph Whitney Drisko and the former Isabel Frances Farnsworth, Shapleigh Drisko was born in Jonesboro, Maine on February 15, 1877. Little information could be found on Drisko's early life or education, and in May 1903 married Myra Luella Noyes (1876-1952), to who he was wed until his death. The couple would be childless.
   While there is a dearth of resources mentioning Drisko, his 1938 obituary gives note as to his employment with the Eastern Pulpwood Co. of Calais, Maine as a purchasing agent. He is also mentioned as a farmer. In 1903 was elected as Jonesboro town tax assessor and five years later was serving as first selectman, an office he'd be returned to on several further occasions. In 1911 he was serving Jonesboro as one of two town constables and in 1916 made his first run for the Maine legislature but was defeated.
  In 1930 Drisko was again a candidate for the legislature and was this time elected. During the 1931-33 term he was a member of the committee on Federal Relations, and after winning a second term in 1932 was named to the additional committee on Cities and Towns. Drisko's final term (1935-37) saw him serve on the committee on Education.
  Little else is known of Drisko's life, except notice of his death in Machias, Maine on March 19, 1938. His wife Myra survived him by fourteen years, and after her death in 1952 was interred alongside him at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Jonesboro.
From the Bangor Daily News, March 21, 1938.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Voranus Lathrop Coffin (1831-1917)

Portrait from the Kennebec Journal, January 7, 1897.

  Distinguished on the battlefield as well as in the political arena, Voranus Lathrop Coffin rose to the rank of lieutenant during the Civil War, during which he served time at several Confederate prison camps. Following the close of the hostilities, he made his name in shipbuilding, which he followed for four decades, and served two consecutive terms in the Maine state senate from Washington County. Late in life, he returned to politics with his appointment to the governor's council, and in 1904 was a delegate to Republican National Convention. Born in Addison, Maine on October 3, 1831, Voranus Lathrop Coffin was the son of Simeon and Rebecca (Nash) Coffin.
  Descended on his father's side from Nantucket, Massachusetts pioneer Tristram Coffin (1609-1681), Voranus Coffin attended the public schools of Addison and Harrington, Maine, and also studied at the Waterville Academy. In September 1855 he married Christina Wilson and had three sons, Charles Augustus (1856-1910), Edwin Voranus (1866-1943), and John Alphonso (1869-1903). He followed a career in education for over a decade, teaching at Addison, Harrington, and Millbridge, and resigned his position in 1863 to help organize the 31st Reg., Maine Volunteer Infantry. Enlisting in Co. B., he was soon elected a second lieutenant and saw action at the Battle of Cold Harbor in 1864, where, after "gallant and meritorious conduct", he was promoted to captain.
  Just days after Cold Harbor, Coffin was on picket duty when he was captured by the Confederates and was soon confined to Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia. Several weeks later he was transferred to Camp Oglethorpe in Georgia, where he was imprisoned into late 1864. Later he was moved to Savannah and Charleston before being confined to Camp Sorghum in Charleston. In December 1864 he was once more transferred, this time to a prison stockade located at the infamous "Camp Lunacy" Insane Asylum in Charleston. Sometime later he and another Maine prisoner made good their escape from prison, only to be recaptured sixty miles away. After recapture, he was placed in prisons at Raleigh, Goldsboro, and Wilmington, North Carolina, where he was paroled. With his confinement in nine separate Confederate prisons, it was remarked that Coffin had been imprisoned "in more Confederate prisons than any other Union soldier, commissioned or non-commissioned."
   In the last months of the Civil War Coffin rejoined his old unit and in 1865 took part in the "Grand Review" march on Washington. Following his return to Maine Coffin established himself in the shipbuilding trade at Harrington, which he followed for forty years.  A member of the firm Ramsdell, Rumball, and Coffin, he purchased his partner's interest in 1876, and by 1884 the firm was operating under the name V.L. Coffin and Son. This business also saw the development of a general store in Harrington, which continued existence under various owners well into the 20th century.
   Coffin began his political career at the local level, serving Harrington as its town treasurer for thirty-five years. In 1880 he was elected to his first term in the Maine State Senate, and during the 1883-85 session was a member of the committees on Commerce, Ways and Means, and Engrossed Bills. He was also named to the special committee "To Inform the Governor of His Election." Reelected in 1882, Coffin served from 1883-1885 and returned to politics in 1897 with his election to the Maine Governor's Council, a group of seven men who advised the governor on the affairs of state. He served until 1898, and in the next year was appointed as a trustee for the University of Maine, serving until 1906.

Voranus L. Coffin. From Maine, A History, Vol. IV, 1917.

  In 1900 the nearly 70-year-old Coffin was elected as treasurer of his home county of Washington, serving until 1902. In 1904 he served as part of the Maine delegation to the Republican National Convention held in Chicago where Theodore Roosevelt was nominated for the presidency. Active in several Civil War veterans groups, Coffin was a past senior vice commander of the Maine G.A.R. as well as a commander of the Hiram Burnham Post, No. 50, of the G.A.R. As a longstanding Mason, Coffin "held all the degrees of the York Rite, and in the Scottish Rite had attained the 32nd degree." After decades of prominence in Washington County, Voranus Coffin died on November 18, 1917, at age 86. He was preceded in death by his wife in 1914 and was interred at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Harrington. Two years after his passing Coffin was memorialized in volume 4 of Maine, A History, which remembered him as:
"Genial, friendly, and kind, a man to be instinctively liked and trusted. His life was a useful, busy one, and to as great a degree as possible he extended to every man a helping hand."

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Rackley Deane Leavitt (1842-1910)

From the Maine Legislature composite photo, 1903.

  Prominent in the workings of the Maine State Grange, Rackley Deane Leavitt was for eight years a member of the Maine grange executive committee and was a founder of the Norland Grange of East Livermore. Additionally, Leavitt was politically active in his native town of Turner, serving as its first selectman, and in 1902 was a successful candidate for the Maine House of Representatives. The son of Arch and Polly (Deane) Leavitt, Rackley Deane Leavitt was born in Turner on November 7, 1842. In preparation for this article, some confusion arose as to Leavitt's first name, which is given by nearly every source as "Rackley". However, his obituaries from two area newspapers in 1910 denote it as "Rackliffe." After searching through census records dating back to the 1860s, finding his marriage certificate (where the spelling is Rackley), his death certificate, and Leavitt's own gravestone (again, Rackley), I am comfortable in assuming Rackliffe was a mistake on the part of the newspaper editors, as all other period sources give Rackley as his first name. All in all, very confusing!
  A student in schools local to Turner, Leavitt later graduated from Edward Little High School in Auburn. He followed a teaching career during his youth and married in 1867 to Ada Bicknell (1844-1921), to who he was wed until his death. The couple had three children, Arch Deane (born 1869), Warren Rackley (born 1871), and Julia Agnes (born 1877).
  In the years following their marriage, the Leavitts resided in Turner on a 400-acre farm, one of the largest in Androscoggin County. Their farm was noted for its "highly productive land" and provided food and income for the family until its destruction by fire in the early 1900s. 
 Beginning in the late 1890s, Leavitt was named chair of the board of trustees of the Leavitt Institute in Turner, a school endowed and established by his wealthy cousin, James Madison Leavitt, and proved to be "very influential in its management." Other business pursuits included a directorship in the North Turner Cheese Co. in the mid-1870s, as well as being a founder and director of the Patrons Androscoggin Mutual Fire Insurance Co.
  Long active in the Granger movement in his state, Leavitt was a founder of the Noland Grange of East Livermore, an early member of the Turner grange, and a past master of the Androscoggin Pomona grange. In the position of state deputy in the Maine state grange, he was a sought-after public speaker on agricultural topics and later served several years on the executive committee of the Maine grange, including a term as chairman in 1902-03.

From the Lewiston Daily Sun, August 5, 1902.

  Rackley Leavitt began his political career as first selectman for Turner, and in 1899 was town agent for the settlement of Howe's Corner, located in Turner. In 1902 he was a delegate from Turner to the Androscoggin County Republican Convention, and in that year was nominated for a seat in the Maine House of Representatives. He won the election and from 1903-05 held seats on the committees on Agriculture and Salaries. Although he served just one term, Leavitt's service was favorably remembered by the Lewiston Sun-Journal, which noted that he:
"Served with conspicuous ability. His unerring judgement was often sought by legislators who were more in the public eye than himself."

  Following his term, Leavitt remained a force in the state grange and with his insurance company. After the fire that destroyed his family's home, he removed to Auburn, where he would be named a city assessor in the early 1900s. He was struck by a lengthy illness during his last years, and on July 1, 1910, was admitted to a Boston, Massachusetts hospital. He underwent an operation shortly after, and although he survived, his health continued to fail. Rackley Dean Leavitt died in Boston on August 7, 1910, aged 68.  He was survived by his wife and children and was returned to Turner for burial at the East Burial Grounds. Months following his death Leavitt was memorialized in the proceedings of the state grange as an "esteemed and honored brother", and as:

" A man of broad ideas, with a concientious regard for call of duty; of fearless courage in standing for and advocating what he believed to be right; a man of kindly heart, whose sympathy was deeply stirred by any real call of distress and whose many good deeds, unrecorded, were known only to himself and the angels above, and we will ever cherish in memory the noble influence upon us and the world."
From the Lewiston Daily Sun, August 9, 1910.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Albanah Harvey Libby (1868-1936)

From the Maine legislative composite photo of 1929.

  We continue our journey through Maine and today examine the life of Albanah Harvey Libby, a one-term state representative from Albion in Kennebec County. The son of former state legislator Llewellyn (1841-1928) and Angie (Drake) Libby, Albanah H. Libby was born in Albion on April 29, 1868. He inherited his unusual name in honor of his paternal uncle, Pvt. Albanah Harvey Libby (1843-1864), who died in a Confederate prison in Salisbury, North Carolina in October 1864. 
   Libby's early life and education passed in his hometown of Albion, and in April 1889 he married Margaret Jeannette "Janette" Stevens (1868-1931), to who he was wed until her death. The couple had one daughter, Dorothea (1896-1947). Following his marriage, Libby removed to Waterville, Maine, and in the early 1900s was a partner in the firm of Clukey and Libby Co., a department store that distributed "wholesale dry goods, boots and shoes, millinery." Libby served as the company's president, with Charles F. Clukey as treasurer. 
  Around 1906 Libby left his firm and joined C.E.B. Walker in the latter's clothing company, operating under the name Walker Clothing Co. After nearly two decades of residence in Waterville Albanah Libby resigned from that business and by 1912 had returned to his old home of Albion, where he became "a prosperous merchant", partnering with his brother in the Libby Bros. firm. In 1928 he announced his candidacy for the Maine House of Representatives and that June won the Republican primary, besting Charles Bessey, 457 votes to 208.

From the Waterville Morning Sentinel, June 19, 1928.

  In September 1928 Albanah Libby won his house seat and at the start of the 1929-31 session was named to the committees on Engrossed Bills and Public Health. Shortly after the conclusion of his term Libby lost his wife of nearly forty years, Janette, who died following a short illness. His final years were spent in Albion, where he was a member of the local Masonic and Odd Fellows chapters, and died in that town on May 16, 1936, aged 67. He was interred alongside his wife at Albion Cemetery #4.

From the Kennebec Journal, May 18, 1936.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Stetson Harlow Hussey (1887-1976)

From the 1921 Maine legislative composite photo.

  A practicing lawyer for nearly sixty years, Mars Hill resident Stetson Harlow Hussey served terms in both houses of the Maine legislature and in addition to his law practice was a lobbyist for the International Paper Company. The son of Harrison Otis and Lucy Lowell Hussey, Stetson Harlow Hussey was born in Mars Hill on June 10, 1887. A student at the Ricker Classical Institute in Houlton, Maine, Hussey decided upon a career in law at an early age, enrolling at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. He later graduated from Yale Law School and began his practice in Mars Hill in 1914. He married ca. 1915 to Gladys Wyona Goodhue (1889-1977), to who he was wed for over sixty years. The couple had two children, Mary H. Hussey McBride (1916-2016, aged 100) and Stetson Harlow Hussey Jr. (1918-2005).
  In addition to his law practice, Stetson Hussey served as a notary public and in the summer of 1918 announced his candidacy for the Maine House of Representatives. Remarked by the Mars Hill News as young and "ably qualified", Hussey hit the stump throughout that summer and would win the Republican primary in June. He went on to win the general election that November and took his seat in January 1919. Named to the committee on Education, Hussey made a visit home to Mars Hill in March 1919 and noted that not only was he enjoying his legislative experience but that "business at the capitol was being transacted expeditiously."

From the Mars Hill News, June 13, 1918.

  Announcing his bid for reelection in 1920, Hussey won a second term that November and during the 1921-23 session was a member of the committees to Inform the Governor of His Election and Legal Affairs. Early in his second term Hussey was named a candidate for Maine's assistant attorney general. His tentative appointment, given by attorney general Ransford W. Shaw, was reported on by the Mars Hill News in May 1921, which noted:
"Mr. Hussey is one of Aroostook County's prominent young attorneys and was a member of the house of representatives from his class in Mars Hill and in the appointment the attorney general has used excellent judgement as Mr. Hussey is not only well posted in his profession but is a student and man with a pleasing personality as well as having the ability to do the work of the office in a most satisfactory manner."

 Ultimately, Hussey turned down the appointment to continue serving in the legislature, and in 1922 set his sights on a state senate seat. With two successful house terms behind him, Hussey's candidacy was boomed by the Mars Hill News in June 1922, which remarked:

"Of all the candidates for State Senator at the June primaries we know of no more logical candidate than Stetson H. Hussey of Mars Hill. We do not say this wholly because he is a local man but because of his business training and experience along these lines makes him well fitted for the position."
From the Kennebec Journal, January 5, 1921.

  Following his senatorial win in late 1922, Hussey served on the committees on Engrossed Bills and Sanitariums in the 1923-24 session and was reelected to a second term in 1924. During this term, Hussey returned to Aroostook County to take part in the county republican convention, and in April was named as its committeeman on resolutions.
  At the conclusion of his second term in 1927, Hussey returned to his law practice in Mars Hill and later served a term as president of the Aroostook County Bar Association. He would be joined in practice by his son Stetson in 1948, and retired from his law office in 1973For a time Hussey had been a lobbyist with the International Paper Company, but no source notes as to his dates of service. Additionally, Hussey was a past master of the Aroostook Masonic chapter, a charter member of the Mars Hill Rotary Club, and a founder and honorary director of the Aroostook Health Center.
  Stetson Harlow Hussey died on September 4, 1976, aged 89, at a nursing facility in Presque Isle, Maine. His wife Gladys survived him by less than a year, and following her death in 1977 was interred alongside him at the Kings Grove Cemetery in Mars Hill.

From the Bangor Daily News, Sept. 6, 1976.

From the Waterville Morning Sentinel, September 6, 1976.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Belonie Simon Dufour (1864-1933)

From the Maine legislative composite of 1909-10.

  A prominent citizen residing in St. Agatha, Maine, Belonie Simon Dufour held multiple political offices in that town, was a school superintendent, furniture store owner, bank cashier, and a leading club-man in his region. Dufour earns a spot here on the site with his service in the Maine House of Representatives, where he served two terms. Born of New Brunswick parentage in Madawaska, Aroostook County, Maine Belonie S. Dufour was the son of Eusebe (1812-1898) and Modeste (Soucy) Dufour (1822-1890).
   Dufour's early education was obtained at the Madawaska Training School under Joseph Vital Cyr in Fort Kent. Dufour married in St. Basile, New Brunswick in October 1893 to Annie Beaulieu (1878-1918), and the couple's twenty-five-year union produced four children, Alfred (died 1898) Wilfred (1894-1980), Annie (1895-1979), and Pierre Paul (1908-1971). Shortly after his marriage, Dufour settled in St. Agatha, where he took employment as a clerk in the general store of Israel Ouellette. 
  In 1899 St. Agatha was separated from the town of Frenchville and incorporated, and soon after Belonie Dufour was elected as the town's first selectman and town clerk. This position was followed by a stint as registrar of wills, justice of the peace, and notary public. He achieved further local distinction as town superintendent of schools and held the additional role of school board member. In 1908 he was elected as a representative from Aroostook County to the Maine house of representatives, and in the 1909-11 term sat on the State Lands and State Roads committee. He won a second term in late 1910, and during the 1911-12 session served on the committee on the State School For Boys and the Industrial School For Girls.
  A leading figure in the fraternal life of his region, Dufour was a longstanding member of the Modern Woodmen of America, serving as recorder for its local chapter for 25 years. He also held memberships in the Catholic Order of Foresters, the Knights of Columbus Council 1102 of St. Agatha, and the Royal Neighbor Council. 
  Throughout his life, Belonie Dufour was invested in several business concerns in the Aroostook County area, including being a founder of the Long Lake Starch Company. He was its manager for twelve years, and later served two years as cashier for a branch of the Van Buren Trust Co. in Frenchville. Sources also note his owning a furniture store and dealing in farm implements. Widowed in 1918, he later remarried Marie Legasse, who survived him. After many years of prominence in his region, Belonie Dufour died on April 15, 1933, aged 67. He was interred alongside his wife Annie at the St. Agatha Lower Cemetery.
Dufour as he looked during his time in the legislature.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Plympton Cyrus Kent (1905-1972)

From the Kennebec Journal, June 15, 1946.

  Following the article on Kennebec County's Ernfrid Jacob Crosby, another oddly named representative from that county is profiled, Plympton Cyrus Kent. Equally as obscure as the man who preceded him, Kent owned a "retail meat and grocery store" at the time of his election to the Maine state legislature in 1946. Born in Benton, Maine on June 26, 1905, Plympton C. Kent was the son of Charles and Bertha (Roundy) Kent. 
  Little information could be found on Kent's early life or education, and on December 25, 1926, he married Angelina Perry, with who he had two children, Plympton Jr and Shirley. The owner and operator of Kent's Market in Gardiner, Maine for nearly thirty years, his business added a meat market in 1935, necessitating a move to a larger building.  A resident of Randolph, Maine beginning in 1930, he was a parishioner at the United Methodist Church of Benton and held memberships in the Hermon Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, the Kora Temple Shriners of Lewiston, and the International Order of Oddfellows. 
  After years of prominence in the Kennebec County business community, Plympton Kent entered politics in April 1946 when he announced his candidacy for the Maine House of Representatives. Hoping to represent his hometown of Randolph, Kent won the election that November and during the 1947-49 term was a member of the Salaries and Fees committee. Reelected in November 1948, Kent served on one new committee, State Hospitals. After his reelection, Kent was profiled in the Waterville Morning Sentinel, where he is mentioned as an incorporator of the Gardiner Savings Institution, a board member of the Gardiner Board of Trade, and a member of the Gardiner Driving Club, This paper further notes his dealing in livestock in connection with his meat market.

From the Kennebec Journal, June 13, 1946.

  Following the 1949-50 session Plympton Kent announced his candidacy for the state senate on the Republican ticket, running on the slogan "A Businessman for a Business Job". One of three candidates running in that year's primary, Kent lost out that June to Gardiner farmer Foster Tabb, who polled 1,000 more votes
  Several months after his defeat Kent was reelected as president of the Gardiner Driving Club, a harness racing group. He was reelected to a fourth term as president in December 1952 and later retired from his meat market business. Plympton Kent died unexpectedly at his home in Randolph on June 13, 1972, shortly before his 67th birthday. He was survived by his wife and children and was interred at the Richmond Cemetery.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Ernfrid Jacob Crosby (1871-1958)


From the Waterville Morning Sentinel, December 14, 1906.

   Albion, Maine resident Ernfrid Jacob Crosby is one of the more obscure legislators to be profiled this month, with details on his life being at a minimum. Ernfrid Crosby was born in Unity, Maine on November 26, 1871, the son of Eli Vickery and Emma Randlett (Libby) Crosby. He was a student at schools in Unity, Maine, and married Minnie Florence Foss (1869-1957) in 1898. He is recorded as operating a grocery store in Guildford, Maine in the 1890s and later removed to Waterville where he was employed with the H.R. Dunham and Co., a clothing company. He remained there for ten years and in 1907 settled in Albion.
   Shortly after his removal Crosby purchased a farm and operated a grocery store with a partner, Charles Drake. Crosby later continued operations as Crosby and Crosby with John Crosby, and also operated alone. Around 1917 he established himself in the lumber industry, which he followed for an indeterminate periodIn addition to his business pursuits Crosby became a local political figure, serving as a town selectman for four years, and at the time of his election to the legislature was board chairman. In 1906 was elected to the Maine House of Representatives. He was secretary of the committee on agriculture during the 1907-09 session and sat on the committee on Mercantile Affairs and Insurance.
  In 1922 Crosby was a candidate for register of deeds of Kennebec County, and at the time of his candidacy was a member of the Kennebec County Republican committee. He would win that election, and in 1926 was a candidate for a second term. He served in that capacity for twelve years, and in 1935 announced that he'd be seeking the post of Kennebec County commissioner. Though he would lose that contest, he was a candidate for that same post in the June 1936 primary.

From the Kennebec Journal, June 16, 1926.

  Little is known of the remainder of Crosby's life. An active club man in Kennebec County, Crosby was a member of the Dunlap  Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, and the Central Lodge of Masons, both located in China, Maine. He and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1948. He was preceded in death by his wife Minnie in 1957 and died one year later at age 86. Both he and his wife were interred at Albion Cemetery #4.

Ernfrid and Minnie Crosby, from the Waterville Morning Sentinel April 20, 1948.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Elvanda Benjamin Coulthard (1920-1978)

From the Portland Evening Express, November 6, 1960.

  The 1961-62 session of the Maine legislature was home to a trio of curiously named state representatives. Serving alongside Vinal Garfield Good and Tedcastle Bigelow Perry was Elvanda Benjamin Coulthard, a leading farmer in the town of Scarborough. The owner of the Coulthard Brother's Farm at Pleasant Hill, Coulthard was a WWII veteran and a local fire department commissioner. The son of William and Goldie (Aldridge) Coulthard, Elvanda "Van" Coulthard's birth occurred in Cumberland County on October 27, 1920.
   Removing to South Portland Maine during childhood, he attended the Lincoln School in that area and later attended the South Portland High School. He married ca. 1940 to Eleanor Smith (1920-1999), with who he had three children, Elvanda Jr. (1947-2005), Judith, and Nancy. He enlisted in the Navy during the Second World War and was a Seaman 2nd class onboard the USS Leo, being honorably discharged in January 1945.
  Following his return stateside he joined with his brothers John and James in farming on a forty-acre area of land in Pleasant Hill, an area that would become the Coulthard Brother's Farm. The trio was profiled in the June 12, 1949 edition of the Portland Press, where extensive mention was given to the brother's growing of iceberg lettuce, sweetcorn, cucumbers, and squash. The Press gave further note as to "Van" residing in a small bungalow near the cornfield, and that:
"The Coulthard's have ''been coming to the farm'' over a period of seven years, one of them explained. This was ''during and after the war.'' They are young men, from 23 to 29, and all have done valiant service for Uncle Sam." 
  In addition to farming Coulthard made inroads into several areas in the Scarborough community, including a lifetime membership in Engine # 3, Scarborough Fire Department, where he was a past commissioner. A member of the local American Legion post, Coulthard was a vice chancellor in the Knights of Pythias lodge, as well as a Mason. In 1960 he announced his candidacy for the Maine House of Representatives and later won the Republican nomination. That fall he defeated Democrat Earl D. Jones and took his seat at the start of the 1961-62 term. During this session, Coulthard served on the committee on Agriculture, and in November 1962 won reelection, besting Democrat Arthur Vernon Lent by a vote of 1,043 to 659.
  Coulthard's second term (1963-65) saw him continue on the Agriculture committee and in 1964 was defeated in his bid for a third term by Arthur Vernon Lent. After leaving the legislature Coulthard continued farming in Scarborough until his death on November 3, 1978, shortly after his 58th birthday. He was survived by his wife and children and was interred at the Black Point Cemetery in Scarborough.

From the Biddeford Journal Tribune, November 5, 1978.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Cleaves Earl Clapp (1889-1959)

From the Kennebec Journal, January 1, 1941.

   Another curiously named member of the Maine legislative session of 1941-43, Cleaves Earl Clapp served alongside Neota Fowles Grady during that session, and, all told, represented West Brooklin for four non-consecutive terms in the state house. Clapp was a lifelong Maine resident and was born in Brooklin, Hancock County, on May 18, 1889, the son of Rodney David and Laura Carter Clapp.
  A student in schools local to Brooklin, Cleaves Clapp married Kate Jones (1891-1964) in 1910 and later had two sons, Cecil Earl (1910-1988) and Waldo Arland (1912-1989). Despite serving four terms in his state's legislature little information could be found on Clapp's life, except notice of his being an automobile salesman, a member of the West Brooklin school board, and a deputy sheriff for Hancock County. Clapp's 1959 obituary also denotes his being a master mason in the Naskeag Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in Brooklin.
  Elected to the Maine state legislature in late 1940, Clapp took his seat in January 1941 and was named to the committees on the State Prison, and Sea and Shore Fisheries. He would win reelection in 1942, and during the 1943-45 was named to the Pension committee.

From the Bangor Daily News, February 12, 1941.

  In 1948 Clapp was returned to the house for a third term, and during the 1949-51 term was a member of the committees on Aeronautics and Salaries and Fees. He began his fourth house term in 1951 and again sat on the Sea and Shore Fisheries committee. Little is known of Clapp's life after his final term, except notice of a "long illness" that claimed his life on May 20, 1959, two days after his 70th birthday. He was survived by his wife Kate, and both were interred at the Rural Cemetery in Sedgwick, Maine.

From the Bangor Daily News, May 21, 1959.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Sands Hunt Witherspoon (1859-1926)

From the Maine legislative composite photo of 1905.

  Continuing on our theme of unusually named Maine legislators, we journey to Knox County and Sands Hunt Witherspoon, an obscure resident of North Haven who served a term in the house of representatives early in the 20th century. The last of 10 children, Sands Hunt Witherspoon was born in Rockport on June 1, 1859, the son of  James (1807-1888) and Hannah Greenlaw Witherspoon (1817-1881). Early in his life, Witherspoon removed with his family to North Haven, and his early education was likely obtained there.
   There is a dearth of resources concerning Witherspoon's early life and employment, except notice of his being a fruit grower in Pulpit Harbor, Maine in the early 1890s. In 1904 he announced his candidacy for the Maine House of Representatives and won election that fall. Taking his seat at the start of the 1905-06 session, Witherspoon served a single term and sat on the County Estimates and Towns committees.
  Little else could be found on Witherspoon's life following his term. In 1908 he is recorded as the owner of a grocery and general store in Pulpit Harbor, as well as being a photographer. He died on November 10, 1926, in North Haven and was interred in the Witherspoon family plot at the Fuller Cemetery in that town.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Neota Fowles Grady (1909-2000)

From the Bangor Daily News, October 25, 1941.

   Joining an all-to-short list of strangely named female political figures, Neota Fowles Grady is the first in a monthlong series of profiles centering on members of the Maine state legislature. Long a leader in Maine education circles, Grady began teaching school in the late 1920s, and in 1939 was elected to the Maine Teacher's Association Committee. This post was followed by service on the State Certification Committee, the presidency of the Maine Department of Classroom Teachers, and was the president of the Kennebec Retired Teacher Association. On the political front, Grady served two terms in the Maine House of Representatives from Lincoln County, and was Whitefield town treasurer. A lifelong Maine resident, Neota Ann Fowles was the daughter of George Ervin (1874-1923) and Minnie Dow Fowles (1876-1947).
  Fowles' early education was obtained at a school in Kings Mills, and later attended the Whitefield High School. A graduate of the Cony High School in 1925, Fowles went on to enroll at the Farmington Normal School, graduating in 1927. That same year she embarked on a teaching career that extended nearly forty years, teaching in schools at Kings Mills, Whitefield, and Carleton. From 1936-1937 she briefly taught at the Windsor and South Windsor schools located in Kennebec County.
  Active in Republican politics in Lincoln County, Fowles served as president of the Lincoln County Branch of Republican Women in the mid-1930s, and in July 1935 was named to its finance committee. She also held seats on both the Board of Governors of the Women's Republican Clubs of Maine and the Whitefield Republican town committee. In the summer of 1938 she announced her candidacy for the Maine House of Representatives from Lincoln County, and in August spoke at a meeting of the Randolph Women's Republican Club. While also promoting her candidacy, Fowles made note that:
"Since women had gained the right to vote it was their duty to educate themselves to vote intelligently on the various issues."
From the Kennebec Journal, July 23, 1935.

  In September 1938 Fowles won her legislative seat, and in a write-up in the Portland Press Herald noted that she would seek a place on the education committee "when those favors are passed out." She took her seat in January 1939 and, at age 29, was one of the youngest members of that session of the legislature. Described as "bright-faced, smiling, alert", Grady was soon named to the committees on education and the library, as well as the committee on sanitariums. During her first term, Fowles served in the additional capacity of secretary-treasurer of the Order of Women Legislators, holding that post into 1940. In 1939 Neota Fowles married fellow Whitefield resident Joseph George Grady (1902-1971), to who she was wed for 32 years. The couple had one son, Alan George (1945-1961), who died unexpectedly at age 16.
  Announcing her candidacy for reelection in 1940, Neota Grady handily won reelection and during the 1941-43 term continued on the education and library committees. After leaving the legislature she served Whitefield as town treasurer from 1943-45 and was a member of the Lincoln County Republican committee. After a decade away from teaching Grady returned in 1950 to teach elementary school in Kings Mill. Nine years later she transferred to the Whitefield school where she taught the fifth grade, and in 1965 was a grade 6 reading teacher and assistant music teacher at the Pray Street School in Gardiner.

From the Kennebec Journal, January 20, 1940.

  In 1970 Neota Grady retired from teaching for nearly forty years and continued an active role in education in her state. Beginning in 1963 she served a two-year term as president of the Maine Department of Classroom Teachers, and two years following her retirement from teaching was elected president of the Kennebec Retired Teacher Association. In 1973 she advanced to the National Retired Teachers Association-AARP Maine State Legislative Committee, which she served on until 1983. From 1975-76 she held the additional role of board chair. 
  Active in the civic life of Whitefield, Grady was a longtime member of the Whitefield Union Church and Helping Hand Society, being church treasurer and organist. She was a seven decade member of the local grange, and was remarked as a talented piano player, playing at various local and county functions. She celebrated her 90th birthday in 1999 and died a month shy of her 91st birthday on July 1, 2000, at a nursing facility in Augusta. She was later interred alongside her husband and son at the Whitefield Cemetery.