My Great Grandfather William Means Sold Overland Automobiles in 1911

Today, I decided to (gently, very gently) peruse old newspapers kept in the attic of my great grandparents’ home: two copies of the Machias Valley News Observer published in 1936 and 1937. I failed to locate an article that explained why these were kept for 80 years, at least this time. Then I moved to a copy of the Machias Republican, April 22, 1911. I’m still not sure why this newspaper was kept over 100 years.

But, I made a discovery. 

My great grandfather William Means sold Overland cars in Machias, Maine in 1911. He was the agent for Washington and Hancock Counties. My mother told me that William bought and sold real estate. I know he did because I spent hours in the Washington County Deeds office locating properties in and around Machias that he bought and sold. I know William held auctions for I have his ledger describing the items he sold. But, I did not know that he sold automobiles in 1911.

There was another hint of William’s interest in automobiles in the attic of his home: a copy of Motor magazine published in April 1904. There are many interesting articles and advertisements for Cadillac, The Electric Vehicle Co that sold two models of electric cars (!), portable auto houses (the forerunner of the garage), and an article entitled “Fair Woman as a Motorist.”



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