Mom and Brother Robert on a Sleigh Ride. Postcard 1920s.

The back of the postcard reads: “Louise and Robert on a sleigh ride with Chris the man who cares for Billy’s trotting horses. This is Wm’s horse.” ~ Albert J.

The children on a sleigh ride in Machias, Maine, are my Mom and her brother, Louise and Robert Johnson. Billy is their uncle, Billy Means and Wm is William Means, the children’s grandfather. The horse drawn sleigh is on the wooden bridge across the Machias River with the Getchell Grist Mill and the roofline of the Phoenix Opera House in the background.

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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.  Continue reading “My Great Grandfather William Means Sold Overland Automobiles in 1911”

Washington County Railroad Monthly. 1901

Subscription 12 cents yearly. Circulation 20,000! Railroad schedules, routes, steamboat and stage coach connections. Stories, including How A Woman Shot a Deer in Sunrise Land. Washington County attracted hunters, fishermen, and sightseers to the glorious woods, streams, lakes, and lodges of Downeast Maine. The Sunrise Route was two years old.

Another gift of history from my great grandparents stored in the attic at 24 Broadway, Machias, Maine.  The little magazine looks like it was printed this year, 2017.

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Mom Hanging Out with Friends

Machias and Roque Bluffs, Maine. 1936 to 1942. What did girls do? Well, pose on a cool car.

 

Hang out around their homes. Swing.

 

What else? Hang out at the Cemetery, of course. Does anyone know Mom’s friend, dubbed “Tombstone Annie”?

 

No one grows up in Machias without spending summer days at Roque Bluffs. You might even bring your mother.

 

Why not have a picnic with the Border Control guys, teach them how to pick cranberries. Gather families together for a good time. Girls, top photo below: Mom, Louise Johnson (Rier), and Muriel Clemmons (Watts).

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Related posts:

My Mother Louise Adele Johnson.

Mom and Brother Robert on a Sleigh Ride. Postcard 1920s.

Mom at 16. High School Graduation. 1936.

Mom’s Adventures in Portland: Horse Back Riding. 1942.

Mom Keeps Men at Stewart Field Air Force Base on High Alert. 1944.

Mom and Friends. Rotary Anns Bowling Team Trophy. 1959.

Beautiful Historic Machias

The W B Holway storefront in the village of Machias, Maine. Circa late 1800s, early 1900s. In the 1881 Atlas of Washington Co by George N Colby and Co., the Holway and Sullivan business was located on the river side of Main Street three buildings up (toward the horse trough) from the GW Longfellow business. If it is the same business as in the photo, it was not far from the Machias Hardware store that exists today.

In the Machias Register, State Yearbook and Legislative Manual (1913), W B Holway was listed under Lumbermen of Machias. The Holway Sullivan Co Steam and Saw Mills were just up Main street close to the Machias bridge. The ES Means store was across the street during the same time period, owned by Eliphalet Means, my great grandfather’s elder brother. He sold a wide variety of local products including eggs, cranberries, meats (partridge, smoked beef), as well as merchandise and tropical fruits ordered from Boston. Sample pages from his cash book document the sales of the ES Means store in 1875.

In the later years of the 1800s and early 20th century, Machias was a booming village. Lumber and shipping commerce was at its height, oranges and exotic goods could be bought at the East India Tea Company. Shipbuilding was prominent in the village economy and the surrounding seaside towns.

As the years went by, the new century was not kind. The ports of Machias and near-by Bangor gave way those in the south that did not freeze in winter, Portland and Boston, or Saint John, Canada. Timber harvested, milled and sold to the shipbuilding industry faded as steam powered ships replaced the great ships and schooners built in downeast Maine. In the late 1920s and 1930s, the economic downturn that ravaged the entire country forced coastal Maine villages to reinvent their livelihoods. Yet residents of downeast Maine, including my ancestors, survived. They had descended from sturdy, determined immigrants and possessed the skills to be resilient, hardy, frugal, and endure hard work to provide for themselves together as a community.

This mind set exists today, handed down from generation to generation. We are joined by like-minded people who settle here from all over the country, to live a life tied to the land, our families and our neighbors. We live in a time when those skills will serve us well.