A Bit of Summer Reading I

historyofmaine.jpgIn the space between the end of the primary and the beginning of the general election, I found the time to take some relaxation time, but also to read a good history of Maine.  I did a bit of reasearch and discoverd The History of Maine by John S. C. Abbott, orginally published in 1892, but reprinted in 2014.


I did like the commentary by the reviewer "Pete" on Amazon who claimed, "It is an eye-opener about the nearly constant cycles of massacres of Indians by English and English by Indians, repeated burning of houses and villages on both sides, killing of men, women and children, and taking of captives--over about a 115 year period from around 1660 to the 1770s."  And it was an eye-opener as Abbott revealed the very difficult and challening life of both the Native Americans and the English, their relentless wars, and the awful treatment of Native Americans by the English.


 I also found the section about the burning of Falmouth, now Portland, by the British in 1775, an episode in Maine history when the entire city was burned to the ground and the inhabitants sent off into the woods to fare for themselves.  I know why we have the gun laws we do - people in these frontier times could not survive without their muskets.


Of course, it was the sections on Lewiston that fascinated me, and this passage really sums up from the historians point of view what life in Lewiston was like almost 150 years ago.  We forget the past all too easily.


Lewiston became one of the most important manufacturing districts in the State. The Androscoggin has here a natural fall of forty feet in a distance of two hundred feet. By aid of a dam this has been increased to fifty feet. This valuable fall is utilized, by machinery of various kinds, to the amount of five thousand four hundred and fifty horse-power. And this is secure against any contingencies of ice or flood. Lewiston is connected with the seaboard by two lines of railway; one leading to Bath, and the other to Portland. It is distant from Boston, by rail, six and a half hours, from Portland one and a half, and from Bath one and a quarter. There are in the place, including Auburn, which is on the other side of the river, fifteen manufacturing companies, with an aggregate capital of over seven million dollars. Between five and six thousand hands are employed. The population, by the last census, was twenty-one thousand.


This paints a different picture of Lewiston than the one we know, but the author gives us background, and roots.  We, here in Lewiston, are a place of workers.





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