WARNING! Spoilers ahead. If you have not yet seen the show, read at your own risk!
FRED & RALPH TRUE (THE SLEDDING STORY)
Frederic True (1860-1936)
Ralph True (1879-1978)
Frederick True was born in Yarmouth in 1860. He received his education in Yarmouth schools and graduated from North Yarmouth Academy. He was a member of Westcustogo Lodge, the Casco Lodge of Masons and Royal Arch Chapter, and the Knights of Pythias, where for forty years he was the keeper of the records and seals. He was also affiliated with the Central Church. He was employed for 45 years at the Forest Paper Company in Yarmouth, eventually achieving the title of Paymaster. He died in 1936.
Ralph True was born December 23, 1879. He grew up in Yarmouth and attended Yarmouth schools like his father. His sledding accident was reported in local papers and sledding where the accident occurred was thereafter banned by the town. After high school, Ralph worked as a day laborer for a few months until he joined the United States Navy in 1898 at the age of 18. He was stationed in Charlestown, Massachusetts during his service and lived aboard the receiving ship USRS Wabash, a wooden hull obsolete vessel used as a barracks for new recruits or seamen between stations, while he trained as a hospital apprentice. It was during his time stationed in Charlestown that he met Alice J. Goward. They married in Boston and settled in Massachusetts. Ralph died December 13, 1978.
Below: True family grave (L), grave of Frederic True (R)
Philip Torrey (1780-1892)
Judith Storer (1789-1811)
Sarah True Sargent (1800-1832)
Rebecca Russell (1797-1861)
Philip Torrey was born in 1780. He was a man known to be “very positive” in his opinions. A blacksmith by trade, he was also known for manufacturing wooden ploughs that were much superior to those in general use at the time. He was an active member of the Baptist Church and because of his involvement in civic matters and his good standing in the community he was named the first chief of police after the towns of Yarmouth and North Yarmouth split in 1849.
In 1870 at the age of 90 he petitioned the town to have them accept the lane leading to his house as a public highway. Petition was accepted. Torrey Court still exists today as a private way.
During his life, Mr. Torrey was married and widowed three times. On May 18, 1809 he wed Judith Storer. She died just two years later. On November 13, 1822, he married Sarah True Sargent. They were wed for a decade before she passed away in 1832. He wed his third wife, Rebecca Russell, on August 9, 1840. They were married for 21 years until her death in 1861. Philip died eleven years later on June 12, 1872 at age 91.
Below: Philip Torrey, headstone of Philip Torrey
JOSEPH & ELIZABETH WOODS
Joseph Woods (1809-1899)
Elizabeth Woods (1816-1865)
In the mid-1800s Jenks’ Tavern and Joseph Woods’ workshop and home were located at the top of ‘the Portland Road’ on Main Street. Today, Rosemont Market sits where they once stood.
Nathaniel Jenks operated the stagecoach tavern that was known everywhere as “Jenks’ Tavern.” It was a place where horses could be exchanged and travelers could find sustenance and libation.
His neighbor, Joseph Woods manufactured mahogany furniture and made coffins for the village. Throughout his career, Joseph Woods kept pace with the current trends, once switching from black painted coffins to light red, the color that was the fashionable choice at the time. Known as the most industrious man in the town, Joseph was also an ardent pioneer of the Abolitionists and an active member of the Baptist church.
Joseph and Elizabeth Woods had four children: Elizabeth, Henry, Charles and Ella. The Woods’ workshop and home was burned along with Jenks’ Tavern in a fire that started in the tavern’s barn on a hot July afternoon in 1856, destroying with it a valuable rug that the Woods family had tried to save by carrying it out of the home--only to find it later being used to create a pathway to the water pump across the street. The story is recounted in local historian William Hutchinson Rowe's 1937 book Ancient North Yarmouth and Yarmouth, Maine.
Below: the Woods family grave, the story of the tavern fire as told on page 368 of "Ancient North Yarmouth and Yarmouth, Maine"
ROBERT CORLISS (THE CLOCK STORY)
Sarah Sylvester Myrick Bailey (1768-1855)
Robert Elwell Corliss (1799-1884)
Augustus Wetmore Corliss (1837-1908)
Phebe Cutter Mitchell (1764-1829)
Sarah Sylvester Myrick was born on March 16th, 1768. On August 22, 1790, she married Lebbeus Bailey in Scituate, Massachusetts. The following year they moved to Yarmouth (then North Yarmouth, MA), settling in a house at 56 East Main Street that still stands and is now known as the Lebbeus Bailey House. The home was close to Mr. Bailey’s foundry by the Yarmouth harbor. Mr. Bailey was a metalworker and clock maker, producing tall clocks, shelf clocks, “sleigh bells, and every kind of metal work of which his customers had need”. He was also a jeweler, making medals for the members of the local Masons of Casco Bay Lodge, though today he is remembered and renowned most for his clocks. The Baileys had eight children: Lebbeus Jr., Rufus, Mary, Elizabeth, Henry, Timothy, Joseph and Edward. During their time, the Baileys were known throughout their neighborhood for the beautiful and productive gardens they tended. Lebbeus Bailey died on December 6, 1827 at age 64. Sarah survived him by 28 years. They are buried beside each other in Yarmouth’s Ledge Cemetery.
Robert Corliss was born in North Yarmouth, Maine in 1799. He and his first wife, Asenath Field, were married in 1820 and had five children together. After she died, he married Abby Chandler Dennison in 1853. They lived the rest of their years on Church Street in Yarmouth, just across the block from the house where he grew up. In the 19th century, the major industries in Yarmouth’s Upper Village were pottery and tanneries, to be joined later on by paper pulp mills. Cleaves’ Pottery, established by Ebenezer Corliss around 1806, was operated by Robert Corliss and David Cleaves after their fathers’ deaths. The elder Mr. Corliss also assisted with subscriptions and distribution of his son Augustus W. Corliss’ magazine Old Times in North Yarmouth, Maine.
Augustus Corliss was born in North Yarmouth, Maine and graduated from North Yarmouth Academy. He enlisted in the army in 1862 during the Civil War. There, he commanded the 7th Rhode Island Cavalry Squadron. He remained enlisted in the US Army after the war and was promoted to Captain in 1873. That same year he commanded an escort company during the Yellowstone survey for the Northern Pacific Railway. He served in Cuba from 1898 to 1900 and in 1900 became a governor of Binario in the Philippines. By the end of his Army career he had achieved the rank of Brigadier General. From 1877 until 1884, Corliss published a quarterly magazine entitled Old Times in North Yarmouth Maine, whereby he collected records, family histories, and first-person remembrances of Yarmouth’s early days. A century later, in 1977, this incredible collection of people, stories and events was turned into a book of the same name. Today, Old Times serves as an invaluable resource for researching and writing this show each year! Augustus died on September 4, 1908 at age 71. He is buried in Denver, Colorado.
Phebe Cutter was born in 1764 to parents William and Mahitable Gray Cutter. On August 25, 1785, she married Ammi Ruhamah Mitchell. Over the next seventeen years they had 12 children together: Charles, David, William, Gardener, Elizabeth, Jacon, Tristram, Phoebe, Sarah, Narcissa, Lucretia and Francis. The family lived at 333 Main Street, a home that still stands today. Ammi Mitchell was a physician who also served as a representative in the Massachusetts Legislature (as prior to 1820, Maine was still part of Massachusetts), was a deacon of the Old Ledge Meetinghouse, was on the Board of Overseers of Bowdoin College, and was president of NYA’s board. Additionally, he helped to develop Yarmouth’s harbor. In 1824, Ammi Mitchell died in a buggy accident less than a half mile from his home. Phebe was left to care for the house and the children on her own. She died a short time later in 1829.
Below: grave of Sarah Bailey, shared headstone of Ammi & Phebe Mitchell, portrait of Captain Augustus Corliss, the face of the clock from the Yarmouth History Center's collection that is featured in the story
Angeline Jordan Gore (1861-1939)
Angeline Jordan Gore, known as Angie, was born in 1861 to Warren Jordan and Angene J. Blaisdell Jordan. She was the oldest of three children. On January 12, 1884, she married Frederic E. Gore in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1896 they moved to Yarmouth and built a house at 62 South Street . The home is still standing and is still referred to as the Gore House.
Frederic Gore (1860–1930) was a chemist for Yarmouth’s Forest Paper Company and was later named the company’s manager. The Forest Paper Company produced soda pulp using a process invented in 1854. In this process, the mill took pre-barked logs of poplar wood and cut them into small chips, then cleaned and pressure cooked those chips in large digesters. Soda or lye was then added at high heat to reduce the chips to a pulp. The pulp was then strained or dried into rolls of soda fiber which could then be shipped worldwide to be made into paper. By 1909, the Forest Paper Company was the largest mill of its kind in the world and produced approximately 80 tons of pulp per day. The mill closed in 1923 after import restrictions were lifted and Swedish pulp became cheaper. Today, it is the site of Royal River Park.
Angie was active in Yarmouth civic and social circles and participated in several women’s organizations. Most notably, she was a member of the Fortnightly Club, which hosted luncheons, speakers and social events for its members while also working to raise funds for different causes including the American Relief Fund, the Red Cross and the Yarmouth Library Fund. A story is recorded of one particular luncheon held in March of 1919 where members dressed in Irish costumes to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and “an entertainment followed, with the dancing of an Irish jig by Mrs. Gore and Mrs. Blanchard, Irish stories and other amusing features”.
Mr. and Mrs. Gore had no children but several photographs survive of their beloved pets. Angie was particularly devoted to her dog Skippy. Skippy was so important to her that she had a provision set in her will for Skippy’s care after her passing: she left $250 (the equivalent of over $5500 today) to a May F. Bennett “to be used to keep… Skippy in comfort so long as said dog shall live and to bury her decently”.
Below: Mrs. Gore in front of her home holding a bird, notice from the April 12, 1939 edition of the Portland Evening Express, a photo taken in front of the Gore home showing a dog (Skippy?) sitting atop a pony
Joseph A. Bucknam (1809-1892)
Joseph Walsh Bucknam (1854-1881)
Captain Joseph Bucknam was born in Yarmouth (then called North Yarmouth) in 1809. His was a family with a long seafaring history (his brother, Samuel Bucknam, also a sea captain, was featured in Stroll Haunted Yarmouth 2022!).
In 1848, Captain Bucknam employed Jerimiah Loring to build a house at 3 Cumberland Street for his bride-to-be, Mary Matilda Prince. By 1849, a house, porch, and barn are listed in the church tax record. This home is still standing and today is known as the “Captain Joseph Bucknam House”. Following their marriage in January 1849, the new Mr. & Mrs. Bucknam moved into the house and remained there for 19 years. In August of 1868, Joseph sold the house to Captain Samuel Thomas and the Bucknams moved elsewhere.
The couple’s only surviving child, Joseph Walsh Bucknam, died at sea in November of 1881 near Lobos Island, a part of the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain. According to a newspaper article reporting on his death, Seaman Joseph W. Bucknam had the misfortune to jam a toe on his left foot and the injury was so severe that it required the amputation of the toe. Days later, he developed jock-jaw and death soon followed. He was buried on Lobos Island.
Below: photo of Captain Joseph A. Bucknam with a handwritten account of this story
THE SHARED HOME ON CHURCH STREET
Rebecca Gurney Prince (1791-1879)
Priscilla Titcomb Lovell (1814-1904)
Rebecca Prince and Priscilla Lovell were two of the residents who once shared the home at 40 Church Street. Located on the corner of Church and Hillside Streets, the house was originally built in 1798 for the Reverend Thomas Green, who was the first pastor of the then-Baptist congregation of the Old Meetinghouse just across the street. After Reverend Green passed away, the house became a shared dwelling, in which two families lived together. This arrangement was not uncommon for the era, particularly for families where the husband/father worked away at sea for months at a time. In 1848 the home and property were formally registered in Cumberland County Registry of Deeds with two separate deeds. Though it remained a shared home until 1948, the house was oddly never converted into two separate dwellings. It did continue to have two separate deeds, however—in 2010, the current owners were required to officially purchase both halves of the house! Today, it is known as The Reverend Thomas Green House.
Rebecca was born November 17, 1791 in Cumberland to parents Lemuel and Huldah Blanchard Gurney. At the age of 20, on February 6, 1812, she married William Prince, a member of the large Prince family here in Yarmouth. They had six children: Cordelia, David, Julia, William, Otis and Huldah.
Priscilla was born October 7, 1814. Three days after her 27th birthday, on October 10, 1841, she married Josiah Lovell. The Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder lists their marriage has having been officiated by the Reverend Zabdiel Bradford of the Baptist Church at the pastor’s house. Priscilla and Josiah had four children: William, Jennie, Ellen and Nellie. Josiah was lost at sea in 1857.
In 1860, both Rebecca Prince and Priscilla Lovell sold their shares of the house and property. Prince sold her half to her daughter, Julia Ann Prince Lang, but remained living in the house under Julia’s care until she passed at the age of 87 on March 23, 1879. She is buried in Cumberland Center. Lovell sold her half to Azel Kingsley and moved to Portland before settling in Michigan to be closer to one of her daughters. She died in Muskegon, Michigan sometime after her 90th birthday and is buried in Nashua, New Hampshire
Below: The house at 40 Church Street, the grave of William & Rebecca Prince, the Lovell Family headstone
program history notes researched and written by
with images from the
the Yarmouth History Center collection