I feel very fortunate that both the paternal and maternal sides of my heritage were solid Maine folk.
The family on my father’s side came to our shores nearly 100 years before the Revolution, settling near Marblehead Massachusetts,fought in both the AR and the War of 1812 and then started to work their way north into what was at that time part of Massachusetts and of course now the State of Maine. My great,great,great,great grandfather started a farm on land in the Town of Monroe, not 15 miles from my home. And there my family stayed for nearly 150 years.
My mother’s family were French Canadians from the grand province of New Brunswick Canada having settled there, generations before, from France. My grandfather must have decided that the logging opportunity was better in Northern Maine than New Brunswick so he made his home in Island Falls where, being woodsman at heart, soon had his own logging crew and operation. As a kid visiting my grandparents we would occasionally have the chance to go out to the camp. I remember being fascinated with it all: the rough looking crew (some speaking French), the piles of logs, the teams of horses and most of all by the cookhouse with its huge wood cook stove , black cast iron cookware hanging from hooks, large cook pots and what seemed to me to be miles of dining tables.
This old photo, taken in 1912,
shows a much earlier woods camp than the one that I visited in the mid and late 50’s. My grandfather, Dennis, can be seen on the far right with his hand on the shoulder of one of his brothers and another brother standing on the roof.
There’s something about this picture of my grandfather and grand uncles and the others, that seem to show a sense of determination, resourcefulness, independence and daring that made Maine great.
Needless to say, I am very proud of my French, English and German heritage and I only wish that the old timers were still around so I could tell them so.
(Originally posted on March 2012 but now with revisions)