Hope Historical Society
Meeting of April 17th 2012


President Donovan Bowley called the monthly meeting to order at 9 AM at the Hope Historical Home. Also present were: Bob Appleby, Joe Berry, Gwen Brodis, Herb Hart, Bill Jones, Ann Leadbetter, and Barbara Ludwig.

Secretary Bill Jones read draft minutes of the November 15th and December 13th meetings. These were approved after corrections.

Treasurer Faith Hart reported that the balance in our accounts, which was $8,734.62 in November, was $10,388.54 in April. For details on income and expenditures, see the report.


For the Building Committee, Herb Hart reported that the water, drained for the winter, was working again. Mice may be getting tolerant of the D-con bait. Large quantities are disappearing, but there are still mice. Last year's agreement that Ron Smith would assist Herb with tasks he is medically forbidden to do, e.g. twisting motions, was reviewed. Herb reported that he and Sarah are preparing to move away. The members present expressed their wish that they would not do so soon. Herb said the Harts would donate a glass-front bookcase to HHS. The Memory Garden is in good condition.

For the Website Committee, Vice President and Webmaster Bob Appleby reported that use of www.hopehist.com continued to be brisk - about 200 visits/day, four times the traffic when it was started. Our website was featured in genealogist Rosanne Saucier's 18 March Bangor Daily News article, especially for Bob's complete coverage of Hope's cemeteries.
Thanks to the loan and permission of Jack Ellerkamp and his mother from Peterboro NH, Dunton descendants, Abner Dunton's 1853-58 diary is up on the website and public for the first time [Click on Families, then Dunton.]
Monterey, or the Mountain City, Hope author Moses Dakin MD's 1847 book, is on www.hopehist.com. [Click on Cemeteries, then Oak Grove, then Dakin.] (See below.)
Bob has been looking for some time for a picture of the Alford Flat School, the only one of Hope's 7 one-room schoolhouses of which we had had no photograph. Florance Merrifield found the photo; the school had been moved and converted into a hunting camp by the Merrifields. However, it was established that a painting, thought to have been of one another of our more obscure schools, wasn't. It has been taken down.
Our military coverage on Hopehist.com and our archives need updating. Please help.

For Archives, Donovan reported that he and Gwen Brodis have been reviewing, formally accessioning and preserving the collections since October using the shelving, supplies and training acquired through a Maine State Archives grant. When this work is completed, they will begin use the new PastPerfect software we have been able to purchase thanks to another Maine State Archives grant.
Last week, in the process of getting our collection in order, Gwen was going through a box of memorabilia that Hope Petri gave to her and Ruth Pearse when they were cleaning out the their family house (the Bills place) prior to selling it to Brian O'Neill. Hope had an ear trumpet, which made information-gathering interesting. In the box was the 4th extant copy of Moses Dakin's book! Unlike the world's other 3 copies, the Bills/Petri copy has ample notes and inscriptions in Dr, Dakin's hand. This discovery comes shortly after the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation chose the book for re-printing from the Library of Congress copy.

Donovan reported a gift from Betsy True, widow of Bill True, of an 1850s photograph - 16 men and boys in front of Hope Corner Store, all identified!

He also reported a $500 gift from Kat Hastings through the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund. Faith Hart wrote to thank her.

Donovan announced that the Hope Historical Home would be open regular hours this spring and summer. Gwen and Donovan will be there Mondays accessioning and computerizing. Marie Berry will volunteer to have our museum open at fixed hours on another day.

For the Program Committee, Ann Leadbetter reported that Bill Jones is supposed to get Sid Quarrier of Appleton to talk at our May 15th meeting.

Old Business: none

New Business

For years since it was moved there from Andy Swift's Firefly barn in about 1999, some members have objected to having the Grassow bean thresher taking up so much room in the Hope Historical Home barn. Efforts had been made to give it to the Union Farm Museum, the Windsor Fair Farm Museum, and the the Fryeburg Fair without success. Gwen moved that we have Donovan approach the Searsmont Historical Society to see whether they would take the thresher. After discussion, the seconded motion passed unanimously.

The intriguing mystery of what, if anything, is in the Society's ancient safe was raised. It was moved from the Town Office basement about 5 years ago by Ron Russell and Eric Pearse, having rested there since the School Committee used it, after receiving it from the Knox Mill in Camden. It is key locked. In living memory, there has been no key and it has not been opened. After discussion, it was decided unanimously to have Harold Simmons try to open it. Simmons, a Rockland High School graduate, is a well-respected businessman and historian with navy safecracking training.
* * *

At the end of the business meeting at 9:55, Brad Boyd, Chris, Francina & William Pearse joined the gathering for the program.

William Pearse (b. 04/12/1920) spoke of the development of Hope's roads. The talk is preserved in our audio archive. William's written notes, which contain additional information, will be available on www. hopehist.com.

The start of state aid in the late 1930s was a watershed.

Prior to that time, roads had no drainage. Even then, there was no gravel source in Hope. Roads were fixed by filling hopes with rocks and dirt using horses. There were huge frost heaves, then erosion. Most of the time, the road bed was below the surrounding surface. Roads became streams. People walked a lot. Roads became icy in winder, then muddy.

Roads were fixed in May by pulling sod and rocks into the center. There would be two horse teams pulling the town grader and two men with rakes. With rain, it was some slippery. In winter, some plowing was done even then. Tyle Noyes plowed with 6 horses and a metal triangle drag.

This solution was not elegant. People walked a lot. Horses and wagons went along crab-like in the ruts. What was possible for horse & wagon was not for cars. Tire sidewalls would get damaged.

In the 1930s, town road commissioners tried using powered vehicles. In 1932, Elmer True tried using a Ford G8 truck, but it didn't work out. In 1934, Herbert Hardy was more successful. Then Dean & Eugley (Linccolnville) used two trucks, a plow and a pasher truck. Ollie Allen was then commissioner but he had Neill Libby do the driving for him. Neill got stuck.

The advent of state aid in the late 1930s transformed roadwork and roads. They were built up to ground level and drainage was added. They ceases to be streams and gradually became practicable for cars.

This up-grading of roads was a long process. Annual up-grades were short. The first was from the Hope Corner store to the Coose place (now Dr. Laurita's and soon to be Rosie's) - 1500 feet of what is now Route 235.

By the time William was in high school in the late 1930s, Barnestown Road was a state road, but you went to Camden High School via Hope Corner. Marion Hart, Uncle Reuben Barrett and William's folks took turns driving the Corner scholars, leaving the cars at Dr. Hall's. Cars were hard to start in winter. When William was a sophomore, his father took fever. Dr. Hart from Camden could only be got to Reuben Barretts so the patient had to be walked there and back.

Barnestown Road was improved in small annual increments, starting from the Camden line at Barnestown. People still went to Camden through the Corner and via Route 105 though most of the time. After World War II, when roads started to be plowed, they would put sand piles in the road. Men with rakes spread the sand. Then trucks spread liquid tar on it. The first few users' vehicle undersides were tarred too. Tarring of Barnestown Road reached the Pearse farm in 1962.

There was a lively and fact-filled discussion.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill Jones, Secretary