Hope Historical Society

Meeting of June 17th 2014



At the Hope Corner Firehouse President Donovan Bowley called the meeting to order at 9:37 AM. Also present were: the presenters: Edith Brown, Viola Richardson, Estelle Libby, Robert & Geneva Hall, Hartley & Florence Beverage, Mildred O'Jala, Barbara Ludwig and Lawrence & Janet Pease; plus Joe Berry, Gwen Brodis, Nancy Ford, Paul Hart, Linda Hillgrove, Bill Jones, Ann Leadbetter and Florance Merrifield.

Minutes of the May 2014 meeting were summarized. They were unanimously approved after corrections, notably on the price of Cindy Dellapenna's book.

Treasurer Gwen Brodis presented the Treasurer's report. It was unanimously received. Over the past month, receipts were $536.50 from our food sale at June elections, $60.78 from returnables and $60. (total = $657.28). Expenditures were $791.61 for insurance, $51. for electricity, $35 to register as a Maine non-profit and $ 25. to register for Maine State Archives & Museums (total = $902.61). Balances are $16,079.60 in our savings account and $1670.70.02 in our checking account. PenBay oil had still not specified its pre-buy cost for heating oil.


Gwen reminded members and guests to buy chances on Florance Merrifield's twin-bed quilt, which would benefit the Historical Society.

Donovan passed around a copy of Cynthia DellaPenna's just-published, 682-page An Array of Hope: Social News of Hope, Maine; 1888 to 1907.
The period is covers conveniently is that for which the US Census records were lost in a fire and Hope vital records were not well maintained following the death of a Town Clerk. Also, 1888, DellaPenna's start date, marked the first Hope census - the forerunner of the Hope Chronicle.

Donovan reviewed progress on construction of the Faith Ludwig Hart Memorial Room and the ground-floor, wheel-chair accessible bathroom. Paul Hart is doing the electrical work. It's because the Historical Home is torn up that we are meeting in the Corner Fire Station.


Under questioning by Ann Leadbetter (Program Committee Chair) the eleven presenters, whose average age was greater than that of the average Hope Historical Society member, recounted their experiences at school and of life in Hope and how one got around, mainly in the 1920s and 1930s. This valuable presentation is available on www.hopehist.com. Your secretary does not pretend to be able to summarize it. Here are a few notes.

Viola Richardson & Florence Beverage walked to Payson School. Girls wore dresses, not pants. Florence picked blueberries for 10 cents a box. When she got $10., she thought she was rich. She got a snowsuit made from re-processed wool from J.A.Brewster's shirt factory in Camden. Viola picked raspberries for 2 cents a quart. Got 50 cents a week for babysitting.

They and others, including Hartley Beverage, reported picking blueberries for Irving Wright on Bull Hill and for Miller Hobbs at the Taylor Place, as well as picking beans, peas and raspberries. This was before introduction of blueberry rakes. When one presenter [who? Florence Beverage?] picked beans so well for Allie Allen that she got done earlier than expected, Allen paid her less than had been agreed. Her family would no longer allow her to work there. In general, though, the presenters said they got any job they could. One was cutting potatoes - 4 bags for $1. Geneva Hall started working at the Mountain Street Hospital (Camden) at 16 carrying trays. She was promoted to cook.

Lawrence Pease described life in Peasetown. In winter, Lawrence and his dad worked the woods in snowshoes. They had a truck. Summers, they would truck vegetables to Brown's Market (Camden) 3 times per week, selling what Brown's didn't take door-to-door until noon. The Peases (and presumably others) also consigned farm goods at the Camden steamship pier to brokers they had never met at the Boston market without knowing what they would be paid. How much money came back depended, they believed, on market conditions about which they had no knowledge. Because the North Hope School closed, in 1924, the Peases moved to North Appleton for 6 years so that Lawrence could go to school. They harvested the Pitman Place on Appleton Ridge for Martin Gay Cannery and their own alternate years. Electricity got to North Hope in 1938.

People generally went to school on foot. During some years, Ludwig ran a school bus service, including taking scholars to Camden High School, but in other years, he didn't. Scholars coped as best they could. Some boarded with relatives or others in Camden.

At 10:28, the meeting took a break for refreshments arranged by Nancy Ford. Informal discussions resumed and continued almost until noon.

Respectfully submitted,
Bill Jones, Secretary