Saturday, May 4, 2013

Maine Old Cemetery Week, 2013


Maine Old Cemetery Association (MOCA) has announced attempts to re-establish Maine Old Cemetery Week, May 19-25, 2013, as part of its mission to encourage and support the preservation, maintenance, and study of old cemeteries.  

It has been noted by some members of the organization that the tradition of Maine families tending burial grounds during the Memorial Day weekend has fallen somewhat by the wayside in recent years. MOCA is encouraging local historical organizations, civic associations, Boy and Girl Scouts, Fraternal and Veterans groups to lead community projects to tend local burial grounds in hopes of reigniting interest in protecting and preserving local burial grounds.

While MOCA encourages the tidying of burial grounds, members of the public who lack appropriate training are asked to refrain from undertaking the cleaning of gravestones. Despite being made of stone, many grave markers—particularly early stones—are extremely fragile in nature and once damage is done, it is difficult and expensive to make effective repairs.  

While inappropriate cleaning methods, such as power washing or scrubbing stones with bleach and wire brushes may temporarily yield aesthetically-pleasing effects, these approaches result in irreparable damage to stone surfaces that can result in cracking, flaking, scaling, or granularization ("sugaring") of surfaces. Extensive loss of stone surface, of course, results in illegible inscriptions and the loss of historic information.

In response to a spate of cemetery thefts of tomb doors and metal gravestone fittings from remote Maine cemeteries in late 2012, MOCA instituted a new, online cemetery vandalism reporting tool. If, while participating in Maine Old Cemetery Week, incidents of cemetery vandalism or theft are discovered, people are encouraged to not only make reports to local authorities but to also file a report with MOCA by visiting http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~memoca/moca.htm and selecting the link, “Report Cemetery Vandalism.” Among information MOCA is gathering is locations, descriptions and photos of damage, estimates of damages (if known), and any planned repairs.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Disrepair of Veterans' Graves in Maine

As Americans celebrate the Memorial Day weekend, 2012, it should be remembered that the grave sites of many fallen soldiers have fallen into disrepair as well as being heavily vandalized by youth who lack the maturity to express anger and frustration in a less destructive manner.  Gravestones are smashed or torn out of the ground and stolen or thrown into the bushes in unmaintained areas of remote cemeteries.

Maine Statute provides for the maintenance and preservation of Veterans' graves but as we all know, funding is scarce in these difficult economic times.  The least expensive form of maintenance is prevention of cemetery vandalism.

§1101. Maintenance and repairs; municipality
In any ancient burying ground, as referenced in Title 30-A, section 5723, or public burying ground in which any Revolutionary soldiers or sailors or veterans of the Armed Forces of the United State of America who served in any war are buried, the municipality in which said burying ground is located shall keep in good condition and repair all graves, headstones, monuments or markers designating the burial place of said Revolutionary soldiers or sailors or veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States of America who served in any war and shall keep the grass suitably cut and trimmed on those graves from May 1st to September 30th of each year. [1999, c. 700, §1 (AMD).]

SECTION HISTORY
1977, c. 255, §1 (AMD). 1999, c. 700, §1 (AMD).

The following are a small sampling of poorly maintained or vandalized Veteran's gravestones found in the Central Maine region.

Mills Cemetery, Bradford, ME. Cast iron marker with zinc plaque.  Heavily rust.


Inscription:
Henry H. Rice
died
Feb 21st 1877
Aged
42 years and 4 months

Henry H. Rice served as a private in Co. B,  5th Maine Infantry

Photo taken 2008
Photo taken 2012




 Inscription:
Eugene Lord
wounded in the assault
before Petersburg, VA. June
18.  Died at City Point June
25, 1864.  AE. 19 years.
2 mos. & 6 days.

Son of Augustus &
Hannah Lord



Eugene Lord enlisted Nov 30, 186 as a private in Co. F., Maine 1st Heavy Artillery Regiment.  According to Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Maine, Lord died June 23, 1864.

South Branch Cemetery (formerly Fiske Cemetery), Levant, ME
Inscription:
Levi Corson, Jr.
Co. F
1st Me.
Art.

Neglected graves of Levi Corson, Jr, who served in Co. F., Maine 1st Heavy Artillery Regiment and his son, Charles
South Branch Cemetery (formerly Fiske Cemetery), Levant, ME

 Inscription:
William B. Elliott
A Member of Co. C.
11 Me. Regiment
Was KiLLed by the
hand of an assassin
Fed. 5, 1879
AE. 36 yrs. 11 mos.

Poorly cleaned stones in the heavily vandalized South Branch Cemetery, Levant.

South Branch Cemetery (formerly Fiske Cemetery), Levant, ME

Inscription:
C.H. Staples
Co. H.
22d Me.
Inf.

Charles H. Staples enlisted as a private, Oct. 10, 1862 in Company H, Maine 22nd Maine Regiment.  Died May 5, 1863.
South Branch Cemetery (formerly Fiske Cemetery), Levant, ME







Gravestones were smashed and tossed into the brush where they have become overgrown.

The remote location of South Branch Cemetery makes it a favorite spot for teenage vandals to desecrate graves.  This scattering of ruined stones extends for several yards into the brush.  A broken United States flag what once marked a Veteran's grave lays discarded in the foreground.
Vandalized Marker
Hillside Cemetery, Bradford, ME
 
 Inscription:
 change...
of pure affections...
He meekly gave up all for Christ
And felt to die was gain.

Jumbled stones in the woods beside Hillside Cemetery, Bradford, ME.  Vandalized and discarded stones include those of Civil War Veterans. 

Corner Cemetery, Bradford, ME

Inscription:
Charles A. Edgerly
Son of Eben &
Bashaba Edgerly,
died at Washington, D.C.
Aug. 9, 1861,
AE. 25 yrs. & 4 mos.

To live in hearts of those we love
Is not to die.








South Dover Cemetery, Route 15
06/07/2012



In memory of
John F. Bryant
a member of Co. I. 5
Regt. Me. Vols. killed in
battle at South Mountain, Va.
Sept. 14, 1862
AE. 38 yrs. 6 ms. ---









South Dover Cemetery, Route 15
06/07/201
Charles D.
Son of James R. & Betsey B. Crommett,
A member of Co. K. 31 Reg
Me. Volunteers who died May 21, 1864,
AE 17 yrs. 6 mos & 6 days


How we have loved thee!
A father's anguish hath revealed full well,
A mother's gentler sorrow long will show,
And  tears that in thy sister's eyes yet swell,
And brother's sighs and friends that mourn thee now,
Speak how we loved thee.

North Dixmont Cemetery
06/07/2012





The sunken, unmarked grave of Captain Samuel Getchell lays beside the marked grave of his wife, Sarah, beside which the local Veteran's leave a flag.







North Dixmont Cemetery
06/07/2012





Wm. T. Gray
Died
Feb. 21, 1864
1st Regt Heavy Artillery

Cummings Cemetery, Parkman
06/07/2012




John R. Sprague
2nd Lieut. of Co. D.
8th Regt. Maine Vols
died July 15, 1862,
AE. 22 yrs. & 8 mos.

Henry H. [son of]
Orrin & Mary A. Sprague
died June 22,  -----
AE 15 yrs. & 2 -----


South Levant Cemetery
06/07/2012


For more information about how to help preserve Maine's cemeteries, visit the Maine Old Cemetery Association Web site at: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~memoca/moca.htm







Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mt. Hope Virtual Tour: The Merchant of Bangor


Here lies the Remains of
Joseph H. Marie Junin
of La Rochelle in France
who departed this Life
the 18th Feby AD 1791,
In the 32d Year of his Age,
& the second Year of the
E'ra fo the French Liberty
Carrying with him
to the Grave
the sorrows of all
who knew him
May his soul rest in peace.



Friday night did not go well for Joseph H.M. Junin. No one truly knows what passed between the French fur trader and his nephew, Louis Paronneau, that evening. What is known is that the merchant--and suspected British spy--was found dead in his bed inside his small log cabin situated on one acre of land at the foot of Exchange Street in Bangor.

Junin purchased the parcel of land from Bangor settler, Jacob Dennett, on July 7, 1790 and established the cabin which served as both his trading post and home. His business “was what was called a trucking business; that is, an exchange traffic, where little or no money was used” (1882:538).

Despite rumors that Junin served as a British spy who used his influence with the Native population of the region to create trouble for American Revolutionaries in 1777, he was accepted into the young settlement on the shore of the Penobscot River, and welcomed as one of only three or four merchant/traders in the region.

Image: 1790 United States Federal Census Record for David Howe,
assistant to the Marshall of the District of Maine. Number of free
white persons in the house hold, 2.

When Junin arrived in the fledgling community, he was accompanied by his 16-year-old nephew, Louis Paronneau. On the evening of Feb. 18, 1791, just seven days before Bangor’s incorporation as a city, Paronneau, “in great excitement rushed into the house of Jacob Dennett” and declared his fear that “the Indians would kill his uncle.” Shortly after the boy left the Dennett house, the report of gun fire was heard by witnesses in the area.

Junin’s cabin was visited following the gun fire, where witnesses found a scatter of muskrat skins on the floor and the 32-year-old trader dead his bed, shot twice through the head as he lay sleeping. According to accounts written by Joseph Porter (1887), Paronneau insisted that three Indians broken in and shot his uncle.

Historians’ accounts agree that five men, including Jacob Dennett, searched the woods and roads, through deep snow to search for rogue members of the Penobscot tribe and found no evidence of other parties.

Jonah Eddy, Justice of the Peace, summonsed a jury of 13 reputable men to the home of Jacob Dennett to view the body of the murder victim and hear testimony of witnesses to the evening’s events. The panel found probable cause that Paronneau committed the murder in order to gain possession of his uncle’s holdings.

As a result of the inquest, an arrest warrant was issued for Paronneau who was found three days later on February 22, traveling south along the Penobscot and apprehended.

Paronneau was held for trial at Pownalboro Jail. While in jail, Paronneau was not idle. On April 8, 1791, he wrote to the French Consul at Boston, Phillippe Andre Joseph de Létombe. The letter, now held in the Archives Nationales, Paris, is mentioned in passing in French Consuls in the United States by Nasatir and Monnell, and would have been unavailable to early Maine historians, who declared it a mystery as to how such a powerful political figure became involved in the case on the boy’s behalf.

According to Nasatir and Monnell, Létombe communicated to Chancellor Fleurieu:

"A young man named Paronneau, 15-16 years old, called by his uncle, M. Junin to Penobscot a year or two ago in the fur trade with the Indians. Boy arrived last year; he went to College de Soregu-Languedoc. Boy met schoolmates here. Informed last Fall that Junin was killed by him. Jury of Inquest said it was willful murder. Louis Paronneau imprisoned; says he is innocent" (1967:56).

Enclosed with this communication, Nasatir and Monnell note, is the letter of Paronneau to the Consul of France dated April 8, 1791. The letter is briefly summarized as follows:

“Asks his aid. Says he is innocent. Is in debt” (1967:56).

The Chancellor was sent to Pownalboro to “make and inventory” and serve as a guardian to Paronneau. Létombe also retained the region’s most prominent attorneys to defend the boy: John Gardiner and General William Lithgow, Jr.

The desperate youth did not halt his pleas for assistance with the French Consulate of Boston, however. On April 14, 1791, before his letter was even able to reach Boston, Paronneau authored a telling letter to President George Washington, published in The Papers of George Washington Presidential Series Vol 8, March-September 1791.

The letter, in Paronneau’s words, follows:

"Oh! Glorious Deliverer of your Country; I most Humbly beg you to excuse my temerity in Daring to expose before your Highness a Picture of woes to which your mild Heart will be very sensible.

I have left my Country, at that prayer of a beloved uncle; The most Horrid murder has Deprived me of this Dear father, and (Could your Excellency believe the sad tale) black injustice with all its most Criminal Jury accuses me of being his murderer: I am Dragged in a Narrow Gaol where innocence ought Never to go: Nor my tears, nor my prayers, nor my innocence Can move the flinted Heart of inhumans who perhaps (oh Horror) are guilty of the Crime of which they accuse me.

be your Greatness Judge of my griefs in thinking of the Sorrow of a father and of a Mother that tenderly Cherish their son who pay's em with the same Love. I weep bitterly: not for myself, I weep, since I am innocent: but for the whole family of which I have always been the Delight.

In the name of your shining glory, in the name of Humanity, Design to interest yourself in the behalf of an unjustly accused youth; in the name of your greatness bear to the French Nation may your remedy the Dangerous sickness of one of her Limbs. with the most profound respect I implore all the succor, all the pity, all the tears that Justly Deserves of your Highness, the most unfortunate, the most thankful of the part you will take to his misfortunes, & most Humble Servt,

Louis Paronneau"

Though there is no evidence that Washington responded to the plea in any particular manner, it is interesting to note that Paronneau makes no mention of his uncle’s identity in his letter. Junin, whose actions during the Revolution and close relationship with the Penobscot Indians were tracked closely and reported by John Allan, superintendent of the Eastern Indians, Machias, would have been well-known to George Washington. Also of interest in Paronneau’s letter is his narcissistic tone and the suggestion that his accusers―rather than rogue Penobscot Indians―may be responsible for the murder and are framing him. In fact, the boy, while claiming innocence, makes no mention of the defense he emphasized to Dennett, Eddy, and the men of Bangor.

In July 1791, Consul Létombe traveled to Pownalboro to attend the trial. Under the representation of Gardner and Lithgow, Paroneau was acquitted of the charges and the balance of his uncle’s estate—minus costs for the search, inquest, several casks of rum for use by the Jury and gaoler, and 39 shillings for a gravestone—was turned over to John James Paronneau. In a communication to Chancellor Thevenard, Létombe flatly states, “I am sending him to his parents at La Rochelle.”

On August 3, 1791 Paronneau again wrote to President Washington, informing him of his release.

"My Lord, Pardon my Freedom if I dare flatter my Self that your generous Heart (if Nevertheless great objects interest themselves to small ones) hath heard with pleasure & joy the News of my Deliverance. yes: Justice hath taken place, & them who Seeked the News my Death have been Disappointed. you Highness hath, without Doubt, received the Letter I took the liberty of writing at the time of My Detention, Knowing your greatness was the father of Humanity, I have take the Leave of expounding my misfortunes: Misfortunes which I had not merited. the Love I bear to my parents too Strongly engages me to return to them; to make any Delay: therefore, I go: to Consolate a Desperate family, Mourning Brothers, & Sorrowful friends. if ever fortune favours me as much as to bring me to this Country again; please your excellency to give me the Leave of presenting my Self before"

Again, Paronneau’s personality shows in his letter as he makes no mention of the French Consul intervening on his behalf or that is it, indeed, the Consul who is sending him home to France. Though this was the Consul’s intent, there is evidence the boy eventually ended up in French colonial Region Grande Anse in Santo Domingo where his name is recorded in the Jérémie Papers, 1714-1896, currently held in the University of Florida in Gainesville archives. According to the Jérémie Papers, on April 20, 1796 a request was issued by M. Lefranc, trustee, to inventory the property of the late M. Louis Paronneau.

While events played out in the life of Louis Paronneau, his uncle, Joseph Junin was afforded burial by Bangor citizens in the cemetery at the corner of Oak and Washington Streets, a 39-shilling slate marker noting his grave. The French trader was later relocated to Old City Cemetery, adjacent to Mt. Hope Cemetery in 1835, along with other graves from the Oak Street cemetery, to clear the property for use by the railroad.

Note that the Tympanum of the slate stone is broken off. Though the overall style of this stone, as well as several of the older slate stones surrounding it, is in an earlier colonial design, with very narrow shoulders and no boarder design surrounding the tablet inscription, due to the date of the stone around 1791, the tympanum design could likely have been an very early Federalist urn motif which rose to popularity following the American Revolution, particularly after the death of George Washington in 1799.

Sources:

Filby, P. William, ed. (2010). Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s. Farmington Hills, MI, USA: Gale Research.

History of Penobscot County, Maine with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches. (1882) Cleveland: Williams, Chase & Co.

Jérémie Papers, 1714-1896. MS Group 17 (8-20). University of Florida in Gainesville Archives.

Nasatir, Abraham P. & Gary Elwyn Monell. (1967). French Consuls in the United States: A calendar of their correspondence in the Archives Nationalles. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Porter, Joseph W., ed. (1887). The Bangor Historical Magazine, Vol. II. July 1886—June 1887

Porter, Joseph W. (1877). Memoir of Col. Jonathan Eddy, of Eddington, ME: with some account of the Eddy Family, and of the Early Settlers on Penobscot River. Augusta, ME: Sprague, Owen, & Nash.

Twohig, Dorothy,ed. (1999). The Papers of George Washington. Presidential Series: Vol 8. March-September 1791. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.

United States Federal Census (1790) Record for David Howe, assistant to the Marshall of the District of Maine.

Submission Edited: 01/19/2012

© Kimberly J. Sawtelle, 2012

Visit the first installment of the Mount Hope Cemetery Virtual tour at:
http://onagravesubject.blogspot.com/2011/09/virtual-tour-of-mount-hope-cemetery.html

Friday, January 13, 2012

Grave markers Stolen from Woolwich Maine Cemetery

In early January 2012, two significant, historical grave markers were reported missing from the Nequasset Cemetery in Woolwich, Maine.

The first marker, dating from Maine's colonial period, is dedicated to the memory of Deacon Samuel Ford. The thin, tablet-style marker, features a unique winged-head design with the inscription, "Know ye the Hour." Additional historical information about the marker is available through the Maine Memory Network online at http://www.mainememory.net/artifact/12469/.



The second missing marker belongs to the grave of Reverend Josiah Winship, who departed this life Sept. 28, 1824. This slate marker features an elegantly carved willow-and-urn motif, as can be seen in the attached image, photocopied from the January 2012 Maine Antique Digest.

Please share this information widely among your friends and associates, including antique dealers.

Any information regarding the missing stones should be directed to the Maine State Police, or the stones may be returned to the Nequasset Cemetery.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Virtual Tour of Mount Hope Cemetery

September 17, 2011 tour sponsored by Maine Old Cemetery Association hearing the history of the nation's first Civil War monument honoring the Union dead, dedicated June 16, 1864.

In June 2011, I was asked to give a walking tour of Mount Hope Cemetery for members of the Association of Gravestone Studies attending the 34th annual conference in Waterville, Maine. Since then, I've given a couple more walking tours, each one expanding as people ask questions, spurring me to research the cemetery and its residents in greater and greater depth.

Comments from friends living at a distance have spurred me to move my tour content to a Virtual Tour available through my On a Grave Subject blog. Due to the scope of information, I will start with an historic overview and expand as I have opportunity. For more information about the history of Bangor, Maine please visit the Bangor Museum and Center for History website. The Maine Memory Network also provides access to rare historical resources.

Historic Overview of the City of Bangor, Maine

View of Mount Hope Cemetery, the second oldest garden cemetery in the United States consecrated July 21, 1836.

The City of Bangor, situated on the West bank of the Penobscot River and bisected by the Kenduskeag Stream, was first settled in 1769 by Jacob Buswell (Bussell), along with his pioneering wife and eight children. By 1772, the settlement of Kenduskeag Plantation boasted 12 families: Buswell, Howard, Crosby, Dennet, Smart, Treat, Rowell, Webb, Webster and Hathorn


In Memory of Sarah Crosby, wife of Simon Crosby died June 1st 1810. AE. 79. She was an honour to her family, and a bright example of the Christian Religion. Sarah and a half-dozen of her descendants were relocated by the Crosby family from the "Crosbyville" plot on Thatcher Street to Mount Hope Cemetery, thus avoiding the fate of many small family burial grounds obliterated by urban development.

Bangor's earliest public proceedings were dated 1789, when community members established a place of public worship. The act of incorporation was obtained February 25, 1791, 22 years after the Buswell family settled on the banks of the Penobscot. By this time, the village included 567 members. The good Reverend S.L. Pomroy was selected to file the official papers for Kenduskeag Plantation's formal incorporation.


In Memory of Francis Elliott, son of Daniel & Issabella Lambert Died Jan 7, 1827. Slate willow and urn style stone in the old Bangor City Cemetery.

As he entered the clerk's office, Rev. Pomroy was humming his favorite hymn entitled, "Bangor." When the registry clerk requested the name of the new community, Pomroy misunderstood and gave the clerk the title of the hymn. From that moment forward, Kenduskeag Plantation was known as Bangor.

In 1834, a city charter, council and mayor were established and the city, riding a surge of timber harvesting, log drives and ship building, grew rapidly in population and wealth. Following major floods of the city in 1846 and 1849, epidemic Cholera outbreaks resulted in significant numbers of deaths.

Historic Overview of Bangor's Public Burial Grounds

View of Bangor's old City Cemetery. The position of stones relocated from Bangor's oldest burial grounds indicate that bodies did not accompany the markers. The earliest marker is a slate marker dated 1791.

Though small, family burial plots were scattered across the Bangor landscape and have long-since disappeared under urban growth, the earliest communal burial ground was located on Thomas Hill, near the present day junction of Highland Avenue and Highland Street. As the town's population increased, the grounds located on this steep slope were quickly abandoned and two new burial grounds were established on opposite sides of the Kenduskeag Stream around 1807.

One burial ground was located on the lot now occupied by the YMCA building at the southerly end of Court Street. The second lot was located between Oak Street and the Penobscot River.

In 1834 as the city's charter was adopted, "the prevailing sentiments of its citizens strongly favored the selection of new cemetery grounds." Discussion regarding the location of the new burial grounds grew heated and the Bangor Horticultural Society was formed to purchase 50-acres on the outskirts of the city and hire Charles G. Bryant, a noted local architect, to design a "landscape" or "garden" cemetery. Consecrated on July 21, 1836, Mount Hope Cemetery was second only to Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge Massachusetts to reflect the mid-19th Century American disenchantment with urban centers and a desire to provide a romanticized rural atmosphere within reach of the city dweller.

The relocated gravestone of Tolman Cary, the son of Ezra Cary and Cynthia Tolman was born July 17, 1796, Sterling, Mass. He graduated from Bowdoin College and was a practicing physician in Sangerville, Maine. He died in Bangor, June 28, 1830. Source: General catalogue of Bowdoin College, 1794-1916.

According to Albert W. Paine, counselor at Law, in his History of Mount Hope Cemetery, Bangor, Maine, written in 1907, around 1837, the extension of Court Street to Hammond Street was completed. As today, the court house was adjacent to a steep hill leading into a deep valley. In order to finish Court Street, it was deemed necessary to dump the hill into the valley.

Unfortunately, the selected resource included one of the two cemeteries established in 1807. Having been active for the previous 30 years, there were still living relatives of the dead residing in the city. One evening, during a stroll, a local citizen recognized a coffin protruding from the fill area, as well as human remains. There was an immediate outcry and what remains could be located and secured were removed and re-buried at the second 1807 cemetery, located near Oak Street.

Thirteen years later, in 1850, the City Council closed the Oak Street cemetery and in December of that year, conveyed the property to Maine Central Railroad. Burials from the cemetery were relocated to what is now the old section of Bangor City Cemetery, which lies directly adjacent to Mount Hope Cemetery. Bangor City Cemetery, though a separate entity, is under management of the Mount Hope Cemetery Corporation.

Management and maintenance of Mount Hope and Bangor City Cemeteries are undertaken by Superintendent Stephen Burrill.

For more information about Mount Hope Cemetery, a cemetery map, and access to interment records, please visit the Mount Hope Cemetery website.

Stay tuned for the next stop on my Virtual Tour of Mount Hope Cemetery and an opportunity to meet Bangor's first European victim of murder at the hands of another European.

Next stop on the virtual tour, The Merchant of Bangor:
http://onagravesubject.blogspot.com/2012/01/mt-hope-virtual-tour-merchant-of-bangor.html

Saturday, July 10, 2010

In Memoriam: The Resurrection of Job


Like so many others, nearly everything Job Collett created during 50 years of hard work and dedication, disappeared in the roaring flames of the Great Bangor Fire of 1911. Today, though his image lives on in the microfilm and digitized archives of The Bangor Daily Whig & Courier, his name is all but forgotten, save the prominent lettering on a large granite monument that marks his place of rest at Mount Hope Cemetery on State Street.



The imposing marker bearing the name of Job Collett is crafted from fine-grained, gray granite and stands at the head of a family plot containing six graves. The stone exhibits architectural characteristics of the Classic Revival period with the hipped-gable “cap” design featuring a false entablature with engraved dentil frieze. A graceful, concave curvature of the four sides of the stone save the monument from a clumsy, blocky feel, while the raised Commercial Gothic lettering makes an authoritative statement.

The rigid structure of the primary marker and foot markers for Job, second wife Elizabeth, and son Charles T. Collett, stand in stark contrast to the sentimental Victorian era white marble markers for Job’s mother, Jane Marks and Job and Elizabeth’s infant children, Willie and Lillie. In even greater contrast is the romantic, yet naturalistic marble stump gravestone memorializing Job’s first wife, Julia M. and eldest daughter, Jennie M.

A graceful, curvilinear grape vine is carved climbing the front of the stump marker, its roots exposed as if having been pulled from the earth; its fruit withering on the vine. Atop the stump’s slanted top lay a dove in the throes of death, a twig of laurel pillowing its small head.

Lettering on the front and sides of the stone are mixed raised Commercial Gothic for the proper and family names, and engraved Lombardic-style lettering providing dates and status as “wife” and “daughter.” The inscriptions read: Julia M. Collett / April 1, 1828 / Sept. 16, 1853. Jennie M. / Daughter of Job & Julia M. Collett / July 26, 1850 / Feb. 22, 1872. Wife and daughter of / Job Collett.






Each of the cut tree limbs on the Collett stump stone exhibits the checking pattern of wood cut and exposed to weather and drying. Three straight lines radiate from a central point in each limb. The frequency of occurrence of this particular pattern in rustic stump stones through out Maine, indicate it is an established part of the overall form. Likely it also represents the Holy Trinity, as a vast number of rustic tree stump stones in the Bangor region are located in the Catholic cemetery. That the pattern carries over to stones carved for Protestant markers points to the mark being part of an accepted design and a likelihood, that the stone cutters themselves were of the Catholic faith.





The stone of Jane Marks, mother of Job Collett, is executed in a Gothic Revival motif, reflecting the decorated English gothic style with a ribbed, acute arch with ornamented terminals. The central design is that of an open book or Bible with the words: “St. John Chap. XIV” carved on the left facing page; the King James version of which reads:
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
The word “Mother” appears in raised Commercial Gothic lettering, matching the style of Job’s primary marker as well as that of Julia and Jennie.

On the back of the stone the inscription is engraved in Lombardic-style lettering which reads: Jane Marks, wife of Thomas Collett, died April 23, 1862, AE. 68 years. Native of Milksham [sic], Wilts [sic], England.

The final white marble stone in the Collett family plot is that marking the graves of infants Willie and Lillie, children of Job and second wife, Elizabeth A. (Sawyer) Collett.

The sentimental stone depicts a lamb, either dead or sleeping, atop the stone asymmetrically draped in fabric with tassels adorning the corners. As with the other stones on the lot, the names of the children are in raised Commercial Gothic font while the engraved inscription on the back of the stone is completed in Lombardic-style lettering. The inscription reads:

Willie T.
Died March 30, 1856,
AE 5 weeks.
Lillie,
Died July 19, 1866,
AE 7 weeks, 4 days.
Children of Job & Elizabeth A. Collett






In stark contrast to the marble markers, the foot marker for Job Collett, wife Elizabeth A. (Sawyer) and son Charles T., are stark, almost industrial gray granite blocks matching that of the primary stone. Inscriptions are incised in Commercial Gothic lettering bearing just the facts and no particular sentiment.

Job Collett
Born May 26, 1825
Died July 26, 1894








Elizabeth A.
wife of
Job Collett
Born May 17, 1834
Died Nov. 4, 1906
















Charles T. Collett
Born Dec. 26, 1857
Died Nov. 16, 1919











Who was Job Collett?
Job Collett was born on May 26, 1825, a native of Melksham, Wiltshire, England; the son of Thomas and Jane (Marks) Collett. Thomas and Jane immigrated to New Haven, Connecticut approximately 1826, with Job (then age one) and three older sons, Jacob, John, and Thomas, Jr. in tow. The family later moved to Lowell, Massachusetts and finally to Bangor, around 1845. The Collett name first appears in the Bangor Maine City Directory in 1846. Both Thomas and Thomas, Jr., living on Pine Street, are noted as file cutters in this directory but Job’s name is absent from the listing.

In 1848, Thomas, Sr. and son John are listed as file cutters in the city directory, doing business at the Exchange Street location but neither Thomas, Jr. nor Job is listed. It is not until 1851 that Job’s name makes it’s first appearance in the Bangor City Directory, listed as being employed at Woodbury & Collett File Factory and Hardware Store, 35 Exchange Street, Bangor.

The Bangor Daily Whig & Courier (The Whig) in July 1847 notes the “removal” of T. & J. File Factory, Hardware and Saws to a storefront on Exchange Street, next to Phillips & Witherley’s Brick Block, three doors north of York Street. According to later articles in The Whig, the file factory was apparently named for brothers Thomas and Job. First evidence of the Woodbury & Collett partnership appears in The Whig on April 10, 1850. From that point forward, Job Collett ran daily advertisements promoting the sale of new and re-cut files, first from the joint Woodbury & Collett venture and from 1852 on as a solo operation.

Following his death in August 1897, The Whig ran a brief article stating: “The late Mr. Job Collett was a pioneer in this city in advertising by a cut of himself. Many of The Whig readers will remember the “ad” and the position it occupied for years at the head of the first column on the first page with the injunction, “Files! Files! Now is the time to sharpen up,” while below was a cut of M. Collett sitting at a file block in the act of cutting a file. He used this “ad” for years and became well known all over the State thereby.”

A wood cut portrait of Job Collett seated at a file block cutting a file ran almost daily from 1850 until the 1880s on the pages of The Bangor Daily Whig & Courier, making Collett a pioneer of self-promotion among local businessmen. The copy typically read:

Files! — — — Files!
Now is the Time to Sharpen Up
and get ready for business. I have on hand
1000 Dozen Files
and am finishing off 150 dozen per week
which I am selling at
The Lowest Prices.
And will warrant them equal to any imported
Call and see them.
Old Files Re-cut as usual
Job Collett — — — Exchange Street


It was during the early period of Job Collett’s career that he married his first wife, Julia M., also a native of England. Research has yet to reveal if the marriage occurred in Maine or Massachusetts. The couple produced a daughter, Jennie M., on July 26, 1850, the same year Job ventured into his solo file cutting business. Three years later, Julia died on September 16, 1853. The cause of Julia’s death has not been established and no obituary noting her passing appeared in The Whig.

Daughter Jennie died on February 22, 1872. Jennie’s brief obituary, which provides no cause of death, appeared on page two of the February 24, 1872 Whig & Courier: “DIED In this city, Feb. 22d, Jennie M. Collett, daughter of Job Collett, aged 21 years, 6 months and 26 days. The funeral will take place Sunday afternoon at 10 1/2 o’clock, at the Vestry of the Universalist Church. Friends and relatives are invited.”

As a widower with a toddler to raise and a business to grow, it was necessary for Job to remarry. His second wife was Elizabeth A. Sawyer, age 19 or 20, of Old Town, Maine. Together, the couple raised Jennie and gave birth to five children of their own. Their eldest child, Willie T., died in at five weeks of age in 1856. Ten years later, baby Lillie would die at only seven weeks and four days old, in 1866. Charles T., Carrie and Henry Eugene all survived to adulthood.

Elizabeth undoubtedly saw to the raising of children and various, typical household duties of the day as she was noted in the U.S. Census Reports as “keeping house.” Elizabeth is mentioned only four times in The Whig, once as a participant in a musical production at Norumbega Hall in the early 1880s; once when Job took ill while in Howland and she was called to his side; again when falling in 1887 and breaking her wrist while attempting to board a carriage; and finally—and the only time by name—in Job’s obituary, July 1894.

Intent on building his business and wealth, in 1857 Job invested in constructing a brick structure on the corner of York and Exchange Streets, which initially housed Pomfret & Langley West India Goods, Grocery and Provision Business in August 1857. Through the records of The Whig, it is obvious businesses changed frequently in and out of the Collett building while Job’s business continued to operate out of its original Exchange Street storefront. The onset of the Civil War and subsequent economic depression of the 1870s likely contributed to this frequent turn over of occupants.

Though a G.A.R. flag holder is placed at Job’s headstone in Mount Hope Cemetery, there is no record of the gentleman serving during the war. While other prominent businessmen of the day freely spoke out in support of the war, there is only one mention of the staunchly republican Job Collett in the columns of The Whig between 1861 and 1865 (beyond his usual advertisement), leading one to believe that, publicly at least, he was discrete in his opinion of the War Between the States.

Prominence and Prosperity
In 1861, The Whig reported that Job filed a claim against City Council for damaged done to his property as a result road grading done on Exchange Street. The matter was tabled and no further mention of the issue is made in the pages of the press, however, in 1871 Job was named a Street Engineer for the Bangor City Council. Following this appointment, the editors of The Whig, began to mention Job Collett with increased regularity and eventually with a familiarity that suggests a relationship beyond that of just business.

As business and social success visited Job Collett, so too apparently did thievery. On February 8, 1870, Fred McKenney was found guilty of breaking into the file factory on the night on January 11, 1870 and stealing files, bank bills and copper coin. According to The Whig: “One piece of money was fully identified by Mr. Collett as the same piece that had been lying for some length of time on his desk in the shop.” The defendant’s efforts to deflect blame by testifying he received the coins and other money from his wife did not sway the jury. No mention was made of Job executing changes to his banking habits.

The prominence of the social circle in which Job Collett moved is most evident in the February 21, 1873 edition of The Whig, when he is listed among citizens who meet to discuss approval of the Shore Line Railroad. Among citizens selected to serve on an investigation committee on behalf of the City Council were: A.W. Paine; S.P. Strickland; Sprague Adams; L.J. Morse; S.P. Bradbury1; R.S. Prescott; G.W. Merrill; W.B. Hayford; Charles Dwinel; Job Collett; J.G. Clark; George Stetson; and George A. Thatcher, all well-known and successful businessmen noted throughout Bangor’s early history.

In the 1860 United States Federal Census, Job Collett was listed owning real estate valued at $1000 and personal property valued at $1000. In 1870, Job’s wealth and holdings increased to $3000 in real estate holdings and $2000 in personal property. By 1880, Job is noted in the U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedule as having a capital value (both real and personal) of $6000. The value of materials in the factory was placed at $2700 while the products were valued at $9000.

In addition to his personal and business holdings, in 1880 the File Factory employed 10 full-time, year-round employees and as many as 19 part-time hands, paying over $5000 in annual salaries. The factory operated three boilers to power grinders and other machinery. Additionally, he leased the grinder in the old jail to handle overflow work. Wages paid to experienced hands exhibited Job’s value for his employees as he paid $2.50 per day to skilled mechanics and $1.25 per day to ordinary laborers.

Within the decade of the 1880s, references to Job Collett, Esq.— denoting him as a gentleman of high but non-specific social status — began to appear in The Whig. He was listed as a local delegate to the Republican caucus, traveling to both Augusta and Portland to carry out his duties, and listed among officers of the Penobscot Lodge of Odd Fellows.

It is obvious from the pages of The Whig, Job worked to reach success as a Bangor businessman and once achieving that status, enjoyed the fruits of his labor becoming increasingly involved in social and political arenas among the higher ranks of Bangor society.

Decline and Death
Having enjoyed many years as a successful businessman, the tide began to turn for Job Collett at 6 a.m., January 24, 1882 when fire broke out in his shop, by then shared with the Bangor Edge Tool Co. operated by C.A. and J.H. Peavey—inventors and manufacturers of the world famous Peavey logging tool.

Exchange Street, ca. 1895, from the corner of York Street. The red arrow marks the sign for Bangor Edge Tool Co. located at 53 & 55 Exchange Street. The Job Collett File Factory was housed at 35 Exchange Street, in one of the store fronts closer to the viewer in this photo. From the collections of the Bangor Public Library. Cat. No. G-91 974.131.A78. Used with permission.

According to The Whig, the fire was discovered by an engineer of the Bangor Edge Tool Co., upon reporting for work at 6 a.m. The fire originated in the grinding room used as a sawing and stock turning room and was suggested to be “the work of an incendiary.” Two rooms and the contents were destroyed, including the Tool Company’s lathes, belts, saws and the File Factory’s grinders. Equipment located in an adjoining blacksmith shop was moderately damaged. Losses for Job were estimated at $500 with no insurance coverage while Bangor Edge Tool Co. lost $1500 worth of insured equipment. Though The Whig hinted at nefarious origins of the fire, no specific conclusions of an investigation were ever reported.

With neither son apparently having an interest in taking over the family business, Job’s file factory began a steady decline following the fire while the Bangor Edged Tool Co. quickly recovered and continues in operation 128 years later as Hand & Edged Tool Manufacturing in Bangor, with three employees and annual sales estimated at $160,000.

In October 1882, more trouble arose when on a trip to Howland, Job Collett took seriously ill. According to the October 2, 1882 edition of The Whig, “Yesterday morning his wife received a dispatch saying that he was dangerously ill and requesting her to come immediately with a physician, and she started at once in company with Dr. Jewell. We are unable to learn the cause of his illness but hope it may prove less serious than at first appeared, and that he may be speedily restored to health.”

This episode was the start of a long series of illnesses for Job that apparently inspired him to turn his attention from the file cutting business to launch Job Collett’s Electrine, the Great Neuralgic and Rheumatic Remedy, in January 1887. Sold by A. M. Robinson, Jr. at No. 1 Granite Block for 50-cents per bottle, Job Collett’s Electrine was for external application. Advertisements run from 1887 through 1888, promoting the patent medicine as curing rheumatism, neuralgia, headache, backache, kidney troubles, diarrhea and all aches and pains by outward application.” The venture failed to thrive.

Troubles for the businessman continued when, in November 1887, a 100-pound grindstone at the jail workshop used by the File Factory for grinding files, “flew off just after the machinery had been started, it running slowly at the time, and struck a slight, temporary partition a few feet distant breaking it down. It then flew back against the wall. The shock threw the stone out of position and the belt of the machinery came off striking a workman named J.E. Meaghan and knocking him down. His head was somewhat bruised by the fall but he was only slightly injured.” The incident resulted in $25 worth of damages.

Despite his efforts to restore his health through patent medicine, Job’s decline continued. On April 21, 1892, The Whig reported, “The many friends of Mr Job Collett, who has been so long confined to his house by illness, were glad to see him able to ride out yesterday.” The recovery was short-lived, however, and two years later, Job Collett died on July 26, 1894. His obituary ran in the July 27 edition of The Whig:
Mr. Job Collett, a well known and highly respected citizen of Bangor passed away yesterday afternoon at his residence on the corner of Center and Somerset streets and the announcement will be received with sorry by his many friends in this city and elsewhere.

During the past five years Mr. Collett had been in poor health, resulting from several attacks of pneumonia and the grip but the immediate cause of his death was a shock of paralysis which he experienced Tuesday morning.

The deceased was born in Melksham, Wiltshire Co, about 10 miles from the cilty of Ball England, May 26, 1828 and was consequently 69 years and 2 months of age.

At the age of one year he came to the United States with his parents who located in New Haven, Conn. and went from there to Lowell, Mass. He came to Bangor in 184-. He was for a time in company with his brother Thomas in the file cutting business and afterwards with Mr. Woodbury but that said he became sole proprietor.

During his long and honorable business career of nearly fifty years he was located on Exchange Street. He was a successful businessman and at the same time made an excellent reputation for square dealing in his transactions. He was a sterling citizen and all respected and esteemed him for his many high qualities.

In politics he was an earnest Republican and ably served in the Common Council and as a member of the city committee of his party for a number of years. He was a Knight Templar, a member of Penobscot Lodge of Odd Fellows and of Katahdin Encampment and one of the charter members of the Mellta Club.

He was genial, generous and kind-hearted; a devoted husband and loving father. He was twice married and his second wife who was Miss Elizabeth Sawyer, survives him. He also leaves two sons, Charles and Eugene and a daughter, Mrs. [Lin?]wood C. Tyler to mourn his loss.

They will have the deepest sympathy of a host of friends of their bereavement.

The funeral will occur next Tuesday but the hour has not as yet been definitely determined upon. It will be announced later.
And on August 2, 1894:
The funeral services of the late Mr. Job Collett were held yesterday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock at his late residence on the corner of Center and Somerset streets and there was a large number present. The floral offerings, which were profuse and beautiful, included designs from St. John’s Commandery, Knights Templar, the Odd Fellows and the Mellta Club, to which he belonged. Rev. Charles H. Cutler of the First Parish church officiated and Mrs. W.A. Nelson sang several appropriate selections. The bearers were Messrs Charles F. Collett, H. Eugene Collett, Jacob Collett, L.C. Tyler, John Sawyer, and William Sawyer. Col. C.V. Crossman had charge of the funeral arrangements. The interment was at Mt. Hope.
Photo of the corner of Exchange and York Streets in Bangor in July 2010 showing the Nichols Block built in 1892.

Even prior to Job Collett’s death, the building he constructed in 1857 was replaced by the Nicols Block in 1892; a structure that survived the Great Bangor Fire of 1911 and still stands on the corner of Exchange and York streets.

In March 1898, the storefront that long served as Job’s file factory was taken over by a printing business, removing all evidence of a half-century of operation. Snarking at the newest competitor in their midst, The Whig editors lamented the obliteration of Collett’s former signage and memory and speculated in the March 31 edition, “Whether or not Mr. Printing will succeed in gaining as enviable a reputation as Mr. Collett established in years gone by remains to be seen.”
Unknown to them at the time, The Whig would in 1900, merge with Mr. Printing and become one with the Bangor Daily News, established and first housed on Exchange Street and still in publication today.

Memories in Stone
With the story of Job Collett now known, what can be concluded in regard to the identity of the man from the grave markers in the family plot?

Of significance is the fact that Job knew, served on city committees with, and was a member of fraternal organizations with Simon P. Bradbury, who operated S.P. Bradbury, the most prominent of at a number of monument companies simultaneously operating in the city of Bangor during Job’s lifetime. Specializing in marble gravestones and tablets, one example of Bradbury’s marble work is the marker of Deborah L. Ulmer (pictured below) located in Corinthian Cemetery, Corinth, Maine, where the maker name, “Bradbury Co, Bangor” is clearly visible. The design, like those of the Collett women and children, is distinctly Victorian.

Being as Job and Bradbury were follow businessmen and brothers in fraternal orders, a strong circumstantial case can be built for S.P. Bradbury Co. likely being the source of the three marble markers on the Collett lot. Since each stone specificly identifies relationship ties to Job, described in his obituary as “genial, generous and kind-hearted; a devoted husband and loving father,” I will argue that the sentimental stones were selected by Job, himself, to commemorate the women and children, and represent his own sense of loss and mourning. Why the choice of a rustic stump marker for Julia and Jennie in distinction to the infants’ gravestone and his mother’s marker, remains a mystery.

The stark contrast between the sentimental, Gothic Revival Victorian stones and the authoritative Classic Revival design of Job’s own stone, as well as the G.A.R. flag holder appearing beside his foot marker, I feel can be directly attributed to Col. Christopher V. Crossman, 1st Maine Heavy Artillery and Commander of the G. A. R. — B. H. Beal Post, No. 12 who was, according to Job's obituary, in charge of funeral arrangements. With this information teased out of the record, the startling juxtaposition of sentiment and authority in the Collett lot is less surprising.

Indeed, it is likely two entirely separate personalities were involved in selecting the memorial pieces: that of Job in selecting the marble monuments, and that of C.V. Crossman, a best friend and military man who—like Job’s many male friends—esteemed and sought to preserve his reputation in choosing the rigid granite markers. Placement of an honorary G.A.R. flag holder was also likely directly brought about by Crossman and supported by Job’s friends who were also Civil War Veterans and sought to recognize him as a “brother” in death.


Footnote

1Simon P. Bradbury operated S.P. Bradbury, a stone cutting and monument company that was a significant provider of marble and granite headstones, monuments and tablets. The only display ad found, to date, for S.P. Bradbury appeared in the May 12, 1852 edition of the Bangor Whig and Courier, promoting the arrival of 3000 feet of Italian and American marble “of very superior quality.”

Son Edgar H. Bradbury was born in Bangor in 1843, married Susan Hovey Trask and relocated to Chicago as secretary of the Gowen Marble Co., 1870-78. He then established a wholesale marble business in St. Louis. 1878 as E. 11. Bradbury Marble Co.

References
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