WW1 Veteran’s Memorial

Veterans Memorial Marker at the William Fogg Library Lawn

At the town meeting in March 1937, it was voted to choose a committee to select and install a Memorial marker in honor of Eliot citizens that participated in World War 1, not to honor the war, but out of the memory of all that gave their best.

The town chose Dr. Henry I. Durgin to choose the committee and head it up accordingly. He chose the following:

Mrs. Esther F. Drake
John S. Hoyt
Harlon C. Liebman
Leslie R. Rowe
Harry N. Goodwin

Mrs. Drake was selected to be the secretary.  It was soon decided that the memorial should be placed on the Wm. Fogg Library grounds, one of the more beautiful spots in the town.

The choice was a large marble stone marker, suitably inscribed and it was dedicated on August 21, 1937 with an appropriate ceremony.

Dr. Durgin attended the unveiling, assisted by Marjorie Hoyt and Ruth M. Drake.  The Henry Wallingford Post of the American Legion of Kittery, ME attended the dedication.  Evelyn Fogg placed a wreath at the foot of the tablet in the name of the Eliot Garden Club.

Col. Raymond Rendall, representing the Governor of Maine, gave the address and Rear Adm. C. W. Cole, Commandant of the Portsmouth Navy Yard, gave the closing remarks.  Rev. Frank Kirkpatrick of the Methodist Church of South Eliot gave the opening prayer and Rev. M. A. Gordon of the East Eliot Methodist Church gave the closing prayer. Music was furnished by the Traip Academy Band under the direction of David Kushious.  The John F. Hill Grange 391, the Eliot Firemen, and the Boy Scouts of Kittery were deserving of much credit for their participation and assistance. Also the U.S. Marines from the Portsmouth Navy Yard came to honor our Eliot Sons.

William Everett’s Tavern

Notes on William Everett

William Everett was one of the earliest settlers in the upper parish of Kittery.  He built his house here and appeared on court records in 1640. He was licensed to keep an Ordinary (Tavern and Inn) in 1649.  He apparently was a sea captain and was lost at sea.

His house in Kittery (now Eliot), must have been spacious, for all the inhabitants of Kittery were called here 15 Nov. 1652 to hear Simon Bradstreet and others tell why they should come under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts.  Then and there, 41 signed the acknowledgement by signature, the submission of Maine to Massachusetts.

It is interesting to read the history of Watts Fort (alias Josselyn’s Point) opposite the home of Wm. Everett towards the water as the old records tell us that in 1641, Watts Fort which is now entirely washed away was opposite the Old Parish Burying Ground.  Other notes remind us that the marsh furnished tall salt water grass which they cut and fed to their cattle. It was written that “Josselyn’s Point” was lined with stately elm trees.

The old cellar and warehouse was located in this area, also the lane to the Old Ferry Landing that was operated by Thomas Trickey, later by his son, Zachariah Trickey and the latter by John Knight, alias Chevalier, who lived at Bloody Point on the opposite of Newington Shore

William Leighton purchased the Everett Estate in 1656, the same year he married Katherine Frost, the daughter of Nicholas Frost.

The old building was taken down by John Leighton, son of William, and he built a new home on the same spot, in which he held the “Court of General Sessions”, town and other meetings.  This house stood until 1851, when it was taken down.

In this area at the corner of now Fore Road and Old Road, stood the Parson Rogers Meeting House, built in 1717.  This was the center of the 2nd Parish of Kittery.

There is much more of this history on this area that may be obtained from “Old Eliot”, by Dr. John L.M. Willis and “Old Kittery and her Families” by Stackpole.

Town Pound

Animal Pound

In the late 1700’s, the town of Kittery decided town animal pounds were necessary due to the number of animals becoming “loose” and wandering due to no stone walls nor fences to keep them enclosed in their own areas.  Many townsmen were complaining of animals in their pastures, garden, etc., destroying property.

The word “pound” was derived from a long ago Saxon word, “pyndan”, which signified to shut up, or confine; and in former days, it was by the voice of authority, the open gate to receive and hold fast any stray beast of whichever name or disposition and irrespective of its owner.

One such “Pound” was built in the 2nd Parish, now Eliot, on Goodwin Road, also known as route #101.  It’s location is about ⅛ of a mile west of the old East Eliot Methodist Church on the Moses A. Frost property (1843).

History tells us that a William Scammon was the keeper of the pound prior to 1843.  In the year of 1990, when Edward Vetter was the president of the Eliot Historical Society, he enlisted Lindy Leavitt, a local carpenter, to build and install a newly hard wood gate which was badly needed.  Mr. Leavitt did this work and built the gate from oak wood from a tree grown in Eliot.

More recently the property surrounding the pound was owned by a Mrs. Clara “Grant” Shapleigh who willed the property to a Joseph Frost, her nephew that lives in Massachusetts.  Joseph Frost sold the home and property surrounding the pound to Jeff MacKenzie (1998).

The pound walls are built of stone and two granite posts support the hard wood gate.  The measurements of the pound are about 12 feet wide by 16 feet long with about 3 feet high walls.

 

The Rev. John Rogers Grave

The Rev. John Rogers Grave Stone

The Rev. John Rogers was the first Congregational Minister in Eliot.  He first preached from 1714 to 1721, at which time the Congregational Church was incorporated, June 22, 1721.  He continued to serve as minister until 1768 (54 years of service). His parsonage home was the last house on Old Road as we know it today.  It was a small cape at this time.

His church set in the rear of the road now called “Leighton Lane”, just off the beginning of River Road.  In the early days, the parish cemetery was located south of the road until the modern route of River Road was established so that it is now on the north side of the road on the west side of 258 River Road.

John Rogers was born on Jan. 27, 1692 and died on October 16, 1773 at 81 years old.  He and his wife, Susannah Whipple Rogers are buried in the “Old Parish Grave Cemetery” on River Road, Eliot, Maine.  At one time, the old “Ferry Lane” that led to the river from the “Old Road”, was opposite the old David Lanier Farm, now on River Road.  The cemetery today is backed by a large wooden fence.

This lane also led to “Watts Fort”, a small island which has since vanished through the years.

There are also other stones in this cemetery that are completely buried with dirt and tree leaves showing many, many years of decay.

The inscription on the large white marble stone is as follows:

Rev. John Rogers

First Minister of Eliot

1714-1768

Born Ipswich, Mass.

Jan. 27, 1692

Died Eliot Oct. 16, 1773

Beside Him Lies His Wife

Susannah Whipple, Dau. of Maj. John Whipple

And Katherine Leighton

Born April 3, 1696

He was a direct descendant of the Martyr

The Kittery House Site

Site of the Old Mill at Sturgeon – Cammocks Creek & the Kittery House

Alexander Shapleigh was an early arrival here in the “Piscataqua River” area.  He soon had a business in operation by trading fish, wood and other goods to the old country and other places. It was apparent that he did not live here very long.  He returned to England and operated his business interests from there with his son-in-law, James Treworgye and his son, Nicholas in this country. The marker on the lawn reads:

“The site of the Kittery House, erected about 1638, by Alexander Shapleigh (the immigrant), gave name to the town of Kittery, Provence of Maine”.

The existing house is the third one to be built on this site; many changes and additions have been made since Capt. Elisha Shapleigh rebuilt it in 1802.

The first reference to a tidal mill was by a Capt. Walter Neale, an agent for Sir Ferdinando Gorges that granted a parcel of land to Capt. Thomas Cammock in 1633.

A dam and a mill was built, now north of the causeway that is today called, “Shapleigh Mill Pond” on River Road, Eliot, Maine.  Foundations of wood timbers and stone are still visible at this site.

The area was named “Cammock’s Creek”, later Stacey Creek and Shapleigh’s Creek. The early inhabitants of this area were the Pennacook Indians who raised corn here.  These mills were used to grind Indian corn by water power and were used to saw wood logs into boards. Most mills were 2 & 1/2 stories high as the grain was carried to the top and fed to the mill stones on the bottom floor.  Milling was very hazardous due to the potential for fires caused by dust explosions.

This trade caused him to sell the goods, ship and all, due to the high profits in foreign countries.  He left the business in later years and his son, Nicholas Shapleigh took over and enlarged the business by building a large “Grist Mill” at the Sturgeon Creek area.

His main problem was to assure that he did not flood the lands of his neighbors while blocking off the creek area into a pond for the required water power he needed to operate the mill.  There is a sketch of the old mill on Sturgeon Creek showing the bridge and the water in the area. It indicated that the mill was in operation from 1816 to 1886.

The early settlers looked for mill sites, a tidal mill, mill stream or windmill for the owner to operate a grist mill to grind Indian corn and for a saw mill to cut lumber.  The miller was a very important person in a town, also the mills were a common place for the gathering of people.

Early mills in this area sawed the lumber and it was shipped to England.  Early saws were the up and down type that were housed so as the saw was up six feet and down six feet.

 

The Hanscom Shipyard

The Hanscom Shipyard

On the river bank at the “Greenacre” site today, was the Hanscom shipyard where many staunch ships were built from 1847 to 1855.  The Historical marker is now located in front of the old Roger’s house to the left side of the new driveway of the Greenacre Hotel on the Main Street side.

The marker reads as follows:

On the river bank at Greenacre was the Hanscom shipyard where many staunch ships were built from 1847 to 1855.

Upon the death of Gov. Hill in 1912, Mrs. Hill donated 8 historical markers to the town of Eliot, and this was one of them.

John Hanscom was the first to build ships here in about 1828. They made their own spikes and bolts for the shipbuilding.

William Leighton Hanscom built ships here in 1845.  He built a large blacksmith shop, a joiners shop, and a large boarding house.

In 1847, he built the ship, “Elizabeth Hamilton.”  He also built the “Mary M. Wood” and in 1849, he sailed to California on it.  Among the passengers was Dr. Lemuel M. Willis, the father of Dr. John L.M. Willis.  He was the physician of the ship during the voyage.

In 1850, William built a steam boat called the “Lot Whitcomb” in Portland, Oregon.  He worked in other shipbuilding areas and died in 1881 and was buried on Mt. Auburn, Massachusetts.

Isaiah Hanscom designed the clipper ship “Nightingale” and Capt. Samuel Hanscom built it in 1850/51.  He also built other schooners here that were world famous.

 

The Frost Garrison

The Frost Garrison

The Frost family first acquired this property in 1660.  In 1711, there were many garrisons in the North Parish area.  The Frost Garrison was built in 1732, and was followed by a small garrison which was later used as a powder house.  This place was the only triple compound (house – garrison – powder house) built by a family.

The large garrison, built for the neighborhood, was built in 1738.  This garrison was used for protection against possible Indian attacks.

In recent years, the old powder house was disassembled and taken to the Sir William Pepperell House at Kittery Point, Maine.

The powder house remained at Kittery Point from 1948 to 1971, when Joseph Parsons brought it back, piece by piece, and relocated it on the original site at Frost Hill.

These buildings were all restored in 1971.

The garrison is the only known 18th century set of buildings in the United States erected strictly as a fortress against Indian attacks by a family.

The Frost Garrison has been officially approved as a “National Historic Shrine” which was then noted by Senator Margaret Chase Smith when she was our Maine State Senator.  The year was 1971.

Today it is 23 Garrison Drive.

The Dr. Willis House

The Dr. Willis House

This home was originally a one story cape built by a Mr. Dixon (now #144 Old Road, Eliot, Maine). The old bricks in the chimney are dated 1727.  In the mid-1600’s William Hawthorne, an ancestor of the famous Nathaniel Hawthorne owned all of these lands known as the Baylands. In 1775, the property was sold to John Fogg, son of James Fogg.  John’s son, John Fogg Jr. added a story and did alterations to the structure in 1815. Again in 1870, it was remodeled by Horace Parker who married the sister of Paulina Willis, Abigail Leighton Fogg, who upon the death of John L.M. Willis’ mother, raised John L.M. Willis.  In later years when Dr. John L.M. Willis was the owner of the property, he conducted alterations to the property and spent the rest of his life living here.

Next to the Willis Farm (on the northerly side), was the Daniel Fogg place.  This was built around 1700 and was a grocery store of sorts and a liquor shop, common in those days, and kept by a Mr. Joseph Hammond.  It was a one story unit with a “L” shaped structure on it (now #136 Old Road). Later in years, this house became the home of Albert Eliot Libbey and Elizabeth Gail (Willis) Libbey, daughter of Dr. John L.M. Willis.

Site of the Eliot Academy

The Eliot Academy

When Eliot was incorporated as a town in 1810, there were six school districts. The teachers were all men for no female teachers were hired before 1840.

In the year 1839, Eliot became conscious of a lack of higher educational privilege.  They wanted an institution where their children could be properly prepared for college.  It was during this year of 1839 that 50 citizens of the town called a meeting to take decisive action upon the matter.  They formed themselves into shareholders and decided immediately to begin the erection of a school building.

Mr. Joseph Fogg sold the land to the shareholders and the operation was underway by the building committee.  The building was completed in 1840. The shareholders formed themselves into, “The Eliot Academy Association”.  The academy was incorporated Feb. 25, 1840 and on April 13, the act was accepted by the proprietors.

The first floor was for the school, the second floor was used for social functions, religious meetings, balls, court of law, school exhibitions and political occasions.  A town meeting was held here in 1839.

The Academy burned down on December 21, 1875.

A plaque was installed in a cement form on the front lawn of State Road denoting the site of the Academy, when it was erected, the date it burned (Dec. 21, 1875), and words saying:

“Here was opened the first Normal School in Maine”

In the year 1995, the plaque became loose from wood rot that held the screws into the form that supported the plaque.  Mr. Pete Staples and Mr. Don Shaw saw this problem and replaced the cement form and set the plaque back in its proper place in June of that year.

Rhode House

Rhodes House

This house was built by William H. Rhodes, carpenter of talent, who was born in New York City in 1833 and died in Eliot in 1913.  William and his Dutch-born wife moved here from Springfield, Massachusetts. He purchased 67 acres between Sandy Hill Road and Sturgeon Creek from James H. Coleman of Eliot for $4000.00, all except a burial ground that belonged to Stephen Jenkins, 40 square feet, and a right of way to John H. Mathers to get to his house and brickyard.

We have never been able to locate the graveyard.

Mr. Rhodes also bought the old Jenkins mill on Sturgeon Creek on State Road.  This is the old grist mill that is pictured in “Old Eliot” and “Old Kittery” books.

Death records of some of Rhode’s children give also their place of birth and reveal that before Springfield, he lived in Haverstraw, New York.

This is especially interesting because it is the heart of the Andrew Jackson Downing country and the house is so distinctly a Downing style house that we suspect that Rhode’s, who is called a house carpenter, may have worked on other Downing houses before coming to Eliot.

In 1872, an Eliot house map shows S. & J. G. Jenkins at just about the location of this house, as also does one of 1856, so it is supposed that he built the house on the old Jenkins cellar.

Some of the Old Eliot people remember of Mr. Rhodes bringing lumber home from Dover, New Hampshire by boat to build his home in Eliot.

This beautiful old home is at 663 River Road.