In the 1900 census for Oxbow Plantation in Aroostook County, Canadian-born William Atkins, 42, is listed as a taxidermist. The census enumerator could have gone on and on — hunter, trapper, guide and founder of sporting camps at the Millinocket Lake above what is now Baxter State Park, and at Munsungan.
Wife Susan had died a few months earlier, but their young daughter, Eldora, resided with Atkins in 1900, as did boarders Samuel and Abiah Sargent.
For a photo of Will Atkins, hand-in-hand with his little girl, standing before a row of log cabins on Millinocket Lake, turn to Page 58 of Jack Ahern’s “Bound for Munsungan: The History of the Early Sporting Camps of Northern Maine.”
The chapter includes many photos of the Atkins camps as well as pictures of him with
wife Susan, and an individual photo of second wife Maud (Littlefield).
Ahern pays attention to the families of sporting camp owners such as Will Atkins, because they were an important part of this growing business. By 1910, Atkins had a total of 52 camps going, and he would keep trapping until a year before his death in 1930.
One of Atkins’ three children with Maud, Wilfred “Sleepy” Atkins, went on to own his own sporting camps. Sleepy Atkins was also one of the earliest warden pilots in Maine — and a fascinating interview subject.
The camps were eventually sold to the Libby family, who also shows up in the 1900 census. There’s Charles C. and wife Melissa (Trafton) Libby, both 56, along with three of their children, William T., Isaac and Abbie, and Charles’ sister Lydia, who at 62 was listed as a servant.
Charles had built the Libby Hotel in Oxbow in 1890, but maybe the census taker missed that. He listed Charles as “farmer.”
C.C. and Melissa Libby are both pictured in Ahern’s book. Another photograph of six people features an older Melissa and two of her children, Will T. and Ike. There’s also a picture of Abbie Libby Towle, who operated the camps after her brother died.
You may have seen small signs on forested land marked as property of the Pingree Heirs or references to Seven Islands. So who were the Pingrees?
David Pingree was a Massachusetts native who purchased lots of land in Maine and was president of many companies. He and Anna (Kimball) Pingree had Anna (Pingree) Peabody, who had no children; David Jr., who never married; and Anna Maria, who married Stephen Wheatland. Their daughter married a Phillips.
Also in “Bound for Munsungun,” you’ll come across:
• Thomas and Ann (Tyler) Goss, early settlers of Oxbow, including a photo.
• Abram Currier, who came from Maysville to Oxbow. He’s in the 1900 census with wife Catherine and children Frank, William and Almon. The census lists Abram as a farmer being born in Canada, the son of a Massachusetts father and Canadian mother. The author points out that Almon Currier was a guide for boxers Jack Dempsey and Jack Sharkey.
• Milt and Minna Hall of the Bradford Camps.
• A photo of students at the West End Oxbow School: Ken Chase, Lloyd Currier, Pearl Howes, Alda McLean, teacher Lucy Carter, Clarice Howes, Myrtle McClain, Stella Currier, Ruby Stone, Harry Stone, Izetta Cooper, Alma Clifford, Helen Stone, Naomi Currier, Ruth McLean, Annie Currier, Grace Soule, Helen Fleming, Zona McClain, Flora Cooper, Fred Smith, James Stickles, Ralph Smith, Warren Fleming, Willard Howes and Sumner Atkins.
What year was the photo taken? I don’t know for sure, but let’s make an estimate according to a known person in the picture.
Sumner Atkins was born in 1905, and I’m guessing he could be 10 in the photo, give or take a couple of years. So maybe the pic dates to 1915 or thereabouts. By “dating” even more of the people pictured, we could possibly narrow it further.
This book is full of wonderful stories and pictures, many of them shared by the subjects or their relatives. Well done, Jack Ahern. This book will be of great interest to local historians as well as “sports.”
The publisher is Pear Tree Publishing, and the book retails for $24.95.
The Hampden Historical Society will hold Heritage Day 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Kinsley House, 83 Main Road South, Hampden.
There will be tours of the 1794 Kinsley House, including the Kay Trickey Archives, and the restored law office of Hannibal Hamlin, who was Lincoln’s first vice president.
Demonstrations will include blacksmithing, rug braiding, butter churning, weaving, chair caning and more. Visit the old tool and barn displays. Bring the children for face painting and to see the cookie lady.
Admission is free.
So the Minnesota Wilcoxes, ancestors of grandson Aidan Saucier, trace back to David Wilcox of New York, so far.
And the Wilcox line of my new daughter-in-law, Amanda Saucier, goes from Glenburn back to Perham in Maine, then New Brunswick, it seems. Now the Georgia-based Wilcoxes are curious about the line as well.
Amanda’s younger brother, U.S. Marine Pfc. Christopher Wilcox, was married on a sunny Aug. 22 afternoon at Lucerne to his enchanting bride, Erica Armstrong, who we believe has Mayflower lineage. What fun.
Speaking of momentous days, Happy Birthday today to my Minnesota daughter-in-law, Heather (Taylor) Saucier.
And Happy Birthday on Wednesday to my mom, Joyce S. Moore in Guilford, who is most gracious whenever I call her up and ask, “Do you remember …”
Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402; or e-mail queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.