Camden historian knows ‘who’s who’

Posted Dec. 12, 2010, at 5:36 p.m.

I don’t think any of my forebears are buried there, and this is not really the time of year to go walking in cemeteries.

And yet, I have this itch to visit Mountain View Cemetery on Route 52 in Camden.

I’d stop by the graves of Mary (Wheeler) and Nathaniel Hosmer, whose love assured their 18th century marriage despite Mary’s mother’s objections. Nathaniel spirited away Mary from New Hampshire to Camden, where he had built a house, and eventually the parents on both sides moved to Camden to be near them.

There’s more to the story of the Hosmers, whose ancestors came from England in 1635. You can read it in “Who’s Who at Mountain View,” the 11th book Barbara F. Dyer has written about Camden in the past quarter-century.

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Shouldn’t every gravestone have a story that keeps history alive?

Ephraim K. Smart’s life was full of stories — the lawyer, the congressman, the postmaster and customs collector, the Democratic candidate who lost the gubernatorial election to Israel Washburn Jr., the debater who inspired former Gov. James G. Blaine to say that Smart was so able that he would “pull a skunk from under the fence and throw it at me.”

Smart married Sarah and Rebecca, both daughters of the prominent Probate Judge Thayer.

It was Rebecca Smart who inherited Thayer’s Chestnut Street home that was seen years later in exterior shots in the movie “Peyton Place.” Countless area people were extras in that 1957 movie, among them my great-grandmother Thressa (Given) Steeves.

Nana isn’t in the book, but it’s full of information and photos of people and gravestones and businesses that may kindle your memory.

You will find: Adams Family, Horatio Alden, Azizeh Ayoube, Salim Ayoube, Barrett Family, Holly Bean, Col. Nicholas Berry, George Cleveland, Harold Corthell, Davey Crockett, Fred Crockett, Benjamin Cushing, Eaton Family, Fay Family, the Rev. Lewis Evans, Frye Family, Tilson Gould, Williston Grinnell, John Hathaway, Hodgman Family, Hosmer Family, Huse Family, David Knowlton, Dr. Paul Lerner, Rev. Locke, Ada Mills, Norwood Family, Ogier Family, Peter Ott, Moses Parker, Allen Payson, James Richards, Stephen Ritterbush, Reuel Robinson, Russell Family, Capt. Isaac Sherman, Capt. Justin Sherman, Thaddeus Simonton, John Tewksbury, George Thomas, Robert Thorndike and Maj. Gen. George Ulmer Sr., and many others.

“Who’s Who at Mountain View” sells for $25 plus $1.25 sales tax. You may order it from Barbara Dyer, 11 Highland Ave., Camden 04843.

It also is for sale in Camden at the Owl & Turtle Bookshop, Sherman’s Books and Village Shop. In Rockland it is at the Reading Corner. In Scarborough it is at Nonesuch Books & Cards and in Bridgton at Bridgton Books.

Dyer has lived in Camden all her life, and she is the town historian.

“I love the town, so the books have been a labor of love,” Dyer wrote.

The most touching chapter in the book? Perhaps it is the last, the one that says nothing about Mayflower descendants or Revolutionary War soldiers.

Rather, it brings to life a Syrian sister and brother, Azizeh and Salim Ayoube, who came to be known as Elizabeth and Sammy in these parts.

Sammy died of influenza in 1918.

And Elizabeth? She married Milton Dyer and raised three children, one of them now Camden’s town historian.

“Who’s Who at Mountain View” also is available at the University of Maine’s Fogler Library in Orono, and has been ordered by Maine State Library in Augusta.

Here are some other books written by Barbara F. Dyer that are held at larger libraries listed on URSUS at http://ursus.maine.edu:

  • “Remembering Camden: Stories from and Old Maine Harbor,” Fogler Library at UM, Maine State Library, Bangor Public Library.
  • “More Memories of Camden, Maine,” Fogler Library at UM, Maine State Library.
  • “Home Sweet Home, Camden, Maine,” Maine State Library.
  • “First Congregational Church of Camden, Maine 1805-1991,” Maine State Library.
  • “Vintage Views of Camden, Maine,” Fogler Library at UM, Maine State Library.
  • “‘Grog ho!’”: The History of Wooden Vessel Building in Camden, Maine,” Fogler Library at UM, Maine State Library, Bangor Public Library.
  • “Vessels of Camden,” Fogler Library at UM, Maine State Library.
  • “Camden and Rockport,” compiled by Barbara F. Dyer, Fogler Library at UMaine, Maine State Library.

Send queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, PO Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402; or e-mail familyti@bangordailynews.com.

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