Fat men convened in 1870

Posted Feb. 06, 2011, at 5:20 p.m.

New Year’s resolution not going so well? Taken in a few more calories than you’d planned?

Maybe it really is your genes. It’s hardly your fault if one or more of your ancestors turns up on that hard-to-argue-with census, the Androscoggin County, Maine Fat Men 1870.

For the record, the organization of 323 people, including one woman, actually held the Fat Men’s Convention of the County of Androscoggin in 1870, according to the Jan. 21, 1870, edition of the Evening Journal of Lewiston.

Information on the membership and their convention can be found on Rootsweb, courtesy of Elizabeth Keene Young and the Androscoggin County Historical Society. The website is www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~meandrhs/society/fatmen/1870.html.

The president of the group was one Enoch Littlefield, 1794-1873, a resident of Auburn who supposedly was born in Minot. His statistics were not listed, but those of most of the other participants were.

The prize for the fattest man in attendance, “an elegant silver pitcher and goblets,” was presented to A.G. Haven of Chelsea, Mass., a 19-year-old who was 6 feet tall and weighed 363 pounds.

A member from North Hermon was George Brackett, 57, who, at 5 feet 9½ inches tall, weighed 347½ pounds.

Vermont-born George Cunningham, a 43-year-old laborer from Lewiston, was listed at 4 feet 9 inches tall and 217 pounds.

The woman in attendance was Miss Sylvia Hardy of Wilton, age 45, who was 6 feet 10.5 inches tall and weighed 366 pounds. Her presence was sought by “telegraphic invitation,” and the men were so pleased to have her there that they took up a collection to purchase a gift for her.

For the most part, it appeared that membership in the Fat Men Society started at 200 pounds, but there were exceptions.

Aaron Nutting, 44, was a watchmaker, jeweler and town clerk of Lisbon. He was 3 feet 2 inches tall and 92 pounds.

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Last week we told you about the metamorphosis of the former Washington County Genealogical Society into the Washington County Historical and Genealogical Society.

The e-mail address for members to let Celeste Sherman know that they are willing to receive the Weirs and Woods newsletter by e-mail had a mistake in it, so here is the correct listing: folknoter@maineline.net.

For those who are not current members of Washington County Genealogical Society, send $10 to WCHGS, c/o Carole Sprague, 301 Ridge Road, Marshfield 04654.

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On Saturday, Feb. 12, members of Moosehead Roots Genealogy in the Greenville area will travel to Maine State Library in Augusta for genealogical research and a class on library resources conducted by Special Collections Librarian Emily Schroeder.

As stated on its website, the Maine State Library genealogy collection spans a large geographical area, with primary emphasis on Maine. It has state, county and town histories, published vital records, town and county reports of Maine, cemetery records, early court and probate records, Maine censuses 1790-1850, ships’ passenger lists, French-Canadian and Acadian records, publications of the Daughters of the American Revolution and other hereditary patriotic organizations, how-to genealogy books and thousands of family histories.

Those interested in Piscataquis County may want to look at a book of notes and newspaper articles saved by Edgar Crosby Smith, call number 091 S646.

I also like to look at the Piscataquis County cemeteries, many of which are listed in the Maine Old Cemetery Association volumes.

Also available at MSL are major Maine newspapers on microfilm and online access to Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

With proper identification, members may obtain a library card which will allow anytime access to HeritageQuest from home computers.

To coordinate attendance and carpooling if needed, call Betty Ryder at 695-2287 or e-mail betty@rydersroost.net.

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Town historian Barbara F, Dyer will give a talk on “Mountain View Cemetery” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, in the Picker Room at Camden Public Library.

The talk will cover all you want to know about Mountain View Cemetery, its history, symbols on the stones, epitaphs, stories from the grave and locating graves there.

A donation of $5 at the door will be accepted to cover costs of the room and free coffee.

Dyer’s 11th book, “Who’s Who at Mountain View,” with lots of pictures and information on area families, will be available for $25. Come for an enlightening and entertaining afternoon.

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Searsport Historical Society invites participants to bring an item for “Show and Tell” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8, at Curtis Hall, Church Street. Refreshments will be served.

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The Penobscot County Genealogical Society will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, in the Lecture Hall on the third floor at Bangor Public Library.

My topic will be “My Great-great-grandmother’s Scrapbook — When Did They Die?”

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

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