FAMILY TIES

Booklet on general store kindles childhood memories

Posted Oct. 31, 2011, at 4:18 p.m.

Many of the places and people William R. Sawtell writes about would have little remembrance on paper if not for the books and booklets he has published from his Brownville home.

“Anna King and Her Store in North Bradford, Maine” is a 27-page booklet packed with reminiscences about Anna and Brainard King and King’s General Store. Those doing the remembering are Agnes Pickard, Stephen Carpenteri, Lucretia Pennington, Ruth Blood, Marion Mitchell, Lorraine Ross Welch, Dorothy Marsh, John and Glenda Brackett and Don and Heather Parker.

I don’t remember if I visited the general store in North Bradford, but reading the book about Anna King sure kindled childhood memories for me and also told of years before my time.

“During World War II people came from miles around to get items that were short,” Agnes Pickard recalled. “We all had ration books and stamps. Stamp 18 was for shoes.”

Also available in the store were meat, cheese, cookies, candy, all kinds of hardware, wash tubs, scrub boards, metal chamber pots, large pots and pans, plates and cups.

“They bought real butter and eggs from local farmers,” Pickard said. “They had molasses in a barrel with a pump. You could buy it by the quart, bringing in your own container. Kerosene was sold the same way.”

As was common in small towns, the store ran charge accounts that might take a farmer or woodsman a whole season to pay off. And when Anna King died, many bills were never collected. The Kings quietly gave out Christmas boxes, as well, and helped a number of young people go to school.

Readers of this booklet may well be inspired to write one of their own about some person or place from their past. If not a whole booklet, how about a page of memories for the grandchildren?

For example, I bought my penny candy from George Race at Race’s Store in Sangerville, which my dad and I had watched being built on Pleasant Avenue in the mid-1950s.

My fishing pole from Race’s, yellow with red trim, cost about a dollar and half when I was 5 or 6. At age 10, or thereabouts, I took my 50 cents allowance to Race’s and told George I wanted to buy my mother a present for Mother’s Day. He came up with a $2 item that he told me was on sale for 50 cents. How great was that?

Sawtell’s “Anna King and Her Store in North Bradford, Maine,” is available for $7.95 plus $3.50 shipping and handling from William Sawtell, PO Box 272, Brownville 04414-0272. Other books he still has available are: “Katahdin Iron Works and Gulf Hagas,” $12.95; “Onawa Revisited,” $16.95; “Schoodic Lake Revisited,” $18.95; “History, Stories of Milo Junction/Derby, Maine,” $24.95; “The Brownville Junction Railroad YMCA 1917-1966,” $5; The Wall (the Vietnam Memorial), $7.95. You also may call Bill for information at 965-3971. Some of his books are available at area bookstores.

My thought for today comes from Bangor Daily News librarian Charlie Campo, who is among those of us who retired from the BDN on Oct. 21. Charlie’s mother, Elizabeth Harris (Parsons) Campo, always quoted this saying she heard from her mother, Martha (Harris) Parsons: “Count that day lost whose low descending sun views from thy hand no worthy action done.”

James Bobart wrote a different version of it in 1697, but I like this one because Parsons passed it on to her daughter. And Elizabeth’s son, Charlie Campo, who was our librarian here at the Bangor Daily News for so many years, carried the saying in his wallet and recited it easily when NEWS staffers needed something soothing and inspirational.

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The Wassebec Genealogy Chapter will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, at Mayo Regional Hospital conference center on Main Street, Route 15, in Dover-Foxcroft. Recognizing the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, members are asked to bring memorabilia, a photo or other items of their ancestor who served during the war. For more information or questions, call Wayne or Estella Bennett at 876-3073.

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Washington County Historical and Genealogical Society will meet at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Pembroke Historical Society building at Union Square in Pembroke.

WCHGS is a group dedicated to historical preservation and genealogical research in Washington County. By working together historical societies, genealogists and researchers can pool their limited resources, collaborate on larger-scale projects and promote each other’s work. Members receive a quarterly newsletter, Weirs & Woods, which features free queries, information and the exchange of genealogical material and news from the affiliating Washington County historical societies.

Membership in WCHGS is open to anyone interested in learning more about their family genealogy or the history of Washington County and neighboring Charlotte County, New Brunswick. Officers are President Betsy Fitzgerald of Bucks Harbor, Vice President Celeste Sherman of Machiasport, Secretary Valdine Atwood of Machias and Treasurer Carole Sprague of Marshfield. Dues for individual members are $10 a year, payable to WCHGS and sent to Carole Sprague, 301 Ridge Road, Marshfield 04654.

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The Southern Aroostook outreach of the Aroostook County Genealogical Society will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, at Houlton Regional Hospital Education Center in Houlton. The agenda will include an opportunity for those attending to work with others on their lines. Bring along names and geographic locations to share with the group.

For more information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at http://bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties/. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402 or email familyti@bangordailynews.com.

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