Hampden founder’s gravesite marker dedicated

Posted Dec. 05, 2013, at 10:07 a.m.

HAMDPEN, Maine — Residents of Hampden and Bangor met on Nov. 23 to dedicate a memorial marker at the re-interment site of Benjamin Wheeler founder of Hampden. The dedication was the culmination of years of work by Richard “Dick” Newcomb of Hampden.

In March, Newcomb approached Allison Berube with a history about Benjamin Wheeler.  Newcomb had researched Benjamin Wheeler and his family extensively. He had become aware that Benjamin Wheeler and his wife, Elizabeth, had been buried at the end of Dudley Street in Hampden, where in the 1768, Benjamin Wheeler had built his first house, a log cabin, by hand with a broad ax, to provide a home for his wife, daughter Sarah and son Ben.

Benjamin Wheeler built a lumber mill and grist mill, and start other enterprises in town. His daughter Sarah married John Crosby, who later became a general in the Revolutionary War.

John Crosby carried on and expanded the grist mill and lumber mill businesses in Hampden after Benjamin Wheeler and his son died.

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Benjamin Wheeler and his wife were buried at the end of  what is now the paved section of Dudley Street, where the first town hall of Hampden was located.

In the 1930s Dudley Street was extended to make a gravel road. When the work on the gravel road began, Benjamin Wheeler and his wife’s remains were dis-interred. Benjamin Wheeler’s 9th great-granddaughter, a Crosby, was notified and she went to Dudley Street to retrieve the bones in a wicker basket. She took the remains to the Crosby family plot on Crosby Street in Bangor.

The memorial marker on Benjamin Wheeler’s grave in Bangor was donated by Dick Newcomb and his wife, Sharon, to recognize and remember Benjamin Wheelers’ contributions to the making of Hampden.

At the ceremony on Nov/ 23, Berube recognized Patrick Worster who, after reading an article based on Mr. Newcomb’s research, decided to do his Eagle Scout project on the Crosby Family Cemetery; which had fallen into disrepair.

Nelson Durgin,  past mayor of Bangor and Janet Hughes, mayor of Hampden, spoke about the close and long history that Hampden and Bangor share. The two unveiled the memorial marker.

Chaplain Frank Lucas of Hampden led the benediction. Also attending the event were town councilors Tom Brann and William Shakespeare of Hampden, Danny Lafayette current owner of the historic Benjamin Wheeler house, and Alice Hawes and Phyllis Bartlett, members of the Hampden Historical Society, who were dressed in colonial costumes.

Jim Folsom of Hampden recently completed a DVD of the history of Hampden. To purchase the DVD, call Bob Hawes at 862-4189.


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