Westport Column: Successful cemetery tour

Posted:  Monday, September 25, 2017 - 1:00pm

Hello friends and neighbors!

A big shout out to all the folks who helped make Westport’s Cemetery Tour a great success! The Community Association, History Committee, and Cemetery Committee collaborated to highlight eight different cemeteries for about 55 Islanders who divided up into three driving caravans. After several hours of listening, learning, and visiting, all were invited to a tasty luncheon back at the Old Town Hall. This event demonstrated what community is all about while giving us snapshots of some of Westport’s forebears.

One illustrious Islander was William McKinney (1844-1904), the first Westporter to enlist and fight for the union in the Civil War. At Gettysburg he was shot through his lung and lay on the battlefield five days before being attended to and brought to a hospital where he recovered after eight months. He returned to serve in the Reserve Corps, defending the Capitol twice and guarding President Lincoln during his second inauguration.

Dorothy May Tarbox (1890-1970) was one of the “Bordeaux Belles” who served in World War I as part of the Nurse Corps of the U.S. Army in France. Required to be single and between the ages of 25 and 35, nurses were not given a military rank. They had to provide their own uniforms and were paid about 50 dollars a month.

Woodbury Hodgdon (1845-1923) was a fourth generation Islander who constructed more than 200 boats including sloops, cat boats, seine boats, and launches. He was known for his fine workmanship and incredible productivity during the boom of pogie fishing when factories in Boothbay were big business.

Of the 17 memorials in the Stephen Jewett (1793-1845) cemetery, seven are for children between the ages of 2 months to 14 years. According to Cora Tarbox’s history, “small pox arrived about 1840, and children as well as adults contracted the disease. Diphtheria arrived about 1850 and caused the same amount of human devastation.”

Beatrice Smith Harriman (1897-1986) was an avid genealogist for both her own family and her Westporter husband, Philip Ainslee Harriman (1896-1958). She loved listening to the Island stories of her mother-in-law, and became dedicated to preserving and documenting island records. Her work culminated in Family Records of Westport, Maine (1970), which she initially bound into eight copies for family members, libraries, and the Westport Town Office. That reference is the first stop for anyone interested in genealogies of Westport families. So if you missed the tour but would like to do some of your own exploring, it’s not too late!

Don’t miss the opportunity on Saturday, Sept. 30, to join birding enthusiast Robert Carnicella from 8-10 a.m. at the new Carl and Barbara Segerstrom Preserve at Squam Creek. The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT) has received a grant to create a bird monitoring program at the Preserve by using eBird, an online observation tool. Bring binoculars and appropriate footwear. You can learn more by calling KELT at 442-8400.

Please support Nita Greenleaf’s efforts to raise money for a family cancer patient in need. You can contribute baked items or purchase them at Ames True Value on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. or on Saturday, Oct. 7, at Roger’s Hardware in Bath. You can also drop off any redeemable items and designate them for Nita at Nickels Back Redemption Center in Wiscasset at 685 Bath Road. Stay tuned for details about a benefit supper Nita is planning. If you would like to help, contact Nita at 882-7139.

Contact your newshound pat-dick@midcoast.com or call 231-4049. Enjoy the warm weather while it’s here!