Well-known guide at Mt. Kineo: George Cripps, 1840 – 1916


2009_13_0004 George CrippsJPEG copy

George Cripps, great-grandfather of Frances Bigney of Rockwood, guided out of the Kineo Hotel in early 1890s.   From the Frances Bigney collection    2009.13.0004

George Cripps worked as a guide on Moosehead Lake, as did his son, Alva Cripps, who is seen in a well-known photograph of a group of guides taken at the foothill of Mt. Kineo, circa 1912.

Except for the two photographs of George Cripps in the Moosehead Historical Society’s archives – one posed, one not – very little is known about his life story.

He was the maternal great-grandfather of Frances Cyr Bigney, who was born and raised in Rockwood, and grew up at the family’s set of sporting camps, “Cyr’s Camps” in Barrow’s Cove. Frances was a local historian and worked for many years at the Moosehead Historical Society. She donated many items of regional interest.

George Cripps married Mary Littlefield and had two children: Grace Cripps (1876-1955) and Alva Cripps (1877-1940). Grace married John E. Lamb, a prominent Rockwood businessman. John was born on Sandbar Tract on March 7, 1869, and lived in the Rockwood area his entire life. He died in 1957 at the age of 88 in Greenville.

Grace Cripps Lamb and John had a daughter, Violet Lamb Cyr (1902-1998). Violet was married to Leo Cyr and ran Cyr’s Camps while Leo worked as the Rockwood postmaster. Violet and Leo Cyr were the parents of Frances Grace Cyr Bigney (1925-2010). Frances married Frederick Hurd Bigney, the first couple to be married in the Log Chapel Church in Rockwood, in 1948. Frederick H. Bigney came from a long line of the Bigney family of Greenville.

George Cripps signed the Kineo House Registry in the early 1890s and also signed the Chesuncook House Registry at the turn of the last century, so he apparently remained an outdoors working man for most of his adult life, in the northern end of Moosehead Lake and its linked waterways.