Masterman Farm’s Elisabeth Damon Odiorne

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Mrs. Elisabeth Damon Odiorne

This is the third and final part in a series we have been running about Mrs. Odiorne. The first two stories ran in the October and January Insights. Her log entries span from the 1940s to the 1980s

Elisabeth Odiorne was born in 1902, the daughter of Cornelius John “CJ” Damon and Mary Ann Masterman. She died in 1988. She was the granddaughter of Edward Goff Masterman of Masterman Farm in Sandbar Tract, on the shore of Moosehead Lake, located between Greenville and Rockwood. Her family were well known guides, hunters, trappers, and farmed their land.

Her grandfather, Edward Masterman

Mrs. Odiorne wrote many journal entries about her life on Moosehead Lake. In the first issue we told about the love story of a young Elisabeth and her suitor Joe; they had an unusually long, formal courtship and a long marriage, which began only after he completed medical school. In the second issue, Elisabeth details a great storm that hit Moosehead Lake and the destruction left behind. This final segment follows daily entries. In them, she describes how they passed the days on Moosehead Lake. Similar to today, their days at camp were routinely spent repairing or maintaining the buildings, picking berries, watching wildlife, and socializing with close friends.

July 1950 — Joe painted porch and trim on house. He puttied and painted all the windows. An heroic task, facilitated by a warm, dry season. Worked on small bedroom floor.

July 1951 — We paddled to E. Outlet, took bus to Moose River to get boat, but the most important part was missing — the coil! Returned by bus and walked in from highway. Search followed, but no coil. Ben Swett loaned us one from an engine no longer in use, and we returned for boat. Charles Nelson loaned us an old coil to overcome the “sinking spells” experienced by the one loaned us by Ben Swett. Joe ordered one from Sears as well. During the second week of our stay, we went to E. Outlet to see the Ryders.

Joe roofed the shed. Raspberries are plentiful. Rafted timbers for operation “cellar sill.” Towed them one lowery afternoon. The boat went ashore in heavy south wind. The ancient chain parted and boat and buoy came in on rocks in swale. Fortunately, Mastermans were leaving to go to E. Outlet and discovered it. The Neptune came by near shore with horn blowing! Joe raced along the shore and waded out to boat just as Lyman arrived. They were able to throw a rope from the Neptune and towed it up to the wharf. Missing coil was discovered in the tin box where matches are kept! Ordinarily the first place one would open when one arrived.

1952 — Neptune out of commission. Got boat at E. Outlet and brought dunnage over. Beautiful night when we took boat back and paddled home. Went for boat via canoe and bus, found it sunk. Pumped it out, and with several pumping, managed to get to Masterman’s wharf, where we found it sunk next a.m. When it was pulled out difficulty was found. Eastman had bored several holes to let out bilge, but last one had not been plugged! Joe tore down front steps and built new. Salvaged old shingles to use behind them. Great task. Pained three bedroom floors. Built covering for boat, and hauled it out on Edwina’s land.

1975 — [We] had two nice boat rides with the Dicksons. The one late in August was around Sandbar and Hogback Islands, up in the cove and down to Poplar Point — to see all the camps. Also to see the new one on the Little Masterman Island, which is ingenious and clever in design.

The second ride was delightful. We went to Sand Bar. The level of the water in the lake was the lowest in many, many years. The water gauge read 56 inches. The Bar was well exposed and we spent some time there walking across it, picking up the satin smooth pebbles, admiring them in the clear, limpid water, and taking pictures. The day was beautiful, with only an occasional light breeze, and temperature at 66 degrees at 1:00 p.m. (Sept. 29). We found tracks of a good sized moose in the gravel on the Bar.

Then we went to the old dock area of Camp Wildwood. Kerr wanted to walk up to the old camp which meant a hike thru deep woods but his woods experience stood him in good stead and he lead us directly to it. The walls and roof had long since collapsed but the fireplace and chimney, built on ledge, were still standing in excellent shape. In the area above the slate mantel pebbles like those we had just collected on the Bar were set in cement between the field stones. It was a melancholy place now lost in the woods and small birches growing in its midst. The path we found was also overgrown but large birches, one at the edge of the cleared area, now old and dying, marked the way.

This was a “sentimental journey” for me. Each autumn in my childhood, my father and mother took a boat trip to Sand Bar. A glorious Sunday afternoon was chosen and we collected our baskets and went over to the Farm where we picked apples from the ancient trees. Afterward we walked up to Camp Wildwood to admire the expansive view of lake and mountains while standing on the porch. Then, we always went over and walked across the Bar.

June 1977 — on my native heath once more. 58 degrees outside. A light shower fell soon after we got the car unloaded, developing into a steady rain. It seemed smoky from the forest fire still smoldering at Moxie. The Gazette contained Orville Harvey’s obituary. He died May 16 at age 85. He will be greatly missed in the town of Greenville. He was largely responsible for the town’s excellent cemetery.

There were several changes in real estate on the Western Shore. Scott Paper sold three lots in the north end to a man from North Dakota. Dick Mank put his camp up for sale. Sam Gray sold his camp to the Rosenblatts from NY (?).

The summer was rainy and cool. There were very few days we didn’t have a fire in the Clarion. The wind persisted in blowing hard from the southeast. Also if blew from the northeast more than usual. There were a great many bad thunder showers. A violent one in the middle of July ended in a Big fire at Katahdin.