The Long Legacy of Julia Crafts Sheridan

Julia Crafts Sheridan was born February 5, 1891, the only daughter of Arthur A. and Rebecca W. (Eveleth) Crafts. She was a life-long resident of Greenville. She died in 1970 at the age of 79 in Sarasota, Florida. Private funeral services were held at her home in the Junction. She is buried in the family mausoleum in the Greenville Cemetery.

Julia Crafts Sheridan was her father’s daughter, outliving her only sibling, brother Oliver, who succumbed to illness when he was 16 years old. Julia was closely engaged with her father in family business matters. She is most remembered for overseeing the management of the Squaw Mountain Inn, which her father purchased when it was the shuttered Moosehead Sanatorium.

Her father had the sanatorium completely remodeled and re-opened in 1916. Julia was married to Rennie Philip Sheridan of Syracuse, New York there in a big gala ceremony in 1923. The following year, Julia and Philip began managing the inn. The couple went to the Princess Hotel in Bermuda to learn the hotel business, bought the inn from her mother after her father died, and Julia managed it until 1965, when it was sold to a group of investors.

Her interests were wide and adventuresome for the day. She was independent and career-oriented, maintaining a retail business, the family real estate, and participating in political and public affairs. She also was a great philanthropist, smartly contributing to many campaigns, both near and far. She and Philip had no children.

She owned and operated an antique business in Greenville Junction and made a name for herself in the region for her business dealings and philanthropic ventures. She was an active member of the Republican Party, and was often seen socializing in the circles of influential businessmen of the day. She was a member of the United Church of Christ in Greenville, and was a member of the Pine Tree Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

When she died, the Town of Greenville, and many local entities, including Shaw Public Library, C.A. Dean Hospital, The Ready Workers of the Union Evangelical Church, and lists of other organizations outside of Maine benefited from her charitable bequests. She was a driving force in the successful incorporation of the Moosehead Historical Society and became an essential benefactor, willing both her home and an endowment for its upkeep to the small organization, which continues to aid in its operations today. She also willed her waterfront property in the Junction to the Town of Greenville, for the purposes of creating a public park, and Red Cross Beach, near the Masonic Temple, is located on another portion of Crafts Sheridan land.

Pall bearers at her funeral included many names still recognized today: Wallace Ritchie, Irvin Murray, Hubert Templeton, Jack Morrell, Walter Crossman, Stanley Wilt and Ralph Bartlett. Honorary bearers were David Ward, Harry A. Sanders, Sr., Fred Lessing, Fred Sonier, and Archie Shirley.

Julia Crafts Sheridan hams it up with two unidentified friends.




On Thursday, August 17, at 6:30 p.m. Marilyn Gondek, director of the Old Canada Road Society in Bingham, will show the life and times of the unusual Moosehead Lake landscape photographer, Milford Baker. Marilyn has an extensive collection of photographs of and about Mr. Baker, which she will unveil for the first time at The Center for Moosehead History’s August program.

Summer 2017 Schedule


Summer 2017


EVELETH-CRAFTS-SHERIDAN HOUSE: Wed. – Fri. 1 – 4 p.m., 444 Pritham Ave., Greenville Junction & CARRIAGE HOUSE: Tues. – Fri.    9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

               THE CENTER FOR MOOSEHEAD HISTORY: Thurs. – Sat.  10 a.m.-4 p.m.,                  6 Lakeview St., Greenville Village


Wed. 21     MHS Annual Meeting & Opening Summer Fete, 6:30 p.m.  at The Center for Moosehead History, presentation: The Crow’s Nest: Camp Allagash on Moosehead Lake.

Wed. 28     Eveleth-Crafts-Sheridan House opens: Wed. – Fri. 1 – 4 p.m.                       Theme: Memories of Times Past

The Carriage House, Tues. – Fri. 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.     *Rockwood Village Exhibit            *The Lumbermen’s Museum   *Lucius Lee Hubbard’s Moosehead Region Exhibit

Thurs. 29     The Center for Moosehead History Opens: Thurs. – Sun. 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.   *Aviation Museum: Tribute to Pilot Jack Hofbauer   *1920s Kineo Photographer Milford Baker Exhibit by MHS, Old Canada Road Society & Moosehead Marine Museum   *DVD “Waterway Into the Wilderness”


Wed. 5   The Carriage House, Tues. – Fri. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.   *The Guides of Moosehead Lake   *Moosehead’s Archaic & Woodland Period: Objects Found   *The Life & Times of Doc Pritham

Wed. 12-15   MHS & NREC Thoreau-Wabnaki Festival, at The Center for Moosehead History, Thurs.-Sun. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.:   *Silent Auction   *Moosehead’s Native-American retrospective

Thurs. 13   *Allagash Wilderness Waterway with Matt LaRoche, 7 p.m.


Thurs. 10-13   Forest Heritage Days     *Lumbermen’s Museum, Carriage House,   Tues-Fri   9 a.m. – 4 p.m.   *Last Log Drive presented by Rocky Rockwell, on the Kate, 6 p.m. partnered with Moosehead Marine Museum and FHD.

Sat. 12   C.A. Dean Hospital’s 100th Anniversary, Doc Pritham Exhibit at hospital

Thurs. 17   “1920s Moosehead Lake Photographer Milford Baker,” at Center for Moosehead History, presented by Marilyn Gondek, 6:30 p.m.

Fri. 25   “Great Balls of Fire”  presented by NASA Ambassador and retired astronaut engineer John Conrad, at The Center for Moosehead History, 6:30 p.m.


Thurs. 7-10   International Seaplane Fly-In    *Center for Moosehead History, Aviation Museum: Tribute to Pilot Jack Hofbauer, Thurs.-Sun. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Wed. 13   Homecoming Soiree at Eveleth-Crafts-Sheridan Garden, 5 – 7 p.m.


Suzanne AuClair … new MHS executive director

foxcroft-printer-book-pic The historical society is pleased to announce the hire of Suzanne AuClair as its new executive director. AuClair brings extensive experience to the position in producing, writing, editing, and operations. The Rockwood resident has written about the Moosehead Lake region over the past 22 years, with a specific interest in writing for historical context. She has received numerous awards from the Maine Press Assn. and the New England Outdoor Writers Assn. for her news analyses and feature stories. Her chronicling of the life and times of the Moosehead Lake region has been featured in state and national journals. She is a long-time columnist with the Northwoods Sporting Journal, Maine’s premiere sportsmen’s magazine.

“There’s an unending amount to learn and write about. I’ve always considered it a real privilege to tell the stories about the people, events, and times of our region. My hope is to be able to continually capture the essence and spirit of a given time; here, through our historical exhibits and programs. I’m really thrilled to be part of such a great organization,” said AuClair, who has contributed to many area organizations and served on a number of boards, including the International Seaplane Fly-In and the Natural Resource Education Center.

An avid outdoorswoman, she is passionate about her Maine heritage and about collecting regional historical and cultural stories. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Maine, with graduate courses in literature from the University of New Hampshire and Harvard University. Prior to moving back to Maine in the mid-1990s, she was Director of Operations for Chamber Theatre Productions, Inc., Boston, Ma., which produces national tours of classic literature and the Elliot Norton Awards, Boston’s version of the Tony’s. At Moosehead, she was a long-time writer and community liaison for the former regional newspaper, Moosehead Messenger. Most recently, she initiated and produced the State of Maine’s first fisheries management reference anthology, “The Origin, Formation & History of Maine’s Inland Fisheries Division.”

About the new appointment, AuClair said, “For me, every day is a gift and an adventure, so that’s how I see this position. As your new director, my top goal is to be an excellent steward of Moosehead’s history. I also hope to bring a lot of energy and fun to many future projects, and to expand on the ties made within our community and the fine archival system built during Candy’s and Everett’s tenure.”

The Moosehead Historical Society began with a few dedicated residents in 1962. Today, it is described as one of the finest small town museums in New England by William Cook, past president of Maine Archives and Museums.

Henrietta Bigney was a well-known local nurse … and much more!

Anyone who has lived in the Moosehead region for any length of time likely has heard of Henrietta Bigney. She was a very well known nurse who worked with Dr. Fred Pritham, but she was also an active participant in the local scene. In her youth, she was known as a good athlete, and was Maine’s canoeing champion.

Henrietta died on February 11, 1987. Molly Benjamin wrote a tribute, which was published in the Bangor Daily News on February 24, 1987. Here is a transcription of that article:

“A former woman’s canoeing champion of the great state of Maine died last week. Named Henrietta at birth, she was always called “Thomie,” a name that sprang from her position as the family tomboy. This nickname occurred in a family where “Charles” was always called Charles, and the women had names like Mabel, Marion and Alice. No contractions there.

Being the only one with a nickname, she was also the only spinster. The two events are possibly unrelated. Thomie was my great-aunt and I loved her very much.

She became Maine’s woman canoeing champion because a race had been scheduled, and some stolid Yankee realized all the entrants were “from away.” In all likelihood, the other entrants were probably all rich as well, but this is but an inferred truth. So my aunt was asked to compete “in order to make a race of it,” as she told the story. She did, and, of course, she won. My aunt was capable of awesome determination.

In high school, she was named to the all-state girls’ basketball team. Basketball 79_31_259 Bigney, Thomiein Maine is probably like football in Texas. It is something everyone does. The high school state championship tourney, held yearly in Bangor, holds more importance to Mainers than anything that ever appears on Page One.

Back when Provincetown was a big basketball town, they tell me someone literally had to check to see that enough people would be left in town to operate the fire, postal and police departments. Basketball is like that in Maine, and my aunt was good. Tall and rugged and quick, I bet she was.

Few Maine basketball players ever become stars, a f
act that holds a certain curiosity in a state where everyone plays. Perhaps understanding is found embodied in my aunt, who believed you do your best, you do a very good job at everything you do, but you never, ever expect or take applause for doing what is merely the right thing in the first place.

Fresh out of high school, my aunt taught school l for a time, crossing a frozen lake in the winter mornings by means of a moose sled. She quickly tired of that profession, it seems, and moved on to take her nurse’s training. For some reason, the nurses in my family — and they are legion — never went to university or got their schooling or any of those verbs usually employed around the attainment of higher education. Our nurses always took their training.

For quite a long time, Thomie and a pint-sized doctor, who also played horn in the high school band, were the sole medical outfit for Maine’s big woods. She would usually spare me the blood-and-guts details of those days, but just listening to the transportation they used to get where they had to go was spellbinding.

Great Northern Paper Company would lend them teams and a buckboard, the B&M would stop trains for them, and there were dogsleds here and there. They most certainly walked and snow shoed, and there are stories of hiking miles up the railroad tracks with two hard biscuits in a pocket for energy.

She went on to run hospitals, for that was one of the few professions open to women in the early part of this century, a century that opened without telephones, televisions and motors.

My favorite medical story was about delivering a particular baby back in the woods. Getting there required one of those take-the-train-to-the-buckboard-and-then-snowshoe affairs. The expectant mother’s mother was the region’s midwife, and not at all pleased that my aunt had been called in by her daughter.

Ordered out of the room, the elderly mother sat herself in a rocker on the line at the bedroom doorway and laid a shotgun on her lap. Just how the shotgun could have aided in the birthing was never made clear, but she held it at the ready.

The baby came out all right, and the elderly mother wanted to plunge the child into a pot of cold and then warm water. My aunt was horrified and snatched the child away, as she said, and I bet she did just that. She later admitted the system was a workable one and every bit as effective as patting the kid on the butt to get it to breathing, but at the time, my aunt did not know this.

Aunt Thomie went deer hunting but she never especially loved partridge shooting. There were pictures of her wearing what must have been a fashionable hat at the time, holding up a nice brace of birds. She would fish, but not well. She was not patient with fishing.

Later in life she took up cards, and was incredibly good. She was one of those people who could remember an entire bridge hand, how all the cards were played, and what was still out. They don’t make memories like that anymore.

Hundreds of times, Aunt Thomie and I watched the Red Sox on a television so snowy we often could not make out the ball until a fielder came up with the throw.

We sat together in our camp in the big woods to see Nixon talk on the telephone with the astronauts on the moon. I will never forget that, for the camp had only recently been wired for electricity, and here we were, watching guys walk on the moon.

The former Maine women’s canoeing champion died last week. I will miss her very much.”





Remembering Our Early Benefactors Part 4: Charles D. Shaw

Finally, but certainly not least in measure or stature, we come to Mr. Charles D. Shaw who was born in Greenville, in April 1852, the son of early settlers Milton Gilman Shaw and Eunice Hinkley Shaw.

Early in his life he became active in the lumber business with his father and brothers, his energy and enterprise having contributed largely to the success o1979-13-41-shaw-charles-jpgf M. G. Shaw and Sons, the company of which he was a member. Not to be constrained by a single business focus, his interests also included banking, real estate, and public utilities.

In 1874, Charles married Clara Norcross and had four children, unfortunately only one, Henry M. Shaw, survived to manhood. Clara passed away in 1925, and Charles married Nettie Barbour in 1926.

He served his town as a member of the Board of Selectmen, and with his brothers, William and Albert, developed electric and telephone service, and the water company.   During his business life he was Vice President of the Guilford Trust Company, and a director of the Moosehead Telephone and Telegraph Company. And although it was reported that he had no particular church affiliations, he was a staunch supporter of Greenville’s Union Evangelical Church.

In 1925, Mr. Shaw had a $25,000 building constructed which he presented to the town and which was ultimately dedicated, in grateful appreciation, as the Shaw Public Library. Mr. Shaw’s death came shortly thereafter, in January 1930, but his legacy lives to this day.   1978-2-84a-shaw-public-library-jpg

These four gentlemen, Mr. Arthur A. Crafts, Mr. Charles A. Dean, Mr. Louis Oakes and Mr. Charles D. Shaw, through their abiding interest in, and concern for, the town of Greenville and the Moosehead Lake region, each made enduring contributions that have served the community for decades and will continue to do so as future todays become tomorrows.

Bob Cowan

MHS Trustee