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

Remembering Our Early Benefactors Part 3: Louis Oakes

In part three of “Remembering our Early Benefactors”, we’ll briefly examine the enduring contributions of Mr. Louis Oakes whose name is familiar to residents and frequent visitors alike.

Louis Oakes (1871 – 1964) was born in Sangerville – Maine, that is – and moved to Greenville in 1907 where he maintained his residence for the remainder of his days. He attended Foxcroft Academy and the University of Maine where, evidently, he developed a particular interest in surveying and forestry. In 1898 he married Eva Dunham and had one daughter, 2010-48-0001-oakes-louis-jpgEdith, who in turn married C. M. Hilton. During his early years, and reflecting his commitment to forestry, he was appointed the first Chief Fire Warden by the Maine Forestry District upon its inception circa 1900.

Of particular significance, Mr. Oakes financed exploration efforts conducted by his brother, the famed Sir Harry Oakes, who ultimately discovered what turned out to be a $250 million gold mine in Ontario. Louis shared in his brother’s wealth, much of which he invested in his local community for the benefit of its residents. Over the years he acquired large timberland holdings and served as director of two paper companies, including Hollingsworth and Whitney where he served as superintendent until his retirement in 1951.

One of his most cherished undertakings was the $500,000 Greenville Consolidate School which he gave to the town in 1935. He further established an $80,000 trust fund with the income to be used for certain school departments and repairs. Mr. Oakes was also intimately connected with the Squaw Mountain ski area, believing in the great recreational possibilities of ski development, especially for young people.

He was named one of the Outstanding Citizens of Piscataquis County in recognition of, among other contributions, his commitment to the community which included terms of service as trustee of the Guilford Trust Company, C. A. Dean Hospi0-2-124-oakes-louis-jpgtal, and the Shaw Public Library.   He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Maine in 1953, and in 1954 an honorary degree from Colby College.
When he passed away in November 1964, his obituary in the Piscataquis Observer read simply, yet eloquently, “Louis Oakes: Builder. If you seek his monuments, look around you.” His beneficiaries included his grandson, the late Louis Hilton – one of Greenville’s most respected philanthropic citizens, and Foxcroft Academy to which he left a bequeath of $450,000.

Bob Cowan

MHS Trustee

Remembering Our Early Benefactors – Part Two

We turn now to Charles Augustus Dean. Mr. Dean was born in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts on June 15, 1844. When the Civil War broke out, he ran away to join the army, specifically Company H, 8th Vermont Voluntary Infantry.   After being mustered out in 1864, he settled upon employment in the fledgling paper manufacturing industry, first in Cincinnati, Ohio, and then Rochester, New York. In 1875 he married Minnie Palmer in Woodstock, Connecticut and moved to Boston where he became manager for Hollingsworth & Whitney.


Charles A. Dean 2011.0163

He advanced to the position of Vice President of the company and served in that capacity from 1882 to 1892 whereupon he became President. Under his direction the company increased its capital by nearly tenfold and its annual production by twenty fold to become the largest manufacturer of Manila paper and paper bags in the United States. In 1911, he retired from the Hollingsworth & Whitney presidency but continued to serve as director of the company.

The Deans spent winters in Captiva, Florida, and in 1903 they bought an eighty foot steam yacht that they christened “Aroostook.” Such was Mr. Dean’s love of salt water fishing. In the summers they retreated to a rustic camp on Moosehead Lake where, it was reported, Mr. Dean went “to get away from everything.” Perhaps not entirely surprising the camp was located at Kokadjo where Hollingsworth & Whitney had its lumbering operation.

2002_0844 old C A Dean Hospital copy

C.A. Dean Memorial Hospital 2002.0844

During his tenure with Hollingsworth & Whitney, Mr. Dean, and his company, financed the construction of both a YMCA and a hospital. He donated $250,000 to build and endow the hospital and $150,000 to build the YMCA. Interestingly, it has been reported and recorded that these facilities were built for the benefit of his employees although they also greatly benefited the entire town and outlying villages. The hospital, which now bears his name, was formally presented to the town of Greenville on August 1, 1917, and continues to serve the community faithfully to this day. The YMCA which was once located on what we know as the Junction Wharf is but a fading memory and the subject of a collection of black and white photographs in the archives of the Moosehead Historical Society.

Charles A. Dean died on March 30, 1921 while cruising his favorite fishing waters off the coast of Florida aboard the “Aroostook” yet he continues to live in the hearts and minds of those who are familiar with, and appreciate, the rich history of the Moosehead Lake region.

Bob Cowan, President

Board of Trustees


Remembering Our Early Benefactors – Part One

By Bob Cowan  /  MHS Board President

Arthur A.Crafts

Last spring during the process of developing displays and exhibits for the 2015 summer guided tour season, your exhibits committee, while discussing our very popular “Be Our Guest” room in the Eveleth-Crafts-Sheridan Historical House, decided to showcase not one individual or family, but four. Each of the four individuals – Arthur A. Crafts, Charles A. Dean, Louis Oakes, and Charles D. Shaw – cast a large shadow upon the area, in a very positive sense, and left a legacy worthy of recalling and appreciating. The following paragraph will briefly examine the life and contributions of the first gentleman, Arthur Crafts. Charles Dean, Louis Oakes and Charles Shaw have generously agreed, in absentia, to wait until the next blog postings. Before continuing however, I should assure you that these memorable and philanthropic gentlemen are being considered not according to the magnitude of their contributions but merely alphabetically. It is certainly not meant as an affront to any one of these gentlemen; it represents nothing more than a convenient approach.

Having set the stage, let us begin with Arthur A. Crafts, prominent businessman, hotelier, legislator and public benefactor. Although his contributions to the community were legion, he perhaps may be best remembered as the donor of the Masonic Temple in Greenville, a landmark which to this day makes its impressive presence known on Pritham Avenue. Presented and dedicated in 1929, contemporary newspapers described the building as being valued at $50,000 – a substantial sum even today. Years before, Mr. Crafts acquired the distinction of becoming the fourth Master Mason in the Columbia Lodge, after the lodge was established in July 1894, but long before the Temple had been constructed and donated.

Mr. Crafts (1867 – 1940) was born in Auburn, Ohio and came to Greenville as a young man although it is not certain precisely why he did so. Not long after establishing himself in the community, he was married to Rebecca Eveleth, daughter of John H.  Eveleth, at Mount Kineo on September 19, 1889.  They had two children, Oliver Eveleth Crafts who died at an early age, and Julia Ellen who married Rennie Philip Sheridan.

1999_0567 Crafts Arthur copy

Arthur A. Crafts

In 1899 Mr. Crafts established a large sporting goods store in Greenville, actually in the Junction, and successfully operated it for 26 years before selling the business. In 1916 he purchased the local sanatorium and converted it into a quality hotel he named The Squaw Mountain Inn. The enterprise was officially managed by his son-in-law Philip Sheridan, although as time passed it is not beyond the realm of possibility that, in reality, his wife and formidable business woman, Julia had a firm hand on business matters. It rapidly became both a prominent local landmark and very popular destination. Additionally, from 1934 until his death he was a director of the C. A. Dean hospital. However, despite his Greenville holdings and businesses, Mr. Crafts’ principal business enterprise was located in Boston, Massachusetts which served as headquarters for Arthur A. Crafts and Company, importers of diamonds, manufacturer of diamond cutting instruments and of cutting diamonds for industrial purposes. It was from this enterprise that Mr. Crafts derived his wealth and afforded him the ability to generously support a substantial array of philanthropic endeavors.

As a state legislator he was author of the act which resulted in construction of the Greenville Road connecting Greenville, Rockwood, and Jackman with greater Maine and Canada. On his passing in 1940, Governor Lewis O. Barrows memorialized Mr. Crafts as follows, “Mr. Crafts’ death is a tremendous loss to the state of Maine and a personal one to me. I am proud to have been included in his legion of friends and admirers. A pioneer in the development of the state of Maine as a recreational center, a keen businessman and an ardent supporter of efforts to develop the state, his loss will be felt greatly.”


Article is from Moosehead Historical Society “Insight” January 2016, Vol. 23, No.1

West Branch Pond Camps

By Bob Cowan

MHS Board President

West Branch Pond Camps is situated on First West Branch Pond overlooking the White Cap Mountain range, located in Township A, Range 12, about 10 miles southeast of the tiny hamlet of Kokadjo along the Frenchtown Road, and some 20 miles north of Greenville. Constructed, for all intents and purposes, on the remains of an abandoned logging camp, these rustic, traditional sporting camps are believed to be the oldest in continuous operation in the state, according to the Bangor Daily News.

The camp’s founder, Charles Randall of Milo, purchased the former logging camp circa 1880, and began a thriving business, known as Randall’s Camps, catering to sporting enthusiasts from throughout the Northeast. Mr. Randall sold the property, depending upon the source of information, between 1910 and 1914, to Lewis Chadwick, great uncle of future owner Carol Stirling. During the time Mr. Chadwick owned the camps, they were described in his advertising brochures as both Chadwick’s Camps and West Branch Pond Camps. In 1921, Mr. Chadwick sold the property to his brother, Fred, who was later joined by his new wife, Abbie Savage, and they operated the camps for three decades.

During the time the camps were operated by Fred and Abbie Savage, they advertised how to get to the site. “By auto: Splendid roads all the way to Kokadjo or parking place at end of road, and the routing from Portland, Maine, is by way of Augusta, Waterville, Newport, Dover-Foxcroft, Guilford and Greenville. Everyone in Maine (and thousands outside) knows about the splendid Great Northern Paper Company’s road from Greenville to Ripogenus Dam by way of Kokadjo. You can store your car at Kokadjo, jitney and buckboard will then take you to camp without delay.”

“By train: Buy your ticket for Greenville Junction (at the foot of Moosehead Lake) and this is reached from Boston and New York over the Boston & Maine to Portland, the Maine Central to Bangor, and the Bangor & Aroostook to Greenville Junction. From Montreal and all points on the Canadian Pacific R.R., Greenville Junction is right on line. We meet parties here with the ‘Jitney,’ and take them to camp, arriving late in the afternoon.”

Keeping the business in the family, the couple sold the property in 1950 to their daughter, Connie, and her husband, Cliff Kealiher. Twenty-three years later, in 1973, the reins passed to the Kealiher’s daughter, Carol and her husband Andrew Stirling.

In 2003, Eric Stirling, Carol and Andrew’s son, took over the reins and now operates the camps with his mother, and his wife, Mildred Kennedy-Stirling. Eric aptly describes the camps as: “In a bit of a time warp. We’re one of the few camps that have always had an American plan, so we’ve always had a kitchen. Most of them (old time sporting camps) had them back in the day.”

Customers inquiring about the camps are told upfront that the cabins are old and drafty, but cozy and comfortably furnished. Each has a wood stove, plenty of firewood, indoor plumbing with sink, shower, and flush toilet, a screened-in porch, and an eclectic assortment of homemade and antique furniture. The newest cabin was built in 1937 while the oldest, a small cabin next to the lodge, dates to circa 1900.

1999_6_0011 Chadwick's Camps


This undated photograph (circa 1920s) shows “Chadwick’s Camps. Kokadjo, ME.” From the Frances Bigney Collection.

And, despite the convenience of electricity for a few hours in the evening thanks to a diesel generator, the cabins are much the same as they were at the turn of the 20th century.

From its origin as a tiny lumber camp, reached only after long hours of travel by rail, boat, buckboard, and foot over unimproved roads, to a group of nine cabins and an inviting central dining room that can be reached easily from Greenville by either vehicle or floatplane, West Branch Pond Camps continues to offer traditional peaceful beauty, hiking, boating and fishing, and hearty home-cooked meals.


Bangor Daily News, Saturday/Sunday, June 27-28, 1998. Up North Magazine, November-December 2005.
Down East Magazine, February 2007.

Two large collections of local artifacts donated to museum

The Moosehead Historical Museum recently received two special collections of three-dimensional artifacts which will greatly expand our knowledge of an earlier time and local history. The first is an extensive collection of over 400 implements, supplies, medical tools,
books, ledgers, bags and equipment, which had belonged to pioneer physician, Dr. Fred J. Pritham. The second donation is a collection of miniature Native American baskets, as well as pin cushions, thimbles, scissor holder and baskets.

100_0798 medical instumentsThe Dr. Pritham collection is the largest single donation of material in our archives and collections relating to the pioneer physician made famous by Dorothy Clarke Wilson’s book, The Big-Little World of Doc Pritham. Dr. Pritham, known affectionately by many as “Doc Pritham,” was born in Freeport, Maine on July 8, 1880. On his father’s farm, both Fred and his older brother, Charles Henry, who was two years older had their very own cows to milk. Fred’s father had other ideas for his two sons other than taking care of the farm. He wanted them to learn a trade. His brother, Charles Henry Pritham, went on to graduate with honors from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry. He developed new compounds used in igniting propellants for ammunition and invented a patented process for waterproofing shotshells.

Dr. Fred J. Pritham graduated from medical school in 1905. From 99_5_3 Dr_ Prithamthere, his professional life took him to Greenville, and it was there he practiced medicine for over 65 years. “Doc” would ride on horseback and sometimes walk through the Maine wilderness to help lumberjacks, farmers, and anyone who needed help. On June 20, 1906, Dr. Pritham married Sarah “Sadie” Rose Ring, who had been one of his high school classmates at Freeport High School. Their marriage produced two sons, Carroll Frederick Pritham and Charles Howard Pritham.

Like his father, the younger brother Howard found himself drawn to a medical career and committed his life to it. Carroll chose a career in electrical engineering, but his career was cut short when he died in 1951.

Dr. Fred J. Pritham died November 9, 1972 and is buried in the Flying Point Cemetery in Freeport, not far from where he was born.

In her book about Dr. Pritham, Dorothy Clarke Wilson had this to say about the vast area of the North Woods he covered: “Doc Pritham is one of a fast-vanishing breed – the general practitioner, willing to go anywhere, at any time, to minister to anybody who needs him. He has traveled thousands of miles through the Maine wilderness on horseback and on foot; ridden cars, boats, planes, buggies, snowmobiles, lumber trucks, trains and railroad handcars; gone on skates and snowshoes; jumped trains; swum rivers; waded through mud and snow and slush; skated over thin ice; plunged with this car to the bottom of Moosehead – all to provide medical service to an area of some five thousand square miles.”

The late Nellie Morrell perhaps summed up Dr. Pritham’s personality best when she wrote this in the Moosehead Souvenir Booklet, published in 1976: “He dressed casually, always ready for whenever he was needed, in town or at a distant woods camp. He was not a sophisticated man but used common sense which in the long run seemed to be the best ingredient for his success.”

In 1955, Greenville honored “Doc” with a “Dr. Pritham Day,” and it is for him that Pritham Avenue was renamed from West Street (he lived just down the street from the current Greenville Junction Post Office). Morrell added, “How typical of him to turn down the chance to ride in the lead as honored guest, instead (he) marched with the band, as he usually did, having played in the town band for years.”

Miniature Native American baskets 

The second collection recently received is composed of 43 miniature Native American baskets, as well as pincushions, thimbles, and scissor holder. Pending further research, we are not sure who wove the baskets, and additional research is needed to determine the provenance of the collection. However, we do know the artifacts came from a collection at one time belonging to Henry Perley, perhaps best known as Chief Henry Red Eagle.

100_0796 basketsIt is possible items in the collection originated with Mary Newall Tomah of Churchill Lake. Mary Tomah was the grandmother of Henry Perley and was well known for her beautifully designed and woven baskets.
The smallest of the baskets is a one-inch thimble, and the largest is a pincushion three inches in diameter and two inches high. The scissor holder is two and one-half inches. Ed and Arlene Jewett donated the basket collection.
These are amazing collections and at least part will be on display at the Center for Moosehead history this summer. Thank you so much to the Watt and Jewett families for their kind and most generous donations.

What is it?

What is it?

The three brown pieces displayed on the table are labeled as United Indurated Fibre, we found them in the basement of the Eveleth-Crafts-Sheridan House. We need help in determining their use. Because they are made of fibre, we assume they were not used on a stove or over a fire. Please, email with any suggestions you have.