By Bruce Marsh
Following is a continuation of the Marsh Family story, which began in the July issue of Insight. Dr. Marsh is professor emeritus at Johns Hopkins University. His family heritage was a 2018 season feature of our tour in the Eveleth-Crafts-Sheridan Historical House.
The other, much more widely known, “Marsh Farm” and Marsh Farm Road just south of Town on Rte. 15, where the Woodbury family lives today, was the farm of Stephen and Hannah’s son William Henry (1847-1919) and his wife Etta Margaret (Hilton, 1855-1945); it was here that Stephen lived out his final years dying near 90 in 1901. In addition to farming Stephen was in charge of extensive lumbering operations in the region.
Stephen and Hannah had eight children, six of whom raised families in Greenville with the others in nearby towns. Although far too numerous to mention in much detail it is of interest to mention the main connections to other well-known local families.
Martin Van Buren (1836): Married Pauline Foss and was father to Alphonso (1861), Ralph (1863), and Stanley (1875). Ralph and Stanley were both medical doctors serving Guilford, and Alphonso was the druggist in Sangerville. Ralph was born at Capen’s Hotel on Deer Island in the dead of winter 3 February, and Marsha Hansen living here today is a descendant.
Stephen Dudley III (1840): Married Martha Jackson of Monson and called “Uncle Dud”, this is the man in the long beard featured on the well-known postcard with the water wagon and henceforth connected with the Genest and Gordon families.
Lydia Ann (1843): Married Osgood Mansell and had two children: Frank who married his cousin Lucy (dau. of James Franklin below), with daughters Mabel (Vaughn) and Ruth, and Flora who married Ambrose MacEachern and had Leslie, Paul, Joseph, Lena (Pelkie), Bennett, Frank and Howard; also a well known Greenville family.
Helen (1845): married John Amazine and lived in Exeter and Dexter areas.
William Henry (1847): Married Etta Margaret Hilton—see below.
James Franklin (1854): Married Mary Isabel (“Kate”) Hamilton and lived in Parkman.
George (1858): Married Mary Brawn and had children Eva and Edna (Eldridge).
Isa (1860): Married Stephen Holman Hubbard and had sons Leo, who married Nellie Brett (with children Leo, Harold (‘Pat’ who married Etta Marsh), Helen, John and Ida) and Harry, who married Laura Candice (with children Ruth, Harry, and Alice).
William Henry Marsh (1847-1919) married Etta Margaret Hilton from Old Town and her mother was Hannah McCausland who was half Native American. Her brother Will Hilton had a major blacksmith shop in Town for many years. William and Etta also had a large family and all descendants of today in and around Greenville of the Marsh surname stem from them. Their children were: Frank Albert (1873) who married Elva Clyde Calder; Myrcilla who married Burt Smith; John Fermer (1878) who married Florence Colby; Mercedes (1879 -1930) who first married Omar Littlefield and had a daughter Florence (more below); Leander (1884, m. Alice M?); William Dudley (1888—see below); Florence (died young); Virgil (1890-1919); Lyman (1893-1901); Roland (1896-1994) who married Gertrud Dinsmore and had children Thomas, Charlotte, Hilda, Virgil, Louise, Myrcilla, and Roland (Buddy).
More about Mercedes Marsh: Within one month of his marriage to Mercedes, while hunting with his father-in-law in the dead of winter near the Coffee House stream, Omar Littlefield suffered what may have been a cerebral hemorrhage and died of “exhaustion and exposure”. Their daughter, Florence, was raised by her grandparents William and Etta and went on to marry ‘Old’ Bill McIver and had children William (1921, m. Ethel Cole), Julia (1922, m. Charles Luce), Omar (1924, m. Annie Rose Deveaux), James (1933, m. Sheila O’Brien), Mercedes (b.1936, m. 1st George Irvine, then Harold ‘Doc’ Blanchard; her daughter Julia Lavigne lives in Town). The McIver family and descendants are widely distributed throughout the area. Mercedes went on to have three more marriages, but no more children, outliving all but her last husband who was Bae Powers. Mercedes by all reports and measures was a remarkable woman; hardworking, resourceful, good at business, and kind and modest. She purchased and ran the sporting camps on the south end of Sugar Island, Camp Greenleaf, which was a well-known and highly desirable spot.
My family stems from William Dudley Marsh (1888-1949) who was the father of Etta (Marsh) Hubbard (1919-2016) and also of Florence (1917, m. Wilber Carter, later moved to Sandpoint, Idaho), William (my father, 1918-2009), and Virginia (1922-1989). William D. married Elizabeth Jane McGown Wood (‘Bessie’, 1882-1960) who was the widow of Carl Roberts (1876-1915). With Carl she had six children, and it is through this marriage of William and Bessie that the Marsh and Roberts families have ever since been closely related. These Roberts offspring—Clair, Norm, Martha, Coburn, Carl, and Lee – and the Marsh offspring—Florence, William, Etta, and Virginia — were raised as one continuous, close knit family with never the words of half-brother or sister ever entering any conversation.
Martha married Bae Powers, widower of Mercedes Marsh, parents of Libby Collins in Town; Coburn married Eula Perry of Onawa, parents of Bob (railroad) Roberts in Monson; Carl married Mildred Dean, parents of Mary Holmes living here today, Etta married Pat Hubbard, parents of Donna (1946-1963), Linda McBrierty in Town, and Patty Brown in Elliotsville; and William Roland went to Northern Michigan to manage timber, married Audrey Jane Steinhoff, and had children: William, James, Bruce, and Kay.
The family has always gathered at and around William and Bessie’s farm on Rte. 15 across from the Marsh Farm Road where Lee Roberts, a bachelor, last ran the farm for many years until his death in 1983. Linda McBrierty now owns the farm. Although the Roberts family originally built the farm, it had been sold and was purchased by William D. Marsh in 1928. William was a well-known fly-fishing guide in the Allagash and St. Johns River regions and in the winter he ran his own logging business, with operations on Prong Pond Mountain and at Rainbow Lake as well as at other locations. He was unusually talented as a fisherman, canoeist, hunter, and camp cook with sports returning year after year to have him guide them on canoe trips lasting sometimes over a month and covering over 200 miles of territory. His daughter, Etta (Marsh) Hubbard devoted herself to all aspects of the furthering of historical learning and encouragement of education and exploration in the Greenville area. She for many years gave unstinting dedicated service to the Shaw Library and the Historical Society.
People sometimes ask our family: ”What is so special about Greenville, Maine to the Marsh Family?” Our common answer is: “It is the Jerusalem of the Marsh Family.”
MOOSEHEAD HISTORICAL Society & Museum
Cultural Anchor of Moosehead’s Heritage
The Moosehead Aviation Museum
The Logging & Lumberman’s Museum
Moosehead: A Sportsman’s Paradise
Moosehead’s People of the Dawn: Native American Families
B-52 Tragedy on Elephant Mountain
Kineo Hotels: 1844 – 1970
Tracing Thoreau’s Trail: East Cove to Katahdin
The Marsh Family Retrospective
Changing times: Technology through the Ages
The Center for Moosehead History . The Moosehead Aviation Museum
6 Lakeview Street, East Cove, Greenville – Thurs. ~ Sat. 10 am~4 pm; Sundays 1~4 pm
The Eveleth-Crafts-Sheridan House 444 Pritham Avenue . Greenville Junction
GUIDED TOURS 1-4 pm Wed. – Fri.
207-695-2909 – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the new displays this year is of the Kineo Hotel, in its various constructs spanning some 142 years. The display of photos and text is mounted in the Carriage House, which is opened Tuesdays through Fri- days from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Over the years we have been asked about what’s happened to the grand hotel(s), so we decided to tell her story. It is a story of grand style for rusticators, and grand dreams that created a legacy that is still remembered today.
The first incarnation was but a small tavern built by William Hildreth in 1844. Improvements were continually made to the structure, until it became a two-story house with a porch overlooking Moosehead Lake. By 1868 it was functioning as a hotel, run by Shirley landlord Orrin A. Dennen. Guests were entertained and lodged in tents and a spruce-bark lodge, which included a dining room and kitchen. However, within six weeks it burned, as it did in all four of its reconstructions through- out its history.
The 1883 Mt. Kineo House was well constructed in grand style and included a sawmill, annex, store, and several outbuildings built near a spring. There were a reported 500 rooms, though according to guest registers, it never welcomed that many guests. Amenities included steam heat, gas and electric lights, hot and cold running water, elevators, electric bells, telephone, telegraph, and daily mail delivery. It also held a bowling alley, ornate ballroom, and dining room large enough to serve 400 guests. There were three steam yachts for daily outings. Visitors enjoyed horse riding or walking trails, fishing and hunting with expert local guides who were hired for the season. Grounds included golfing, tennis, baseball, and croquet.
In 1911 the Kineo Hotel saw a radical makeover. Maine Central Railroad had purchased the complex and hired Hiram Ricker Hotel Company to operate it. New construction included a wing five stories high, a fireproof kitchen, and 50 private baths. A steam operated elevator was replaced by two hydraulic lifts. Outside additions included a boathouse, a long pier and yachting crafts, and new dormitory for help. The Kineo Hotel had its own baseball team, a large number of guides were employed, and the 500-acre farm Deer Head Farm.
By the 1930s, the era of summer residency at the grand hotel had all but disappeared, partly due to the changing appetite of newly emerging modern travel and partly due to the ensuing wartime economy. The railroad to Rockwood landing had also ceased by the early 1930s. Local entrepreneur Louis Oakes purchased the property. One of the conditions of the sale was to raze the 425-room main hotel, which had fallen into disrepair. By 1938, much of the interior contents, including plumbing, had been removed.
Post World War II, an underwater cable brought electricity to Kineo and a new 36-room hotel was built. The golf course was also re-designed to create a nine-hole course. Still the hotel struggled. In the 1950s, C. Max Hilton and his wife, Edith, daughter of Louis Oakes, invested in the hotel and over the next 20 years sought to revive it as an American Plan resort. By the mid-1960s, the Kineo Hotel for all intents and purposes ceased to exist. Thereafter, it went through a series of sales and ownerships.
In 1966, it was sold to Rockwood- Kineo Corporation and run as the Treadway Inn until 1969 by R.H. Rines and H.A. Atherton. In 1971 it was sold again and by 1980, the mortgage was defaulted upon and the hotel put up for auction. Another attempt to make it a going concern was tried in 1986 but the multi-million dollar plan never came to fruition. In 1996, the annex was demolished and in 2016 the last building, the old dormitory, was dismantled and burned.
The halcyon days of the Kineo Hotel lasted a long time, with its pinnacle years roughly between 1883 and 1930. It employed many local residents and was a symbol of Ameri- can entrepreneurial wealth and stability prior to World War II. Today, the beautiful turn-of-the-last century Kineo Cot- tage Row, built by the Ricker Co. between 1910 and 1912 is now included on the National Register of Historic Places and are privately owned. The nine-hole golf course is still enjoyed, and a revival of walking — or hiking — keeps the trails to the summit of Mt. Kineo ever popular. The 360 degree views from the top are testament to the spectacular landscape that attracted visitors to the Kineo Hotel during its heyday, as it does today. The southerly side of Mt. Kineo re- mains privately owned; the northerly side with hiking trails is public, owned by the people of Maine, managed by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands as a state park.
By Bruce Marsh
Following is the story of the Marsh Family which will be published in Insight in a series of installments over the year. Dr. Marsh is professor emeritus at Johns Hopkins University. His family heritage is a 2018 feature of our tour in the Eveleth-Crafts-Sheridan Historical House this season. —-
Hannah (Roberts) Marsh must have been a remarkable woman, for almost immediately after she died on July 9, 1844 at her farm on the East Ridge Road in Cornville, near Skowhegan, her many children and grandchildren began dispersing to other parts of Maine. They established farms and homes in Palmyra, Cambridge, Shirley Mills, Sangerville, Athens, Bangor, Exeter and Greenville. She was nearly 90 years old and had been born in Brentwood, New Hampshire, on September 8, 1754, had 12 children, 10 of whom lived to old age, and had lived in Maine since 1801, having moved here from Gilmanton, N.H. This dispersal did not have anything to do with settling her estate, for that had been done 14 years earlier when her husband, Noah, died on October 25, 1830, and the farm had gone to their eldest grandson, Cotton Gilman Marsh (b. 1802), who in taking the farm had agreed to look after Hannah.
Noah, who was also born in Brentwood (July 1, 1755), had been a soldier in the American Revolution (2nd N.H. Regiment) and had been at Ticonderoga and in the big battles against Burgoyne in the autumn of 1777, where he was wounded at Bemis Heights, losing a finger and disabling his right hand, which must have been a hindrance in his profession as a blacksmith.
After the war, Noah and his brother Joseph moved in 1780 north from Brentwood to Gilmanton Iron Works, N.H. where they established a major blacksmith shop that continued on for over 100 years. Having long heard of the fine lands in and around Norridgewock, Maine, from his friends and neighbors who had been with Benedict Arnold on his march to Quebec City in 1775, Noah and Hannah sent their newly married eldest son, Stephen Dudley Marsh (“Dud- ley,” b. February 8, 1778) with his wife Susanna (Dow, b. 1773) north to Skowhegan in 1800. Noah and Hannah and the whole family followed in 1801, and they purchased land, established farms, and prospered in and around Cornville.
Upon the death of Hannah in 1844, Dudley and Susanna’s son, and namesake, Stephen Dudley Marsh II (1811-1901) with his wife, Hannah (Brawn; 1814-1880) and several young children moved here to Greenville, thus establishing the Marsh Family in Greenville ever since. Stephen had been here earlier scouting out land, and family lore has it that Stephen and Hannah made the trip from Cornville, which took several days, driving a team of oxen pulling a large cart-style wagon with block wheels carrying all their belongings. Greenville was eight years old and beginning to thrive with lumbering and sporting activities. Their initial dwelling, judging from village records, may have been near West Cove, for in 1846, the village agreed to cut a road from his dwelling near Wiggins Brook to the “west county road” (now Route 15). It is also interesting to note that not too far due south of West Cove, on what was then the Squaw Mountain Road linking Shirley and Greenville, that Stephen’s Aunt Mehitable (Noah and Hannah’s daughter, b. 1786) and her husband Andrew McLuer (1782-1852) in their own dispersal from Cornville in 1844, had established a farm some four or five miles north of Shirley.
Other branches of Noah and Hannah’s family, mainly stemming from Noah, Jr. (1788-1883), still live in the area of Parkman (David and Dawn Marsh), Guilford (Floyd and Nathalee Marsh, and Leigh and Linda Marsh) and their sister Donna lives in Veazie. Although our common ancestor is Noah, born in 1755, we are well acquainted and share many obvious family characteristics.
A deep family characteristic, so it seems, has been the ability to find highly functional land to farm. Noah’s farm on the East Ridge Road in Cornville, kitty corner from the Union Church (established in 1850 by the Moody, Marsh, and other families) is on high fertile ground with good water. His son Dudley’s land is similarly placed farther south on the East Ridge Road, and Stephen did the same here. That is, within a few years Stephen had found and staked out the high ground forming the drainage divide between Moosehead and the Piscataquis drainage basins just south of town at the end of what is now Spruce Street, containing the Town’s sanitary operation.
Village records show that an official road was cut south from the “Indian settlement” to the “Marsh Farm” in 1862. With spectacular views both north up the lake and westerly towards Sugarloaf, the land has a remarkable spring-fed pond within which Stephen stored manure to keep it in a denatured, non-oxidizing, highly fertile state to be later retrieved and used on his fields. This method of making excellent fertilizer was evidently a very old family practice. Moreover, the flow of the water from the springs at the margins of the pond to the center allowed wells to be dug around the pond to supply clean, pristine drinking water. One of these wells, restored by Lew Wortman as a monitor of water quality, was lined with free-fitting stones to 20 feet and has a flow of 90 gallons per minute. How Stephen ever succeeded in digging and lining this well in the face of such flow is a mystery.
This article on the Marsh Family in Greenville will be continued in the October 2018 issue. It will begin with a discussion of the more widely known Marsh Farm just south of Greenville.
Best cooks in town revive lunch-for-two social
Hankering for homemade wild blueberry pie? Like mile high good and tart Lemon Meringue? How about you-know-who’s colorful confetti relish? Drop in and bid on your favorite Lunch-for-Two by some of the best cooks in town. The creative lunches, all individually made and box with flair and a favorite recipe, can be an easy lakeside summer supper too.
Viewing of the lunches begins at 5 p.m. sharp, Wednesday, Aug. 15, at the old Community House (The Center for Moosehead History), 6 Lakeview St., downtown Greenville. Auction begins at 5:15 p.m. and runs to 6 p.m. Ice-cold tea and Lemonade will also be for sale at this summertime social. Moosehead Historical Society President Robert Cowan, Jr. holds the mike as animated auctioneer extraordinaire. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket. Auction is out under the canopy on the lawn. In the hall, if it rains. Proceeds to help replace the Eveleth-Crafts-Sheridan Historical House porch roof.
For more information, call 207-695-2909 or email: email@example.com. The Moosehead Historical Society & Museums was founded in 1962. It is devoted to interpreting and exhibiting the history of the Moosehead Lake region and its watershed, settlement and citizens, past and present, and perpetuating the contributions of the early settlers.
Swing to the ’50s No poodles required!
7:30 pm Friday, Aug. 3
The Center for Moosehead History
Corner of Pritham Ave. & Lakeview St.
DJ spins music on the lawn (hall if it rains)