Colonial Pemaquid in the News

 

Bristol Students Experience Colonial Overnight at Plimoth Plantation

Plimoth Plantation Living History Presenter, Vicki Oman, demonstrates clothing from the early 17th century with the help of Bristol School 5th and 6th graders, prior to their Colonial Overnight visit to Plimoth Plantation. Students are, left to right, Dawson Wall, Liza Cheney and Madison Opert
    

The Friends of Colonial Pemaquid offered the 6th graders of the Bristol Consolidated School a chance to experience living history at Plimoth Planation in Massachusetts. With proceeds from the Howell Fund, an endowment established in the name of founding president Jan Howell, The Friends funded this initial trip. It is hoped this will be an ongoing program for local school children to immerse themselves in early 17th century American history and to find appreciation for the rich cultural history of their own Bristol community and the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site.

In preparation for their overnight visit to 17th Century Plimoth Plantation, Bristol 5th and 6th graders, their teachers and parents welcomed Plimoth Plantation visitors, Kate LaPrade, Director of Museum Studies and Vicki Oman, Manager of Family Programs. What followed was a step back into history, as Ms. Oman, in period dress and speech as Goodwife Hopkins, took her audience back in time to early 17th century England and the story of the Mayflower voyagers and their ultimate settlement at Plimoth, Massachusetts. Weaving history, geography and culture, Ms. Oman engaged the students with thoughtful questions, opportunities to try on period clothing, use kitchen and dining implements, practice 17th century manners, stroke beaver pelts and play with colonial toys. She also told of the historical connection between Bristol, Maine and Plimoth, when the hungry Plimoth settlers traveled to Pemaquid in 1620-23 to obtain cod in a place that was "fat with fish". The connection with the Native American Samoset, who was born in the Bristol area, was also relayed. It was Samoset with his command of English who gave aid and instruction to the new Plimoth settlers in their efforts to survive in their new home.

The students traveled by bus for their two-day program in early June, where they got close and personal with 17th century Plimoth in an engaging and experiential environment. Kids played English games, learned to write with a quill pen and even tried some Pilgrim fare for dinner. After dark the group experienced life at night without electricity inside a candlelit Pilgrim house. In addition to the 17th century English village and the Wampanoag home-site, there were opportunities to visit a working grist mill and the Mayflower II at anchorage on Plymouth's waterfront.

The presentation and the planned overnight visit to Plimoth Plantation have come about due to a developing partnership between Jennifer Ribeiro, Principal of the Bristol School, Donovan York, 6th grade teacher, and the Friends. To better understand the historic and cultural links between Plimoth and Colonial Pemaquid, the 6th graders also toured the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic site in May and attended the first evening lantern walk of the season.

Interns Make a Difference at Colonial Pemaquid

Timm Gormley of Damariscotta, Maine; Don Loprieno, President of the Friends of Colonial Pemaquid; Ann Crowley of Medford, Massachusetts; Evelyn Pennoyer of Yarmouth, Maine; and Julia Lane of Round Pond, Maine. Our fifth intern, Kiley Bickford of Pemaquid, Maine, is not pictured.

Visitors to Colonial Pemaquid will find interns in period dress helping to provide a voice for this unique historic site. According to Barry Masterson, site manager, the five interns are functioning as adjunct staff in various capacities. Whatever they may be doing, they are eager to greet and engage with visitors and share their knowledge about what happened at the Pemaquid settlement in the early 17th century.

Sponsored by the Friends of Colonial Pemaquid, several of the interns are local college students. Kiley Bickford of Pemaquid, in her fourth year as an intern, is a student in the honors college of the University of Maine at Orono where she is majoring in history. Ann Crowley, a Pemaquid summer resident, has been a local volunteer at the Bristol Area Library and the Colonial Pemaquid Gift Shop. She has a longtime interest in history and is currently a student at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania. Evie Pennoyer is a student at the College of Atlantic in Bar Harbor working towards a B.A. in Human Ecology. She is particularly interested in nautical history and has studied and had experience with period clothing, blacksmithing, bookbinding and copper-smithing.

Julia Lane of Round Pond, an accomplished harpist, has long had an interest in the Celtic heritage of the Pemaquid area. Many will recognize her as part of the well known Castle Bay Musicians with husband Fred Gosbee. This well-known duo has long exhibited a commitment to cultural education in Celtic lore, nautical themes, and colonial life of New England in their traditional music. Timm Gormley, a Damariscotta resident and a 2012 honors graduate of Lincoln Academy, brings an interest and knowledge of local history to his job. This is Timm's second year in the role of a Colonial Pemaquid Intern. A former Education Intern at the Damariscotta River Association, he counts impromptu public speaking as one of his strengths.

These interns, attired in period clothing representative of the mid-18th century, have been working closely with Don Loprieno, president of the Friends and the site manager to become knowledgeable about Colonial Pemaquid's civilian and military history, and its role as an important English settlement on the Maine coast. The interns have been greeting and engaging the public since early summer and will be available most weekends until the end of August. As they interpret the past, they are an active presence and help to make known Colonial Pemaquid's compelling story to visitors of all ages and interests.

 

Weatherproofing History in Colonial Pemaquid

Thursday, June 27, 2013 ....  Karen Antonacci of the Portland Press Herald chronicles the activities of Master Thatcher Colin McGhee as he thatches the wattle and daub house at Colonial Pemaquid.

Click here to view the video.

 

HOME SWEET HOME

By Bob Howell, Vice President
Friends of Colonial Pemaquid

The cellar holes at the Colonial Pemaquid Site are all that is left of what was at one time a thriving, 17th century English village. Together with the signage which outlines what we believe to have been the purpose of the building which at one time stood on that particular foundation, those rock-filled holes in the ground spur the imagination of the thousands of visitors who come here each year. The lantern walks conducted in season add to the atmosphere of romance and adventure as interpreters connect artifacts found on site to the actual building that existed there. But no matter how vivid the imagination, it is not easy to conjure up a vision of what Colonial life was really like.

To dramatically improve the Pemaquid experience, State Historian Tom Desjardin took in hand the building of a reproduction early 17th century house. After the post-and-beam frame was complete, wattle and daub was added - a process that refers to a building technique that has been in use for over a thousand years. It is a system of filling in the walls of the framework of a house, usually wood, with a mixture of mud, sand, crushed rock, lime, chopped straw, and any similar materials which may be available locally. This mixture - the "daub" - is thoroughly blended, formerly by feet, both human and animal, and then plastered onto a mesh framework of vertical and horizontal strips of wood or saplings, again, whatever is available. This is the "wattle." Our Pemaquid wattle and daub house has clapboard outer walls with the walls inside being daubed, and has been built in part by volunteer effort and the support of organizations like the Carpenter's Boatshop.

There are examples of this ancient method of construction all over the world. In Europe, for example, many such homes still in use are hundreds of years old, and in Egypt not only are there illustrations of slaves using this process 5,000 years ago; even today comfortable wattle and daub homes are still being built.

Nothing says "old" in building, however, more than a thatched roof. It is so different from our usual experience that visitors just have to stop and take a closer look. Our aim to complete thatching as soon as possible, but until then there will be a typical seafarer's response to the need for overhead covering: a sailcloth canvas to protect from the weather.

Back in the 1600's, it is likely that the "architect" in the Pemaquid village would be the ship's carpenter, or a colonist with some knowledge from his village back in the old country. But we can be certain that nothing would have been accepted without the approval of the distaff side of the family - the women who did all the work about the place while the men went about their tasks to earn a living. So our wattle and daub will be provided with all 1625 modern conveniences: an indoor "kitchen" with easy access to a water barrel, a smoke extractor (chimney) and an easy to clean stone floor. We can be certain that a lot of her loving care will have gone into making this place her "Home Sweet Home."

This season the house will be a work in progress; we hope to find many volunteers to play a part in completing this first effort to restore more of a village: a blacksmith's shop, a tavern, and another dwelling. The Friends of Colonial Pemaquid will be seeking sponsors and community support, so please be open to joining us in this exciting project at Maine's premier Historic Site.

 

Bill Nemitz: Pemaquid Volunteers Go Way Back

Click here to read Bill Nemitz's Portland Press Herald article on the most recent dig at Colonial Pemaquid.

 

Highland Band Performs at Colonial Pemaquid

What better way to usher in an exciting new season of events at Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site than with a stirring concert by Maine St. Andrew’s Pipes and Drums? On Saturday, May 28, visitors caught the band’s unique sound of bagpipes and drum rolls in an outdoor concert on the Fort’s original parade grounds. Sporting what is believed to be the oldest district tartan in the United States, Maine St. Andrew’s members performed the distinctive music of Maine’s Scottish forebears. This program was sponsored by the Friends of Colonial Pemaquid.

Based in Ellsworth, Maine, St. Andrew’s Pipes and Drums has performed as a group since 1996, traveling throughout Maine, throughout the United States and into Canada participating in concerts, parades and Highland Games, and providing educational presentations to school groups. Their tartan, the official Maine state tartan, appropriately includes light blue for the sky, dark blue for the waters, dark green for the forests and a thin red line for the bloodline of the people.

Memorial Day at Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site

Memorial Day Weekend is a time of family gatherings, parades, and festive occasions, but it is also a solemn reminder of sacrifice and loss. Here on the grounds of Colonial Pemaquid, much of the 17th and 18th century was marked by conflict between Europeans and Native Americans, with hardship, deprivation, and loss of life on both sides. King Philip’s War, for instance, struck this area in 1676, and in 1689, Fort Charles, a wooden structure, was burned to the ground with great loss of life. In 1696, Fort William Henry, partially reproduced here in the early 20th century, was captured and destroyed; and its successor, Fort Frederick, was attacked several times. This was the frontier after all, and like all frontiers, life here was difficult and dangerous.

Of course, wars have occurred throughout history, and have been fought for different reasons, but one fact should never be forgotten. Regardless of the military or political rationale, it is the soldier who is always placed in harm's way - therefore one should never confuse the warrior with the war. So here today, amidst this peaceful setting by the waters of John's Bay, let us not forget the reason for this holiday.

Let us take a moment to pay tribute to those countless men and women who served in all wars, and to their families who have borne and still bear the burden of sacrifice. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, “We may occasionally be tempted to ask ourselves what we gained by the enormous sacrifices made by those to whom this memorial weekend is dedicated. But that was never the issue with those who marched away. No question of advantage presented itself to their minds. They only saw the light shining on the clear path to duty. They only saw their duty to resist oppression, to protect the weak, to vindicate the profound but unwritten Law of Nations. They never asked the question, “What shall we gain?” They asked only the question, “Where lies the right?” As the poet Whitman has said:

“With music strong I come, with my pipes and drums,
I play not marches for accepted victors only –
I play great marches for conquer'd and slain persons.
Have you heard that it was good to gain the day?
Battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won. . . .
Vivas to those who have failed!

And to those whose war-vessels sank in the sea!
And to those themselves who sank in the sea!
And all overcome heroes!
And to the numberless unknown heroes equal
to the greatest heroes known.”

- from remarks read by Don Loprieno, vice president of the Friends of Colonial Pemaquid, and chair of the Living History Committee, on Saturday, May 29, 2010, in observance of Memorial Day.

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The following are links to recent media reporting of Colonial Pemaquid (click on an image to view):

July 26, 2009

ABC Television's Good Morning America Weekend's "Weekend Window on the Pemaquid Peninsula" with several views of Colonial Pemaquid

August 6, 2009

WCSH-TV (Portland) reports on "Digging for History at Pemaquid" - Once the page opens, click on the "play" button (u) to view the video.

August 19, 2009

The Lincoln County News publishes an article on a Brief History of Colonial Pemaquid.

 

 








 
             
 
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