The Pittston Farm Weekly, a small mimeographed newsletter, was published for a time in the mid-1960’s. The editors were E. G. Fernald and S. R. Hall. A few years ago, the museum was able to photocopy all of these issues. Recently what appears to be a first run printing of Vol. 2 through Vol. 4 came to the museum. Some issues are missing. These newsletters make an interesting read.
According to one of the issues, Pittston Farm, located where the North and South Branches of the Penobscot River join, was purchased by the Great Northern Paper Company in 1906. C. J. McLeod was the first superintendent and Charles Glaster was the first clerk. In 1908 the company constructed several new buildings higher up the South Branch. A blacksmith shop, stables, storehouse, boarding house, ice house, and a water works were added over the next few years. Later a cannery, a new boarding house, henhouse and a potato house were built.
The stables could accommodate 128 horses, four cows and could house 550 tons of hay. For many years the Pittston Farm was an important part of the Great Northern Paper Company wood harvesting operation.
Humor is a big part of this newsletter. There are jokes and stories, often aimed at one or another of the employees or management. The weather is mentioned in every issue and snowfall amounts appear to have been carefully recorded. Poems abound. Many are written about the people and the work being done.
Of special interest to the Millinocket Historical Society are the historical articles sprinkled throughout the issues. There is information on the number of cords of wood cut and who was in charge of the crew. There are articles on the river drives, road building efforts in the area, the towboats and the dams. Many of these were reprinted from early publications such as “The Northern,” the Bangor Daily News and letters from GNP officials.
One historical note informs us that the first four foot wood cut by GNP “was cut by Charley Gilbert during the winter of 1912 and 13 on Township 1, Range 10 in the vicinity of Norcross. The first four foot wood on Sourdnahunk Watershed was in 1915. After Slide Dam went out there were many long logs left that couldn’t be floated out as the water was too low so W. J. Curran cut them into four foot pieces and drove them the next spring.”
This newsletter was printed in the 1960’s and The Northern, a publication of the Spruce Wood Dept. was issued in the 1920’s. Were there other similar publications in between? A recent visitor believed there might have been. Does anyone remember?
Available at the Museum Store…….
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. Booklet -1903 Report on Millinocket & mill – interesting statistics – $7.00 at museum;
3. Millinocket by David Duplisea – $20.00 ($5.00 SH);
4. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
6. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
7. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form.
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.