History Highlights at Evergreen Cemetery

Friends of Evergreen present “History Highlights.” A new series of written portraits of figures known and unknown that are resting at Evergreen Cemetery and essays on some of Evergreen Cemetery’s unique features.

Evergreen Ephemera This is where you will find a broad range of everyday documents intended for one-time or short-term use related to Evergreen Cemetery’s history-

MEMORIAL DAY HISTORY

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, had its beginnings in the 1860s when communities in both the North and the South visited and decorated the graves of Civil War soldiers. Although several towns claim to be the location of the first observance, Decoration Day was formally established on May 5, 1868 when General John A. Logan, head of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a Union veterans’ organization, proclaimed May 30th as Decoration Day which was “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.”

The first official observance was held at Arlington National Cemetery where 5,000 gathered to listen to speeches. The ceremony concluded with GAR members and children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home scattering flowers on Union and Confederate graves. The holiday became known as Memorial Day after World War I when its purpose was expanded to honor the fallen in all American wars. The National Holiday Act of 1971 moved Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday in May.

In 2000, Congress passed the NATIONAL MOMENT OF REMEMBRANCE ACT. It’s purpose is to reclaim Memorial Day “as the sacred and noble event that that day is intended to be” Included in the Act are the following statements: (5) in House Concurrent Resolution 302, agreed to May 25, 2000, Congress called on the people of the United States, in a symbolic act of unity, to observe a National Moment of Remembrance to honor the men and women of the United States who died in the pursuit of freedom and peace; (6) in Presidential Proclamation No. 7315 of May 26, 2000 (65 Fed. Reg. 34907), the President proclaimed Memorial Day, May 29, 2000, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and designated 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as the time to join in prayer and to observe the National Moment of Remembrance.

Written by fourth year docent and Friends of Evergreen Board Member Mary Anne Wallace.


The SS Portland
by Carol Jenkins

The SS Portland was the pride of the Portland Steamship Company. It was built at the Bath shipyard in 1889 and had been plying the sea between Portland and Boston ever since. Two hundred nineteen feet long and 45 feet wide, she was designed to carry passengers in great comfort between the two cities. She had two steam boilers and a walking beam turned her paddle wheels. This was a luxury ship with red carpeting, oak paneling, and crystal chandeliers. Leading to the dining room was a graceful curved staircase. There were comfortable staterooms for easy sleeping.

Her sister ship, the Bay State, did the same run in opposite directions. The ships would leave one port at 7 pm in the evening and arrive in the other city early the next morning. Passengers could sleep during the trip and arrive refreshed in the morning. And all it cost was a dollar, unless you wanted a stateroom and then it was $5. Captain Hollis Blanchard was the Captain of the SS Portland. An experienced sailor, this was his first command. He had been a pilot for the previous 12 years and had only been in command of the Portland for three weeks, following the death of Captain Snow. He was known as an excellent sailor but a bit of a “storm chaser.” He lived in Westbrook with his wife and two sons and a nineteen year old daughter. He came from a seafaring family filled with Captains.

On the night of November 26, 1898, Captain Blanchard prepared to take his ship, the SS Portland, out of Boston Harbor and head to Portland. He had spent time that afternoon at the Weather Bureau and had been gathering information about a storm churning up the Atlantic Coast. A second storm was approaching from the Great Lakes.

As it turned out, the two storms joined forces off Virginia and barreled up the coast with wind gusts to 90 miles an hour,white out conditions and waves of 45 feet. The weather bureau predicted that the storm was heading northwest and might head inland. They were wrong! This storm was responsible for at least four hundred deaths and over 150 ships foundering. The largest loss of life was on the SS Portland, where close to 200 lives were lost. The storm has taken the name of that ship,being known ever since as the Portland Gale.

Captain Alexander Dennison, known as the “Kid Captain,” due to his youth, was at the same time checking the weather from his ship, the Bay State, anchored in Portland. He had only had command of that ship for 24 hours as the previous master, Captain Deering, had died on Thanksgiving night and was being waked in Boston that very weekend. John F. Liscomb, the general manager of the Portland Steamship Company,had only been at his job for three weeks. Although he had worked for the Steamship company for many years, he was new to the responsibility of making decisions. He had a reputation as a man who always wanted the ships to sail on time. He was planning on taking the train to Boston so he could be there for Captain Deering’s wake. Before he left, he told Captain Dennison to hold off making a decision about sailing until 9 pm. If the weather warranted it, to stay in port. He claims he called Boston and asked the dock agent , Agent Williams, to pass the same message to Captain Blanchard.

When the two Captains spoke by phone on that afternoon, Blanchard encouraged Dennison to stay in port as he would be sailing right into the storm. However, he told Dennison that he thought he might be able to outrun the weather, since the storm was heading Northwest and he would be going Northeast . Complicating his decision was the fact that both the his first mate and his pilot were staying in Boston that night to attend Captain Deering’s funeral.

Later that afternoon, Captain C. H. Leighton of Rockland spoke with Captain Blanchard. He was planning on returning to Maine aboard the Portland. He claims he told Blanchard “I really don’t think this is a fit night to leave port.” To which Blanchard replied,”I don’t know about that, we may have a good chance.” Leighton decided not to sail on the Portland that night as the storm was already “dangerously thick.”

Fifty years afterward, Mrs. Carrie M.S. Courtney gave this account of her conversation on that fateful night. She had been planning on sailing on the Portland. When she learned that Captain Snow had died, she had second thoughts. She says,”It was a terrible storm. The particles cut my face getting from the railroad to the boat. . . . .I was standing with Capt. Blanchard when he received his orders. “Don’t leave the harbor tonight.” He was more than much put out for he was giving his daughter a coming out party the first of the week and showed me the beautiful watch he had for her. The boat was pitching badly then.”

One of Captain Blanchard’s sons, who resided in Boston, spent time that afternoon with his father. When he asked his father why he was planning to sail, Captain Blanchard told him he was following orders. According to his son, he had been accused of being too cautious in the past.

The morning after the storm, J.F. Liscomb laid the blame for the tragedy at Captain Blanchard’s feet. Unfortunately, Blanchard was not there to defend himself!

Whatever the reason, the SS Portland set sail for Portland at 7 pm the evening of November 26, with approximately 120 passengers and 60 crew members aboard. She was sighted a few times that night as she headed north, only to be blown back on a southeastern course. At 5:45 the following morning, lifesavers on Cape Cod heard four short blasts of a boat horn, a distress sign that was probably the Portland. Between nine and ten thirty that morning, when the eye of the storm passed over Cape Cod, several persons reported seeing the ship wallowing five to eight miles off shore. That was the last time she was seen afloat!

Later that night, flotsum and getsum from the ship began to wash up on Truro Beach. Bodies were soon iscovered. Word of the wreck reached the world in two ways. Cables were sent to Europe with the message which was then relayed to New York via international cables and then sent to Boston. The second way was through the valiant efforts of a Boston news reporter who was on Cape Cod at the time of the storm.

Through a combination of trains, wagons and on foot, he made it to Boston in time for the story to run in the November 29 issue of the Boston Herald. Because the only passenger manifest was on board the ship. friends and relatives waiting for word of their loved ones, could not get clear cut answers to their questions at the steamship office. Even after it was clear that all had been lost, there were still unanswered questions.

Only thirty-five bodies were recovered. Of these, four are buried in Evergreen. Four more people are memorialized with stones. Here are their stories. Walter H. Brown was the President of Ward 5 in Portland and President of the Walter Corey Furniture Company. His brother, Fred, lived in Boston. Fred had been in Portland only two weeks before and was not scheduled to return at that time. Walter became very interested in the information about the wreck and read all he could about it. He began to wonder if his brother could have been on board. He called the boarding house where Fred lived and was told that he hadn’t been home for a while. Sensing tragedy, Walter took the train to Boston and went to the morgue where the first bodies had just been brought. The first body he saw was his brother, Fred. He brought the remains home with him and after a funeral at 273 State Street, Fred was buried at Evergreen Cemetery.

Emily L. Cobb, was the twenty-three year old daughter of Mrs. Judith S. Cobb. She was a grandchild of Captain George Knight, one of the founders of the Portland Steamship Company. She lived in Portland with her widowed mother and although she was not in robust health, she was a singer of some reputation in Portland. She sang in First Parish Unitarian Church in Portland and with some local choirs as well. Emily studied voice in Boston and had been there for her lessons. She headed home on the Portland, due to sing at first parish the next morning. The pastor eulogized her thusly, “Her gift of song became the object of her ambition. . . . .There was a promise of great joy and worth in such a nature and with such a gift.” Her body was not found and so there is but a memorial stone in Evergreen to mark her passing.

Eva Totten was another young woman, 28, who was lost on the Portland. Her family was in the process of moving back to Portland from Boston. They had celebrated Thanksgiving with a friend, Mrs SH Bolton and most of the family left on the steamship that night. Eva stayed in Boston to finish out her work at the H.M. Sawyer and Son, oil clothing makers in Cambridge. She was identified by Mrs. Bolton on the strength of her two missing teeth, the clothing she wore and “her heavy head of hair.” Her remains were returned to Portland on the same train as Fred Brown’s and she is buried in her family plot at Evergreen, by the side of her parents. Oren Hooper was a furniture dealer on Congress Street in Portland for many years. He was married twice and had grown up children as well as younger ones from the second marriage. He and his twelve year old son, Carl, traveled to Worchester, Mass to attend a Mechanics Fair. They had planned to return via train, but won a ticket to the steamship at the fair. Oren’s body was found early Sunday morning on Orleans beach.

A Mr. J.F. Kennedy of Portland, who knew him, positively identified the body made clear by the fact that Mr. Hooper’s second finger on the left hand had been amputated. Carl was never recovered. Mr. Hooper is buried in Evergreen next to a memorial stone for Carl.

John Tuck Walton was the second engineer and made $60 a month. He resided in Woodsford at the time of his death and was sixty years old. He had previously lived in Portland and moved to Deering. He was a member of the Ancient Brotherhood Lodge of the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows. He left a widow, one son, and four daughters. His stone in Evergreen is a memorial stone.

John A. Dillon was a young oiler from Eastport, Maine. He made $35 a month. His body, described thusly was recovered. A young male, five foot ten, hair and eyes dard, wearing a vest, a reefer and overalls. His face was clean shaven and his hands were oily. He is buried near the Elk.

Griffin S. Reed, was a forward cabin watch, earning $22 a month. He was African American and lived in Portland with his wife, Mary, and son, Charles. His stone is a memorial stone as his body was never recovered. MIZPAH written on the back of the stone is a biblical word signifying an emotional bond between people who are separated either physically or through death. The Abyssian Baptist Church was decimated when it lost 17 members, two of them trustees, on the ship.

In 2004, the hull of the Portland was discovered on the bottom of the sea in the Stellwagen Bank National Park. The exact location is kept secret to discourage treasure hunters. Recently, underwater robots bearing cameras have begun to search the site. Divers will be going down as well. Although it is swathed in lost fishing nets, making it difficult to explore, we will hopefully find out more information as time passes,and the one hundred sixteenth anniversary approaches this month.


Zinc Markers
by Sue Devine

Walking through Evergreen Cemetery is a visually invigorating experience. Our eyes always seem to focus on something new – something we haven’t seen before even though we may have walked this route on so many occasions. The next time you are enjoying the beauty of Evergreen, let your eyes scan the panoramic view of the monuments and look to see the light reflecting on the cool blue/gray hue of the zinc markers sparsely scattered throughout the cemetery.

Thought to be inferior to the traditional stone markers because of their lower costs, these beautiful monuments were referred to as white bronze to help elevate their status.

Zinc markers were produced by The Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, CT from 1874 to 1914.

The sections were cast independently and then joined together by molten zinc heated higher than its boiling point, which made the joints more secure.

The plates were attached with decorative screws and could easily be removed and updated with newer burials.
The monuments themselves are hollow and because the plates could be easily removed and reattached, tales are told that during Prohibition, clever bootleggers would use these markers to store liquor. Because these markers were produced by only one company, they are quite rare.

However, they can be seen in cemeteries countrywide. So, if your travels take you outside this fabulous State of ours, be on the lookout for these unique and beautiful markers of our past.

Sue Devine is a graduate of Connecticut College with a BA in Botany.  She came to Evergreen Cemetery through the Portland Historical Docent program as a docent and recently joined the board.  Retired after 34 years in the insurance industry, Sue enjoys developing new tours though historical research.


Seafarers
by Mary Anne Wallace

When Evergreen was dedicated in 1854, Portland was a thriving port with 29 wharves and over 200 vessels calling Portland their home port. In addition to the captains and crews, the maritime community consisted of ship owners, ship builders, agents, pilots, a harbor master, ship chandlers, sail makers, importers/exporters, riggers, caulkers, coopers, stevedores plus many other occupations that provided essentials services and materials to the myriad vessels arriving and sailing from the port.

For numerous seafarers and shore side workers, Evergreen became their final port of call. “Captain” or “Capt.” are carved into many of the cemetery’s monuments. “Lost at Sea” is a poignant reminder that some monuments are memorials rather than burial sites markers. Anchors are often part of the symbolism on monuments. Although the two photos below both show anchors, they tell different stories.

A straight hanging anchor, such as the one on the left, is found on burial sites. The photo on the right, however, shows an anchor carved on an angle. This indicates a death at sea either through illness or a ship wreck and is a sign the monument is a cenotaph or a memorial rather than a burial one.

As Evergreen contains so many individual and family stories, there are now three tours about the people who worked on or near Portland’s waterfront. Although Portland Harbor is the focus for all three tours, visitors are introduced to different people and aspects of the city’s maritime history. “Seafaring Portlanders” provides an introduction to the 19th century maritime world as it focuses on the stories of both Portland natives and immigrants who earned their living on the sea. “Lost at Sea” concentrates on the November 1898 tragic loss of all the passengers and crew of the S.S. Portland, the night boat sailing from Boston to Portland. Several passengers and crew are either buried or memorialized at Evergreen. The Otraska Tragedy returns the tour visitors to October 1861 when a squall capsized the boat on which seven young men were fishing.

Similar to other Evergreen tours, there are poignant and sorrowful stories on each tour. There are also tales of courage, strength, hope and insights into a time and culture which no longer exists.

Third year docent Mary Anne Wallace‘s graduate thesis, Days of Joy and Fear, examined the lives of 19th century New England wives and children who went to sea with their husbands and/or fathers.


Maine at Gettysburg
by Lin Brown

The Battle of Gettysburg is solidified in American memory as the quintessential and definitive battle of the Civil War. Not only was it the bloodiest battle with nearly 50,000 casualties, it was also the battle that would later become known as the ‘High Water Mark of the Confederacy’; a particularly joyous appellation to northern minds of the period.

Today we think of Maine’s participation at Gettysburg primarily as Joshua Chamberlain’s famous 20th ME stand at Little Round Top, for which he was later awarded the Medal of Honor. Michael Shaara’s 1974 book, The Killer Angels, was instrumental in establishing this idea of the 20th ME being ‘The’ Maine presence at Gettysburg.

However, Maine’s contribution was even more than this. 15 Maine units participated on all parts of the field. Oak Hill, Culp’s Hill. The Peach Orchard, Devil’s Den, The Wheatfield, Little Round Top, and Pickett’s Charge are all scenes in which Maine played major roles. To those familiar with the battle, these names all evoke thoughts of heroic sacrifice and strategic necessity.

In reading the unit histories of these Maine participants it is striking that most units considered their action as ‘saving the day’. What is more surprising however is that they were right. Gettysburg was made up of numerous desperate clashes wherein one failure could lose the entire battle.

After the War. the State of Maine went to great lengths to insure that her service at Gettysburg would not be forgotten. The Legislature voted monies for monuments to be placed on the field honoring each Maine unit and a commission was formed to publish a report of Maine’s actions there.

The Dedication of Maine Monuments in October 1889 was a particularly solemn event. General Chamberlain gave the opening address stating, “In great deeds something abides. On great fields something stays.” This is certainly true of Gettysburg.
Our contributor this month is Lin Brown. Lin Brown is a local insurance agent and Portland history buff whose Civil War tours at Evergreen are ever surprising and informative- Lin is in her third year as one of the cemetery’s History Docents.


 

The Chisholm Mausoleum
by Bob Riley

Standing for one hundred years at Evergreen Cemetery, the architectural strength and powerful presence of the Chisholm Mausoleum keeps the memory of a remarkable man alive.

At the time of his death in July 1912, Hugh Chisholm was widely recognized as the most powerful man in the pulp and paper industries of North America. He had been the founder, and president, of a vast consortium of mills known collectively as the International Paper Company. The Oxford Paper Company in Rumford, Maine, Livermore Falls Iron Foundry, Rumford Falls Power Company, Continental Bag Company, and Chisholm Brothers Publishing, were among a number of successful ventures envisioned and developed by Chisholm, Maine’s foremost industrialist.

Born in Ontario, Canada on May 2, 1847 of Scottish ancestry, Chisholm began his working career in his teenage years delivering newspapers to passengers on-board trains that ran between Toronto and Detroit. By the late 1860s Chisholm and his associates had control of the entire news distribution system in The Grand Truck Railroad lines between Portland, Chicago, and Halifax, as well as the principal lines of steamship travel from Portland Harbor to all destinations. Chisholm’s interests had grown in a few years from the delivery of print media to the production of paper on which the news was delivered. Chisholm Brothers, a brochure and postcard publishing company he formed in 1861 with his brother, produced not only published time-table schedules for the railroad lines but printed the first picture postcards, picturesque landscape albums, and scenic attraction brochures, sold as novelties or provided free of charge to customers and vendors in the travel industry.

Oxford Paper Mill won a valuable manufacturing contract for the production of all postcards used by the U.S. Post Office shortly after the mill’s paper making operations began in 1900. Oxford Paper became the largest cardstock, print paper, and fine paper mill in the world producing 63,000 tons of pulp and 44,000 tons of paper annually. Cards for the postal service were produced at a rate of three million per day.

A true visionary, Chisholm established  the first forest management program in the nation, initiated the design and construction of workers’ housing developments for his employees in the paper industry, designed transportation systems and invested heavily in railroad ventures.

He envisioned hydropower stations in operation at waterfalls throughout the State of Maine as he had engineered at Rumford Falls and across the northeast to generate electricity for industry, public utility, and produce a reliable power source to meet railroad energy demands.

Deep roots into classical culture and mortuary traditions of times long past influenced the architecture of the mausoleum, the burial chambers, and the carved marble sarcophagus it holds. Chisholm’s monument is modeled on The Maison Caree, (the long square) an ancient building in The City of Nimes, France, a former territory of the Roman Empire. Historians believe Augustus Caesar built the Temple at Nimes for elegiac purposes in 16 BCE to mourn the early deaths and honor the memory of his two adopted heirs – Lucius and Gaius. The replica of the mortuary structure is precise in its architectural proportion – nearly twice as long as it is wide – yet reduced in scale for its site at Evergreen Cemetery. The building rests on a raised podium foundation with a generous stairway platform as a direct reflection of the Roman temple set in Maine on a south facing axis.

Chisholm’s Mausoleum was among four of the most expensive private monuments built in the United States at the time of its completion in 1914. The Flint Granite Company, a group of artisans in New York known as builders of artistic monuments in granite, marble, and bronze, and respected nationally for the quality and mastery of their materials, were commissioned for the design, fabrication, and construction of the structure. Six graceful Corinthian columns raise the deep portico of the building as a frame for the bronze doorway which leads to stacked vaults in an entry chamber and to a carved marble sarcophagus set against the floor at the center of a square interior. Chisholm’s tomb enclosure is a replica of the sarcophagus believed at the time of its discovery in 1897 at the Necropolis near Sidon, Lebanon, to hold the remains of Alexander the Great. The marble sarcophagus was carved from three pieces of white marble quarried in Vermont and carved by sculptors at Vermont Marble into a copy of ancient craft faithful to the original as a tribute to Chisholm’s achievements  Rather than a finial ornament typical of an archaic tomb, the cap of Chisholm’s sarcophagus is carved with the crest of his Scottish ancestors.

On the east and west sides of the building, engaged columns are embedded in sets of nine to emphasize the classical form of the mausoleum and to direct attention to a stained glass window on the back of the structure. A single figure, represented in full-life scale and rendered in opalescent leaded glass, is the single source of daylight in the cella, or inner chamber. Known as The Compassion of Christ, a mortuary series developed at the Louis Comfort Tiffany Studios and attributed to them, the translucent white glass in the figure’s robe functions as a lens to illuminate the interior of the tomb with northern light – a mysterious light associated with melancholy softly casts its faint light on the white marble sarcophagus and vaulted walls of the monument’s interior.

On two occasions each year, the Chisholm family’s perpetual care request asks that a dozen long stemmed red roses are placed in the mausoleum – as they have been since 1914 – on Memorial Day and on Hugh Chisholm’s birthday. Henrietta Mason Chisholm, Hugh’s wife of forty years and mother of their only son, commissioned the monument as his survivor and supervised its construction. Their son, Hugh Chisholm Jr. assumed presidency of the paper company at the time of his father’s death in 1912. Hugh’s grandson, William Chisholm followed his father as president of the family industries and is entombed in the mausoleum with each member of the Chisholm family.

Note: Renovations, repair, and conservation of the mausoleum and gardens will begin this summer in recognition of the 100th anniversary of its construction.

An artist, curator, and writer, currently living in Maine, Bob Riley was the first curator of media arts and performance at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (1982-1987) and the founding curator of media arts at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1987-2000). He lectures at art colleges and universities, most recently at Maine College of Art, and writes on the subjects of media, art and time for museum publications worldwide. Bob is in a History Docent for the Friends of Evergreen.


 

Portland Police and Fire Fighter Circle
by Mary Anne Wallace

One of Evergreen’s many appealing aspects is its circles located where several roads and paths converged. One of the circles is dedicated to Portland’s police officers and fire fighters. The police section contains the monuments and markers for five officers who died between 1989 and 2008.

Cemetery records state the original owner of the smaller fire fighter lot was the Relief Association of Portland Fire Department. Founded in 1848 its purpose was “the relief of members who receive injuries to their limbs or health while in the discharge of duties as members of the Portland Fire Department.” On the lot is a solitary marker for Charles B. Knight (1850-1902), a house painter, who was also a call/volunteer fire fighter at the Brackett Street station for over 20 years.

In addition to Knight’s marker, there is a large bell inscribed “Portland Fire Department 1879-1880” on the circle. From 1879 to 1973 it hung in the belfry of the Congress Street Methodist Episcopal Church on Munjoy Hill. It and several other church bells not only called people to worship services but also sounded alarms as the bells were connected to the department’s fire alarm telegraph.

When the church was demolished in 1973, the congregation gave the bell to the Portland Veteran Firemen’s Association (PVFA)who stored it at the Spring Street Fire Museum. In 1987 it was taken out of storage and transfered to Evergreen when the Fireman statue, sculpted by Edward Souther Griffin and placed on the circle in 1910, was moved to the renovated Central Fire Station’s lawn.

 Mary Anne Wallace is beginning her third year as a History Docent for The Friends of Evergreen.


George Arthur Cleveland (1856-1927)
by David Little

EvergreenCemetery’s inhabitants are a veritable who’s who of Portland history. Their stories document a large chapter in the history of the state. Through the thoughtful research of a dedicated group of history docents and the mission of the Friends of Evergreen, this history is made ever more visible to a public eager to connect with the past, to honor their memory.

One such individual is Maine author George Arthur Cleveland (1856-1927). I was doing research for a book on the artists of the Katahdin region and also looking to assemble a notable group of artists for a walking tour in Evergreen. What caught my eye in his book Maine in Verse and Story (1915) were poems about Katahdin and the Penobscot. *

In practically everything he writes, his love of the north woods of Maine shines through. Born in Boston in 1856, George moved to Bangor and became a successful businessman, manufacturing men’s shirts. Always good natured and amiable, Cleveland divided his free time between the church, writing, and fishing.

George Arthur Cleveland (1856-1927)

“And thus in stately grandeur there,

Lifts old Katahdin now,

With the touch and kiss of heaven

Ever resting on its brow,

And from a thousand hill tops

To the north, south, east, and west,

The eye of many man may view today

its snowy mantled crest”

(from the poem “Katahdin”) *

For someone who looked so proper and well-dressed when he sat for his portrait, Cleveland could spin one heck of a yarn.

“The Aviation of Cupid” is a simple love story of a young girl and her brave pilot who set out on a hair-raising rescue in a bi-plane from Brookline, Ma. to a small camp on Chesuncook Lake. They navigate the Kennebec River and Moosehead Lake by moonlight and stars, on the wings of love.

“He looked where she was pointing and saw far in the distance the gleaming dome of a magnificent mountain, its crest white withsnow. ‘That’s Katahdin,’ she said.”

“The Breath of Death” is a strange, quirky tale set “on one of the beautiful Maine lakes northwest of Katahdin”. What starts off as a dreamy vacation cruise by one Belmont Sears ends up as a nightmarish confrontation with a madman who was responsible for the “Yellow Day” in the Boston
area, “one of the most remarkable atmospheric phenomenon ever observed or
recorded.”

Cleveland sums it up: “Probably nowhere can more strange and mysterious things happen, furnishing food for superstition, and foundationor legendary lore, than in the vast wilderness of forest, lake, and stream in Northern Maine.”

Cleveland is buried in the Elks section of Evergreen Cemetery.


* Maine in Verse and Story
by George A. Cleveland (1856-1927)
Boston: Richard G Badger 1915

David Little is a member of the Board of Directors of the Friends of Evergreen and the author of a new book on the Art of Katahdin to be published by Down East Books in April.

“Far up in Maine’s great pleasure land,

  Where grand Katahdin’s sentries stand,

  A thousand vales lie mid the hills,

  Where springs to life a thousand rills

  That in the realm of rest and dreams

  Found thy great flood Oh Prince of streams.”

(from the poem “The Penobscot”) *