Monday, September 10, 2012


I was searching Google's News Archive for old newspaper articles on my
Ellingwood family when I found this from The Lewiston (Me.) Evening Journal
for 12Sep 1898. It's an article with bits of news and gossips from the small towns
surrounding Lewiston:

   John Mason has moved from Ridlion-
ville into the Babb House on the Harlow
Hill road, Mexico.

   Horace Ellingwood of the 1st Maine
regiment is in town. He was one of the
number detailed for hospital service sev-
eral months ago. He was in fairly good
health until early in August when he
was laid up by measles and is now forty
pounds lighter than when he enlisted

   Asa West from Andover, Hiram West
from Upton and several others, eighteen
in all, passed through here recently on
their return from the eastern part of the
State where they have been to visit the
mother of Asa and Hiram West, who is
nearly 100 years old. During their visit
they corraled horses at night, set up
tents, cooked their own food and took
time leisurely...."

Now this is what I'd call a 2 for 1 deal! . Going by the 1898 date, Horace was a
soldier during the Spanish-American War, It's ironic that he had been assigned
to hospital service and then fallen ill himself, since the same thing happened
to my grandfather during WW1. Now I need to figure out how he's related to me.
I'd thought he was my first cousin twice removed Horatio Ellingwood  but  I
realized that Horatio was only a year old in 1898.

The third section is a real find though. Asa and Hiram West are my 2x great
granduncles, brothers to my 2x great grandfather Jonathan Phelps West. Asa would
have been 68 years old on this horseback trip, and Hiram 60.   Now their mother
Arvilla (Ames) West died in Hermon Maine  in 1907 where she was living with one
of her daughters. But in 1898 she wasn't as close to 100 as the article claims. She
was actually 88years old.

I checked and depending on which route you'd use on modern highways distance
between Upton and Hermon Maine is between 135 to 155 miles through terrain
that is wooded and mountainous. Given their ages, I'm in awe of Asa and Hiram's
energy and durability traveling that distance not by train or stagecoach but by
riding it horseback and camping out instead of staying at hotels or inns.  Perhaps
when they made this trip 114 years ago this week the brothers were making their
last hurrah, knowing it might well be the last time they'd be able to do such a
thing. (Asa would die in 1907, Hiram seve years later in 1914).

I wonder what Arvilla thought about two "boys" when they rode up to the house in
Hermon? Did she scold them over risking getting a chill coming all that way, or did
she enjoy a good long visit with them for perhaps the last time?

I'd like to think she did both things.

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