Thursday, February 28, 2013


Earlier this month a gentleman named Steven Smith emailed me this image
from The Diaries of William Brewster. Brewster was a noted ornithologist
and the first President of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and often took
trips to Northern New England to observe and collect the local plants and birds.
In October, 1907 he took a trip to the Lake Umbagog area of Western Maine
and made entries in his diary about the trip.  This image are for the four days
he spent visiting the area around Upton, Maine, the town where many of my
ancestors lived.

As you can see, the entries are handwritten and while most of it was easy to
transcribe, there are some words I just couldn't decipher. These are denoted
in my transcription with a (sp?). The part of special interest to me is the entry
for Thursday, October 8th. I've underlined the relevant passage.

Lake Umbagog
Wed. Aug.7, 1907
Clear & warm with light S.W. wind.
Alva met me at the landing and took
me up Cambridge River in his canvas canoe.
Wilder, Pearl, and Bowman accompanied us
in another canoe. We went up to the middle
of the meadows. The river is unchanged.
It was at its very best as we paddled &
floated slowly back in the late afternoon.
I collected a lot of plants & made notes on
the vegetation. We got back at 5:30.
Some boys had had my canoe all day.
I sailed part of the way back to Lakelands (sp?)

Thursday 8
Brilliantly clear with fresh N.W. wind.
Spent the A.M. in my room writing.
Just after dinner Mrs J.P. West
of Upton called and took me to
her farm on Back St. where I had
a long talk with her husband who
was born on East B Hill in 1832.

I walked most of the way back
calling at Judkin's store to examine
the town records &  (sp?) Hollis Abbott.
The walk from Upton to (sp?) was
(sp?). I have (sp?) (sp?) (sp?) (sp?)
(sp? & mountains to (sp?) beautiful.

Fri, Aug,9, 1907
Brilliantly clear with light W.  to S.W. winds.
Just pleasantly cool yesterday & today.
Spent forenoon in my canoe behind
B.Point writing out the information obtained
yesterday. Sailed over to Upton just after
dinner to call at the Morse's. Saw the whole
family, I believe, Bennett Morse, his
wife(formerly Miss Peaslee) their attractive
daughter Miss Lucy & a younger daughter. Had
a long talk about early conditions here. (Bennett
Morse came to Upton in 1843) . Called on (Sp?)
Sargent but he was up the (Sp?) . Spent nearly
two hours at the Lake House taking notes.
Paddled back to (sp?) at sunset.

Saturday 10
Sunny but slightly hazy with cumulus
drifting before a fresh W. wind.
Warm  (sp?) (sp?) rising to 80.
Spent most of the day writing in my
canoe on the further side of B Point.
Paddled over at 8 a.m. & sailed back
at noon for dinner at the hotel.
Sailed both ways in the afternoon.
My favorite little cove is rich in bird
life. I saw there this afternoon a fine
adult Bald Eagle, a Fish  Hawk, 2 Herons,
100+ Brownish Grackles & many smaller birds.
Messrs. Pearl & Bowman took (sp?) for hours
this morning. I (sp?)(sp?) (sp?)

There is more written up the side of the entry about hearing the songs of some
species of birds but I can't make out anymore of it than that.

The "Mrs. J. P. West" and her husband were my 2x great grandparents  Louisa
(Richardson) West and Jonathan Phelps West. 

 Now, are you wondering just what Jonathan P West told Mr. Brewster? Well,
I already know, and I'll share that next.

Thanks to Steven for sending this image to me!

1 comment:

Heather Rojo said...

Oops! I see that this is the back story to how you found your ancestor in a birding book. Ignore my other comment. I'm going down through my blog reader, reading posts backwards through time...