100 Influential People In Houlton's History

In conjunction with the upcoming Bicentennial, I would like to determine who were some of Houlton's most influential citizens over the past 200 years. There are so many wonderful possibilities. We will start with 100, in no particular order.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Happy 200th Birthday

It all takes place this August. Welcome to Houlton,Maine's 200th Birthday!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Houlton's Famous Boy and the the Boot . Mrs. Clara Frisbee made the donation of the boy to the Town. He is believed to be one of only 28 in the world. You will find him in Pierce Park, directly across from the Houlton Fire Dept..

Friday, May 05, 2006

Who Are Your Top 100 Infuential People ?

With Houlton's 200th birthday coming in 2007, it's a good time to think about who were the most influential people in the town's history. These are community minded people who have left indelible marks on the Shiretown throughout the years. I decided to select 100 of the most memoriable people. I may eventually decide to select 200, if I receive enough suggestions.

There are so many people who could qualify. Houlton has a rich history of businessmen, educators, religious leaders and polititions. It could be an athlete, a Sundy School Teacher, Boy Scout Leader, or mailman. As long as they made a difference.

As I continue to build this page, I will examine some suggestions, as to who these people might have been in the top 100. Perhaps you have a suggestion too?

The ultimate goal of this page, will be to determine who they were and to print a book to recoginze them in time for the Bicentennial next year. I will have more details on this project in the near future.

Some Suggestions:

1. Capt. James Houlton.

The town was name after his family who moved here from Mass. in 1807 ......

2. Capt. Black Hawk Putnam .

Black Hawk Putnam is a name littered in Houlton history. He is best know as a Civil War Hero. He was in Company E in the first Maine Calvary. Upon his return to Houlton, he was engaged in farming......

3. Almon H Fogg

He was President of the Houlton Savings Bank. Established a Grocery store that eventually turned into a Hardware Store in 1859 with Augustus Pierce, that is still running today as the A.H Fogg Company ( Foggs True Value ) on Bangor Street. He was also one of the founders of the Houlton Water Company.

More to come on A.H. Fogg...................

4. Clarence H.Pierce

He was the driving force behind the growth of the A H Fogg Company. He worked for the business for 67 years.

More to come ...............

5. Mrs. Edna Gentle.

She donated the money to build the Gentle Memorial Building, which houses the Towns' Recreation Department. Thousands of people have benifited from the programs

6. David McGillicuddy.

Mr. McGillicuddy has spent over thirty years teaching area students to play musical intruments. He has ignited a passion in many youngsters that they can take with them their entire life. Houlton High School Bands are always one of th every finest in the entire State. He was also the driving force behind McGills Community Band about 18 summers ago, which so many people enjoy each Thursday evening throughout the summer at Monument Park.


Judge Madigan was born in Houlton, Maine, January 4,1863 and died there Jan. 19, 1918. As a boy he attended the public school of Houlton and graduated from Ricker Classical Institute. He also attended St. Joseph's College, a preparatory school in New Brunswick. He then attended Georgetown University and upon graduating entered Boston University, completing the course there in 1886.

He first commenced practice with his brother Albert Madigan forming a partnership with him as Madigan and Madigan. Upon the death of his brother he formed a partnership with Hon. Leonard Pierce, and was a member of the legislature in 1889. He was one of the most forceful and eloquent public speakers in this state.

He served as an Associate Justice on the Maine Supreme Court from 1916 until his death. He helped equip Madigan Hospital, which was named for his family. He also started the Houlton Agricultural Society and was on the Houlton Board of Eduacation. He served as a Trustee for the board of Ricker Classical Institute.

8 Hudson T. Frisbee

One of the Founders of the Houlton Water Company

Operated Frisbee Dry Goods

Frisbee Block , located in the middle of Market Square, one of the first brick buildings in Houlton's downtown ............

9 Dr. Ezekiel French

. Dr. French came to Houlton after his graduation from Bowdoin College to become a sugeon at the Garrison in 1836. He was the founder of the French Drug Store, which was in his family for four generations. He was also a charter member of the Masonic Lodge, serving as its' first .......

10. Willie Varney.

A good athelete from Houlton High School, who lost his life. A scholarship in his memory is given each year to a senior athlete.

11. James S.Peabody

. One of the leading businesses for a number of years in the agricultural community.

12. Carl Hagen.

Owner of Hagen Manufacturing on the Porter Settlement Road. He made many types of farm machinery, including one of the first four row harvesters in the area. After retiring , he became one of the leaders in getting the Southern Aroostook Agricultural Musuem in Littleton, up and running.

13. Marie Fitzpatrick Carmicheal

She has touched many youths with her work through the Houlton Recreation Department. She has served over twenty years, from the mid eighties and still going strong today as the Programmer for the Department.

Runs the "Just For Kids"playground each summer

Has chaired the Northern Maine Soapbox Derby three times.

14. Shepard Cary.

Was the son of W. H. Cary, one of Houlton's first settlers. He had large timber interests throughout Aroostook County. He started a retail store close to the Hancock Barracks on Garrison Hill. He owned a foundry, a carding mill and a grist mill. He was elected to U.S.Congress and served from 1843- 1845. He lost a bid to become Maine's Govenor. He was one of Houlton's first prominent businessmen.

15. John A. Millar.

He was a driving force in the Houlton Hockey scene from the late 1960's until the turn of the century. It was because of his passion and tireless efforts for the area youngsters, that the Town of Houlton, decided to name the new multi - purpose ice area after him. The John A Millar Civic Centre is a source of pride throughout the Shiretown today.

16. Dunn Family.

17. Frank A. Peabody

Founder of the F.A. Peabody Insurance Agency. One of the leaders in getting the Houlton Rotary Club started in 1920.

More to come .......

18. Dawn Degenhardt

Dawn Degenhardt, Founder and CEO of MAPS, along with her dedicated directors and staff, are celebrating 25 years of bringing children and families together.

Dawn and her husband Ed (known as Hunk) started their family by adopting two domestic infants and Dawn was an at-home Mom. By the time their second child was a year old the urge to do it again arose and Dawn and Hunk pursued an older child adoption. The next two years would see them both advocating hard for these children and finally, within five months, four more children joined the ranks – one from an Indian Adoption Program out west and three from Vietnam. They now had six!!! They moved to Maine to start their own business and adopted three more older children; two from DHS and one from India. Now their ranks had swelled to nine.

Upon moving to Maine and completing her family, Dawn again became concerned about the children still waiting in the foster care system and she decided to do something about it. She founded MAPS in Houlton, Maine – again with the mission of placing special needs children – by recruiting parents for these specific children and educating and training the parents in a group setting.

MAPS first office was a donated room in a small local college – most work was accomplished on Dawn's dining room table. The first 10 years the only program was the special needs foster/adopt program. A birthmother program was developed for housing homeless pregnant teens and young women. Now there are offices and programs with housing for pregnant and parenting teens in Portland, Bangor and Houlton. MAPS has a licensed office in Boston. The agency is also licensed in Vermont and has received their accreditation by COA (Council on Accreditation of Children and Family Services).

MAPS is also celebrating its 12th anniversary of working in Russia. Most people are not aware that MAPS was the first adoption agency to go to the former Soviet Union to propose the possibility of helping children living in orphanages. 10 years ago Dawn and her daughter, Joy, adopted from Vietnam, went back (for Joy) on a voyage of discovery. They visited many orphanages and Joy was quite overcome by the emotion, long since buried, of living in one herself. She realized the opportunities she had been given and wanted the same for these children. She vowed to dedicate a couple of years to starting a program of adoption and humanitarian aid. Ten years later she is fully committed to her native land, has married a Vietnamese and has two daughters, one adopted as she had been.

Five years ago MAPS ventured into Cambodia and has a strong program of adoption and humanitarian aid there.

MAPS has developed programs in Kazakstan, India, China, Guatemala, Nepal, Peru, and Sierra Leone which means they can present many options from which families can choose. They are currently working on licensing in one more state and developing a program in two more countries.

MAPS has continued its original mission of placing special needs children from the foster care system. They recently were notified they had placed more foster/adopt children than any other agency in the State of Maine.

Dawn will tell you she is constantly amazed at how the agency has grown and the impact it has had. She continues to be grateful for all the wonderful people who have volunteered along the way and for the caring and committed professional staff in each office. She gives thanks for the generosity of the donors who have supported the humanitarian aid projects, sponsored children, supported poor families and continue to help in so many other ways. And she is excited at the prospects ahead for MAPS.

Dawn Degenhart has touched so many lives, that it is impossible to imagine the impact she has had, not just in Houlton- but in the WORLD !

19. S. L White.

Bought Hathaways Drug Store in 1906. He and his wife were reputed to be two of Houlton's most civic minded and beloved citizens

20. Dr. George Cary.

Cary Library was founded by Dr. George Cary and was built between 1903 and 1904 with funding provided by the estate of Dr. Cary and a $10,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie for the building itself. The Cary Library officially opened its doors on October 12, 1904. It was dedicated on November 28, of the same year. The original granite Carnegie building held a marble plaque just inside the front door stating George Cary's wish for the Cary Library. Its inscription reads:
"Cary Library. Forever free to the citizens of Houlton. Founded by George Cary to promote the welfare of the people of his native town by a general diffusion of knowledge and the study of literature, and a tribute to the memory of Shepard Cary & Susan Cary, his father and mother."

21. Charles H. Fogg.

Editor of the Houlton Times in the 1920's era. We'll get exact dates later. The Houlton Rotary Club was established on February 20, 1920 as the first Rotary Club north of Bangor. Frank A. Peabody, founder of the FA Peabody Insurance Company and Charles H. Fogg, editor of the Houlton Times were the prime leaders in getting the Rotary Club in operation .........

22 Elwood Scott.

The Principal of Houlton High School during the 1960's and 70's. I don't have EXACT dates yet. He started the Houlton Dollars for Scholars scholarships that have helped so many students throughout the years.........

23. Mrs Clara Frisbee.

In 1914, Mrs. Clara P. Frisbie left the sum of $1,000 to the Town of Houlton to be used to beautify Monument Park. In 1916 Mr. Robert Palmer, who held the title of Superintendent of Parks, prepared a spot in the park for a fountain. Without any mention in the town records or local papers, the next thing townspeople found was a statue of a boy with a boot held in one hand, standing on a rock in the middle of a circular fountain. Today, it is still one of Houlton's best known Landmarks.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

More Names

Some other names from Houlton's History that should be remembered. I will add a brief biography behind them as time permits

Gov. Llewellyn Powers. Llewellyn Powers was born in Pittsfield, Maine in 1836. He attended Pittsfield Academy and Colby College. He studied law at Union University, Albany, New York, 1860.

In 1861 he set up his law practice in Houlton, Maine. Powers was prosecuting attorney for Aroostook County 1864-1871; collector of customs for the district of Aroostook 1868-1872; member of the State house of representatives 1873-1876, 1883, 1892, and 1895 and served as speaker during the last term;.

He was elected as a Republican to the Forty-fifth Congress (March 4, 1877-March 3, 1879) and an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1878 to the Forty-sixth Congress. He became the 40th Governor of Maine 1896-1900. He was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-seventh Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Charles A. Boutelle; reelected to the Fifty-eighth, Fifty-ninth, and Sixtieth Congresses and served from April 8, 1901, until his death in Houlton, Maine, July 28, 1908

G W Richards . George W Richards owned Richards Clothing Store

Ransford Shaw Ransford W. Shaw (1856-1945) was an attorney and active in local and state governments. He served in the Maine State Senate (1893-1895) and was Attorney General of the State of Maine (1920-1924). Shaw took an active interest in local history and helped found the Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (1938).

Ransford W. Shaw served in the Maine State Senate (1893-1895) and was Attorney General of the State of Maine (1920-1924) as well as a trustee of Bates College for twelve years. Shaw was also one of the founders of the Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

Albert Burleigh Was the President of the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad

Theodore Cary

Silas W Tabor
Silas W. Taber patented his design for an improved wagon-gear for drop-axle wagons in 1903. A drop-axle wagon has "U" shaped front and rear axles with the wagon bed below the height of the wheel hubs. Traditional wagons have straight axles with the wagon bed riding above the axles and, therefore, above the wheel hubs.

The consequence of the tradiditional design is that the larger the wheels the higher the wagon bed is above the ground. The advantage of the drop-axle wagon is that it produces a lower center of gravity giving the wagon more stability and making it easier for horses to pull. The low wagon bed also makes it easier to load barrels of potatoes or other heavy freight. Other drop-axle wagon designs include the jigger wagon, invented in Bangor in the 1850's,
and the sloven, thought to have been invented in St. John, New Brunswick and was used throughout the Maritime Provinces in Canada.

Taber's patent improved on the design of the drop-axle wagon-gear by strengthening the axle with a truss-bar that increased the axle's resistance to canting and improving the attachment of the wheel-gear to the wagon bed with a link-brace.

The Taber Wagon factory was on Mechanic Street. The factory was a three story building. The ground floor was a blacksmith shop. The second floor was a wood working shop for making the wagon body. On the third floor was the paint shop. To the right of the building was a wheel jig for assembling wagon wheels and for mounting the steel tires.

George S Gentle

Henry J Hathaway

Col. Frank Hume

Chief Justice Charles P Barnes

John Watson

John Watson founded the John Watson Company in 1886 on Main Street in Houlton selling hardware, tools and farming equipment. The company manufactured the Watson sprayer and the Aspinwall Planter. John Watson owned three starch factories in the area; Dirigo Starch Factory in Houlton (1880), Smyrna Factory (1884), and Monticello Factory (1894). He also owned a shop that manufactured sleighs, pungs and carriages. He also handled fertilizer on a large scale.

Elbridge Bell Mr Bell had a small farm on the Foxcroft Road. He started Bells Service Station on Military Street. His sons, Frank and David ran the business for a number of years.

Dr. Gormley

Mr. Cummings.
The long time weather recorder who worked at the Drug Store.

Harry Bass Mr Bass farmed for over 40 years on the Bangor Roadin the 1940-1970's era. He employed many men. He was also one of the areas potato buyers.

Margaret Churchill. She taught many students spanning a long career.

More Recent Additions:

Dr. Ted Sussman Dr Sussman has been at the Houlton Regional Hospital for almost thirty years now. He is one of the most widely respected "Heart Doctors" in Northern Maine. He is also very involved with the local hockey program

Kaye Trickey Mrs Trickey worked for the Houlton Pioneer Times for many years. She wrote a column, Discover Houlton, which was probably the most read part of the paper. She has been very involved with music, teach many people how to play the piano. She also is a long time member of the Choir at her church. Her family have been very involved with the Houlton Hockey program over the years. Her son Joel, is the present coach of the Varsity High School Hockey Team.

Leigh Cummings Jr. Cummings is best know as the present postmaster on the Houlton Post Office, a position he has held for close to thirty years. He has served two terms on the Houlton Town Council. He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Cary Library. He is very involved with the Houlton Rotary Club and the Houlton Agricultural Fair.

Micheal Carpenter
Carpenter is a local attorney. A former Demacrat State Senator. One of only three people from Houlton to have served as Maines Attorney General. He has served two terms on the Houlton Town Council.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Sherriff Nelson Herrin


Nelson Herrin volunteered for service in the Mexican war. Prior to 1860, he organized The Silver Comet Band, which as a group, volunteered their servies in 1862 to the Army for the Civil War. He organized the Houlton Band in 1865.

In 1883, he started promoting building lots for summer cottages on Nickerson Lake. He built the dance hall, LAKEWOOD, on Nickerson Lake. He also transported the steamboat "Mabel" to the lake for public excersions

Houlton's Top 100

As Houlton begins planning for its' 200th birthday, many ideas have been tossed around. To start with , here is the story from todays' Bangor Daily News by Jen Lynds.

April 15, 2006 - Bangor Daily News HOULTON - Sitting just right of center at a huge wooden table on Wednesday evening, Joyce Fitzpatrick was fielding ideas from all sides.From her right and left came suggestions of a gala dinner and dance, music, and big parades with lots of marching bands.

In front of her, others proposed poster contests and having residents dress in the costumes that Joseph Houlton and his family would have worn back in 1807.Those overtures and a profusion of others were tossed around at a bicentennial kickoff celebration on Wednesday evening. The event drew more than 30 people to the town office to help organize Houlton's 200th birthday.

The meeting was the first hosted by Fitzpatrick, who recently was appointed chairwoman of the bicentennial committee. Before her installation, a crew of volunteers and members of the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce had worked for more than a year to plan next year's fete.The celebration, which officials plan to hold next August, will be held 200 years after Joseph Houlton and his wife, Sarah, founded the town in 1807.Although the Houlton family visited the area for a while in 1805, they trekked off to Canada and did not officially settle in the town until two years later.

Fitzpatrick, who is vice president of operations for F.A. Peabody Co. in Houlton, has pegged the celebration as a pivotal event for the community.Organizers plan to promote the bicentennial heavily and encourage youth involvement.

On Wednesday evening, the planning committee decided to start by hosting a bicentennial logo contest that will be open to everyone. Participants will be asked to design a 200th birthday emblem that officials hope to include on all information that goes out about the celebration.Details of the contest are being completed.Plans also are under way to develop a brochure and a Web site to publicize the 2007 bash.The group's next meeting will be held on May 17. for Houlton's Bicentennial next year, many ideas have been tossed around

Friday, April 14, 2006

War Memorial

The War Memorial in Monument Park. You can see the new Ampitheater to the right. The Military Street Baptist Church is in the background.