“The first apple tree of Livermore Township was probably planted on a quiet hilltop in western Maine, during the Revolution. The new pioneer, who had laid out the town with the aid of few, was already an old man by some standards, perhaps fifty. Maybe he stood awhile regarding the three brown oval seeds with pointed tips, held in the palm of his calloused hand. Within each seed was the tiny embryo of an apple tree.”
While I was working on Maine Metaphor, the late Billie Gammon, founder and director of Washburn-Norlands Living History Center, commissioned me to write this little history of local apples and their connection to the nationally prominent Washburns.
As an undergraduate volunteer, I had indexed journals containing entries for particular years of family prominence, and then she asked for this booklet. Primary sources outnumber the secondary and it was a lot of fun gathering them, visiting archives, walking over the area, even flying over it as R. worked on his pilot’s license. I did a study with an artist, illustrating the booklet. Posted here, these illustrations did not make it into the commercial product.
Later I brought out a second booklet including history of a local settlement whose 19th century grist-mill ruins we often visit. They were among the first of our discoveries on moving to Maine. These ruins are just off a rural highway, but shrouded in woods, the stream at one point pouring through great walls of massive moldering stone. The booklet has copies of old town maps in the back.