Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Reynolds Info!

I had written to the Caribou Historical Society in Maine in the hope that they would have information about my Reynolds family or at least about the Green Ridge Grange. They wrote back that they had several newspaper articles about the Grange and that the plow that Everett Reynolds brought to the Grange was now taken care of by the Historical Society.

The man agreed to photograph the plow and send me the other things he had found but he said there wasn't really anything about my family, which puzzled me, since the Reynolds family was pretty involved with the town of Caribou from the get-go, if my other information was correct.

I received the information earlier this week, and should have written here sooner but I have been following up on things because I received a great deal of information.

The first thing in the stack of papers was a picture of the plow and then a closeup of a plaque that is on it, which describes Everett E. Reynolds' journey and, interestingly enough, mentions that he had a diary in which he kept note of things.

[Picture of the plow & plaque]

I couldn't believe that, and I noted that it was very interesting that he took this journey to Caribou in 1887, about the time he disappeared from Jefferson County, Wisconsin!!

The next few pages were about the Green Ridge Grange. It was essentially a meeting place for the local farmers and a place where dances and other public gatherings were held.

[Picture of the original Grange]

The picture above has the name Fred I. Reynolds written alongside it. He is the second cousin of my ancestor Elisha T. Reynolds.

There were several articles [click here] about the Grange, including one about it burning down not long ago and another a memoir by Maude Brown, a Reynolds descendant. The article includes interesting info about the Reynolds family first arriving in the area and how the area was first known as Reynolds, Maine. I found that to be pretty interesting!!

The next four pages were the history of Green Ridge Grange as compiled August 2, 1948. It mentions the story of the plow arriving there and again states that Everett E. Reynolds had a diary in which he wrote about his trip. It says that the diary was now in the possession of relatives. I still can't believe he had a diary, but I am hoping that it still exists! It could provide so much information on a man who disappeared from here without any true reason.

I wrote to a Dr. Reynolds of Fort Fairfield on the recommendation of Jim Ashby, and hopefully he will know something about this diary, and if it still exists.

[History of the Grange: page 1 ; page 2 ; page 3 ; page 4]

I was then at the end of my packet but I noticed that I had received a smaller letter sized envelope also from the Caribou HS. I wasn't sure what it was and I opened it to find a note explaining that it had been found after the first packet was sent out.

It was a photocopy of a letter, written to a Miss Ashby. I recognized the name first because she shares a surname with one of my contacts in Maine and also because the name was interwoven with the history of the Grange and other things I had come across in researching the Caribou area.

I was puzzled as to why it was included because it started out fairly regularly, a friendly update between friends, so I checked the end to find a signature: Everett E. Reynolds.

Well you know I almost dropped over dead at seeing this, most especially because the letter was dated Sept. 8, 1926 and was written from Canton, ME.

I will provide the transcription below and then further discussion. The letter contains so many grammatical errors that it would be pointless to include the standard "sic" notation after each one. Everett also didn't use periods so I will insert some where appropriate.

Canton Me Sept 8 1926
Dear Miss Ashby,
I rec. your letter last night[.] I was much plesed to here from you and well I rember you when you was a small Girl was well aquainted with your Father am glad your Mother is in good helth[.] I can say I am ingoying [enjoying] the best of helth for a man in his 80 year but I cant do as much work as I could in my young days[.] I have about all the work I can do all the time make a good living have ben in Canton 14 years but am thinking some of goin a way for the winter but cant till before next month[.] I am sending you a [piece??] from a Bangor (paper) that O.B. Griffin wrote about me and the old Plow I gave the Plow to the Green Ridge Grange 25 years ago and they think they have a [prise?] and I geuss [sic] they have[.] I live all a lone do my cooking and have just what I want have cooked minney [???] the winter in the woods & in sporting camps so you see I no how to cook[.] I should be plesed to here from you at enny [???] time and I will try and ans. [answer] in my humble way[.] it gives me cheer to here from frends [__ry]

Truly yours
Everett E. Reynolds

[Letter: page 1 ; page 2]

I am so excited about this letter. First, it gives a good idea of where he is living and confirms my ideas about that. He was on the 1910 census in Hartford, ME but in 1920 he was in Canton, ME.

Also, the age he gives corresponds to the man who is my ancestor.

Additionally, the paper he mentions, with the article about him and the plow, almost has to be the same article I have, or at least something very similar. In that case the article might have been written earlier that year, 1926, for the 25th anniversary of the plow being in the possession of the Grange. Now I can try to track down Bangor papers from 1926, because the article has "July 1" at the top. I am hoping that this will work out because the article I have is in bad condition and hard to read half of it, so I believe that if I get a copy of the full article it will help provide even more information about Everett E. Reynolds.

I am also hoping that this information will also help me narrow down when Everett died. Previously I knew only "sometime after 1920." But now I know that he was living in 1926 and seemed to be in good health. I need to try to get a hold of the 1930 census, and I found a woman in Maine who is going to try to help locate his death record. I can't imagine why it would not exist anywhere as late as 1930.

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