In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Scarborough: They Called It Owascoag

People Who Called Scarborough Home

Text by Charlene Fenlason
Images from Scarborough Historical Society & Museum and Rodney Laughton

A number of noted and noteworthy people have called Scarborough home at some point. Addie Kaler Vaill lived her entire life in Scarborough devoting time and energy to family and community. Henry Jocelyn arrived at Black Point in 1635 and remained involved in the early settlement for nearly forty years. And then there was Uphannum, or Indian Jane, daughter of the Sagamore of Owascoag, the Indian's name for Scarborough. Richard King, Robert Southgate, and Philip Haigis arrived in Scarborough as young men and immersed themselves in the life and business affairs of their new home. Richard King's sons, Rufus, William and Cyrus, were born and raised in Scarborough, but left to pursue education, or in William's case, business opportunities. All three became prominent in politics at the state and national level. Then we had Lewis Litchfield, station agent in Scarborough for the Boston & Maine Railroad, who had two amazing hobbies. Who hasn't heard of Winslow Homer? In his late 40s, he moved to the Prouts Neck area of Scarborough, where he drew inspiration for his famous marine paintings.

Lewis L. Litchfield

Lewis Litchfield, station agent for the Boston & Maine Railroad in the early 1900s, was born in 1871. He was a station agent first at Pine Point and later at Oak Hill. Because he felt it was his duty to care for his invalid mother, it wasn’t until he was sixty-one that he married Stella Langford of Rochester, New Hampshire.

As a hobby, Litchfield made high-quality bamboo fishing rods and violins. People said to have had a Litchfield fishing rod were Henry Ford, William R. Hearst and the Duchess of Windsor. A news story in the September 1, 1938 Christian Science Monitor reported that two of Litchfield’s violins were taken to the North Pole by Arctic explorer Donald B. MacMillan, a school friend of his. In 1897, he played one of his violins, made from parts of an old schoolhouse that had been on Ross Road, at the high school graduation in the Town Hall. He continued to play at the high school for over fifty years, accompanied by pianist Addie Kaler Vaill. Winslow Homer made a sketch of the violin and gave it to Mrs. Vaill who was offered a substantial sum for it. The same violin received second prize at a contest in St. Petersburg, Florida, and was later exhibited on television. In 2007 the Scarborough Historical Society acquired one of Litchfield’s violins and had it restored to playing condition. Dr. Robert Lehman, director of the strings program at the University of Southern Maine, has since performed two concerts with the violin. Quoted in an article in the Kennebec Journal Dr. Lehman said, “Ninety-nine percent of the violins made in America at the turn of the century were European. The fact that this man was able to make a classical violin without formal training and using regular carpenter’s tools is astonishing.”

Litchfield retired as a station agent at Candia, New Hampshire in 1941 and received a golden pass for his fifty years of service. Summers were spent living alone and winters with relatives in New Hampshire. In 1961, Litchfield celebrated his 90th birthday at his niece’s home in Blue Point. He died in 1963 at the age of 92 and is buried in Freeport.

Source

Scarborough Historical Society and Museum File: Lewis Litchfield

Addie Kaler Vaill

Addie Kaler Vaill was born in 1878 to a well-known Scarborough family. She devoted her life to family and the community. Addie was involved with the public library, and she also served on the committee that erected the Soldiers Monument in Dunstan. She was chosen to unveil the statue before the largest crowd ever assembled in Scarborough. In 1936, she financed the tomb at Black Point Cemetery and established a trust fund to provide perpetual care for the entire cemetery. She also made generous contributions to the Black Point Congregational Church. Her greatest legacy was the establishment of a home for up to fifteen women residents that she and her husband, Edward Vaill, a prominent Portland businessman, had envisioned and planned. After her death in 1957 at the age of 79, her residence at 382 Black Point Road was expanded and the Kaler Vaill Memorial Home for Women was opened in 1960.

Source

Laughton, Rodney. Scarborough in the Twentieth Century . Portsmouth, NH:Arcadia Publishing, 2004.

Richard King

Richard King, born in 1718 in Boston, settled in the Dunstan Landing area of Scarborough in 1746 after selling property in Watertown, Massachusetts where he’d had a successful timber exporting business. Richard bought 3,000 acres of land in Dunstan, which was divided into several farms. A successful merchant, he was also a farmer, owner of trading vessels and a town justice. The King home, built across from the marsh, was originally a one-story structure, added onto as King’s finances and family grew.

On 20 November 1753, Richard married Isabella Bragdon, by whom he had three children: Rufus, Mary and Paulina. Isabella died 19 October 1759. Three years later on 31 January 1762, he married Mary Black, a cousin of Isabella’s. Six more children were born of this union, two of whom were William and Cyrus. Three of Richard’s children, Rufus, William and Cyrus, became major public figures.

The King family prospered before the Revolutionary War. Suspected of having Tory sympathies, Richard was harassed by the Sons of Liberty and his house and financial records destroyed. Richard King died on 27 March 1775 on the eve of the Revolution.

Source

Moulton, Augustus. Grandfather Tales of Scarborough. Portland, ME: Katahdin Publishing Co., 1925.

Rufus King

Rufus King, the first child of Richard King and his wife Isabella Bragdon, was born 24 March 1755 in Scarborough. He was a half-brother of William and Cyrus King. After attending Dummer Academy, Rufus graduated from Harvard College in 1777. In 1778, he served in the Continental Army in the Rhode Island campaign as aide-de-camp to General John Sullivan. After his service, Rufus studied law with Theophilus Parsons in Newburyport. He was admitted to the bar in 1780 and became a member of the Massachusetts General Court. In 1784 Rufus was elected to represent Massachusetts at the Continental Congress. As a delegate to the Federal constitutional convention in Philadelphia, he served on a subcommittee that prepared the final draft of the U.S. Constitution. Rufus was a prominent opponent of the extension of slavery in the colonies.

Rufus King relocated to New York City two years after his 1786 marriage to Mary Alsop, daughter of wealthy New York merchant John Alsop. He became a member of the New York assembly and then was elected to the United States Senate, resigning in 1796 to become United States Minister to Great Britain. In 1804, he was an unsuccessful Federalist candidate for Vice President of the United States. Rufus again was elected to the United States Senate in 1813 and reelected in 1819. While serving in the senate, Rufus worked on the Missouri Compromise that permitted Maine to enter the Union as a free state. In 1816 he was an unsuccessful candidate for both Governor of New York and President of the United States. He served once again as United States Minister to Great Britain 1825-1826. With his health failing, Rufus returned to his home in New York where he died 26 April 1827.

Sources

Ernst, Robert. Rufus King: American Federalist. Williamsburg, VA: The University of North Carolina Press, 1968.

Moulton, Augustus. Grandfather Tales of Scarborough. Portland, ME: Katahdin Publishing Co., 1925.

William King

William King, son of Richard King and Mary Black King, was born 9 February 1768 in Scarborough. When he was thirteen, William was sent to Phillips Academy in Andover for a term, but other than that experience he had little formal schooling. He was largely self-educated and a self-made man. After working first as an apprentice at a sawmill in Saco, William joined his sister Elizabeth and her husband Dr. Benjamin Porter in Topsham, where they opened a store and lumber and shipbuilding business. Beginning in 1795, he became active in local politics, representing Topsham in the Massachusetts General Court. William lived with the Porters in Topsham until 1800 when he married Ann Frazier of Boston and relocated to Bath. After the move to Bath, William represented that town in the Massachusetts General Court in 1804 and also served twice as state senator for Lincoln County.

When the War of 1812 broke out, William served as a major general in the militia in charge of the Maine district. Also, as a colonel in the United States Army, he led recruiting efforts for the regular army. During the war, he was particularly concerned with coastal shipping and defenses in the District of Maine. Noting the hardships Maine had suffered, he began a seven-year effort toward statehood that began with a petition to Massachusetts for separation. He realized his goal when Maine was recognized as a state on 15 March 1820. Elected the next month as the state’s first governor, William served until May 1821 when President Monroe named him as a special minister to negotiate a treaty with Spain. Three years later William returned home to private life. In spite of his limited schooling, he was a trustee of Waterville (now Colby) College, a trustee and overseer of Bowdoin College, principal owner of Maine’s first cotton mill in Brunswick, and a founder and president of Bath’s first bank. William died at home in Bath on 17 June 1852.

Sources

Moulton, Augustus. Grandfather Tales of Scarborough. Portland, ME: Katahdin Publishing Co., 1925.

Smith, Marion Jacques. General William King: Merchant, Shipbuilder and Maine’s First Governor. Camden, ME: Down East Books, 1908.

Cyrus King

Born in Scarborough 16 September 1772, Cyrus King was the youngest son of Richard King and Mary Black. He attended Phillips Academy in Andover and graduated from Columbia College. Cyrus studied law and then served as private secretary to his half-brother Rufus when he was United States Minister to Great Britain in 1796. After completing his law studies in Biddeford, he was admitted to the bar in 1797 and began his practice in Saco. Cyrus served as major general of the Sixth Division, Massachusetts Militia; was one of the founders of Thornton Academy in Saco; and was elected representative to the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Congresses (4 March 1813 to 3 March 1817). He returned to Saco where he died 25 April 1817.

Source

Ernst, Robert. Rufus King: American Federalist. Williamsburg, VA: The University of North Carolina Press, 1968.

Indian Jane

Uphannum was the daughter of Wackwarreska, Sagamore of Owascoag, and his wife Nagasqua. To early settlers she was familiarly known as Indian Jane, Jane the Indian or Jane Hannup. In 1651, Jane and her brother, as heirs of Wackwarreska, sold about 1,000 acres of land in what is now the Dunstan area of Scarborough to brothers Andrew and Arthur Alger. The purchase price of the land was traditionally believed to be a bushel of beans down and a bushel of corn yearly. One of the conditions of the sale was that Jane and her mother be allowed to live on the land for the remainder of their lives. Jane and her mother settled on the north side of Blue Point near the mouth of Mill Creek. Jane’s fireplace with its blackened hearthstone could be seen for many years until it was purchased and built into the chimney of a cottage at Prouts Neck. Her unmarked grave is near where her cottage was and further beyond is Jane’s Spring, a never-failing spring of pure water. Jane survived her family; and even through the Indian hostilities, she quietly remained in her lonely home until she died there at the age of more than 100 years.

Sources

Libbey, Dorothy Shaw. Scarborough Becomes a Town. Freeport, ME: The Bond Wheelwright Co., 1955.

Moulton, Augustus. Grandfather Tales of Scarborough. Portland, ME: Katahdin Publishing Co., 1925.

Southgate, William. The History of Scarborough from 1633-1783. Portland, ME, 1853.

Dr. Robert Southgate

Robert Southgate: doctor, lawyer, judge, gentleman farmer, and businessman. According to family tradition, in 1771 Dr. Robert Southgate rode into Dunstan on horseback with all his worldly goods packed in his saddlebags. He had come from Leicester, Massachusetts where he was born 26 October 1741. In 1773, Southgate married Mary King, daughter of Richard King, a successful merchant, landholder, farmer and shipbuilder. The Southgate’s first home was at Dunstan Landing. They later built a large brick home on what is now Route 1. Eleven of their twelve children died before reaching middle age.

One of the first doctors in the area, Southgate gave up his medical practice after becoming interested in the law and being appointed judge of the Court of Common Pleas. He was a justice of the peace for 40 years and no case decided by him went to a higher court. As a gentleman farmer, he sold surplus marsh hay and leased marsh lots to farmers to raise hay for winter fodder. To increase marsh salt hay production, he initiated one of the first diking experiments in Maine. His experiments attracted the attention of farmer Seth Scamman who introduced large-scale diking to the marsh in the 1800s. As a businessman, along with William and Cyrus King, he headed the Scarborough Turnpike Corporation, which built the Cumberland Turnpike. A toll road across the marsh between Dunstan and Oak Hill, the Cumberland Turnpike was the first turnpike in New England. Dr. Southgate passed away 2 November 1833 at the age of 92.

Sources

Chapman, Leonard. Monograph on the Southgate Family of Scarborough, Maine. Portland, ME: Hubbard W. Bryant, 1907.

Libbey, Dorothy Shaw. Scarborough Becomes a Town. Freeport, ME: The Bond Wheelwright Co, 1955.

Henry Jocelyn

Henry Jocelyn, son of Sir Thomas Jocelyn and his second wife Theodora Cooke, was born in England in 1606. He was educated at Cambridge, receiving his degree in 1623; and by 1630, he was living in New England. Probably at the request of Gorges, Jocelyn joined his friend Cammock and wife Margaret at Black Point in 1635. Cammock and Jocelyn had known each other at Piscataqua where Cammock had been an agent of Gorges and Mason until he assumed proprietorship of his 1500-acre Black Point Patent in 1633. On a voyage to the West Indies in 1643, Cammock died, leaving his estate to his wife for her lifetime and then to his friend Jocelyn. In the same year, Jocelyn married the widow Margaret and came into possession of Cammock’s property. For nearly forty years Jocelyn was a prominent leader in the area. By 1671 Jocelyn found his business interests less profitable than in the early days of his proprietorship and he mortgaged his holdings to Joshua Scottow. Jocelyn remained at Black Point as a manager and supervised the construction of a garrison on the west side of Black Point. In 1676 Mogg Heigon and his men led an unsuccessful attack on the Black Point garrison. Mogg suggested to Jocelyn that the settlers in the garrison could safely leave the garrison if it were surrendered to him. When Jocelyn returned to the garrison, all had left but his family. Jocelyn then surrendered the garrison and was briefly held captive, but he never returned to Black Point. He died before May 1683.

Sources

Moulton, Augustus. Grandfather Tales of Scarborough. Portland, ME: Katahdin Publishing Co., 1925.

Moulton, Augustus. Old Prouts Neck. Portland, ME: Marks Printing House, 1924.

Dr. Philip Haigis

Dr. Philip Haigis, son of Peter Haigis and Ruth Hodges Haigis, was born 29 April 1916 at Foxboro, Massachusetts. After medical school at Kirksville (Missouri) College of Osteopathy, he completed his residency at the Osteopathic Hospital of Maine in Portland. He arrived in Scarborough in 1944 and opened his first office in the Marshview Restaurant while it was closed for the winter, as it was the only place that could be found at the time. Dr. Haigis then moved to a home at Route 1 and Scottow Hill Road where he also had his practice. He was on call seven days a week: house calls were $5.00 and office visits were $3.00. In the early years of his practice, Dr. Haigis was the only doctor in Scarborough. He served thirty-one years as the school physician and health officer for Scarborough. During this time, Dr. Haigis was also a member of the Masons, a member of the Lions Club and an amateur radio operator.

In 1951 following a terrible accident at Scottow Hill, Dr. Haigis and several men, some of whom were fellow members of the Lions Club, raised funds to convert an old bread truck into an ambulance. All of the equipment was donated and Dr. Haigis trained the personnel. Scarborough was the first town in Maine to have a rescue service, and later the group helped set up units in Standish and Cape Elizabeth. For many years, Dr. Haigis was the Maine State Director for the International Rescue First Aid Association. Another “first” attributed to Dr. Haigis was the creation of the mobile canteen unit that accompanied firemen on major fires.

Somehow, Dr. Haigis also found time to play occasionally with the Don Doane Band, a local jazz band. Just before he passed away, Dr. Haigis donated his musical instruments to Scarborough High School. In 1975, Dr. Haigis left Scarborough for Puerto Rico, where he became a civilian medical officer for the U.S. Navy. After fifty years of marriage, Faith died in 1990 and Dr. Haigis later married Helen Sluder of Naples, Florida. At age 78, he died of cancer in Naples, Florida, and is buried in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Sources

Killelea, Elaine. "Case History of Dr. Haigis Lists Many Firsts". Portland Press Herald and Sunday Telegram, 1975.

Matson, Jess. Final Project: Dr. Philip Haigis, high school term paper, 1999.

Winslow Homer

Winslow Homer, landscape painter best known for his marine subjects, was born in Boston 24 February 1836 to Charles Savage Homer and Henrietta Benson Homer. His mother, an amateur watercolorist, was Homer’s first teacher. After Homer’s graduation from high school, his father arranged an apprenticeship for him with a commercial lithographer in Boston.

By 1857, Homer had left the lithographer and his freelance career as an illustrator was underway, a period that lasted nearly twenty years. In 1861, Harper’s Weekly sent Homer to the front lines of the Civil War with General McClellan’s army where he sketched battle scenes and camp life. Back in his studio after this assignment, Homer worked on a series of war-related paintings based on his sketches. After the war, he spent time in Europe and began painting landscapes as he continued to work for Harper’s. By 1875, Homer stopped working as a commercial lithographer and focused on his painting. Following two years in England (1881-1882), Homer returned to the United States and moved to his family’s estate at Prouts Neck, where the sea and the cliffs in front of his studio became the subject matter of his great marine paintings. A lifelong bachelor, Homer was married to his work. He died in 1910, aged 74, in his Prouts Neck studio and is buried in Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Source

Beam, Philip. Winslow Homer at Prouts Neck. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company, 1966