Sunday, August 16, 2015

Theodore Roosevelt Artifacts in Maine

Mirror from Theodore Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch in North
Dakota. Wilmot S. Dow's grandson, John Dow, donated this
TR artifact along with two other precious, personal TR items to
the Presque Isle Historical Society. John Dow's father, Wilmot E.
Dow, was a "Badlands Baby".  Wilmot E. Dow's father, Wilmot S.
Dow, and William Wingate Sewall were Maine guides
that became lifelong friends of Theodore Roosevelt.
Image courtesy of the Presque Isle Historical Society

     The media coverage in advance of the Teddy Roosevelt Days, a fundraising event to benefit the Narcissus project at Seashore Trolley Museum, was exemplary. One of the many wonderful outcomes from that media exposure was an email from Kimberly R. Smith, Secretary/Treasurer, Special Programs and Events Coordinator at the Presque Isle Historical Society. Kimberly expressed the Historical Society's interest in exploring opportunities to collaborate with the Seashore Trolley Museum in future Theodore Roosevelt events. The Historical Society is holding, in public trust, three Theodore Roosevelt artifacts.

Colt, long-barreled, 40 caliber revolver, used by Theodore Roosevelt.
Wilmot S. Dow's grandson, John Dow, donated this TR artifact
along with two other precious, personal TR items to the
Presque Isle Historical Society. John Dow's father, Wilmot E. Dow,
was a "Badlands Baby".  Wilmot E. Dow's father, Wilmot S. Dow,
and William Wingate Sewall were Maine guides
that became lifelong friends of Theodore Roosevelt.
Image courtesy of the Presque Isle Historical Society

Large, leather moose call used by Theodore Roosevelt. Wilmot S. Dow's
grandson, John Dow, donated this TR artifact along with two other precious,
personal TR items to the Presque Isle Historical Society. John Dow's father,
Wilmot E. Dow was a "Badlands Baby".  Wilmot E. Dow's father,
Wilmot S. Dow and William Wingate Sewall were Maine guides
that became lifelong friends of Theodore Roosevelt.
Image courtesy of the Presque Isle Historical Society

     Theodore Roosevelt made a number of visits to Maine. Yes, there were times, when he was older, that those visits would have been made as necessitated by his politics. However, the majority of his visits were for personal gain. I speak of personal gain in the sense of his own personal health and well being. We know Maine to be, "Vacationland", "The Way Life Should Be". Maine has long been known as a place to "re-create", to renew one's self, to contemplate one's purpose or direction. Whether being near the ebb and flow of the mesmerizing coastline or taking in its breathtaking vistas along so many beautiful rivers and mountains, this great state of Maine has drawn many a soul in seeking fresh air and perhaps inner guidance to a fresh start.

     It is well documented that as a youngster, TR's general health and physical strength was not good. His father, at the advice of trusted medical advisors, would send young TR out of Manhattan to the country for fresh air and exercise. This was the purpose of young TR's early visits to Maine. The summer of 1872, TR attended a summer camp at Moosehead Lake. While on the stagecoach ride, during the final leg of the trip to the camp, he was bullied by a couple of boys that would be attending the camp. From that experience, TR pledged to himself that he would work to improve his physical strength and abilities so that he could protect himself in the future. He worked very hard, over the ensuing years, to keep the pledge he made to himself, and he did improve his health and physical strength.

     TR was an undergraduate student at Harvard University in 1878 when he visited Island Falls, Maine in Aroostook County. TR was still grieving the death of his father when he first was with Maine guides William Sewall and Sewall's nephew, Wilmot S. Dow that late summer of 1878. TR would return in February 1879 and once more in August of 1879. TR recalls these visits to Maine in a letter he wrote on March 20, 1918, titled, "My Debt To Maine" by Col. Theodore Roosevelt - And the opening paragraph states, "I owe a personal debt to Maine because of my association with certain staunch friends in Aroostook County; an association that helped and benefitted me throughout my life in more ways than one." This note was written by TR four months before he and his family would travel to Dark Harbor, Maine, from the home in Sagamore Hill, to grieve the death of youngest son Quentin.

These comments have been culled from three books:
Maine My State, 1919, Written by Maine Writers Research Club
Becoming Teddy Roosevelt: How a Maine Guide Inspired America's 26th President, 2010, by Andrew Vietze
Quentin & Flora: A Roosevelt and a Vanderbilt in Love during the Great War, 2014, by Chip Bishop

Dow Genealogy courtesy of Presque Isle Historical Society:

The two Maine Guides that worked with Roosevelt and became lifelong friends were William Sewall and his nephew Wilmot Dow.

William Wingate Sewall had a sister, Pauline
Pauline Wentworth Sewall married Oliver Smith Dow on April 18, 1853
    - had five children, including Wilmot S. Dow (he was Sewall's nephew)

Wilmot S. Dow and his wife Lizzie
    - Wilmot E. Dow, b. 08/12/1886 (Badland Baby)
    - married Katherine Stevens in Presque Isle
    - owned a drug store in Presque Isle
    - had three daughters and two sons, Wilmot S. Dow and John A. Dow, b. 1917

It was John Dow, who lived and worked in Presque Isle and served a chair of the Chamber (of Commerce), who left the Historical Society the three artifacts.

Museum of Mass Transit is celebrating its 81st Birthday year in 2020! 
Special Events are scheduled  - Public operations start on May 2, 2020. 
Click Here for the 2019 Events & Special Activities for the 80th Anniversary Season, with hot links

Click Here for 2019 Special Events 

Check out the new book that features the Narcissus!
Look below to read the many great reviews!

Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride

Three 5-Star Reviews from Readers' Favorite posted on January 6, 2020
Click Here to read the post

"An eye-opening and entertaining ride - you won't want the train to stop!
Highly recommended.
Andrew Vietze, award-winning author of Becoming Teddy Roosevelt.

Books are available at these local bookstores in Maine:
The Book Review, Falmouth
Letterpress Books, Portland
Nonesuch Books and More, South Portland
Nubble Books, Biddeford
Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport
Sherman's Maine Coast Book Shops - All locations

A resource for teachers. 
     We are working with the Maine Historical Society to create State-standard-based lesson plans for classroom use in grades 4, 5, 6, and 7. We hope to have the vocabulary for the various grades released soon and to unveil the full lesson plans early in 2020. In the meantime, the teacher resource post has a listing of online references for people, places, and events that are referred to throughout the book, Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride - written with a focus on using vocabulary words and sentence structure that might be useful in classroom studies for students and teachers in grades 4 to 7. Though, there are numerous words, sentences, topics, and references that students and teachers in a variety of grades, as well as readers of all ages, will find useful and of interest. 

Click Here for the announcement of the award-winning narrator for the audiobook :) 

     Millie Thayer is a headstrong farmer's daughter who chases her dreams in a way you would expect a little girl nicknamed "Spitfire would-running full tilt and with her eyes on the stars. Dreaming of leaving the farm life, working in the city, and fighting for women's right to vote, Millie imagines flying away on a magic carpet. One day, that flying carpet shows up in the form of an electric trolley that cuts across her farm. A fortune-teller predicts that Millie's path will cross that of someone famous. Suddenly, she finds herself caught up in events that shake the nation, Maine, and her family. Despairing that her dreams may be shattered, Millie learns, in an unexpected way, that dreams can be shared.

The paperback edition of Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride can be purchased online through the Seashore Trolley Museum's store website. Books purchased through the Museum's website directly benefit the Museum and the Narcissus project. Amazon book purchases also benefit the Museum and the Narcissus.

Click Here to go to the Museum Store webpage to order online

Click Here to go to the Amazon page to order the book online

Click Here to go to the ebook Kindle page through Amazon

Click Here for the post on the ebook release video with a guided tour of the Narcissus

Book, ebook, and (soon) audiobook available through Amazon.

Click Here to read January 24, 2020 - Four-Star Clarion Review

Click Here to read January 20, 2020 - Coveted Starred Blueink Review

Click Here to read January 19, 2020 - Theodore Roosevelt Center Blog Post Review

Click Here to read the December 25, 2019 4-Stars out of 4-Stars Review through OnlineBookClub

     In June of 2018, I was very happy to release a blog post announcing that award-winning Maine author, Jean M. Flahive, had agreed to write a young reader historical fiction chapter book that would benefit the Narcissus Project. In October of 2019, I was happy to report, that the book, Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride, had been printed and was available to purchase! Below are some blurbs/reviews from a few individuals who read the manuscript after being professionally edited by Maine Authors Publishing in Thomaston, Maine. 

MUST-READ! - Click Here
Here is an example of how donations to the Narcissus Project now will help with the interpretation portion of the project. The interpretation programming will include exhibits, displays, education programming. During 2019, through generous donations to the Narcissus Project, we were able to conserve, replicate, and have high resolutions digital image files made of the original, 1910, 25.5-foot long, surveyor map of the elevation and grade of the 30-mile private right-of-way of the Portland, Gray, and Lewiston Railroad (Portland-Lewiston Interurban)
MUST-READ! - Click Here  (In case you hadn't "clicked" and read it above :)

Please Consider a Donation to the Narcissus Project
to help us tell the incredible story of the Narcissus through the interpretation portion of the Narcissus Project.
Thank You

   Inside the Donald G. Curry Town House Restoration Shop, the Narcissus is in the midst of major work as we strive to complete its restoration. With our estimate to have the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Narcissus in the fall of 2021, we are now planning the interpretation portion of the Narcissus Project. Donations to the Narcissus Project may be used in the future to help tell the incredible 100-plus-year-old story of the Narcissus. Your donation to the Narcissus is helping to make the dream of the project's success, a reality.

See below for Donation options -
It starts with YOU
Your Donation Matters
Make a Donation TODAY

Please Help the Narcissus. 
Donation Options to Help the Narcissus Project:

The New England Electric Railway Historical Society (NEERHS)
is the 501c3 organization that owns and operates the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, ME and the National Streetcar
The NEERHS is registered with the IRS (EIN# 01-0244457) and was incorporated in Maine in 1941.

Check or Money Order ***** should be made payable to:
New England Electric Railway Historical Society (NEERHS)
In the memo please write: Narcissus Fund 816-A
Mail to: Seashore Trolley Museum
              P. O. Box A
              Kennebunkport, ME 04046

Credit Card ***** donations can be a one-time donation or you
may choose to have a specific amount charged to your card
automatically on a monthly basis. Please contact the Museum bookkeeper, Connie, via email at or by phone, 207-967-2712 ext. 5.

Online Donations - may be made by using a Credit Card: 
Click Here to make an online donation through the Museum's website - When at the Donation page: Fill in donor info, etc., when at "To which fund are you donating? Scroll down to "Other" and type in: 816-A Narcissus, then continue on filling in the required information.

Click Here for PayPal - to make an online donation: you can use email: and in the message box write:
For Narcissus fund 816-A

Donation of Securities ***** We also accept donations of
securities. You can contact the Museum bookkeeper, Connie, via email at or by phone, 207-967-2712 ext. 5,
for brokerage account information for accepting donated securities.

BONUS ***** If you work for a company/corporation that will
"match" an employee's donation to an approved 501c3 non-profit
educational organization, please be sure to complete the necessary paperwork with your employer so that your donation is matched :)

Questions? ***** Please contact Narcissus project manager:
Phil Morse, or call 207-985-9723 - cell.

Thank You :)

Thank You for our Current Funding Partners
20th Century Electric Railway Foundation - 2018 - Major Gift, 2017/2014 Matching Grants
Renaissance Charitable Foundation (LPCT) by Fiduciary Trust Charitable Giving Fund
Mass Bay RRE - 2018 Railroad Preservation Grant 
Thornton Academy (Saco, ME) - Staff & Alumni - Matching Grant Challenge 2014
New England Electric Railway Historical Society (Kennebunkport, ME) - Member Donations
Amherst Railway Society - 2015 Heritage Grant
National Railway Historical Society - 2016 & 2015 Heritage Preservation Grants
Enterprise Holding Foundation - 2015 Community Grant
Theodore Roosevelt Association - Member Donations
John Libby Family Association and Member Donations
* The Conley Family - In Memory of Scott Libbey 2018/2017/2016/2015
* The W. S. Libbey Family - Awalt, Conley, Graf, Holman, Libbey, McAvoy, McLaughlin, Meldrum, O'Halloran, Salto, - 2018/2017
* The Hughes Family 2017/2016/2010
New Gloucester Historical Society and Member Donations
Gray Historical Society and Member Donations
Gray Public Library Association - Pat Barter Speaker Series
* LogMein - Matching Employee Donation
* IBM - Matching Employee/Retiree Donations
* Fidelity Charitable Grant - Matching Employee Donations
* Richard E. Erwin Grant - 2017/2016

The Narcissus, with interior back-lit, stained glass windows are majestic.
Make a donation today to help restore the interior of this Maine gem.
Help Theodore Roosevelt's Maine Ride get back on track! Once restored,
you will be able to ride in luxury on this National Register Treasure at
Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.
PWM photo

Please Consider Making a Donation to the project of the National Register of Historic Places member, Narcissus. We are currently raising funds to tell the incredible story of this Maine gem.

Various News stories during the summer of 2015 about the
Narcissus and its connection to Theodore Roosevelt. TR
was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914.

Click Here to See the list of All Previous Blog Posts - Index

The Narcissus - July 31, 2015. Make a donation today.
Help Theodore Roosevelt's Maine Ride get back on track!
Once restored, you will be able to ride in luxury on this
Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.

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