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 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 ones self, to contemplate ones purpose or direction. Whether being near the eb 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 an 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 for 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 in March, 20, 1918, titled, "My Debt To Maine" by Col. Theodore Roosevelt - And the opening paragraph stats, "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 thruout 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 hus 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 the Historical Society the three artifacts.

Mark your calendars (purchase your Friday-opening tickets in advance) and plan to attend the 2017 Teddy Roosevelt Days Event July 21-23, 2017

A Benefit Event For the Narcissus Project!

Click Here: First Post on 2017 Teddy Roosevelt Days - W. S. Libbey's 1908 Stanley Steamer
Click Here: Second Post on 2017 Teddy Roosevelt Days - Suzanne Buzby Hersey - "My Maine"
Click Here: Third Post on 2017 Teddy Roosevelt Days - Wade Zahares - Artist


More details on the celebration will be announced soon.
The Friday activity requires a ticket to be purchased in
advance. There is limited seating for the Friday gala
opening activity. Saturday and Sunday are
general admission public offerings at


The Narcissus Project Blog was created in April 2015 for the purpose of reaching out to a large number of folks through the power of social media to introduce them to the Narcissus. The Narcissus is a luxury, high-speed, wooden electric interurban. The Narcissus was built in 1912 in Laconia, NH and operated on the Portland-Lewiston Interurban, in Maine, between Portland and Lewiston, from 1914 into 1933. Theodore Roosevelt was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914. The blog posts appeal to folks with an interest in Theodore Roosevelt's connection to Maine, to folks generally interested in regional/local history, as well as those folks within the greater railway family. Hopefully, these posts will endear many of the readers to help support the Narcissus financially, as it undergoes a complete restoration over the next few years at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. 



We Did It!! 

$40,000 Raised!

Your Donations to the Narcissus Combined to Achieve the Goal Set Nineteen Months Ago. Raise $40,000 for the Narcissus to Meet the Challenge of the Matching Grant from the 

This brings the Combined Total Amount of Donations to the
Narcissus, based on the 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation's matching grants to $100,000!  

The $40,000 donation will be the 2nd donation to the Narcissus from the 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation as a result of successfully raising funds for a matching grant. A previous $10,000 matching grant challenge was achieved in 2014.

Donations made to the Narcissus Fund 816-A, for the remainder of 2017 and until further notice,
 will be used for work and materials needed to restore the interior of the Narcissus.

See below for Donation options -

It starts with YOU....
Your Donation Matters....
Make a Donation TODAY....

Please Help the Narcissus
Donations are now being raised to restore the interior of the Narcissus.

Donation Options to Help Restore the Narcissus:


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 finance@NEERHS.org 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: finance@NEERHS.org 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 finance@NEERHS.org 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, pmorse31@gmail.com or call 207-985-9723 - cell.

Thank You :)

Thank You to our Current Funding Partners
20th Century Electric Railway Foundation - 2017/2014 Matching Grant Challenges
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 2017/2016/2015
The W. S. Libbey Family - Awalt, Conley, Graf, Holman, Libbey, McAvoy, McLaughlin, Meldrum, O'Halloran, Salto, - 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
* IBM - Matching Employee/Retiree Donations
* Fidelity Charitable Grant - Matching Employee Donations
* Richard E. Erwin Grant - 2017/2016
Seal Cove Auto Museum


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 Historic Treasure at
Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.
PWM photo


Please Consider Making a Donation to the Narcissus Restoration Project. We are currently raising funds to restore the interior 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 - 100-Plus


Link to Libb(e)y Family connections


Click Here - Portland Public Library Presentation - History of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban
Click Here - W. S. Libbey - The Man and His Mill
Click Here - W. S. Libbey - His 1908 Stanley Steamer K 30-hp Semi-Racer
Click Here - W. Scott Libbey's 1908 Stanley Steamer History to be Featured - July 21, 2017
Click Here - Scrapbook Celebrates the People of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban
Click Here - May 18, 1914, Newspaper Story on the Passing of PLI Builder, W. Scott Libbey
Click Here - 102nd Anniversary of the Opening of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban
Click Here - 83rd anniversary of the Closing of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban
Click Here - Sophia, W. S. Libbey Descendant Visits the Narcissus
Click Here - Libb(e)y Family Connection to Narcissus becomes Personal
Click Here - Ode To the Grand Old Interurban
Click Here - The Portland-Lewiston Interurban "Bouquet" is Ordered (1912)

Links to Narcissus Restoration Work:
Click Here - Ornate Leaded Stained Glass Work
Click Here - Narcissus Enters Town House Restoration Shop
Click Here - Sorting and Cleaning Materials on Interior of the Narcissus
Click Here - September 7, 2015, Restoration Report
Click Here - December 7, 2015, Restoration Report
Click Here - December 14, 2015, Restoration Report
Click Here - Beautiful Brass of the Narcissus
Click Here - December 28, 2015 Restoration Update
Click Here - January 4, 2016, Restoration Update
Click Here - Vallee Family Photos of Narcissus 1960s
Click Here - February 11, 2016, Restoration Update
Click Here - A Wooden Interurban - Restoration Info
Click Here - NRHS 2016 Heritage Grant Award to Narcissus
Click Here - Announcement of 2016 Teddy Roosevelt Days Fundraising Event for the Narcissus
Click Here - Series of Restoration Posts related to work on exterior poplar frames
Click Here - Vintage Poplar used in Narcissus restoration
Click Here - Mahogany Sash passenger windows being restored
Click Here - "A President Has Ridden in My House!" - Video of Dan Vallee
Click Here - Teddy Roosevelt Days 2016 - Weekend Event Benefits the Narcissus
Click Here - August 2016 Restoration Update
Click Here - Mid-September Restoration Update
Click Here - Theodore Roosevelt & the Narcissus: Connecting Maine Communities
Click Here - How to Make New Seats for the Narcissus?
Click Here - 2016 Summary of Research and Outreach
Click Here - 2016 Restoration Summary


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
National Historic Treasure at
Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.


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