Friday, October 9, 2015

Bible Point - Island Falls, Maine and Theodore Roosevelt

Bible Point State Historic Site - PWM image 10-6-2015

     I first learned of Bible Point in Island Falls (ME) from Maine author, Andrew Vietze. Andrew's 2010 book, Becoming Teddy Roosevelt: How a Maine Guide Inspired America's 26th President, speaks to how Theodore Roosevelt utilized the site. (paragraph on page 48).

     On Tuesday, October 6, 2015, I headed up to check out Bible Point. Below or Click here for the video story of the adventure along Merriman Road.

This video story is made up of stills and video clips of the trip in. The description below fails to mention that Merriman Road is a gravel road along which has an active logging harvest is currently taking place. The permits for the harvest are posted along Merriman Road. This made for a very interesting expedition to Bible Point. 

The description of the site at
Location: From Island Falls, take the Merriman Road to its end, then follow the hiking trail along the western shore of the West Branch of the Mattawamkeag River approximately one mile.
Bible Point, a 27-acre property near the south end of Mattawamkeag Lake, made famous by Teddy Roosevelt who visited the area beginning in 1878. As a young man under the guidance of his lifelong friend and guide Bill Sewall, Roosevelt camped at the southern end of Mattawamkeag Lake and hunted and fished throughout the area. It is reported that each day, Roosevelt would take his bible and hike to a beautiful point of land at the confluence of the West Branch of the Mattawamkeag River and First Brook where he would read the bible.  A plaque was erected in 1921 by Roosevelt's biographer Hermann Hagedorn and it reads:

This plaque commemorates Theodore Roosevelt's love for the 
area. - PWM image 10-6-2015

"This place, to which a great man in his youth liked to come to commune with God and with the wonder and beauty of the visible world, is dedicated to the happy memory of THEODORE ROOSEVELT. Stranger, rest here and consider what one man, having faith in the right and love for his fellow man was able to do for his country." Hermann Hagedorn

Below or Click here for a video walk-around at Bible Point.

Walk-a-round Bible Point video

Straight ahead to the point where First Brook (on the right just out of sight)
merges with the West Branch of the Mattawamkeag River (seen on the right).

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This Blogger in a selfie. PWM image 10-6-2015

Within this kiosk are the typed text of Theodore Roosevelt's, March 20, 1918
the letter titled, My Debt to Maine and a copy of the said letter in TR's own
hand. TR buttons, courtesy of Theodore Roosevelt Association :) The
buttons were removed after photo ops. To see the entire text of TR's letter,
My Debt to Maine, scroll down to the bottom of this post.
PWM image 10-6-2015 

First Brook as it enters the Bible Point area. PWM image 10-6-2015

Along the walking trail to/from Bible Point.
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Along the walking trail to Bible Point. Evidence that a
Pileated Woodpecker paid a visit? PWM image 10-6-2015

Along the walking trail to/from Bible Point.
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Along the walking trail to/from Bible Point.
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Along the walking trail to/from Bible Point.
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Some images along Merriman Road 

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The left arrow had black letters has Bible Point written on it.
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Collection area for the harvested logs. Logs that have delivered by a skidder
are then stacked by the machine seen in the background here.
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Harvested logs stacked in a collection area. PWM image 10-6-2015

Starting at the top, the first star is Island Falls. The star below Island Falls
is the beginning of Merriman Road. It is about 7 miles along Merriman Road,
heading southeast, that you come to the next star. This represents where you
turn left and travel for about a mile. At the next star, Merriman "Road" ends
and a trail for ATVs or Snowmobiles begins. Follow this trail for about a
mile and you come upon Bible Point, the final star. The only time I saw any
signs of Bible Point was when turning left about 7 miles in, there were
a couple of plastic signs with an arrow and Bible Point handwritten on the
sign. - Screenshot 10-9-2015

After having traveled along Merriman Road, these "veins" and small, cleared
areas along the road now are known. The veins are trails made by a skidder
as it harvests and drags trees to the collection areas along the road. These
collection areas are cleared areas along the road where the trees are stacked
for loading. Screenshot 10-9-2015

An expanded view of harvesting trails and collection area.
Screenshot 10-9-2015

Sign in the yard at the original Sewall homestead in Island Falls where
Theodore Roosevelt stayed during his three visits in 1878/79.
PWM image 10-6-2015 

The original Sewall homestead where Theodore
Roosevelt stayed during his three visits to Island Falls in 1878/79.
PWM image 10-6-2015

     In the kiosk at Bible Point are the typed text and a copy of the handwritten letter by TR titled, My Debt to Maine. This letter was originally published in 1919 in a book titled, Maine My State, by The Maine Writers Research Club.

     Within the acknowledgments is written, "Col. Theodore Roosevelt responded to the request for a contribution to this book, by sending the story, and the manuscript, written in pencil by his own hand, is a priceless treasure."

     I happen to have a copy of the book that belonged to my father. It was given to him on April 9, 1947, while he was attending high school.

My Debt To Maine
by Col. Theodore Roosevelt

     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.
    It is over forty years ago that I first went to Island Falls and stayed with the Sewall family. I repeated the visit three or four times. I made a couple hunting trips in the fall, with Bill Sewall and Wilmot Dow; and one winter I spent three or four weeks on snowshoes with them, visiting a couple of lumber-camps. I was not a boy of any natural prowess and for that very reason, the vigorous out-door life was just what I needed.
     It was a matter of pride with me to keep up with my stalwart associates, and to shift for myself, and to treat with indifference whatever hardship or fatigue came our way. In their company, I would have been ashamed to complain! And I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was rather tired by some of the all-day tramps, especially in the deep snow, when my webbed racquets gave me "snowshoe feet", or when we wadded up the Munsungin in shallow water, dragging a dugout, until my ankles became raw from slipping on the smooth underwater stones; and I still remember with qualified joy the ascent and especially the descent of Katahdin in moccasins, worn because, to the deep disapproval of my companions, I had lost one of my heavy shoes in crossing a river at the riffle.
     I also remember such delicious nights, under a lean-to, by stream or lake, in the clear fall weather, or in winter on balsam boughs in front of a blazing stump, when we had beaten down and shoveled away the deep snow, and kept our foot-gear away from the fire, so that it should not thaw and freeze;-and the meals of venison, trout or partridge; and one meal consisting of muskrat and a fish-duck, which, being exceedingly hungry, we heartily appreciated.
     But the bodily benefit was not the largest part of the good done me. I was accepted as part of the household; and the family and friends represented in their lives the kind of Americanism-self-respecting, duty-performing, life-enjoying-which is the most valuable possession that any generation can hand on to the next. It was as native to our soil as "William Henry's Letters to his Grandmother"-I hope there are still readers of that delightful volume of my youth, even although it was published fifty years ago.
     Mrs. Sewall, the mother, was a dear old lady; and Miss Sewall, the sister, was a most capable manager of the house. Bill Sewall at the time had two brothers. Sam was a deacon. Dave was NOT a deacon. It was from Dave that I heard an expression which after remained in my mind. He was speaking of a local personage of shifty character who was very adroit in using fair-sounding words which completely nullified the meaning of another fair-sounding word which preceded them. "His words weasel the meaning of the words in front of them," said Dave, "just like a weasel when he sucks the meat out of an egg and leaves nothing but the shell;" and I always remembered "weasel words" as applicable to certain forms of oratory, especially political oratory, which I do not admire.
     Once, while driving in a wagon with Dave, up to an exceedingly wet and rocky backwoods road, with the water pouring down the middle, I asked him how in Aroostook County they were able to tell its roads from its rivers. "No beaver dams in the roads," instantly responded Dave.
     At one of the logging-camps I became good friends with a quiet, resolute-looking man, named Brown, one for the choppers; and afterward, I stopped at his house and was as much struck with his good and pretty wife as I had been with him. He had served in the Civil War and had been wounded. His creed was that peace was a great blessing, but that even so great a blessing could be purchased as too dear a price. I did not see him again until thirty-seven years later when he came to a meeting at which I spoke in Portland. He had shaved off his beard and was an old man and I did not at first recognize him; but after the first sentence, I knew him and very glad indeed I was to see him once more.
     In the eighties, I started little cattle-ranch on Little Missouri, in the then territory of Dakota, and I got Bill Sewall and Wilmot Dow to join me. By the time they had both married and they brought out Mrs. Sewall and Mrs. Dow. There was already a little girl in the Sewall family, and two babies were born on the ranch. Thanks to Mrs. Sewall and Mrs. Dow, we were most comfortable. The ranch-house and all the out-buildings at the home-ranch- the Elkhorn- were made of cottonwood logs and were put up by Bill and Wilmot who were mighty men with the ax. I got them to put on a veranda; and in one room, where I kept my books and did my writing, we built a big fireplace, and I imported a couple of rocking-chairs. (Only one would have made me feel too selfish.) The veranda, the open fireplace, the books, and the rocking-chairs represented my special luxuries; I think Mrs. Sewall and Mrs. Dow enjoyed them almost as much as I did.
     We had stoves to keep us warm in the bitter winter weather and bearskin and buffalo-robes. Bill and Wilmot and I and usually one or two cowhands worked hard, but it was enjoyable to work and the hunting on which we relied for all our meat was, of course, sheer fun. When the winter weather set in, we usually made a regular hunt to get the winter meat and we hung our game in the cottonwood trees which stretched before our house. I remember once when we had a bull elk and several deer hanging up and another time when we had a couple of antelope and a yearling mountain-sheep. The house of hewn logs was clean and comfortable and we were all of us young and strong and happy.
     Wilmot was from every standpoint one of the best men I ever knew. He has been dead for many years. His widow is now Mrs. Pride, and her present husband is also one of my valued friends.
     When I was President, the Sewalls and Prides came down to Washington to visit me. We talked over everything, public and private, past and present; the education and future careers of our children; the proper attitude of the United States in external and internal matters. We all of us looked at the really important matters of public policy and private conduct from substantially the same viewpoint. Never were there more welcome guests at the White House.                                                                                                                                                                   - Theodore Roosevelt
     Sagamore Hill, March 20, 1918.

Click on: "Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride," to learn about the young reader historical fiction chapter book due for release this fall. Proceeds will benefit the Narcissus Project :)

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.

The 2015 publication of, The Illustrated Atlas
of Maine's Street & Electric Railways
1863-1946, was published by the Library
at Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport.
Copies are available for purchase from the

Seashore Trolley Museum, - Museum of Mass Transit, is celebrating its 80th Birthday year in 2019! 
Special Events are scheduled  - Public operations start on May 4, 2019. 
Click Here for the 2019 Events & Special Activities for the 80th Anniversary Season, with hot links

Click Here for 2019 Special Events 

Click Here for 80th Anniversary Year - Seashore Trolley Museum 1939-2019 post
Click Here for the post - 80th Anniversary Year -A Look Back at the 50s - Seashore Trolley Mus.
Click Here for the post - 80th Anniversary Year - A Look Back at the 60s  - Seashore Trolley Mus.
Click Here for the post - 80th Anniversary Year -A Look Back at the '70s - Seashore Trolley Mus.
Click Here for The Birth of Seashore Trolley Museum Blog Post
Click Here for STM's Ten National Register of Historic Places Electric Railway Vehicles post
Click Here for 1901 Tower C Boston Elevated Railway to STM in 1975
Click Here for No. 38 - 1906 Manchester & Nashua Street Railway - Acquired March 21, 1940
Click Here for No. 60 - 1895 Manchester Street Railway - Acquired April 11, 1941
Click Here for No. 4387 - 1918 Eastern Mass. Street Railway - Acquired August 29, 1946
Click Here for No. 100 - 1906 Atlantic Shore Line Railway - Acquired 1949
Click Here for No. 108 - 1904 Portsmouth, Dover & York Street Railway - Acquired 1949
Click Here for No. 14 Narcissus 1912 Portland-Lewiston Interurban - Acquired 1969

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
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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