Down to the sea

Barbara Dyer: A love story of long ago

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 2:15pm

Natives and newcomers alike are all familiar with Hosmer Pond. It became more known about 1934, when the Snow Bowl was built and the winter carnivals were held there, as a notable event. That body of water was previously known as Hosmer Lake.

The Hosmer family arrived in town as some of the earliest settlers, and that family became an important part of town for years to come. There is a very touching story in their genealogy. Mary Gibbs Hosmer, granddaughter of Capt. Nathaniel Hosmer, wrote it when she was but 18 years of age and it was published in The Camden Advertiser in 1846. She used the pseudonym of “Frank.”

Charles Barrett was granted land in what is now Hope, Appleton and some surrounding areas, in hopes he could get people to settle here. Nathaniel Hosmer accepted land and built a log cabin to settle and farm near the pond.

The next winter he went home to Mason, New Hampshire. When he returned again in the spring, he brought his sister, Anna, and Job Hodgeman.

He built a frame house and went to bring back Mary Wheeler to be his wife. Mary wished to come, except she lived with her mother and stepfather, David Blodgett.

Her mother was a very determined woman and had already picked out a man to be her daughter's husband, who happened to be a wealthy neighbor. Mrs. Blodgett had had a difficult life and wanted her daughter to have an easier one. She had nothing against Hosmer, except he was poor, and if Mary went to live in Maine she would have to work the rest of her life. Mary told her she would rather have a home in the wilderness and work with a man she loved, than to live with one she did not care for.

Nathaniel tried to see Mary, but Mrs. Blodgett would not let her out of the house, unless she was with her. Nathaniel, before he left, got word to a mutual friend of theirs, and they met once more.

They discussed the obstacles and she promised to be his bride as soon as he had the house ready. Mrs. Blodgett heard about their meeting and insisted that she meet George (the wealthy one) immediately. Feeling sacrificed by her mother, she finally gave in, and their intentions were published.

Mary then came down with a raging fever for three months; a life or death situation. Mary removed the shoe buckles that Nathaniel had given her to give her mother the idea that the romance was over. Nathaniel came on horseback for her in the night, and they were on their way to Camden, before the mother could recover from the act of a disobedient child.

Mary and Nathaniel had six children from 1789 to 1798. They lived happily until Mary died at age 34, and her stone reads:

“So soon our transient comforts fly,

And pleasure only blooms to die.”

Capt. Nathaniel Hosmer married again to Nancy Fay in 1803, and they had 10 children, before she died in 1861.

The Hosmer families were very active in this town.

After it was incorporated, Camden was fined by Massachusetts because there was no church or permanent resident minister (and that was a law). Camden was fined in the amount of 2 pounds, 14 shillings and 6 pence.

David Blodgett (1744 to 1826) was the first deacon of the church and one of the ten founders. Blodgett served in the Revolutionary War and was prominent in town affairs. His second marriage was to Lucy Heald Wheeler (a widow); her daughter was the bride in the above love story.

Lucy was another of the 10 founders of the first church, called a Meeting House, which was located on the northeast corner of today's Elm and Park streets.

Many people remember Jessie Hosmer, who owned and ran the Village Shop for many years. She came down the Hosmer line. It appears that most of Camden's early settlers became related through marriage. Once they came here, they stayed put.

There are about 64 Hosmers buried at Mountain View Cemetery, including Nathaniel and Mary of this love story. There are also many Hosmers, who married (so have a different name) in our cemetery.

When you send your Valentine, you may remember this story of true love, many, many years ago.   

Barbara F. Dyer has lived all her life, so far, in Camden.