Maiden’s Cliff and the passing of Elenora French

Diane O’Brien: This week in Lincolnville

Mom Tells a Story, Growing Garlic, Dr. Kibbe
Mon, 10/06/2014 - 7:15pm

     We spent a lot of time driving around, my sons and I, when they were young, mostly from our home in Lincolnville to the Camden IGA where we got our groceries. But also to the Farmers’ Union to buy grain for our animals, to the library to take out books, to the bank to deposit the pay check every two weeks. We went to Rankins for all sorts of things I needed, and to the dreaded Achorns Department Store to look at fabric. (If you’ve ever gone to a fabric store with a young boy you understand “dread.”) Mothers (and today, fathers) of young children know what I’m talking about. There’s a lot of driving around with kids. And “back in the day” the kid sat in the passenger seat next to Mom. At least the oldest did. The others lolled around the back seat — no seat belts, no car seats. So Mom and the oldest at the time — one by one they aged into the seat next to Mom — had lots of time to talk.

    And this is the story I told and retold as we drove back and forth between Lincolnville and Camden, up 52 to the Turnpike, and as the cliffs came into view:

    “Over 100 years ago, a young girl fell from right up there, where the big white cross is. Her name was Elenora French…..”

    Here’s what that girl’s sister told the Camden Herald in 1915:

    "My father's name was Zadoc French, and I was the eldest of 12 children. We lived at Lincolnville Beach (but they called it French Beach, at that time. That day [May 6, 1864] myself and the school teacher, Miss Hartshorn, were getting ready to drive to Lincolnville Center to see some friends, when little Elenora coaxed her [our] mother to let her go with us. After dinner a young man, Randall Young, invited us to go up the mountain, and the four of us climbed Megunticook from the Lincolnville side.

    "We did not realize we were over the boldest cliff on the rock until Mr. Young told us so, and he said he would find a big rock and roll it down over. While he was looking for a rock, Miss Hartshorn and I were sitting down and little Elenora was rambling around us.

    "I remember exactly how she looked. Her hat had blown off and with it the net, and when I last saw her she was sitting on a rock near the edge of the cliff putting on her net. I turned to speak to Miss Hartshorn. I heard a scream. I looked where Elenora had been sitting and she was gone.

    "We were dazed for a moment and then ran to the edge of the cliff, but could not get near enough to look over. Mr. Young climbed down the face of the cliff to where Elenora had landed, nearly 300 feet they say from where she fell.

    "She was still alive and not a bone broken, but she was injured internally and died at 12:30 that night. I do not know how my sister came to fall. I shall always think that a puff of wind took her hat, and she fell over going after it. The cross was erected some years later." Thanks to Barbara Dyer whose research found this account

    Now my version of the story wasn’t so exact in the particulars, but basically the same: she fell chasing her hat which had blown over the cliff. My sons, each in their turn, were fascinated and would ask for a retelling whenever we drove down the Turnpike towards Maiden Cliff. We’d search the mountaintop for a glimpse of the white cross that marks the spot, then recall how she was carried by wagon to the farm at Youngtown Corner, where she died that night.

    It’s a great story for young kids; horrifying enough in its way, yet long ago enough to be safe, along with that hint of caution Mom’s want to instill in their stories. Back when I was still “Mom” I didn’t know any other details, but in the years since I’ve learned more. That Elenora grew up just down the road from us, at 25 Beach Road, in one of the oldest houses in town, and that she’d begged to be taken along with her older sister and teacher. That she was taken to her grandmother’s who lived at what is now the Youngtown Inn, then the Young farm. And that she’s buried in French Cemetery, located just south of the Beach on Atlantic Highway.

    One of my sons, the boy with the most active imagination, still carries Elenora’s story close to his heart. He’s introducing his own kids to the tale, one at a time as they grow; his oldest can recite it word for word now and knows exactly where Elenora’s grave is, since she and her dad found it one day.

    Monday Oct. 6 the Conservation Commission is having a work day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the Town Trail, the path that leads from the school grounds to Nortons Pond, and is looking for volunteers. If you’d like to help contact Will, 789-5276.


    Monday, Oct. 6

    Conservation Commission Work Day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Town Trail

    LCS Soccer team plays Great Salt Bay, 3:45 p.m., at GSB

    LCS School Committee, 7 p.m., LCS

    Wednesday, Oct. 8

    Fitness/Yoga class, 9-10:30 a.m., Community Building, 18 Searsmont Rd.

    LCS Soccer team plays CRMS 6, 3:45 p.m., at LCS

    Planning Board, 7 p.m., Town Office, televised Channel 22


    Thursday, Oct. 9

    LCS Cross Country meet at Belfast, girls run at 3:45 p.m., boys run last

    Cemetery Trustees,6:30 p.m., Town Office


    Friday, Oct. 10

    Busline League Soccer preliminary playoff round, 3:45 p.m., place TBA


    Every week

    AA meetings, Tuesdays & Fridays at 12:15 p.m., Wednesdays & Sundays at 6 p.m.,United Christian Church

    Beach Farmers’ Market, Saturdays, 1-4 p.m.,Dot’s

    Ducktrap Valley Farm Maple Products, Saturdays, 9 – noon,6 Heal Road

    Lincolnville Community Library Open Hours: Tuesdays, 5-8 p.m., Wednesdays, 2-7 p.m., Fridays & Saturdays 9 a.m.-noon.

    Schoolhouse Museum Open Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 1-4 p.m., L.I.A. Building, 2nd floor

    Soup Café, Thursdays, noon-1 p.m., Community Building, free (donations appreciated)


    Coming Up

    Fall Presentation & Concert, Oct. 15, Lincolnville Community Library

    Lincolnville Sewer District Meets, Oct. 23, Town Office 

    Visit the Lincolnville Historical Society’s Schoolhouse Museum, 33 Beach Road, second floor to learn more about the French family, Maiden’s Cliff, and visit the schoolroom Elenora attended. The Museum is open this week, M-W-F, 1-4 p.m.; it closes for season on Friday and is open by appointment only after that. Contact Connie Parker, 789-5984 to set up a time.

    Remember that the first half of the year’s property taxes is due no later than the close of business Wednesday, Oct. 8. Pay by mail or bring payment in to the Town Office. Interest charges start the next day.

    Also Wednesday Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. a free program at the Library will feature Jon Thurston, agricultural coordinator for Regional School Unit 20, on growing garlic. Jon will give a short history of garlic, a plant native to Central Asia that has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for thousands of years. He will also tell about the best ways to grow healthy garlic here in Maine, where it can be planted in the fall and harvested the following summer.

    Jon is part of the team that runs the garden and greenhouse project at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast. He also co-founded the Medomak Valley High School Heirloom Seed Project in Waldoboro. For more information, call 763-4343 or email.

    Garlic is one of our most successful and reliable crops, and we easily grow a year’s supply with plenty to share. It’s now garlic planting time. Plant it when you plant fall bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils. The garlic will sprout next spring right along with those flowering bulbs.

    Becky Dunton, certified fitness instructor, holds a Wednesday morning fitness class, Total Body Energized, at the Community Building 9-10:30 a.m. The class is actually two 45 minute sessions: cardio/strength and yoga; bring sneakers, a yoga mat and hand weights. Do one or both sessions, $8 each or $15 for both. All fitness levels welcome. A second day for yoga only is being planned.

    The Lincolnville Central School cross country teams (boys and girls) compete in meets every Thursday as part of the Bus Line League. Students in grades 4-8 are members of the team. Last week they traveled to Great Salt Bay school in Damariscotta. This week they’ll be at Troy Howard School in Belfast; the girls run first at 3:45 p.m., and the boys run second.

    Now that fall is here, and the days are definitely cooler, come by the Community Building on Thursdays at noon for the Soup Cafe, a free community lunch put on weekly by a group of volunteers and sponsored by United Christian Church. The soups – there are usually 3 kinds, always one vegetarian.

    Mark your calendar for the second Fall Presentation and Concert at the Library: Oct. 15, 7p.m. local poet Paul McFarland will be the guest speaker followed by Nick Appolonio singing and playing music from the British Isles, Galacia, US folk traditions, and Cape Breton. Tickets are $10; reserve by calling Rosey Gerry, 975-5432.

    Briar Lyons sent this message to the Lincolnville Bulletin Board last week: “We at the Lincolnville General Store are hoping to start a new Halloween tradition in Lincolnville Center. We are calling on our community to help us create hundreds of Jack-O-Lanterns, and to light up Main street in Lincolnville with them. On Thursday, October 30, from 3:00-4:30 at Walsh Common at LCS, we will host a pumpkin carving event. We will be sending home permission slips with students, and for $2 they can get a pumpkin and help carving the pumpkin. We are in need of adult assistance, since this event requires the use of sharp tools. Please volunteer!! We are inviting the larger community to join us for the afternoon. Please bring a pumpkin to carve, and some carving tools. Or, you could bring your Jack-O-Lanterns from home to Main Street on Halloween, and help us light up the Center.

    “We will take the Jack-O-Lanterns from the school and set up a display on Halloween, and like we did a few years back, host Halloween trick or treating at the store, so that kids can walk from the store, to the Harvest festival at the school, and up and down Main street to trick or treat. We will make sure we have police presence to help keep the street safe. We are calling on all of you to help us make this awesome! And hopefully, over the years, the tradition could grow to include thousands of Jack-O-Lanterns all along the center! If you would like to join us at the school to carve, please message me.”

    There’s always something new to see when you ride around town and really look. For instance, the “rock garden” that recently sprouted in a small roadside garden in front of Sandy Lehman and Wade Graham’s house. It’s the work of Dan, a friend of theirs, who, Sandy writes, “has been playing around getting rocks to balance and makes these fun sculptures that we refer to as Dan-hedges.  I'm not sure how they will endure when winter hits but glad you like them.” 

    And there are now 8 Barn Quilts on display in Lincolnville, which were made by Steve Nystrom’s class at the high school last spring.

    School has begun and the Camden Hills Regional High School students with their teacher, Steve Nystrom, are eager to repeat the Barn Quilt Project! This is good news. We have 8 barn quilts in Lincolnville so far which were made last Spring by the students with Steve's guidance. You can see them at:

    2372 Atlantic Hwy.

    2494 Atlantic Hwy.

    227 Duck Trap Rd.

    208 Main St. (not up yet)

    Baseball Field

    212 Masalin Rd.

    283 Vancycle Rd.

    If you’d like to order one contact Jane Liedtke.

    Finally, here’s another bit from Sandy Delano’s memories of his childhood.

    Dr. Millington, who kept an office on Mountain Street, was the one who took out my tonsils. I spent several days at the Camden Community Hospital on Mountain Street for that operation. A year or two later I was to have my appendix removed at the Knox Hospital in Rockland. I remember being visited by our parish priest, father George Goudreau. Father Goudreau gave me a shiny half dollar during his visit.

    Somewhere along the line I acquired some allergies for which I took shots every other week for a number of years. These were usually administered by Miss Eliza Steele in her office at the Community Building in Rockland. As I recall, I was deemed allergic to sunflowers, coal dust, and chicken feathers. The latter two were a real problem apparently as my grandfather kept several thousand laying hens, my Uncle Pete had three times that many and our houses were all heated with coal during the winter.

    Dr. Frank Kibbe was my childhood physician. I remember him as being quite tall. He kept an office on the north corner of Spring and Union Streets in a house since torn down and replaced. His nurse may have been named Glenice but, after 50 years, I cannot swear to it. His office was large and dark as he kept the windows shuttered. He gave me my allergy shots if they were due when I was visiting in his office.

    Dr. Kibbe also made house calls. On one occasion when my brother or I was ailing he arrived at the house at 32 Franklin Street and came in unexpectedly through the back door. My mother, who was anticipating his arrival through the front door, had removed my Dad’s 5 gallon home brew jug from behind the living room stove into the back hall so the doctor wouldn’t see it. She was apoplectic when greeted by the Dr with “got one working huh”?

    Dr. Kibbe died April 3, 2004 at the age 88 years. According to his obituary, he was born in Hartford, Conn., April 29, 1915. He graduated from Loomis Academy in 1933 and Bowdoin College in Brunswick in 1937. He completed studies at Johns Hopkins Medical School, graduating in 1941. While at Johns Hopkins he met Lucy Kimberly. They were married Sept. 7, 1940 at Cantonsville, Md., and honeymooned in Maine, sailing on Penobscot Bay. He served in the U.S. Army in Burma, Fiji and India from 1943 to the end of the war. Following his return, he did his residency at Children's Hospital in Boston. In 1947 the family moved to Lincolnville and settled into the house they would live in for the next thirty years. I recall him as a quiet spoken wonderful man.

    Read more about Dr. Kibbe and his life in Lincolnville in Staying Put in Lincolnville Maine, 1900-1950 (Available at Western Auto, Schoolhouse Museum  or Sleepy Hollow Rag Rugs)

    David Hugh Smith, writing for Christian Science Monitor, visited the Lincolnville Library a couple of weeks ago, and wrote this article about the community effort that went into the project.

    Lincolnville Resources

    Town Office: 493 Hope Road, 763-3555

    Lincolnville Fire Department: 470 Camden Road, non-emergency 542-8585, 763-3898, 763-3320

    Fire Permits: 763-4001 or 789-5999

    Lincolnville Community Library: 208 Main Street, 763-4343

    Lincolnville Historical Society: LHS, 33 Beach Road, 789-5445

    Lincolnville Central School: LCS, 523 Hope Road, 763-3366

    Lincolnville Boat Club, 207 Main Street, 975-4916

    Bayshore Baptist Church, 2636 Atlantic Highway, 789-5859, 9:30 Sunday School, 11 Worship

    Crossroads Community Baptist Church, meets at LCS, 763-3551, 11:00 Worship

    United Christian Church, 763-4526, 18 Searsmont Road, 9:30 Worship

    Contact person to rent for private occasions:

    Community Building: 18 Searsmont Road, Diane O’Brien, 789-5987

    Lincolnville Improvement Association: LIA, 33 Beach Road, Bob Plausse, 789-5811

    Tranquility Grange: 2171 Belfast Road, Rosemary Winslow, 763-3343