Dear Sun Spots: When I was a young girl, from age 5 in 1924, through age 10 in 1929, I lived on Water Street Patch in Lewiston. Most of the people there were Irish and descendants of John and Catherine Quigley through their son Michael and daughter Catherine.
This family emigrated from Ireland to St. John, New Brunswick, and then to Lewiston and Auburn before 1890. I remember the names of all these people. There were McDonalds, McBeans, Sullivans and McCarthys, to name a few. Is there any written history of this area on the bank of the Androscoggin River? I would like to know when the first houses were built and also any stories about the Patch and the people who lived there. Thank you. - Mary, No Town.
Answer: In addition to responses from readers, Sun Spots contacted John Henderson who is researching the Irish patches of Lewiston and Auburn. He noted that he only recently discovered the Water Street Patch and may have more information in a few months. Michael Lord, executive secretary of the Androscoggin Historical Society, also suggested contacting the Irish Heritage Center in Portland at 780-0118.
Vinny O'Malley, board member of the center, recommended the books "They Change Their Sky" by Michael Connolly and "Hard Times, Hard Men: Maine and the Irish 1830-1860" by James Mundy. He said that Connolly's book has an essay by Margaret Buker Jay about the Irish experience in Lewiston, but it is limited to the mid- and late-19th century, which is also the period covered by Mundy's book. Both books are available in the center's library.
One of the center's genealogists, Margaret LaCombe, also said she would love to interview you informally, so Sun Spots will put you in touch with her.
Dear Sun Spots: Loaves and Fishes of Sabattus will be holding fundraising garage sales from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday and Saturday starting May 8 and 9, at the Dominican Convent at 61 Lisbon Road, Sabattus. We are in need of good usable items for sale. You may deliver those donations during the garage sale hours or call Kathy at 375-8399 or 212-7674. Thank you. - Claudette, Sabattus.