SOUTH PARIS – The Paris Cape Historical Society will hold its first meeting of the year at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 21, at its museum and meeting room at 77 High St.

After a brief business meeting, Rodney Abbott of West Paris will speak on Major General Oliver Otis Howard, one of Maine’s best-known sons.

Howard was involved in many Civil War battles, in the East and in the West. He lost an arm during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862 and continued his command through the end of the war. He led the Freedmen’s Bureau during Reconstruction, advocating the rights of citizenship for ex-slaves, and supporting educational opportunities for them.

Later he participated in the “Indian Wars” of the Southwest and the Northwest. He was also superintendent of West Point.

Abbott graduated from the University of Maine at Orono in 1963 with a B.A. in history. He taught at Buckfield High School from 1963 to 1968, Livermore Falls High School from 1968 to 1971 and Telstar Regional High School from 1971 to 2001. Abbott received his master’s in education from the University of Portland-Gorham in 1975.

Since his retirement, Abbott has taught U.S. history for the University of Maine at Augusta in Rumford/Mexico, South Paris and Lewiston/Auburn. For several year he has also presented Elderhostel programs at the Sunday River Cross Country Skiway and Inn. Topics have ranged from New England poetry to the Civil War to Theodore Roosevelt.

The public is welcome to the meeting, after which refreshments will be served.

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