LIVERMORE — The Washburn-Norlands Living History Center will present a special tribute honoring local Civil War veterans at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12.

The program will highlight Israel Washburn Jr., Maine’s Civil War governor.

The program will begin with a tour of the 1867 Washburn family home, where guests will see family heirlooms and Civil War era fashions on display. After the tour, visitors will adjourn to the women’s parlor for a rare opportunity to hear readings from original family letters and songs of the period. After, guests may cozy up to the woodstove in the historic farmer’s cottage and enjoy a cup of tea, coffee and homemade desserts, such as nutmeg cake and apple pie.

Israel Washburn Jr. (1813-1883), the oldest of 10 children born to Israel and Patty Washburn of Livermore, attended the one-room school, worked in his father’s general store, and studied law with his uncle, Reuel. Upon passing the bar exam, he opened a law practice in Orono in 1834 and got involved in politics. He was elected to the state Legislature as a member of the Whig Party, and later became a founding member of the Republican Party.

After serving in Congress for several terms, he was inaugurated in 1861 as Maine’s 29th governor. He became known as “Maine’s little-known giant” of the Civil War when he raised more troops per capita than any other state. He was scrupulous in his financial administration and ensured the troops were well-equipped and outfitted.

Washburn enlisted 50,000 men in less than two years. When he declined to be a candidate for renomination, President Abraham Lincoln appointed him collector of customs of the Port of Portland. Upon retiring in 1877, Washburn later became president of the Rumford Falls Railroad and also president of the board of trustees for Tufts College in Medford, Massachusetts. The Aroostook County town of Washburn was named in his honor.

The program will be presented by Norlands interpretive staff in costume. It’s  directed by Willi Irish, Norlands’ director of interpretation, who portrays Clara Howard, her ancestor. “Aunt Clara” will share reflections about Israel Washburn’s service during the war. Samuel Boothby will participate in the program and share reflections on Israel from the perspective of Israel’s brothers, Elihu and Cadwallader. 

Tickets are $13 and must be purchased by Nov. 10 by calling 207-897-4366 or emailing [email protected]

Limited seating is available. A minimum number of tickets must be sold or the program will be canceled.

The Norlands is at 290 Norlands Road.


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