What follows are some short features found in the December 26, 1895, edition of the RANGELEY LAKES newspaper. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

(Pierce’s commentary is shared in italics, otherwise the copy has been reprinted just as it was in 1895).

The article below from page one offers some excellent advice given 126 years ago, that we would all do well to take heed of today. I like the metaphor in item one about the “straight and narrow path” but perhaps not be just good advice regarding gifts for pastors or directed to just “young women”. All other points should be taught early on in life as it is great advice to all…

Mode of transport for “Over the river and through the woods in 1895”

Skeleton of a Lay Sermon For Christmas.

First.— Young women who are thinking of giving Christmas remembrances to their pastors should remember that the straight and narrow path is not an easy road to travel at all times, and therefore stout walking shoes may be more appropriate than embroidered slippers.

Second.— Measure the value of the gifts you receive by the motives of the givers and not by their intrinsic value. Oftentimes when the proper standard is used the humblest gift, costing but a few cents, is found to be of more real worth than the richest, most expensive present.

Third.— If you have made up your mind to give So-and-so a Christmas gift just because you think you are going to receive one from that quarter, you would better abandon the idea altogether. Christmas gifts prompted by anything but a desire to confer a real pleasure upon the recipient had best go ungiven.

Fourth.— It’s a good thing to eat the old time Christmas dainties at Christmas time — the rich black plum pudding, the boar’s head and the juicy baked goose— just the same as our forbearers did. But if you have indigestion the next morning do not grumble. Go out into the sunshine and walk five miles, or, better yet, hunt up an ax and a log of wood and make the chips fly for an hour or two. It is a law’ of nature that whoso will not physically labor shall not overeat with impunity.

Fifth.— It’s a good thing to remember that the recording angel is likely to make a bigger entry to your credit on his books because of the gift of a half-worn overcoat to a shivering fellow man or a dinner to a half starved and possibly grimy urchin than because of a costly jewel given to a favorite of fortune.

Sixth.— Christmas is the day of all the year on which the unlovely traits of your character should be smothered, and it would be a great thing for you if you were to manage in some way this year to get rid of those traits altogether.

What follows next was a poem found at the top of page 1, which emphasizes the fact that in 1895 Rangeley (and the USA for that matter) were almost all Christian or just didn’t care if a religious holiday was acknowledged or celebrated in the newspaper, let alone by a POEM on page one in the first column! Times have changed. It’s a nice poem that captures the mood and feel of our region at the time.

Christmas Time

Once more to mark the Christmas morn
Time’s murmuring tides their tumults cease.
For on this day a King was born,
The prophet pointed Prince of Peace.
The waifs are singing in the street,
And distant hills and icy dells
Their merry Christmases repeat
And hear the clang of Christmas bells
Once more to mark the Christmas morn
Time’s murmuring tides their tumults cease.
For on this day a King was born,
The prophet pointed Prince of Peace.
The waifs are singing in the street,
And distant hills and icy dells
Their Merry Christmases repeat
And hear the clang of Christmas bells

Below was found on Page 3 about some regional treasure that is still sought after to this day.

A Rumford Falls jeweler is receiving many orders from various parts of the county for rings made from Byron gold and Mt. Mica tourmalines.

The “Gore” or Letter E.

Mrs. Lavina Harden, of Phillips, in speaking of old times in Letter E. also known as the Gore, says when her father’s family first moved there, they had to follow a spotted line (a blazed trail through the forest) from Phillips. Her father had an idea that the place was to grow and become one of the largest towns in the State. Today (1895) there is not a family living in Letter E. The reason of the final exodus was that the Rumford Falls Co. have bought all the wild land and to get rid of school and highway taxes, have bought out all the settlers. Among the old settlers, Mrs. Harden remembers one by the name of Ezra Carlton, an old soldier, (most likely a War of 1812 vet) who went back to the extreme limits of the township to live. They had to carry their grain to Farmington to mill. She remembers several cold seasons when they lost their corn and the people suffered much such years.

“Township E is south of Sandy River Plantation and is triangular in shape. One corner is located at Long Pond in the west its border runs down to the Sandy River in the east. In the 19th century, it was included in the U.S. Census counts.  In 1840, 77 residents were reported; in 1850, 126 were reported.  No report was issued in 1860, but in 1870 the count was 93.  Then in 1880 and 1890 the population dropped to 27 and 29 respectively”- Maine Atlas. Have a great Holiday and Happy New Year!

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