Maine Put Presidents on the Map
AS George Bush is inaugurated as President of the United States, it should be interesting to the odd one that Maine has already honored him among her geographical place names. This is fitting, as George Bush will be the only president with whom Maine can relate - even though it's true he's ``from away'' and his down-east tenure is tenuous. Nelson Rockefeller might have made it but didn't, and while he was born in Maine he was strictly summer people and as Wid Potter put it, ``almost one of us.'' Maine had Hannibal Hamlin, who was Lincoln's first vice-president but was ditched in the bedfellowing of the Civil War days in favor of Andrew Johnson.
Then Maine has Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, who was nominated for the presidency at the convention but graciously, and wisely, declined. Maine also has Sen. Edmund S. Muskie, who didn't decline but had it done for him. Otherwise, the White House and its approaches have been reluctant for State o' Mainers. But did any other state ever put the presidents on the map the way Maine did?
George Washington. Easternmost of Maine's counties, Washington greets the sun in the morning and passes along the continued cold from the Gasp'e. The town of Washington deserves notice because it repeats. An organized township in Knox County is named Washington, and so is an unorganized wilderness township in Franklin County. Washington also appears 11 more times - mountain, brook, pond, lake, and so on. Then in colonial history two Washington Grants were set aside, to be used to endow Washington Academy.
Now canter on the straightway:
John Adams. Town of Adams, Washington County, incorporated 1828, 277th town. Name was soon changed to Crawford, but Maine has 14 other locations named Adams, and an Adamstown. Which takes care of J.Quincy, too.
Thomas Jefferson. Town of Jefferson in Lincoln County, 1807. Jefferson, by the way, has a location called Bunker Hill.
James Madison. Town of Madison on upper Kennebec River. It was in Madison that English settlers reduced the Cannabais Indians along with their Jesuit missionary, Fr. Sebastian Rasle, 1724. Also in Madison was Lakewood Theatre, the oldest back-country summer stock resort which was usually, erroneously, attributed to Skowhegan. Skowhegan was never President of the US.
James Monroe. Monroe, 1818, is a town in Waldo County. Monroe also appears six other times on the Maine map.
John Quincy Adams. See Father John for the Adamses.
Andrew Jackson. Another town in Waldo County. Maine's Jackson was not named for Old Hickory, but for a lesser hero of the Revolutionary War - Henry Jackson.
Martin Van Buren. Van Buren, Maine, 1791, is a town in Maine's lovely St. John River valley, just across from St. Leonard, New Brunswick.
William H. Harrison. Harrison is a town in the lake county of Cumberland County, one-time terminus of the famous Bridgeton & Harrison narrow-gauge steam railway.
John Tyler. Two Tyler Brooks, then Tyler Hill, Tyler Cove, Tyler Islands, Tyler Mountain, Tyler Notch, and Tyler Pond.
James K. Polk. Maine almost skipped him, but it turns out his middle name was Knox. Maine has a town of Knox and a county of Knox, but they were named for Gen. Henry Knox of the Revolutionary War and our first Secretary of War.
Zachary Taylor. Taylor appears on the map of Maine 16 times; Zachary not at all.
Millard Fillmore. Maine offers a blank on both Millard and Fillmore.
Franklin Pierce. Maine uses Pierce 10 times and never pronounces it purse. Maine also has a town of Franklin where they keep a gallamander. (Look that up!) Franklin Pierce studied at Bowdoin College in Maine, but he was from away (New Hampshire).
James Buchanan. The township of Buchanan was annexed to the township of Ashland, in Aroostook County, in 1901.
Abraham Lincoln. An easy one - but remember that our towns of Lincoln and Lincolnville, and our county of Lincoln, were not named for Honest Abe. York and Lincoln are Maine's oldest counties, named by English settlers from York and Lincoln. Honest Abe appeared later.
Ulysses S. Grant. There has always been some conjecture as to what the name of Ulysses S. Grant really was, but Maine is full of Grants. Grant Farm was an operations depot in the timberlands of the Great Northern Paper Company, but is now identified as ``a discontinued post office in Piscataquis County.'' The word ``grant'' was a colonial term for a tract of public land given for settlement and exploitation. After the Revolutionary War, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts rewarded many soldiers with ``grants'' of land in the Maine forests. See under George Washington, above.
Rutherford B. Hayes. Hayes Brook and Hayes Point.
James Abram Garfield. Garfield is a wildland township in Aroostook County. Mt. Abram is in Greenwood, now developed into a ski resort. Mt. Abraham, near the town of Kingfield, 4,049 feet, is usually shortened in local speech to ``Ab'r'am,'' until a lot of people think it's Abram. James appears twice and Jim four times.
Chester A. Arthur. Town of Chester, Penobscot County. Also Chesterville, Franklin County.
Grover Cleveland. Grover Brook, Grover Hill, Grover Lake. And Cleveland is a railroad station on the Bangor & Aroostook at Frenchville.
Benjamin Harrison. See William, but Benjamin River runs into tidewater at Brooklin.
Grover Cleveland. Repeater.
William McKinley. McKinley is a lovely harbor village in the town of Tremont, Mount Desert Island.
Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt Mountain is in township 3 range 10, height 1,750 feet above sea level.
William Howard Taft. Taft Point, in Gouldsborough.
Woodrow Wilson. Wilson appears 25 times.
Warren G. Harding. Warren is a town in Knox County, dating from 1605. Harding Station is a section of the town of Brunswick on the New Meadows River. The Harding family had their own stop on the railroad.
Capt. Will Harding, the last of the family, had an oil portrait of an ancestor, and Will would point it out to visitors and say, ``He was a pirate; signed the Declaration of Independence! Half the signers were pirates, you know.''
Calvin Coolidge. Not everybody knows that Calvin's front name was John. The St. John River rises from Maine's Johns Ponds. John appears on the Maine map some 12 times; Calvin not at all; and Coolidge Corner is in the town of Dexter.
Herbert Clark Hoover. Best we can do for him is Clark Island, once important for high-grade granite quarrying. A near miss.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt. See Teddy, but also see Pierce. Delano Lake is in the Aroostook (potato) town of Easton. Delano is a common surname in coastal Maine, perhaps Huguenot (de l'agneau?).
Harry S. Truman. A miss on this one. Closest would be Harrytown, one-time name of the town of Wilton.
Dwight David Eisenhower. Nighest is David; it appears five times. A famous Mount David is on the campus of Bates College at Lewiston, a knoll where sunrise exercises are sometimes held; all Bates graduates revere it.
John F. Kennedy. Kennedys we've got. Kennedy Hill is in Windham.
Lyndon B. Johnson. See Andrew ditto. Lyndon was once the name of the town of Caribou, which is now a city. Johnson Lake is a made pond on the Mayflower Hill campus of Colby College at Waterville.
Richard M. Nixon. Betcha thought we couldn't pull this one out! Nixon is a location in the unorganized 14-R6 WELS. (Many Maine townships have never been named, and go by surveyor's numbers. Thus Nixon is in the unorganized township No. 14 in the 6th range, west of the eastern line of the state. So you can see that Maine is quite ready if somebody named 14-6 ever gets elected president.)
Gerald R. Ford. Ford appears three times; Fordstown is in Somerset County.
James E. Carter. We have James and Jim, and Jimmy appears five times. Carter's Corner is the traditional local name for the town center of Bowdoin. So many Carters were shipmasters in Maine's glorious days of blue-water sail that the customs officers in Liverpool thought Carter's Corner was the principal city in North America. Every Carter was a Republican then.
RONALD Reagan. No Ronald. No Reagan. But we've done fairly well so far, haven't we?
George Bush? Not too far from the Maine summer home of George Bush was colonial Georgiana, the first chartered city in North America. It was the capital of the Province of Maine. The name was changed to York in 1652. But we have George Brook, Georgeekeag, George Head Ledge, George Island, George Lake, George's Corner, George's Heath, St. George, and Georgetown. We have two Bush Islands - one in the town of Harpswell and the other in the town of Phippsburg.
There is no moral that I can think of at this moment.