Glorious Autumn weather -- cloudless sky, almost shirtsleeve temperatures -- beckoned us away from our computers and into the truck for an expedition into Maine, just a short drive away. We began with a visit to L. L. Bean's flagship store in Freeport, where we bought some warm clothes and a new zippered tote bag, View from Biddeford Pool followed by the DeLorme map store south of town. There are those who can spend days in Freeport, going from one name brand store to another, but we stopped with those two, and headed south toward Saco (pronounced Socko).
Apart from the ocean and bays, Maine is filled with bogs, swamps, rivers, ponds and lakes. Every river of any size has its mill, usually empty and decrepit now, and its spillway. The recent rains have produced beautiful rushing rivers and flooded meadows. Portland, the largest city in the state, includes an expansive park where joggers and walkers enjoyed the sunny day. In South Portland we had lunch at The Governors Restaurant and Banquet Room. Pictures of Maine's governors line the entrance hall, and the food -- fish chowder, fried clams, and fresh cole slaw -- was great. There are also trains running around the dining room to amuse the patrons. The name of the Associate of the Week is written on the side of one of the box cars.
In Saco, the Dyer Library had a small genealogy room in which we viewed transcripts of the town records for the 1660s, when Brian Pendleton lived there, bringing Massachusetts Puritanism to the deferent but not necessarily Fletcher's Neck happy local fisherfolk. He was a Selectman, Town Clerk, Deputy to the (Massachusetts) General Court, a Commissioner, Associate Justice for York County, and a Major of the Militia. As nearly as we can determine, Brian's 100 acres was the whole of what is now known as Biddeford Pool, a now expensive waterfront location located right on the ocean at the mouth of the Saco River, at the end of a long skinny peninsula, and backed by a secure harbor known as Winter Harbor. We think by this time Brian was primarily engaged in shipping to and from the West Indies. He might have chosen the location due to a good source of furs from the local Indian tribes. Brian was very loyal to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and instrumental in preventing Maine from breaking off into a separate colony (Maine didn't become a state until 1820).
Like many genealogies, the Pendleton genealogy focuses only on those who bear the surname. Brian had a daughter Mary who married the Rev. Seth Fletcher, giving rise to a goodly number of Fletcher descendants coming from this part of Maine. Brian's land, now Biddeford Pool, passed to the Fletchers, and is now also known as Fletcher's Neck. Part of the land belongs to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. It's just a few miles (by boat) up the coast from Kennebunkport. In the library we found a book of Maine Cemetery Inscriptions, and -- Pendleton Fletcher grave with our usual good luck -- found the tiny Biddeford Pool cemetery on a piece of high ground next to an old seaside hotel. There we saw the grave of Pendleton Fletcher, who died in 1807, nearly 100 years of age. He was a great-grandson of Mary Pendleton and Rev. Seth Fletcher, who are also said to be buried there, but no gravestones mark their resting places.
We selected a back road through Rochester, New Hampshire which snaked up and down hills through beautiful woods and past many lovely enormous white New England farmhouses. The wonder of it all is that -- once you're out of the big cities and suburbs -- all New England is like that, with lovely forests, winding hilly roads, and charming houses and villages.
We felt great this day from beginning to end -- one glorious experience after another!