Borrowing the familiar words of a radio announcer, "Time marches on," we find ourselves at the beginning of the last period of Parsonsfield Seminary history, 1907 to 1932. Leland P. Knapp was principal and conducted a successful school for three years.
He was followed by Rev. Oscar W. Peterson for one year. Mr. Peterson was a highly educated man and excelled as a teacher of English.
Then came Roland H. Verbeck for six years. He was graduated from the Massachusetts State College at Amherst and now holds the position of director of short courses in that college.
In the fall of 1916 Sumner L. Montfort was elected as the head of Parsonsfield Seminary. He was a native of Portland and received his early education in the public schools of that city and Westbrook Seminary. He was graduated from Bowdoin in the class of 1914 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. At the close of the winter term of 1919 Mr. Montfort resigned his principalship and was succeeded by Wesley A. Sowle. Mr. Montfort died at Littleton, N.H., in 1921.
Mr. Sowle was principal for the Spring of 1919 and for the next school
Then came Herbert H. Trufant, son of the much loved Isaiah Trufant of the preceding period. Near the end of his fourth year, not being in a suitable physical condition to withstand the duties as a principal of Parsonsfield Seminary, he was advised by his doctor to discontinue his work. Much to the regret of both teachers and pupils he left a short time before the end of the school year 1924.
Under his management the school prospered and I am sure all students at
that time will recall how kind and helpful Mr. Trufant always was to them, yet firm when occasion called. No matter how busy with his own duties he was always ready to help the most humble student with a knotty problem in algebra or give counsel and advice when needed. He did not regain his heath and on March 25, 1925, he passed away at his home in Effingham, N.H.
The year 1924 finished with Mr. Frank S. Piper as principal, and as he had been teacher of Latin for two years he was familiar with the routine of the work. Mr. Piper was graduated from Parsonsfield, class of 1902, and later from Bowdoin College. He is a scholarly man with great ability as a teacher and much liked by the student body.
After seven years with the school he was succeeded by Mr. Ernest E. Weeks, who holds that position at the present time.
Today is full of memories for all, either those who completed the full four
years' work or those whose connection with the school may have been only for a short time. To all come recollections of the assistant teachers, who by sympathy, patience, skillful teaching and helpful words endeared themselves to their pupils.
We call up the long procession as it goes thru memory's hall and each will no doubt recognize their favorite. Teachers of Latin, French, history, geometry, chemistry, English, domestic science, and various other subjects now pass in review:
Mrs. Edna M. Knapp, Miss Dudley, Miss Flora Smith, Miss Frances Simpson, Miss Maude S. Moore, Miss Helen Bisbee, Miss Edna B. Butler, Miss Corrigan, Miss Sarah Enright, Miss Carrie M. Freese, Miss Rudy Barker, Miss Meroe Morse, Miss Dorothy Flint, Miss Martin, Miss Charlotte Nason. Mrs. Maud M. Varney, Miss Marion Adams, Miss Rebecca Towne, Miss Marion Peabody, Miss Mildred Scott, Miss Margaret Goss, Miss Bessie Conant, Miss Alice Gray, Miss Eva A, Hammond, Miss Doris Horne, Miss Webb, Miss Flora Ridlon, Miss Childs, Miss Theresa Krastin, Miss Frances Cushing, Miss Callahan, Mrs. Bucklin.
The boys of the last 25 years will be most interested in the line that is now coming into view--the submasters. Many of them have been young men just out of college and so able to understand the problems of a high school boy and be his guide and helper, not only as a coach in athletic games but in the more intimate problems of life. They are-- Mr. Samuel Allen, Mr. George Dawson, Mr. Elwood S. Fraser, Mr. Keyes, Mr. Leon E. Harris, Mr. Bailey, Mr. Edward Carlton, Mr. Lewis H. Reed, Mr. Greenfield, Mr. Smith, Mr. Fred Stone, Mr. Elwin Towne, Mr. Murray M. Bigalow, Mr. Thor Miller, Mr. Sprague, Mr. Charles Bucklin.
Now another line passes by--the matrons at the dormitory--the women who did so much to make the home life of the school a pleasant one.
Perhaps none will be recalled with more happy memories than will Blanche M. Fenderson, a native of Parsonsfield and a member of the class if 1889, and whose sudden death in December, 1915, was deeply regretted by all. She was a woman of marked ability and performed all her duties in a most conscientious manner.
Other matrons have been: Miss Staples, Miss Martha York, Miss Elizabeth Leslie, Miss Edith Wiggin, Mrs. Alma P. Hayden, Mrs. Grace T. Trufant, Mrs. Lillian Towne, Mrs. Gorham, Mrs. Foss, Mrs. Ernest Weeks.
During the time Mr. Verbeck was principal the dormitory was managed on a cooperative plan.
The work was done by the students, such as waiting on table, caring for
parlors and halls, and work in the kitchen. There was also an agricultural course and an abundance of produce was raised on the school farm. By this plan the cost of board was reduced to as low as ten to twelve cents per meal.
The domestic science girls spent many happy hours in their kitchen; the girls in the sewing class made their own graduation dresses and both boys and girls learned the use of tools in the woodworking shop. For a number of years a teachersí training class was conducted and the town school was used as a training school.
Mr. Verbeck was interested in all sports and the school led in such activities. He was also instrumental in fitting up a very complete chemical laboratory, which became the favorite haunt of many students.
When the World War came Parsonsfield Seminary graduates and former students responded to the call to arms and we find the following names on the roll of honor: Lester A. Burbank, private 1st class, Co. D, 103rd Inf., died of wounds May 10, 1918; Carroll S. West, sergeant, Co. G, 103rd Inf., killed in action July 18, 1918. Others: Fred Allard, Carlton Bickford, L.R. Churchill, Howard Colcord, Harold Collomy, Kenneth E. Carlton, Charles T. Doe, Earl H. Davis, Clayton Ela, Earl H. Glidden, Everett Hoyt, William Harmon, Jesse Harmon, Frank A. Kelley, Mellen E. Leavitt, Ralph Leavitt, Clarence Lord, Frank W. Lord, Harold Ridlon, Allen Sawyer, Burton Sawyer, Leon K. Stanley, Milford Ward, Howard Wentworth.
The American Legion Post at Kezar Falls is named in honor of Carroll S. West.
Roland H. Verbeck has the following war record: State House, Massachusetts Committee of Safety, Food Production, Plattsburg, November, 1917, Commissioned 1st Lieutenant and sent to Camp Dix, Wrightstown, N.Y. Signal Corps, Waco, Texas, January to April, MacArthur Aviation Section. May, Charlotte, N.C., Camp Greene, June to August, Garden City, Mitchell Field. Sailed for France August 13, 1918. Commanding Officer 281st Aero Squad.
During the last 25 years a class has completed the course of study each year and been graduated from the school. These classes have varied in number from seventeen in the class if 1918 to three in 1929 and 1931, in all about two hundred twenty graduates.
Each class will no doubt recall some outstanding event of its career. The
first class meeting, the drama they gave in their senior year, the class picnic, the hike to Green Mountain, the thrill of the ski jump, the ball games played away from home, the rush to get the "Par Sem" out on time, all climaxed by graduation day.
Under the special guidance of Miss Elizabeth Leslie, in 1910, a Y.W.C.A. was formed and for several years was an important feature of school life. In 1914 Miss Ethelyn Grattan (now Mrs. Paul U. Harris) was sent to Silver Bay, N.Y., as a delegate from this association.
The fine old colonial mansion owned by Mr. George J. Sweat was purchased from him by the trustees in 1908 for a residence for the principal of the school but was only occupied as such by Mr. Montfort. In 1920 it again became the property of the original owner.
Many Parsonsfield Seminary graduates have passed to the Great Beyond during the last twenty-five years. Among them are: J. Merrill Lord, Orestes T. Doe, Josiah Dearborn, Sadie Sweat Garland, Morton Garland, Carrie Piper Bickford, Frank W. Woodward, Charles R. Philbrick, Dr. Walter Fogg, Mildred Blazo Smart, George Stewart, Marion Burbank Wentworth, John and James Stewart, Clara Collins Nowell, Elmira Frost Kennett, Roscoe Durgin, Ernest Brown, Jesse Merrill, Herbert Doe, Guy Haynes, Louise Chase.
The "Par-Sem," the one paper of the school, has been published since 1903, the work being done by the seniors, under the direction of the English teacher.
During the past year many very necessary repairs have been made on the school building and dormitory. Most of them have been of such a character that they are not apparent to the eye of the casual observer, such as items of plumbing, a new septic tank, a new kitchen range, and many minor repairs. Both buildings have been shingled and some new equipment purchased.
The Alumni Association, formed April 14, 1902, has been active for the welfare of the school and meetings have been held with varying attendance and enthusiasm. The first officers were: President, John Bennett; Secretary, Florence Gerrish; Assistant Secretary, Lizzie Sweat; Treasurer, D. Willard Leavitt; Executive Committee, J. M. Lord, D. O. Blazo, and W.F. Ernst.
In 1931 this association had erected the handsome marker which stands on the edge of the campus by the highway. They also made plans to observe the Centennial of Parsonsfield Seminary and at once went forward with the same.
Much credit is due Mrs. Theresa Lord Libby for the valuable work she has done in securing names and addresses of graduates and former students so that they may be notified of all activities of the association and so keep in touch with the school. The various committees in charge of the Centennial were as follows:
Sports--Edward F. CarltonThus ends the first century of Parsonsfield Seminary, with best wishes for its future prosperity, and when in 2032 our childrenís children unto the third and fourth generation shall gather for its bicentennial may they say as we do today, "I am proud that I am Alumnus of Parsonsfield Seminary."
Dormitory-- Host and Hostess, Mr. and Mrs. George J. Sweat.
Music and Program--Doris V. Lord, Florence L.G.Leavitt and Fred Mitchell.
Supper-- Blanche S. Furbush and Frank W. Lord.
Decorations--Harvey D. Granville.
Passonsfield, March 17, 1837
To a much respected family:
It is with the greatest pleasure that imagination could possible afford that I this evening take my pen in hand to inform of my health and things in general and furthermore of my in particular. Passonsfield--Passonsfield--yes, Passonsfield, I am away up here to the place which they call here Passonsfield Seminary. Yes, I am away up here out of the sight and face and eyes of everybody but this is far enough, especially in a joking manner. I guess now I will compress my thoughts and get them more compact and a little nearer to the point as I think it would be well enough. But, however, I tell you what it is. Passonsfield is not to be grined at by those which have no teeth, for they have one of the finest Seminaries in the country and besides all this they have one of the finest Preceptors that this town produces; besides all this too, he has an assistant to help, and furthermore, also, they have a very fine Preceptress to instruct in the female department and in fact now have not got quite through with my story and yet I would say, furthermore, also, they have a good School here, with about one hundred students connected thereto, and after all this ceremony I have not got quite through with my story yet, but, however, I endever to wind up my remarks as brief as conscience will any way alow. I begin to be weary, fear you will get out of patience in waiting to hear me through. But I tell you what ëtis, I write as I think and think as I write, but, however, donít fret for I shall soon get through.. There is one thing now which I like to forgot, that is to tell you a little about my boarding place. I would have you know that I board to Mr. Enoch Allenís [where Mr. Craft now lives] and I do suppose he is one of the nicest men in Passonsfield and besides all that he has got some of the finest Boarders that there is in this place and that is not all, he gives them something to eat. There, I declare there is one more thing more now I ment to have told you about, that Mrs. Allenís mother is one of the best women in Passonsfield and she is a little superior to her mother. I must now close. Give my best respects to Dr. Tas and also tell Maly that her son James H. is well and very much pleased with the school and furthermore I would like to have some of you write me as soon as convenient.
Yours with respect,
CYRUS K. USHER
THE BLAZO SCHOOL DORMITORY BUILDING
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