The following is an announcement from Ancestral Manor, http://www.AncestralManor.com:
AncestralManor.com will host Col. David Woods with his Stagecoach Maine exhibit during the New England Regional Genealogical Conference in Portland, Maine from March 31 to April 3 at the Holiday Inn By the Bay, 88 Spring Street. Exhibit hours are: 6-7:30pm Thursday March 31, and 8:30-5pm on Friday April 1 and Saturday April 2. Individuals with any connection to Stagecoach V and its owners or route stops are being sought for oral interviews for a documentary now in production. More detailed information about the stagecoach and its history can be found at http://ancestralmanor.com/?tabid=92.
A brief synopsis of Stagecoach V's captivating journey of discovery is described below.
Stagecoach Maine is the story that Portland native and classic film director, John Ford, never told. It is a story that Bucksport natives, stage and silent screen idols Dustin, Marshall and William Farnum lived. It is also the story that Richard Golden began when his play Old Jed Prouty swept the nation in the 1880s and 1890s with a parody of the innkeeper J. F Moses and his guests at the Robinson House in Bucksport - the hub of the Stagecoach Maine routes.
Col. David Woods, creator of the Stagecoach Maine exhibit, is the current owner of one of the oldest surviving Concord Light Coaches, stamped with Roman numeral "V," built in 1848 by Lewis Downing & Sons of Concord, NH. The 1949 recovery and preservation of this coach (by a previous owner) began with the careful documentation of the routes and owners found on each layer of paint as it was removed.
Stagecoach V was restored with the names of the first owners, Robinson & Hale of Bucksport and Ellsworth, as well as the earliest route of Bangor, Machias & Calais. Decorative painting reproductions adorn the body and doors - maintained in the revealed natural wood. The body was not repainted with the popular straw colored, dark green or deep red base paint traditionally used on these coaches - allowing the careful examination of the artifact evidence by stagecoach historians.
After purchasing the coach in 1997, Col. Woods began an odyssey of researching additional provenance and documentation for the routes and people involved with this coach. In the process, he has unearthed an important segment of history in the economy and lives of the people of Maine.
The New England Regional Genealogical Conference in Portland provides an exceptional opportunity for Col. Woods to share what he has found and begin interviewing descendants of related families for a documentary of the coach and the role it played in their own history. While the coach's history is centered in Bucksport, its routes span all of the Downeast Maine communities between Calais, Eastport, Pembroke, Machias, Ellsworth, Castine, Belfast, Bangor and Gardiner.
As the story continues to unfold, one thing is certain: the lives of Stagecoach V's owners, their employees and associates are intricately entwined across generations with fascinating direct connections to major historical figures.
Provenance and Serendipity:
Col. Woods describes how his research efforts have escalated in the past year:
"I purchased a research kit from Sharon Sergeant of AncestralManor.com. Then, Ms. Sergeant collected other material, consulted with Washington County Maine Records Preservation Fund founder Sharon Howland, historic photo identification expert, Maureen A. Taylor, and many other experts to augment my documentation and analysis. We were concentrating on the 1840s through the 1880s, with business directories, census and vital records, Civil War records, newspaper articles, photographs, wills and deeds. The Hancock County clerks and services were especially helpful."
AncestralManor.com's Sharon Sergeant describes some of the Stagecoach Maine serendipity:
"The story of this coach has become a compelling view into the daily lives and spirits of the people involved. The drama of their lives seems to grow and unfold with every new piece of evidence we uncover.
"The will of the first owner, Daniel Robinson, and the two decades of probate records, involves hundreds of area people. A successful businessman who endured several personal tragedies, ending with his own death in 1871 from a Civil War ailment, he meticulously provided for others in his will - right down to an annual barrel of flour for one family.
"I was completely unprepared, however, for the series of coincidences that occurred in a matter of a few days only recently. First, Col. Woods found the man who did the original coach restoration in
1949, who, in turn, was able to immediately connect us to the previous antique dealer - a family owned business still in operation.
"Next, antique map restoration and reproduction expert Peter Kastner dropped by my office with maps for the Stagecoach Maine exhibit. When he learned that Bucksport was the hub of this story, he instantly put me in touch with a family friend whose grandfather, Rufus Googins, was an owner of the coach - and the same man whom we had just started following into the 20th century records. By the end of the day, Col. Woods was speaking to one of Googins' granddaughters over the phone, and we were well on our way to many more clues."
Col. Woods believes this serendipity will continue with the folks at the New England Regional Genealogical Conference. Anyone unable to visit the exhibit in Portland may also register at AncestralManor.com for a continuing teleconference series with Col. Woods.
Documentary segment production assistance will be provided by Jonathan D. Galli, who is both an accomplished genealogist and theatre producer. Mr. Galli, the founder and a past president of the Italian Genealogical Society of America, will also be available at the Ancestral Manor booth to answer Italian research questions during the Portland Conference.
Story assistance will also be provided by Paul J. Bunnell, author of Life of A Haunted House, The Barnstable House of Barnstable, Mass. and Kathy Rubin of Piper Publishing, specializing in historical collection publications. Digitized audio recordings will be provided by Bruno Lis of Audiotapes.com. Northeast Historic Film will provide period film footage from their archives.
Other New England Regional Genealogical Conference participants that have provided resources for this project include the Maine Historical Society, the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Archives and Records Administration Northeast Region and The New England Historic Genealogical Society.