Many of our ancestors lived in small towns. In some cases, the towns and villages where they lived were very small. However, one place in Maine has the smallest population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In fact, it would be impossible to have a smaller population.
The U.S. census for the Year 2010 lists Hibbert’s Gore, Maine, with the following information:
Total population: 1. Number of blacks: 0. Number of Asians: 0. Number of whites: 1. Population under 18: 0.
Documenting this place’s population must have been an easy task for one census taker!
That’s right, the total population is one, and that would be Karen Keller. Hibbert’s Gore is an unincorporated area of 640 acres in Lincoln County in southeastern Maine. In several northeastern states, a “gore” is a location that is not claimed by any county. There are no stores, no street lamps, and no mailboxes in Hibbert’s Gore. It cannot be found on very many maps.
The U.S. Census Bureau does not publish personal information about individuals, such as salary and occupation. However, the Bureau does publish the average salary of every town, village, and other location. Since this location has but one citizen, the average is the same as the one person’s personal data. In effect, Karen Keller’s income will be published.
Karen Keller’s income is probably rather low, as are her expenses. She lives alone without electricity or running water. She claims that she is not a hermit or a loner or an extreme naturalist. However, she has struggled all her life to control bipolar disorder. She cannot deal with the confines of city life, or even of small-town life, without drugs. She prefers to live a drug-free existence; therefore, she lives in a house in the wilderness and is not encumbered by the conveniences of central heat, running water, or electricity.
Karen Keller heats her small A-frame home with a wood stove and hauls her own water by hand. She calculates that two gallons of the water is a quick shower while five gallons provides a shampoo. She lives mostly off the land, hunting deer with a bolt-action rifle and growing her own vegetables, fruit, and herbs. She splits her own firewood. She heats water on her wood-burning stove and then funnels it through a camper’s shower.
Keller spent her youth between Schenectady, New York, and Midland, Michigan. She received a bachelor’s degree in natural resources at the University of Michigan and spent much of her adult life in the woods of Quebec. She lived in Vermont for a while but finally found the peace she seeks in the woods of Maine in that quiet place called Hibbert’s Gore: Population One.