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John Martin: Expert Observer

Canoe race, Kenduskeag Stream, Bangor, 1865

Contributed by Maine Historical Society and Maine State Museum
MMN Item 101111 Item Details
Canoe race, Kenduskeag Stream, Bangor, 1865
MMN Item 101111 Zoom

Description

In the evening after the July 4, 1865 parade and observances in Bangor, ten Penobscot Indians in five birchbark canoes engaged in a race on the Kenduskeag Stream.

John Martin (1823-1904), a shopkeeper and accountant in Bangor, wrote in detail about the July 4 events -- observing the end of the Civil War -- in his "Scrap & Sketch Book" that he began writing in 1864. On page 106, he drew the illustration of a corn and flour elevator with all available space packed with spectators watching to race. The illustration, which includes the five canoes, has north at the bottom.

Martin wrote, "Every available place on the bridges custom house wharves tops of store houses vessels boats rafts vessels masts were litterally jamed."

The canoes were labeled on each side with names Civil War-related names. He wrote that they paddled to Brewer and back "in 8 minutes a mile and a third or ten mile an hour."

Stephen Stanislaus and Sebattis Saul paddled the General Grant, Sebattis Solomon and J. M. Sockalexis the General Sherman, John Fransoway and Mitchel Peopl Susup the General Sheridan, Sappiel Sockalexis and Louis Sockabasin the Sharpshooter, and Newel Nicola and Horace Francis the Penobscot Boy.

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