Franklin Countys First News

The story of Rangeley’s first settlers

RANGELEY - The Rangeley Lakes Historical Society invites all to a special stage presentation by Jude Lamb sharing the story of Rangeley’s First Settlers at 7 p.m. on July 14 at Rangeley’s Lakeside Theater. The program is being offered in cooperation with the Rangeley Friends of the Arts. Jude Lamb is a Maine storyteller, artist, and writer. She holds a degree in Human Ecology from the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor.

This story performance of Jude’s fourth-great-grandmother, Eunice Lakeman Hoar, is based on a true family story that was passed down orally, then written about in several small publications. She has taken the story to the next level by researching and fleshing out the people and the times and performing their story while dressed in period clothing. This is part of a series of performances called “Women Were Pioneers, Too,” and is told through the eyes of Eunice.

Luther and Eunice Lakeman Hoar, and their children, were the first permanent settlers on what became Rangeley Lake. Jude first heard this story at the annual Lamb Family Reunions, as a child in the mid-1950s. When she started doing storytelling, this story was an obvious choice to perform as an oral tale.

In 1817 Eunice and Luther walked, with their nine children (ages one to fourteen), from the Avon Valley below Rangeley, to what became Rangeley Lake. They hauled all their worldly possessions on moose sleds, over the late winter snow, mostly uphill for 18 to 20 miles. In the process the baby, who was bundled into the large family dough bowl and tied to the top of a loaded moose sled, went missing. They had crossed wolf tracks, and the journey would have been at night to take advantage of the frozen crust to haul their sleds. One can only imagine their frantic search.

Keeping in mind that 1817 is the year following “1816, the year without a summer,” one might imagine they were anxious to get to their new homestead and have a meal of the potatoes that were buried there by Luther. (His efforts from the previous summer, in preparing to move the family to their new home by the lake.) Join ‘Eunice’ as she tells her version of the family’s twenty-mile winter hike over the mountains, with setbacks and adventures included.

Tickets for “Rangeley’s First Settlers” are just $10.00 to benefit the Historical Society’s museums and are available at the Outdoor Heritage Museum in Oquossoc or at the door. There will be a Snack Bar and Beer & Wine Bar benefitting the RFA, a Raffle and more. For more information please call 207-864-3091

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3 Responses »

  1. This sounds like a great show of an historical event. Now this could be a great read for school s today.

  2. This should be told in the schools here, students need to know these things.

  3. I hope to see it. I have exhausted the Maine History sections of two libraries and have to order books through inter library loans,