Burkettville plans for bicentennial bash
Appleton — It's been 200 years since the first settlers arrived in Burkettville and Medomac Valley Grange is sponsoring a two-day celebration to commemorate the town's birthday.
The events, which include a parade, dance, fireworks and more, will take place Friday, July 13, and Saturday, July 14, in Burkettville.
A bit about Burkettville
The village's first settler was Rufus Miller, who brought his bride there from Franklin, Mass., and raised his family. Because of broken terrain and numerous, scattered boulders — many of them huge — and its underlying and outcropping ledge, the area was avoided by settlers until after other localities in the vicinity had been occupied, according to "History of Burkettville," which was prepared for publication by Royce W. Miller.
In 1811, at 17 years old, Miller made a trail, consisting of blaze marks on a series of trees to lead him from Waldoboro to Burkettville through Union. The trail led over high land to avoid boggy ground and he saw to it that his trail led him to a spot by the Medomac River, suitable for a clearing and a house. He spent some time there making his plans for his dwelling and went back to Massachusetts for the winter, according to "History of Burkettville."
The following year Miller returned to Burkettville, following his old trail on horseback. After arriving at his clearing on the banks of the river he began to construct his log cabin. By this date, the eastern part of Appleton, Appleton Ridge and McLain's Mills (then within Hope, later the central village of Appleton) was already settled and Appleton plantation was legally organized in the same year, 1812.
In 1818, Miller married Sena Metcalf and the couple had eight children. In 1838, the couple's oldest daughter died and Miller set aside a corner of his land for a cemetery and gave it to the town, which is now known as Miller Cemetery.
Miller was responsible for the first schoolhouse in the Burkettville area. He sawed his own lumber, built the schoolhouse and put it on his own land near the entrance to the cemetery. Both he and his wife taught there as did three of his daughters. The schoolhouse, which was known as the Rufus Miller Schoolhouse, burned in 1828 and the new one was known simply as the Miller School.
Miller also is responsible for the first "church." When he built his home, Miller built a second floor as one large hall to be dedicated for church use, according to "History of Burkettville." The hall was used regularly for Sunday School and somewhat less often for church services. Miller often preached and taught Sunday school.
"Rufus Miller lived in a small corner of the world. Yet his light burned brightly in this small corner and much of its darkness disappeared. Let Maine claim him as one of her best sons, a trail blazer, builder, educator, spiritual leader and community father," the history states.
Miller died June 27, 1861, and is buried in Miller Cemetery.
In 1850, Andrew Burkett built mills and did extensive business in lumbering and farming and took a leading part in business and political affairs. It is from him that the name of Burkettville is derived. Alfred K. Burkett began trading at the corner at about 1855 and built all the stores. For many years this section of town contained men of the name Burkett, according to the "History of Burkettville."
In 1875, the Medomac Valley Grange, which is believed to be the oldest Grange in Knox County, was organized and the group met in a room above the Geo. A. Miller Store. Its first Master was A.K. Burkett. In the late 1800s, the grange built its first building and it was moved to its present location in 1915 and enlarged.
About the birthday bash
Friday, July 13, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Medomac Valley Grange, there will be a historical display of photos, postcards and other history. There will be finger rolls, chips and dip, veggies, desserts and beverages for refreshments. At 7 p.m., in the upstairs of the grange will be a program, which will include grange and Burkettville history, as well as some local entertainment.
Saturday, July 14, at 10 a.m., a parade will run along Burkettville Road (Route 105) from Guinea Ridge Road to Collinstown Road. Immediately after parade ends, at about 11 a.m., there will be a dedication in memory of Charles and George Miller at the corner where the Geo. A. Miller Store once was. Anyone with memories of the store are invited to stop by and share a tale or two.
After the parade ends, there will be children's games and food concessions at the grange.
From 4 to 6 p.m., also at the grange, there will be dinner consisting of baked beans, roast pork, coleslaw, biscuits and strawberry shortcake offered. The cost is $8 for adults and $4 children with an "immediate family deal" of $25.
Beginning at 7 p.m., there will be a dance and karaoke at the grange, which will continue until 10 p.m.
At 9:30 p.m. there will be fireworks that will be visible from the grange.
Burkettville bicentennial T-shirts are on sale for $10 at Burkettville General Store.
Anyone interested in joining in the celebratory parade can contact Linda Gibson at 975-1240 or Sue McCrohan at 785-2141 for more information.
The Camden Herald reporter Kim Lincoln can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at email@example.com.