Mark C. Whitmore
A well-known Camden man, Mark Whitmore, died at his summer home on Mt. Desert July 4, 1907.
He was born in Lincolnville May 28, 1833, and at age 18, he came to Camden to to learn a ship's carpentry trade. After several years here, he apparently left Camden and went to Oceansville, Deer Isles, where he married Nancy K. Hardy and they had two children Edgar and Mary Ida.
In 1864, Mr. Whitmore returned to Camden and had a successful business as a builder. It was about 1870 that he bought a shop on Bay View Street and had a prosperous business. No man did more for improvement of the town, in the way of building houses. He felt that to improve a piece of land and put a house on it was to add to a natural prosperity of the town. On this principal, he worked until the very end of his life. Always looking ahead to conservation, the idea of opening a lumber yard in Camden, and was a pioneer in this business that he started in 1876, continuing until he died at age 72.
Being in the lumber business, he did what another in less favorable situations would have thought unwise, put up houses when tomorrow did not justify it, but it was good thinking for this town. He gave employment and favorable advertising for Camden.
Mr. Whitmore built a larger number of houses than any man in Camden, including the large home on the corner of Limerock Street and Chestnut Street (number 91 Chestnut) c. 1876-1880, so I've heard. It is of Italian character. Originally the property was adjacent to the N. C. Fletcher farm (owned now by Dr. Furman). The Whitmore family bought the land in 1869, and Mark Whitmore built it for his home with wife Nancy. It is a two-and-a-half story front gabled wood frame house with secondary cross gables.
When I lived nearby Mr. and Mrs. Casper Larrabee lived there and her maiden name was Nina Whitmore, granddaughter of Mark Whitmore. When going to school, they kindly allowed us to cut through their driveway, because we behaved ourselves, they said. Another house, just above, was 93 Chestnut St., c. 1865, where Ann and Crosby Hobbs lived with their children, William, Nancy and Kay in the 1930s and 1940s. They were neighbors of ours, but originally that also belonged to Mark Whitmore and his wife. They are both very nice homes, and on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mr. Whitmore built the two Georgian-type homes on Limerock Street, adjacent to the larger home on the corner of Chestnut Street. The first one was built for their son, Martin Edgar Whitmore, whose daughters were Nina and Vina. The second one was for Mark's daughter, Mary Idam who married Job Washburn Ingraham. Their children were Mark Ingraham, Prissila (Lamb), Maude (Felton) and Charlotte.
It was about 1950 that the family sold the house on Limerock Street (at the head of Belmont Avenue), that later was the home of Frank and Gertrude Conley Morrow. They owned a jewelery store on Elm Street in Camden for many years. It was the first sold to the Conleys, who lived on one of the islands. I believe the story was that Job Washburn Ingraham met Mr. Conley on the Boston Boat. He was discussing trying to find a home in Camden, so his daughters could go to school here. So they struck up a bargain and went down to the corner of Wood and Pleasant streets, providing for the construction of that house where the family grew up. It was sold out of the family after Mr. Conley died in the 1930s.
One of Job Ingraham's daughters, Priscilla Lamb lived there with her husband and daughter, Olive, during the 1940s.
Job Ingraham's grandson told me that his grandfather and wife built Jacob's Avenue. The houses look very much alike, maybe three or four different styles. Sears Roebuck and another company sold parts and pieces for homes like these, but we do not know which company furnished the ones on that street. I have seen a catalog and you could pick out the house, add a porch or dormers and even the furnace that you wanted. So Job and his wife Mary Whitmore built those houses and made a street.
I have not researched any of the above named properties, but received the information in past years from the Ingraham descendents. That information was passed down to them.
Mark C. Whitmore was deeply interested in the town affairs, and at one time held a place on the board of selectman, but it was in business that he did most for the permanent well-being of the town.
He and his wife had joined the Baptist Church in 1867. He was always interested the people of his church, and had regular attendance. His religion went into all he did and was a fine friend to the cause of Temperance for many years. He believed it was poor business policy to license a business that produced only poverty and ruin. He stood squarely by his people all his public life.
In the death of Mark Whitmore, Camden lost one of the most prosperous businessmen, the church lost a loyal supporter and his family lost a devoted husband and father. This is a poem in the paper when he died:
"The dead are like stars by day
Withdrawn from mortal age
Yet holding unperceived their way
Through the unclouded sky.
By the through Holy help and love,
We feel the hour has come
Connected with the world above
Immortal and unseen,
For death his sacred seal hath set
On bright and begone hours,
And they we mourn are with us yet
Are more than ever ours.
Ours by the pledge of love and faith
By hopes of Heaven on high
By trust triumphant over death
Barbara Dyer is Camden's official town historian.