After World War I was over, the social function was dancing. It is difficult to imagine, but there were no ardios, television, nor anything so common today in our electronic age. Dances were held in the many halls in Camden, including those owned by the grange, Masons, K of P, and of course, the Camden Opera House, where the floor was flat and seats were moved in sections against the walls.

But up on Willow Street, Silas Heal had a large home and he held dances every week there. It wasn’t just the neighborhood crowd, but people in the small town of Camden all knew about it and enjoyed many evenings there. They had a wonderful time. Babysitters weren’t always available or affordable to many, so young couples would their baby in a clothes basket and take him or her with them. “Si” Heal gave dancing lessons to thos who wanted to learn the pleasure of dancing.

Mr. Heal was born in 1864 and his wife, Eveline Kenniston, was born in 1866. They had one daughter, Ida Flora Heal, whom we shall include in this article.

But in 1919, a notice of sadness appeared in the Camden Herald:

“Camden lost a useful and honored citizen Sunday afternoon in the death of Silas A. Heal after a long illness. He bore the sufferings with the greatest patience, while receiving the most devoted care from the wife and only daughter. Mr. Heal was a native of Searsmont, but came to Camden when a young man and spent the remainder of his life here. He carried on quite a business as a grading contractor. During many winters has conducted successful dancing schools and very many young people have enjoyed pleasant social times in Heal’s Hall, where the genial Mr. and Mrs. Heal made everyone have a good time.

“Mr. Heal was a man of highest character, industrious and always friendly and genial with all. He will be greatly missed. His age was 55 and two months. Funeral services were held Wednesday afternoon, conducted by Rev. T.M. Griffiths. Besides his wife and a daughter, Mrs. H.D. Small, he leaves a father, two brothers, Fred and James, the latter a resident of this place, and one sister.”

Their daughter, Ida, was born in Camden in 1888. Oct. Oct. 3, 1906, she married Howard D. Small, of Deer Isle. They were married by Rev. E.H. Boynton.

Later she married Harold G. Phinney, a widower, and the Camden Herald read:

“The home of Mrs. Evelyn Heal, Willow Street, was the scene of a pretty wedding Sunday afternoon when at 4 o’clock the strains of Mendelsohn’s wedding march, played by Miss Elsie Clark, Mrs. Ida F. Small was united in marriage to Harold G. Phinney, of Roxbury, Mass., by Rev. M. Holman, the single ring service being used. The bride was attired in gray goergette and carried a shower bouquet of roses, forget-me-nots and lilies of the valley. She was attended by Mrs. Bessie Clark as matron of honor, who was dressed in peach silk and carried a bouquet of forget-me-nots and daisies.

“The groom was attended by William Heal, cousin of the bride. Master Robert Phinney acted as ring bearer and Miss Vera Clark as flower girl. The room was attractively decorated with bridal wreath, forget-me-nots, lilacs and poppies. Immediately after the ceremony an informal reception was held and refreshments were served by Mrs. Albert howe, Mrs. Clifford Whyte and Miss Lillian Clark.

“After cutting the wedding cake the happy coule left in a shower of rice and confetti for a short trip to northern Maine. They will then make their future home in Masschusetts. Gifts of cut glass, silver and linen were numerous and arranged in a fine display. Out-of-town guests were Mr. and Mrs. Omar Carr and family, of Portland, and Mrs. Lucy Robinson, of Sangerville, Frederick Harrington, of Rockland. The sincerest wishes of their many friends are with them in the future happiness they will enjoy.”

This took place on June 7, 1925.

Silas Heal had died in 1919 and Mrs. Heal later died in 1949.

Ida Phinney came back home to live in her parent’s home a few years later, and a tragedy happened.

On March 22, 1962, headlines made the Camden Herald.


Camden woman’s body found floating in a cellar cistern

According to Camden Police Chief John Rainfrette, he had found the body floating in the five-feet-wide and nine-feet-deep cistern, after Mrs. Phinney was reported missing from her home at 5 Willow Street. the cistern was formerly an outside well, but had been enclosed by anther section of the house when it had been rebuilt.

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Whittier and family lived in the Phinney house, and noticed her door was closed when they returned hme from a shopping trip in Bangor. They thought nothing about it until they discovered her missing Sunday morning and called the police.

The Knox County Medical Examiner, David Mann, and pathologist Albert Hunter conducted an autopsy on the body. She was 74 years old.

Camden people were rather upset because a rumor around town had it that the cover was on the well and her glasses were on top of the cover. So it became another of a few unsolved murders in Camden. The last one the paper said was of Ada Mills in 1936.

Mrs. Phinney’s funeral services were held from the Laite Funeral Home with Rev. Carl W. Small officiating.

Surviving were her husband, Merrill, from whom she had been separated for 20 years, a stepson, Robert Phinney, and three step grandchildren of Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Do you wonder who will be next? I don’t mean murdered. I just mean an article of someone from Mountain View Cemetery.