In a paper of the past, I was attracted to a story that would not happen today. It was about a letter addressed to “Any old man by the name of Ames in Camden, Maine.”

The time was when Camden was a small community and everyone knew everyone in town. So did the mailman. That letter was delivered to Rufus Ames and it succeeded in locating a half-brother of Rev. R. G. Ames of Portland, Oregon. The Bishop Ames ranked high among the dignitaries on the Pacific coast, and had never seen his half-brother. He knew that he had one in business in Camden, but did not know his given name. When Rufus received the letter, he was an invalid confined to his room, having suffered a shock about six years before. I do not know if the two ever did meet, but it is doubtful unless Bishop Ames came to Maine. However, it did lead me to write about another interesting person buried at Mountain View Cemetery.

Rufus Coombs Ames was born at Carver’s Harbor, South Fox Island (present day Vinalhaven) on May 13, 1839. His father was Valentine Ames from North Fox Island (present day North Haven) and his mother was Sabre Coombs Ames. The Ames family originated in Dorsetshire, England, and Anthony Ames came to this country and died in Massachusetts in 1686. I believe it was Justice, Jr., who came to Vinalhaven in 1765, when the island was wild. There is a hill at Pulpit Harbor called “Ames Mountain.” Rufus Ames’s grandfather Combs married Betsey Allen, daughter of Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Allen (brother of Ethan Allen of Revolutionary War fame).

Rufus married Sarah Frances Patchen on Dec. 17, 1863 in Castine, and they had three sons, Arthur, Frank and Leroy, and one daughter. He also had a brother, Alvin G. Ames, born Aug. 25, 1841 in Vinalhaven. Their father, Valentine, left his family behind when he went to Grandtravas Bay, Mich., prior to the Civil War. It made it difficult for his first wife and children. He married for the second time to Susan Daniel, of Illinois, in 1858 and they had two girls and a boy.

Rufus, his brother, Alvin, and their father, Valentine, all served in the Civil War. His father was killed on the field of battle in 1863. Alvin also gave up his life for his country. He was wounded in the battle of Cold Harbor and died in the hospital at Georgetown. He served in Co. D 31st Inf. Me. Vols., as a sergeant.

Private Rufus was never wounded but saw a lot of fighting. He took part in 13 battles, including the first and second battles of Bull Run; first and second battles of Fredericksburg, Antietam, Hanover Court House, Malvern Hill, Mechanicsville, Sheppardstown, Yorktown, Savage Station and Beaverdam Creek. He served as a member of the 2nd Maine Infantry, enlisting at Castine when he was 22 years of age.

After the close of the war, he went to sea, serving many years on American and British ships. One was an English brig, Three Crow. When he tired of the sea, he came to Camden and set up a grocery store on Bay View Street. He was one of Camden’s leading businessmen.

Mr. Ames was not interested in political offices, but did serve on some town committees. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Castine and the George S. Cobb Post.

Rufus Ames died on Oct. 28, 1923, at the home of his daughter Mrs. Maud Nutt, who cared for him in his last years.

Rufus Coombs Ames kept a diary during the Civil War, and several years ago Marie Nutt Burns compiled everything, including the genealogy of the family, and gave a copy to the Walsh History Center at the Camden Public Library. She spent years gathering all the information and it is a wonderful source of information for anyone in the Ames/Coombs family and people interested in the Civil War.