Historical records: The Rebekahs’ trip to Southwest Harbor



From a January 1917 issue of The Bar Harbor Times

By Deborah Dyer, director, Bar Harbor Historical Society

 

‘Twas the year of 1916

December the 15th day.

When twenty-five happy Rebekahs

To Southwest Harbor made their way.

 

The ground with snow was covered

But the traveling wasn’t bad,

So autos took the party

“Twas the best way they all said.

 

When we left Bar Harbor

‘Twas snowing just a mite,

But all the weather prophets said,

“You won’t get snow tonight.”

 

The trip over was uneventful

Only a blow-out or two;

and one car took a snowdrift,

But the women pushed her thru.

 

We met a warm reception

From the Southwest Harbor Lodge,

and they had prepared a supper,

a meal that was fit for the Gods.

 

We started in with tomato bisque,

and ended up with pie;

I could not tell you all we had

So I am not going to try.

 

They entertained us royally

as Rebekahs always do,

With degree work, music and speeches,

and a good second supper, too.

 

At length the time for parting came

and we all said adieu,

tho some of us would have been there yet

If we’d known what we had to go through.

 

For the snow had kept on coming down,

and the ground was smooth and white,

With never a track to show the way

To the poor Bar Harborites.

 

But courage is never lacking

To Rebekahs in hours of need

So we started on our journey

With a Hudson in the lead.

 

Brewer’s Ford then started out,

Win Grindle’s Flivver following;

Then Wescott in his Overland

Leaving Nels behind a hollering.

 

Till after we left Somesville

We made the trip quite well,

But whether in the road of ditch,

why, none of us could tell.

 

The Hudson got to George King’s place

Then took to the side of the road

and wouldn’t move for all they coaxed

and lightened up their load.

 

While back along the road a ways

Win Grindle’s car got gay,

and careened around like a fiery horse

All over the broad highway.

 

Brother Brewer came to the rescue,

and pushed and cranked and groaned,

and groaned and cranked and pushed and said

He wished he had stayed at home.

 

While Brewer worked and cranked and sweat

and wished he were in bed

The other two cars that were behind

Now forged on ahead.

 

But what they gained, they quite soon lost,

For Dyer’s car got giddy,

and in spite of all that he could do

He couldn’t keep her steady.

 

With the aid of Wescott’s Overland

and a rope that was good and strong

We finally reached the Hudson

That was stuck at George King’s farm.

 

The brother’s talked and worked and grunted

and groaned and reved and swore,

But finally concluded

To knock on George King’s door.

 

To be roused at one in the morning

By a party of twenty-five

who were wet and cold and tired

can’t be a pleasant surprise;

 

But we had a royal welcome

as only a King can give;

Not one of us will forget it

as long as we shall live.

 

Now some of us are cheerful

and some of us were sad,

and some of us were gay, and some were glum

and some of us were mad.

 

While every few minutes

Nels Dyer’s voice was heard

“Oh, darn it all, I wish,” he said

“I’d never bought a Ford.”

 

Ethel Leighton prayed, and sighed,

and wished that it was day,

While Emma Stanley’s constant cry

Was “What will Robert say?”

 

And Mabel Grindle sat and moaned,

Because she ruined her dress;

From the way she growled about it;

‘Twas her only one, I guess.

 

Lula Murch said she wished

Her husband and babes were there

while Georgia Liscomb walked the floor

and wept and tore her hair.

 

Some of them tried to get some sleep

but this was never done,

For Orient, ever on the watch,

Said, “Two naps better’n one.”

 

To add to our consternation

some ladies were taken ill;

we couldn’t get a doctor,

we hadn’t eve a pill.

 

Alma Brewer was so sick

she had to go to bed

While Lottie McFarland took the couch

with a bad pain in her head.

 

Addie Parker, too, felt ill

From her throat the groans arose,

while Nettie Higgins suffered,

from bleeding of the nose.

 

Maude Dow and Bessie Williams

with pillows under their heads,

each sat in great by rocking chairs,

and vowed they were ‘most dead’.

 

So Lena Hodgkina

a district nurse was made,

and she went round from room to room

and many visits made.

 

At last came the daylight

and Brother Brewer and son

set out to find a telephone

and see what could be done.

 

And while they sat and wondered

whatever they would do,

the good wife of the household

got breakfast for the crew.

 

The men were gone an hour or two

but when they did come back,

they brought Lee Fogg with horses two

Hitched to the big school hack.

 

The seven prettiest ladies

(of this there is no doubt)

got ready very quickly

and with them he set out.

 

In about an hour he was back

We shouted, “Where are they all?”

“Oh,” he said, “don’t worry about them

I’ve left them with Dan Hall.

 

“The road is blocked, you can’t get thru,

In Town Hill you’ll have to stay.

The neighbors there will take you in

It seems the only way.

 

‘Twas then we sighed, and sighed and groaned,

‘Twas then we felt so blue

For our poor families left at home

Surely wouldn’t know what to do.

 

“Oh, bosh,” said Alice McGouldrick,

“In Aroostook the snow’s so deep

that to shovel a path a half a mile

takes seven men a week.

 

“This doesn’t amount to anything

I don’t see why you have the blues,

I’ll reach Bar Harbor in an hour and a half,

If you will loan me some snow shoes.”

 

As snow shoes were not available

She couldn’t be put to the test,

So she decided to make the best of it

and take her chance with the rest.

 

So some went here and some went there,

but the men they stayed behind

Digging and shoveling through the drifts

their autos for to find.

 

Somewhere about the hour of two,

word quickly spread about

that a four horse team would take us home

for the roads were shoveled out.

 

Soon all the ladies climbed on board

and started off once more,

Praying there wouldn’t be any more stops

before they reached their door.

 

So early in the evening,

with all their proud heads bowed,

The “‘Beckies’ returned to Bar Harbor

a sadder and wiser crowd.

 

The fate of the men I do not know,

Now how they all got down,

but someone whispered to me, that

Nels Dyer walked to town.

 

The autos question well, I tell you,

If you won’t let it be known;

I have the word of Danny Brewer

that the autos, too, rode home.

 

Such is the story of the trip.

‘Tis every bit true, I swear.

How do I know? well, I rather guess

I happened to be there.

signed

Mabel D. Grindle

 

To find out more about Bar Harbor history, visit www.barharborhistorical.org.

 

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