Canoe race, Kenduskeag Stream, Bangor, 1865

Contributed by Maine Historical Society and Maine State Museum

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In the evening after the July 4, 1865 parade and observances in Bangor, ten Penobscot Indians in five birchbark canoes engaged in a race on the Kenduskeag Stream.

John Martin (1823-1904), a shopkeeper and accountant in Bangor, wrote in detail about the July 4 events -- observing the end of the Civil War -- in his "Scrap & Sketch Book" that he began writing in 1864. On page 106, he drew the illustration of a corn and flour elevator with all available space packed with spectators watching to race. The illustration, which includes the five canoes, has north at the bottom.

Martin wrote, "Every available place on the bridges custom house wharves tops of store houses vessels boats rafts vessels masts were litterally jamed."

The canoes were labeled on each side with names Civil War-related names. He wrote that they paddled to Brewer and back "in 8 minutes a mile and a third or ten mile an hour."

Stephen Stanislaus and Sebattis Saul paddled the General Grant, Sebattis Solomon and J. M. Sockalexis the General Sherman, John Fransoway and Mitchel Peopl Susup the General Sheridan, Sappiel Sockalexis and Louis Sockabasin the Sharpshooter, and Newel Nicola and Horace Francis the Penobscot Boy.

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About This Item

  • Title: Canoe race, Kenduskeag Stream, Bangor, 1865
  • Creator: John Martin
  • Creation Date: 1865
  • Subject Date: 1865-07-04
  • Location: Bangor, Penobscot County, ME
  • Media: Ink and watercolor on paper
  • Dimensions: 10 cm x 20 cm
  • Local Code: Coll. 1972; 1997.16.1
  • Object Type: Image

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society and Maine State Museum
489 Congress St., Portland, ME 04101
207-774-1822 x230

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