Friendship's Historic Jameson & Wotton Wharf

(Page 1 of 2)     Print Version  

Text by Sally Merrick and Elizabeth Flanagan

Images from the Friendship Museum

Davis Point, Friendship, ca.1920

Davis Point, Friendship, ca.1920

Item Contributed by
Friendship Museum

Given its location on the rocky coast of Maine, the small fishing village of Friendship has a deep and abiding connection to the sea. For over 200 years, lobstering has been a Friendship tradition, and as long as there are lobsters in Muscongus Bay, it always will be.

In 1897 Sherman Tecumseh Jameson and Walter H. Wotton began a successful business partnership that not only carried on the tradition of commercial lobstering, but also expanded the services of the wharf.

The wharf was a significant addition to the town of Friendship. In addition to being a venue for buying and selling lobsters, it had a general store that served both the town and the islands and a steamboat landing that was accessible at all tides.

Camp Durrell boys going home, ca. 1900

Camp Durrell boys going home, ca. 1900

Item Contributed by
Friendship Museum

The steamboats became a vital link to Camp Durrell, a large YMCA camp on a nearby island, and to the two inns that were built within walking distance from the wharf. They were built to serve parents visiting their children at the camp and tourists seeking a vacation in a picturesque fishing village by the sea.

The wharf was first known as the Davis Wharf. When Sherman Tecumseh Jameson married Elmira Davis in 1894, he inherited the old Davis Wharf, which was very small and like other wharfs in the harbor, was only accessible at high tide.

Steamboat captain I.E. Archibald of Rockland told Jameson that if he would lengthen the wharf 100 feet so that he would have access to the wharf at all tides, he would bring his steamboats to Friendship. Jameson presented the idea to the town selectmen in 1896, and they issued him a permit two months later.

Road to the harbor, ca. 1910

Road to the harbor, ca. 1910

Item Contributed by
Friendship Museum

The wharf was extended, and Jameson took on his friend and neighbor, Walter H. Wotton, as a partner and treasurer of what was now called the Jameson & Wotton Wharf.

Jameson had purchased the land for his house from Wotton and built his house across the street from him. From their homes on Harbor Road, they could see the harbor and Davis Point, where the Jameson & Wotton Wharf was located.

They added a store, grain sheds, a ticket office, a freight shed, and a wide gangway that could be raised and lowered for loading and unloading freight. Jameson managed the commercial fishing business, and Wotton managed the store.

Boneless Cod Fish box, ca. 1910

Boneless Cod Fish box, ca. 1910

Item Contributed by
Friendship Museum

The store on the wharf was the only general merchandise store in Friendship. Invoices show that in addition to foodstuffs, such as grains, cocoa, penny candies, and cakes, it carried supplies for fishermen, such as foul weather gear, oars, rope, and wire.

Wotton was a portly, jovial man known up and down the coast along the steamboat route. He ran the cash register, ordered supplies for the store, and took care of customers.

There are many funny stories about Wotton. They sold crackers from a big case, and when they were all gone, they sold the broken pieces at a discount. Once a skinflint came in and asked if they had any broken crackers. Because they were out of broken crackers, Walter Wotton answered by taking some whole crackers, breaking them, and putting them in a bag for the customer. Stunned, the man bought the crackers for the reduced price.

Jameson & Wotton store employees, Friendship, ca. 1925

Jameson & Wotton store employees, Friendship, ca. 1925

Item Contributed by
Friendship Museum

Sometimes Wotton included others in his jokes. Virgil Morton and Bion Whitney, who worked for the store, told some amusing stories to William Jameson, grandson of Sherman Jameson, about a great blue heron, which had been raised by someone as a pet. It hung around the wharf and people enjoyed feeding it. Wotton got a relative to make the heron a suit of clothes: a jacket, long pants, and even a hat.

One time they snuck the bird aboard a steamboat. About the time it reached Morses's Bay, the heron started prancing around the deck. This amused the passengers, but not the captain, who put it ashore at Port Clyde. There it was fed and treated like a celebrity until someone took it back to Friendship.

The Wotton twins, Friendship, ca. 1909

The Wotton twins, Friendship, ca. 1909

Item Contributed by
Friendship Museum

When Wotton became the father of twin boys at the age of 43, he received congratulatory postcards from Boston to Portland and all the little towns along the way to Friendship.

Taking advantage of the wholesale prices, which required a minimum purchase of three items, he bought toys and wagons -- one for each of the twins and the third one for Russell Winchenpaw, who lived next door.

Jameson was more of an outdoorsman. He had a lobster smack built according to 
his own design and named it the Foster D, after his only son. One of the first power boats in Friendship, it had a small well in the middle of it with holes that the sea water circulated through. It was designed to hold 700 pounds of lobsters.