A very Merry historical story at Skidompha

Posted:  Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - 9:00am

The story of the Merry family of Damariscotta — the “M” in Skidompha — will be told at a free public presentation by researcher, Darby Langdon of Edgecomb, on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 12:30-2 p.m. in Skidompha Library’s first floor Porter Meeting Hall. Allow time to find parking.

Here’s the backstory on how this family’s adventures came to light. In 1959, Elizabeth Merry Miller sent her first query to the Skidompha Library. One of her correspondents at the time was library board member, Mr. Leverett B. Davis. Elizabeth had some things in her possession that she felt might be of interest to the library and people of the greater Damariscotta area. You see, her great grandparents, Charles Glidden and Elizabeth Stetson Merry, were the “M” in Skidompha.

Over 21 years, not only did she send paintings, letters, scrapbooks, and photos, but through her correspondence with Skidompha librarian, Fred Fassett, she left behind a colorful and fascinating autobiography of herself.

By the time Elizabeth Miller died in 2002, in her orderly way she had already distributed many of her artifacts to various institutions including the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and the Skidompha Library. The bulk of her material went to Damariscotta and into Fred Fassett’s capable hands. Unfortunately, Fred had already retired when Elizabeth died and most of Elizabeth’s gifts would end up waiting for some future researcher to reveal the stories and mysteries of the “Merry Collection.”

Two years ago that researcher appeared. Darby Langdon, then of Washington State, found herself spending time in Maine, and was looking for something useful to do. After contacting Skidompha library, she was offered the chance to explore and research the Merry Collection and has since become totally immersed in the lives of the characters hidden therein.

While transcribing the handwritten accounts of the sisters Belle and Hattie and exploring the contents of an old wallet, her interest in sea captain Joseph Merry, was awakened. He was the only son of a doting, ship-building father, Charles Glidden Merry. As more and more characters were awakened from their long archival sleep, Darby diligently has worked to reveal the details of their stories, families, triumphs and shipwrecks. This exciting presentation has been carefully planned and will be illustrated with photos, maps, and wonderful old documents.

Join us for a Merry afternoon! Skidompha Public Library is located at 184 Main Street in Damariscotta.