Immigrants to the Magic City
Canada, Europe, the Middle East, China…the early settlers of Millinocket came from all corners of the globe. Descendants of some of these courageous people have visited the museum or corresponded with us. Recently four generations of Daw/Dawe/Dawes stopped in. An English surname with three different spellings, family members were known to be in Millinocket in the years1911-1927. Names of several children are recorded in the school census books at the museum. The oldest was a graduate of Stearns High School in 1927. Sometime thereafter, this family moved elsewhere, with future generations settling in other New England states.
The museum was then visited by some Hikel relatives. The Laverty book tells how teenagers Miriam and Maria left their homeland of Syria/Lebanon and sailed to the U. S. to come to Millinocket. Their passage was arranged by the Simons who were here, but things went wrong and they ended up in Buffalo instead of Bangor. Eventually they did arrive in Millinocket where they settled and “lived happily ever after in the magic city.” The Laverty book (available at the museum) contains several other stories of how people came to Millinocket.
The 1900 Millinocket census shows how willing people were to leave their homes and come to far-away places to find work and get a better life. This census indicates there were many from the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I who came to work in the mill. Many of these brought their families. A large contingent of Italians is listed, mostly men, who are shown as boarders. Many are included with only a first name. Families in the census are listed as head, wife, son, daughter, sister or niece. Others as boarder, domestic, help or servant.
As of this 1900 census, countries listed are Canada, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, England, Sweden as well as several U. S. states. The Laverty book explains that as the town and mill grew, people were drawn here to work in the woods, start businesses, and construct the homes. They came from Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia and Austria and from Greece, Finland, China and more. Take a walk sometime at the local cemetery…one area in particular has a number of headstones of these early immigrants who helped make Millinocket the Magic City!