Thomas C Parks7:30 pm (Berwick Academy)

Turn back the calendar 200 years and take a virtual stroll through the buildings where we shop and live today.  Who would we meet in 1814?  Using documents from the Counting House collection, archivist Wendy Pirsig introduces some of the faces and places of South Berwick when it was first incorporated in 1814.

Sponsored by the Old Berwick Historical Society, the program will be held on Thursday, February 27, starting at 7:30 pm at Berwick Academy's Jeppesen Science Center on Academy Street.  The public is invited, and volunteers will serve refreshments.  This lecture is one of many bicentennial events to be organized throughout 2014 by the Old Berwick Historical Society and other community organizations.

Samuel and Thomas Parks were two young brothers thrust into responsibility by the sudden deaths of a parent and an older brother.  Samuel Parks and his sister, Mary Parks, were founders of the First Baptist Church of South Berwick.  They and other young people moved to South Berwick from out-of-state to because it offered opportunities due to its bridge crossing the Salmon Falls River- linking Maine with the rest of the country, and connecting the community with Portsmouth and the maritime trade beyond.

 "The United States was new.  Maine would only be just coming into existence as a state in 1820", Pirsig said.  "The economy was turbulent, with an international trade embargo throwing local livelihoods into disarray.  There was even a climate upheaval.  The decisions people made in those days - where to live and how to earn a living - were often difficult.  The choices they made shaped the South Berwick we know today."

"The residents of 1814 capitalized on South Berwick's promising location, and created homes and businesses still visited and admired today as part of New England's rich heritage," Pirsig said.  "This is a chance to hear fascinating, seldom-told stories connected with scenes of a town we walk every day", she added.

For over 50 years, the Old Berwick Historical Society has collected and preserved documents, photographs, old maps and historic objects pertaining to the history of the Berwicks and surrounding area.  Managed by volunteers, the society has gratefully accepted thousands of items donated by local residents and descendants.

Wendy Pirsig is a South Berwick resident and has volunteered as Old Berwick Historical Society's archivist since 1990.

During the bicentennial year and beyond, the Old Berwick Historical Society invites the public to sample many of these items on its website,  For additional information about our programs and the Counting House check our website or call (207) 384-0000.


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