FOUNDING MEMBERS OF THE SMALL POINT CLUB
The Small Point Club’s founding members and original shareholders are as integral to its history as the clubhouse they built.
As Tom Hinkle writes in the Centennial History of The Small Point Club, 1897- 1997, the Club was the creation of four friends from Augusta and Hallowell, Maine, who formed a corporation to “own and maintain a clubhouse” on August 30, 1895: Joseph H. Manley, Harry H. Stinson, Joseph F. Bodwell and Melvin S. Holway. With the exception of Manley, they were bachelors, i reinforcing the idea that the “Club was conceived as a summer residence for single men, as well as a guest house for cottage owners.” ii In addition to the founding quartet, the list of original shareholders included Joseph Manley’s son, Samuel Cony Manley, and Orville D. Baker of Augusta, William G. Reed of Boston and Arthur Sewall and John O. Patten of Bath. Manley and Baker were also confirmed bachelors.
About two weeks after the initial meeting, the nine friends met at the Manley cottage on present-day Club Road and “approved the purchase of land ... to build a club house thereon.”iii They hired Joseph Ladd Neal, the Pittsburgh-based architect of a magnificent public library then under construction in Augusta. Work on the clubhouse began late in May 1896 and the first guests signed the visitors’ register on June 22, 1897. Basically, it was a “Who’s Who” of Maine with a handful from New York, New Jersey, Missouri and Massachusetts.iv
We’ve searched census lists, city directories, area histories, old newspapers and a host of other sources to create mini profiles of the Club’s original movers and shakers. As you’ll see, their lives and occupations often intersected. Some were college friends. Some were captains of industry, business, shipping and banking tycoons. Some were lawyers. Most were politicians, often serving on each other’s boards. Many were Augusta and Hallowell neighbors but two, like architect Neal, were born in Wiscasset. (You may also notice that we’ve added a few particularly interesting members of the past, just for extra color. So, if you know something or someone we’ve omitted, please don’t hesitate to chime in. )
Joseph Homan Manley (1842-1905) was a corporate and political powerhouse.
An Augusta attorney and businessman, he married Susan Cony, daughter of Maine’s Civil War Governor, Samuel Cony. He purchased the Maine Farmer Publishing Co. and its influential weekly newspaper, Maine Farmer, and was active on the local and national political scene. Manley’s New York Times obituary describes him as a “national politician with vast corporate interests,” notes his “long and influential political career,” and cites his close political ties to U.S. Senator and three-time Presidential candidate, James G. Blaine of Maine.v With substantial support from Manley, a key member of the Republican National Committee, Blaine ran for the Presidency in 1884 but lost to Grover Cleveland in a tight race.
Manley read for the law with an Augusta attorney and graduated from Albany Law School. He held a variety of local offices. He was postmaster of Augusta and served in Maine’s house of representatives and senate. He was also president of the Augusta Savings Bank and director of a number of companies including the Kennebec Light & Heat Co., the Maine Central Railroad, the Knox & Lincoln, Portland and Rochester Railroads and the Portland, Mount Desert & Machias Steamboat Company.vi He had four children. To this day, his descendants and those of many other early members are active members of the Small Point community.
Harry Howard Stinson (1861-c. 1933) was a coal wholesaler and the longtime sales manager for two Boston-based enterprises: N.E. Coal & Coke Co. and Dexter & Carpenter.vii He was also the scion of an old Wiscasset family. Stinson’s father, David G. Stinson, inherited a lumber mill and family farm south of town at Birch Point on the Sheepscot River where he built Wiscasset’s first ice house.viii After his death in 1876, his widow and children moved to Hallowell.
Harry Stinson graduated from Bowdoin College in 1882. Melvin Holway and William Reed were classmates. ix Stinson was still in Hallowell in 1900, a 39–year- old bachelor “salesman” living with his mother and a sister, Clara. x He had moved to Boston by 1906 and stated it as his place of residence on his application for a U.S. Passport. We were unable to find an image of him but the passport papers do a fair job of painting a portrait of a 44-year old who’s 5’11 1⁄2 inches tall with a square chin, brown hair, a long face, long nose, blue eyes and a high forehead. He was a bachelor when the Club was founded but married Louise Page, a South Carolina- born artist in 1908. They had two daughters and remained in the Boston area. Harry Stinson’s final appearance in the public record is in the 1932 Boston City Directory. His wife is listed as his widow in the 1933 Cambridge directory.
Joseph Fox Bodwell (1863-1915) of Hallowell was the first president of the Small Point Club. He was also the president of one of the largest granite companies in the country, the Hallowell Granite Works, which he inherited from his father, Joseph Robinson Bodwell. (Joseph R. Bodwell, the 40th Governor of Maine, died in 1887 during his first year in office.) He made his fortune in the 1850s from granite quarries on Vinalhaven. He kept those quarries and added more when he relocated to Hallowell in 1866. The Hallowell Granite Works, (originally the Hallowell Granite Co.) produced fine, light-colored stone for a myriad of monuments and buildings. xi Joseph R. Bodwell also invested in Maine’s ice and lumber industries and in 1883, he and Phippsburg businessman, Melville B. Spinney purchased the initial 1,000 acres of land that would become the Small Point colony.xii Bodwell didn’t live to see his grand vision for the area materialize but his son and friends stepped in and created a more practicable version.
As president of the Hallowell Granite Works, Joseph F. Bodwell was a success. The Empire State Building, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Pilgrim’s Monument at Plymouth Rock were all built with stone from his quarries. He headed the North Wayne Tool Co., a major producer of “axes, scythes, hay knives, grass &
corn knives”xiii and his name also appears along with those of “M.B. Spinney of Phippsburg, John O. Patten of Bath, J. H. Manley of Augusta and William G. Reed of Boston” as a shareholder in the original 1893 incorporation papers of The Small Point Water Co. xiv
Melvin Smith Holway (1861-1921) was a lifelong resident of Augusta and the Club’s first secretary-treasurer. An attorney and businessman, he was a graduate of Bowdoin College (1882) and Harvard Law School (1884). According to his curriculum vita in the 1910 Catalogue of the Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity at Bowdoin, he was City Solicitor of Augusta, a director of Joseph H. Manley’s Maine Farmer Publishing Co. and a trustee of the Lithgow Library and Reading Room (the Augusta public library designed by Neal & Hopkins). Holway was also president of the Oscar Holway Co., (a grain dealership founded by his father) and director of two woolen mills as well as the First National Bank of Augusta, the Kennebec Savings Bank and the Augusta Land & and Building Association. According to the announcement of his death in the Bowdoin Orient, he was a longtime member of his college’s Board of Overseers.xv He was also described as a dedicated Democrat.
Samuel Cony Manley (1867-1909), chairman of the first executive committee of the Small Point Club, was a prominent Augusta businessman, a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy (1885) and Harvard College (1889). The only son of Joseph H. Manley, he began his career with the Maine Central Railroad, became president and general manager of the Maine Water Co. and president of the trustees of the Cony Female Academy of Augusta. He served as treasurer of his father’s influential publishing company, The Maine Farmer, treasurer of the Kennebec Light & Heat Co. and the Small Point Water Co. He was a director of the First National Bank of Augusta and Edwards Manfacturing Co., (a cotton mill), president of the board of Augusta aldermen and a member of the city’s Republican committee. (His lengthy bio in the 1909 Genealogical and Family History of the State of Maine concludes with the statement, “He has never married.”)
Orville Dewey Baker (1847-1908), also of Augusta, was one of Maine’s most accomplished attorneys. An honors graduate of Bowdoin (1868) and Harvard Law School (1872), he was a noted trial lawyer who served as attorney general of Maine from 1885-89. At the time of his death, he was president of the state bar association. His high-profile client list included the Hallowell Granite Works, the Maine Central Railroad, the Boston & Maine Railroad, the Western Union Telegraph Co., the American Ice Co. and Edwards Manufacturing Co. He handled extensive litigation for major timber companies.
But he had a few curmudgeonly biases. Here’s a sampling from an article he sent to the Maine Cultivator & Hallowell Gazette while on a trip to Spain. “Madrid is a well-built fine city but very stupid outside of a few things. “Royal Museum” had closed “because it was New Year’s and Spaniards are too lazy to do anything when they can help it,” he said. “They have kept it shut today for the same reason and I don’t know what they will do tomorrow.” xvi Nevertheless, a book of Baker’s
speeches, confirms his professional and personal popularity, at least among his social equals. He’s described in the preface as “an ideal student, easily the first scholar in his class,” [at Bowdoin], a gifted athlete and silver-tongued orator. “As a lawyer, he left a name and reputation that comes but to few men in any states.” The author also remarks that despite being a bachelor, Baker was fun loving. “There was nothing of the recluse about him.” He also takes note of Baker’s lifelong fondness for cats “of which he seldom had less than seven or eight about the house.”xvii
William Gardner Reed (1858 – c.1903), a native of Waldoboro, was an attorney and graduate of Bowdoin’s class of 1882 where he was elected “most popular,” senior class president and captain of crew. Married to Mary Louise Hagar of Richmond, Maine, he graduated from Boston Law School in 1884 and practiced law in Boston where he was twice elected to city council. He was also a member of the Republican National Committee and his law partner at Reed & Curtis was a Bowdoin classmate and the mayor of Boston, Edwin Upton Curtis. xviii
Reed was a charter member of the Small Point Water Co., but around the turn of the 20th century, his interests apparently turned westward. An ad in a Massachusetts newspaper extols the virtues of a Leadville, Colorado silver mine and Wm. G. Reed of Boston is listed as treasurer.xix His signature also appears on 1902 stock certificates for the Revenue Leasing & Mining Company and the Rialto Leasing and Mining Company of Leadville.xx The next year, a small-town Vermont newspaper runs a cryptic item that notes the “Disappearance from Boston of William G. Reed, well known lawyer and promoter. . . .” xxi We have been unable trace him further.
Arthur Sewall (1835-1900) of Bath was a shipbuilder, banker and railroad giant. A longtime member of the Democratic National Committee, he was the Democratic party’s Vice-Presidential nominee in 1896, the running mate of William Jennings Bryan. Republican William McKinley and his running mate, Garret Hobart, defeated the Bryan/Sewall ticket, which carried 17 states.
Sewall’s father, William Dunning Sewall, was one of Bath’s earliest shipbuilders. His firm, Clark & Sewall, built its first ship in 1823. In 1854, Arthur and his brother, Edward took over their father’s business and formed their own firm, E. and A. Sewall. Upon the death of Edward Sewall in 1879, the firm became Arthur Sewall & Co. Arthur Sewall launched the first American-built steel-hulled ship, the Dirigo, in 1894 but was also involved in a multitude of other pursuits.
In addition to his own shipping interests, he was, according to the New York Times, a “heavy owner in the Bath Ironworks, the New England Shipyard,’’ president of the Maine Central Railroad, a director of the Boston and Maine Railroad, the Mexican Central Railroad and assorted lines of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad system. He was president of the Bath National Bank for 29 years and for many years, a member of the Democratic National Committee. The newspaper ran a banner headline to announce his passing:
ARTHUR SEWALL IS DEAD. BRYAN’S RUNNING MATE IN 1896 EXPIRES AT SMALL POINT, ME.
The piece went on to say that Sewall’s reputation was “founded and spread on the fame of the great shipbuilding firm of which he was the head and of which it has been said that the ‘history of the Sewall firm is a condensed history of American shipping. ” He was considered a founder of the American Merchant Marine. xxii Sewall’s grandson, Sumner Sewall (see below) served as Republican Governor of Maine from 1941-5.
John Owen Patten (1861-1899) was a newspaper executive and businessman. A graduate of Johns Hopkins and heir to a wealthy Bath shipbuilding family, he purchased the Boston Post newspaper as a young man, served as its managing editor and established a literary magazine, The Black Cat, in New York City. He returned to Bath in the late 1880s to serve as executor of the estate of his grandfather, Captain John Patten, a shipbuilder. (Captain Patten and his brother founded the Patten Library Association, the forerunner of the Patten Free Library, (Bath’s public library.) John O. Patten married Lucy Larrabee of Bath, rolled up his sleeves and went to work in his hometown. He bought the Bath Daily Times and became its publisher and editor, served as mayor, state legislator, as president of the local branch of the Sagadahoc Loan & Trust Company and as director of the Bath National Bank. xxiii He built a house at Small Point between Joseph Manley’s cottage and the Club. Patten sold his newspaper in 1898 and moved to Phoenix where he died one year later at the age of 38.xxiv
NOTE: Here are the extras (beyond the original 9 shareholders) that Ted and I discussed:
Sumner Sewall (1897-1965), the grandson of Arthur Sewall, was also a Bath native and politician. Unlike his grandfather, however, he was a Republican. He was also a flying Ace in World War I, a pioneer in commercial aviation, an airline executive and a two-term Governor of Maine (1941- 5). Sewall dropped out of college in his freshman year to join the U.S. Ambulance Service as a driver but enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Service in Paris when America entered the war in 1917. Assigned to the legendary 95th Aero squadron, he became a flight commander and is credited with downing seven enemy planes. His awards included the Distinguished Service Cross, a Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, the French Legion of Honor, the Croix de Guerre and the Order of the Crown of Belgium.xxv
The June 4, 1918 edition of the New York Times headline shouts, “3 OF OUR AVIATORS BEAT 6 GERMANS. Lieut. Sewall Downs One Plane in Thrilling Fight Watched by Troops Below.” The story begins, “Lieutenant Sumner Sewall of Bath, Me. today shot down an enemy two-seated airplane inside the American lines . . . after a thrilling fight in which 6 Germans and 3 American planes participated.” As one German plane started to retreat, “Lieutenant Sewall dashed into the frey. He
fought the German from 5000 meters to 200 meters and finally brought it down in a field.” As if that wasn’t sufficient accomplishment, he and two other pilots captured a Fokker pilot at gunpoint on the ground, two days before the Armistice.
After the war, Sewall completed his studies at Yale (1920), formed the Colonial Air Transport Co., (which led to the first commercial air mail contracts), became a director of United Airlines and entered the political arena. Before he was elected Governor, he served as a Bath alderman, state representative and state senator. He left office in 1945, returned to aviation and became president of American Overseas Airlines. He went to Germany as the Military Governor of Wurttemberg-Baden in 1946. He spent the rest of his life in Maine.
Edward “Ted” Peck Curtis (1897-1987) of Rochester, New York was, like Sumner Sewall, an Ace fighter pilot in the 95th Aero Squadron. He came to Small Point through Sewall, who became a lifelong friend during their wartime service. He was also a senior vice-president and board member of the Eastman Kodak Co. for which he worked on and off for 42 years. When the U.S. entered World War I, Curtis dropped out of Williams College, joined the Air Corps and shot down six German planes for which he was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Croix de Guerre.
After the war, he returned to Rochester and worked for Eastman Kodak until World War II, when he rejoined the service and rose to the rank of Major General. During this war, he served as an executive assistant to the chief of staff of the Strategic Air Force in Europe and came to the attention of General Dwight D. Eisenhower who, later, as President, appointed him a special assistant for aviation and head of a commission to study airport traffic. Curtis’s proposals to modernize airways through the use of air traffic controllers and other means eventually led to the creation of the Federal Aviation Administration of which he’s considered the architect.xxvi He received the French Legion of Honor and the U. S. Legion of Merit for his service in World War II. He returned to Eastman Kodak where he became general manager of the international division and a vice-president.
Walter Evans Edge (1873-1956), whose formal education ended in the 8th grade, was a publisher and politician who served as Governor of New Jersey during World War I (1917-1919) and World War II (1944-1947). He was a U.S. Senator from 1919 to 1929 (where his opposition to Prohibition was immortalized in the Edge Act) and U. S. Ambassador to France from 1929 to 1932.
Born in Philadelphia, Edge’s Small Point connection was through his second wife, Camilla Sewall of Bath whom he married in 1922. (She was the daughter of Arthur Sewall’s son, Harold.) According to a 10 December, 1922 article in the Philadelphia Enquirer, the wedding was attended by many notables including then Vice-President and Mrs. Calvin Coolidge and Rep. Nicholas Longworth and his wife, the former Alice Roosevelt. (She was Teddy’s daughter and sister of the late Quentin
Roosevelt who served in the 95th Aero Squadron with Sumner Sewall and Ted Curtis.) Edge and his first wife, who died in 1915, had one son, Walter E. Edge, Jr. Walter and Camilla Sewall Edge had a son, Loyall, and two daughters, Camilla and Mary Esther.
Edge’s career spanned more than 50 years and a string of successes. He started his first newspaper at the age of 10. (The Pleasantville New Jersey Bladder was a weekly with a circulation of 100.) At 14, he became a copyboy for the Atlantic Review. At 16, he went to work for John Dorland, an Atlantic City advertising entrepreneur. One year later, he bought Dorland’s company and parlayed it into a multi - million dollar agency. As one biographer observes, “Edge worked hard and circumstances came to his aid in the best Horatio Alger tradition.” xxvii He founded the Atlantic City Press and used it to launch his political career. He served in the state general assembly and senate before running for Governor. Edge supported significant social legislation including shorter workdays for women and safety measures to protect factory workers against injury. Construction began on the Holland Tunnel during his administration. xxviii He ended his long career as an elder statesman of the Republican Party. (A character portraying Edge appears in the HBO series, Boardwalk Empire, but even Wikipedia notes that the script takes considerable liberties with his political views).
i A Centennial History of the Small Point Club, 1897-1997, Thomas Lee Hinkle and Elena Drake Vandervoort, editors, [Bath, Maine: The Small Point Club, Inc., 1997], 2 ii Ibid. Stinson married later.
iv Ibid., Vandervoort, 58.
v “Joseph H. Manley,” February 8, 1905, The New York Times.
vii Sprague’s Journal of Maine History [Dover, Maine, 1922], vol. 9-10, 46-8.
viii Fannie S. Chase, Wiscasset in Pownalborough: a History of the Shire Town and the Salient Historical Features of the Territory between the Sheepscot and Kennebec Rivers [Wiscasset, Maine: The Southworth Anthoensen Press, 1941], 58-9.
ix Obituary Record of the Graduates of Bowdoin College & the Medical School, [Brunswick: Bowdoin College, 1907-8, vol. 37 ], 14. Harry H. Stinson is named as one of the 28 graduates of the class of 1882. He’s listed as a Boston attorney but we have no record of his law school.
x U.S Federal Census of 1900.
xi Sixteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Industrial & Labor Statistics for the State of Maine [Augusta: Kennebec Journal, 1903), 24
xii Ibid., Hinkle, 2-4.
xiii Illustrated History of Kennebec County, Maine: 1625-1799-1892, Part 2, Eds. Henry D. Kingsbury and Simeon L. Deyo, [New York: H.W. Blake & Co., 1892), 814.
xiv Acts and Resolves passed by the Sixty-Sixth Legislature of the State of Maine, 1893, Chapter 479, [Augusta: Burleigh & Flynt, 1893], 735-7
xv Bowdoin Orient, Volume v. 5, No.1-10 [Brunswick: Bowdoin College, 1921], 28.
xvi Orville Reed, Letter to The Maine Cultivator & Hallowell Gazette, March 10, 1870. xvii Addresses and Memorials of Orville Dewey Baker, 1847-1908, Manley H. Pike, editor [Augusta: the Kennebec Journal, 1909], 7, 16-17.
xviii http://foresthillstrust.blogspot.com/2010/01/edwin-upton-curtis.html. Reed and Curtis were law partners from 1885 to 1895 when Curtis was elected Mayor of Boston.
xix The Springfield Republican, January 13, 1901, published the ad in question for the “ Down-Town Mining Company of Leadville, Colorado.”
xx Stock certificates for the Revenue Leasing & Mining Co. and the “Rialto Leasing & Mining Co. of Leadville, are signed by Reed.
xxi The St. Johnsbury (Vermont) Caledonian, June 17, 1903, (http://www.genealogybank.com).
xxii “Arthur Sewall Obituary,” The New York Times, September 6, 1900.
xxiii “The Patten Case,” Boston Daily Adviser, August 30, 1897. This article, which details the divorce of Patten from his first wife, his remarriage to Mrs. Irene Everett Percy Roberts and their visits to Small Point during its inaugural season, includes biographical information about both parties.
xxiv “Hon. Jno. O. Patten,” Weekly Phoenix Herald, May 5, 1899 is Patten’s obituary. It lists his professional accomplishments.
xxv Judith Ann Schiff, “Old Yale,” Yale Alumni Magazine, 1999. Yale’s chief research archivist recalls three Yale graduates including Sewall, who were heroes of the “Great War.” The Web site for the 95th Aero Squadron (http://us95th.org/ww1aces.html) lists Sewall and Edward “Ted” Peck Curtis, Sr., among its six Aces.
xxvi “Edward P. Curtis, Eisenhower Aviation Aide, Obituary,” The New York Times, March 15, 1987; U.S. 95th Aero Squadron, “ WW1 Aces of the US 95th Aero Squadron (http://us95th.org/ww1aces.html).
xxvii Joseph F. Mahoney, “Walter Evans Edge,” The Governors of New Jersey 1664-1974, editors Paul A. Stilhorn and Michael Belkner, [Trenton, New Jersey: New Jersey Historical Commission, 1982], 186.
xxviii Ibid., 187-8.