Rambling ‘Round Maine: Phelps Mill


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by Jan Smith


This is a fictional look at the daily life of a homesteading family of five in the year 1890. Many of the characters, events, and places, however, allude to actual local people and happenings of that year.

This story is set in the area around in the Phelps Mill, a successful flourmill built in 1888-89, and now part of a county park established to save the mill as a symbol of the rural life. The main character is young, adventurous Nivek James who arrived by prairie schooner, lived first in a tent, then a sod house, and eventually a log home. Frequent visits to the mill, going to the store, and attending school all become his life’s lessons, and form the text. This story has also been made into a stage play.