By Linda Snow McLoon
Beginning in the latter part of the 19th century, a local weekly newspaper served Scarborough residents by bringing them local news from the various villages in the town. At a time before most residents had a telephone, they enjoyed having a weekly newspaper that let them know what their neighbors were up to.
Often the news covered in the Coast Watch might be considered insignificant by today’s standards, but people were interested to read, for example, in the East Scarborough news on March 25, 1898, that Mr. and Mrs. Savage are rejoicing over the advent of a little daughter, Helen Mabel. They also appreciated learning from West Scarborough’s column on March 28,1898 that the gramophone concert that was to have been given by Mrs. S.H. Guptill at Good Templars’ hall Monday evening was postponed until Saturday evening on account of the weather.
The complete program of the 1898 Scarborough/Cape Elizabeth Fair which was held at the fair grounds at Pleasant Hill was included in the newspaper, and genealogy scholars will welcome snippets such as the 1897 obituary for Pine Point’s oldest resident, Oliver C. Merrill. The article included the names of Mr. Merrill’s seven children: Oliver Jr., Aaron, Elbridge, Jefferson, Henrietta, Laura (wife of Austin Leavitt), and Minnie (wife of John Meserve).
The number of Scarborough villages that had their own news columns was large. In addition to the easily recognized sections of Black Point, Blue Point, Eight Corners, Oak Hill, Pine Point, West Scarborough (Dunstan), and Scottow’s Hill, there were also separate columns for news from the East Scarborough, Nonesuch Meadows, North Scarborough and Upper Scarborough neighborhoods.
An index containing over 1,200 names mentioned in the Coast Watch articles is now available online. This finding aid helps in finding articles mentioning individuals. At the museum, you can have great fun checking out the general news items involving horse & carriage accidents, robberies, and much more.