The first mills – grist and sawmill – on Mill Island were tide powered. They supported the agricultural aspect of the community.
In the early days there was a lot of farming on the Blue Hill Neck with a lot of the trees being cut for farm land, pasture and firewood. Evidence of early apple orchards can still be seen along the Falls Bridge Road. Most families probably had some kind of farm plot on their land for their own personal use and others may have traded or bought from those who were more interested in farming. Bert Friend’s video interview (to be added), includes a wonderful recollection of a clear-cut Blue Hill Neck with most of the land being used for farming and to grow hay for livestock. Bert then goes through an inventory of all the animals owned by many of his neighbors in South Blue Hill.
Many folks living in South Blue Hill in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s recall having large garden plots and having some livestock (pigs, chickens and perhaps a cow) for their personal use. Folks didn’t need a lot of money and lived off the land. One resident said, “We lived good!” Everyone had a role in the gardening and maintaining of their patch of land. Kids were given the assignment of crushing potato bugs between two stones.
Video interviews (to be added) of Rufus Candage and Paul Sylvester & Helen Sylvester regarding going to Blue Hill maybe only twice a year. Also in this video with George Candage, it is repeatedly stated that they didn’t need much cash.)
Chickens were fairly prominent and many folks kept chickens for both eggs and meat. This meant that grain was regularly brought into SBH for those with chickens. One industrious woman (Addie Hodgdon) in the community converted the grain sacks into dresses and aprons which were highly prized.
This kind of subsistence farming has diminished greatly in the last 50 years but is still practiced here and there on “the neck." Today there are still some farms operating in the community. To be added - (Haight Farm as it was when the store was open and as it is today. Also, picture of Uzial Candage leading his team of horses.)
To be added: Video interview with Bert Friend. He dug clams and sold them for 25¢/bushel using the money to buy .22 caliber bullets to go hunting. Bert recalls the price of herring at 80¢/bushel. There wasn’t much work in the winter and most men were painters, masons, wood cutters or carpenters. In his interview, Bert talks about preserving food for the winter including salted beans and other vegetables – even salted blueberries!
The first mills – grist and sawmill – were at Mill Island and were tide powered.