Westbrook Historical Society

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The Collections, Research Library and Exhibitions of the Society

  The Collection includes displays of many photographs, documents and artifacts relative to the history of the City and the People of Westbrook.
  Our extensive scrapbook collection encompasses 151 books that were compiled by Westbrook citizens. They contain a collection of ephemera relating to our City, i.e., news clippings, marriage and engagement announcements, general items on Westbrook history, and photographs of people, places and events. The collection also includes postcard and calling cards, business cards, and one totally dedicated to the Spanish American War. A 1901 - 1932 notebook holds inventions and patents of Howard Parker. As interesting as the scrapbook contents are, sometime it is just as interesting to see what they were made of, old wallpaper books, old magazines, and old composition books.  

In 2015 we received 197 more scrapbooks which were the life collection of Eleanor Conant Saunders, a Lifetime Member of the Historical Society and a much loved Westbrook citizen. Topics in her collection include the Presumpscot River, City Hall (Ellie was the wife of former Westbrook Mayor Donald Saunders), city celebrations, people, the community hospital, the bicentennial, recreation, parks and cemeteries, yearbooks, education, politics, arts, police, buildings and five scrapbooks containing obituaries only.

All our scrapbooks have been indexed for easy searching but to look through them is a wealth of insight into the past.

  Westbrook has always had a diverse religious history (see 'Photo-Archives' for individual church histories). Many of the local churches have published anniversary booklets which not only tell a history of their religious growth, but also a history of our town, its people and of the era. Click on the links below and read some of these fascinating books, written by, and about, the church and its citizens.  
  BETHANY HALL: Beginnings    
75th Anniversary 1888 - 1963
--- Celebrating 100 Years 1888 - 1988
  ST. EDMUND'S PARISH, CATHOLIC CHURCH : 1996 - Celebrate the Spirit of Our Faith  
  ST. MARY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH: Celebrating Diamond Jubilee 75 Years  
60 Years of Church Life 1882 - 1942 --- 100 Years of Good News
A Church History Part 1
--- Part 2 --- Part 3
100 Years 1869 - 1969 --- 1869 - 1969 Appendix [with hand written notes]
History of the Church 1832 - 1932 ---
Jubilee Year 125th Anniversary 1957
Church History 1799 - 2003
[with updates on the organ and windows]

We compile interesting facts about Westbrook! For instance, did you know that:

  • Westbrook was named for Colonel Thomas Westbrook who came to Maine in 1727.
  • The seal of the City contains a ship as a symbol of the ship on which Colonel Westbrook sailed from New Hampshire to Maine.

Click HERE to read additional interesting facts about the city.
Click HERE to read facts about Westbrook's Mayors

Seal Westbrook, ME

City ledgers, dating to pre-Civil War, contain information on naturalization, poll taxes, property taxes, alms for the poor, as well as "Disbursements to City Volunteers and Their Families" (soldiers of the Civil War).

Ledgers are now stored in the office area and are easily assessable for research.


Woodland Cemetery - from 1917
Pauper Denial – from 1897
Support of the Poor 1956, 1964
Bond Records - from 1886
Poll Tax 1955, 1960, 1961, 1965, 1970
Valuation Records 1960, 1965
Personal Property 1945, '50, '54, '55, '65, '74, '75, '80 
Overseers of the Poor: 1903 thru 1960
List of Unsettled Taxes: 1859
Disbursement Record: 1815-1869, 1903-1906
Disbursement Rec. for School, Poor House, Roads: 1861
Account of the Collector: 1818
U.S. Citizenship Ledger: 1941
Voter Registration: 1920-45, 1926, 1946
Board of Registration:1898, 1899, 1990, 1901, 1902, 1903
Mortgages,Personal Prop,Bills of Sale: 1849-60,1861-72
Sewer Ledger: 1886, 1887
Daily Cash Expended: 1900-1902    
Canal Bank Receipts: 1869        

Assessment of Property of Volunteers: 1863-1965
Treas. Receipts of Families of Westbrook Volunteers1862-1866
Westbrook Trust Co, Soldiers Fund Receipt book
Notes & Bonds Issued: 1871-1888, 1871
Assessor Town of Westbrook: 1860
Recapitulation – Road Tax: 1860-1861
Receipt Ledger: 1859
Record of Valuation (no date)

Articles and items pertaining to local artisans are preserved at the society. The collection grows constantly, as people donate items and tell us of local talent. [Do you know of anyone else who should be added to these lists?]
artists ARTISTS: A collection of native artists adorn a wall in our meeting room. The following is a list of some of Westbrook's artists:
Duane Allen, WHS 1927
Patricia Hebert Crowley, WHS 1958
Andrew Curran, WHS 1981
Julia Hawkes, 1854-1934, Quaker artist
Edward Mayo, 1917-1989, WHS 1933
Tom Nadeau, WHS 1939
Carolyn Jordan Smith, 1882-1988
Craig Pride
Janice Fullerton St Cyr, WHS 1963
Corinne Turgeon, WHS 1933
Charles Wright, WHS 1952
Alvin Wright

WRITERS: We has a long list of authors who have a Westbrook connection: Some of their writings can be read in the library.

Harriet Adams, Poetry
Edgar Beem
Mary Morton Cowen, Children's stories
Donna Doyon    
Kevin Eastman
Tammy Gagnon
Dick Goodie, Novels
Rick Hautala, Mystery
Nancy A. Henry, Poetry
Jim Ingraham
Beverly Jensen,  Short stories
Karen Sherman Ketover, Reference
Pat Larrabee, Children's books
Dianne LeConte, children's books
Karen Lemke, Mystery
Martha Manchester Menard
Kenneth Moody, Historical           
Holly Newstein
Mike Nugent
Alice N. Peterson, Poetry
Fabius M. Ray, Historical
Edwin B. Robertson, Railroad, Covered bridges
Betty Sawtelle, Inspirational        
Jan Schrock
lan Sparks
Ansel B. Sterling, Poetry 
Harold G. Titcomb, Novels, Historical        
Rudy Vallee, Biographies
Andrea Vesquez, Short stories
Steve Webster



The diary on the left belonged to an unnamed Civil War soldier who was a member of the 30th Maine band. It contains his thoughts and observations during the period of February 7, 1864 through July 7, 1864.

At the end of the transcription is a list of the names mentioned in the diary and what information was found on them on the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System web site of the National Parks Service.

Click here to access the diary transcription.


At the outbreak of the "War of Rebellion" and President Lincoln's call for volunteers, Westbrook formed two Campaign Corps. One company was called the "Wideawakes" and the other the "Lincoln Guards". According to the American Civil War Research Database, the Town of Westbrook ended up sending 447 men to serve in that war. Of that number 15 were killed, 1 died a prisoner of war, 17 died of disease, 37 were disabled and 20 deserted. The following Civil War-related items are in the historical society collection:
Diaries and Letters:
John Warren's diaries of Parker’s Cross and Andersonville Prison (transcripts); news item John Warren         
John W. Adams, 2nd NH Reg’t, Army Chaplain’s diary 1863 (transcript) (Click to read transcript)
1862 Diary (original & transcript) – 1864, unsigned,  Drummer for 30th Me. (click to read diary)
John O. Quimby, 25th Me. Reg’t. - Letters (transcript):                                 
William Roberts, 25th Me Reg’t. - Letters (transcript)
Letters (original) – addressed to Dynuld Knight, 1864
Photographs and ephemera:
17th Me. Infantry Reg’t photo
Cloudman Post 100, G.A.R., reunion photograph, 1913
Cloudman Relief G.A.R. Aux. – booklets, photographs, applications, medals
25th Me. Vols.,US Military Record – framed roster, Elisha Newcomb, Cap’t
Civil War discharge certificate 1862 (copy), Wallace Maxfield, 17th Me.
Civil War discharge certificate (original) William H. Holston           
Westbrook Chronicle-Gazette write-up on Wm. H. Holston
Portland Express, April 14, 1921, 25 Westbrook Men Wearers of the Bronze Button (Civil War Veterans)
Envelope – “Whole (hog) or None”
Photograph of a Westbrook Broadside, "Whipping the Rebels!" August 24, 1862
City Ledgers: Property Assess.of Vols. and Treas. Receipts of Families of Westbrook Vols1862-1866
Civil War union cap, Civil War era drum “Westbrook Flute Band”, Tintype of union soldier, Hezekiah Knight,
Sword & scabbard belonging to Cap't Isaac Quimby, 1862, CW grave marker
Letters from George Stevens to his wife - 1862 - 1865

A record of Westbrook marriage intentions, marriages, births and deaths from as early as 1718 are in the library, as well as Westbrook City Directories starting from 1885 and Westbrook Annual Reports from 1876.  We are also fortunate to have an original copy of the Westbrook 1850 census listing over 4,200 names. Click HERE to access the transcription of the Westbrook 1850 census and death record.

1850 Census

Alcorn, Babb, Batchelder Bixby, Cairns, Cote, Curran, Dana, Day, Delcourt, Joy, Gagnon, Gilman, Greep, Hawkes, Jensen, King, Kinmond, Knight, Lamb, Larrabee, Quimby, Proctor, Rathgeb, Roberts, Roma, Saunders, Smith, Spiller, Tourangeau, Trickey, Warren, Valentine, Westbrook, Woodbury and Wyer are just a few of the names found in our collection of local family genealogies. Native son, Rudy Vallée, has his own special spot in our collection with photos, records, books and movie posters. Our library also contains a large collection of local & regional reference books donated by Dorothy Kinmond LaChance.
The newest section in our genealogy is dedicated to Immigrants to Westbrook. It contains information on their countries of origin, reasons for immigration, photographs and family histories. Some family Bibles included in this collection are
the GOSS-BACHELDER Bible, the SHUBAEL-TARBOX Bible and the WARREN Family Bible. (To view transcriptions click on the family name and access genealogy).

*****To access the Marriages of Rev. Caleb Bradley of Westbrook, 1799-1861, click HERE
*To access data about 'people of interest' buried in Saccarappa Cemetery, click HERE

  The Narragansett Sun was a weekly newspaper published in Portland, Maine from 1892 to 1916.  It was a “local newspaper for the interior towns of Cumberland and York County”. In May of 1895 it published a column titled THE HISTORY OF WESTBROOK. The history, which ran until December 26, 1895, consisted of XVII chapters which were split into two parts. Many of the chapters contain detailed genealogical accounts of some of Westbrook’s early settlers.  The articles were signed only by the initial 'R.' but they contain similar wording and content as found in the writings of Fabius M. Ray (1837 - 1915) as compiled by Karen Ketover in Fabius M. Ray's Story of Westbrook.
  [The first two chapters include a copy of the original newspaper page for those who are interested in seeing it, along with a transcription of both sections of the article. Every attempt has been made to keep the spelling and punctuation as it was in the original publication. The entire original newspaper articles are on CD Rom and may be viewed at the Historical Society. New chapters will be added as they are transcribed. Editor)
  Chapter I : Previous to 1657 ..... click for ORIGINAL (Newspaper) version or TRANSCRIPTION
  Chapter II: The First Settlements ..... click for ORIGINAL (Newspaper) version or TRANSCRIPTION

Chapter III: Beginning of the Lumber Industry at Saccarappa...Joseph Conant the Squatter; Joseph Conant and his Descendents. TRANSCRIPTION

  Chapter IV: The Pippen Claim - Saccarappa "Great Bridge"- Controversies with the Inhabitants of New Marblehead.; Thomas Haskell, the Patriarch, and some of His Descendants,- John Tyng's "Hundred Acres." TRANSCRIPTION
  Chapter V: Thomas Haskell and His Descendants, continued; Daniel Godfrey. -- Early Surveys of Saccarappa and Vicinity. --Chas. Gerrish, the First Settler of Durham. TRANSCRIPTION
  Chapter VI:Dr. Benjamin Haskell and His Descendants. -- Lydia Freeman, his Second Wife, and Her Ancestors.; The Descendants of Dr. Benjamin Haskell. --Elder William Brewster, of the Mayflower. TRANSCRIPTION
  Chapter VII:The Conants again. – Samuel Conant and His Descendants.—Timothy Worcester; Timothy Pike and his Forge, Saw Mills and other industries in the last century.—The Quinby family. TRANSCRIPTION
  Chapter VIII: The Proctors of Westbrook.--Early Settlers, and Plan of Lots, near Pride's Bridge.--John Snow and Capt. John Waite.--John Cox the Tory, and his numerous family; The Proctors again.--Something about the Bracketts.--Peletiah Marsh and family.--"Joe Wyer," the Indian Scout.--The Frye family of Westbrook and Lewiston.--John Cox who was killed at Pemaquid. TRANSCRIPTION

Chapter IX: Samuel Webb and early settler in Saccarappa and first schoolmaster in Windham.--Bill Webb's letter to his half-brother, Samuel of Weymouth, giving an account of the family in Maine; Tiverton, Rhode Island.--David Webb and the Peabody Family.--Jonathan Webb, an Early Lumber King of the Presumpscot.--Joshua and other children of Jonathan and Mary Coverly Webb. TRANSCRIPTION

  Chapter X: Innkeeping in Saccarappa a Hundred Years ago.--Jonathan Webb again.--Prince Hamblen of Gorham and his Descendants.--The Old Thurrell House, where it Stood and what Became of it; William and Kiah Webb.--John Webb, who married Susanna Swett, and his Descendants.--James Webb of Stroudwater.--Samuel Parkman, of Boston.--Henry Webb, who married Anne Riggs. TRANSCRIPTION

Chapter XI: John Webb "Taylor" of Pride's Bridge.--John Webb, Jr., who married Sarah Leighton and lived at Duck Pond.--Capt. William Webb of Portland.--Mrs. Elizabeth Larrabee Webb, daughter of Benjamin Jr., and Amy Pride Larrabee; The residence of John Webb, "Taylor," at Falmouth Neck, now Portland.--The exact date of his death not known.--The home of the Larrabees at Dear Hill, Westbrook. The death and burial of Joshua Webb, eldest son of Jonathan Webb.--A characteristic passage from the journal of Parson Bradley. TRANSCRIPTION

  Chapter XII: Some old Deeds.--The other Jonathan Webb, and how he came to be called "pithy" Webb by his pupils.--Joseph Pride and Ebenezer Cobb, and their Descendants.--Moses Pearson, and land near the Duck Pond which he conveyed to the older Joseph Conant; Moses Pearson Again.--A Brief Outline of his Life and Public Services.--Benjamin Titcomb, the son-in-law of Pearson, and some of his Descendants.--Andrew Titcomb of Westbrook and his family.--Judge Luther Fitch and the Fitch Property. TRANSCRIPTION
  Chapter XIII: The Lunt Family of Westbrook.--Captain Daniel Lunt a Revolutionary hero and member of the Society of Cincinnati.--Extracts from a Diary kept by him while in the service; Further Extracts from Captain Lunt's Diary.--Arnold's Treason.--Capture and Execution of Major Andre.; An unhistoric battle.--Gen. Washington invites Capt. Lunt to dinner.--Gen. Enoch Poor, and what was said of him by Washington and Lafayette.--New data concerning John Webb who married Susannah Swett, his Ancestry and his Descendants. TRANSCRIPTION
  Chapter XIV: A Soldier's Discharge over the Autograph of Gen. Washington.--Who was Joseph Curtis?--Captain Joshua Brackett and his company of Minute Men.--The Bracketts and other Families in Westbrook, lineal Descendants of George Cleeve the first settler in Portland; Several Brackett families of Portland, Westbrook and other towns and cities.--Their connection with the Warren, Fabyan, Quinby and Proctor families.; TRANSCRIPTION
  Chapter XV: The Lamb family of Westbrook.--The Gilman family who lived at Ammoncongan.--Grant of land to Joseph Quinby on the right of Edward Shovey.; William Hide, who was he?--Henry Wheeler an early Grantee of lands in Westbrook.--Edward Shove and his family.--Early Roads in Westbrook. TRANSCRIPTION
  Chapter XVI: Gen. Samuel Waldo the great land owner.--Gen. Henry Knox, "the last of the Barons."; Anecdote of Gen. Knox.--Hannah Waldo breaks off an engagement with Andrew Pepperall and marries Secretary Flucker.--The Winslow family of Westbrook.--The beginning of the Canning Industry. TRANSCRIPTION
  Chapter XVII: The Babb family of Westbrook.; Some facts concerning the Johnson Family of Westbrook. TRANSCRIPTION
Rudy Vallee in Coast Guard Uniform
Rudy Vallée in Coast Guard Uniform
Other Rudy Vallée Memorabilia
Rudy Vallee Headstone

Charles A. Vallée moved to Westbrook with his wife, daughter and young son, Hubert Prior Vallée and opened Valleé Drug store in the center of the downtown square. (Years later this would be named "Rudy Vallée Square".) Hubert worked in his father's store and at the local Star Theater while attending Westbrook High School. He graduated in the class of 1920. Hubert was interested in music from an early age, starting with drums, trying the clarinet and then, spurred on by some Rudy Wiedoeft records, he settled on a saxophone....and started calling himself RUDY. The rest is history....and accounts can be found in the Rudy Vallée Collection, along with photographs and artifacts of his illustrious career in radio, stage and film.


23 Westbrook cemeteries were  transcribed stone by stone in 2001-2003; the information has been compiled into Westbrook Cemeteries, a book by Donna & Norm Conley.  The data is also available on CD Rom.  A current listing of Westbrook deaths and obituaries (close to 7500) are kept on file at the Society.

Westbrook Cemeteries:
(click on cemetery name to obtain transcriptions)

  1. Cobb Cemetery – 551 Methodist Rd  (1832 – 1995)
  2. Cobb Family Burial Ground – Methodist Rd; privates, non-accessible (1882)
  3. Col. Westbrook Burial Ground – 781 County Rd  (1744)
  4. Conant Burial Grounds – 105 Conant St  (1765 – 2000) Updated 2014
  5. Gowen Cemetery – 622 Duck Pond Rd  (1814 – 1920)
  6. Grant Family Cemetery – road by 855 Cumberland Street (in woods)  (1815 – 1897)
  7. Hale Cemetery – 222 Duck Pond Rd  (1850 – 1898)
  8. Hardy Cemetery – 138 Hardy Rd in woods; graves moved to Highland Lake Cem
  9. Haskell Family Cemetery – was on Walker Street; bodies moved to Woodlawn Cem in 1905
  10. Highland Lake Cemetery – 1235 Brigton Road (US Rte 302) - active cemetery
  11. Jameson Cemetery – in woods behind Prides Corner fire station on Bridgton Road (1837 – 1887)
  12. Johnson Cemetery – 630 County Road (1817 – 1913)
  13. Knight Cemetery – in woods across from 386 Duck Pond Road  ( 1825 – 1909)
  14. Larrabee Cemetery –off Liza Harmon Drive  (1800 – 1847)
  15. Lord Cemetery – behind 680 Duck Pond Rd (1826 – 1885)
  16. Lunt Burial Grounds – behind 6 Lunt Road (1837)
  17. Lunt Cemetery – 355 Bridgton Road (1858 – 1871)
  18. Pride Family Cemetery – deep in woods behind 547 Brook Road (1830 – 1895)
  19. Proctor Cemetery – 670 East Bridge Street (no remains of cemetery found)
  20. Saccarappa Cemetery – Off Church Street – active cemetery
  21. St. Hyacinth Cemetery – 295 Stroudwater Street – active cemetery; site of Rudy Vallee’s burial
  22. Woodbury Cemetery – on Bridgton Road beside Highland Lake Church  (1839 - 1901)
  23. Woodlawn Cemetery – 380 Stroudwater Street – active cemetery [Click HERE to enter City of Westbrook data base seach for grave sites at Woodlawn Cemetery]

    Woodlawn Cemetery
    Woodlawn Cemetery
Conant Burial Grounds
Cobb Cemetery
Conant Burial Grounds
Cobb Cemetery

Westbrook High School yearbooks from 1906 to the present, as well as photographs of most graduating classes, are an integral part of our collection.
Original photos of Forest Street, Prides Corner, Rocky Hill, Warren, Saco Street, and Valentine Street grammar schools decorate a collection of old school desks and black boards. Many donated scrapbooks of school sporting events round out this area.

(NOTE: See the 'Photo-archives' page to see what happens to our old school buildings)

school room
school children

(to get photos and histories, CLICK on the highlighted neighborhoods )
As with most cities, Westbrook consisted of specific neighborhood areas. The early settlers of Saccarappa, Ammoncongin, Pride’s Corner and Highland Lake were so scattered and separated by rugged terrain that survival, independence, and industriousness became their strength and left us the heritage we have today. The distinctive neighborhoods may have disappeared but their names linger on: AMMONCONGIN/CUMBERLAND MILLS, SCOTCH HILL, HALIDON ENCLAVE, ROCKY HILL, FRENCH TOWN, SACCARAPPA, HIGHLAND LAKE/DUCK POND and PRIDE'S CORNER (MAP).

Photographs and original remembrances of these areas are contained in our Communities of Westbrook notebooks.

Cumberland Mills Rotary

The Historical Society is fortunate to have a large collection of original photographs of Westbrook homes, buildings and businesses. We also have a collection of turn of the century photos that were made from glass lantern slides from the Ernest Rowe slide collection and donated to the society by the Warren Library.

Old Warren House
Main St., Walker Library

In the 1990s Westbrook house surveys were done by Portland Landmarks on 50 year old homes. Although the information on each house is limited, it is available and the Society and is trying to increase it data by requesting Westbrook citizens to submit information and photos of their homes.  (Click HERE to access a Building Survey Form) Information on individual houses is the 2nd most requested information from the Society…after genealogical information.

Brook Theater
West End Drug Store

Westbrook was once a city of mills, factories and bustling businesses, many known around the world. The collection contains notebooks with information and photographs of many of these long-gone businesses. There is also examples of some of the factories' end products and many advertizing items and receipts.
Scates building

LaViolet PLMC

The Philip LaViolet Military Collection was dedicated on May 7, 2008. Phil had been a member of the Westbrook Historical Society for over 25 years and was an Honorary Member. He dedicated his life to preserving the history of Westbrook’s military veterans. Although the collection contains donations from many Westbrook families; it was Phil who organized seven volumes of histories and obituaries of Westbrook’s War Veterans. These volumes cover Westbrook veterans from the Revolutionary War up to present day conflicts. Most importantly they contain items about the actions on the home front, such as the article about Earle Stanley a local barber who gave free haircuts to all military personnel during WWII and the Bernier and Caron families who had 5 and 7 sons, respectively, serving in the war. The Historical Society is proud to have this collection honoring a deserving Westbrook citizen.
Our vast military collection also consists of uniforms, medals, equipment, photographs, and other military memorabilia.

To access a list of Westbrook's Revolutionary War veterans click HERE
To access a list of Westbrook's Civil War Veterans click HERE

The Society has a large collection of vintage uniforms and clothing worn, or made, by Westbrook citizens..


Clothing from the John Hay collecion
1898 wedding gown of Ella Melcher Holston
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