Gouldsboro preacher tells town’s history in new book

GOULDSBORO — The first book about Gouldsboro’s history, tracing the eastern Hancock County town’s founding and evolution from Colonial times, has been published and released by the Gouldsboro Historical Society.

Written by the Rev. Charles A. Joy, “Founders and Followers: Movers and Shakers Who Built Gouldsboro on the Eastern Frontier” (2020, Gouldsboro Historical Society publications, 160 pages, $20) paints a vivid picture of the frontier town and features colorful portraits of the people who established a new settlement on the Schoodic Peninsula.

“Founders and Followers” begins in Colonial times when, after years of bloody warfare, the largely undeveloped and uninhabited Downeast region suddenly opens up for English settlement. By then the French are gone and the Native people have retreated upriver.

In Boston, the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s governor and legislature had ordered that the open territory to be carved into tracts to be called “townships.” It would take years of blood, however, and personal initiative to make the area into the real town that would become Gouldsboro.

Joy’s book tells the story of how that happened. It is a dramatic tale, featuring with flesh-and-blood characters whose plans, ambitions and struggles for survival made it possible for this emerging community to survive two wars and near-starvation to reach ultimate success as a vital part of the new state of Maine.

For over 20 years, the “Founders and Followers” author has been a regular speaker in the society’s program series. His talks, covering a range of Maine cultural and historical topics, have always focused on individual people whose stories have made the Downeast region distinctive. Subjects have varied widely from the local economy to portraits of local figures.

Joy’s brisk, colorful and entertaining delivery, honed from his career as an Episcopalian minister, have made his presentations popular. The same can be said of his newly published book, in which his carefully researched details of life flow and bring to life local folks in the 18th and 19th centuries.

In his writing, Joy also shows sensitivity for his subjects’ humanity and powerfully conveys how they and their history evolved. The author also displays a keen sense of Maine heritage, springing from his own background, and captures the landscape and its settlers’ challenges in his essays.

Published, in conjunction with Maine’s 200th birthday and bicentennial celebration, “Founders and Followers” can be purchased online through the society we site at gouldsborohistory.org and at the Winter Harbor 5 & 10 store.


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