Contest #46 - January 28, 2006
Table of Contents
The Digital Detective
1. About what year was this postcard photo taken?
2. What is the connection to the Jed Prouty Tavern?
The Digital Detective
Bonus Question:

How can you tell that this photo was
taken earlier than the one above?
Where, Who.....?
A Case Study in Digital Detective Work
The Database Detective
1.  About 1910
2. They are the same.
3. There are several clues.
The trees are shorter;
there are fewer electrical/telephone lines;
the photographic method was sepia-toned
rather that the clearer, sharper b/w top photo.
The Database Detective
The Ulmer Family
Important Note: One of the most interesting features of the Robinson Hotel (the Jed
Prouty Tavern) is that it was a stop on the Bangor-Bucksport-Castine stagecoach
route. One of the stagecoaches that ran this route has been refurbished by David
Woods and will be on display at the Genealogy Jamboree in St. George, Utah on
February 10 & 11, 2006. A description of coach and its history follows the discussion
of the quiz answers.
A Case Study in Database Detective Work
The Postcard
Some of the clues to the date of the postcard are given by the postcard itself. Some are
given by the contents of the photograph on the card. Included below are both kinds.
Some of the information on the condition of the building was supplied by David Woods,
owner of the renovated stagecoach that used to run the Bangor-Bucksport-Castine
coach route. See below.

According to the site the logo in the upper right
corner of the back of the card dates it to 1904 - 1920:
The DNA Detective
The DNA Detective
From post card
The divided back of the postcard is also a clue.  According to the website

Divided Back Era (1907-1914)
Postcards with a divided back were permitted March 1, 1907. The address to be written
on the right side and the left side was for writing messages. Many millions of cards
were published in this era. Up to this point most postcards were printed in Germany
which was far ahead of this country in the lithographic processes. With the advent of
World War I the supply of postcards had to come from England and the United States.

White Border Era (1915-1930)
Most of our postcards were printed in the USA during this period. To save ink, a border
was left around the view thus we call them "White Border" cards. High cost of labor,
inexperience and public taste caused production of poor quality cards. High competition
in a narrowing market caused many publishers to go out of business.
The features of the postcard itself date it to between 1 March 1907 to 1915.
Comments from David Woods on the date of the postcard photo:

The top photo was taken 1910 or so after. The horse watering trough out front was built
and dedicated in 1910. There doesn't appear to be any electrical wires in the bottom
photo, a wire is apparent but I believe it to be a 'prade banner wire' or a possible
telegraph wire. I'm sure curious about the political posters along the fence.
Thank You Colleen for putting these photos out there for the quiz!!!
Jed Prouty's Tavern and the Robinson Hotel
The Robinson Hotel was given the nickname Jed Prouty's Tavern during the 1880s and
1890s. The nickname came from the place
Old Jed Prouty written by Richard Golden.
The play was a parody of the innkeeper J. F Moses and his guests at the Robinson
House in Bucksport - the hub of the Stagecoach Maine routes. It was an assisted card
facility until 2004, when it went into bankruptcy.
Images submitted by Mark and Gwen Upton
premises around 1820,
raised the roof to a
peaked roof, and with
these improvements took
up inn keeping.By 1850
it was owned by Daniel
Robinson and the name
was changed to the
Robinson House, a name
it was to carry for the
next 100 years. In 1860
the hotel was owned by
B.F. Farnham. James F.
Moses, recently from
Skowhegan, bought the
hotel that February for
Old Jed Prouty - The Play
Mary Fraser found the
following on Google books:

William B. Gill: From the Gold
Fields to Broadway (Forgotten
Stars of the Musical Theater)

by Kurt Ganzl, Chapter 12:
Sentimental Comedy: From
Arcadia to Old Jed Prouty
American Theater by Gerald Boardman has a synopsis of
the play
The 1903 Edition of Who’s Who in America, has this
biography of Richard Golden
There was an actor by the name
of Jed Prouty, but it is not
known if this was his real name
or if he took the name to
capitalize on the popularity of the
Jed Prouty Inn and Tavern.
Accouring to The Internet Movie
Database as, he
was a character actor of the 30s
and 40s who became known for
his stuttering technique in
films.He played Pa Jones in the
"Jones Family" comedy film
series opposite Spring Byington,
and was once a vaudeville
song-and-dance man.
Down on the Farm
Everybody's Baby
with Spring Byington
Why the Second Photo Was Taken Earlier - Our Readers' Comments
Eva Royal - The trunk of the tree in front of the house is smaller in the picture with the
stage coach than it is in the 1904-1920 picture. The picture with the stagecoach shows a
narrow pipe running up the left side of the building that might possibly be gaslight
pipes.  Early in the 1800's, most cities in the United States and Europe had gaslight.
The 1904-1920 picture was taken after electric power lines were begun in 1899 (turn of
the century) as evidenced the many power lines showing. The clothing and hat styles of
the men  appears to be from the 1895-1900, before the turn of the century.

Edee Scott -The trees look smaller in the bottom photo so I will guess that is reason to
believe that this photo was taken first.

Suzan Farris - The ornate water trough and iron fence have replaced the hitching posts.

Maureen O'Connor - The photo was taken in the early 1900's, maybe 1910.  Before
autos, but after electricity and probably telephones.  You can tell that the second photo
is older because there seems to be only one wire heading to the building and there are
many lines (power? phone?) crossing the first picture.

Betty Halberg - My mother was born in a big hotel in Chico, CA in 1909 and this hotel
looked similar.  Also here at Lake Crescent, the original Lake Crescent Lodge had those
little square windows like I could see in the big picture.  But the road condition made
me guess that cars were not used much, so it must have been pre-car time.

Bobbie Sims - The trees are shorter; there are fewer electrical/telephone lines; the
photographic method was sepia-toned rather that the clearer, sharper
b/w top photo.
The Stagecoach


The director of the classic movie Stagecoach John Ford, born John Martin Feeney on
Cape Elizabeth in 1894, grew up when Maine stagecoaches were still running from
Portland to White Rock & North Gorham & North Windham, Standish & West
Gorham, Newfield & Waterboro & Shapleigh. Ford’s father John A Feeney was
running his own version of a western saloon outpost, helping other Irish immigrants to
get settled in their new world – despite longstanding Maine prohibition laws.

One has to wonder whether the characters in Ford’s dramatic Stagecoach story were
rooted in his early Maine life and the harrowing stories he heard of other types of
migration voyages.

Col. David Woods, creator of the Stagecoach Maine exhibit, is the current owner of
one of the oldest surviving Concord Light Coaches, stamped with Roman numeral “V,”
built in 1848 by Lewis Downing & Sons of Concord, NH. The 1949 recovery and
preservation of this coach (by a previous owner) began with the careful documentation
of the routes and owners found on each layer of paint as it was removed.
Stagecoach V was restored with
the names of the first owners,
Robinson & Hale of Bucksport
and Ellsworth, as well as the
earliest route of Bangor, Machias
& Calais. Decorative painting
reproductions adorn the body and
doors – maintained in the revealed
natural wood. The body was not
repainted with the popular straw
colored, dark green or deep red
base paint traditionally used on
these coaches – allowing the
careful examination of the artifact
evidence by stagecoach historians.
After purchasing the coach in 1997, Col. Woods began an odyssey of researching
additional provenance and documentation for the routes and people involved with this
coach. In the process, he has unearthed an important segment of history in the
economy and lives of the people of Maine.


Concord Coach NV (#5)

Built in 1848 by L. Downing & Sons, the Concord Coach #5 was commissioned to haul
mail and passengers in Northern Maine. Operated by "Robinson & Hale", as the names
appear on the doors, its original route was Bangor- Machias & Calais. Other routes
were also traveled, Bangor- Gardiner, Bangor-Bucksport, & Castine. These were found
on the head rail during the paint stripping and restoration.
The retirement date of the stagecoach isn't known as yet
or how it wound up on a farm in New Hampshire. It was
found neatly wrapped in muslin, and buried under manure.
An antique dealer had been called to the farm to give a bid
on the remaining items of an estate sale in 1949. It was
explained to him that the coach was known to be there
when the farm was purchased in 1917. But nothing had
ever been done with it. The dealer figured the value of
whatever was left under a pile of manure as zero, added up his notes, and told the man
what he would pay for the entire lot. The deal was made, the man walked away, and
the dealer grabbed a shovel and started digging near the bottom of the pile.

After a little digging he struck something. It
was a leather thoroughbrace! It was nearly on
the dirt floor, which meant the wheels were
off. He looked around and found an old wagon
and what was left of the stagecoach wheels.
In the next few days, with the help of his son,
he uncovered the stagecoach and found it in
surprisingly good condition. He moved it to
Connecticut to see if he might do a trade. A
deal was made to trade the coach for a rare
old Packard Roadster, a Studebaker, two
Model A's, and some cash.

The coach was then slowly stripped of its
approximately 15 layers of paint. During this
restoration, the different routes it had run were
uncovered on the head rail...the colors,
ornamentation and names were carefully documented by a series of black and white
photos, so the colors had to be noted on all of them. While removing the paint on the
body and running gear the dealer was amazed at the overall condition of the stagecoach.
The muslin and manure seal had done a good job to preserve it. Original owners kept up
the coach; the bolts were kept tight and the condition of the coach shows that it is still
very tight.

The front of this coach is stamped with NV and can be seen under the driver's box on
the body. The bottom of the jump seat is also stamped NV. The left door has a hand
written signature and date. The conclusion is that NV is Roman Numeral for #5. And
records indicate that L. Downing & Sons built it in 1848. Continued research has
shown that of the 117 known numbered original Concord coaches found in the world,
there are only 8 known with roman numerals. Of these 8, this is the lowest known
numbered coach, making this coach the earliest known surviving Light Concord
Stagecoach by L. Downing & Sons, in the world.

Neither words nor pictures can adequately describe the feeling one gets when sitting on
the driver's box of this stagecoach.

Read the whole story at:
A Final Word from Col. David Wood, Owner of Concord Light Stagecoach NV

Dear Colleen,

The postcard photo on your site is a great photo showing several horse drawn
vehicles.... One of them is a luggage cart that is also in the stereoview.... It's a drop
deck trunk cart, usually pulled by one horse. Another point about the 1912 postcard.....
The water trough in the front was built 1910..... It has an inscription in the stone. I was
there this past April and took photos of it, thats the only way I that I knew when it was

I appreciate all of your excitement, kindness and help with my research on this
coach...... Like I tell Sharon.... Wait until you sit inside for a few minutes!!!! It will
stop time around you..... I have several coaches of later years, different body styles and
they are 'just stagecoaches' compared to this one from Maine..... I can't explain the
feeling I get or the 'magic' it has over myself and those that become involved with it.....
I'm bringing it back to my place in So Cal for a little while so that I can spend more
time with it and more time showing it.... I usually get paid to have it on display and the
time in St. George is for the benefit of all those that have made the effort to help with
it's research...... My way of showing my appreciation to the many that have helped....

Let me know what else you'd like to see in the way of photos....

Thank You!!!!! :-) See you in St. George....

Best Regards,
Congratulations to Our Winners!

Dale Niesen                Mike Pfister
Grace (Nancy Drew) Hertz          Mary Halberg
Mark and Gwen Upton         Mary Fraser
Bobbie Sims                Suzan Farris
Jackie Torrance                Maureen O'Connor
David Woods                Rick McKinney
Mark and Lisa Brzys                Edee Scott
Stan Read                Pat Snyder
Eva Royal                Peter St. Wecker

If your name has been omitted from our list of winners, let me know. It was unintentional.
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$787.26 (including furnishings). A member of the staff was a young man named Richard
Golden who wrote, produced and took the lead in a play called "Old Jed Prouty", Mr.
Moses assured guests that it must be "another" hotel that they were thinking of. By Tom

The Inn is currently on the National Historic Register:
Quiz #46 Results
More about the Jed Prouty Inn and Tavern

Bucksport's Jed Prouty Inn probably dates from 1783 and was built by Asa Peabody; he
and his brother Stephen were prominent merchants in early Bucksport. The hotel was
originally built as a double house; note that it has two distinctly different doorways, one
with a fan light, the other with a rectangular Federal over-light. Mr. Sparhawk bought the