Congratulations to the Maine communities that celebrated anniversaries this year, especially to my first hometown, Sangerville, which marked its bicentennial on June 14.

I remember well the 150th anniversary of Sangerville, when I marched with the Junior Band during the sesquicentennial parade. Miss Sangerville was Ann Melvin, who lived on my street and had been our babysitter.

I always enjoy perusing anniversary books and booklets published in conjunction with these celebrations, so I was pleased to find “200th Anniversary Sangerville, Maine Bicentennial 1814-2014: The Town of Two Knights” available for $8 at the town office in Sangerville. I bought five so I could give some to siblings and children.

The “Two Knights,” of course, are Sir Hiram Maxim, the inventor, and Sir Harry Oakes, adventurer.

Both knights have many cousins in Maine, but I didn’t know that Sir Hiram Maxim’s great-great-grandson Merritt Maxim lives part-time in Bethel, or that he brought his family to Sangerville’s bicentennial this summer.

He had thought to give a few of the inventor’s possessions to the historical society in Dexter, where Sir Hiram Maxim first tested the machine gun he invented. But Sangerville resident Kathy Starbird nudged him to honor the Sangerville Historical Society with the items, and so he did.

A recent Piscataquis Observer article, reprinted on Oct. 13 in the Bangor Daily News, listed the artifacts as “nine classic photos, a certificate denoting an honor from the French Foreign Legion, a medal and even an asthma inhaler formerly owned by Maxim.”

Maxim’s 271 inventions, according to reporter Mike Lange, ranged from riveting machines to aircraft artillery to an airplane that did not fly successfully.

How wonderful that a descendant of Maxim has given these items to the society in Sangerville, and good for Starbird for encouraging his decision. I should add that Dexter does have a wonderful historical society of its own, to which I gave our Alfred Hart-Olive Nason Family Bible and the baby shoes of my great-grandfather Stanley Winfield Roberts, born in 1880 in Dexter.

I will have to make a visit to the society in Sangerville in order to consider what to give that organization from my family.

The newspaper article on the Maxim artifacts also included information on a vintage 1911 map of Sangerville, which shows many buildings from the late 1800s that are no longer there. This was a wonderful gift from Guilford Town Manager Tom Goulette, a fellow member of the Piscataquis Community High School band when it participated in Guilford’s sesquicentennial parade in 1966.

Guilford is looking to its own bicentennial in 2016. How time does fly. I’ve been thinking about what might be included in a bicentennial booklet for Guilford, including information on early settlers.

History and photographs in the Sangerville bicentennial publication included material on the Knowlton, Campbell, Ames, Clark, Douty, Carleton and Rees-Rollins families, Grange, library, schools, churches and more. I especially appreciated seeing the listings of those who served in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Grenada-Lebanon, Panama and the Persian Gulf.

The town, which has beautiful new Veterans Memorial monuments, is still looking for information on those who joined the military from Sangerville who served in Kuwait, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan — the Global War on Terror. That information can be called in to the town office at 876-2814 weekdays except Wednesday.

The Sangerville Historical Society meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month in the town hall meeting room, except January and February. Visitors are always welcome. Dues are $10 per year.

The town’s website is The library section includes a listing of those buried in town cemeteries.

Do let me know when your community will plan anniversary activities, and especially if you have a commemorative book or booklet you’d like Family Ties to publicize. Do include purchase price and mailing costs.

Information on Sangerville may be found in Loring’s “History of Piscataquis County” and in a special issue of Sprague’s Journal published for its Centennial in 1914.

For i nformation on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email