Oral Histories

What Bowdoin Central Fourth Graders Learned
From Talking About Merrymeeting Bay
With Folks Who Know It

Aimee, Marc, and Jared with their model of Merrymeeting Bay. (Grade 4 Bowdoin CS May 1996)


Larry Adams' Memories of Merrymeeting Bay

On May 24, 1996 Larry Adams of Bowdoin, Maine came to the 4th grade class to talk about the Bay. Mr. Adams learned about the Bay by reading facts about it. Merrymeeting Bay is one of a kind.The Bay has lots of history because people have lived around it for so many years.

Merrymeeting Bay is 3 miles wide and 30 miles north and south. In some spots the Bay is up to 150 feet deep. The ocean is a lot deeper than Merrymeeting Bay. He said the Bay is a small body of water, but it sounds huge to us.

Some people caught eels for food on the Bay. He told us that once sturgeon in the Bay were up to 14 feet long. The sturgeon now are 3 to 4 feet long in the Bay. The sturgeon back then cost 30 to 40 cents which was a lot of money. The sturgeon are coming back to the Bay. The caviar [fish eggs] from the Bay are worth 40 dollars a pound. People are smuggling sturgeon eggs. And it is against the law to catch sturgeon now.

Mr. Adams likes the beauty of the water in the Bay. You will never learn every thing about the Bay. It is too big a topic!


Dolly & Leroy Edgecomb

Ms. Maloney's and Ms. Mills' classes are studying about Merrymeeting Bay. Our group interviewed Mr. and Mrs. Dolly and Leroy Edgecomb They have lived on the Bay for 71 years. Leroy said he once saw an 8 foot sturgeon. He said it weighed about 200 pounds. It was in the Bay, but Leroy didn't catch it!!!!!

They would look up in the sky, and it would be black with birds, and somewhere along the middle there would be a different color bird every time. But now there aren't so many birds.

When their kids were little, the kids would go wading and come out with junk and toxic waste all over their legs. The water wasn't fit for swimming so they could only go wading. It wasn't fit for anything. You couldn't go swimming and you couldn't drink out of the water.

Dolly and Leroy had bird watching as their hobby. They would see all kinds of birds at different times of the year. They loved bird watching. Although Leroy hunted ducks, he still liked watching them.


Peter Lea

Peter Lea has worked at Merrymeeting Bay for eight years. Peter Lea invited five kids from Bowdoin College to work on Merrymeeting Bay for their project.

The Bay got formed and molded by rocks.The glaciers melted and dragged down the sand. There is very small connection to the Bay. Merrymeeting Bay did not start out as an inland bay. It started out as one big, big bay. The Bay got pushed down into the sea and popped back up. There was a glacier that pushed the Bay down 2,000 feet, then 200 more feet, then 200 more feet again.

.Merrymeeting Bay is a tidal bay but it is not a salt bay. Peter Lea thinks that Merrymeeting Bay is the biggest fresh water bay. The Bay is beautiful. The Bay is different from Alaska's bays.


Tenley Meara

Tenley Meara likes to hunt. She has two German Short Haired Pointers that she hunts with. She has a certain way she trains her dogs for hunting. She has 2 dogs she trains to be hunting dogs. She likes to go dog sledding and hunting. Whatever she shoots she eats and feels strongly that everything you shoot you should eat. Deer, ducks, grouse, and woodcock are what she chooses to hunt and eat. Woodcock and grouse are the main things she likes to hunt. She goes to hunt for deer behind her house in Topsham. She has sighted six eagles at Merrymeeting Bay. She also likes to go skijouring and dog sledding with her dogs on the snowmobile trails around Merrymeeting Bay.

Watercolors by
Sarah Stapler
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