2008-2009 FOMB Speaker Series


Subject:          Growing up the Hard Way (Next to Swan Island)
        Jake Bishop, Local Historian
When:             Thursday, November 6th at 7:00 p.m.
Where:           Merrymeeting Grange, Bowdoinham [200' up hill from Rt. 24 blinking light]

Join Friends of Merrymeeting Bay (FOMB) on Thursday, November 6 at 7:00 p.m. in Bowdoinham’s Merrymeeting Grange for the second presentation of their 2008/2009 Winter Speaker Series. The presentation, ‘Growing Up the Hard Way (Next to Swan Island)’ will feature Jake Bishop, local historian, Bowdoinham farm boy and procurement specialist for higher education facilities.  

In 1932, $3,000 could buy you a 125 acre Bowdoinham farm with 12 room farmhouse, three big barns on a fine piece of land stretching between the Kennebec and Abbagadassett Rivers. Neil Bishop who later became Maine’s well-known Independent Republican State Senator bought the farm and it was here on River Rd. just north of Pork Pt. Rd. that Jake Bishop grew up without electricity or running water raising Jersey cows and using Kennebec Ice for refrigeration. Come hear tales of the day: delivering vegetables around town, selling milk to the Swan Island wardens who paddled over once a week, capturing a local moose who was delivered to the Bronx Zoo, flocks of geese 10,000 strong and attending school in a one-room schoolhouse. And hear of the Kennebec when it was “to thin to walk on and too thick to drink.”

Jake Bishop is the founder and retired CEO of the Board of Directors of the 31-year-old Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium, a 96-member, $200,000,000 per year group purchasing consortium that serves 96 New England schools.  Born in Richmond, Maine, he grew up in Bowdoinham and Stockton Springs on Jersey farms.  The Bishop Farm was on Route 24 on the Kennebec River across from Swan Island. About 5 years ago, Jake worked with FOMB and the State to protect the family farm property in perpituity.

Following graduation from Higgins Classical Institute, Jake served in the United States Marine Corps, returning to Maine in 1958. In the fall of 1959 he joined Boston University as a Senior Buyer.  Over a period of 25 years he took courses at various colleges, culminating in his graduation from the University of Massachusetts in 1980, “Summa Cum Lately!” Jake worked for over 35 years in the UMass Amherst Procurement Department.  His last 23 years were served as Director, until his retirement in 1997.

The FOMB Winter Speaker Series takes place monthly from October-May on the first Thursday. The December presentation, ‘Wildlife Rehabilitation: Raptors, Reptiles & More’ features Karen McElmurry, Director of the Center for Wildlife in York. This event will take place 7pm. Thursday December 4th at the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick. The series, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay with support and valuable door prizes from Patagonia Outlet in Freeport.  

To receive more information on FOMB’s programs call Misty Gorski, Executive Coordinator, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, at 582-5608 or fomb@gwi.net <mailto:fomb@gwi.net> . Full speaker schedule and biographies are available on the web at www.friendsofmerrymeetingbay.org <http://www.friendsofmerrymeetingbay.org/> .
Photo: Neil Bishop by John Gould in The Hard Way by Jake Bishop.

Watercolors by
Sarah Stapler
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