Bowdoinham

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Buster Prout details the unique qualities of his hand-built Merrymeeting Bay Gunning Float, a duck hunting boat.

It’s probably fair to say that Merrymeeting Bay is the duck hunting capital of Maine. Buster Prout can testify to that. He’s lived his whole life right near the bay in Bowdoinham and started hunting at age twelve, in the 1950s. And to say Buster’s an avid duck hunter and guide would be an understatement.

“Actually,” Buster says, “duck huntin’ is addictive I think.”

Buster Prout was interviewed as part of the Merrymeeting Bay Oral History Project which was sponsored by the Maine Maritime Museum and funded by the Merrymeeting Bay Trust.

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Bruce Berry shows off a wedding anniversary gift from his wife — an eel, stuffed and mounted.

The eels that live in the Kennebec River got their start far out in the Atlantic Ocean. All American eels spawn in the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda. The newborn eels drift north along the eastern seaboard. A bit mysteriously, they locate a river, like the Kennebec, and head upstream where they mature.  Years later, the eels swim back to the Sargasso Sea to repeat the process.

Unless Bruce Berry was working. For over thirty-five years Bruce fished eels in Merrymeeting Bay. Four to five thousand pounds a week.

Bruce Berry was interviewed as part of the Merrymeeting Bay Oral History Project which was sponsored by the Maine Maritime Museum and funded by the Merrymeeting Bay Trust.

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Bowdoinham, Maine sits right at the edge of Merrymeeting Bay, the confluence of five rivers including the Kennebec. The soil is rich and perfect for farming.

David Prout has farmed in Bowdoinham since the 1950’s. His father, Harry Prout, owned Merrymeeting Farms and was nicknamed “The Carrot King.” David and his good friend Frank Connors, a local historian, recall Merrymeeting Farms and chat about the importance of farmland preservation in Bowdoinham. This intervew was recorded in 2009 at Fort Andross, Brunswick.

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