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A Photographic Journey to Pine Hill from South Berwick -- September - October 2002
By Wendy Pirsig and Norma Keim, Old Berwick Historical Society
with assistance of Nancy Cook, Clare Gillingham, and Terry Heller
Photographs by Wendy Pirsig and Terry Heller
This document has two main purposes: to illustrate the historical faithfulness with which Sarah Orne Jewett depicted the geography of her region in her historical novel, The Tory Lover (1901) and to show how some the areas she describes appear more than two centuries after the era she depicts and a century after she composed her book. Twice in the course of the novel, Mary Hamilton takes her horse to visit Master John Sullivan at his Pine Hill home, first in Chapter 16 to talk over Roger Wallingford's joining John Paul Jones on the Ranger and leaving his mother exposed to an unruly anti-Tory mob, second to seek his help in freeing Roger from the Mill Prison at Plymouth in England. Mary's first trip is described in enough detail that one can retrace it two centuries later, observing what remains of the old roads and identifying several specific sites along the way.
Detail from the 1872 York County, Maine Atlas.The probable route between South Berwick and Pine Hill in 1777-8 follows the yellow line. This line begins at Hamilton House and ends at Pine Hill, about 7 miles. Mary, however, would have turned left at the Ricker house -- see next map -- to take what is now Sullivan Street to the Master Sullivan Farm. Pine Hill is just north of Berwick, ME today. Hamilton House is on the southern edge of South Berwick, ME today. To the west of the road is the Salmon Falls River, marking the border between Maine and New Hampshire. (TH)
Notably absent from this image is the Lower Landing, which was on this side of the house. The landing included a wharf, counting house, warehouse, and other buildings associated with trade and shipping. Behind the house on the left appear the masts of ships, but, unless they are far up-river, these would have to be in what Mary describes as the field to the north and east of the house.
Detail from the 1872 York County, Maine Atlas. (WP)
Hamilton House - East Side (TH)
In Chapter 16, Mary leaves Hamilton House in the morning.
Image by Charles H. Woodbury that appears in the novel, showing the west side of the house, with its terraces toward the river.
"The fields of Berwick were already beginning to wear that look of hand-shaped smoothness which belongs only to long-tilled lands in an old country."
The Three Hills of Agamenticus -- Seen from Garrison Hill in Dover, NH (TH)
"The northern mountains were as blue as if it were a day in spring. They looked as if the warm mist of April hung over them; as if they were the outposts of another world, whose climate and cares were of another and gentler sort, and there was no more fretting or losing, and no more war either by land or sea."
South Berwick village is near the horizon on the left side of this photo. We can see that the fields of Berwick have, to a considerable extent, returned to woods. Though not especially visible in this photo, the woods and fields of Berwick are fairly rapidly developing into rural/suburban residences for people who work in the Portsmouth, NH - Boston, MA region.
Salmon Falls between South Berwick and Rollinsford -- Looking South --
as it might have appeared to Mary Hamilton (TH)
"The road was up and down all the way over the hills, winding and turning among the upper farms that lay along the riverside above the Salmon Fall."
Salmon Falls -- Looking South -- about as it appeared to Jewett (TH)
with the mill in Rollinsford, NH on the right.
Below is a view of this same mill building from within Rollinsford (TH)
Worster Brook (WP)
"There was the ford to cross at Wooster's River...."
Looking northwest from near the crest of Pine Hill (WP)
"The road still led northward along the high uplands above the river; all the northern hills and the mountains of Ossipee looked dark now, in a solemn row."
"On the heights of the great ridge some of the elder generation of trees were still standing, left because they were crooked and unfit for the mastships' cargoes. They were monarchs of the whole landscape, and waved their long boughs in the wintry wind. Mary Hamilton had known them in her earliest childhood, and looked toward them now with happy recognition, as if within their hard seasoned shapes their hearts were conscious of other existences, and affection like her own. She stopped the fleet horse on the top of the hill, and laid her hand upon the bark of a huge pine; then she looked off at the lower country. The sight of it was a challenge to adventure; a great horizon sets the boundaries of the inner life of man wider to match itself, and something that had bound the girl's heart too closely seemed to slip easily away."
Facing East at Old Pine Hill Road. (WP)
As can be seen from the sign to the right of the picture, this farmhouse stands at the corner of Old Pine Hill Road and Sullivan Street. It is likely that of E. and B. Ricker marked on the Pine Hill map above. Jewett would have turned at this corner had she visited the scene of Mary's ride to Master Sullivan's. Someone coming from South Berwick would have approached from the right, then turned toward the camera, down Sullivan street.
Sites Associated with Master Sullivan
Possibly the remodeled Master John Sullivan School House -- (WP)
One section of this house at 134 School Street / Route 9, in Berwick is believed to be Master John Sullivan's school, which was moved from its original location -- see Pine Hill map, above and the news clipping to the right. This view was taken from Old Pine Hill Road looking at the present rear of the house. The next photo was taken from School Street (Rte 9), showing the front of the house with a wide lawn. We can see that the house is made up of two or three smaller buildings. This house was identified by Clare Gillingham and Nancy Cook. The residents at the time of these photos were named Pineo.
View of possible Sullivan school house from Old Pine Hill Road, looking southward. (WP)
From an unidentified newspaper
Photograph of the house believed to be Sullivan's school
moved and remodeled. This is the photograph referred to in the above newspaper clipping.
This marker indicates the location of the original Master John Sullivan farm site in Berwick, near the actual hill called Pine Hill. The marker stands at the fork formed by Sullivan Street and Pine Hill Road (not Old Pine Hill Road). We are looking north, up Pine Hill. Sullivan Street is the road to the right. Winslow Street and the original location of the family burying plot are off Sullivan St., out of view to the right.
It may be helpful to note that in the 1770s, what is now South Berwick was known as Berwick village, and at least part of what is now known as Berwick, was then Pine Hill. Therefore, though the Sullivans lived at Pine Hill, they did not necessarily reside on Pine Hill.
Next is a close-up of the plaque on the marker. (WP)
Looking north along Sullivan Street from below the marker shown above, which stands at the evergreen tree in the background toward the left. The beautiful early 19th century house in the foreground is Goodwin Insurance. It is shown as part of a tannery complex on the Berwick map of 1872 (Pine Hill map above).
House Currently at the Sullivan Farm Site (WP)
The actual location of Master Sullivan's school is not known; this is a possible location, though it is up the hill from his farm. The above news clipping indicates the school originally stood on Worcester / Worster Brook, which would be some distance south of the Sullivan farm. Note that the home in the photograph is not the 19th-century building marked as School House No. 3 on the maps above.
Approximate Site of School House No. 3 -- See maps. (WP)
Revised December 2012
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