Monson Biographies Project
We are continuing our project to publish a book on biographies of Monson “people”. We have been provided input from several people but need more. Please consider taking the time to fill out the attached sheet for each person you can provide information on (or develop biographical sketches using the similar information). Contact us for any additional copies you need or if you need any assistance in providing information.
We would like to include as many people as possible. It is not necessary for these people to have lived in Monson their entire lives. Perhaps they grew up in Monson and moved away to attend school or work as many of us did. Maybe they were born elsewhere and came to Monson as many did from Sweden, Finland, Brownville, etc. We are interested in any people who had a solid connection to Monson. While the factual information (names, dates and places) is important, it would be particularly valuable to include items of a personal nature as this information might otherwise be lost for all time. The following great Biography of MERLE WYMAN was contributed by his daughter Trudy Wyman.
Merle Burton Wyman was born at home in Monson on July 2, 1916. His parents, Grace Susan ( Jackson) Wyman and Melvin Oscar Wyman, already had two other sons quite a few years older, Verne and Aubrey. Merle grew up on the " Old Place" where he helped his father on the farm, wandered the entire neighborhood through woods and fields, fished, hunted, and worked.
His first attempt at elementary school didn't go so well. He decided he didn't like it so he took the shortcut home and was home before his mother got there. Later he did return and was a good student through the grades and high school. He was assistant editor of the Pharetra his junior year. Merle did not participate in sports during high school as he was needed at home to do work after school. Graduation from Monson Academy was in 1934.
By the time he graduated, his father was losing his sight to diabetes and his two brothers were grown and had moved away. Merle became the sole support of his parents and the responsibility of the family farm became his.
Over the next few years, Merle farmed, did woods work with horses, hired out with his horses to the neighbors, worked in the slate quarry, and more. With his horses, he hauled wood for many townspeople and businesses. In the winter months, wood was often hauled the length of Lake Hebron on the ice. He also hauled ice. For a while he worked on the road at 35 cents an hour for a forty-eight hour week. In 1940, he began work at Monson Maine Slate Quarry for $4.00 a day for a forty hour week. There he held various jobs such as working the "push cars" (pushing slate-filled Narrow Gauge RR cars down the side track to the mill), running a slate saw, and shoveling snow from the mill yard and roads. He worked at the quarry for almost four years. He continued to farm at the same time, and in 1941 began supplying milk to several local stores.
Merle became active in the Monson Grange and met Ada Elizabeth Bates at a grange meeting. They were married June 29, 1940. They then made their home in Monson, first at the Holmquist house, then the McIver place, and then Tenny Hill. At each place Merle kept a few cows, had a pair of horses, and worked at farming along with his other jobs. Merle and Ada had two children, Richard Merle and Gertrude Diane Wyman.
After moving to Tenny Hill, Merle and Ada bought the milk route and began delivering to homes as well as stores. They had about 100 customers all over town and later also included Blanchard. When Merle was on the route, he was often invited in for coffee and donuts or bullas and such. If no one was home for a delivery, he would go in and put the milk or cream in the customer's refrigerator. He knew where everyone hid their house keys if the door was locked.
All through the 40's, 50's and 60's, Merle was active in town business, attended all school functions, and continued in the Grange and other farm related groups. He had joined Juanita Grange in Monson in 1935, transferred to Dawn of Hope Grange in North Guilford in 1951, and finally Guilford Center Grange when the others disbanded. He was on committees in the 50's to raise money to build the gym. He provided transport of members of girls and boys basketball teams to away games in all kinds of weather and road conditions. He even scouted out the roads to Jackman and Bingham on game days. Merle was a member of ASC, a US Department of Agriculture committee for several years. He was also on the Soil and Water Conservation Committee.
In 1970, Merle and Dick bought the Ricker Farm in Milo and moved their dairy business there. More cows to produce more milk which was sold first to Ricker's who still had the bottling plant there, and later to Hood's Inc. Merle mowed and baled hay, milked cows, got up at all hours of the night to check on cows that were about to calve, did errands, and worked in the gardens. In 1993, the Piscataquis Valley Fair Association chose Wyman Farms to be honored at the fair.
He loved to talk and tell stories, and in his last years loved to watch little kids eat French fries at McDonald's. He remembered everyone he had ever met (even if he hadn't seen them for years), loved going for rides, but in his lifetime he really never wanted to travel very far from home.
Merle suffered a stroke in March of 1994 and had to give up many of the activities he loved. He died April 8, 1995 and is buried in Milo.