Tomlinson Lake Hike To Freedom

"North Americas Northernmost Route of the Underground Railroad"

Friends Church

Friends Church

Friends Church

Built in 1859-1860, Friends Church started its life as a Quaker Meeting House. Its located on U.S. Route 1A, in the Maple Grove Village, now part of Southern Fort Fairfield, Maine. Besides church services and community meetings, oral history tells us Friends Church was also used as a "station" of the Underground Railroad. Modern day searches into the history of the mid 1800's has revealed a network of Quakers who are now becoming well known for taking action against slavery, even facing harsh consequences.​​
Friends Church - Maple Grove, Maine
Photo by Joe Gee

A Look Under the Rugs

In 1906 the Meeting House was sold to a Presbperterian congregation, and renovations soon followed.  This large stained glass window was added to the front, as well as the corner tower seen above.
The window was made in Boston, and was shipped up as one piece.  As you can imagine, such a large window would need a very large crate that was very well built.​​
During research into the history of the building, the rugs were lifted from the stage to find some repair work done on the stage floor.  It is ​​​​​​
obvious that when window arrived in it's crate from Boston, the lumber from the crate was salvaged for planks in the stage floor. It is believed that it was used to cover a trap door that allowed the 'Passengers' of the Underground Railroad to hide from their hunters. ​​​​​​
1906 addition
Photo by Joe Gee
Floorboards of the stage
Photo by Joe Gee

Joseph Wingate Haines
& Mary Briggs Haines

The rapidly growing Haines family moved from Hallowell, Maine through mostly wilderness to what would later become Maple Grove, Maine in 1844. They were the first settlers in the area and had a land grant for 1000 acres of partially cleared land. They brought with them the equipment to build a water-powered sawmill in addition to all of their homestead needs. It took 14 years, but other Quaker families began to move to the area as well and in 1859 the Haines family and others starting building a Meeting House, later to be called Friends Church.​​

Joseph Wingate Haines
&Mary Briggs Haines

Shh!  Thay'll Hear You!​​

Likeness of Joseph & Mary Haines
By Jessica Hayden
Much of the history we have about the Underground Railroad was passed on as the heading above, orally and as a secret or as a secrete overheard. There is no documentation by fugitive slaves or abolitionists from that time. Paths to be taken, who helped and who was being helped was closely guarded information because it was against Federal law to show any assistance to fugitive slaves. The consequences of being found out was a fine of $500. That is in excess of ​​​​​
$1.5million in today's money(2017). No one was going to document anything at that price. But keeping secrets is very difficult, especially for children. There are accounts of the Haines family decedents and childhood friends of the Haines family, that corroborate the existence of the Underground Railroad, hiding fleeing persons under the floor of Friendship Church and the Haines family's direct involvement.
The distance from Friends Church to Tomlinson Lake is approximately 8 kilometres along the foothills of the Appalachian mountain range. ​​​​​​