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William B. Lapham of Bethel, ca. 1863

Contributed by Bethel Historical Society
MMN Item 100562 Item Details
William B. Lapham of Bethel, ca. 1863
MMN Item 100562 Zoom


A native of Greenwood, Dr. William B. Lapham (1828-1894) served in the 23rd Maine Regiment and 7th Maine Battery during the Civil War. One of Maine's most prolific 19th century historians, Lapham authored histories of the towns of Woodstock, Paris, Norway, Rumford, and Bethel. It was in Bethel that he attended Gould Academy and started teaching.

After being released from the Army, he resumed his medical practice and became a strong temperance advocate. He became a member of the Maine House of Representatives in 1867, moving to Augusta in June 1871. In 1872, Lapham assumed the post of general and news editor of the Maine Farmer, and also took on the responsibilities as medical director for the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Department of Maine.

Besides his work for the Maine Farmer, he founded in 1875 The Maine Genealogist and Biographer, a quarterly which lasted for three years. During this period, he published genealogies of the Bisbee, Ricker, Tilden, and Chase families. Lapham recounted his personal experiences during the Civil War in the 1892 volume, My Recollections of the War of the Rebellion.

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