John Haley's Saco

John Haley (1840 - 1921) loved reading, writing, history and genealogy. Born and raised in the twin cities of Biddeford and Saco, Maine, he worked at the mills and served for three years with Company I of the 17th Maine Volunteer Regiment during the Civil War.  Upon his  return to the area after the war, he went on to work at the Saco and Biddeford Gas-Light company for 14 years before becoming librarian at the Dyer Library in 1892, a position he held for 28 years. He and his wife, Abbie A. Batchelder, had two children, Adelaide and George.

Known for his skill at writing, Haley created a diary in 1913 describing what he knew about Saco's houses and shops which made up the built environment a century ago.  In his diary he went street by street and house by house describing what he knew about the property ranging from who built the house and who lived there to genealogical information and, in some cases, tart editorial comments about persons/events associated with the property. It appears he did skip over some houses, several of which were probably not "old" enough.

To learn more about John Haley and to read the detailed diary of his years in the Civil War, The Rebel Yell & the Yankee Hurrah, edited by Ruth L. Silliker, visit the Dyer Library at 371 Main Street in Saco.

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