Frederick Ross Sweetser

Nearly 400 glass plate negatives made by a Searsport professor who lived in a house, which is now part of the Penobscot Marine Museum’s campus as well as Joanna Colcord’s uncle.

Frederick Ross Sweetser was born in Searsport, Maine on May 15, 1853, the son of Capt. Jeremiah and Susau (French) Sweetser. In his youth he accompanied his father on long sea voyages. His first music lessons were in Holland. Very early in his life he showed a very decided talent for music and it became his life’s work. For 44 years he taught at Boxwood Manor, a school for young ladies in Old Lyme, Conn. He was at the head of the music department there for 20 years.

During his residence in Connecticut, he lived at the Mohican Hotel in New London where he had a studio. He was also organist at St. James Church and during these years accompanied innumerable church and concert singers. He numbered among his friends many of the high ups in musical, literary and theatrical circles. He enjoyed a lifelong friendship with the famous opera star Anna Louise Cary, whom he frequently visited.

He was exceedingly fond of his native town and when vacation time came he never failed to come back to Searsport, where he spent many happy summers at the old homestead, a dignified old Colonial brick house set picturesquely on a hill back from Main Street. When at home in the summer he took an active part in the musical life of the town and often put on operas and other musical entertainments for the benefit of various organizations. In 1918 he gave up his work in New London to spend the remainder of his life in Searsport. He organized a large piano class in Belfast, where he had a studio, usually returning to Searsport on the weekends.

He died on April 15, 1924 and his funeral was held at the First Congregational Church here in Searsport.