Estey House Title

This house is historically significant to Presque Isle for a few reasons.  The lot itself is within the original 640 acre land grant received by Dennis Fairbanks to establish this settlement.  Secondly, it is a good example of an 1875 house in that the interior has not been changed dramatically. Thirdly, Vera Estey, who willed this house to the Historical Society upon her death in 1992, was very unique for a woman of her era.

John Estey lived in Montenac, a mining community across the border, from 1885 – 1893.  In 1894, he wed Helen Tracey and moved to Jacksontown, New Brunswick.  On May 7, 1894, Helen gave birth to a daughter, Vera Tracey Estey.  In 1903, the family moved to Presque Isle and took up farming.  The family lived on the corner of the Caribou and Reach Roads.

In 1917, John Estey bought this house from Amasa Howe, a local store owner.  It is believed that the house was built around 1875 although it is difficult to determine its exact age.  Historians must research old tax records and look for a time period during which the tax assessment jumped significantly pointing to the time when a building may have been built upon an empty lot.  However, the first deed we have in our possession is dated 1875.

Vera never married.  She did have a suitor, a Boston dentist, Glendon DeWitt Estabrook.  It is rumored that she and her beau were caught in a “delicate situation” by her father.  We do not know exactly what she was allegedly doing, but by today’s standards, it was probably fairly innocent.  The dentist offered to marry Vera, but her father did not want her to marry him.  Her beau allegedly offered her a diamond ring, but her father offered her a larger diamond to stay single.  Vera chose the larger ring.  She still owned this ring on the day she died.  Being a single woman or “spinster” or “old maid” was quite a negative social stigma in those days.  Being that Vera made this choice consciously made her very unique indeed.

Vera was also an entrepreneur – another unusual trait for a woman of her day.  She was “comfortably set” and did not need to work.  However, she was an avid gardener and was known for her “Lilies of the Valley” and her tulips.  She raised and sold her flowers to the Boston Fresh Flower Market.

Ms. Estey lived here until eight years prior to her death when she moved to the Presque Isle Nursing Home where she passed away in 1992 having lived to the ripe old age of 98. 

Entertaining at Estey House

Vera Estey and Parents

Entertaining at Estey House Vera and Parents

Glendon Estabrook

The Gardens

Estabrook The Gardens

Vera in Garden Uniform

Vera in Plumed Hat

Vera in Garden Uniform Vera in Hat

Vera Estey House 1917

Vera Estey House