Dr. Cyrus Hamlin’s 1806 Paris Hill home was originally built as a large farmhouse with an attached barn. Embellishments such as the covered breezeway and full-façade porches came much later. Three years after the house’s construction, Dr. Hamlin and his wife, Anna, welcomed their fifth child, Hannibal, who later became ill. The Hamlin home was a popular community-gathering place, attracting visitors ranging from future Maine governor Enoch Lincoln to an Abenaki healer known as Molly Ockett, who is credited with curing the infant Hannibal and predicting his successful future. Youthful indiscretions notwithstanding — he was reportedly jailed for ringing the church bell during a baptism service — Hannibal proved her prophecy correct, becoming a U.S. senator, Maine governor, Abraham Lincoln’s first-term vice president, and ambassador to Spain.
Portland-based writer Julie Senk holds degrees in history and historic preservation and provides property surveys and architectural analyses to homeowners and businesses. To learn more about her work, visit northernvernacular.com.