Gould Academy Farm
      A Little History
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The above photo appeared in the April 29, 1992, issue of The Oxford County Citizen out of Bethel, Maine.  It appears here with permission of Kirk Siegel,

the photographer, and Gould Academy.  The Bethel Citizen ( formerly called

The Oxford County Citizen) also granted approval for its use in this project.

Thanks go out to John Laban for providing Unique Maine Farms with a copy

of the photo.


The description under the photo in the newspaper stated, “John Laban and Bill Clough, two members of a dying breed of people who know how to shear sheep, lighten the load off the backs of these two young yearling ewes, which belong to Gould art teacher, Jan Baker, and which were sheared at the morning assembly at Gould on Thursday morning.  Though they are both good shearers, Clough and Laban acknowledged that the ‘pro’s’ can shear over 300 sheep in a day. ‘I met a fellow who sheared by hand whose right arm muscles looked like Popeye’s,’ said Laban.  Both Laban and Clough use

electric shears, but also know how to use the traditional kind.  Laban’s farm on the Northwest Bethel Road is one of the last in an area which once supported thousands. ‘Most of the forest that we ski and hike through in this area were pasture at the turn of the century,’ said Clough.  They talked about the decline of sheep herding and agriculture in general in New England, and Laban remarked that as late as ten years ago, Italian-Americans from the North End would come up from Boston in droves to buy lambs for Easter, and pay good prices. ‘They used to drive up from Boston and call you from the toll booth to tell you they were coming.’ he said.”