He Raised the Roof for Her – an Everyday Valentine

She was a fine looking New England woman and he was a quiet man with a mustache.     It was a marriage made in Maine and from all reports a long and happy union.

Abby was one of the famous Varney daughters and Edwin was the grandson of Deborah Haskell Walden Young, a widow with three children, who arrived in Greenville, Maine in 1826 on an oxcart. (What I mean to say by this is that they both came from good stock.)

IMG_4012There used to be a dummy at the corner in Greenville that said, Walden Farm 1.5 miles. That was the farm of Abby and Ed Walden. They raised potatoes, three children and ran a summer bed and breakfast long before that term was coined.

When their sons grew up, married and took to producing the next generation who also lived at the farm, Abby raised the roof, in a manner of speaking. ‘Ed’, she said, ‘We need more room.’

So Ed raised the roof – literally! He added a whole new floor with eight bedrooms and two bathrooms.


Raising the roof 1912


The finished house


Time went on, more grandchildren were produced and one morning Ed saw Abby walking down the road toward town with her suitcase, money in her pocketbook and a look of determination on her face. Ed headed out after her.

‘Abby’, he called, Where are you going?’

‘I’m going downtown,’ she said. ‘It’s a big farm, Ed, but not big enough for three cooks. I’m going to find a house of my own.’

And so she did. Ed and Abby lived happily in downtown Greenville where he cleaned outhouses and rented boats and she raised chickens. The grandchildren came often to eat her homemade bread and play dominoes; time spent with this couple was so marvelous that at 93, their grandson remembers it as some of the most pleasant moments of his life.


Abby Varney Walden and Edwin Walden

We at Walden Farm wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day. And if you want a long and happy marriage, take a tip from Ed and Abby- if need be, raise the roof!

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2 Responses to He Raised the Roof for Her – an Everyday Valentine

  1. Christine Long says:

    This was wonderful to read. Thank you for the history and have a great Valentine’s Day!

  2. Kirsten Brown says:

    Love it!

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