Ricker Family Crest
"Sapientia Donum Dei"
(Wisdom the Gift of God)

The Ricker Family
founders of 

The founder of the Ricker Family of Poland Spring was Jabez Ricker, son of Joseph Ricker. After his father's death in 1771, he sold his inherited lands near Great Falls, for $3000 and purchased land in Alfred, Maine. He moved to Alfred with his wife Molly (nee Wentworth) and children, and there built a saw and grist mill.  

In 1793, he happened to visit Poland Spring and was much taken by the beauty of the landscape, and in 1794 he traded his lands in Alfred to the Shaker Community there in exchange for the 300 acres later known as Ricker Hill in Poland.  

"When Jabez brought his family of ten children and Molly to the hill, there was only one frame house with one chimney and no hearth. No roads crossed the place and there were no near neighbors. They arrived after dark and the six homesick daughters cried by the fireside."
(Poland Past and Present, 1795-1970)

- With him, came three sons, Samuel, Wentworth, and Joseph, each of whom would contribute in their own way to the future prosperity of the family. Joseph Ricker was the first blacksmith in town, and forged all the nails used to build the first Inn on Ricker Hill, opened by Wentworth Ricker in 1797. Samuel oversaw additional buildings on the property, framing a large barn in 1813.

Hiram Ricker
(1809 - 1893)

"Wentworth retired in 1834, and turned the business over to his son, Hiram. Hiram was 25 years old and had spent his youth with his father on the farm and hotel. He was educated in the village and had a little trade experience in Boston at John Frankon Clothing Shop on Clinton Street, a two and one-half days stage coach ride from Poland Spring. His father died in 1837."
(Poland Past and Present, 1795-1970)

- Under Hiram's guidance, Poland Spring grew modestly as a hostelry, but he was instrumental in publicizing and promoting the supposed efficacy of the waters. Commercial sales of the water began in 1859 and grew to 5000 barrels by 1870.

Edward Payson Ricker
(1847 - 1933)

"In 1869, Hiram Ricker turned over the management to his eldest son, Edward Payson Ricker, under the name of Hiram Ricker & Son."
(Pamphlet, Mansion House, ca. 1913)

"E.P., then 22, had, like his father, been in Boston working. He immediately began an expansion on the hill. During 1869-70, the first addition was built onto the Mansion House. Another story containing nine rooms was built to increase the capacity to fifteen rooms. Two years later the wood shed and cider house were removed and a seven room addition built in their place. These were busy years, the water business increased and there were hard and anxious days. But these years were marked by progress steady and sure."
(Poland Past and Present, 1795-1970)

Alvan Bolster Ricker
(1850 - 1933)

"By 1875...Alvan Bolster Ricker, the second son, was taken into the firm, and the same year the Poland Spring House was commenced, and opened in 1876."
(Pamphlet, Mansion house, ca. 1913)

"The kitchen was under Alvan Bolster Ricker's supervision. The perfectly vented department was larger and more convenient than many major hotels. Guests were welcome to watch the food preparation and serving. A.B., as he was called, passed on all food and the dealers in New York and Boston kept the very best for the Rickers."

"Poland Spring... was in need of a year round nurse and...persuaded Miss [Jane] Jeffreys to accept the job and it was there that she met Alvan Bolster Ricker...whose wife, Cora Saunders Ricker, had passed away. She married Mr. Ricker September 3, 1925."
(Poland Past and Present, 1795-1970)

Jane Jeffreys Ricker
(1880 - 1960)

Jane Jeffreys Ricker was trained as a nurse and enlisted in the American Red Cross during World War I, serving at the front in some of the fiercest battles in the war. In July of 1917 she was seriously wounded by shrapnel, and later returned to the U.S. where she received The Distinguished Service Cross and the Legion of Honor. 

Alvan Bolster Ricker also oversaw the hiring of employees for the resort. A letter from A.B. to a Miss Grace MacPark of Washington D.C. who writes to inquire about summer employment, sheds some light on the employment process at Poland Spring. 

Letter from A.B. Ricker
to Miss Grace MacPark

Hiram Weston Ricker
(1857 - ?)

"In 1881, Hiram Weston Ricker, the third son, became an active member of the firm."
(Pamphlet, Mansion house, ca. 1913)

- As part of the Poland, Maine Centennial celebrations, H.W. Ricker served as Marshall of the Day, riding proudly on horseback at the head of the grand parade. His brother, A.B. Ricker, served on the Centennial Committee, and personally supervised the serving of the Dinner. 

"Mr. Ricker, of South Poland, is of the firm of Hiram Ricker & Sons, proprietors of the celebrated Poland Mineral Spring, through whose medium the people of every clime have become familiarized with the fair name of Poland. "
(Poland Centennial, 1795-1895)

Brian Harris