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Templeton Canoe

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Greg Hare, Oct 6, 2014.

  1. Greg Hare

    Greg Hare Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Does anyone have information on Templeton Canoe company.Made in Maine.The one I an looking at is 15'. Looks to be in decent from pics.Haven't seen in person yet.Didn't see anything on knowledge base. Thanks
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The list at shows that both Fred and Arthur Templeton were building canoes on Moosehead Lake during the 1920s and 1930s. There may not be much more information available. Sorry,

  3. OP
    Greg Hare

    Greg Hare Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks Benson.
    I will probably get it.It appears that it only had one seat when built and one was added much later.Looks to have minor damage on one end.The decal reads Built by Templeton Canoe Company Greenville Junction.....Maine.
  4. Rollin Thurlow

    Rollin Thurlow member since 1980

    Fred and Author Templeton were cousins. They both built around the 1920-30's and maybe a bit into the 40's.

    Fred lived in Greenville Me. on the shores of Moosehead Lake. He built two canoes, a 15 ft and 20 footer. the 20 was the most popular. It had a flat bottom, a wide 41" beam, a full entry and high stems. Because it could carry so much it became known as the "Moose River Taxi". Fred had a good business and had several people working for him.
    A popular sporting good store in Greenville, Sanders Store, rented, sold and repaired Freds canoes. Fred canvased his canoes using the upside down method and that's what he taught them at the store to use.
    His forms were passed on to Bert Comstock and around 1960 the forms passed to Berts son-in-law Fred Reckards who lived in Rockwood on the shores of the Moose River, just up the lake from Greenville. Fred used mostly fiberglass on his canoes but of course all the earlier ones were canvas.
    Fred Reckards died about 1995 and the forms were sold to a fellow in Old Orchard Beach Me. who thought he would continue the company but it never worked out. A few years ago he was trying to sell the forms but I never did find out if they were sold.

    Author Templeton built his canoes in Rockwood. He just built a 20 footer. His canoe had a rounder bottom, narrower beam and a sharper entry then Freds canoe had. It was also much faster and his canoe was winning races until the late 1960's when more specialized racing canoes were becoming more popular. Author was very private about his building and did not want people watching him. He as more fussy than Fred and had a pattern for all his planking. He canvased using the rightside up method and would not let people see how it was done.
    His form passed to a local Sporting Camp and then an Insurance company until Doc Blanchard purchased it in 1959. Doc learned how to canvas canoes from Sanders Store using Fred Templetons up side down method. I bet old Author would of had a fit about that! Doc also built a 15 ft canoe but it was off a form he built himself. Docs forms passed to his son in Greenville who is still building off of them.

    So Freds forms went from Greenville to Rockwood to Old orchard Beach.
    Authors forms went from Rockwood to Greenville!

    If any locals were asked to describe the Templeton canoes they would just say they looked a lot like the E.M. white canoes , only larger!
  5. OP
    Greg Hare

    Greg Hare Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Wow! What a history.Thanks for all the information. Interesting to me that a group of us used to go to Rockwood every February and stay in cabins where the Moose River goes into Moosehead Lake and ice fish for a week,but never knew any of the history of the area.This was in the early 80's.So it's safe to say the one I am negotiating on was built by Fred.Thanks again for all the information.
  6. Paul in PA

    Paul in PA New Member

    Hi Folks,

    I'm a lifelong wilderness canoeist, and have done countless day and week trips, on local rivers, and to the North backcountry (Canada). In 2009, I checked The Ultimate Wilderness Canoe Trip off my bucket list, with a 12-day trip on the Bloodvein river, Ontario to Lake Winnepeg. This is a National Heritage River. 141 miles, 79 named rapids. The kicker on this trip was that normal river flow in late August, early September is 1500 CFS. During the trip we took, the river was flowing 12,000 CFS! So, there were many Class Vs and VIs, which we did NOT attempt to run! Was truly amazing. Fishing was fantastic. Saw one other party on the river, the last day. Never put our rain gear on, except on the ferry ride back across the lake.

    I just joined this forum now to repost an ad that appeared in the Lancaster Farming weekly (Lancaster County, PA) in the February 15, 2020 issue. Here it is:

    "Fred Reckards cedar canoe, Moose River Taxi. 15' with 40" beam. Built over oldest known Indian form in N. America. More info, call. Berks County (PA). 610-207-4098."

    I talked to the seller today, and it's still for sale. He's had two other parties interested in it. Turns out, seller bought the canoe new from Fred himself in the 1980s. So, it's one-owner! Talking to the seller, this canoe has lived a privileged life, and it sounds like it's in excellent condition. Could be a REAL find for someone!

    I am not really in the market for *another* canoe, but I'm always attracted to vintage boats. I live in Berks County, PA, and would be happy to accommodate buyer's needs as they may arise, including dry storage.

    I told seller about this forum, so he may be posting, soon.
  7. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Someone in PA should buy that and bring it to Assembly, please. Themes; Solo Canoes and Tom MacKenzie. 15' x 40" will be interesting!
  8. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    “Built over oldest known Indian form in N. America” sounds like a dubious claim to me. Native American birchbark canoes were not built over a form. Earliest known forms are Gerrish. Steve Lapey has one Gerrish from about 1880 built over that form. Seems like some oral history got muddled over the years.
  9. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I agree with Larry that this is highly unlikely. However, Joseph Ranco was a Penobscot who had a bark and canvas canoe building shop announced in the local newspaper on April 28th, 1888 as shown at so there is a possibility that one of his or some other Native American's forms wound up in Reckard's shop. It would take a very impressive amount of documentation to prove this claim.

    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
  10. Paul in PA

    Paul in PA New Member

    All I gotta say is that I asked seller if the canoe had a builder's plate, and he said "Yes", and then went on to describe it as the correct plate for a Reckards canoe. Nevermind that he may be misinformed about the provenance of the mold it was built on. Again, the seller bought the boat personally from Mr. Reckards. If you're interested, call the seller. He says he has it fully photo-documented. When I talked to him, I encouraged him to post some images here.

    I know someone who can take the lines with a laser thingy, and the boat sits about 20 miles from where I live. I'm really tempted to replicate this boat, if it's a Templeton. I need something a little more "voyageur".

    By way of introduction of myself, I built my own stripper, a 16' Redbird, in 1986. I took 2 feet out amidships from the plans for an 18-footer, so it has a NARROW beam: 32 inches. Very poor initial stability, fair final stability and that doesn't improve very much with a load. So, most novice bowmen are uncomfortable in it because of the instability. Extremely fine entry, so it's FAST! And, a decent solo boat, too - leans real nice and comfortable with its round bottom. To me, if you're not getting wet, you're not really canoeing.

    By the way, seller told me that Mecum Auctions was very interested in having him consign the boat. It will probably end up in their next auction in Harrisburg, PA (late July). And then, maybe hanging from the ceiling at some Bass Pro Shop, somewhere <sigh>.


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