All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Capt. Hanson Gregory, Doughnut Innovator

The ring-shaped doughnut was allegedly invented in about 1847 by a man from Camden. In The Washington Post of Mar. 26, 1916, Captain Hanson Gregory claimed to have had his brainstorm while aboard a lime-trading ship at the age of 16.
"Now in them days we used to cut the doughnuts into diamond shapes, and also into long strips, bent in half, and then twisted. I don't think we called them doughnuts then—they was just 'fried cakes' and 'twisters.'

"Well, sir, they used to fry all right around the edges, but when you had the edges done the insides was all raw dough. And the twisters used to sop up all the grease just where they bent, and they were tough on the digestion."
"Well, I says to myself, 'Why wouldn't a space inside solve the difficulty?' I thought at first I'd take one of the strips and roll it around, then I got an inspiration, a great inspiration.

"I took the cover off the ship's tin pepper box, and—I cut into the middle of that doughnut the first hole ever seen by mortal eyes!"

"Were you pleased?"

"Was Columbus pleased? Well, sir, them doughnuts was the finest I ever tasted. No more indigestion—no more greasy sinkers—but just well-done, fried-through doughnuts." [Link]
Upon returning to Camden, Gregory taught his mother the trick. She sent several panfuls to Rockland, where they were an instant hit.

A plaque near Clam Cove in the present town of Rockport marks Captain Gregory's birthplace, which is now the parsonage of the Nativity Lutheran Church. Captain Gregory lived his last years at Sailors' Snug Harbor in Quincy, Mass., and was buried there beneath a prominent headstone in 1921.


At 6:19 AM, September 15, 2009, Blogger chefscott67 said...

Hi, i am in hanoi vietnam, helping open up an american style donut shop. have been doing lots and lots of research on the web, and came across this little tidbit:

interesting reading about what they have to say about capt. gregory

i am from maine, but didn't know abought all the ties maine has to donuts till i started this project. and i lived in rockport!!! peace

At 6:01 PM, May 22, 2019, Blogger Unknown said...

I heard this story growing up and he is my 6th Great Uncle. I guess my Grandfather wasn't lying.


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