I have no desire to start a movement to change the name of the town of Machias. I think it is a great name It comes from the anglesizing of the Indian name for the river upon which the town of Machias was founded, Mechesis. Many Maine towns take their names from the rivers upon which they were built and many Maine towns take their names from the language of the native Americans of the area. It is a nice combination of the two. It is, however, also true that often the Founders of a town have it become named in their honor. Bucksport, where the author lived for over half his life, is a classic example. To have a town named for you and a monument also erected to proclaim the fact is certainly a great honor. Contrariwise, it seems that it is a tragic dishonor when the name of a great man who deserves the same recognition is completely lost to succeeding generations. Such, unfortunately, is the case of Timothy Libby. But even more unfortunate is the loss of some of the providential history which surrounds the beginning of this
great little town. ( The name Timothy comes from the Greek and means to honor God .) It is the authors desire both, hopefully to set the record straight about the founding of Machias, and in doing so to honor God by reviving some of the exciting history of a place that seemed destined to be.
Writing this in the format of an historical novel might seem strange when it is done with the intent of preserving factual material, but it is with the hope that truth will surface and float free upon the pages of a story which could certainly be true and which actually is true in many of its details. It is hoped that readers will make the effort to discern the difference between truth and fiction by paying especial attention to the footnotes. These will be more of interest to members of the Libby family and to those really interested in the history of the area. It is mostly to that audience the book is directed. The storyline is only a device to hang it all together and get you to read it. The central character, young Tim Libby, son of Timothy Libby Sr., was actually just coming into his teen-age years in 1763 when Machias was being settled, and all of his adventures were things a young man could have experienced in those pioneer days.?
Chapter I THE WRECK OF THE SWEET ALICE
"Brace yourselves, boys. We’re headed right for them ledges!"
Within seconds there was a loud crash heard above the howl of the wind in the half lowered sails and the pounding of the surf against the rocks as the small schooner slammed into the protruding ledge a short ways offshore in the small cove Captain Timothy Libby had mistakenly chosen to swing her into as he ran before the gale. The darkened visibility, the wild wind, and the pounding rain had combined their forces against his seafaring skills to hold the small vessel steady until he could reach a secluded cove that he had been in once before. Thinking this was it, he swung her in and too late realized his error as rocks on the half-tide seemed to be everywhere.
Just about the time they hit and heard the splintering of the wooden hull, the wind seemed to drop off a bit, and Timothy hollered, "She’ll stay hung on the rocks for a few minutes, lads. So let’s grab what we kin, throw it in the tender and haul out o’ here afore we sink that too!"1
With that, he went into the small cabin on deck and started throwing things to the two boys who had pulled the dory up along side the wreck and were making it fast to the gunnels. They made certain the oars were aboard and the pole they had used for a mast which hung out over the bow. After cleaning up some of the gurry and blood from the dead seals, fortunately they had thrown some extra canvas into the boat before they left the hunting grounds.
Timothy was shoving everything at them that wasn’t fastened down as fast as he could gather it up - food, clothes tools and the box that held the instruments, a few pots and utensils.
"Hurry, lads! The tides comin n’l float her free any minute now and she’ll go down quick! Gettin’ in the lea of the shore here is a help and the wind ‘pears to ‘ave hit a lull but even at that, pullin’ outa here ain’t gonna be easy and I can’t see a safe place to land in this cove anywheres. So we’d better git on out a here and take her down wind to the next place we kin git into. Man, that north wind is ugly! I’m sure glad that we’ve kept dry as we have thanks to these oil skins- and say, ain’t ya glad we thought to bring along these so’westers? I’ve never seen a storm come up so quick and it sure caught us out too fer, but I do think the worst is ovah and things are quietin’ down some.
" Watch it - jump inta the dory and use yer toadstabber to cut the lines. Here, stow the axe in a safe place - and here’s a spade. We ain’t had much use fer it so far, but I throw’d it in when we left Scarbro, an I bet we’ll be glad we got it fore it’s ovah.
"There, push off boys were free of her now. I’ll take the oars- you take the tilla, Tim, and Jonny, take that spare oar and use it to push us clear. Whew, I think we’ve made it. Thank You Lord!"
Quickly they threw some old sail cloth over things they wanted to stay dry, though it seemed that the rain was about to stop. Most of the food was in tins anyway, and the clothes were in their seabags.
Soon they reached the point and headed out from the shore a ways, so they wouldn’t strike any submerged ledges. "Keep your eyes peeled," Timothy hollered , "and if you spot a good cove let me know - I kin row better with my back to the bow, and it’s all I kin do in this here sea to keep her goin’ straight. You kin ease her in a little bit now Tim - I think this blow is about ovah. What a squall !"2 It was beginning to get near evening in the short late November day, when they spotted a small sheltered cove with beach still showing some on the in-coming tide. They made for land and were mighty glad when they got their boots on the tumbling rocks. Dragging the dory up as far as they could with the sea pushing hard to help them, they made the painter fast to a low hanging pine that leaned out over the beach. Timothy grabbed the axe and plunged into the evergreen forest while the boys heartily built up a fire pit and put some washed up logs next to it. Soon Timothy returned with an armful of fairly dry wood which he had found in a sheltered spot. He also had some birch bark from a deadfall and a fist full of small dry spruce branches.
"Here, Jonny, grab the axe and git us a few poles so we can build a lean-to or maybe a tent out of the old sails we had stowed in the tenda. Tim, we’ll git a fire goin’, and afore long it’l be just like havin a picnic on the beach down ta Scarbro. Here, I’ll make a place a’tween these bolders to set the kittle on to make us some hot tea. They’s a little brook comin’ out of the woods over theyah a ways - maybe just made by the rain or maybe comin’ from the little pond just back a piece from the beach, but I think we kin get ourselves some fresh watah and near it I spotted a great chance to put up a tent."
After a short word of thanks for the food and the safety, they dug into their tins for some jerky and biscuits. While they ate Tim noticed his father seemed quiet and sad. He felt really bad for his pa knowing that losing the vessel was about like him losing a member of the family.
"I shore did hate to leave the Sweet Alice back there, but we kin be thankful that the Lord gave us time to git the dory launched afore the tide lifted her off’n the rocks and into deep wata. There musta been quite a hole stove in her to sink her so fast. Probly by the time the tide gits all the way up, even the top of her mast’ll be gone out o’ sight. Poor old girl, I’m gonna miss her somethin awful, but fer now we’d better concentrate on gittin’ home safe. If it warn’t for wintah comin’ on, we might think o’ gittin’ back and tryin’ to salvage her, but they probly wont be much left of her by the time this wintah’s storms git done with her I ‘magine."
By the time they had finished supper the rain had stopped and they hung some of their clothes near the fire to dry. Their stockings had gotten wet while they were getting out of the dory by the waves going over their boots and perspiration under their oil skins had wetted some of their shirts. As
Timothy had said, he had found a good flat spot just back in the woods near a small pond where they could put up their canvas for a tent, in case it should start raining again. They had an oil lantern with some seal oil saved from what they had been burning on the vessel. It was surprising how the lantern warmed up the tent. They gathered some tips of the jack firs and put them down for a bed which they covered with their slickers and blankets and an old quilt, and all three intended to crawl into it soon. " We’ll sit fer a spell around the fire and unwind - I’m so worked up I don’t think I’m gonna be able to sleep much anaways, least fer awile. Say how’d ya like it if I told ya some Indian stories tonight and every night ‘til we get home?" 3
"Oh that’s great Pa! I’m not sleepy either. How about you, Jonny?"
"Nope, I’m game if everyone else is. Wait til I clean some of the wood off this chunk of spruce gum I got while I was getting the tent poles. There that’ll give me something to do while I’m listening." He shoved a mess of it into his mouth and began chawing away, trying to get it worked up into the smooth tasty gum while he spat several times to get rid of the bark. "Say Tim, I wonder if we could make any money if we gathered a lot of spruce gum and boiled it down and sold it to our relations?"
"I don’t think so," Tim replied, " Sarie and I tried that once and we got one of Ma’s pots so stuck up with the pitchey mess that she had to throw it away. She wasn’t very happy about it either. Say, Pa speaking of Indians , do you think there might be some around here anywhere?"
"Naw, but if they was, I don’t think they’d hurt us any. Before I really git inta my Indian stories though, I think I’d kinda I’d like to start by tryin to get you to see the overall pitchur, ‘specially since Jonny ain’t heard none of ‘em an ‘cause it’s real important to git the whole story, Ther’l be lots of opportunity to go inta detail afore we git home, I’m thinkin."
And with that introduction, Timothy started telling of the events in Plymouth that led up to what became known as King Phillip’s War4, He told of the many times Scarborough had been attacked and how Tim’s ancestors had been driven out to find shelter in Massachusetts. He told about how Fort Loyal in Falmouth was destroyed. He explained to the boys how the French had influenced the northern tribal people against the English and that for nearly 100 years they had not been allowed to settle in this whole northeastern territory. No English villages nor even single pioneer families could be found much above Pemaquid all the way to Nova Scotia. After King Phillip had been killed, many of his lieutenants fled to Maine and allied themselves with the French, bringing most of the tribal people of these northern parts into an alliance with them. These people were basically a peaceful folk so with the expulsion of the French influence things had really changed. Recently some amazing things had been taking place. He knew that sharing some of these facts would help to allay any fears that might be conjured up by the lurid but true Indian stories of the only too recent past.
Timothy then commenced to tell them the exciting stories about the fall of Louisbourg up above Nova Scotia. He told of the conquest of Ticonderoga, and especially the battle on the Plains of Abraham up in Quebec, where, though both leaders had been killed, the English had gained a great victory only a few years back in ‘59. A treaty had been signed giving all of Canada to the nation of England. Peace had finally come. "I ‘spect afore many more years," he concluded, "this whole coast of what is called the Province of Maine ‘ll have towns in every cove and at the mouth of every rivah".
"Well, boys, it’s off to bed now. We got a long day ahead of us tomorry. ‘Early to bed’n early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy’n wise "........to which I might add ...All that bein’ said, t’will be no surprise - If God give us good sleep, and tomorry, fair skies.– with apology to good old Ben Franklin. Now off wi’ ye - while I sit here a little longer by the fire to say a prayer or two."
Both boys were sound asleep when Timothy crawled in under the covers but he lay there awake for what seemed like hours having been stirred up thinking about home while he was saying his prayers. Lots of thoughts crowded into his mind. He was anxious to get back because he knew his wife Sarah would be worried, especially in a another day or two when they didn’t come home when he had said they would. Then too,Sarah was expecting her sixth child.. It had been nearly five years since the last one and she was having more problems than usual even though she was not due to deliver until well into the next year. His eldest daughter, named for her mother was all of fifteen now and a big help with Esther and Mary and her two younger brothers, seven and ten.
Now that Timmie is thirteen he thinks of himself as being almost a man and doesn’t like his sister bossing him around. It did seem that he was old enough to be included on this year’s seal hunt and the way things have turned out I am mighty glad to have both of the boys along to help with the dory especially since they get along so well together, and Jonny is real rugged for a sixteen year old.
Tim looks up to Jonathan, and they have gotten even closer since Jonny and his grandmother have moved in with Josiah. It seems like he comes over to our house almost every day now. Course I can see that he has taken a shine to my Sarie- -girl but I don’t really think that’s going anywhere, not since she told her mother that she plans to marry Westbrook Berry’s brother, John. That won’t be for a while yet cause I’ve made it clear that I wont let go of her a day before she reaches twenty.
Thinking about Jonathan’s grammie we’ve just got to get busy and try to build them a place to live. It’s a shame that they lost their house over in Newcastle in those wild fires last fall along with the six families here in our town. It was a real shame too that Isaac Larrabee had hardly got settled in that new one he built.
Well, I just can’t solve the problems of the world in one night and I have just got to try to get to sleep. Morning will come soon enough and we need to get home. That dory rows hard, but she is good and sea-worthy and I never dreamed we’d be using her like this.
It seemed to Tim that he had just closed his eyes when he felt his father shaking his shoulder and telling him it was time to "rise and shine". Jonathan was already up and was rubbing his hands over the fire. He could smell some bacon frying and the tea kettle was bubbling away. Before they fell asleep last night the two teen-aged boys were wishing they could take a little time in the morning to explore the cove where they were camped but they both knew that Timothy was anxious to get back home what with Christmas coming on soon and so much to do around their place to get ready for another Maine winter.
Tim knew that they not only had to bank their own house with sawdust from the mill, but they had to help Josiah get his done and usually two or three more Libby relatives. Not everybody had a horse and truck-cart like his Pa did.
About the time Timothy had crawled out of bed he had noticed that the tide was just turning and he pushed the dory off to keep her free. He would keep his eye on her ‘til they got ready to shove off, though they had laid a few short rollers aside in case they needed them.
They ate a quick breakfast consisting mostly of the same fare they had eaten the night before only this morning they had added some local nourishment. Timothy had noted that there were cattails5 in the little pond and he had dug some out, had cleaned them, and cut them up in their water pail. These they boiled. They would have been better with salt, pepper and butter, but with everyone so hungry the cattails were consumed with no thought of digging out the sea salt brought from home. The Libbys had actually eaten them before when times were a bit hard but it was a new experience for Jonny, but he didn’t gripe - he was that kind of a young man and Timothy appreciated it. The salty bacon helped. Timothy told them that he had read somewhere that every part of a cattail was edible and often took the place of dandelions in the fall when they weren’t available. The friendly Indians around Scarborough had taught the settlers about a lot of wild things that could be eaten when necessary, but what Tim liked the best was the maple syrup that they now harvested each spring. "Yum yum!" he thought.
To get ready for the sail when the wind came up, they stuck the pole in the place made for it in the seat near the bow and made it fast with some heavy twine. The spare sail pieces that they had brought along on the trip already had eyelets sewn into them and they were ready to attach them to the rings they had made out of alders. This Jonathan could accomplish, while Timothy start out rowing and Tim was at the tiller.
"Well boys, this is some different than that narsty blow we come afoul of yesty - and there I thought fer sartin that we was headed into a place I had been into before, when all of a sudden them ledges were right there, and we was headed fair into ‘em. Man dear alive, to think I’ve gone and sunk our poor old schoonah. My face is gonna be some red when I get back to Scarbro and report this fracas to the neighbors- that is providin we git back. Its gonna be a long haul and I shore hope you young bucks are up to it."
"O Pa we’ll make it okay as long as we stick in sight of land and take it easy even if it takes us a couple weeks. Course, Ma will be worried, but just think how tickled she’ll be to see us. We’ll be like stars in her sky for the next few days after we get home now won’t we?"
Their heavy winter gear felt good in the nippy morning air, but before long the sun was up over the eastern horizon with a bit of warmth. Timothy had already peeled off his jacket for it did indeed look like a fair day with the light sea breeze blowing nor’east. Soon there was a slight chop and a few small whitecaps so they raised the sail. The wind filled it giving them a chance to use the spyglass as they searched the shore and watched out for ledges. Timothy studied the old map that had been made years ago and was getting quite tender, trying to get an ideas of just where they were. Soon he had the sextant out and was plotting a course for what later became known as Beal’s Island.
"Oh look Pa", Tim exclaimed, "There’s a big cove. Too bad we hadn’t got along this far when we were driven ashore in the Sweet Alice. I’ll bet we would have found a safe haven in there all right!"
"Right ya are, son, and well stay just off a ways from that big island that’s just to the south’ard there a piece.
Timothy know how to navigate. He wasn’t called Captain Libby without a reason. He came from a family that had many members that had followed the sea. In fact, his brother David practically lived on his coaster so that his family rarely saw him. Why even these days with it tied up to the dock in front of his house on Blue Point, he was sleeping nights aboard of her since widow Page was coming in to care for his wife who was sick-a-bed over problems in child-birth with Dorcus’sixth child.6 Also he had put his house up for sale for some unknown reason. Timothy never could quite figure David out.
Chapter II - EXPLORING THE RIVER
They had hardly passed the big island when Timothy exclaimed, "Hey lads, there must be a river coming out around here som’eres cause we’ve run into some current and the tide hasn’t turned yit ". As he spoke, he reached over the side and scooped up some water in his hand and tasted it. "Shore nuff this watahs almost fresh- there must be quite a charge of it." Pointing over toward land he said, " Look, there’s a couple of small islands over there. Lets stop on over and have a look-see."
With that, they pulled in out of the current and jumped out on the short beach just about the time that the tide was turning. "Wowee fellas! There must be quite a river here alright and we hit it just in time to see that there is even a strong current runnin at dead low watah. Ya know what, I heard ya talkin about wishin you could do some explorin. Well I’ve caught the itch to do a little m’self. What do ya say we catch this flood tide and run on up a ways? It’s extre work, but I think it may be worth it for some unknown reason." He didn’t need to convince the rest of the outfit. Like most teens their age, they were game for anything that might turn into an adventure.
They hadn’t gone very far when Tim asked his father what he should aim for. "Well, at this point I’m not sure myself, but I think we should stay close to the left side. Do you see that little island with the yellowish headland? Head her fer that".
"Jumpin Jehoshaphat! Lads, do you see what I see? There’s marsh grass every where ya look. Just what we need back home for our stock. I heard tell, just afore we left, that a bunch of fellas come up the coast all the way to the Penobscot huntin fer a place like this . There’s always been talk among the old timers that there was rivahs o’ grass in inlets all along the coast. But you know, there’s been so much fear of the Indians that no one has really dared to hunt fer it til now. The Lord musta wanted us to see this place and maybe that’s the reason why He allowed us to have the wreck just so’s we could find it. Well anyhow, we know it’s here now and by the jumpin were goin to take a good look, cause it may be a long time afore we ever git back here agin!"
With the tide out so far they thought it would be a good time to dig a few clams and maybe find some periwinkles in the bargain, which they did, putting them in the bucket they had used to boil the cattails. They found the shovel came in handy for digging the clams, since they didn’t have a clam hoe suited for the purpose.
All of the rest of the seven or eight miles up the river they couldn’t help exclaiming about the beauty of the country around them. The "oohs" and "aahs" were profuse at every bend in the shore line. Back of the marsh grass there appeared to be timber everywhere they looked. It was a perfect day for their exploration and the tide seemed to push them along. The little breeze was blowing just right so they really didn’t have to work very hard at all. They took particular note of the narrows as they ran between the banks on either side, and here they had to do some rowing as the force of the river clashed with the tidal waters and they had slowed down quite a bit.
Timothy told the boys that whatever lay beyond this point, if it were a town, would certainly be easy to defend. For one thing the wind and tide would have to be just right for a large sailing ship to get up any further.
They started exploring the first smaller river they came to but it wasn’t long before they realized that though there was a lot of water coming down, there was water meeting it coming from the right hand side and what they were going up was actually an eastern branch. Retracing their way they soon found a branch coming down from the north that was wide enough to float a vessel but there was still more water coming from the west of that branch. They could hear the roar of a waterfall in that direction. These two streams made a small lake big enough to hold several vessels and as they made their way to the upper end they saw the falls and realized that they had come to the end of the line for sailing ships.
Timothy could envision one or more sawmills on those falls and lumber being sawed from the very logs of the trees growing down to the water’s edge. What a wild and beautiful spot with three separate rivers all coming together almost within sight of each other and not a soul anywhere to be seen - not a cabin or any sign of civilization. They could only guess what lay over the horizon to the north. They had gone far enough up the eastern river to note that it too could support several lumber mills. Tons of water poured out of these three rivers to flow powerfully through the narrows through which they had passed.on their way up. The boys talked of what a storybook place for a pirates den but all Timothy could think about was how much lumber could be made and shipped out of this place.
They had seen enough marsh grass to support herds of animals without ever chopping down a tree. There were huge pines that could be used for ships masts. It certainly looked like it was all here just waiting to be possessed and a strong desire passed over Timothy’s soul. He wanted to be the one to claim it, and, if was God’s will, he would be.
By this time they were all hungry as bears so they pulled up on a little open spot and dug out the makins of a lunch of clams, biscuits and left over cattails. "We’ll have the periwinkles for suppah along with some goose tongue greens. We should be able to pick up some down rivah where the tidal water and the rivah water mix or maybe we might have some fresh fish, if you fellas think you might be able to catch us a few."
At that suggestion they were eager to try their luck up in a pool they had seen on top of the falls. They had some hooks and line that they never left home without. It was only a matter of cutting a couple of poles with their sheath knives, and they would soon see whether there might be a trout or two in that pond. "I’ll just set here and take in the splendah of these peaceful surroundings," Timothy declared. "Don’t be gone too long. We should be outa heah in a hour or so if we want to catch the ebb tide. It should be quite a ride."
"Whoopie!" The boys shouted," We’re goin fishin." They had been listening to Timothy for so long that they were both beginning to sound just like him! It didn’t take a whole hour, and they were back excitedly displaying eight beauties averaging 20 inches apiece. "Wow!" said Jonathan, " I’ve never seen fishing like that in my whole life. I guess it’s because there’s no one fishing here - or else they were just super hungry. You should have seen the one I lost. He was bigger than any of these, but I just didn’t have him hooked good and he dropped off. We just couldn’t get him to bite again."
" Well it’s the old fisherman’s story the biggest one got away. But, I wouldn’t say that nobody has been fishin heah. I been looking around a little while you yow-uns 1 have been gone and there’s plenty of evidence of there bein people around heah. Just you lookit that path down the side of those falls. That’s a sign of an Indian carry, or I miss my guess, and there’s lots of signs of an encampment right on this bank, if you look fer ‘em."2
Timothy had the dory all loaded and drifting free, pulling on the painter as if she was anxious to be away on the tide. Soon they were loaded in and on their way, already looking forward to trout for supper. He had told the boys that it was his plan to make it out to the two little islands where they had stopped before starting up the river. There was good place on the leaward side where they could pull out and make camp for the night.
He had been doing lots of thinking and a little praying while the boys had fished. He had told the Lord that if He was willing, this was the place where he wanted to spend the rest of his life. " Yes-sir-ree lads, this is one sweetheart of a place fer a settlement, if I ever saw one and I’m heading home to Scarbro to round up all the friends and relations I kin git and we’re comin back. Yes sir, we’re comin back an catch that ol, fish and just see how big he really is!"
Tim couldn’t remember his father being so excited about anything ever before. He couldn’t stop talking about Machias River and what a town it would make, about building cabins all along the bank and about producing thousands of board feet of lumber and trading it for supplies, about ships worming their way up into the beautiful little harbor bringing things to them all the way from Boston. He started naming some of the people he was just dying to tell about this place and he didn’t want to let much grass grow under his feet, because if they didn’t get this spot, someone else surely would! He was already trying to convice Jonathan to come back and bring his grammie and build her a log cabin under that hugh old pine they had seen. "Say", Jonathan chimed in, " I’ll bet it wouldn’t take a whole lot of persuading to get Tim’s uncle Josiah to come where your wife and his are cousins - more like sisters ain’t they - and especially if they think they might lose their baby-sitter."
"Yep", said Timothy, " we’re a close knit bunch there on Scottow’s Hill, ever since Timmie’s grampie David moved back from Kittery and built the old garrison house. We all lived there together for fear of the Indians fer awhile."
"Pa, will you tell Jonney about Nathaniel Dresser tonight after supper? I don’t think he has ever heard that story." Tim got a pleasant nod from his father.
On the way down the river they had a little more time to look around because they knew better where they were and where they wanted to be as soon before dark as possible. Using the glass, Timothy spotted the shell heap. This indicated where the Indians had set up their main summer encampment. The great size of it told that it was something they had been doing for probably hundreds of years. Timothy told the boys that they came out of the woods like most of the Maine Indians to get away from the black flies and mosquitoes, enjoy the cooler temperatures, eat lots of salmon and trout and of course, shellfish, and put up a lot of things for their winter food. Timothy hoped that the Indians would not be too disturbed to have some new neighbors and perhaps they would be kind to the settlers showing them many things that would help make life more enjoyable. Little did he know just how important their friendship would turn out to be. ?
Timothy had two things he wanted to do as they drifted along with the stream. One was to pencil into his rough map the location of the three rivers they had discovered. The second was to stop and pick some greens for supper, which usually liked to grow near where the fresh water and the salt came together. They might actually find more on the east side of the bay, but it was too far out of the way . As it was, they did find some and also a large deposit of drift wood high enough on the beach to be really dry. They were afraid there might not be much firewood to be found on the islands where they were headed.
Up ahead they spotted the two islands with a bar between them and headed to the lower one where Timothy had noticed a landing place on a small beach. Judging from where the seaweed had been washed up, they found there would be room enough to set up a shelter and build a fire but they were getting there pretty close to dark so they would have to hurry as the moon would be up too late and too small to be any help.
All went well, however, and soon they were ready to cook supper. They had been keeping the trout damp and as cool as possible along with the periwinkles and clams. Even though they were anxious to eat the trout, they felt they had to eat the shellfish before they spoiled. So they heated them up in one bucket and boiled the goose tongue greens in the teapot, which they then rinsed out and made tea to go with their biscuits. They fried the trout on some smooth rocks that they found near some ledges by laying them across some other rocks that they placed in the flames. The fish cooked quickly and they ate three of them, saving the others for another meal.
When the meal was over, they cleaned the dishes with sand and rinsed them in the salt water. After supper, they prepared their bed, which they knew would not be as comfortable as the night before, but they felt that after such an active day they could probably sleep on a rock. They built up a good hot fire and settled themselves to hear more of Timothy’s stories.
One of his purposes in telling the stories was to help his son realize what a great heritage he had in the Libby family. Even though he had heard much of what he was sharing, Timothy knew his young son never tired of listening to the exciting stories woven in between. Tonight he wanted to start from the beginning with Tim’s great grandfather, the grand patriarch of the Libby clan, John Libby who had come to these shores as a fisherman working for a company in England. On Richmond’s Island they set up drying racks and dried the fish to be sent back to England. He worked under a man named John Winter, and there is a document showing that he was paid for his work in l6393, so he was working in the Province of Maine near where the town of Scarborough would be since near the early days of the Pilgrims. Libby was about 47 at the time. Some of his children were born in the old country but most of them in America. He had twelve in all and one of them, the 10th, was David Sr., Tim’s great grandfather, and father of David jr. who built the garrison house on Scottow’s Hill4 where the story of Dresser occurred.
In those earlier times as William Southgate expressed it, " The Indians and English in Maine were generally at peace with each other, sharing their fireside hospitality, and enjoying their unimpaired confidence. Such was the happy condition of affairs here when the famous King Phillip devised his plan for exterminating every New England colony. He used every means in his power to bring the Maine Indians to his party."5
Actually the first attack of the Indians in Scarborough took place in 1675 and resulted, as did most of the incidents in those days, from the extension of the afore mentioned King Phillip’s War.
" Most people seem t’ think that Phillip wouldn’t have succeeded ‘cept for a sad thing happenin" said Timothy. "Some bad men were tryin t’ prove ah ideah that some of ‘em had back then that Indian babies were born with the ability t’ swim and one of ‘em tipped a canoe ovah with a baby an his Ma in it. ‘Course the child went under like a rock and his Ma dove down and saved him but in a few days he died and the Indians blamed the white men fer it. The baby belonged t’ an important man, Squando by name, who had been a real friend t’ the Pilgrims but this made him an enemy and he threw in with Phillip.
"It was about that time in ‘75 that the homes of people in Scarbro were attacked and Robert Nichols and his wife wuz killed. Soon after the Alger’s garrison house was attacked and all the houses nearby wuz burned. John Libby suffered along with some of these people and lost everything ‘cept his plantation and according t’ the diary of captain Joshua Scottow they burnt eight or nine houses and barns belonging to John and his children."6 Two of John’s eldest sons served as soldiers and died in this phase of the war.
Timothy went on to tell how most of these ancestors escaped with their lives thanks to the soldiers under Scottow’s command. They fled to Boston for a few years but soon returned and rebuilt and lived peacefully until Tim’s great grandfather, John Libby died before Feb. 6, 1682, at about 80 years old.
The next local problem, called The Second Indian War, came in 1690 when the Indians instigated by the French and led by Baron Castine7 attacked Fort Loyal on Casco Neck a little north of Black Point where the Libbys lived. The fort was destroyed and the inhabitants were killed or carried captive, but the news spread to Scarborough in time for the inhabitants there to flee to safer localities. The town itself was completely destroyed, along with captain Scottow’s massive fort, and abandoned for many years thereafter.8 ( It was about 30 years later before the town of Scarborough could reorganize).
"Boys", said Timothy, "you kin be some thankful that you’ve come t’ be born now-a -days ‘stead o’ back a few years ago - an ‘taint really that long ago neither. Durin the peaceful times everyone tried to git prepared in case them Frenchmen got the Indians stirred up again. There was some mighty strong garrison9 houses built an if’n they wuz properly defended it would ’o been quite a job t’ take ‘em. There wuz one down at Black Point in a place called Cammock’s Neck, where there wuz one o’ the strongest of any around - built like a fort. It was Jocelyn’s garrison and whenever there was a threat of bein attacked, everyone around the whole area would pile into ’er. Well, there wuz this chief named Mogg (Mugg) who threatened to attack it a couple o’ times. The first time, while Mogg wuz meetin’ outside with Joscelyn about negotiatin a surrender, all the folks sneaked out and got away in boats and Joscelyn, along with his family, wuz taken prisoners fer a few 10months and then released. But Mogg was determined and tried again to capture it, and this time someone shot him dead. About a month later, a turrible battle took place near the Nonesech River between Capt’n Benjamin Swett who had 40 English soldiers, ‘n 200 friendly Indians under his command agin’ a large band of Indians who ambushed ‘em, bent on revenge fer the killin of Mogg. They wuz a lot killed on both sides and Swett almost made it back to the fort though he was bad wounded. He fell at the gate with 20 bullet holes in ‘im and there they hacked his body to pieces."
Timothy explained that there were attempts made by folks to reclaim their homeland prior to the official resettlement of Scarborough and one exciting story involved Tim’s ancestors. It took place about 1702 when a small band of settlers came in a sloop from Lynn, Massachusetts whence they had taken refuge. They were led by a man named John Larrabee,11 who was known as a great Indian fighter and a strong leader. The small band of adventurers included Tim’s great grandfather’s brother Henry with his three sons, Charles Pine, another well known Indian fighter, and a man whose surname was Blood. There were a total of only eight stalwart men. The first thing they did was build a garrison house in a place now called Garrison Cove on the Neck12.
They hardly got it finished when they were attacked by a huge force of French and Indians led by a Frenchman named Beaubasin. Though there were only eight fighting men in the new fort they fought valiantly under Larrabee . The fort was near the beach, and the enemy could get behind a little hill. Soon, inspired by the French leaders, they devised a plan of digging a tunnel to undermine the fort. When they were about halfway successful, a two day hard rain occurred, and the tunnel collapsed, exposing them to gunfire from the garrison. Whereupon the enemy grew discouraged and withdrew, leaving off the attack and departed the area for easier prey. Not one of the men inside was reported injured and God won the victory for them by a rainstorm!
During the period that followed the destruction of Scarborough, there were several attacks by the enemy upon the straggling few that attempted resettlement. The worst was the massacre of a group of men who went out unarmed to round up a herd of their cattle in the fall of 1713. It was near a place called Round Pond that 200 Indians killed nineteen of them and mutilated the body of a brave leader named Hunniwell. The pond’s name was changed to Massacre Pond and bears that name today.
About ten years later Black Point was attacked, and at that time Thomas Larrabee and his son Anthony, who were out working in their fields, were killed. A few months later Thomas’ son Benjamin joined a force of over 200 soldiers who broke up an Indian village at Norridgewock near Skowhegan, where a Catholic priest named Rasle was killed, who was documented as stirring up the Indians against the English. Papers were found that showed that he was taking orders from the Governor of Canada.
"Well boys," Timothy finished up his stories about Scarborough and the days of the French and Indian wars, "that brings us t’ the sad tale of the murder of Nathaniel Dresser who lived on Scottow Hill. Nathaniel wuz headin off to work one mornin early when he happened t’ spot some Indians a hidin in amongst some trees near the path he wuz takin. They wuz goin to let him pass but he saw ‘em and spun around and tried t’ make it back to pa’s garrison to warn everyone. When they saw they would be found out they commenced to fire at him. They hit him and knocked him down, then one of ‘em ran out and started scalpin him. The family always said that Pa wuz the one that shot that Indian right in our dooryard.12 Anyway, Dresser died right there in everybody’s face and eyes a givin his life to save ourn, because as sure as shootin them Indians wuz out t’ git us all that day. Just think,that was back in ‘47 only about fifteen or sixteen years ago and not a great while afore you wuz born, Timmie. We shore got a lot t’ be thankful for, t’ think that turrible war is ovah and them French is drivin outta this part o’ the country! They say that the Indians around heah neva wanted t’ be in it in the fust place, anyways it shore has quieted down a heap. Well now we’re all a yawnin an I’m already half asleep so we’d better hit the hay so’s we kin git off in the mornin brite ‘n early."
Chapter III THE DERRINGER
The next morning, after a hurried and cold breakfast the trio pushed off from their overnight stay on Libby Island1 as they called it, and headed south. There was only a slight breeze in the early morning, but unfortunately it was coming from a bad quarter and the sky was red as the great ball rose out of the sea.
"We’d best keep pretty snug t’ land today ‘cause it may come up a blow afore noon, and we might just have t’ make landfall a mite earlier than we woulda planned. There’s a point up ahead and a big island I have camped on back along, Perhaps we should make for that and check on how things are. I see the current comin outta heah runs down along in that direction and it will be a big help to us with this wind the way it is."
It was obvious before long that it was going to be a struggle. The wind was against them, and even with Timothy and Jon manning the oars it was all they could do to make much of any headway. Young Tim struggled to keep her straight with the makeshift rudder, but they were rapidly getting tired out, and it did seem that it was going to be worse before it was better. They were being driven with the wind against the high sides of the dory and getting out away from land further and further.
All of a sudden, Timothy shouted, "sail ho!" and Tim turning back spied a three masted ship bearing down on them astern. It was still quite a distance away, but it was making a leaward tack, and at the moment, seemed headed right for them. As she turned to pick up the now quite steady off shore breeze our three stalwarts took to waving anything white that they could find and prayed that they would be seen. The flags showed that she was English, and soon it became obvious that she had seen them and altering her course seemed to be sailing toward them. The vessel soon hailed them and got a return cry on the wind for help, so they lowered a small boat and rowed the more manageable craft until they were close enough to communicate with each other. The sailors in British uniforms soon got the picture though they had a bit of trouble with the Yankee drawl. Throwing the weary trio a line the smaller boat towed the dory over to the ship. Once on board the captain introduced himself and explained that they were a supply ship headed for Fort Pownal (Pownell) on the Penobscot and did they wish to come along or be put back out in their dory once they had rested a bit?
It certainly was out of their way, Timothy figured, but taking everything into consideration he reasoned that though they would lose time, it would be safer to stick with the vessel. Since she was headed ultimately for Boston, they might be better off even timewise, depending how close she sailed to Scarborough. In truth, all three of them were excited to get a chance to see the new Fort that the English had built to protect the mouth of the Penobscot and oversee the Indian Truck House. These trading houses were designed to keep the Indians happy and the civilians honest. Furs for needed supplies rather than rum and trinkets.
The guests were immediately welcomed to the captain’s table where they were served a hot meal which included fresh trout that had been turned over to the cook- especially for their host’s pallet, for which he was well pleased.
It was soon learned that the friendly captain was named Allison Schimerhorn, Captain Ali, of her majesty’s ship, The Derringer, small but handy.2 on his way back from a run up to Annapolis with supplies. On this trip her only other port o’ call was to be at the new Fort Pownal with the bulk of supplies, due to the fact that this post was also a truck house serving the local Indian tribe.
It proved that Capt. Ali was a gregarious Englishman who loved to talk and Capt. Libby was a Yankee, who gathered information like the proverbial sponge. Like most of the family he had monstrous ears. Then too, he was an historian of sorts, and he was glad to refresh his mind with the details in the conversation and to have the boys learn some historical facts as well. He had warned them, however, not to breathe a word, while at the fort, about their excursion up the Machias River as he did not want anyone to lay claim to it ahead of him.
Timothy told the captain that he had planned to give the two boys some history lessons on the way home, figuring that it would be a long and boring journey and he would use the time to good advantage. One area with which he was totally unfamiliar, however, was the inside shore of Nova Scotia where Port Royal was located, and he found that the captain was glad to help the boys with their English History. The recent victories over the French made every Englishman grateful for the opportunity to talk about what great things were taking place these days, so after the meal they retired to the captain’s quarters where the men relaxed with pipes full of fragrant English blend and the boys sprawled out on the luxurious oriental rug on the floor.
"Of course you probably are aware of the earlier history of our conquest of Nova Scotia, but I shall hurriedly propound it in the case you are not, in order for you to have a proper background.
" Going back only a bit to the early 1700's, it became most evident that if we could but reduce Port Royal we would complete the entire conquest of Nova Scotia and convert it to an English Province. Many times I have rehearsed in my own mind and, to some folk with whom I have argued, the words of the then governor who said at the time, ‘So bigoted to the Romish religion, so against Protestants, and such their contiguity to New England that we shall never be long at rest until Canada and Nova Scotia shall constitute a part of the British Empire. The Indians themselves might be easily rendered tranquil were they removed from French influence.’3 Of course Cape Breton was controlled by the French influence at Fort Louisburg, which you Yankees have taken away from them twice now, but so far as the area to the west, after several aborted attempts Annapolis was taken with the surrender of Subercase in 1710 to superior forces. But the fact is that it is only recently that the French fortifications on the isthmus of Nova Scotia have been successfully cleaned out. I have to say that, again, it took some of your finest New England leaders to do it."
With that, the captain told them in detail about how a message had been received that a large French fleet had left the harbor of Brest for America causing Britian to dispatch Admirals Boscowan and Mostyn in 1754 with eleven ships of the line, a frigate and two regiments. Boscowan had the good fortune of capturing two ships of 64 guns, the Alcide and the Lys near Cape Race, Newfoundland. But as he had said, the lion’s share of the work had been done by Governor Shirley as Colonel, John Winslow as Lieut. Colonel and commander of the whole and Colonel Monkton who led the force successfully against Fort Beau-sejour. They changed the name of this fort to Fort Cumberland.4 The more than 300 Acadians who tried to profess neutrality were found in arms against Britain and 18,000 of them were uprooted from their homes,5 which were burned, and their lands. They were transplanted to many different localities. There is no question; it was a grievous loss for these people to be taken from their home and be shipped hundreds of miles away to be planted among strangers to whom even their language was different. But they were the enemy, and some of them had fought against the English, so probably they should have been thankful that their treatment was not much worse.
"Say men, you are in for a real treat. It just so happens that the commandant of Fort Pownal is a gentleman that you are going to enjoy meeting. He is a great soldier and has distinguished himself at Ticonderoga and has been wounded in the taking of Anapolis. His name is Jedidiah Preble,6 and he has the rank of a Brigadier General. He will no doubt invite you to eat at his table as his guests, and he certainly will be able to fill you in on some of the great things happening in Canada inthese days."
Because of contrary winds, it took a great deal of maneuvering to get up into the mouth of the Penobscot and securely moored at the pier. The boys had never been on a ship-rigged vessel, and they enjoyed watching the fancy footwork on the part of the sailors handling her and getting the canvas yards furled. They could see there was a lot more to "knowing the ropes"7 then they had experienced on the small schooner Sweet Alice. Tim had spent a lot of his spare time down on the docks at Black Point and from time to time he wondered if he should follow the sea. A lot of my relatives are sea captains. Uncle David Libby, Pa’s brother, is the captain of a coaster that brings supplies to the garrison. As he thought on these things he couldn’t help but wonder about what was happening at home with David whom he knew was very close to his Pa. I think they are even closer since Aunt Dorcus has been sick with her expected baby. There’s been so much sadness in that house over in Blue Point and maybe that was the reason why just before we left to go sealing uncle David told Pa that he was planning to sell his home. Probably uncle David is missing his two little boys who died with the fever. Then, too, the widow Page, the midwife, often has had to stay over night so David has been spending most of his nights down aboard his boat.8
Tim was aroused out of his deep thoughts by the cry, "All ashore that’s going ashore" as he realized that the ship was in and docked and the sailors were making her lines fast.
Soon a guard unit arrived to escort the three visitors to the commandant’s quarters On the way they eyed with great curiosity the strong appointments of the new fortress9. In the town of Prospect on a crescent crowning elevation, 25 rods from the water’s edge, about a league from the foot of Orphan’s Island (present day, Verona), on the western shore of the Penobscot River, it was laid out square with the points of the compass with east side facing the water. It’s dimensions were 360 feet or 90 feet on each inner side. The breastwork was 10 feet in height. An 8 foot moat 15 feet wide at the top and nearly 250 feet long on each side surrounded it. Houses for the commander and others were situated outside between the fort and the river. They were told that there was a 44 foot square blockhouse inside and it was gained by means of a drawer bridge across the ditch which contained sharpened poles called Palisadoes. On each corner there was a 33 foot high diamond shaped flanker that protruded out from the face so that firing could be directed along the sides. The upper story of the blockhouse extended out over the lower by about 3 feet just like the garrison houses back in Scarborough. The plank floors were left loose so they could be taken up in order to direct fire upon and enemy approaching the outside walls. Canons of various sizes could be seen strategically placed around the inside perimeter.
Finished on July of 1759. The fort, named for his Excellency Thomas Pownal governor of the Province of Maine and Massachusetts, was the most regular and defensible fort in the Province.10
They were told that there were 100 men stationed at the fort under the command of Brigadier General Jedediah Preble who was recovering from recent wounds as captain Ali had said. These men were mostly from two Maine forts that were being dismantled, Fort Pemaquid and Fort George and were paid six dollars a month if they furnished their own weapons.
After a sumptuous supper at the commandant’s table, the men pushed back, lit their teedee pipes and began to "chew the rag", to which the boys who were taught to be "seen and not heard", sat back and listened, almost bursting with excitement to be exposed to the delightful atmosphere. True, they had lots and lots of questions and they tried to make a mental note of the important ones so they could ask Timothy later.
Captain Ali said he had decided that the Derringer should lay by for a day to see if the weather would clear so they could have a following sea when they left the pier. "Beating up in here today against that gale was all I want of this nasty weather if I can help it," he said. It was music to the ears of our three friends, to say the least. "Besides, we still have goods to unload to resupply the truck house for the Indian fur trade". On the way up from the boat, one of the soldiers had pointed out to the visitors that the near flanker was chock full of first quality furs of beaver, otter, sable, etc. He had said, "We got ourselves a regular Indian village out back there. They come and go all the time - real peaceful though, since the Frenchies were driv out". He told them that the scuttlebutt was that a plan was afoot to put up a building to provide some housing for the Indians in bad weather and to be a place to carry on the trade with them as needed.11
One of the subjects now being discussed by the men seemed to the two boys to be of extremely great importance. They were reiterating that, one by one, all of the French outposts had fallen. Campaigns had been planned and executed for the most part successfully. The second capture of Fort Louisburgh12 had been carried out. Some minor northern forts had been captured, but most importantly, the battle for the capture of the imposing fortress at Quebec had been accomplished. All stories the boys had heard before, but well worth hearing again, especially from soldiers. Since these victories seemed almost as if they were out of the Bible, the subject turned for a few moments toward a spiritual discussion. One man who seemed to be the chaplain of Fort Pownal spoke up and asked, " Did you know that many people felt that God gave the victory at Louisburgh the first time because George Whitfield was visiting Sir William Pepperrell, the leader of that battle, at the time. He prayed with the troops and actually composed a motto under which they fought. It was in Latin, but the English translation is, Despair not with Christ as Leader?"13 Another spoke up and said, chuckling," Yes, many of the clergy called it a holy war and my pastor from York carried a hatchet with him to chop down some popish idols!"
At this point, General Preble took over the conversation. "Gentlemen, this is all good news, but the frosting on the cake is the building of this fort underwritten by the British parliament and now encouraging settlers on the Penobscot. With the treaty we made with the Indians a couple of years ago, this whole area should be able to settle down now and do some significant development. The Massachusetts Court has been receiving many requests, but the most important one represents 353 citizens acting under a grant made to Deacon David March of Haverhill, Massachusetts. This whole group explored the bay and ended up here at the fort last July. There was a casting of lots resulting in a plan that would result in 12 townships, six on this side of Mount Desert River and six on the other.14 I don’t mind saying that there was one gentleman among the whole group that stood out to my way of thinking and later I had a long talk with him. His name was Jonathan Buck and he also hailed from Haverhill. His name was third on the list of signers. He told me that he would no doubt be the surveyor that would lay out the towns right across the river here, and he was going to try for a lot that would have a stream on it so he could build a mill. He said that he planned to be back next year and start building with a view to bringing up his family in ’64. Buck had hisfourteen year old son with him named for his father."
Tim picked up his ears when he heard this. Another boy near his own age who was about to start on a wilderness adventure and like him, he had his father’s name. He wished like fury that he could interrupt the conversation and tell them all about his father’s plans, but he could tell by the look on Timothy’s face that he should not even think of spilling the beans. He knew too that his Pa was soaking up all this information and was chaffing at the bit to get back home and start getting his own plans underway.
It was getting late. Soon after everyone had tea, the meeting broke up and they were shown to their neat and comfortable quarters. It would be hard to sleep tonight!
The next morning at breakfast another interesting subject came up. It concerned Samuel Waldo, a general who had distinguished himself at Louisburgh. It seems he was visiting the fort while it was being built and decided to do a survey of his patent that had been granted him by the King of England. With a guard of 136 men he had gone up river to a place probably near Winterport where he had found a spot where he stopped and declared, "Here is my bound," and instantly dropped dead of apoplexy! He was 63 years of age. He had been talking about the benefits the fort would be to him and his co-proprietors of the Muscongus Patent which later became Waldo County.12
After breakfast at the commandant’s quarters, the guests were taken on a tour of the fort after viewing an impressive military drill on the parade grounds at the changing of the guard and raising of the colors. Tim’s heart thrilled at the rat-a-tat of the drums and the crisp sound of the bugle as it pealed out across the bay. Typical of the average lad of thirteen he began thinking that instead of being a captain of his own coaster, he’d rather be a soldier and wear a crimson coat with gold buttons.
Jonathan later told Timothy about some conversation he had with several of the soldiers. Joshua Treat who held the position of Armorer was especially friendly and had told him about some exploring he had done on his days off. He had his eye on a parcel of land upon the river, a point on this side where a large stream pours forth into a grassy meadow. If he had his way that land would some day be called Treat’s Point and would be where he would build his farm and even have his own burying ground.13
"While I was talking with him I was dreaming of our own town and of that stream where we caught those beauties that we later had for supper. I sure wanted to tell officer Treat about it, but I remembered what you told us , Mr. Libby, and I didn’t breathe a single word".
"Good boy, Jonny, it probably would o’ been a’right but I think it’s best that we keep still about our plans until we git a little futher into ‘em."
A couple other soldiers by name of Gross and Harriman told how they too had been exploring and had spotted land where they hoped one day to settle on after they were mustered out of the King’s army. Joseph Gross’s special place lay in what Mr Buck called plantation #2 and was not far from the pond called Alamoosook from which the whole area takes its Indian name. He said that there is a special red ore found there that the Indians used, and so were sometimes called The Red Paint People.
"Boy o boy Pa, I can hardly wait to explore around our new town. I really think it would have been a great place for pirates to hide out, and maybe they buried some of their treasure up in there."
"Now don’t go countin your chickens before they’s hatched, son. Cool off, and don’t go talking too much about what we seen. These soldiers just might go a lookin in some places where we wouldn’t want ‘em to. We’ve found the best spot, and we want to hold on t’ it mighty tight ‘til we git somethin built on it. Ok boy"? Said Timothy as he good naturedly rubbed his son’s head.
"Sure Pa – Hey. What’s that I hear - that whistle? Sounds like it’s coming from the Derringer down at the dock. I think it’s the bosun mate’s whistle and it could be the signal to pipe the men aboard. I thought we weren’t supposed to pull out until tomorrow morning. I’d better run down there and see what’s going on." Off he went, soon coming back puffing and exclaiming excitedly, "The captain’s changed his mind, and we’re leaving in 30 minutes!"
They ran to the commandant’s house, picked up what little gear they had there and hurried down to the dock. The lines were already being cast off and the mate said as they came up the plank. "Perhaps you land lubbers hadn’t noticed but the weather’s just cleared, and the captain wants us to get out into that northern breeze and catch the ebb tide out o’ here. If she holds, this will get us on our way down to the Fox Thoro’ fare in jig time."
Once on board the lines were shipped and the sheets filled with a fair wind, and with the following sea, the little lady took for the open sea faster than the boys had ever imagined she could fly. They thought it to be great fun as they watched the waves curl astern.
In a few minutes, Timothy pointed off to the port side to a sheer cliff near a point of land and told the boys that it was Bagaduce where there was an old French Fort and where had been the home of Baron Von Castine. For the next hour Timothy told the boys everything he knew about this man which was a lot. The older generation at Scarborough hated him for what he done at Falmouth and the surrounding towns back in 1690. About one hundred years ago he had appeared among the Eastern Indians, especially the tribe known as the Tarratines, after serving for some time with the French forces in Quebec. Through means of the Jesuit missionaries together with the taking the daughter of Madockawanda, the chief, as one of his several wives he arose to be honored by the Indians to almost the extent of diety. Timothy wanted the boys to be impressed by the fact that Castine could lead hundreds of Indians in large war canoes all the way from this point to raid the towns of Falmouth and Scarborough. It was reported that he had now returned to France and was spending the fortune he had gotten selling the furs for which he had traded trinkets and guns. He had left his wife Moonwitch behind.
Just as he was winding up his tale, the captain came out on deck and hailed them. "Gentlemen, shortly we will be stopping at the Island of Matinicus where we will be going ashore for a brief time. I thought it would be good if you might know something of the story of its inhabitants."
With that introduction Captain Ali began to unfold a rather sad story. It seems that Ebenezer Hall and his family had become squatters there a few years back and in June of ‘57 a band of Indians attacked them claiming they had long been deprived of their rights to the land, which was probably true. The Halls valiantly held out against them for about 10 days but finally succumbed . Hall who had been a lieutenant at Louisburgh was killed and the wife and five children were taken captive. They were taken up the Penobscot where the children were separated from their mother and she was marched overland to Quebec. Here the captain took several minutes to describe the beauty and character of Mary Hall who apparently had attracted a friend of his, Captain Andrew Walkins, moving him to pay her ransom of 215 livres and to procure passage for her on a ship to England. About that time the Derringer was ordered to the New World to take over the responsibility of hauling supplies to several of the English forts on the Eastern Seaboard and she begged passage with him back to America. On the trip to Boston they became well acquainted and the good Captain had fallen in love with the attractive widow. She, however, was adamant that she did not want to remarry but would return to Matinicus. No amount of persuading would prevail. Broken hearted Capt. Ali reconciled himself to her wishes and arranged for her to be dropped off at the Island when he made his next trip. Mrs Hall had been living there ever since with a stepson of Hall’s, her son by a former marriage who amazingly had hidden himself during the Indian attack and was left alone there when the others were carried away. Through a variety of means the twelve year old had made it over to one of the Fox Islands, and since her return had been reunited with his mother, the other children never being heard from again.14 Captain Ali, since that time, had been keeping them provisioned by regular visits.
Of course, Tim and Jonathan were excited to meet the Greene lad and to hear a bit more of his adventures. Timothy noted that in spite of her many trials Mrs. Hall was still a stunning looking lady, and while he was sympathetic to the lonely captain’s unrequited love, the story served to stir him the more to get home to his own sweetheart, Sarah, who was soon to have his 7th child. He had been gone now long enough that everyone would be worried to think they had been lost at sea in that awful storm that had swept up the coast. It pained him to think about it.
The captain left behind a few containers of supplies that had not been needed at the fort. Having checked to make sure all basic needs were cared for, they took passage back to the vessel and made for Boston with the promise of setting the three passengers adrift as close to home as possible.
The weather had been excellent since they left the fort, and as far as could be seen looked as if it would continue, giving them a fair wind to Scarborough. The sailors who were now on the friendliest terms with their impromptu passengers had been working on their dory, rigging a better sail. The ship’s carpenter had devised a strong support for a mast and had replaced their flimsy one with a good stout pole and spar. The crew had been working on a spare piece of canvas and had designed a sail that could be raised and lowered at will. Calking, fresh paint, a new set of tolling pins, and an extra set of oars locked in place. Finally a rudder had been made and attached to the sternboard with a tiller, so, in effect, they now had a regular sailboat (as good a one as you can make out of a dory!) . The plan was for them to be dropped off about two days out of Scarborough saving the Derrenger some time since she was already overdue at Boston.
Loaded with all the supplies they needed from the ship’s stores and a few goodies from the galley courtesy of the cook, they put off from the vessel where they could eyeball Monhegan Island off to the starboard. It would be too early to make a stop there, but if the wind would hold, they should make landfall by dark somewhere in the neighborhood of Pemaquid or one of the points between there and Popham at the mouth of the Kennebec, Whatever looked the closest they would make for it. From there it would be about 75 miles to home!
Chapter IV THE HOMECOMING
"Whew! Man, am I glad to see that dock."
In spite of the coolness as the afternoon sun began its descent toward the western horizon, Jonathan paused to wipe the perspiration from his brow. "This last lap is sure the hardest with no wind to help us and the turn of the tide now against us."
It had taken nearly three days to get this far since the Derringer had set them off with provisions enough to more than last them several days. What they hadn’t counted on was the lack of a fair wind and now all three were becoming physically exhausted along with the stress of the anticipated reunion with their loved ones.
"Yep" said Timothy, who presently manned the tiller responded, "but we kin sure be thankful for that old English tub. Just think of all the rowin’ we bin spared."
"Yeah, and I can take a few blisters and an aching back just thinking about seeing ma and everyone", Tim chimed in as he struggled to keep up with the older boy’s renewed pace.
The three had rotated their turns at handling the new rudder the sailors had rigged for them and now it was Jonathan’s turn as they took a moment to stretch and change places. As young Tim sat next to his dad his heart was full of admiration for the way Timothy had kept encouraging them along the way with all of his stories and light -hearted banter. What a lot of growing up he had done since they had swung into the wind and headed down river on this adventure in the Sweet Alice that seemed like so long ago.
They were now drawing close enough to the Dunstan Landing1 to be able to make out some activity and were trying to distinguish who a few of the figures were who were bustling round about. Among others, there was a small vessel tied up to the dock where there were several men at work unloading goods. It was Tim’s cousins’s coaster, young Captain Anthony2 who lived with his father and mother James and Mary on the old John Libby homestead. He was 24 years old and in spite of his youth had already several years of experience carrying supplies down from Boston. He was not married yet but it was well known that he was sweet on Enoch Libby’s daughter Lucy who was only 15. He would have to wait a few years if he wanted her badly enough and so far it looked like he did.
Suddenly Tony caught sight of the small bedraggled crew and let out a war hoop that they must have heard on Scottow’s Hill. "Well look who’s come back from the dead and where did you get the pretty little Schooner? About a week or ten days ago when the Sweet Alice hadn’t made it back and knowing what a wild storm you must have been out in, we commenced to think we’d never see you fellas agin. Wow, won’t your wife and kids throw a fit when they see you here all safe and sound. Hey boys, seen any ghosts lately – I have a couple I want you to meet. You there, hustle over to the Milliken place and
see if you can borrow a smart horse and buggy so we can ferry these fellas home quick. Horace why don’t you go and unhitch old Babe and ride him bareback down to Blue Point and tell him his brother’s back from the dead and he ain’t any better lookin than when he left. You’d better stop at widow Page’s place cause that’s where his yow-uns have been stayin. He’ll either likely be there or aboard his boat tied up to his slip where he’s been stayin nights since he sold his house.3 Oh, and you there Tommy go see if Joe Willard 4is working in the hold of the Lady Barbara and tell him to run home as fast as he kin go and tell his pa that Timothy Libby is standin on the dock in the flesh. Pastor likes to ring the church bell when there’s good news for the neighborhood and this shore is good news ain’t it."
Turning back to Timothy and pumping his hand again vigorously, he exclaimed as if not knowing what to say next, "Boy of boy, I sure am glad we had a bunch workin here when you come in. Joe is home for Christmas vacation from Harvard and he’ll likely enjoy a good run to get the kinks out of them long legs of his. Mercy, for once I’m tongue tied and I can’t think of a thing to say but Praise the Lord you fellas made it home and I can’t wait to hear all about your escapade - but not now, here comes your ride so git on board and git yourselves home as quick as you kin. I’ll see you around, now git with ya. Jonathan your grammie is goin to faint when she sees you - its all she kin talk about is what will she do without ya."
"Aw thanks Tony, " Timothy exclaimed as he climbed into the buggy and grabbed the reins, "with them boomin lungs of yourn they’ll know up in the village that sumpins up. Now giddup you lazy lump o’ horse flesh," as he slapped the horse’s rump with them. "Like you say, my family is gonna be wild so lets git home and git it overwith." Over his shoulder he quized, "is everybody t’ home okay?" Not waiting for a reply he was already on his way up to Dunstan Corner with several men and some dogs running along side.
By the time they swung onto the Falmouth Road there were already people coming to the door of their houses beating on dishpans with wooden spoons, shouting and whistling and ringing cowbells. A regular parade was coming along behind as relatives and friends joined the festivity along the way to Scottow Hill.
They were almost in sight of their farmhouse when they were met by a crowd coming towards them led by a cart with a box on it serving as a seat for Sarah with young Sarah driving Old Red while her mother held on fast to the headboard. Her grandfather David Sr. braced himself against the side of the manure wagon trying to help steady them both as they drove over the ruts in the frozen parts of the road that hadn’t seen much sun between the shadows of the evergreens. Someone had cut across lots and had reached them with the news and since they hadn’t unhitched the horse from his afternoon of unpretentious trips between the pile behind the barn and the field that ran along the road towards the Corner, he had been commandeered for grander things.
"Jumpin Jehoshaphat!", said Timothy, "I shore hope someone thought to throw some hay into that stinkin wagon. It aint got a spring on it eitha and Sary holdin on fer deah life, and all the yow-uns hollerin. What an escapade - It’s a good thing the cemetery’s on the other side o’th’hill is all I kin say. It’s enough to wake the dead."
Tim spotted a bunch of the Waterhouses5 from the farm next to theirs. "Hey, there’s George and Phil and I think I see Theo Libby - looks like most of my class have turned out. Just like the 4th of July and almost as much of a racket. Look, Jonathan, there’s your buddy Joe Waterhouse with a big washtub and he’s a beating on it with a club. Pa, there’s Thomas6 in their wagon with aunt Mary holding little Philip, and Jonathan’s grammie’s with ‘em. This is some homecoming - say, this almost makes the whole thing worth it, don’t it?"
As the two groups merged and surrounded them, Timothy jumped out of the buggy and racing over to the manure wagon gingerly stepped up on the tongue and seizing his wife around the waste lifted her out and they both jumped to the ground hugging and kissing each other before they hardly came down to earth. Oblivious of the onlookers all the children joined the fray embracing their two heros while a couple of men helped Jonathan’s grammie7 down where she could reach and tenderly embrace her dear grandson as tears rolled down the cheeks of them both.
Climbing back up onto the wagon, Timothy motioned to the crowd to be quiet while he thanked them all for the grand reception that had been bestowed upon them by so many friends and neighbors along with lots of their relatives. Just about everyone from Scottow Hill seemed to be there.
"Everybody listen", he said, " I have something important to say’. You are all invited to our place tomorrra night for suppa", then looking over toward his father, he added, "or maybe we could have it at the garrison - ok, pa?" Getting the nod of agreement, he continued. "We’ll have scads of beans and flapjacks with lots of fresh squeezed cider and probably some apple pie. I have some wonderful news I can’t hardly wait to tell y’ all." And men, it‘s especially somethin you’ll want to know about- so I hope you’ll all come. And now lets git home and git th’ cow manure washed off everyone or I’m all done huggin!" Everyone laughed and the crowd gradually despersed. The lamps burned brightly far into the night at the Libby residence but eventually they all gave up and went to bed. The drones slept in the next morning but the worker bees were up early and, like most of the ladies that were at the meeting the night before and heard the announcement, were cooking up a storm.
By noon the clouds began to gather and speaking of a storm it sure looked like winter’s first snowstorm would be upon them by nightfall. After filling their stomachs with lots of Sarah’s home cooking the menfolk went out to barn and worked on a project that had to be done around this time every year. Under the lean to on the side of the barn they turned over the two sleds that made up the heavy bobsled which was used to bring in next year’s firewood and began the work of cleaning the rust off the runners. This didn’t usually get done this early in the season but the bob was the closest thing they had to a sleigh and the yow-uns all wanted to ride to the meeting on the new fallen snow. After this was done and all was put back together, they cleaned out the stalls of their few animals, milked early and then harnesed up Old Red. By this time the roads were already covered. They put boxes on the lead sled for seats for the two Sarahs and ropes around the stakes so no one would fall overboard, pa took the reins as the children hopped on, and off they went, striking out early so as to be at the garrison when others started arriving. They knew that the snow wouldn’t keep anyone home because they all looked forward to the first sleigh ride, especially the children. Grandpa’s sleigh was usually available to them but it was already up at the garrison’s stable and hadn’t been brought out yet. He had a fast horse too! Getting together was always fun for all the neighbors on Scottow’s Hill and having the new snow lent a holiday spirit to the occasion.
The greatroom in the garrison was commodious and a fire licked at the white birch logs in the large fireplace. Additional benches had been knocked together out in the shop for the adults and the yow-uns all sat around on the variety of braided rugs scattered over the shiny hardwood floor. Some liked the black bear rug in front of the fireplace.
There were lots of memories in this room of less pleasant times when families huddled together in fear as they listened for war hoops and heard gunshots coming from the rooftop parapet. How thankful they were for these fortress-like houses that some of the families constructed.
But away with such thoughts, this is a time of joy so let us be happy.
Timothy was very happy as he watched his neighbors, both relatives and friends, gathering at his call and he prepared himself for a task which was not something that he could do with ease. He could tell Indian stories to the young people quite easily, but getting up before all these adults was just not his cup of tea!
Sounds of sleigh bells on the horses were coming from two directions up the hill from the lower road that led to Falmouth. Suddenly three sleighs pulled in at once. The Waterhouse family had come up in two large ones with most of the ten children along with their father Joseph.
Right behind them in a third sleigh were Seth Fogg 8 and his bride of eight years, Ruth Waterhouse,
Joseph and Mary’s daughter with the rest of the Waterhouse gang and their own four children which included baby Ruth in her mother’s lap. Seth had built on his father-in-law’s farm.
Two families he hoped would come tonight had been burned out at Dunstan Corner9, the Berrys and the Larrabees which will later explain why these brought their families on the original Spring trip to Machias.10 These latter unfortunates were living in a tent out behind Joseph and Mary’s barn. The two women were, in fact, sisters. Deborah had married her first cousin Isaac11 and they had four children at this time. Eunice and Joseph were 7 year old twins.
Timothy made a mental note to talk to Sarah either later tonight or first thing in the morning about Isaac and Deborah’s situation. He thought a great deal of Isaac and felt badly that they had lost their home so recently built. He knew that Isaac had been one who had been out searching for marsh grass up along the coast since the drought. He fervently hoped that under their circumstances this family would choose to accompany him back to Machias. Would he be pleased with all the grass up there! He also hoped that Joseph and Mary would invite them into the house and barn for the night even though with Jonathan and his grammie staying there they were really full to the ‘"gunnels". It was already too small for his own growing family but Joseph had his eye on a parcel of land in the Bonython Patent near the Saco line where he intended to build a permanent home so this one was only temporary At least tonight none of them had far to walk.
As he was thinking these thoughts he wondered about whether his brother Josiah would also walk up to the garrison as he too was living quite close. It no sooner crossed his mind when suddenly he spotted him along with his wife Mary (Stone) trudging through the snow pulling 3 year old Nathan on a homemade sled and all of the other six running, frolicking and throwing snow at one another. What fun they were having!
He looked too for his sister Alice and her husband Solomon Stone, his wife Mary’s brother, feeling that they should pull in soon in their fancy eight-seater behind a matched pair of Percheron draft horses with all seats full but one and probably being driven by their handsome 18 year old son Daniel.
Alice was an older sibling and he loved her very much, naming his poor lost vessel for her. How he hoped that they would be among those who would respond to his presentation later in the evening12. Rapidly now the greatroom was filling up as the neighboring families came in stamping their feet and brushing off the snow at the door. The room off the entry was piled high with coats strewn around to dry them as well as possible. The Scotts, the Fosters and the Hills had all arrived with their families and just before the food was served Timothy’s two brothers David and George came in accompanied by Job Burnham13 all three carrying carpet bags indicating that they planned to stay the night if invited. There was no doubt of it!
Timothy rattled a pewter mug with some spoons in it to get every ones attention, "we sent word ova to pasta Elvins invitin him to join us t’nite, but he had other fish t’ fry and couldn’t make it, but we ‘ve got Deacon Joseph14 heah and he’s brung his lovely intended, Miss Meserve. He’s agreed to return thanks."
After the simple but ample supper had been consumed Timothy again jingled his makeshift bell and called everyone to attention. "I’m mighty thankful to all of you , my relations and my friends , fer comin here t’nite so I cud share somethin with ya that I think a lot of you are goin to be interested in". With that, Timothy told them briefly about the ship wreck and loss of The Sweet Alice as he nodded towards his sister and then he told them about the exploration he and the boys had made. "I’d heard about The Machias Riva but I ‘d neva seen it and I warnt sure that I’d seen it even then ‘til I got to the Fort (Pownal) and some fellas told me that’s where I’d ben alright."
He went on to tell them in glowing terms about the three rivers that come together, the falls on two of them and all the water power that could run several mills. There was timber everywhere you look and you could just imagine what lay up over the horizon where those rivers were coming from. There must be scores of lakes and streams and brooks to provide the tons of water that met the tidal water that came up to the foot of the falls. He told of the swift ride they had going back out of there on the ebb tide and of all the marsh grass they had seen. He judged it was about seven miles up the river where the town should be built and where there was a small lake when the tide was in flood stage.
" It’s just like heah at home only the riva’s not squiggly ‘n the banks are higha ‘n the hills are neara the outside shoa. There’s hardly any beach - its all purty much ledges along th’ coast."
He told them that there were no houses and no people for 100 miles or more. " But", he concluded, "they told me at the Fort that they wuz settlin Nova Scotia mighty fast and the nearest place to us ‘ud be a town called Yarmouth right down t’ th’ tip."
Timothy proposed that they put together a charter made up of interested families. The men would go in the Spring and build the mills and cabins for each family and send for the women and children in the Fall. Each family that would go would have a part ownership in the mills and an allotment of land.
"I’ll spread the word t’all our relatives and friends down on Pleasant Hill and Black Point and git David to talk it up at Blue Point. All o’ ya kin mull it ova, talk about it and we’ll come back t’gether heah next week, that is them that is really interested. If ‘n there’s questions, be ready to ask ‘em and probably we should sign our names that each of us will start workin toward gettin out o’ heah come Spring."
Then Timothy asked Joseph if he would say a prayer to Almighty God that He would lead and bless the enterprise if it is in keeping with His holy will. To this Joseph readily agreed and asked if they would bow together with him.
"Dear Heavenly Father, we bow humbly before your throne to ask You, The Eternal Omnipotent God that You will bless this plan if it is in keeping with Your own great plan for us, Thy servants. This we ask in Jesus’ wonderful Name. Amen.
As everyone donned their caps and coats and said goodbye to loved ones and friends, noting that the storm was over they piled into the waiting sleighs and anticipated the ride home on the four or five inches of snow that had fallen. There was no wind and the sky was studded with bright stars. They would all sleep well tonight!
That is, most everybody. Not Timothy and Sarah! They talked way into the night after the children
had gone to sleep. He had been really concerned about what she thought of pulling up stakes and taking all their children into the wilderness but as they shared their hopes for the future in loving terms of concern for each other Sarah sensed how much this move meant to her husband and she assured him that like Ruth of old, she was with him all the way. In fact, before the lamps went out in their room that night, she had even offered some thoughts of her own that would contribute to a smooth transition. She felt that the three older children would be a big help with all the work. As Timothy closed his eyes that night it was with sense of peace feeling that everything up to now had gone well and breathed a little prayer of thanksgiving to God for guiding him in this new direction.
Over a steaming cup of brewed English tea the next morning Timothy discussed the situation of Isaac and Deborah Larrabee who, with their children, were living in a tent in back of Joseph’s barn.
"Honey, is it okay with you if I invite them to come and stay with us this winta? I know it will be crowded but it’s only for a few months and when we leave we kin let ‘em have the house. Course, I’m
really hopin I kin talk them into coming along with us."
Sarah was quick to agree to it for she and Deborah were the closest of friends being also near the same age. She knew that the two of them would have great fun working together on the new plans. Timothy reminded her too that Isaac’s sister was married to his cousin James, son of his great uncle Henry. Sarah laughed, "that doesn’t surprise me a bit because just about everyone on the Hill and at Dunstan Corner is a Libby or related to one".
Early then next morning Timothy hurried up to Joseph’s place to find Isaac and tell him they could all come down and stay with him and his family for the winter. Isaac was excited and assured him that they would pick up all their dunnage and be down after dinner15. After they chewed the fat for awhile Timothy started sharing the vision he had for building his home in Machias and urged Isaac to come along and build his there too, especially seeing he had lost his house in the Dunstan fires and had to build a new one anyhow. Isaac readily agreed , "Deborah and I have prayed about it this morning in our family prayers, and we will be ready to give you an answer as soon as the Lord gives us one." It pleased Timothy greatly to think that he would have a friend like Isaac to talk things over with every day and he knew that this alone would be a great help for there were so many things to think about.
Next he went over to his father’s at the garrison and asked if he could borrow his saddle horse to ride around the neighborhood. His pa joined him in the barn as he helped him clean out the stable and while he was getting Betsy, which had really been his mother’s horse, saddled up, Timothy happened to think of a question he had on his mind since the meeting on the previous evening. "Pa, have you heard anything about Dan Hill16 since he got back from his last hitch with the Roger’s Rangers? I heard that they had a real bad time of it gittin home from cleaning out that Indian village up on the St. Lawrence. Le’see. I think it was called, St. Francis or sumpin like that."
"Yep they shore ‘nuff did and he’s been stayin with his brother Japheth, who was here last night. Been tryin to rest up some from the ordeal. What a time they must t’ had gitten lost in them swamps ‘n all."
Swinging up into the saddle Timothy took off next to Blue Point where he wanted to spend some time talking to his brothers who were living on the coaster. He knew that they were interested in the project but he wanted to be more certain that they really were going to come with him to Machias. He also wanted to have a personal talk with Job Burnham at the Pine Point garrison. Job talked like wanting to come but was pretty committed to running his place. Timothy knew that if he came it wouldn’t be right away.
Before he got back home he wanted to see Westbrook Berry whom he had thought might come last night but he hadn’t shown up. The fire that had destroyed his house had been stopped before it reached the barn and the family had managed to remodel it enough so they could live in it temporarily. Timothy also had another reason to make a stop at Dunstan Corner. Before he got along too far in his Machias plans he wanted to discuss them with pastor Elvins so he headed on up the Blue Point road to the parsonage next to the town cemetery. He would make a stop there before going on over to the Berry place and by that time he would need to get home and get something to eat. All this riding had made him hungry. Later he would take a ride up the Beech Ridge Road toward Gorham town and stop in to see the Hills He knew he could probably spend quite a while listening to some of Daniels stories.
As he drew into the little village of Dunstan’s Corner he swung the horse left toward Saco on the main road for his first and most important stop, the pastor of the church. Tethering the horse having just given him a good drink at the common watering trough, he knocked at the preacher’s door and was admitted with a warm handshake. He greeted the household, especially Joe whom he had seen down at the Landing when he first arrived back from his shipwreck.
"I guess Joe told ya about our crew gittin back all save and sound" said Timothy when they had gotten seated.
"Yes", replied the pastor, "and I was sorry we couldn’t get over last evening to the homecoming party, but I had a meeting which had been scheduled for a month and I just couldn’t call it off".
Assuring the minister that he understood, Timothy proceeded to fill them in on what had transpired at the meeting and telling him that he had wanted the pastor to be among the first who heard about his plans to return to Machias. He mentioned the names of those who had already committed and a few more that he was pretty sure of, apologizing for taking so many away from the membership of the 2nd Parish Church. " Well, it looks like it will leave a pretty big hole for certain," commented the pastor, "but it will be like the church planting a branch of itself in a new part of our country and we shall surely be praying fo its success and for safety for those who are venturing so far from Scarborough into the wilderness".
Pastor Elvins got to his feet and went off into his study coming back with a little black book in his hands. " This is a list of the weddings we have had in this church and so many of these are among the ones you have listed.17 It is sort of like a big family isn’t it? Most of these people are related to the Libby family in one way or another. It certainly seems like it has all been planned out by God and you Timothy have been the one He chose to put it all together".
After more pleasantries and accepting the offer of a bite to eat, saving himself a trip back to Scottow Hill, Timothy took his leave while promising to keep the church posted on the progress of his plans.
His next stop was at Westbrook Berry’s18 barn. Westbrook explained to Timothy that he had wanted to be present last evening but two of his children were sick and he didn’t want to come without his wife. Japhet had been over already and told him about the meeting coming up next Saturday and had urged Westbrook to plan to attend. Timothy filled him in on the highlights that he had shared last night and urged him to decide to come especially since it looked like Japhet was excited about it. Obviously they were good friends. They agreed that since Westbrook was going to have to rebuild, he might as well do it in Machias and he would still have his land here in Scarborough that he could fall back on if things didn’t work out for them. Timothy also reminded him that they both had several children of the same age and would be probably working on some of the problems together.
The last call of the day would be on the Hills, Japhet and Daniel. These were two strong men with firm convictions and of good character. They would be a great asset, especially Daniel, because he is obviously knowledgeable about the wilderness. Most of us in our group are townsmen. We are not hunters nor skilled in survival nor do we know much about the ways of the Indians among whom we desire to live in peace. We shall be very fortunate if they decide to join with us in our move to Machias. And besides their mother was a Libby! (He was only half right, Daniel had the same father as Jephet but his mother had died and his father had remarried. Japhet was Daniel’s half brother.)
"The time has come for me to think of settling down but I don’t exactly want to live in a modern village" Daniel confided in Timothy, " I may find a good woman who is willing to put up with some of my rough ways. And then too, there is lots of country up where you are going and I sure would like to explore it and do some hunting and fishing along the way. If I can be of help I’ll give it a shot".
CHAPTER V READY, SET, GO
By the time Timothy got back home he felt that he had made his initial contacts with everyone he could think of that might join the association to go to Machias in late spring of ‘63 to start building a couple of mills and cabins for each family. Close to a dozen of those that told him they would be at the meeting next Saturday night at the Libby Garrison sounded positive about the venture. He was glad to get an early start as he knew there would need to be a lot of planning and preparing for they were headed into a wilderness where there would be no supplies any closer than Fort Pownal on the Penobscot. Yvonne - the paragraph below doesn’t seem exactly right for italisizing - suggestion???
The more he thought about it the more convinced he was that the meeting place of the rivers is where he wanted to spend the rest of his life. Every night he would close his eyes and think about the beauty and the peace of what he had seen and he pictured the rise of a new town on the pond below the falls. No one knew except perhaps some Indians with whom he could not converse just what woodland treasures were to be found up those rivers that converge there. Lakes and rivers in abundance must feed them and where these abound there are fish and game in plentiful supply. He grew more excited every time he thought on it. They would be able to ship lumber and marsh hay back to Scarborough where discouragement just now was at its height. Perhaps these circumstances contributed to the fact that so many had responded favorably to his plan. He was quite surprised and wondered if they would all follow through when they began to count the cost In his heart he realized that probably not all of those who would go initially would stay. To some it was just an adventure, to others a business opportunity, most would retain their property in Scarborough in case they should decide to go back, but not him. He had already decided to mortgage his homestead in order to raise some cash to finance the move. That is if Isaac and Deborah decided to come. Once he got settled in Machias he would let the Mortgagee forclose to get his money back. They might try to put him in jail to force the issue, but he would be too far away for the authorities to make good on that.1
Every morning that week at breakfast Timothy and Sarah would plan what to talk about on Saturday. She had a notebook in which she made notes of the many things that would need to be worked on. As Tim, their son, began to involve himself in the planning as if he would be one of those going to Machias in the spring with the men, his father immediately informed him that e would not be going. "Since I’ll be away all summer you’ll be needed here as the man of the house. Ya ma’ll need all th’ help she kin git cause we won’t ever be comin back heah. Soon’s we git everbody this fall, we ‘ll be facin the winter months an the’ll be long ‘n cold. There’s no place to buy stuff. By next summa we should have a supply vessel comin in if we kin get it all worked out."
"Okay pa but it seems such a long time to have to wait to get back to our new home on the river - what about Jonathan?"
"Oh, he’ll go with us if he still wants to - he’s a bit older’n you and quite a bit stronga ‘n we’ll need everyone that kin swing a ax. I ‘magin Solomon ‘l have Dan’l with him. He’ll be 18 ‘n a big help unless I miss my guess.
Sarah spoke up and said, "I"m planning to organize the ladies and we will meet every week to discuss plans and start packing food and other necessities. I’ll have Deborah work with me on making up lists. We will have quilting parties and start making lots of clothes."
"And I gotta make sure we have all we need for at least two lumber mills," said Timothy. We’ll need a blacksmith, a millwright, loggers and tools. It shor’ll help to have a cordwaina along an we’ll need to hunt some one up to keep us supplied by boat."
So it went all week. Whenever anyone stopped by the house to welcome Timothy back from his shipwreck or anyone just stopped in to chew the rag, the subject was always the same. Timothy could not seem to think of anything else to talk about. Of course he and Isaac Larrabee talked of nothing else. It became plain that he and Deborah were so excited that it was just taken for granted that they had every intention of going to Machias. Having three more children close to the same age as the three youngest in their own family, Tim and his older sisters had their hands full tiding herd on six wiggley yow-uns. It was lots of fun though and something to make the time go faster through the long winter months. They opened up the fireplace in the the parlor, a room that they ordinarily didn’t use in cold weather but now was used as a play room and bed room for their guests.
Another fireplace meant more wood needed for the woodboxes which it seemed were always empty. Tim was thankful for the fact that there was a good stand of diseased beech trees quite near the house for it rarely needed to be split to fit easily into the fireplaces and at least now there were an extra set of hands to buck it up. The Libbys had always kept a spare room for company which they called the "prophets chamber"2 and Isaac and Deborah slept there. Having two cooks was working out first rate as everyone agreed. Timothy had always sort of longed for a real "soulmate" and he and Isaac became very close that winter. Family devotions were a special part of every day’s activities with the two men taking turns
leading it. Timothy found himself improving in his speech habits as "iron sharpened iron".
On his small farm Timothy had two milking cows, two work horses, four pigs which included the one they were raising for grandpa David, so he helped with the grain and a large flock of biddies, some red and some speckled. He figured that he would get someone to take the animals temporarily in return for their use and until he could get them transferred to Machias River when he could get ready to take care of them there. Until then it would be hard going without the fresh produce which was so nice to have for the family, especially the milk.
The time that he spent down at Dunstan Landing this week had proved quite profitable for Timothy for in talking with some of the Coaster crews that had come in with supplies from Boston he learned about a business in Portsmouth, New Hampshire where a man by the name of William Jones owned a vessel and carried on business deals like supplying goods to customers on some of the islands offshore and remote locations along the coast. He often took his payment in kind. This seemed to be exactly the type of situation that the settlers in Machias might be looking for. He would talk to his cousin young Captain Anthony about it to see if perhaps he might be making a call in Portsmouth in the near future.
Another encouragement was his visit with the pastor’s son Joe. Somehow the subject of the need to borrow money came up as Timothy discussed the question of how he was doing financially with his tuition at Harvard knowing that the pastor didn’t receive much of a salary. In the conversation Joe had mentioned that his roommate’s father had often loaned students money and that pastor Elvins had thought about contacting Robert Pierpoint to see what arrangements were necessary to obtain a loan. Joe said he would write to Timothy when he got back to the university and send him Mr. Pierpoint’s address. A plan was crystalizing in Timothy’s mind. He told Joe that he would watch for the letter. All week Timothy and Isaac had been sharing with each other their ideas for the meeting on Saturday. As they talked it was amazing how their thoughts were so much alike and they could see their friendship growing by leaps and bounds. It was so comfortable to have someone like Isaac to bounce his ideas off. He was willing to learn from his friend some points on the art of communication. Just things like keeping his head up when he talked instead of looking at the floor. How important he said it was when addressing a group to make eye contact with individuals. Together they prayed about the meeting coming up and practiced using a few ideas that the Lord seemed to be bringing to their minds. Timothy saw how important it was to commit his way to the Lord as David had indicated in one of his Psalms3 The days whizzed by and Saturday came before anyone was really ready for it. Everybody in Timothy’s household was brim full of anticipation wondering who would come to the meeting. He promised he would fill them in as soon he and Isaac got back from the garrison house. Would there be as much interest as had seemed evident a week ago, or would most everyone back out when they got to thinking what such a move entailed?
Waiting for them were two of Timothy’s brothers, David and good old faithful George and they had picked up Westbrook along the way. It looked like most everyone had come back and even a few new ones. Who is that big fellow with the Scott brothers? They would soon find out. John Stone was with his brother Solomon. The benches lining the walls in the great room were nearly full. Tim had begged to tag along. He joined Jonathan sitting crosslegged on the bear rug. As they came in they had spotted Thomas just coming through the burying ground. He had told Timothy that he wouldn’t be going to Machias, but he didn’t want to miss anything. Probably Jonathan’s grammie had urged him to come, afraid Jonathan wouldn’t get it all straight. She could hardly wait to get into her new cabin.
Timothy was quite emotional when he got on his feet to speak to the chatty group. "I think God must a brun - er brought us all heah t’night. I kin hardly believe it . I did kinda expect my family might show some interest, but nothin like this. Course most of us are related in one way or anotha an’ we are all neighbors and friends ‘n most belongin to the same church ‘n all, but this is really sumpin! There’s no two ways about it, we are facin a great challenge ‘n I know it hasn‘t been an easy decision fer any of us, me included. We’re headin out into a real wilderness a long ways away. It specially aint - er isn’t goin to be easy to carve us out a town out there. I know there must be lots of questions, ‘n I hope yu’ll get most of em answered here tonight." He looked down at a note in his hand, "Let’s have some discussion before I ask you to put your names on a papa-er paper as a list of Machias River Associates binding us together as pioneers in this mo-men-tus undertakin". He smiled at Isaac.
Most everyone was a bit surprised with this eloquence and pleased with Timothy because they liked him a lot and they were ready to follow him anyway, whether he could talk like a leader or not. They all trusted him and knew he was able and was humble enough to get help when he needed it.
They knew that Isaac was backing him up and most felt that God was too!
There were some comments and a few questions. Someone brought up the Indian problem and it was evident that it was a subject most of them had been thinking about. Several said, "yes", and someone said, "them’s my thoughts too". Several certainly were thinking about the fact that it hadn’t been that long ago that young Nathaniel Dresser had been killed and scalped right out in the garrison dooryard. Timothy cleared his throat and told them that he knew that would be a question that would need clarifying. He told them about how they had stopped in at Fort Pownal after they had been picked up by the Derringer on their way down the coast and how they had met a brave and kind General, Jedediah Preble who had confirmed what he, Timothy, had come to believe and that was, that since the ouster of the French from the area , after the fall of Quebec, things had really quieted down on that score. Preble had assure him that the Indians in Eastern Maine and Nova Scotia were a more peaceable lot anyway and they were sick of the war. Now that the influence of the Jesuits was gone, and they were being supplied at the Trading House behind the Fort, the Passamaquodies and the Mick Macs seemd very friendly and had made treatys with the respective governments. "The English are treatin ‘em fair an’ payin ‘em good money for their furs instead of givin ‘em trinkets and liquor like they were gettin". Tim said , bringing the subject to a close.
He also told them about the proposed settlements on the Penobscot and the way he was impressed with all he had heard about Jonathan Buck. "Of course, well be on Crown Lands4 but England is also encouragin new settlements and I think it won’t be long and we will see new towns springin up all along
the coast of Maine ‘n we better get crackin if we want to git the beautiful country that we see with the waterfalls, rivas, and loads o’ marsh grass all along them-er those tidal flats."
"Well, I say that some of us men have been out scouting for just such a place and whether we decide to live there or not we can go and build some cabins and a couple of mills", piped up Isaac Larrabee, "and harvest some hay for our stock and ship it on home here. While we’re doing it we can be praying that if God wants us to build a town, by gorry, we’ll do it — right men!" So saying he sat back down amid some cheers and amens.
With that, Timothy got back on his feet and said, " Well, you all kin come back so fer as I’m concerned, but not me!" I just want y’all t’know that I’m spendin the rest of my life there on that riva no matta what anyone else does and my wife and yow-uns are right with me 100 p’cent." He could tell by the response that most everyone felt the same way. They would be more sure when they saw it. Of that he was confident!
At this point Timothy outlined some initial plans. They would find men skilled as blacksmiths and millwrights and lumberjacks, draw up plans this winter, start collecting the iron needed with nuts, bolts belts, pulleys, wheels and and all. The women would begin a united effort to lay up supplies and do lots of sewing, making rugged pants and gloves. Timothy would follow through with engaging a supply ship and a merchant that would agree to keep a steady flow of necessary items into the Machias River region.
"We have a skilled blacksmith right here in our midst in fact," he went on to say. " Wooden Foster is Isaiah’s brother, and he is married to Frances Scott, who is Sylvanus Scott’s daughter. He hasn’t said he is goin with us yet, but I’m hopin that his bein here tonight means what I think it does. Just you look at how many sets o’ brothers we got already, there’s the Scotts, the Hills, the Stones, me an’ my three brothers and a brother in law, an’ I’m purty sure John will be joinin Westbrook, if my daughter Sarah has anything to say about it . Wha’ cha say Wooden, are ya goin to let that kid brother of yourn go out inta the puckerbrush withou’cha?"
"Naw, I’m right wi’ ya, stated Wooden", " that’s why I came along with Ike here t’night. I know what your all up against and I want ta help what I can. I probably will go alone, that is until my wife changes her mind, then I might just join up wi’ ya, we’ll see. For now, just count me as your smithy".
"That’ll be just great, won’t it men?" Timothy responded as a low murmur of assent passed through the room.
"Men, I have something to say. I am a millwright with lots of experience in setting up a double saw lumber mill5." It was the stranger who was on his feet. " I realize that most of you don’t know me but I am in the area visiting a friend and we learned about this venture of yours, so I came tonight to hear first hand what your plans are. My name is Joel Bonney 6and though I’m young I’ve been doing this stuff for years. My friend and I are aware of the vast acreage of timber northeast of here that has never seen an axe or saw and we are interested in being included if you will have us. His name is Abiel Sprague and he is living here right now though he comes of Mayflower stock in Plymouth County, Massachusetts. Six years ago his daughter Ruth married Nathaniel Bolter of Scarborough but until a couple of years ago Abiel and his wife have been living on Great Sebascodegan Island in Harpswell which he has been clearing for the last 20 years. He finally finished it and sold it and has been staying here with his daughter. He is a hardy woodsman and he is also a talented cordwainer.7 A good man and I know he would be an asset to your company. Of course you might as well know that I am hanging around here because I’m getting married next fall and I’m looking for work for this coming spring and summer. I think I could be a help getting at least one mill up and running." ( The note # six below will begin to acquaint the reader with these two men, Bonney and Sprague who later were to become related.)
" Thanks Mr Bonney, I am sure we’ll all be gittin to know each other pretty quick," responded Timothy and with that he explained the agreement under which they would all work together to make the thing go, producing a pen and ink, signing it first then passing it around for each of the others to sign.
The four Libbys, Timothy, David, George and Josiah, were first, then Solomon Stone (with Alice inscribed in fine print), and his brother John. Then the Scott brothers8, Samuel and Sylvanus signed, after them came he two Hills, Daniel and Jepthet, then Isaiah and Wooden Foster, Issac Larrabee, Westbrook Berry, Jonathan Carter and finally Daniel Fogg and Joel Bonney.
Just about as they were getting ready to close the meeting, Enoch Waterman, the 16 year old son of Timothy’s neighbor, Joseph Waterman, spoke up and said, " Tim and I have been talking and he wants me to come in the worst way an’ I’d be signing up if my pa would let me, but he says that I have to wait a couple of years. I want ya’ all to know that I’ll be comin as soon as I can - you’ll see." 9
At that point in walked Deacon Joseph Libby - "better late than never, but we had an important meeting at the church tonight - so I hoped I’d get here before the meeting got over, so I could tell you that I’ve got a wedding coming up in a year or so and my intended, Sarah, has already agreed to our coming to join you after that, so you can count me in for sometime in the near future."
"An’ I bet that by that time ther’ll be a lot more that’l be joinin us, said Timothy.
As they stood around talking after the meeting, Sylvanus Scott came up to Timothy and shared some of his hopes and dreams of life in the wilderness. He told him that his wife Sarah who was an Andrews had been talking to him about doing something like this ever since they were married. " She is from Pioneer stock and she is anxious to live out in the puckerbrush, the only thing is that we’ve got a little one coming soon and I think she’s beginning to get squeamish about taking a baby and a two year old into a place where there’s no doctor for a hundred miles or more. Do you know any others of the women that might be thinking the same thing?"
"I aint heard o’ none, but I know that they’s two or three that ‘ve got infants. I’ll keep my ear to the ground and see if anythin comes up, ‘n letcha know. We all ‘av got to trust God for our famlys, that’s fer shore."
That being said, Timothy moved to the center of the room and drawing the attention of the group read off the names of those who had signed the agreement together as The Machias River Associates .
Thirteen Scarborough men had subscribed.10 (Jonathan was from Sheepscot, Wooden Foster was an employee at this point, a few other names would be added in like situation later.)
Timothy was quite pleased at the response and whispered a quiet prayer of thanksgiving to God as it seemed to him that without His help this whole thing could never have happened. The men, on their part, were quite impressed with the leadership that Timothy had displayed. Ordinarily most of them thought of him as a quiet retiring sort of fellow and they were frankly quite surprised at the way he had handled the entire matter. Some of them, too, felt they could sense that there was something really special happening though they couldn’t quite put their finger on it. In the days to come they would all need to feel the importance of their mission, especially as they would begin to think about what they would be asking their families to do. We have only to put ourselves in their shoes to conclude that they were a class of pioneers of the highest order, especially their womenfolk.
The Libbys and the Larrabees had a lot to talk about when they got home. "I thanked Wooden and the Bonney guy after the meetin fer bein willin to go an help us to git the mills agoin an I’ll tell that Sprague fella the same as I tol them, that they won’t have ta feel like they have ta stay mor’en one winta if ‘n they don’t want to, so we won’t be expectin their women ‘n children this fall when everbody else comes to join us, less’n they want to."
"Thats good", said Isaac , as he blew on his tea.
So it was that the two friends burned the midnight oil discussing where the strengths and weaknesses lay in their little newly formed association and what they might do to make it stronger and able to endure the great trials that lay ahead. It became more obvious after the meeting that to succeed the enterprise should have a strong leader but some of the great Bible stories came to mind which taught that God often chose meek and humble men to lead His people. They thought of the story of Gideon, who, though he was obviously a weak person, was called of God "a mighty man of valor" and through him God did some wonderful things. Timothy was beginning to get the picture. He shared with Isaac some of his thinking. "My brother George is a great guy and he and I are close, but he don’t have the vision for this project and I don’t see him stayin the rest of his life in Machias. The same is sure true of David, man is his life a mess these days! You take Josiah,11 he would make a great leada but he feels that he can’t come right now, an I don’t know but what he’s bein held back so’s he kin get things all togetha for the move up in the fall. He’ll have his oldest son Reuben to help him’n my Sarah’l soon be 16 an Josiah’s oldest girl is almost 20 ‘n I’ve seen ‘em operate together - talk about a pair of mother hens, they’l have the whole boatload of youngsters under control in no time flat! Yessir, I think the Lord has worked that thing out way ahead of us.‘Course we don’t know how long Stephen Fogg 12is goin to wait to get hitched to Elly and that’l bust everythin up ‘tween the girls fer a while anyways when it happens ’n which I’m lookin fer it to happen any day now."
They parted and went to bed with a great many sobering thoughts whirling around in their heads
Timothy had thought about trying to get his father to come with them to Machias but decided against it. David was looking old and tired since his wife died last year. The thing was that he would miss his fathers wise guidance in such a huge undertaking and he felt the need of it now that the pressure of leadership seemed to be falling on his shoulders.
Timothy didn’t say so while he had been talking with Isaac, but he was thinking that God must have chosen him to do this thing and had given him Isaac just like Moses had his Joshua. Then too, every good leader usually has a strong woman backing him up. If the truth was known, his Sary was the leader type and she was able to help him make decisions without being pushy. They made a good team and isn’t that the way it supposed to be?
Most nights while waiting for sleep to come he would go over the things that needed to be thought through and the next day he would jot down things in his little notebook that he had started carrying in his shirt pocket that he didn’t want to forget. Tonight, he didn’t get very far.......
Days were filled with setting up meetings with men who would have special tasks to complete before heading out. The most important one was preparing to put the lumber mills together. He felt that they should build two to start with. The winter was setting in and outside work was coming to a halt. It was good timing and soon Wooden Foster, Joel Bonney and Abiel Sprague were meeting regularly. It was great to hear the excitement in their voices as they talked about putting the double saw mills together. Soon they were drawing plans and gradiually they began to realize that much of the work could be done ahead of time. Joseph Waterhouse offered them his spacious shop and gave up his own operations for the winter. A blacksmith shop was set up with a forge in his yard next to the shop. Sylvanus’ wife donated her father’s smithy tools which had been stored in a shed at his place since he died. There was great interest in the enterprise especially since the fires had destroyed so much local timber and there were so many people needing lumber these days besides those who had lost buildings. It wasn’t long before Machias was the talk of the town in Scarborough.
The most exciting project was the fabricating of the two water wheels. Abiel came up with a bunch of used 10x10s and soon iron was being laid to them. Gathering pulleys, wheels, belts, saw blades and whetstones would take a while. Some would have to be made up, but there were a few old mills around where some stuff could be confiscated. The would need barrels of cut nails of different sizes, lots of spikes. They must remember that ever ounce of iron they would need must be taken with them The plan would be to get the first mill up and running as soon as possible, enough lumber to throw up a roof over it and a forge set up. Getting roofs and floors for their cabins would be next on the list of priorities. Soon they would be producing lumber to market in exchange for goods.
Plans were to build log cabins as temporary homes next to the mills just below the falls on the north side of the west branch. These would serve until farms could be developed and frame houses constructed on them. They figured on about 15 cabins with perhaps one of two serving as storage. In the shop they could frame up some windows and doors and prepare them for shipping.
Meeting around in various homes, the pioneers began to make plans for their cabins. Here, most everyone had different ideas. Some planned a submerged type by digging out the dirt to a depth of several feet with the excavated soil used for leveling or for a garden, some woiuld square their logs so they fitted closer together, while some would only size their logs on top and bottom and plan to fill the cracks with moss and clay. Some cabins would be squat with beds under the eves and standing room in the center and others would be taller with lofts for sleeping. In some the whole upper part would be sleeping rooms while others would have partial lofts. Most everything depended on the size of the family and the length of time they would be living in them. It was most interesting hearing the different styles being defended. "Floor plans were drawn, log lengths discussed, placement of doors and windows. Some with large families would build double or even triple cabins or would plan to add frame structures as soon as boards were available. Certainly, no two would look alike. It was planned to construct a large double cabin right away to house the Larrabee family on one side and the men involved in building the mill on the other and boarding with the Larrabees. This way they could give their whole time to getting the mills up and running. The Berry family would probably stay on the vessel until a proper place could be prepared for them. Tents and shanties would do for the men who were working on their cabins.
As Timothy described the lay of the land, it was decided that it be divided into 18 lots and that they have them chosen ahead of time with the option of trading if they wished after they arrived. It was decided that the men be divided into teams of two for working in the woods and that they first clear their own lots
and then work up the river branches taking what trees were needed for their cabins. Each man would have his own brand. They could contribute spare logs to a common log pile available to all for various needs. They would need to cut hard wood for their fires in the upcoming freezing cold winter and their primary problem would be trying to stay warm. Their biggest problem was how to have fires in their cabins since there would probably not be time enough to search for stones for fireplaces and build them before the cold weather set in. They would need some way to cook as well. Some one had visited the Plymouth colony
and learned about building chimneys with sticks and clay which they called "wattle and daub". That might work if they could find a good source of clay along the lower river. They might even build a kiln and get some bricks burned if the weather held. Some talked of leaving a hole in the roof like an Indian teepee. "Where there is a will, there’s a way".
So much for Timothy’s thoughts, so what was his wife Sarah’s thoughts these days. Well, she was thinking about the fact that there was no doctor going with them to Machias and there might not be one for years so what could they do to prepare for emergencies. There would be over 40 children under 20 and half of these under the age of six. With so many young couples there would be frequent births. They should accumulate as much medicine as they could afford, lots of bandages, books on diseases etc. They should train a couple of the older women to be mid wives and they should talk about it at their next meeting to see what other ideas everyone had. Something else was going through her mind the last few days, she had missed her period, her body felt different, "oh no, I’m not going to have another baby, not now - oh, how can I bear to tell Timothy the news where he’s got so much on his mind these days, what can I do, what can I do?" So, she decided to put off telling him for awhile and tried to grapple with all of the other problems.
"I wonder, " she asked herself, "if my brother Solomon could be persuaded to become a school teacher. True, we don’t have a school on Scottow’s Hill yet, though there is one at Dunstan’s corner, but it seeems with all these children we ought to be thinking of things to help keep them occupied. I should talk this over with Timothy the next chance I get."
While he thought about all the tools they would be needing, she thought of knitting needles, spinning wheels, lots of yarn ‘til they could raise some sheep. Candle molds, blocks of wax, material for wicks, barrels of seal oil of which there would be plenty once the men got time to go seal hunting. At least they would be much nearer the hunting grounds up there. Lots of books to also help occupy young minds.
Each of the pioneer’s wives was creating her own list of projects etc. so that when they met together weekly they could share what they had written. With that kind of planning how could they forget anything? Yet Sarah was concerned they might. One things they especially agreed upon was the training of their daughters in domestic chores. Certainly they would all need to work together for survival.
Young Tim kept busy doing his regular chores without being reminded. He enjoyed splitting kindling wood, especially when there was a good supply of cedar logs. The smell of cedar was rewarding in itself, and the way it split so neatly made it fun. He practiced acquainting himself with all the different kinds of trees in Maine and what was the best use that could be made of each kind of wood they produced. Knowing they were great for starting a fire he kept a small pile of dry twigs under cover that he gathered from the lower trunks of the fir and spruce whenever he was passing through the evergreen forest empty handed. Birch bark was even a better tinder and there were several kinds of birch but the white was best. You were always to be careful in gathering it so as not to harm the tree which depended on its coat of bark for its sustenance. He learned that most of the lumber that would be cut for boards came from the soft wood trees and that pine was the one most used for that purpose. Hemlock and hackmatack were a couple of other soft woods that were often found in the evergreen forests. Tim knew that the Hemlock bark was used in tanning leather and because the larger branches of the Hackmatack tree where they attached to the trunk are so strong they were used a lot in ship building and were called" knees".
The hardwoods or deciduous trees were the ones he had been reading about lately. He had learned that because they are very close grained the wood is much harder to work. For example it was almost impossible for him to split a chunk of oak, especially if it had knots in it, but in the fireplace it would burn for hours and create a very hot fire. His pa often used a maul type axe and wedges to divide the larger sticks. There were many different varities of oaks and maples and it was difficult to remember the differences between them. His favorite hardwood was the white ash. He knew that the carpenters made furniture using mostly hardwood, and ash was used for axe handles. He had some young Indian friends who had showed him how to strip out one kind of ash to make baskets and he had made himself a nice back pack basket.
His pa was teaching Tim how to use the pole axe and the double bitted axe and he had received a lesson or two on using the adze and the drawshave . He knew that these tools were dangerous and one must be very careful lest he cut himself. He knew that it was important to have a work partner when using these implements.
Despite having his chores to do and spending time learning the lore of the forest, Tim was getting more and more anxious to see his new home again. The winter seemed so long and there was still spring and summer before autumn and the northern voyage. One thing that was helping the time to pass more quickly lately though, was his getting to spend time with Daniel Hill. His folks liked Daniel a lot and often invited him to stay for days at a time at their house - well he actually slept in the hay mow out in the barn. All effort to get him to sleep on the floor in front of the fire place failed. He said houses were too warm for him and he was used to sleeping out in his tent even in the winter with the snow banked up around it. Timothy had tried it a few times when he had been over at Japhet’s for overnight. Actually the flame from the oil lantern made a tent quite cozy and with the snow around it and a couple of horse blankets under you and plenty of covers, it really wasn’t half bad.13
Tim and Daniel had become fast friends and especially since his pa had become so occupied with preparations for the move and, on the other hand Daniel had a lot of free time on his hands, so they were together most of the time, and often Jonathan was with them also. Daniel had been involved in several battles along with Roger’s Rangers and had some mighty exciting stories to tell the boys. More important was the strong character of the man which at this stage in Tim’s life meant to very much. True, Time liked several of the boys on the Hill such as his uncle Josiah’s three sons, Joe, John and Reuben but those three guys stuck together like glue and it was hard for him to break into the threesome. The Waterhouse three, Enoch, John and George were more his age, especially George, but, again, that three brother thing left him feeling like an outsider.
On the other hand, Daniel seemed to want to be his friend and especially enjoyed the fact that Tim’s mind was like a sponge and Daniel was a born teacher. It was often a sad fact that most of the men seemed to be too busy to bother to take time to teach a bright inquisitive young man and Tim often felt that even if he wanted to just watch to see how things were done, he was just getting in the way. Daniel, quite the contrary, made him feel like he was important and valuable in the overall plan. Tim was learning things that his friends knew nothing about and didn’t seem to care, things like how to make a bow with straight sharp arrows and how to hunt with this weapon. Then too he had learned to build a quick hot fire even after a rain storm. Daniel showed him how to skin animals and birds and how to mount them in a natural setting making sure that the meat of the animal would never be wasted reminding him that this was even taught in the Bible.14 He promised both boys that when they got to Machias he would take them camping and teach them how to build a log cabin. This made Time think of the fact that soon Daniel would be leaving with the other men and he fervently wished that he could go with them and at least watch as the men built their temporary quarters, but he knew that it was only right to obey his pa and stay home to help his ma get things ready.
As soon as the ice broke up in the small rivers that were everywhere in Scarborough Daniel Hill took both Tim and Jonathan in his canoe up one after another of them teaching them the art of handling it in quick water and especially how to maneuver the canoe with a long pole pushing upstream against the current. The Nonesuch and the Libby rivers were small and twisted and provided a great classroom. Using the force of the current and a pole against the side of the canoe one could stop anywhere in the stream to fish out of that special hole that was hard to reach any other way. Of course they did some fishing, after the water warmed, just to prove this true and often came back home with a nice catch for supper. Excitedly the boys shared with Daniel the catching of some beautiful 20 inch trout in a pool above the falls on the west branch of the Machias River. He enjoyed the story about the one that got away. The boys loved to tell how some of the trout they had caught ended up on the table of the Derringer’s Captain after they were picked up not far from the mouth of the Machias River, as they shared some of their spoils with him. Tim could hardly wait to get back to that fantastic wilderness park.
Every time Tim and Enoch Waterhouse got together they would talk for hours about what the wanted to do once they got to Machias. It kind of disgusted them that all Jonathan wanted to talk about was girls. He couldn’t wait til he could marry one of them and build his own cabin for her to live in. The only trouble was that he couldn’t seem to settle on which one he liked best. Sometimes he thought it would be Tim’s sister Sarah, sometimes it was Abigail Stone except that she was a little too young but she was awfully pretty. The next time they talked he was head over heels in love with an older girl, Tim’s cousin Eleanor who turned away every time she caught him looking at her. Of Course he really like Molly Waterhouse but she seemed bent on marrying his cousin Ephraim Carter, or was it vice versa? Anyway, they seemed to be together every chance they got.
Speaking of Molly, that was the name Timothy had given to the rigged up dory they had come home in after their shipwreck. That was early last winter. It was now spring and tolerably warm when the sun got up high in the sky. Tim and Jonathan had been using the little sailboat to do some fishing out in the bay off the headland where the big river in Scarborough empties out. Actually, Tim’s pa had named the critter Molly because he liked to hum an old sea chanty that rhymed Polly with Molly and talked about folly. Jonathan told the Waterhouse girl that it was named for her and he liked to plague her with saying it was so named because the boat was a lot like her being so obstinate and all. He said she looked prettier when she was mad and stamped her foot at him. Tim thought love had driven Jonathan crazy if he thought that saying such things to a girl would help win her affection, but he didn’t say anything much about it because Jonathan was quite touchy when it came to girls.
This particular day they had started out with a slight breeze out of the north filling the sail. After eating their lunch the incoming tide started pushing them toward shore. The wind had swung around to the southard though it was light. They found a good spot where they had caught a couple of haddock, so they dropped anchor and before long were fast asleep.
Suddenly Tim woke up. "Jon", he cried in an excited high pitched voice, "wake up!" While they had slept the wind had dropped off and a thick fog had enveloped them. "Which way is home?"
"Oh no," said Jonathan, "we’re in trouble and I can’t wait to tell Molly about the trouble she’s gotten us into!"
At first it was funny, but not for long as fear suddenly took hold on them.
Tim pointed and said they should go one way and Jonathan disagreed, pointing another direction.
Grudgingly Tim pulled up the anchor and fitted oars between the tolling pins and started rowing. He kept at it for about twenty minutes and finally spokeup. "Jon, we should have come in sight of land by now. I think we’re going the wrong way".
With that the two frightened boys began to argue heatedly. This was a new thing which they had never done ever before.
"Tim" said Jonathan in a rather cross tone of voice, "you know your pa and my grammie would say we should pray but I don’t think that God will hear us ‘cause we ain’t got the right attitude, but maybe He will and we should at least try. Here, let’s trade places ‘cause I can reach a little further than you and why don’t you try praying. It shore can’t do any harm."
At that, the boys traded places and though ordinarily if there was any wind or a rough sea it would take both of them to do it, there was a dead calm so one rower could manage to move the boat ahead slowly. After praying a short prayer Tim brightened and said, "say Jonathan, doesn’t pa keep a bag of gear back there under the seat in the stern - stuff to use in a emergency, he would say."
Already he was on his feet and putting a hand on Jonathan’s shoulder and carefully keeping to the center so as not to tip the dory much, he made his way to the cubby hole under the seat. Taking the old canvas bag he started pulling out its contents. There was a tangled bunch of odds and ends among which he found an old brass bosn’s whistle and at the very bottom a little wooden box in which lay a compass.
"Oh boy," Tim exclaimed, "now at least we can tell whether we are headed for shore or right out to sea."
Quickly they found a flat place and turned the compass to what they thought was due north but the needle was obstinate and wanted to swing around to the opposite direction.
"It must be broken", lamentred Johathan, that can’t be the right way, now what do we do?"
"Wait," said Tim, "I remember pa telling me about getting turned around in the woods one time when he was hunting. He said it was one of the hardest decisions he ever made when he gritted his teeth and followed the compass, though he felt it was wrong. By doing that, he soon came to a familiar trail and in no time was safely home. I say, let’s trust the compass and see what happens. If we wind up in France we’ll know we were wrong!"
Pointing the boat in a direction that both had felt was wrong they rowed without speaking to each other. Side by side they pulled together in a rythmatic fashion. 15 After about a half hour they thought they heard through the fog someone hallowing so they started fervently blowing the old brass whistle turning a bit toward the northeast. The voices sounded louder.
Before long they began to see through the mist the dark outline of the shore and two figures running along it. It turned out to be Job Burnham and Westbrook Berry and the beach not far from Job’s place. They had seen the boys when they put off that morning and were worried about them when the fog came in so quickly.
The two mariners were mighty glad to see the two men and both heaved a sigh of relief as they made their way to the ferry landing at Blue Point. In less than an hour they would be tying up to the wharf at Dunstan’s Landing, very thankful to be back home rather than out on Cape Cod or worse.
That night Tim especially took time to thank God for his safely when he said his prayers and he hoped that Jonathan was doing the same thing. They both had learned an important lesson, arguing doesn’t help, praying does and don’t forget to trust the compass, even if you feel it’s wrong! "Say’, Timothy reminded his son when he heard the story, "Is’s a mite like trustin the good ole Book in a pinch when you feel like maybe it, bein old and near worn out, ya might know betta. Prob’ly it’ll be a sight easier next time."
Finally, in late April,1763,the day of departure arrived. Early in the morning the crowd gathered at the Landing. The tide was high and ready to turn and the vessel was restlessly pulling on her lines. Tim’s uncle David and Captain Buck were in a serious discussion about something that seemed very important while his father was running all over the wharf talking excitedly to first one of the men and then with another. He wished he could do more to help and what he really wished was that he was going out with the Sally when she sailed. Isaac’s yow’uns were excited and three year old Abner was crying for his mother. Up the road just coming around the corner came the Berry family and Westbrook was leading his cow! Uncle David was shaking his head. Women and children and now the family cow. David just didn’t think it was wise for anyone other than the men to be going. It would be hard enough for them without taking women along, but 6 children and a menagerie ! He was clearly upset but George and Timothy managed to calm him down. Their other brother Josiah was there to see them off and he had his whole brood with him. Timothy was thankful that they would be coming in the second migration in the fall. They would certainly need a larger vessel. Seeing all these children milling around made him realize anew just how excited a covey of them could get and how serious an undertaking they were facing.
Rough shelters had been constructed on the Sally’s deck out of old sail cloth where some of the passengers could take shelter and a bit of comfort but most of them would be sleeping below the deck in very crowded conditions.
The cow was tethered at the stern near the taff-rail and her food ration was cut back in the effort to make caring for her a little easier. Westbrook had promised to keep things cleaned up the best he could and emphasized that it would be more than worth it when they got a taste of her rich Jersey milk.
Daniel Hill had stowed his Canoe up in the rigging near the stern. Cow and Canoe would have a sad rendezvous before the end of the voyage.
Tim was glad they were taking the canoe instead of the Molly for at least he could consol himself with having her to do some fishing with this summer.
For many days the men had been stowing all of the boxes and barrels along with tools, iron and mill parts in the hold and now some of the dunnage was being placed on deck and being covered with canvas.
"Is everybody here?" George and Solomon were going through a list making a final check. Several men were embracing their wives and children on the dock. Tim’s mother was holding back the tears, thinking about the heart-wrenching experience she had been through so recently when she thought that she had lost her dear husband to the sea. She knew that Scarborough’s women had only too often lost their menfolk to the claims of a watery grave like multitudes of others along the eastern seaboard. She silently prayed for the Sally’s precious cargo to the Master of Wind and Wave.
Tim’s aunt Alice was holding tightly to Solomon and was weeping profusely. Daniel Stone was going with his father. He was eighteen now and would be a big help to his father in getting a cabin built. His little sisters were sniffling along with their mother. Solomon’s brother John was having a tough time parting with his new wife , Abigail,16 of only a few months. Of course Jonathan’s grandmother was having a hard time holding back the tears. She had lost him once and she couldn’t bear the thought of going through that experience again.
As arranged Joseph had come down to the Landing prepared to minister to his neighbors who were parting from one another. Moments before shoving off he called them all together and led in a prayer for God’s blessing and safe keeping, then with the loosening of the mooring lines the ebbing tide floated the vessel free and she nosed out into the stream, the slight breeze catching the sails and the little band of adventurers were away.
Everyone on board the Sally was relieved to be underway for the voyage up the Maine coast and excited as they anticipated seeing their new home, a trip that would not be without its problems.
CHAPTER SIX THE SETTLEMENT
The Buck vessel, Sally, was riding low in the water with about thirty souls and all the provisions needed until fall by its passengers. In addition, she was carrying materials that would be needed to build a couple of lumber mills plus doors, windows etc. for a dozen or more cabins, right down to the nuts and bolts, nails and all hardware. The hold was filled with people though many of the men slept on deck in good weather, but it allowed scant room for them because of stuff piled high with hardly space to walk from stem to stern. The only place that could be found for Daniel’s canoe was up in the shrouds. Even the vessel’s tender was pulled the whole way loaded to the gunwales.
Circumstances had dictated that Westbrook Berry and Isaac Larrabee be allowed to bring their families so some privacy had to be found for them somewhere. To top it off, the Berry’s cow had "horned in" on the trip and was tethered back too the taff-rail with hopes that she plus all her keepers would do their best to keep the deck clean. This problem was soon solved, unfortunately, for in a storm the canoe came crashing down and struck the cow in the head and killed it
It was a slow and tedious trip and the steady rain didn’t help matters a bit. We can only imagine the relief when Timothy shouted, "There’s my island, jes where we left it and here’s where we swing up the rivah. Hallelujah, we’re almost home." The tide and wind were good.
But now there were other things that were not so good. Before they got to the narrows they grounded out several times and once the Sally keeled over so bad they all had to go ashore and wait for the tide to come in and float her free. This waiting was hard. The yow-uns were fussy and the adults were worn out with loss of sleep. The tender had to be unloaded in order to put everyone ashore. Each one’s patience was being tried that day.
Finally the conditions were right, even as the weather cleared, and the tide was good for pushing through the narrows and around the bend into the calm tiny bay where they dropped anchor in front of the shore where they would be constructing their rude cabins and not far from where the first mill would be built.
Suddenly the sun shone through a break in the scattering clouds as sighs of relief and gasps of wonder gave way to a spontaneous shout of joy and expectation. At that moment Timothy’s voice was heard above all, "Our God, we give you thanks for a safe trip and a new beginnin here on the Machias Rivah on this twentieth day of May, seventeen hundred and sixty three."
A loud , "Amen", sounded from all quarters!
With that, the little dingy was unloaded again and along with the use of Daniel’s canoe everyone was ferried to shore though in truth, it was so close that one could almost leap from the vessel to the land. The children were quickly herded together and moved to a safe spot under a tree where they could soon be fed and put down for a nap. The black flies were out but were not biting yet. The south breeze was a bit cool, but there was heat in the sun that was climbing higher every day. In the evening there would be mosquitoes to contend with , but that would make them feel right at home.
The men gathered around Timothy as he directed that several tents or shantys be constructed with space enough to accommodate everyone except the two families. They had been invited by Captain Buck to live on the vessel temporarily. There would be lots of space now that all the boxes and barrels were being moved out. The food supplies would remain on board for the time being, until they could be safely stored ashore.
Plans made in Scarborough called for a double cabin to be constructed on the north side of the west branch just above the falls. This was to provide housing for the Larrabee family on one side and a bunkhouse for the workmen on the other who would board with them. Later it would be a mill-wright shack and singles’ bunkhouse. The Berry family would remain on the Sally for awhile.
It had also been decided by mutual agreement and casting of lots exactly where along the shore below the falls each families’ cabin would be built, subject to trade off when agreed upon. Relatives would be together if they wished. Some without families would receive a parcel but would not build on it right away. All agreed to help one another in order to get those with families under cover as soon as possible. Everything must be done to make survival of a long cold winter a priority.
There was agreement that Timothy’s lot should be the one closest to the bottom of the falls making it more centrally located to both the mill and the row of cabins which would all be on the north or east side of the main river because of the terrain on the opposite side. There would be five Libby lots, his and one for each of his siblings. Every lot contained seven acres and was 115 ½ feet wide and there were eighteen, one each for those who held a share in the mill that was to be built. On these, eleven would be seeing construction immediately.
It was decided that there would be only three cabins on the five Libby lots since neither George nor David had made any plans to build. George said that if the town grew he would probably donate his lot for some kind of a public building and David was very undecided what his future would be.1 The four siblings thought it good to leave a vacant lot in between each of their little homes and felt that Josiah would probably agree to this arrangement. The Scott brothers preferred the two lots at the far end which they were happy with since they planned already to expand down river and build a mill on an adequate tributary. It looked as though all the space would be taken on the peninsula that lay in between the west branch and the middle branch of the Machias River.
The tools for building had been stowed together for the voyage and were now being claimed by their various owners, distinguished by symbols or initials. There was a good sized pile of axes, crosscut saws, bucksaws, mauls and the like, that would be available to anyone in the community that needed them. These had been contributed by relatives and neighbors back in Scarborough, or were extras.
Timothy drove a stake that would define the line between his lot and the mill lot on which the double cabin would be built. He measured his frontage of 7 rods and suggested that the front end of his lot be used tor the temporary tents and shanties which would serve as shelters for men and materials as long as needed. He asked George and Solomon if they would construct an outhouse in a likely spot out towards the back of the lot and cut a path. He suggested that David build a large fireplace next to the falls where the community meals would be prepared. Mrs. Larrabee ,who was expecting a baby in as few months, would be the chief cook and Mrs. Berry, the cookee. The two ladies would also oversee the construction and layout of the "kitchen" helping David with suggestions. The meals had been planned before leaving and all of the utensils packed together with the needed foodstuffs. These items were brought now and placed where accessible.
Abiel Sprague, Joel Bonney and Wooden Foster, the technicians, scrambled up to the top of the falls and began to search for the best place to lay out their first lumber mill.
Mariner’s tools were brought ashore by Captain Buck who began at once to size up the layout of the lots and decide where the front line should be. The men had talked it over and agreed that it should be set back far enough so that a street , which for now would be only a rough trail, could be constructed for community use. This would also include whatever land there would be between the street and the river. As soon as David was free he would be joining the Captain in staking out the lots. They would need to follow the course of the middle river with their first north/south line in order to make the lots uniform. This was going to take some time. These men were not professional "lot layers" but David had worked some with Lieut. Samuel Libby who had laid out most of the lots in Scarborough during the second settlement.2 ( Poor old Samuel had grown too old and feeble to do much in these last few years.) David suggested that they lay out a straight back line working from the middle river to the northwest corner of Timothy’s lot and using that as a starting point, laying the eighteen lots in between. This seemed like as good a plan as any, so they did it.
The other men had been divided into teams of two and they began to figure where each team would begin the cutting of logs so as not to get in each others way. First, they would cut along the west branch felling trees near the river so they could float them down to where the double cabin would be built. Four of them would begin clearing the lot. Abiel Sprague had visited every family, before they left Scarborough, spending time with them, instructing them about wood harvesting. Now he indicated that he would gladly give further instruction to any that needed guidance as soon as the millsite was chosen. He seemed to have the most expertise with regard to logging and was eager to share it with whomever needed help. Gradually he became the overall manager of the lumber operation.
Meanwhile, as soon as it looked like everyone had an assignment, Timothy grabbed the two teen aged boys and suggested that they help him set up the tenting area just back of the "kitchen". Jonathan and he were good friends and worked well together, and his nephew, Daniel, his sister’s and Solomon’s eighteen year old , who was always ready to "pitch in", fell quickly in with the plan.
A light meal had been consumed before leaving the vessel and now the ladies had a hearty meal ready when dusk stole over the encampment. Several logs had been drawn together for seating, a triangle hanging from a nearby branch served as a bell, and having been rung vigorously, the hungry band of pioneers assembled for grace and an enjoyable first meal together at Machias River, their new home!
Tomorrow would be Saturday and Timothy briefly outlined the plans to make the most of what looked to be a clear, warm spring day. Men were assigned to various tasks. Some would work at getting the double cabin started on the space that had been cleared for it. Others would move the materials from the vessel that had to go up to the mill site. The front line would be paced off and the lots numbered so that each man would be able to have a rough idea of where to place his cabin. The next day was Sunday and it would be a day of rest and worship. Perhaps by Monday, depending on how much David and Captain Buck had managed to get done, the eleven cabin lots might be well enough defined so that clearing might begin and a start on harvesting the logs for the building of them. In the meantime, Sunday was a welcomed change of pace, Families got together for prayer and Bible study. Some of the men got together for a prayer time and did some singing. In the afternoon several decided to a walk in the woods. Daniel paddled his canoe up the middle river and found the land to be quite flat and the river meandering. It looked like the trees were smaller and more sparse as they grew nearer the river. He took particular notice of the large piles of dryki that had washed up along the south side, loading some into the canoe to take back to the camp for firewood. Trying the fishing he found the trout plentiful but smaller than those the boys had described were to be found in the west branch.
Around the campfire that evening everyone was comparing notes about what they had seen during their exploratory walks. It was clear that all were impressed with the beauty and the potential of their immediate surroundings and were anxious to explore further out when the opportunities presented themselves. They knew, however, that their chief occupation for now was to get those cabins up and ready for the womenfolk and little ones. It was very obvious that these would be only temporary as they had already seen places where they would rather build once the lumber became available. For now they would have to be content with boards enough for floors and roofs.
Timothy had been dreaming about his cabin, it seemed, forever and he could hardly wait until the next day to choose a location and start cutting trees, but he knew that his first responsibility was to make sure everyone else had it clear in their minds as to what they would do in the morning. The mill and the double cabin were the first order of the day. Joel had reported to him that the mill site had been chosen and they would need a crew to start moving the materials up the path along side the falls first thing. This was no small task and it had been the topic since the day before. It had been hard to find a ten foot shaft three inches in diameter to bring with them, but at one of the mills that had been destroyed by fire in Dunstan, the owner did not plan to rebuild and the iron was mostly spared being warped. He was willing to trade it for a promised load of lumber in the future. Of course they had oxen to move the 900 pound shaft on that end, but here, as yet it was only manpower. It was no small task.
At breakfast the next morning Wooden Foster, the blacksmith, approached Timothy. Excitedly he announced, "well Tim, I have found a geat spot up on the ledges for a forge and we will start this morning constructing it. It is ideal to have it amid stream where there is usually a good breeze . There are an abundance of flat pieces of rock that have scaled off over the years which we can use to construct an air tunnel and , of course, I have brought a large set of bellows, so we should have a good draft. Yesterday I spotted a hillside with lots of oak and there are many old blow-downs so we should have plenty of hard wood to augment the several bags of coal we brought along. This will get us started right away. It is in a natural pocket up on the highest part of the ledges between the channels and near the mill site. There is even a place to stand next to it just about the right height. I’d say, just made to order and is more than I could ever hope for.’ As he hurriedly consumed a bowl of porridge that had grown cold in his hands, he muttered, "I think we can have it running by nightfall". Tim patted him on the back and commended him, "Yer a good man even if you are so homly". Actually, Wooden was quite handsome and when he was a bit younger all the girls in Dunstan were ga ga over him! He had muscles like Samson and could hit a ball over the pasture fence in center field most any time he wanted to.
The triangle was rung and Timothy got up on a box. "When Joseph gits heah he’ll do the honahs, but fer now this’ll have t’ fill th’ bill," and with that he said a quick prayer asking God’s blessing on the day of work ahead of them. Afterward he just made sure everybody knew what they were going to be doing for the day. Lunches had been prepared by the ladies so that the men going upstream to cut logs wouldn’t have to come in at noon.
Of interest the first thing Monday morning was how the crew assigned to the project were going to get that heavy shaft up to the top of the falls and onto the mill site. Most of the men were farmers and could figure out a way to do most anything. They were each what we call "a jack of all trades" and they really liked a challenge. A few planks had been brought along on the vessel, and one of those was commandeered so that a cradle could be built to receive the shaft. Almost every family owned a set of blocks and tackle. These they hooked to trees along the carry trail by the side of the falls. They cut up some smooth poles for rollers and placed them under the plank, then they retrieved the sheet anchor from The Sally and took it way upstream with a man or two to guide it. With the proper hook-up to the block and tackle set up they let the river do the work and they just kept rollers under the plank and guided it through the rocks and trees using bars and poles when it got ‘hung up" and a brake on the "yanker" as they called it. " Wow!" commented Captain Buck, "what a contraption." The important thing was that it worked!3
Every once in a while an unforseen piece of iron was needed and our talented smithy produced it on the new forge. Short sets of chains were needed to hook the logs together that made up the booms which spanned the river and would channel the logs toward the saw. Wooden Foster found his talents much appreciated as he came up with paraphernalia to get the job done. The two loggers, Sprague and Bonney had brought log handling tools like pickaroons and cant dogs.4 As soon as they saw a chance to do so, they built a log bridge across the top of the falls to access the south side. With an adze they flattened the top of the logs a bit and fashioned a handrail with thin poles. It was amazing to see these men walking across the river on floating logs, but nobody else tried it except Daniel Stone and he got pretty wet. 5 For now, the logs that backed up behind the boom were ones that would be used to build the double cabin for the Larrabees and their boarders.
Bam! Crash! The logs were coming down the river and were fetching up against one another. It wasn’t long before it was agreed that there were enough so that a crew could get started building that first cabin. A fairly flat space had been found and temporarily the stumps had been sawed off close to the ground except a couple that could be used for stools. As soon as the mill was in operation there would be boards for roof and floor. Until then, a piece of a sail would have to do overhead. It would be supported by permanent rafters and perlins, the former to be dressed so as to be as flat as possible and notched to receive the perlins. By nightfall on Monday the cabin was half way up.
The mill crew that evening reported to Timothy that it looked like they could have it up and running in about a week. They had located a spot for the water wheel where there would be a good stream even in the summer when the water would be low. What would happen in the spring freshet was anybody’s guess. They would just have to wait and see.6
In the evening after supper the entire company gathered in around the roaring fire where the smoke helped somewhat in keeping the mosquitoes away. Once again the subject turned to the question of where they were, who owned the land they were on and what lay out beyond the hills and up the streams. Every direction seemed to hold a mystery except the powerful river which flowed out to the ocean and there again what lay beyond the horizon they had a glimpse of before swinging with the tide on what had seemed an endless journey before they had reached their secluded harbor of hope. Sensing the burning curiosity hearing the speculation that was running through the group, Timothy got their attention and began telling them all he knew about where they were. He had made several sealing voyages up along the rock bound coast which was so different than the lowlands and the meandering rivers of their Scarborough home. He posessed a rough map of the coastline that the pilgrims had developed in their quest for trade with the Indians encamped at the mouths of several major rivers. He also had learned a lot of information from Captain Eli and General Preble. He remembered that, if all had progressed as planned, Colonel Jonathan Buck was even now developing towns on The Penobscot south of them. For the remainder of the evening he regaled them with stories he had heard about the Indian tribes that inhabited the region around them. He knew of places like Quoddy Head and Grand Manan Island and such tribes as the Passamaquoddies who would soon be making their way to their summer encampments. The shell heaps were presently mute testimonies, as were the carry paths around the falls, that these people would be putting in their appearance.
He told them about English and French villages to the north in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. So far as he knew they were on English soil but England was encouraging settlers so they should have no problems establishing claims. It appeared that their timing was good also because due to the conquering of Canada by the English, the problems with the Indians had come to an end only in the most recent times.
"Well friends, I guess it’s about time to hit the sack. Tomorrie.s anotha day an we should plan on givin her a run fer the money. Look heah, these yow-uns are all asleep and we got to get ‘em out aboard of the boat yit." Timothy stood and yawned. " I’m so tired I kin hardly see straight."
The next morning at breakfast David Libby announced that he and Captain Buck had finally got the back line run out. "If we could have some help today we could probably get the lots separated so everyone will know for certain where the side lines are located." This was welcomed news as each of the men who would be building a cabin was anxious to get a definite site located and start clearing. Even though they probably wouldn’t be living in them very long,7 they wanted to have something nice for their wives when they came in August. It was difficult enough for them to leave their comfortable homes in Scarborough and come out into this wilderness so it was important that each man do his best to be ready.
The whole area was so heavily wooded that most of the logs needed for building were close at hand. Everyone seemed to have a different idea of what he wanted. Some planned to use small logs which meant there would be more seams to fill with moss and clay, but would be much easier to handle. Others would use large logs with fewer risers. There would be trade offs. Some would set their cabin on the front of their lot, some in the middle and a few with lots near the Middle river would put theirs on the back. Each had to take into consideration the conditions. Some would have a lot of stumps where clearing and digging would be difficult, others had more sandy soil and could sink part of their cabin into the earth. Some had drawn a design with a loft for sleeping, especially if they had several children. Some with large families would have two units connected together in a variety of patterns. As soon as boards and edgings were available there would be roofs and floors.
Timothy, in making plans with his brother Josiah before leaving Scarborough, had come up with plans for as large a cabin as possible. His and Josiah’s would be of the same design. There would be a kitchen and a bedroom on the first floor and there would be a sleeping area in the loft for the children, boys on one end and girls on the other with a partition in between. A doorway would be cut in the rear on the main floor to allow for an addition of boards or logs in the future. As soon as the mill began to produce there would be a great demand for the product and not knowing how well m Mthings would go, it was hard to plan. In time things could be made more comfortable. Solomon and Timothy’s sister’s cabin would be in between his and Josiah’s with David’s lot and Samuel’s spaced in between so giving plenty of room on the 35 acres. When Deacon Joseph and his new wife arrived they might want to build on the back end of one of the five seven acre lots.
Last night at the campfire Solomon had spoken some words of wisdom when he reminded those who were planning to build back in the woods that the flies might be considerably worse. When there was a southerly breeze coming up the river, it helped a lot. Everybody was looking forward to having the cabins so they could get away from those fierce mosquitoes!
During the next few days the main site below the falls on the west branch of the Machias River was a beehive of activity. The air was filled with the sounds of saws and axes and the crashing of trees being felled. Shouts of men needing to be heard above the constant sound of rushing water, laughter of children playing on the river bank, smells of food being prepared over the open fireplace, all contributed to the happy scene. Logs seem to be coming from every direction. Down the west branch, down the middle river, being towed by the ship’s tender from across the little bay. Here come’s a log from the mouth of Libby’s brook being paddled by one of the men sitting astride of it. The Sally was anchored as close as practical to the shore and a floating log bridge was extended out to it from the high water line. Several kegs of square cut nails had been brought ashore and placed in the tent where the tools were kept. There would be counted out to each builder and distributed evenly. A bench had been constructed where small jobs could be worked on under cover when necessary. Plans were made to build a cabin to be used as a shop when some of the other work was caught up.
There was lots of discussion on what to do about having fires in the cabins. Only Solomon had brought a new fangled rig called a box stove made of metal but no way to get rid of the smoke. Besides those things were very expensive. Some people planned to leave a hole in the roof to be covered in inclement weather. One family had been down to Plymouth in Massachusetts and had seen chimneys inside the houses made of sticks and clay and called wattle and daub or boards covered with clay and called cat and clay and were talking about trying it. Some planned to build an outside chimney made from smaller logs. The trick, of course, was to keep these basically wooden structures from drying out like tinder and catching the whole cabin on fire some night when they were all asleep. Back in Scarborough there were brick kilns but there was little time to build a kiln or to look for a good sized source of clay. It would come eventually, but they would soon be facing the possiblity of sub zero temperatures in a few months so they needed an answer and soon!
On Sunday after services they would take more walks hoping and praying that they could find rotten ledges where they could mine some flat stones for fireplaces. Perhaps using some of the wire mesh they had brought from back home, they could stop the sparks from going up the wooden chimneys.
A few of the men had built small sleeping tents on their lots using the canvas which would eventually be used for the roof of their cabins. The scuttlebut was that the snoring in the big tent was so loud that they were sometimes awakened thinking a hurricane was bearing down on them. In a fews more days the big cabin would be ready for occupancy but conditions sill might not improve that much! Daniel Hill caught everyone’s attention be announcing that he was building an Indian teepee out of the skins of the animals that he had been harvesting for meat. This would be about halfway back on his lot and would do for him until late next year when he hoped to marry. He would have a small fire in the center of his wigwam with a flap at the peak manipulated with a long pole. He said he had slept in a good many of them in the coldest of winters and had always been comfortable. "Sometimes," he joked, "my friends did think that I might be a little half baked". He was certainly a good natured fellow and he liked to sit at his own little fire pit and smoke his pipe. Whatever he used in it had a wonderful fragrance and it drifted through the woods a long way when the wind was down. He always made sure to use his own fire wood, leaving the main supply for cooking and the evening campfire which he gathered early in the morning before most others were up.
Speaking of a campfire, there was a community gathering each evening after the supper meal. Getting near the roaring fire helped a bit to keep the mosquitoes away. It was a time to discuss how things were going and to talk about any problems that had come up during the day’s activities. The men were encouraged to make suggestions if they had any that would benefit the project.
Joel Bonney reported on the fourth evening that he felt that the mill construction was proceeding on schedule with no major problems. It should be in operation within a week if things continued to go as smoothly as had been the experience so far. He suggested that by the beginning of the next week it would be well to have a few men felling some pine to start with and it would be understood that all pine inside the boom would be fodder for the mill. By Saturday a listing would be posted showing which men would be the fellers (of trees) for each day and everyone else should stay out of their way. Suggested stump girths would be posted since there were no animals to assist in handling the logs. Since they assumed that they were on crown lands they would observe the law that exempted mast trees from being harvested for any other use.8 These were white pine trees that were 24 inches in diameter or more at the height of 12 inches from the ground.
The Larrabee cabin was nearly ready for roof rafters and would be covered with canvas until boards from the mill would become available. The men who wished could move from their tent into the part of the double cabin which would be a bunkhouse. Saturday morning all hands would turn to and bring ashore all of the windows and doors that were still aboard the vessel taking what they needed for their personal cabins. The afternoon would be free for each person to do what they wished with the rest of the day. Many had said they were going to look for clay and stones along the beach of the river. They could mark what they found as their property until moved onto their lot.
Daniel Hill invited Jonathan Carter and Dan Stone to go with him down river to find some clam flats at low tide to see if they could get enough for everyone to have for supper. They would also bring some fresh seaweed in which to roast them. Only one man had thought about bringing a clam hoe, but using that one as a pattern Wooden Foster, the smithy, had managed to scrounge up some scrap iron and fabricate a couple more. At his time no one realized how important these would become. A wooden box with some slats on the bottom and a rope for a handle would serve as a means of washing the clams in sea water. Gunney sacks were in plentiful supply. They found that the flats were a rich source until they got near the Indian shell heaps where the supply petered out a bit, which was to be expected.