A-CHS MEETING
May 5, 1981

(Names and other words that could not be transcribed are in italics. Unknown voices are referred to as ďmanĒ or ďwoman.Ē Comments, explanations, and additional names are in parentheses.)

Jane Dudley: Stories from earlier days of the Alexander-Crawford community as told by Pliney Frost and Jack Dudley are being taped today Tuesday, May Five 1981 at the Pocomoonshine Lake home of the president Jane Dudley who will also serve as the interviewer.

Jane Dudley: Pliney, we have heard something about a hanging that took place in the early days. It has excited a lot of interest in our area. Could you tell us the story of this true happening?

Pliney Frost: I donít know as I can tell you the true story about it, but I have a newspaper clipping pertaining to it. I do not know the connection. I was in hopes to be able to contact some of the Sullivan family and see what they could tell me about it, but I havenít been able to. If I can find the doggone thing. I said I had it.

Jane Dudley: We know you have a lot of papers there. We can hear them rattling.

Pliney Frost: Finally. This Sullivanís name was John F. Sullivan, I guess. This is a Xerox copy and itís not too plain, but he was hung in Dorchester for the Dutcher murders. Thatís about all I can tell you about it except that he had some brothers. One story that I have heard pertaining to it was that he was arrested in a house that no longer exists which was the Sullivan house atop of Gooch Hill, later owned by Everett and Rowena Bates. Thereís an account here of his last days and of his actual execution.

Jane Dudley: Well, what did - did you say that he murdered several people?

Pliney Frost: Well, apparently. They called them the Dutcher murders. Do you know anything about that, ...?

Jack Dudley: No.

Jane Dudley Did you say Guptil?

Pliney Frost: Dutcher. D-u-t-c-h-e-r, I think it is, if I can find it here.

Jane Dudley: And were they of our town, of Alexander?

Pliney Frost: No, D-u-t-c-h-e-r. No, I assume they were Canadian, because this hanging took place in Dorchester Penitentiary.

Jane Dudley: This has nothing to do with the hanging on the Cooper Road?

Pliney Frost: No, that was the pedlar, wasnít it Ethel?

Ethel McArthur: The pedlar.

Plieny Frost: Iíve heard the story about it

Jane Dudley: Oh, that was the pedlar.

Ethel McArthur: He was hung in a tree.

Jane Dudley: Do you want to tell that story, Pliney?

Pliney Frost: No, Ethel is more familiar with that one than I am.

Jane Dudley: Ethel, if youíre going to tell it, youíll have to move up so we can be on ó you can be on the recorder.

Woman: Move up, Ethel.

Ethel McArthur: Well, I canít be too sure. All I know is what Iíve heard, that he was in to Meddybemps and he stayed all night and the next morning he started through the woods to Alexander and they overtook him and they hung him in a tree on the Meddybemps Road.

Jane Dudley: Who overtook him?

Ethel McArthur: Some of - they never knew who did it.

Jane Dudley: Jack, is that the same story Merle told us?

Jack: No.

Jane Dudley: Would you like to tell the story?

Jack: No, Iíve heard a different one than this one that Ethel just mentioned. I can remember over there on the Meddybemps Road of my father when we were going up a hill over there, he called it Hangmanís Hill and he pointed in to where the tree was supposed to have been where this fellow was hung, and according to the story he told me was that the man who was hung was a drover. He had come down from Bangor and had some money and he was going to buy cattle down here and then drive them back to Bangor. And, somebody apparently knew who he was and knew he had the money and they robbed him and hung him. Thatís where they found him with his money all gone. Thatís the way it was told to me. The hill over there is called Hangmanís Hill.

Jane Dudley: Isnít it strange that they hung him right out on the road, along the road?

Ethel McArthur: They said they could hear him holler clear into Meddybemps. Whereís the hill?

Jane Dudley: Of course in that day they were using - this is in Cooper - in that day they were using horse and wagons, werenít they?

Ethel McArthur: Right.

Pliney Frost: That was probably back in the days of the Curran cattle drives, wasnít it from - - ?

Jack Dudley: That would be in the days of the cattle drives when they had the pounds.

Jane Dudley: And what would be the duties of a drover?

Ethel McArthur To drive the cattle.

Jack Dudley: To drive the cattle. They had to be driven over the road into Bangor.

Jane Dudley: He was given money from some source.

Jack: He was given money by the people who ran the business in Bangor. He was sent up here to buy cattle and bring them back to Bangor to the slaughter house.

Jane Dudley: I see. Do you suppose he used the Alexander pound?

Pliney Frost: Always a possibility because those herds went up the Airline.

Jane Dudley: That must have been a sight.

Jack Dudley: Up over there and brought them over.

Woman: What era are we talking about? What years?

Jack Dudley: Well, it would be prior to 1895. We got the railroad in here in 1895 from Bangor so it would be before that.

Pliney Frost: I would say 100 years - - -

Jack Dudley: Before that, all the big stuff, freight and passengers, of course, went by boat. People got on a boat right there in Calais or drive down to Eastport by horse and wagon and get on a boat and go to Boston or wherever he wanted to. When my father went to Bowdoin College, that was in 1891 or two, he lived in Pembroke. He went from Pembroke to Eastport by horse and wagon. He got on the boat in Eastport, and he went on the boat from Eastport to Portland, and then he went from Portland to Brunswick on the electric trolley. They had trolleys at that time that went clear back up into Lewiston. That was of course - - - are all gone.

Jane Dudley: Quite a journey.

Jack Dudley: The one that Merle told me has nothing to do with these. Merle Knowles told me this story, that there was this pedlar. He did not have a horse and wagon. He was walking - pack on his back - and he sold jewelry and watches and things like that, small stuff. And, it was getting along toward dark and he was headed towards Cooper and he stopped over there at the foot of the hill at Stephensonís, and knocked on the door and wanted to know if they would put him up for the night. And, Stephenson told him, no, they did not do that, but up on the top of the hill where Gooch lived, that Gooch - there was no question about it that he could spend the night there. So, he departed. And, the next thing, a week or two or three later, the pedlar was found dead with his throat cut in the well up there somewhere near the Gooch place with no money, no pack, no nothing. And then according to Merle, that Mrs. Gooch when she was on her death bed.

(Here it sounds like another recording was made over this one. This ďover-recordingĒ is in italics.)

Man: . . . Calais. Well there was a Republican, and they put up a bet on the presidential election. I donít remember which one it was. The bet was that whoever - the fellow who lost the bet would have to get in the hearse. Charlie Cone had a hearse then at the stable.

Second Man: Yes, I remember that.

Man: Big glass enclosed thing drawn by a pair of horses. Whoever lost the bet would get in there and stretch out and they would drive him up from Coneís stable up to the bridge and back. Charlie won the election. (Few indistinguishable laughing words.)

Woman: Oh, marvelous.

Man: Matter of fact, I saw someone not to long ago - some pictures of Sammy Saunders.

Second Man: Sammy Saunders, yep.

(Several voices talking at once so that they cannot be transcribed, and then the original recording continues.)

Ethel McArthur: Thatís why the house is haunted.

Man: Yeah. The one that I got was that Mrs. Gooch when she got real old and somewhat senile used to remark, ďWhat would you think if you saw two men go down cellar and only one come up?Ē I never knew that the body was discovered. I assumed it was still in the basement.

Jane Dudley: Thatís interesting. Now, Ethel, you said thatís the reason why the house is haunted. Is the house still there?

Ethel McArthur: No.

Man: No, no.

Kay Church: Thatís why they tore it down.

Ethel McArthur: Thatís why they tore it down.

Pliney Frost: Bateses tore it down because they couldnít keep the doors closed in it, so they said.

Jane Dudley: You mean the house was empty when they tore it down?

Pliney Frost: They bought their modular home.

Ethel McArthur: Bates bought the house, and they - - -

Jane Dudley: I wish youíd move forward because weíre losing this on the tape.

Jack Dudley: Rowena Bates bought the house. They used to live over there, she and her husband. They, this room in the house, they couldnít keep the door shut. They even tried to tie it with a rope, and then it would be found open.

Jane Dudley: Oh.

Jack Dudley: And, they finally must have heard of this story, and they figured that was the room he was killed in and the house was haunted and subsequently the house was torn down and they built a new one, didnít they?

Pliney Frost: Modular home. Two part trailer, some damn thing.

Jane Dudley: Now, how many years ago was the house torn down?

Pliney Frost: Ten years ago, perhaps.

Jane Dudley: That was quite recent ghost story, quite recent ghost story.

Pliney Frost: Incidently, thatís the same house where this Sullivan was arrested.

Jane Dudley: Oh-h-h.

Jack Dudley: I know, I know.

Jane Dudley: This house was really a house.

Kay Church: In regards to that house, I did hear one story that they used ropes - someone didnít believe any of this about it being haunted and they used a rope - tied it to the door knob and then to the newel post in the hall and still in the morning when they got up the rope was there. It was not tied to the knob and the door was open.

Second Woman: Why wouldnít this be in the old Calais Advertiser? The well story was in there.

Jane Dudley: Yes.

Second Woman: Between 1850 and 1890.

Pliney Frost: The article that I heard - - -

(Several people talking at the same time - canít be transcribed.)

Jane Dudley: If you get down there, perhaps you could research it some more.

Pliney Frost: Iím not sure it was the Calais Advertiser. I think it was the Bangor Commercial, probably.

Ethel McArthur My uncle and aunt lived in that house for years.

(Mumbled words by male voice.)

Kay Church: Did they finally find it?

Pliney Frost: Your uncle and aunt?

Ethel McArthur My Uncle Herbert and Aunt Alice (Perkins).

Pliney Frost: Oh yeah, yeah.

Ethel McArthur They lived there for years and brought up their family, Clayton and Leota.

Jane Dudley: Did they have door trouble?

Ethel McArthur Hunh. In that same house.

Pliney Frost: I think it went from Sullivans to your uncle.

Ethel McArthur Uh-huh. Herbie.

Pliney Frost: And, from them to - - -

(Womanís voice talking at the same time - canít be transcribed.)

Pliney Frost: And, from them to his daughter and from his daughter to Frank and Bertha Dwelly and from them to - what, Sullivans to Bates?

Jane Dudley: So, thatís the history of the owners of the house. Who built the house?

Pliney Frost: I assume Gooch.

Jane Dudley: Gooch.

Pliney Frost: Iíd have to check the deeds back.

(John Dudley said the history of the house is: J. Gooch - 1861, to W. Gillespie - 1881, to H. Perkins - 1900 - to his daughter and son in law, Leota and Les Worrell, to Ed Sullivan, to Frank and Bertha Dwelly, to Everett and Rowena Bates about 1960.)