Crawford ----- November 12, 1893

To secure my grocery waggon note extra to extend to June 1, 1894, my note now on collection at Rash Avrill Post office, I sell and deliver to L. B. Hodgkins one 2-year-old heifer native color red I raised and increase, one steer color red native I raised, two calves native breed, both bull calves color red I raised star in head of both. George Magoon

Now we will look at business through the eyes and pocketbook, of a man who bought needed but expensive items with credit. This first entry in Crawford book of business concerning George Magoon makes reference to an earlier loan on which George needed more time to pay. He put a lot of his livestock up to secure this loan extension. Of course we know from other readings in this book that George gets to keep the stock, feed and care for it. This grocery wagon may have been needed by George to deliver moose meat, deer meat, and products of his farm to Machias. This entry also gives a good hint as to who in Crawford was acting as agent for L. B. Hodgkins of Farmington Falls. Fifty-eight year old Horatio Averill, farmer and postmaster, likely worked on a percentage with Hodgkins.

Thanks to Edward “Sandy” Ives, George Magoon is the most widely known person in the history of Crawford. Ives recently retired as professor of folklore, chairman of the anthropology department, and director of Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History. Sandy is an avid historian and a long time member of A-CHS. In 1988 his wonderful book George Magoon and the Down East Game War was published. The Baxter Society recently listed this book as one of the 100 all time enduring Maine books. We will look at George Magoon through Sandy’s eyes.

One Edward Magoon from in around Baileyville drifted into Crawford and took up with Susan Dewey, middle child of widow Charlotte Dewey (who recently had married William Graham). Ives doubts that Susan and Edward ever married, no record of it has been found, and she continued to use her Dewey name. When in 1851 she gave birth to a son, she gave him the name George F. Magoon.

George’s mother died in the 1860s leaving teenaged George and two younger children for their grandmother, Charlotte Graham, to raise. George’s life was not unlike that of other youths in Crawford in those days, although at the death of his grandfather, George must have had to work hard and grow up fast.

At nineteen he purchased a 50-acre farm near Love’s Corner for $90.00. The following year on May 30 a tornado “unroofed” his barn. Daniel Ford and Justin Dwelley both had their barns blown down. George stuck to the farming, but in 1870 had to borrow $100.00 from his Uncle Jim Dewey who had settled in East Machias. Two years later, after his mother died, he mortgaged the Graham farm to his Uncle Jim to secure the loan. Times were tough! But times were tough for all subsistence farmers in interior Washington County. George was an accepted member of his community and in 1872 a charter officer in the Star of Light Lodge of the International Order of Good Templars, a temperance organization.

Family tradition has George and Lorenzo Seavey going to California sometime in the mid-70s. They traveled by sailing vessel around the horn, panned gold, sewed their nuggets into their vests and returned in the same manner. (Note that it was possible at this time to cross the continent in about ten days by rail car. This was expensive, and there wasn’t any chance for passengers to work to pay for their passage.) It is more likely that he spent some of his time on the West Coast working at the Pope and Talbot Mill at Port Gamble Washington. Regardless of his activity on the West Coast, George did not pay off his debts when he returned home.

George married Etta Love, eldest daughter of Jonathan Love who lived next door. In 1882, his first Child, Bertha, was born, and he purchased the farm of Daniel and Sarah (Dewey) Ford. This was a good farm, 180 acres in size with 120 in cultivation. There was a house, a new barn, a horse, a pair of oxen, and a flock of sheep. George paid for the farm by selling the Graham farm to his Uncle Jim, plus incurring a heavy mortgage.

The family grew. Frank was born in February 1884, Mary in December 1885, and Ray in June 1888. George was a subsistence farmer. His daughter Bertha stated,” We always had enough to eat, Father raised cattle, vegetables, and apples. He raised pigs for the market, and in the fall he’d kill a hog. All we ever bought was staples like molasses, sugar, and flour. But he’d always have a big garden – potatoes and the like. It was mostly for our own use, but he’d sell whatever was left over.”

If all the things on the farm, George loved his apples best. His grandson, Orris McKeown, told years ago that George had names for most all his apple trees. One of his favorites was “the old woman.” Once, when George was old, someone stole a bunch of his apples. When George discovered this, he came back to the house almost in tears. When asked what was wrong, his reply was, “Someone stripped the old woman bare.”

Farming would feed the family, but selling apples in Machias did not provide enough cash for those things he couldn’t grow. George, like many of the neighborhood men spent the winters working in the woods. In 1887, he joined with his Uncle Jim to cut on Township 19. Dewey, Magoon & Co. had a good season, but George seemed to always be in debt.

From 1890 onwards he was frequently in court as plaintive or defendant about money he owed or was owed. He lost the farm for a number of years but continued to live there and act as if he owned it!

And George Magoon was a skilled market hunter and later a notorious moose and deer poacher. He was the subject of numerous humorous stories of how he outwitted the game wardens. Sandy’s book must be read by anyone wanting to understand market hunting and the origin of poaching in Maine, and it has a wonderful collection George Magoon stories.

But this article will examine the financial problems that always plagued George. The following are excerpted from pages 37, 46, 49, 59, 66, 77, 113, 118, 128, 139, 147, and 228 of the Crawford book of business. George Magoon had a long record of credit documents.

George’s Uncle Jim Dewey of East Machias will appear in several of these documents.

State of Maine – Washington ss - October 22, 1899

To George Magoon of Crawford in said County of Washington:

Whereas George Magoon on the 18th day of June 1897 mortgaged to Lemuel B. Hodgkins of Farmington in the County of Franklin one black wagon, one red and white cow twelve years old, one red cow three years old, one dark red mare and increase said Magoon had of James Dewey of East Machias, to secure the payment of eighty dollars, which mortgage is recorded in the mortgage records of Town of Crawford, book 3, page 37, and whereas the conditions of the mortgage have been broken, it is my intention to foreclose said mortgage for breach of contract. Lemuel B. Hodgkins

This is the final transaction in this Crawford book of business between George and L. M. Hodgkins. Now we turn to Sandy Ives where on page 115 he tells the rest of the story. Hodgkins did come to Crawford to collect and he and George came to blows. Hodgkins went to the courts and in civil court Hodgkins got only “one cent debt or damage” and “one red mare, one red cow, and part of that wagon.” George was defended by William B. Pattangall of Pembroke, well known lawyer, eventually Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Court, and author of Meddybemps Letters, another of those Baxter Society all time enduring Maine books.

In criminal trial, George was found guilty of assault and battery by a Washington County jury. He was sentenced to thirty days in the Machias jail. Readers will need to look in the book to get all the details!

This entry raises the questions, “Where are books 1 and 2? What stories do they hold?”

$31.00 Machias, Maine - July 30, 1900

For value received, I hereby sell and convey to G. W. Fisher my buckboard #4.

George Magoon, Crawford, Maine

Naturally, after his time in jail, George stopped doing business with Hodgkins. Here George has borrowed $31.00 from Fisher. In this contract, he again “may in the possession of said property until default in any payment.”

Know all men by their present that I George Magoon for the sum of fifty dollars loaned by Joan A Day of Wesley… do grant, bargain, and sell said Joan A. Day one brindle cow, one red cow, one spotted cow, and one red heifer. July 28, 1900 George Magoon

This document indicates that George bought nothing from Joan day. He borrowed money.

Crawford ~ May 15, 1902

For value received I sell and convey to E. A. Drew of East Machias the following: one two-seated grocery wagon painted dark, one brindle cow, one red and white cow, and increase, and promise to pay one hundred twenty-five dollars with interest at 6 per cent.

Frank Magoon George Magoon

Security Note with E. A. Drew for $80.00 Crawford May 18, 1903 for one Concord road wagon hung on side springs painted Damine ---George Magoon Frank Magoon

$130.00 - March 26, 1906

For value received I sell and convey to George Magoon one five year old mair colt same I raised color dark red and one cow three years old color red and promise to pay …said George Magoon one hundred thirty dollars … with interest at 6 percent. Edwin Hatt

$313.00 ~ East Machias Nov. 16, 1906

For value received I sell and convey to E. A. Drew of East Machias the following described property: one horse color bay2 white hind feet known as the Western horse, one set of double team harnesses brass mounted all complete above purchased from E. A. Drew, one black mare known as the Albert Ingersoll mare same I had of James Dewey, one 2-horse cart painted blue same I had of James Dewey.

George Magoon Winfield Fenlason witness: T. J. Gillespie

$800.42 -- East Machias June 12, 1907

… the following: one rubber-tired top buggy with lamps and mud fenders painted dark, one single horse cart painted blue, one set double team harnesses all complete above goods I purchased of E. A. Drew, and one cow color black, one cow color red, both I raised, one black mare known as the James Dewey mare to secure $800.42 in notes

$225.00 ~~~~~ Machias Maine October 9, 1907

For value received I hereby sell and convey to Mary E. Foss of Machias the following property to wit: one brown horse and promise to pay to said Mary E. Foss two hundred twenty-five dollars as follows: One hundred twelve dollars and one half to be paid the first day of May, and one hundred twelve dollars and one half to be paid the first day of November at interest of 6 percent until all paid. George Magoon Ralph McKeown witness: Grace Hatt

Crawford, Maine October 1, 1915

For a valuable consideration to me paid by George Magoon I hereby assign to him all clames and demands which I now have and all which at any time between this date here of and the first of March 1916 I may and shall have against Orrin Hunnewell for all sums of money due and to become due to me as wages for personal service and heareto for performed and to be performed by me during that period and for hay which Orin Hunnewell now ows me for, with full power and authority to collect the same. This assignment is given for security for the payment of an amount amounting to one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125.00) I now owe said assignee.

Frank Magoon witness: Lula M Magoon.

The material here is mostly the results of research done by Norma (Parlin) Reynolds of Machias. This family has not been easy to trace and we welcome additions or corrections.

William Holland and Charlotte Dustin were the parents of several children. William, a mill right came from Hingham, Massachusetts in 1786 to Pembroke where his children were born.

  1. William

  2. Henry

  3. Charlotte was born about 1795 in Pembroke. Charlotte married William Vance around 1825. This was her first marriage and his fourth marriage. This marriage lasted only until 1831 and a considerable degree of confusion exists concerning the children of William Vance. Charlotte had stepchildren her age. William’s will of 1840 does list numerous children, but mentions only his fifth “undutiful wife, Charity (Stafford) Vance,” who produced no children of record for William. At this point we will say that several children were born to William and Charlotte (Holland) Vance. Can readers help with this? It appears that Charlotte (Holland) Vance later married Irishman James Dewey (see below). Charlotte married 3rd William Graham.

  4. Sarah married 1st John M. Lord and 2nd Ephraim McGoon (see below).

  5. John was born in 1804 and married Sarah Mahar, daughter of James Mahar and granddaughter of Edmund Mahar. John is buried at Reversing Falls. This is Norma Reynold’s ancestor.

  6. Jane married Joseph Mahar, brother of James.

  7. Mary Ann was born in 1808 and married Edmund Leighton.

  8. Margaret married 1st Thomas Baldwin and 2nd William Blackwood.

  9. Susan married 1st John Lockhead and 2nd _____ Cotton.

Ephraim and Sarah (Holland) Magoon

The 1850 census of Baileyville lists in the Magoon family Ephraim 52, Sarah 55, Ephraim 22, Edward 18, Josiah 16, Sarah A. 14, Stephen 12, and Martin 10. It was the Edward who drifted from Baileyville to Crawford and took up with Susan Dewey.

James and Charlotte (Holland)(Vance) Dewey had three children, probably all born in Baring.

  1. Sarah was born about 1833 and married Daniel Ford of Crawford. They were married at Crawford on November 24, 1850. It was their farm that George purchased when they moved west to Wisconsin.

  2. Susan or Susanna was born about 1834 and at Crawford married James Brown on March 31, 1856. This is the only marriage we find for Susan, who was mother of George Magoon, born likely September 1852. Susan and James Brown had a son named Henry who was born about 1855. James Brown disappeared before the 1860 census.

  3. James was born about 1837 and died in 1923. He married Harriet Eliza Wormwood of Crawford and they resided in Jacksonville village of East Machias. Eliza Wormwood was the daughter of Daniel and Harriet (Lydick) Wormwood. Children of James and Eliza were: Amon LeRoy (1862 – 1926), graduated from Bowdoin Law School and moved to Joplin, Missouri; James F. (1864 – 1885); Charlotte (1872 – 1934) married John L. Pierce of East Machias; Alice (1874 – 1899) married John F. Bradbury; Clara Blanche (1880 – 1913); and Harriet ( - ) married Ralph E. Smith. Orris McKeown stayed with his Uncle Jim while attending Washington Academy in East Machias.

William and Charlotte (Holland)(Vance)(Dewey) Graham

The 1850 Crawford census under Graham lists William 60, Charlotte 55, Sarah A. 17, Susanna 16, James 14, James Brown 22 laborer, and John Burleigh 60 joiner. The 1860 census lists Charlotte 62, Susanna Brown 25, George F. Brown 7, and Henry W. Brown 5. That 7 year-old George is our George Magoon who was more likely 8 or 9 years old. Charlotte was 75 in the 1870 census and living with her was 9 year-old Frances Low.

The 1870 census does not list George Magoon, nor does the 1880 census. His half brother Henry Brown is listed in 1880 in Crawford as a farmer. Where was George? This may be the time he was out west panning gold or working in the mills.




Patsy Jordan of Franklin provided background for this section. Other information came from the Crawford Vital Records.

George F. Magoon married Etta S. Love on April 4, 1881. She was the daughter of Jonathan and Mary (Barstow) Love. She was born in September 1855 at Crawford and died March 21, 1906 at Crawford. George died October 13, 1929 at Crawford. Both are buried at the Old Crawford Cemetery. Their children:

  1. Bertha G. (March 15, 1882 – 1974) married Ralph W. E. McKeown (1878 – 1935) on August 27, 1902. Their children were Adin, Orris, and Cecil.

  2. Frank Love (Feb. 13, 1884 – May 13, 1967) married 1st on March 7, 1907 Edith Smith of Alexander, daughter of Fred Harriman. The 1910 census lists Frank as married but living with his widowed father and siblings. He married 2nd Lulu M. Thistlewood (Dec. 14, 1879 – Nov. 12, 1963) on November 6, 1910. She was the daughter of Robert and Lois (Vickery) Thistlewood of East Machias. Frank and Lulu’s children are Ulric, Robert, Calla, and Evelyn. Ulric is the oldest male residing in Alexander and Evelyn resides in Augusta. Both are A-CHS members.

  3. Mary “Mamie” (Dec. 1885 - ) married a Harold Chase on August 3, 1917. He was the son of Wellington and Augusta (Staples) Chase of Winterport. Mamie and Harold were married in Concord, Massachusetts where she worked as a nurse.

  4. George apparently died young.

  5. Ray I. (June 1888 – Nov. 2, 1973) married Erma E. Palmer(1895 – 1973). They lived in Aurora. Their children: Hazel, Elmer, Laverne, Amy, Ralph, and Ray.

  6. Baby (1890 – 1890).

  7. Emily (July 3, 1891 - ) married Arthur Harriman of Alexander, a brother of Edith (Harriman) Smith who had married Frank. This marriage of November 2, 1905 did not last. There were two children according to the 1910 census, Arthur D. and Etta C. OR MAMIE???

  8. Leigh “Lee” Dexter (Sept. 16, 1893 – April 13, 1973) married 1st Lura Elsie Jordan (1896 – 1951) and 2nd Gladys E. (Davis) Jordan (1890 – 1964). Lee also lived in the Aurora area. His children: Norman, Althea, baby son, and Earl.

  9. Leila Etta (July 14, 1896 - ) married Alvin Tarbell of Meddybemps. His parents were William and Florence (Connick) Tarbell.

  10. Etta (1899 – 1899) stillborn

In the 1920 census we find George, a widower, living alone at age sixty-nine.