AROOSTOOK WAR                                             







MANLY BUTTERFIELD TOWNSEND was born in Sidney on May 8, 1803 and died at Alexander on December 7, 1849. He was appointed by Governor John Fairfield as his aide-de-camp, responsible for transmitting the Governor’s orders to the militia and attending matters of protocol. The Aroostook War was not a war, but a military action between February and May 1839 by the State of Maine to protect timber and land in the Aroostook River valley from British loggers. Four companies of state militia marched from Calais in early March. The problem was resolved by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty in 1842. Image from book on Maine State Senate Presidents by Jim Mundy. 





REUBEN KEEN was born in Alexander in 1833. He enlisted on October 3, 1864 in the 20th Maine. This was after the Battle at Gettysburg, however Reuben and the 20th Maine were part of the surrender of the arms of Lee’s Army in April 1865. Reuben was discharged on July 16, 1865 and returned to Alexander. His wife Mary died on October 20 of the same year. He moved to Cooper, remarried and lived at Keen’s Corner. He died on January 10, 1914 and is buried at West Ridge Cemetery, Cooper. Bill Hatfield researched his great-grandfather and had this image created based on photographs of Reuben’s children. 











ERNEST WILSON (seated) with Tommy Hall, George Mealey and Melvin Albee, all Washington County men, in some far distant land. Ernest served as a private in Battery B of the 1st Battalion of the Maine Artillery Volunteers. He enrolled on July 13, 1898 and was discharged at Savannah, Georgia on March 31, 1899. He was born at Machias on March 9, 1876 and by 1880 was living with Mary Ann (Lane) Howe Strout and two of her children in Alexander. He married Blanche Seamons of Alexander in 1904 and shortly after 1910 moved to Woodland.











MYRON CLAYTON FROST was born in May 26, 1895 in Alexander, a son of Stephen D. Frost, Jr. and a grandson of Civil War soldier Stephen D. Frost. He is pictured here with his wife Mabel (Dill). Myron died in Augusta on June 7, 1922 and is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in Gardiner









EDGAR PERKINS was born in Crawford, next to the Alexander line on the south side of the Airline. He lived most of his adult life in Alexander, next to the Crawford line on the north side of the Airline. He was inducted into the Army on June 28, 1918 at age 25 and was discharged in 1919. He was assigned to Company K, 23rd Infantry of the 12th Division. What were his experiences at Fort Devon, which was in the throws of the Spanish Flu. He returned to Alexander, married his brother’s widow and served for many years as a selectman for Crawford, even though he resided in Alexander.







JUAN CARLOW was born on the Pokey Road in Alexander on July 31, 1917. He married Gladys J. Leighton of Woodland on January 25, 1941, then served in the U. S. Army. His brother Verne was a soldier during World War One.


















HARVARD W. DWELLEY was born on April 20, 1914 in Alexander a son of Delmont and Clara (Dunham) Dwelley. He was a meat cutter in the 216 General Hospital Group, U. S. Army. Harvard moved to Woodland where he worked until his retirement at the local paper mill. He married Dorothy Hunt in 1950 and their children are Alan and Jane. He died on December 20, 1990.














LAWRENCE S. FROST was born in Alexander on October 16, 1923. His parents were Lyston and Hazel (Cousins) Frost. He attended Hale School. He was a Grange member and active in the Alexander Volunteer Fire Department. Lawrence was engaged in agriculture with his father, which accounts for the lateness in his military service.

Lawrence was inducted on February 9, 1945 into the US Army. He served over a year in Japan as a carpenter in the aviation engineers unit. He was part of the occupation in the Asiatic – Pacific Campaign. Mostly he operated heavy equipment burying new supplies that the Army no longer needed. He was discharged on December 9, 1946


He married Florence Anderson on April 5, 1953 and raised her two children, Thomas and Sherrie. He lived in Alexander until moving to Florida in 1969 where he owned and operated a Texaco Service Station. Lawrence was active in the Leweys Island Masonic Lodge in Princeton and numerous other Masonic and Shrine groups. Lawrence died on February 26, 1991.

















James ‘Buster’ Holmes was the only child of James A. and Vivian (Dwelley) Holmes. His father died of typhoid before he was born and because his mother had to move away to work, Buster was raised by his grandparents, Mort and Clara Dwelley on the Cooper Road. He enlisted in the Navy on December 15, 1942 and became a Seaman 1st Class. After the war he married, moved to Woodland and worked at the paper mill.











This text is based on an interview done by John Foley on July 6, 2005.
I was born in Alexander across from Randy’s Store; that was in 1922. We moved to a house between Lawrence Lord’s and the Spearin Road briefly. Next we lived in Woodland a short time while my father worked in the mill up there. One of my brothers was born down back of Lawrence’s and the other one, the third one, was born in Woodland.

And then we moved back to Alexander, back to the house behind Lawrence’s. We stayed there until I was about 13 years old. We then moved up to Bailey Hill, 1605 Airline Road where Eleanor Fecteau lives now. My father bought that place.

I got a job in the mill down on Pokey Lake, Stowell – MacGregor’s white birch mill that made spool bars. I think I was 17 when I worked there. Coolidge White was my foreman on the day shift and Harold Cousins, Clarice’s father, was the foreman on the night shift. I worked there for all of the winter of 1939 – 40 and sometime the next spring I went to Portland.

I worked in the shipyard three days there and then I had to have a physical and I couldn’t pass that. So I got a job with the Maine Central Railroad at the Portland Terminal Company and I worked there until I went in the service in December 1942.

I was in the Air Force in Florida for 26 months at MacDill Air Base near Tampa. They transferred me into the Infantry. I took my infantry training and I went overseas with the Third Infantry. We landed in Le Havre, France and we fought through Germany. When the war ended we were in Salzburg, Austria.

I had enough. We came home by points; being sent home depended on how many points that you had. I had enough points to come home when the war ended, but the Third Infantry Division was going to stay there as an occupational unit. So, I transferred in with the MPs. They were coming home so I was going to come home with them. But I worked with them for a while guarding trains back and forth all over Germany and then it was decided that the MPs would stay as an occupational unit, too.

That didn’t work out too good for me so I transferred into an engineers unit and I came home with them. We hit a big storm on the way home - first night out and we lost a whole day right there. That was a rough trip. Even the sailors got sick.

I came home. I was discharged on April 1946 and went back to work for the terminal company in Portland. I worked there over a year. I used to come back to Alexander from Portland to see Clarice Cousins weekends. We got married on September 9, 1946 and after Eddie was born in 1947 moved back here.



This is an autobiographical account written by Robert Hazelwood sometime in the 1980s. He recalls his activity in 1944 - 45 while serving as a Lieutenant on the Battleship USS IDAHO.

Bob was born on July 14, 1924 at Hartford, Connecticut a son of Charles and Winifred (Chase) Hazelwood. He spent many of his younger years in Baring, the hometown of his mother. After the war Bob worked for International Paper Company out of their New York Office. His job was to select sites for new mills they planned to build. In his retirement Bob was the developer of Meddybemps Shores here in Alexander. This is where he has chosen to live since 2001.

Bob was a pilot. His was a two-seated single engine observation plane (OS2U). The plane had a large pontoon under the fuselage and a float on each wing. It had a fixed mounted machine gun that fired between the blades of the propeller. The plane was catapulted into the air off the stern of the ship. When the plane returned from its mission, it landed on the water and was pulled aboard by a crane mounted on the stern of the ship.

USS IDAHO BB42: 1919 – 1947 “THE BIG SPUD”


I was in Pearl Harbor waiting for an assignment with three other pilots. We each worked with the group that was interviewing us to see if we couldn't get a good sea assignment. It was lucky that I interviewed with Lt. Comdr. Walline who was senior aviator on the Idaho. We agreed that I was the pilot that they wanted to replace the one who got shot down and killed.

I boarded the Idaho at Ford Island, Hawaii after the ship returned from R&R in Bremerten. My first combat was at Iwo Jima. We were very lucky in having Adm. McCormick on board as the Idaho always got to cover the landing zones. That made it much more interesting. Other ships had either the northern or the southern end of the island. The same thing happened at Okinawa. We had the dead center of the landing zone. We were where the action was.

At Iwo, on my second day ever over enemy territory, I got shot down. I had a marine, Lt. John Connolly, on board to better establish communications between the navy and the marines because there had been some difficulty before. He was a spotter plane pilot for the Marines and. we were going in over the quarry at the north end of the expected landing zone. Whoever found a target would fire at it. He found three tanks and we started firing at them. On the third or fourth pass over that quarry, we got shot down. It was a 37mm shell that came up between the two seats, we were both sitting in armored seats and he was behind me. I didn't get any, but he got the full blast. He got over fifty pieces of shrapnel in him. When I turned around and looked at him, within three or four seconds after the shell exploded, he passed out; he held his hand up and with glazed eyes, he just passed out. All I could see of him was the back of his "Mae West". So, I headed back convinced that the main float was blown out. I knew the plane was hurt badly. I landed just as close to the ship as I could because I thought the plane was on the verge of sinking. The blast had missed the float. Within ten minutes, or less, of his getting hit, (maybe three minutes flight time to the ship) we were hoisted aboard. They didn't have time to take him to sick bay; he looked too far-gone, so the doctor treated him under the wing of the airplane, there on the deck. He got four pints of plasma and then two pints of whole blood that night.

The humorous part of it was when the doc said, (and it was way into dark before he finished what with fifty pieces of shrapnel, that it's a good thing he hadn't been circumcised so it left something to work with. When Connolly got discharged he got married, and after settling in Houston, he sent us a post card - it was nice in telling us of the marriage and there was a "PS": "Doc, everything works fine!"

I was the youngest pilot in the unit, maybe a little more daring than some of the others, and there was a "Gooch" Hill, an ordnance man who was part Indian. He liked flying with me because we would strafe with the seaplane. One time I found a bunch of trucks - we could catch the reflection of the windshields through their camouflage- and we went down to strafe them with the nose gun and then he would fire sideways from the rear. We did that quite a few times. We didn't set anything on fire, but we sure did bust a lot of windshields. Everytime we would dive, we saw this elderly woman kind of jogging down the road. When we came down, she would head off into the woods. Well, we didn't believe in shooting at civilians so we went down real close to her and both of us waved and she took off into the woods and wouldn't come out after that.

Another time we found tank tracks that just disappeared. We realized that the Japs were doing just as they did with the big naval guns. They were burying them during the day and bringing it out at night and firing. Well, those tank tracks were a giveaway, but the ship was at maximum range; I guess sixteen miles. We had them fire for a while and the shells did uncover the turrets of tanks but did no damage. We obviously couldn't hurt a tank at that range so we gave the info over to the fighter planes and they came in and did their thing.

At Shuri Castle, Okinawa, we were concerned that the Japs were moving troops during a storm. There were no planes in the air. We wondered if there was any chance of someone getting in to see what was going on. Well, I volunteered and Gooch volunteered to go with me.

Over Naha, we went in about a hundred feet over the water and at the head of the harbor were two streams. The northern one went directly to Shuri Castle so we flew up that. We saw troops all huddled around fires in the rain. Some groups would wave at us and others would raise their rifles to shoot at us. So we obviously knew who the enemy was. One Japanese soldier tried to shoot us down with a mortar and there's no way you can just down a plane with a mortar. We could see the phosphorous bursting but never even close to us.

We suddenly heard a bang and I called Gooch on the radio and asked where were we hit. He said there was a hole in the tail and the Captain immediately came on the radio - usually we deal with the gunnery officer - and yelled, "Hazelwood, you get the hell back here!" We weren't doing any good, so we headed back. We found out that the rifle bullet had gone out through the tail but entered the plane just underneath Gooch’s fanny, only a foot away. He was much closer to being hit than he thought.

We were out one time when they called us back because of a storm. I said I was still on target so the gunnery officer had me stay as long as I could. When I realized that I couldn't get back to the ship because of increased storm conditions I went out over the southern coast of Okinawa, out of sight of land eleven miles to Kerama Retto, little islands we had seized before the invasion in order to set up guns to shell the shore. It was a sheltered place where we also used to take on ammunition and refuel out of range of the Japs. I took a compass bearing for that and landed in rough weather. We got inside a high wave and hit it on the rise and we did get down all right and then I knew it was eleven miles “that away” and we piled through the waves chewing up the prop and whatnot. A destroyer came along, hove to and stayed with us; then they yelled over that a cruiser was coming to come pick us up. The cruiser VINCENNES did come over and we recovered on that. They had lost an airplane that day and there was only room for two planes on those cruisers. I didn’t know whether the pilot had died or not and they didn't talk about it. I've been curious about that ever since.

When they came around to Buckner Bay, the storm had passed and they lowered me over the side and I flew back to the Idaho. At this time, they were on the east side of Okinawa and the IDAHO was on the west side, I went on up into the clouds. I had been told that the Japs weren't sophisticated enough to have their radar hooked up to their anti-aircraft guns. I went straight and leveled at about 2000 feet flying across the island in the clouds. I went along to Naha. All of a sudden I could hear their shells all around me. So, despite what they had said, I knew different. I went into ninety-degree dives and ninety-degree climbing turns on instruments, still staying in the clouds and I crossed the island that way. When I got back I told them I'm sure they do have that radar hooked up with their anti-aircraft guns.

Aside from that we were shooting at airplanes, tanks or whatever. But we weren't killing people, we were "destroying items" and that was a way the navy kept it "clean and impersonal". We could rationalize our way out of it that way. In the case of Connolly, I was really trying to save him.

We were off Okinawa at Yonton and Kadena Airports and the TEXAS was immediately north of our position. We were having lunch when GQ sounded and we went tearing up to the deck, just as I stuck my head above deck I saw kamikaze coming at us; our men shut it down. Only a piece of the wing landed aboard ship. We went back to eating and within a half an hour, GQ sounded again, the same meal, and everyone goes tearing off to battle stations and here's this airplane, way out with fixed wheels. Now, only the Japanese had those fixed landing gears, and here's this airplane with its wheels down coming in and at roughly the same position as the first plane and he kept on rolling his fuselage from left to right. The guy in charge of the fire control range finder in the rear recognized it, as one of our F4U Corsairs but with a hundred guns on the ship firing you couldn't hear a thing. They were shouting "Cease fire!" but nobody could hear it. And the guy kept on swinging, as if to say, "Can't you stupid fools see I'm a Corsair?”

He was trying to land at one of the airports we had just seized and he squeezed between us and the TEXAS with both ships firing and the only reason he didn't get killed is that fire control had cranked in maximum range and all of the heavy shells went guy's head and 'splashed four or five miles out. We went back to eating. The Captain called over the intercom and said that he got word from the Corsair pilot we had shot at him but he was safe, but I won't repeat what he had to say about us. So that was our moment in shooting down a friendly airplane with that plane's wheels down and the men trigger happy, and what with Kamikazes in the area, you can rationalize our situation. At least one guy recognized it and tried to shut off the firing.

Lt (j.g.) Hanse and Bill Schumann had a bad problem with an airplane engine. That was because the crew, who were making up the twenty-two pounds of gunpowder to put into the five inch shell that would supply the power for the launch, were supposed to use the slow burning powder used in the fourteen inch gun of the main battery. Instead, they made up some shells by using the quick firing powder used in the anti-aircraft guns. So, when they were firing us off with the quick firing powder, we were getting the full acceleration much too quickly. We had our flying speed before we reached the full length of the catapult. I had the experience of my microphone flying off and just missing my head. We knew that things were going wrong but we didn't know why. After we had lost the engine on Hanse's airplane, they went back to investigate closer and let us know finally what had happened and we put a quick stop to that loading method. They checked the other airplane to make sure its motor wouldn't come off too. Something as simple as using the wrong kind of powder.

The only time I ever really shot at “people” was when the Japs were using couriers because we were intercepting their radio messages. I saw two runners, obviously couriers, running in the opposite direction of the civilians to the command post. So, I banked around and strafed them and they ran up a hill. As I pulled up, they got up and started running again so I kicked the rudder and came back down again and shot at them again and they didn't move this time. I had no idea whether they were faking or not, but I believe I was successful. But then I thought this is stupid. We were trying to find command. I went up to 6000 ft. and circled around using binoculars. It was almost like the traditional training film we had seen. They went along the road, and then along a row of brush into a white farmhouse I could see. So I reported to the Marines. They said they would take care of it with ground fire. It was a case of patience and watching with the binoculars, then letting the Marines do their job.

In order to get back home as an observation pilot you had to have so many flights over enemy territory. So, if you could get enough combat missions in a real hurry, you could get back stateside, if you survived.

Over Tokyo, at the end of war, you could see the buildings painted with all sorts of signs. One read, "Cheerio, from the RCAF" another one had "Emperor" with a big arrow pointing towards his palace. Another one had something from the Royal Navy can't remember exactly what it was. But it was interesting to see that kind of graffiti.

The night before we went into Tokyo Bay, Adm. Nimitiz decided that, rather than scare the Japanese with all these dark ships laying about, we would open up all the port holes and show movies on deck. We had bright, peacetime displays to try and keep from being too much of a treat to them. Meanwhile, the Australians saw some of our guys on shore on bicycles who were just released themselves from prison camps. They brought them on board their ships.

We were suppose to be the first ones in the harbor and a Jap ship was leading us through the minefields. We thought there was always a chance of a double cross. Maybe they would turn us loose inside the minefield. So, we had to allow for that. As we were going in, there was an American submarine on the surface coming out of the harbor. They had been there first. Now, the junior ship is always suppose to salute the senior ship when passing, but the bridge ordered it the other way around. So we saluted the sub which got there first. It was a nice gesture on our part. We had a band on board doing their thing, and all that stuff.

We were just not trying to scare the Japanese to death since they had quite a decision to consider, would they surrender?

I want to make some remarks about the skipper of the Idaho. Capt. H.J. Grassie was an ex-destroyer man. A ship represents the personality of the skipper. When I was on the TEXAS for four days we had to wear neckties at sea and had to have our shoes outside our doors to be spit polished by the men. Junior officers couldn’t go to the senior officers’ wardroom, and vice versa. This was all at sea! Aboard the IDAHO, everything was relaxed and everybody supported everyone else. The officers were allowed to mingle and go all over the ship. His rationale was that if the ship got hit, you would lose a cross section of the crew rather than losing all the top officers in one blow. I use to play bridge with the XO and there was good comradeship. Capt. Grassie felt his boys could do anything. Whenever the kamikazes came at us, instead of going around to the safe side of the bridge, he would go out and fold his arms and stare at them and wait for his boys to shoot them down. He was sure we were always going to. He went back to take charge of the Great Lakes Training station as a Commodore. Quite an honor there!

We were allowed to have the aviation department separated off from the rest of the ship. As a result, we always had purloined turkeys and hams from the ship’s stores. We were the most popular unit on board.

The padre on board was a real nice guy. When the ship was being decommissioned, he came up to me and said, " I want you to know that I deserve full credit for you making it through this war. You were never launched but when I wasn't there putting out the “beam” for you. I got to thinking about that and every time, I was launched, he was/ there.

On our return I was offered senior aviator if I stayed aboard the ship while waiting for my replacement. Comdr. Downes, the XO, came over to me and said in a most sincere way, "Bob, I just wanted you to know that you had the least military but the best run unit aboard this ship." So, I felt pretty good about that. We were really the kind of unit that would go down and have ham or turkey with the crew and mix it all up. There was never any kind of “officer rank” to speak of among us.

At Iwo, the IDAHO was credited by Navy Intelligence in doing the most damage. Well, we always had the landing zone and did a real good job. There was great morale, the whole team. It was a terrific ship to be on.