Water Power of Maine printed in 1868 at the request of the Maine State Legislature mentions just one mill in Alexander. “At the foot of Lake Beautiful, a shingle mill and saw mill run by an old style wheel. Water enough for ½ year operation.” That site is on sixteenth Stream. Records indicate that the sawmill was here in 1816, followed by a grist mill in 1820.
The Mills on Sixteenth Stream
Sixteenth Stream, called Stevens Stream on one map, flows from Pleasant Lake to Meddybemps Lake. The name Sixteenth comes from Alexander’s township name, i.e. Township #16. There is a Fifteenth Stream that flows to Meddybemps Lake from Township #15, now Cooper. The 1961 map places a ‘saw and shingle mill’ at the place where the stream exits Pleasant Lake. These were built and operated by Jesse Stephenson and his family.
By 1881 the mill was owned and operated by John W. Dwelley. John’s son Llewellyn worked at the mill for many years as a filer and shingle sawyer. Llewellyn’s brothers Oliver ‘Bub’, Morey and George also worked at the mill. Llewellyn’s children Wayne, Doris, Harold, Frank and Everett had their turns at bunching shingles and other jobs. George was the last Dwelley to own and operate the mill.
During the sixty plus years the Dwelley family operated the mill, they sawed shingles and long lumber for the local market. They sawed laths and, with a crew from Princeton, bolt wood to be shipped. Some laths were shipped under the H. F. Eaton name.
Cecil Hatfield acquired the mill in the spring of 1941. He continued to saw shingles with a Chase Shingle Machine (designed by Clifford Chase of Baring) for about four years. During this time the mill was powered by a 30-hp water wheel.
About 1946, Hatfield ceased sawing shingles, installed a boxed 60-hp turbine type waterwheel and concentrated on sawing long lumber. About 1948 a 90-hp Continental Gas Engine was brought over from Wesley. From that time it powered the mill when the water flow was not sufficient.
Charlie White stated that after gas got high in price, Cecil
Hatfield and Coolidge White rebuilt the mill so it ran by the water wheel. The
water-powered mill sawed about 7000 feet per day. Coolidge served as sawyer and
the following were some who worked there during this period of time (the 50s):
Wayne Dwelley, Shirley Hunnewell, Bill Hatfield, Hubert Dwelley and Charlie
White. Hubert Dwelley lost three fingers during this time frame. Elbridge
McArthur trucked the lumber to a Maker in Dennysville.
Here is an image from July 1935. The mill burned around 1962 or 63.
The site is at the foot of Pleasant Lake, 460 Cooper Road. One of
the early map/plans of the land between the Penobscot and Schoodic rivers shows
sites of ‘hot house communities’ to quote the map found at the Baring Brothers
Bank in London. These were at waterfalls so as to support mills, saw and grist.
Also at each site was to be buildings to house families while the men cleared
farms in the area.
Those places were Mariaville Falls on the west branch of the Union River, in Beddington on the Narraguagus River, At Holmes Falls on the Machias River in Northfield, on Northern Stream in the middle of Township #19 and at the foot of Pleasant Lake in Alexander. The planned road to connect these sites left the Penobscot at Orrington and ended at Township #6, Baring. Apparently structures were built only at Mariaville Falls.