BREAKNECK MOUNTAIN NEIGHBORHOOD
Breakneck Mountain is a north-south ridge left by the last glacier in Alexander. The neighborhood and road continue into Cooper, but this article will discuss the Alexander part. Rufus Putnam’s 1786 plan of Township 16 (Alexander) showed lot 49 in the southwest corner of the township; it was two miles by two miles or 2560 acres. When Benjamin R. Jones resurveyed the township making smaller settlers’ lots for William Bingham’s estate in 1808, lot 49 was renumbered lot 97, but stayed the same size. Lot 49/97 never belonged to William Bingham, despite the erroneous label on 1881 Colby’s Atlas.
It is that larger size that has made Breakneck history such a hard task. Among the sources used are the 1861Wallings Map of Washington County and 1881 Colby Atlas of Washington County, hours on the ground searching with a GPS for cultural artifacts, many stories from neighbors and many, many deeds. Deeds referenced here are by Book and Page, ie. Book 15, Page 124 as (15-124). Readers must realize that some settlers were on the land well before the date of the deed and that this paper deals mostly with those who actually lived on the mountain.
Putnam’s Plan was for the Massachusetts Land Lottery in 1786. Lot 49 was acquired by the heirs of Sylvester Gardiner with ticket #663. Gardiner’s grandson, Robert Hallowell Gardner in 1821 sold the lot, now lot numbered 97, to Caleb Cary of East Machias (deed 15-124). Cary had been born in Norfolk County Massachusetts in 1788 and moved to East Machias with several siblings. Cary married Sarah Talbot. He is described on deeds as a housewright, mill owner and gentleman. He invested in other land in Alexander, 1280 acre lot 27 in 1825 (deed 16-49) and 160 acre lot 61 (deed 18-13), both lottery lots.
Breakneck Road today runs from Grange Hall Corner in Cooper to the South Shore Road on Pleasant Lake in Alexander; some can be driven over, some is hard to walk over. Originally that name described the road from Frost Corner in Cooper (about one mile north of Grange Hall Corner to the Arm Road in Alexander. The County Road today is Route 191 over West Ridge Cooper, straight north at Grange Hall Corner, by Frost Corner (with Breakneck Road going off to the left) to the site of the North Union School, hence northerly passing on the easterly side of Pleasant Lake. The Breakneck Road is referenced in deeds as early as 1824. We expect Caleb Cary paid to have the road built, but have found nothing to prove that.
Most of the early settlers came from or via East Machias. We will describe them from south to north in the abandoned neighborhood. Town clerk John G. Taylor’s wonderful records and census records as compiled by Sharon Howland provide information about these families. Evidence exists that those adults listed in bold actually lived on the mountain, others may have.
The schoolhouse appears only on the 1861 map and in several deeds. It is described as the red schoolhouse and in School District 4, in School District 5 and in the South East School District. According to Annaniah Bohanon, a log schoolhouse stood on Burnt Barn Hill in 1822. That would be east of the dam that carries the Burnt Barn Hill Road over Dead Stream. What things are needed to make a community? Breakneck had a few houses, many people, a school and burying place(s).
Who lived where is complicated more because several who lived on the mountain owned several lots and may have lived on more than one place. Also non-residents owned and rented out multiple farms. Obvious breaks in the story line are noted by two question marks. (??) I hope this paper will lead to corrections and additions that will eventually be on our web site.
the first 50 rods north of Cooper and west of the Breakneck Road had
mill lot is in the southeast corner of lot 97.
STEPHEN BABCOCK LOT
– 63 rods along road, 157 acres – house site west of road
Stephen Babcock was born at Hopewell, NB on August 16, 1798. He arrived in Alexander after 1820 and in 1824 acquired from Caleb Cary by deed (20-30) 157 acres bounded by the Breakneck Road on the east and Crawford on the west. On February 22, 1827 he married Betsey Flood. They had 11 children George (1828), Martha (1830), Stephen (1832), Charles (1834), Julia (1836), Almira (1838), Augustine (1840), William (1842), Louis (1844), Lafayette (1846), Betsy (1848) and Emma (1852). Jeremiah Spearin, Alexander Tax Collector, placed a lien on this property in 1837. Stephen sold his 147 acre farm to William Pope of East Machias by deed (76-344) in 1852. Pope was a mill owner and not a farmer. Stephen and his family left Alexander before 1860. Sons Augustine Harvesty and William Henry both served during the Civil War, enlisting from Cooper. The 1861 map shows a house at this site belonging to Calais Lawyer Joseph Granger. Granger invested in abandoned farms in Alexander and Cooper, possibly elsewhere.
GIDEON BABCOCK LOT
– 113 rods along road, 264 acres – house site west of road
Gideon Babcock was born at Hopewell, NB on November 2, 1787. He arrived in Alexander after 1820 and married Mary Noddin on July 10, 1828. Taylor lists but four children, Theophilus (1829), Mary (1830), Hannah (1833) and Esther (1835). In 1829 Gideon purchased 264 acres (deed 20-28) from Caleb Cary. His lot was immediately north of Stephen Babcock’s and also bounded by the road and Crawford. Jeremiah Spearin, Alexander Tax Collector, also placed a lien on this property in 1837. Gideon and his family left Alexander prior to 1840.
Haywood sold the lot by deed (49-81) on May 6, 1842.
In 1865 by deed (111-533), Joseph Granger sold to James Foley this lot plus the two fields on the east of road. At this time Granger owned both John Babcock and Stephen Babcock places as per deed (144-319). Irish immigrants James (1805) and Joanna (1820) Foley and their children Margaret (1839), Michael (1839) who would go off to war, and Thomas (1844) were in Alexander prior to 1860 and some of them to after 1880. William Foley, born ca 1862, was high bidder and acquired it from the Town of Alexander in May 1873 after a tax lien; Isaiah Foster was Tax Collector. Joanna Foley was taxed for this lot in 1886.
Margaret Foley of Boston sold the Hayward farm plus fields across the road to Frederick H. Vining of Alexander in 1894 by deed (208-215). Fred Vining had been injured seriously in an accident at the American Molybdenum Mine in Cooper. Fred and Edith Vining and their children Bertha (1882), Harry (1884), Flora (1888), Hazel (1892), George (1897) and Alice (1899) were residents here for the 1900 census.
Foley of Calais sold the Hayward Place via deed (263-232) to Marshall
McKusick and George Hanson of Calais in April 1905. They transferred
the property to Edgar Small of Pembroke. Today the cellar, well, barn
foundation, fields and stone walls are still visible at the Foley
JOHN BABCOCK LOT
– 50 rods along the road, 100 acres
John Babcock was born on October 6, 1780 and died on January 23, 1857 at Wilson’s Beach, Campobello Island, NB. He married Catherine Davis in 1809 and they were the parents of seven children Barzilia (1810), Clarrissa (1815 - 1824), Mary (1817), Nancy (1820), Jonathan (1822), Esther (1825) and John (1827). He came to Alexander prior to 1820, but it was 1835 before he had a deed (28-376) for a 100 acre lot just north of Gideon. John’s 100 acre lot was bounded by Barrows Lake on the west. John and his family left Alexander before 1830, moving to Campobello. He sold the lot to Robert Lamb on August 20, 1833 (43-320).
In September 1857 by deed (73-26) Robert J. Lamb and William S. McAllister sold this lot to lawyer Joseph Granger In June 1886, Joseph Granger Estate sold by deed (177-20) the John Babcock lot to Joel K. Brown of Alexander. We find no evidence that Joel lived on Breakneck. Joel eventually sold to Marshall McKusick and George Hanson of Calais by deed (258-298) in November 1903. Later they sold all their Breakneck holdings to Edgar Small of Pembroke.
REUBEN FENLASON LOT
– 250 acres – house site west of road, well and out buildings on east.
The first recorded to reside here was Michael Noddin, he was living on Carey’s lot according to deed (19-377) concerning an adjoining lot, but Noddin had no deed. Michael Noddin was born in England and his wife Mary Ann Blakeney born in South Carolina. Their children were David (1800), Robert (1801), Betsey (1803), William (1896), Mary (1807), Michael (1810), James (1811), John (1813), Uz (1815), Isaac (1817), Chambers (1819), Charles (1821), and Caleb (1823). Most of the older ones were born in New Brunswick This family appears only on the 1830 Alexander census.
Reuben Tuttle Fenlason was born at East Machias in 1810 and his wife Deborah Gooch was born there 4 years later. He appears in Alexander after 1840 and on the 1850 census now married to Livonia who is just 19. In the household are Ervine (1834), Reuben (1836), Deborah (1840), Hannah (1844) Livona (1849) and Rebecca Garnet (1827). Reuben had acquired 250 acres by deed (38-423) in 1838 from Caleb Cary. This lot ran from the Breakneck Road to Barrows Lake. The 4th District schoolhouse is described as being near the northeast corner of his lot. Reuben died August 10, 1852; see Breakneck Well Tragedy
This lot is described in deed (43-157) dated 1840 from Nathaniel Lamb to Robert Lamb as “where I now live this year past”. Careful reading of this with the previous paragraph and the following paragraph highlights the problem of relating ownership (deeds) to occupation. We of 2011 must remember that not too many years ago, people would rent a room or two in their house to an individual or an entire family. Also in years past the possessions on an individual or family were scant compared to today. All a family’s goods likely could be put in a wagon in just a few minutes. Another activity once common was conversion of an out building into a residence; four walls and a roof needed but a stove plus homemade bench and table to become a home. We need to think like those who lived in the past in order to understand the past.
By 1850 John (40) and Biddy (38) Crowley were living in Alexander. With them were fellow Irish immigrants John Magee (35), Jane Fitsimmons (14) and James Finley (40). In 1860, Tom Tobin (30) was with the family that included a Maine born daughter Hannah (10).
In May 1873 Bridget Crowley sold by deed (134-67) to John Sullivan, likely of Cooper, all this lot excepting the buildings and two acres that went to Edmund Monroe for a legal debt. Sullivan gave George Granger of Calais a quit claim deed (134-369) for this property in August 1873. The deed states that Robert Thistlewood occupied the lot on that day.
Foster, tax collector for Alexander, sold by bid this land to William
Foley in 1873 by deed (144-319). In 1885 William and Margaret Foley
of Milltown sold 140 acres known as the Crowley Farm to Joel K. Brown
of Alexander via deed (171-339); Joseph Granger’s Estate also
sold his interest in this farm plus Granger’s wildland to Brown
(177-21). Joel and his wife Sarah Brown passed their interest in this
lot to Marshall McKusick and George Hanson of Calais in November 1903
via deed (258-298). They sold all their Breakneck land to Edgar
The mill lot was part of land Abijah Crosby of Baileyville acquired east of the Breakneck Road and north of the Cooper line from Caleb Cary in 1838 by deed (38-410). Buildings on the land were included except the barn standing near Reuben Fenlason’s house. Crosby sold the north part to Nathaniel Lamb who immediately resold by deed (38-482) some of this lot to William McAllister on August 29, 1838. By deed (44-79) Jeremiah Spearin, tax collector for Alexander sold this lot to Foster Haywood of Alexander and Japhet McAllister of St. Stephen in 1840; the taxes were unpaid since 1837. The Haywood name remained tangled up with this lot. He along with Nathaniel Lamb and William McAllister mortgaged and or sold this lot to Moses J. Hackett (49-81) May 6, 1842.
Nathaniel Lamb was born on July 11, 1803. His wife Almira Carle was born November 16, 1812. They were married on July 13, 1830. Their children were born in Calais, Seth on April 26, 1831 and Albert on January 25 1835. We find this family on the Alexander census only in 1840.
William McAllister was born at St. Stephen on June 25, 1806. Almira Lamb was born in Calais on January 29, 1812. Was she Nathaniel’s sister? They were married on June 2, 1830. Records tell that their children were born in St. Stephen or Calais; Almira on March 31, 1831, William on September 28, 1833 and Ann Maria on August 31, 1838. This family also appears only on the 1840 Alexander census.
Foster Haywood was born at Winslow on November 27, 1799. Sarah McAllister was born at St. Stephen on March 17, 1808. Was she a sister of William McAllister? Foster and Sarah married on December 9, 1827. Their first five children, born in Calais and St. Stephen, were Horatio (1829 – 1831), Sarah (1831 – 1832), Silas (1834), Mary (1836 - 1841) and Zimra (1838). They arrived in Alexander just prior to 1840 where two more children were born, Horatio in 1840 and Laurette in 1845. Foster Haywood died at Calais in 1845 and the family disappeared from Alexander records. As with the others, this family was on the Alexander census for 1840 only.
Moses J. Hackett was born on March 4, 1806. Hannah Charlotte Quimby Chase was born on November 13, 1815. They were married on December 2, 1834. Moses, as a Justice of the Peace, performed a marriage ceremony on February 25, 1842 in Alexander. The 1850 Alexander census lists Moses (1807) as a mechanic, his wife Charlotte (1816) and children William (1836), George (1837), Samuel (1839), Leroy (1842, Emma (1847) and Florence (1849). Leroy, listed as Larry in Maine Adjutant General’s Report, was a Civil War soldier. Moses was involved with several properties including the Samuel Fenlason lot and mortgaged land to a Jeremiah Hackett of Boston.
Card was taxed for this lot from 1875 to
1881. This Civil War veteran lived here with his wife Eliza (Lamb)
and children Sarah (1854), Bracket (1858), Lucy (1861), George (1863)
and Jesse (1866). Other children were born after the family left
Breakneck. Eliza held the deeds in this family. James L. Frost of
Crawford and Eliza apparently traded a part of lot 72 in Crawford
where the Cards had lived (1870 – 1875) for this part of lot
97. James Frost later sold this lot to Joseph Granger. Did anyone
live here after the Cards? Joel Brown was taxed for this lot plus two
buildings in 1890. A cellar in the woods is all we can find.
Brothers John and Joel Gooch, sons of Ebenezer and Betsey (Seavey) Gooch bought this lot from Caleb Cary by deed (19-377) in 1829. It ran from Barrows Lake to the east line of lot 97. Eben and his family, including sons Joel and John, were in Alexander before 1820.
Joel, born at Machias on January 26, 1802, married Hannah Gooch of East Machias in 1833. Joel and Hannah Gooch had six children of record Orinda (1834), Augusta (1837 – 1838), Benjamin (1840), Franklin (1841), Henry (1843) and Albert (1849). Joel was head of the household according to the 1840 census. In 1840 he acquired title to this lot that ran clear from the eastern boundary of lot 97 to Barrows Lake. Joel died on August 10, 1852; see Breakneck Well Tragedy.
John was born on February 14, 1804 at East Machias. He married Eliza Jane Chase from Princeton on December 26, 1832. John and Eliza Gooch had 13 children, likely all born in Alexander. They were Charlotte (1833), Adeline (1834 - 1842), John (1836 - 1855), George (1838 - 1842), Mary (1840), Eugene (1841), George (1843), Adeline (1845), Oswald (1847), Frederic (1849), Willis (1851), John (1856) and Louisa (1859). John later moved to the Cooper Rpad, i.e. the new Gooch Lot!
The 1861 map gives J. Ward at this site. Ward does not appear in any known Alexander record.
John McNally transferred this property to Charles McNally in August 1888 via deed (184-534). In turn Charles by deed (190-329) sold the place to Robert Keen of Cooper on August 13, 1889. This was just a year after Robert had married Ella Bridges of Baileyville. Robert and Ella Keen resided here until 1897.
Robert Keen was living in Milltown in May 1902 when he transferred by deed (249-426) the ‘Old Gooch Place’ to Samuel Arthur Hayward of Cooper. There is no evidence that Samuel lived here and in 1905 he sold the place by deed (264-534) to Marshall McKusick and George Hanson, both Calais lawyers. Shortly thereafter they transferred all their Breakneck holdings to Edgar Small of Pembroke.
DAVID FENLASON LOT
– 53 rods along the road – 100 acres
Fenlason was born in 1810 a son of Jesse and
Olive Seavey Fenlason. Jesse and his family is listed on the 1820 and
1830 Alexander censuses. David married Lavinia Averill from Cooper on
October 20, 1826. Their only child listed by Taylor was Augusta
Hamden, born March 22, 1828. David bought 100 acres via deed (21-436)
from Caleb Cary. This was in 1830 when David was a minor. The deed
was actually to Samuel Cottle of Alexander to hold for David until
June 22, 1831 when David became 21!
William and Mary (Madden) Gillespie were residents on Breakneck according to the 1861 map, by 1881 he was on the Cooper Road at the east end of the Burnt Barn Hill Road. He acquired this lot from Joseph Granger Estate in 1884 by deed (162-556). William and Mary had the following children Elizabeth (1842), Michael (1844), William (1847), Leona (1849), Thomas (1851), Robert (1853), Mary (1856), John (1858), Margaret (1860), Theophilus (1863) and Annie (1874 – 1874)
William Gillespie sold to Patrick Cotter in April 1873 by deed (135-446). Patrick and Kate Cotter and their children James (1862) and Morris (1865) were on the Mountain in 1880. Patrick and James Cotter each owned this lot at times but it was Patrick Cotter via deed (183-377) who transferred this lot to Joel K. Brown in July 1886.
Joel K Brown sold the lot via deed (258-298) to lawyers Marshall McKusick and George Hanson of Calais. Marshall McKusick was a Civil War veteran from Baring. They transferred it to Edgar Small.
MARK FENLASON LOT
- 54 rods along the road – 100 acres
Mark Fenlason was born on July 4, 1788. He married Sally Ellsmore on October 20, 1811. Among their ten children was Freeman Putnam born June 4, 1814, said to be the first child born in Alexander. This family settled in Alexander before 1820 and Marks widow was listed on the 1850 census. By 1860 no Fenlason name was on the Alexander census. Mark purchased 100 acres by deed (21-237) from Caleb Cary in 1830. This lot ran from the easterly line of lot 97 to Barrows Lake and was bounded in part on the south by the Burnt Barn Hill Road.
west 80 acres of this lot was sold to John S.
Phillips in October 1840 by deed (51-490)
from Freeman and Daniel Fenlason and their widowed mother Sally. John
Phillips with his wife Isabelle and sons James (1831 - 1855) and
William (1841) arrived before 1850. Five other children were not in
Alexander according to the 1850 Census. John was born in 1799 in New
Hampshire and Isabelle (Kennedy) in 1806 in Scotland. John died on
August 10, 1852; see the Breakneck Well Tragedy
John Phillip’s widow Isabelle of Calais sold by deed (109-384) her farm to David Little of Alexander in 1865. David and Mahitable Little were the parents of seven children David (1829), William (1834), Joseph (1840), Elizabeth (1842), James (1848), George (1851) and Manetta (1853) according to the 1860 census and were on Breakneck according to the 1861 map. By 1870 we find only brothers David and George living with their mother. Tom Tobin lived there as the hired man.
David Little of Pennsylvania sold the Phillips Farm by deed (147-386) to John A. H. McNaulty on December 22, 1877. McNaulty was of Baring and became McNally. John and Mary (Turner) McNally were Alexander residents. In 1880 they were living with John H. and Elizabeth Moore and their child Maude (1878). Lizzie Moore was McNally’s daughter. John Moore was very likely a son of Alexander Civil War soldier Albion K. P. Moore who died of disease on September 20, 1865. Readers may remember Donnie Scott who lived in Baileyville near Cecil Boyd’s Store. Donnie was a great grandson of John McNally
John A. H. McNally sold part of the farm to his older daughter Caroline Finney (Phinney) in May 1883 by deed (190-13). In July 1885 more of the farm was sold to James Finney by deed (190-39). James and Caroline Finney were of Alexander according to these deeds. Their children were Ida (1874), William (1875), Georgia (1879) and John (1884). Did this extended family all live under one roof?
By 1893, James and Caroline were living in Redington Mills; a mill owned village in Redington Township 20 miles northwest of Farmington, Maine. They sold twenty acres of the Phillips farm by deed (207-67) to Samuel and Edward Doten of Calais. Later in 1908 Samuel Doten sold by deed (275-244) this parcel of 160 acres west of the road and 20 acres east to Ernest Higgins of Calais. Ernest resold his Breakneck properties to Edgar Small of Pembroke by deed (292-56) in 1909.
Aaron and Ellen (Thomas) Carlow apparently rented here after the McNally/Finney family left. Their daughters Mary (1880) and Amanda (1882) were with them. Mary married Perley Moraisey of Crawford and Amanda married Orrin Hunnewell of Alexander. Aaron and Charles Carlow were brothers. Did the two families live in the same house?
Charles and Lucretia (Bragdon) Carlow rented next. Their children born before they left the Mountain in 1910 were Lenora (1894), Verne (1896), Grace (1898), Arthur (1900), Lima (1901), Carrie, Ina (1906), and Charles Otis (1909). It was Arthur who died on Breakneck and is buried there. Today the home site has been leveled.
this house, to the west, is the peak of Breakneck, a barren ledge 660
feet above sea level. West of that and about 60 feet lower, is a
large and quite smooth blueberry field known locally as Carlow Flats.
At the base of the peak and overlooking the Flats was a woods camp
built ca 1920 by Harvey Hayward (Eastern Pulp Wood Company). It was
here that Theodore and Elsa Junimann
lived a few years before WWII. They were Germans. They had a garden,
raked blue berries and he cut and peeled pulpwood. They traded at
Arthur Flood’s General Store. Harold Dwelley occasionally gave
Ted a ride to Calais, but, like many, “kept an eye on them.”
They were thought to be spies and left the message “Wake up you
crazy Americans – Hitler is taking over!” on the camp
wall when they left ca 1939.
SAMUEL FENLASON LOT
– 80 acres
Samuel Fenlason was born in August 1780. He married Sally Hathaway in 1810 and they were the parents of six children of record. Their son John died in the Army during the Civil War. This family arrived in Alexander prior to 1830 and was gone by 1840. In 1835 Samuel Fenlason, yeoman of Alexander, by deed (28-336) acquired from Caleb Cary 80 acres in the northeast corner of lot 97. Later the same year Samuel transferred this side-hill lot to Joel Gooch by deed (28-339).
Abner Sawyer of Calais by deed (49-82) sold this lot to Moses J. Hackett of Alexander in April 1842. In 1857, Moses mortgaged his land on Breakneck to Jeremiah Hackett of Boston by deed (72-226) including this lot described as of 160 acres, bounded on the west by what we call the Breakneck Road, on the north by lot 97 north line, on the east by lot 97 east line and on the south by “the road leading from John Gooch by the burnt barn,” ie the Burnt Barn Hill Road.
Joseph Granger Estate sold the lot to Joseph Perkins in 1885 by deed (170-513). Today all we find is a cellar near the ATV trail.
The northwest corner of lot 97 is not part of the Breakneck neighborhood. It is bounded on the west by Crawford, on the southeast by Barrows Lake and on the north by lots 90 and 91. This 150 acres lot was transferred from Caleb Cary to Godfrey Lydick of Alexander in 1835 via deed (23-259). However in March 1839 when Lydick and his wife Elizabeth sold the lot to Nathaniel Lamb of Alexander by deed 40-290), it was stated that the late Nathaniel Fenlason had lived on the place. Nathaniel Fenlason had been born on April 17, 1775, just two days before “the shot heard around the world”. He and Mary Greenlow were married on June 19, 1803 and were the parents of eight children, Charles (1806), Loiza (1808), Lucy (1810), Jane (1812), Harriet (1814), Henry (1817), Jedediah (1820), Nathaniel (1825) and Wallace (1827). Nathaniel Fenlason died on August 21, 1832.
Lamb transferred this property to Robert Lamb by deed (43-158) on
April 10, 1840. The deed described the 160-acre property as the
residence of Godfrey Lydick
and as bounded on the north by Henry Fenlason and by Alfred Knight.
Nathaniel Lamb sold this lot to Joseph Granger in 1854 by deed
(80-432). Joseph Granger Estate sold the lot, including the island in
Barrows Lake, to Andrew Little by deed (173-221) in 1885. No mention
of the 1859 Lydick Set-off is in these early deeds.
Mrs. Creamer lived on the mountain. She was Corice (Creamer) Cooper’s mother and Fletcher Perkins great-grandmother. Merle Knowles SR and Floyd Hunnewell had logging/ blueberry camps on the Crowley Place. Floyd’s family lived there while he cut wood. Cooledge White had a woods camp on the Mill Lot. Roland and Carl Perkins stayed at that camp. Others who worked on logging crews were Harold Bohanon, Kenneth McPheters, Les Worrell, Percy Strout, Russell Strout and Cleveland Maxwell. Many have harvested blueberries on the Mountain including the Dwelley family and Carleton Davis.
In 2005 Norman Davis
requested an address. From a GPS reading and walking the road with
John Foley, the address as measured from Cooper is 802 Breakneck
Road. His home is one of those portable Eastern Pulpwood camps that
were commonly used by woods workers after the war until ca 1970.
dam over which Burnt Barn Hill Road passes apparently was built to
keep water from flowing north to Pleasant Lake, thus forcing it to
flow south in Dead Stream. Other dams existed along Dead Stream, some
likely log-driving dams and others for mill locations. We have
identified the Mill Lot
in lot 97. South of that lot is another in Cooper, the Cary
Mill Lot. Behind the North Union School site
is a dam that once supported a Cedar Mill, and east of Maria Leland’s
house is a dam site. Beavers will use old man-made dams. This stream
needs to be walked to find the locations of each man-made dam.
who helped on the article published in 1990 were Harold Dwelley,
Merle Knowles SR, Ethel Hunnewell, Carleton Davis and Dyer Crosby.
On Tuesday last an inquest was held by Coroner D.K. Chase upon view of the bodies of John S. Phillips, Joel Gooch and R. T. Fenlason of Alexander, which were taken lifeless from the bottom of a well near the dwelling of Mr. Phillips. We are indebted to the Coroner for the following.
On Monday the 9th (1852) inst. Mr. Phillips had the water bailed out of his well which was about thirty feet deep, and had not been used for a year or more, and he went down into the well and cleaned it, and put fire to a handful of straw and threw it down to burn up, as he said, the unpleasant smell.
On Tuesday morning he went down into the well to get a few pieces of boards which were left in the day before; when he had descended nearly to the bottom, his feet slipped from the rocks and he pitched forward, and sank down into a kind of sitting posture, his head and shoulders resting against the wall.
His son, a lad about twelve years old, who had watched his father, ran to the house and told his mother that there was trouble with his father in the well. Mrs. P. knowing that Mr. P. had formerly been troubled with fits, supposed he was then in one; she went in one direction and sent the boy another, for help.
Mr. Joel Gooch, the nearest neighbor, arrived at the well first, and went down to assist Mr., Phillips. He reached the bottom, took hold of Mr. P. raised him up a little, and spoke to him; he then looked up and hallooed to those looking down, "Can you hear me?" and repeated the same, three times, then uttered a faint groan and sank down powerless. Mr., John Gooch, brother of Joel, arrived next, and immediately descended to help his brother. He took hold of him and spoke to him, but found he was just breathing his last, and feeling himself much exhausted, he made haste to get out, and his strength barely supported him till he reached the surface where he fell prostrate on the ground, and was for a time completely exhausted,
Mr. Reuben T. Fenlason, nephew of Gooch came to the spot soon after John had got out, and though warned of the danger, he insisted on going down, and taking the end of a long rope he went rapidly down, stepping on the rocks on each side of the well; made the rope secure around his uncle's body, and then began to falter, but was aroused by those at the mouth of the well, and he made an effort to ascend, but his strength failing him when about two-thirds of the way up, he pitched forward and fell head downward to the bottom,
No hope was now left of getting either of them out alive, and no other attempt was made to go down into the well. The body of Gooch was drawn out by the rope which Fenlason had put around him, and a grapple was made of an old pitch fork with which the bodies were laid out, a lighted candle was lowered down the well and would burn dimly, seven feet down, but would go out at nine feet down,
The Jury was composed of John Springer, James S. Boies, Luke Stephenson, J. Stephenson, John Perkins, Robert L. Tyler, and their verdict was “that the deceased came to their deaths by inhaling the gas or noxious vapor which had accumulated in the wel1.”
Each of the deceased has left a wife and children, and many friends to mourn his loss,
(the following week) In the account we gave of the fatal occurrence in Alexander last week it was stated that the water in the well had not been used for over a year, which was not the fact, as it had been used constantly up to the time they undertook to clean it. And over twenty pails full of water had been taken out of it a few minutes before Mr. Phillips went down into it.
Article from THE CALAIS ADVERTISER as printed in issue 11 of A-CHS Newsletter.