An Illustrated Timeline of Alexander, Maine 

* THE LAND 13000 YEARS AGO  * EXPLORERS, BATTLES, REBELLION FROM 1000 TO 1774  *  TURNING LAND INTO MONEY FROM 1781 TO 1795  *  PUTTING ALEXANDER ON THE MAP FROM 1785 TO 1808  *             EARLY SETTLERS FROM 1808 TO 1825        *    YEARS OF GROWTH 1830       *     READY OR NOT FOR WAR ~ 1860 TO 1865     *    FARM ANIMALS BECAME THE CASH CROP – 1866 to 1900     *   THRU THE TAX COLLECTORS EYES - 1914   BOUND FOR EXTINCTION 1970       *  GROWING AGAIN         * * THE NEW MILLENNIUM  *
 

CHAPTER 9 – THRU THE EYES OF THE TAX COLLECTOR - 1914

1900 CENSUS = 333

1902 Cedar School built

1908 Lewis Adams built first summer place on Pocomoonshine Lake

1908 Grange Hall dedicated. It stands on locally quarried granite

1910 census = 374


Note granite step with P of H 1908

1914 ALEXANDER THRU THE EYES OF THE TAX COLLECTOR

In 2004 Vivian (Dwelley) Perkins provided A-CHS with a copy of the Alexander Tax List Book for 1914. The Tax Collector for that year was Vivian’s grandfather Hiram Delmont Dwelley. The list was committed to Dwelley on July 9, 1914 by Assessors Gorham P. Flood and George Berry.

Males of a certain age were charged a poll tax of $3.00. Half of that tax could be paid by working on town roads or it all could be paid in cash. Tax on real estate and on personal estate could be paid in cash or 3/8 in road work and 5/8 in cash. Each neighborhood had an elected road commissioner who assigned road worked kept record of man, horse and equipment hours.

The first six pages here are the instructions from the Assessors to the Tax Collector. These are required by state law. Following we have pages listing those being taxed. Also on these pages are the types of taxes, poll, real and personal. The 1808 lot map is our tax map to this day. It allows readers to locate where taxed real estate is located. A-CHS also has the 1920 Alexander Tax List Book.

1881 LOT MAP WITH ROADS OF 1914 – THE 1914 TAX MAP

       

    The lot plan above is based on B. R. Jones 1808 survey of Alexander and is from Colby’s 1881 Washington County Atlas. The one terrible error is in the southwest corner. Lot 97 was sold under the Massachusetts Land Lottery and was never owned by Bingham.
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In the early years of the twenty- first century nearly one-third of the land in Alexander has one owner, one Typhoon LLC. Their 2011 property tax was $31,837.95 for land valued at $2,266,046. The Tax List Book copied above indicates there was a number of non-resident large landowners in 1914. Who were they and what did they own.

Joseph G. Ray of Franklin, Massachusetts was the major non-resident landowner. His tax bill was $208.86. Research at the deeds office in Machias shows that Ray purchased land from Joseph A. Coffin of Machias in September 1909. That typewritten deed (Book 283, page 461) lists lands in several other towns and townships as well as Alexander. My calculations for the acreage of 22 deed items give a land total of 9797˝ acres. Ray sold most or all his Alexander lands in 1915 and 1917. Buyers were Harold Ingerham of Bangor, Dennysville Lumber Company, Lowell Bailey of Anson (so of B F. Bailey listed below.) and the major part to John A McKay of Portland.

Non-resident owners taxed for smaller but still sizeable wildland lots in Alexander were:
Washington County Land and Pulpwood Company, which was organized on October 8, 1910 at Harrington. Shareholders and officers were Walter, Ferdinand and Crawford Plummer of Harrington and Oscar Fickett of Bangor
Mrs. J. A. Coffin of Machias, widow of Joseph
Smith & Boynton
Samuel Holway of Machias
Dennysville Lumber Company owned by the Higgins family of Dennysville
B. F. Bailey Heirs - Benjamin Bailey* died on December 31, 1908 at North Anson. He and his brother Jacob were born and raised in Alexander, but later lived just east of the town line in Baileyville. Besides farming they were lumbermen operating as Bailey Brothers Lumber. Benjamin and sons moved to Somerset County and had a dairy operation called Carabassett Stock Farms. Bovine TB wiped out the cattle in 1908. Did it also kill Benjamin? His son Ernest Lowell Bailey acquired Alexander land from Joseph Ray in 1917 (see above). From Albert Bailey research -

*Born Benjamin Strout Bailey, at some point in his life he became Benjamin Franklin Bailey

1916 Frederick Hale of Portland was elected to the U. S. Senate, the first elected by the people. Before that time Senators were appointed by the Governor and Council or Governor and State Senate. He served until 1941. Was Hale School in Alexander named for him? [see 1881]

1917 America went to war – twenty-one Alexander men marched away, all returned: Charles Aylward, Wallace S. Brown, Verne L. Carlow, William L. Carter, Clarence Cousins, Norton A. Crafts, George A. Dill, Harold L. Fickett, Seth M. Fickett, Floyd E. Frost, Forest H. Frost, Myron C. Frost, Morey L. Hunnewell, Roy L. Hunnewell, John Linwood Miner, Burleigh C. Perkins, Edgar Perkins, Everett C. Perkins, Ralph E. Seamans, Roy L. Seamans & Oscar West -

1918 Alexander’s Farmers Union started LINK TO file:///E:/website%20data/community%20life/Making%20a%20living/Farming/N%5D%20FARMERS%20UNION.html

1920 census = 371 people in 68 families

1922 Alexander’s first printed Annual Report distributed

1926 John Linwood Miner drowned at Meddybemps Lake on November 13 while deer hunting

1929 The Great Depression was triggered by a sell-off of stocks on Wall Street on October 29. It turned the nation and the world up side down. Did it do anything to Alexander and other rural communities?

Most men here were farmers. Their farm labor provided food for family, fuel for cooking and heating, and in many cases a product or two to sell in town for cash. Those items were butter and eggs, crops from their gardens and firewood. LINK to file:///E:/website%20data/community%20life/Making%20a%20living/Farming/1930s%20FARMING%20RECORDS.html Read Coburn Crosby’s account books to understand how families lived here during the depression. Most men paid part of their property taxes by working on the town roads. Some men worked for others in the woods to earn cash.

I expect that Alexander people were hardly affected by this major economic downturn. However we may look at memories of those who were here and the record of the day. To read memories recorded in 2004: link Marian Dwelley Cousins LINK TO file:///E:/website%20data/INTERVIEWS/MARIAN%20%28DWELLEY%29%20COUSINS.htm

Mildred Flood Holst LINK TO

file:///E:/website%20data/INTERVIEWS/MILDRED%20%28FLOOD%29%20HOLST.htm

Barbara Carlow McArthur LINK TO file:///E:/website%20data/INTERVIEWS/BARBARA%20%28CARLOW%29%20McARTHUR.htm. To read Gordon Lord’s memories of growing up on the Arm Road in Crawford: link to Community Life > Memories >Gordon Lord


 

And the record from Alexander Town Reports: I picked these items to give a picture of how the depression affected us. Dollars are rounded. I also listed something going on in town for each year and how our town helped those who fell on hard times.

assessed value of town town liabilities cash on hand raised for poor spent on poor

1927 $127, 577 $7810 $4418 $350 $323

Nine men earned cash for taxes by cutting pulp for Higgins Brothers

Joe Hunnewell, an old bachelor and digger of gold free mines, was boarded out.

1934 $111,106 $6418 $142 $300 $431

Personal property taxes included 56 horses [$1795] and 165 cows [$3780]

Olive Leeman received $180 for ‘mothers aid’ - half paid by state

1937 $106,586 $5245 $54 $000 $51

A W.P.A. project added gravel to a town road at a cost of $154.

Dan McArthur’s family had problems, needed groceries and hospital care.

1942 $113,107 $2845 $5 $000 $286

White birch logs at the Stowell – MacGregor mill were valued at $1788.

The town buried Lucy Knowles [$150] and Inez Wellington [$100]

. 1930 census = 312

1932 Cole Bridges plowed in winter of 32 & 33, likely for access to the birch mill

1933 Stowell MacGregor Mill opens.

1938 Ted and Elza Junimann moved to Breakneck. Where they German spies?

1940 Census = 292 A dying community? What’s new in rural Maine?      

 

 

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