The Legend of HENRY PEASE
In Memoriam: Henry Pease
1st.May 1880 – 18th.Jan.1983
An article featuring my wife’s grandfather appeared in the 14th.November 1982 edition of Northeast Magazine, “The Legend Of HENRY PEASE”, by Robert Holland (at the time an assistant professor of journalism at UCONN).
Selected excerpts from the foregoing article:
“...in 1898, when Maine first began licensing guides, Henry, who was just 18, risked a whole dollar…being a registered guide was another way of getting work because nobody from down-country traveled in northern Maine without a guide he could trust.”
“I was champeen canoeist, the State of Maine,” Henry Pease says. “I run water no white man nor Injun ever run.” [S]ince 1902, when Henry established his reputation with a canoe, he has been the man to beat...[t]hat year he was working for a lumber company, carrying the paymasters and clerks up and down the West Branch of the Penobscot. It is a long, rough piece of water from Rippogenus [sic] Dam to the lower lakes below Debsconeag Falls. Below Rippogenus, at the end of Chesuncook Lake (“Suncook is the way they say it”) there’s a high-walled gorge that no man has ever run.”
[Ripogenus Gorge: http://www.mainememory.net/bin/Detail?ln=8381]
“From Rippogenus,” Henry says, “from Rippogenus, three miles, from the dam to the Big Eddy, we went by wagon. Three miles, nobody ever put a canoe, nor boat, nor nothing in there.
“I run her from there down. Come to Little Ambejackmockamus, I run that. Big Ambejackmockamus we couldn’t run. Nobody could run there, logs was in tight, bank-to-bank. But from Sourdnahunk [Nesowadnehunk] Falls, from there right down to the lower lakes, I cleaned everything. Seventh day of July, I was twenty-two years old.” …
”Come to Abol Falls I stopped and looked her over, picked out my channel. The water was winged up desperate, but just nice. I got into my canoe, eighteen foot Carleton canoe, took two paddles, put one of ‘em right alongside of me and the other I had in my hands.
There were some Oxbow guides there, come from Sourdnahunk Camps. The sport [edit for clarification: "the sport”, i.e.: the client, hired the guide] says to ‘em, ‘Anybody ever run this here?’ ‘No,’ the guide says, ‘no, and it never can be run neither.’ …” I says, ‘There’s a fella here gonna do it today.’ And the guide says, ‘You’re crazy!’ I says, ‘Well, I’m gonna run it anyways!’ So the sports run down across the carry to where they could see.
“Jesus! I went down through there a mile-a-minute. Never was an Injun, never was a white man ever done it before. Time and time again I couldn’t touch water with my paddle. I was on my knees over the first bar and I couldn’t touch water, the swells was so big.”
The last falls on the river comes at Debsconeag and that was where Henry came close to going over…[t]he water there runs in back curls six and seven feet high and right in the middle of that Henry’s canoe bridged on a log. He did the only thing he could.
“I jumped the middle bar of the canoe,” he says, “and swung around, but you couldn’t do nothing with her and then one of them big swells knocked her off the log and I jumped over the front bar of the canoe and I was going.”
“He’d hardly reached the deadwater at the head of the lake before the word was out that Henry Pease had run the West Branch. From then on he never had to look for work either paddling or poling for the lumber companies or guiding sports to the good fishing and hunting. He was guiding two of those sports down the Allegash the first time he ran the dam at Long Lake.”
But you will have to beg or find a copy of the Northeast Magazine to read Henry’s account of that feat, among others.
All directions are magnetic, and a pace equals two (2) steps.
Head north on the Old Canada Road out of Jackman. Cross the Moose River and turn right at the Moose River Congregational Church on to Heald Stream Rd.
Follow Heald Stream Rd. to the first cemetery on the left. It is the Whipple (Protestant) Cemetery. Park along the road. St. Anthony's Catholic Cemetery is right next-door. Signs denoting each cemetery flank the flagpole centered between them.
Walk down the path between the HOLLOWAY and HENDERSEN monuments to the last, back row of monuments. Look for TRAHAN at the woods line.
From TRAHAN, walk left to PEASE. Henry's stone is in the ground to the left of the black granite family monument. After paying your respects, walk approximately seven (7) paces from directly behind the black Pease stone to a double-trunked conifer (I think it was a Black Spruce?). Henry's canoe is beached under a SPOS behind this dead, twin-trunked tree.
Please stamp in away from the hiding place, and carefully avoid making or at least try to conceal social trails to the letterbox--especially in mud or snow! Kindly double bag the log, reseal the Lock-n-Lock type box, and re-hide the letterbox exactly where it was placed, covering it well and contact the placer if you find any problems.
Thank you, Connfederate