Of course, trade depends
on transportation and for our three towns transportation was
by roads and water
WATER – Cooper is
in the Dennys River water shed. Crawford is in the East
Machias water shed. Alexander is drained by both of these
watersheds and a small portion on our easterly side is
within the St. Croix water shed. Remember that water flows
Streams were used to move
logs from the woods to the lakes, and on via the rivers to
mills at East Machias, Dennysville and Meddybemps, which was
Gilman’s Mills in the old days. Logs would be hauled in
booms across lakes using capstan rafts and flowing water
would provide the energy for the log drives. Logs were
traded down stream, but goods gotten in return had to be
brought upstream via the roads.
ROADS – The roads
used by our early residents to bring goods to our three
Cooper was served by two
roads. The County Road (191) from East Machias brought
settlers and goods and the East Ridge Road allowed trade
with Dennysville. The East Ridge Road somewhat paralleled
the Dennys River.
Crawford was served by two roads. The 19
Road paralleled the East Machias River and using some of the
before mentioned County Road and some of the Airline, gave
trade access to the coast at East Machias. The other road
serving Crawford has had several names starting with General
Cobb’s Great Road from the Penobscot to the Schoodic (St
Croix), Blacks Road, Airline Road and Route 9. The Airline
gave access east and west, and about the Civil War time
became a route to get cattle, sheep and horses to market and
bring back needed goods.
Alexander was served by
the County Road from East Machias via Cooper. Many of our
early settlers followed this road. Alexander is also served
by the Airline. Along it came settlers from Calais, our
nearest seaport. It was along the Airline that our farmers
took produce and forest products to Calais and Woodland.
WATER AND ROADS –
Water in our lakes is the natural resource that defines what
our three towns are today, i.e. people today live on lakes.
And it was and is two roads, Route 191 and the Airline that
have molded our towns from the beginning.