The purpose of this research and article is to give the writer and reader a picture of the early development of roads in our area. Since I depend on county records, we will read about county roads that ran between towns, generally not roads within a single town. But we must be aware that town roads that connected to the neighboring town’s roads often became county roads. Wording within each petition gives a clue as to whether the road was in existence before the date of the petition or was for a new road through the wilderness. Enough wording here is taken from the original documents to give readers a taste of the language of the past and clues as to why the petitions were submitted. Much of the wording has been heavily edited. [Factual explanations are in brackets] Editor’s explanations, or best guesses, are in Italics. Corrections are desired by John Dudley, 216 Pokey RD, Alexander ME 04694

Primary source: Washington County Record Books – starting on June 22, 1790. The six volumes are available on USB in PDF form. Given as WCRB within article, the books contain a record of the work of the Court of General Sessions of the Peace of Washington County. This court became the County Commissioners by September 1831. From 1790 through 1800 the following men were listed, in order of appearance, as members of the Court: Stephen Jones, James Avery, Joseph Pierpont, John Crane, Alexander Campbell, Lemuel Trescott, Daniel Merritt, George Stillman, Phenias Bruce, John Brewer, Caleb Coolidge, Benjamin Ruggles, Theodore Lincoln and John Allan. These men have been responsible for the county government, then as now. Were women ever part of the Commission?

Their duties included having a courthouse, being justices in a court for more serious crimes and maintaining a goal [jail]; they also provided for roads, toll and free bridges, approved ferry operators, and taxed for all these services. No mention of elections is made prior to 1809. This is strange considering that a rallying cry of the recent revolt against the British was “No taxation without representation”. The first mention of an election was in 1809 [Vol. 1 pg. 181] in which George Stillman Smith received 244 out of 358 votes, thus was elected County Treasurer. In 1827 Smith was elected both County Treasurer and Register of Deeds. At that time only free white male landowners could vote. Of interest, we might note that money accounts used dollars and cents starting in 1795.

Other sources:

Colby’s 1881 Atlas of Washington County

Deeds at Machias and Ellsworth

Travel on roads with GPS

Wallings 1861 wall map of Washington County

The following map shows Washington County somewhat as it was from 1789 to 1839, when Aroostook County was created. Actually before that Washington County ran north nearly to the St. Lawrence River. In my limited research of these County Records I have found no reference to the Acadians living along the St John River valley.

We do find several petitions from Joseph Houlton to have his township connected by road to the Shiretown [Machias]. His petition speaks of a most noble need, and of a road to present day Haynesville that settlers are building.

This map will allow readers to see the towns and townships that these roads passed through. Readers will understand, even with Danforth being the northern most town in our county, the major problem caused by the large geographical area with such a small population. Our county population is about the same as Portland’s. Services that people ask for, such as roads, cost money

Other maps follow. Each petition or other entry is keyed to a map or maps to help readers find its location. An up-to-date highway map would be of further help.


Map from Maine State Highway Commission 1959


1790 Report to Court of General Sessions of the Peace

This is the first mention of a road in these Record Books. There were roads before Washington County was set off from Lincoln County in 1789. Part of the road described here was likely used by Loyalists of Castine to escape to British North America [Canada] after the Revolutionary War [1783]. Wealthy Loyalists traveled by ship, the poor walked.

The report describes a new road from the western boundary of the County in Plt. 4 [T 4 EUR LS or Stueben: EUR = East of Union River and LS is for Lawrence survey of 1763]. It started at Parrot’s Mill on what today is Whitten Parrott Stream. [Spelling of many old names have standardized] It was to pass over several bridges up to 300 feet long and parallel and actually follow the old road in many places. It ran through Stueben and Addison to the east boundary of that town at the village of Indian River. What other towns did it pass through? People lived along the old road and some names mentioned from west to east are Whitten Parrott, Baker, Downs, Townsley, Tracy, Oaks, Guptail, Campbell, Fickett and Damon. After crossing Pleasant River, the road swung southeasterly to Indian River.


1800 Jury Report

This report describes the use of roads in that time, and it appears that this road was in such disrepair that some person took the government to court. In 1800 the entire road described was within Machias. Its course from Jonesboro might have followed Route 1A to Whitneyville village, then the Marshfield Road to Route 192, Cross Road, to Scotts Hill Road to East Machias and Route 191 to Berry Township line. Remember that Machias in 1880 included Whitneyville, Marshfield and East Machias.

Jury presents the verdict that the County Road from Plantation #22 [Jones, Chandler River and now Jonesboro] to Plantation #18 [Berry Township] is a common highway for all the good citizens on horseback and on foot to go, return, pass, ride and drive their cattle. The whole highway with bridges contains the length of thirteen miles and in breadth three rods. Does “ride” refer to wheeled traffic? No reference is made to oxen or ox carts. When did they show up in Washington County?


To understand why the following happened when it did we must know when people came here. We believe Sam Brown and his family was living on lot 9 Alexander before 1810, but the census taker thought he was in #17 [Princeton] and he also believed that, according to family tradition. We do know that the census gives Alexander’s population in 1820 as 114. It grew to 336 in 1830, then to 513 in 1840, and reached its greatest number ever at 544 in 1850. Our neighboring towns had population growth less then Alexander’s but reflecting the same pattern. Coastal communities from Calais to Steuben were settled earlier thus had an earlier need for roads.

CALAIS TO MACHIAS – Schoodic to Machias – WCRB - Vol. 1, pg., 163 – MAPS A & B

1806 Petition by Committee of Wm. Emerson, Moses Elsmore, Jabez Huntley Jr, Enoch Waterhouse, John Coffin Talbot charged with finding shorter way from Schoodic [Calais] to Machias

Enoch Waterhouse laid out, spotted trees and ascertained the places and course of a road from Machias to #5 Schoodic [now Calais]. The planned road generally went Route 1 from Calais north into Baileyville, westerly north of the Airline to near Alexander’s Cooper Road, hence southerly connecting to Route 191 at Grange Hall corner in Cooper. Here are some points mentioned by Waterhouse starting at Downes & Pikes somewhere near Eastern Maine Electric Co-op at North Street and Union Streets.

Round Magurrewock Mountain Spelling found on 1861 map

Cross Magurrewock Meadow and Brook

Cross Barn Meadow and Brook

West line #5 [Calais – Baring line]

Vance Mill [Baring] 5 miles. In 1818 William Vance got the deed for 700 acres in #6 [Baring] with buildings plus 2 & 3 in #7 [Baileyville]. Deed 10.353 from Alexander Baring etc.

D. Stone Land Stoney Brook?

Bailey Hill 9 miles and depart Schoodic River He turns west at the very top of Bailey Hill. From Calais to this point he follows the present day road, Route One North, and the measurements are close considering the old road has been straightened. [In 1806 Nathaniel Bailey’s sons and several others were living in Baileyville and likely used a trail or road described here.]

We note that no mention is made of a road or trail to the west and none are found on old maps; the present Airline apparently was not even a spotted trail in 1806, nor were the Charlotte road or Route 191. For the next 5 miles Waterhouse mentions land, high, low, spruce, good, hemlock, hardwood, rocky and mixed growth. [No road and no settlers here.] He does mention a brook 3 miles from Bailey Hill [Wapsaconhegan Brook]. About 5 miles from Bailey Hill he turns southwesterly somewhere near the north end of the McArthur Road and goes through the woods somewhat following present day McArthur and Cooper roads to a cedar swamp, Henderson Swamp in Alexander, to the…

Outlet of Pleasant Lake [note the historic date of this name]

North line of #15 [Cooper]

Yoho Brook Dead Stream?

Yoho Mountain Pineo Mountain?

Enoch Waterhouse Farm at 12 miles from Bailey Hill [First mention of a settler since the Schoodic River. This farm was on Grange Hall Corner in Cooper]

Huntley Brook [Mill Stream]

Emerson Brook – 2 miles from Waterhouse Farm. [Doten Brook at foot of West Ridge – Cooper; this was likely named for William Emerson, petitioner, who eventually lived in Baring next to the Dennys River in what today is Meddybemps]

Jabez Huntley’s House [on Ash Ridge in TWP 14 or now Cathance Township]. Jabez of TWP #14 bought this 100 acres from John Munson of Machias in 1805

Road to #13 [Marion – Route 84] and to #18 [Berry Township – Route 191] - 20 miles 105 rods from Bailey Hill [Lund’s Corner] In 1806 this was the home of Ebenezer and Mary Downs who had come from Stueben. They gave the farm to Alvin and Alden Bridgham so that the Downes minor children would have guardians. This 200 acre farm included references to White Ash Meadow Ridge, Partridge Lake, Tavern Brook and Clifford Stream.

22 miles bridge [Southern Inlet]

22 miles198 rods Bailey Hill to Machias north line [now East Machias north line, which is south line of TWP 18, now Berry Township]. We must realize it was a long slow process from wilderness to highway. See petitions for 1820, 26, 29, 33 and 36.


Map based on Benj. R. Jones 1808 plan of Alexander found in George Colby’s 1881 Atlas of Washington County – roads ca 1850 drawn by John Dudley

1806 Calais to Machias – proposed road from top Bailey Hill to Alexander through lots 44 on Robb Hill westerly to McArthur Road – follow dashed line

1820 Petition Lunds Corner to Alexander

1821 Petition for road from Alexander to Calais [present Airline?]

1835 Petition for South Princeton Road

1839 Petition for New Airline Road in Alexander – dashed line approximates old road through lots 76, 77, 65, 66, 67, and 68

1843 Petition for Arm and Breakneck roads.



1820 Petition

Make alterations to road leading from county road from Machias to Dennysville. The county road in 2014 would be Route191 from East Machias to Lund’s Corner and Route 84 from Lund’s Corner to Dennysville. The road to be altered goes through #14 [Cathance Township] and #15 [Cooper] so it can become a public highway and county road. A survey of the route was presented to the Committee meeting at the home of Ebenezer Downes in #14. Route of road follows: [This is essentially part of the Calais to Machias road surveyed in 1806, see above]

Starting at the north line of #15, [The line in 1820 was near 865 Cooper Road.] near the house of Major Paul Spooner... and going in a southerly direction for 12 miles & 141 rods to near the house of Ebenezer Downes in #14. The road was 4 rods wide. [A rod being just over 16 feet]. Today a paved road for over ½ mile follows the survey. Where the road now swings left, the surveyed road, and actual road did continue pretty straight up over Pineo Mountain where it intersected with the Breakneck Road, and straight onward to present day Grange Hall Corner. From there the survey closely follows southerly Route 191 to Lund’s Corner. Most of the land was owned by the Proprietors or persons unknown. Awarded for damage were Otis Pineo ($15.40), Jonathan Carey ($17.00) and Samuel Rich ($9.00), all of #15 [Cooper].


1821 Petition signed by Simon Porter and 5 others

Road now traveled from Eastport Bridge in Perry to Lower Bridge on Pennymaquan Stream in Dennysville [this place in Dennysville is today in Pembroke] might be improved and straightened through Dennysville [now part of Pembroke], #3 [Charlotte], #6 [Baring], #15 [Cooper] and part of #16 [Alexander] to intersect with the road from Machias to Calais. No route description is given in petition. [In 1821 Meddybemps did not exist, it was created later out of parts of Baring, Charlotte and Cooper].

The route via 2014 roads north from Pembroke Village would follow the Mount Tom Road and part of Route 214 north to the bottom of Conant Hill where it intersects with Route 191. It follows 191 through the village of Meddybemps [Gilman Mills] to the Green Hill Road. Hence through this now partly abandoned road to 856 Cooper Road in Alexander, by Nelson Flood’s Barn. See 1808 survey of Schoodic [Calais] to Machias Road


1821 Petition by Stephen Babcock for a road from Plantation 16 to Calais. Follow-up by Commission in 1824 shows that a committee was formed to survey and return a warrant on said road; Committee declined to serve and all further proceedings on Babcock’s petition henceforth stayed. [The 1821 petition was not found and no survey was found.] Who was on the committee?Route was likely along present day Airline.

OLD CRAWFORD RD in Cooper – LOVE LAKE RD in Crawford – WCRB - Vol. 1, pg. 357

1823 Petition signed by Simon Foster of Cooper and five others – MAPS A& C

We the undersigned Inhabitants of Washington County beg leave to represent to said Court that a new road or public highway from the County road leading from Machias to Calais, near the dwelling house of John Cooper, in Cooper, through a part of said Cooper, through a part of Plantation number nineteen, through a part of Plantation Number Twenty [Crawford] to intersect the road leading from Penobscot to Schoodic commonly called by the name of Blacks Road [Airline Road] near the dwelling house of Aaron & Elkanah Hanscom, residents, but not land owners in #20. The actual survey was undertaken by in 1824 John L. Harris, John Chaloner and Benjamin Getchell and measured 4 miles and 303 rods. We note here the prior existence of what we call Route 191 and Route 9, the Airline.


Map from George Colby’s 1881 Atlas of Washington County

COOPER TO CALAIS ROAD – WCRB – Vol. 1, pg. 360 – MAPS A, B, C & D

1823 Petition by William Vance and 32 others

We the Inhabitants of Cooper, Plantations Number Six [Baring], Seven [Baileyville], Sixteen [Alexander], and Twenty [Crawford] request a public highway* from Cooper to the public highway [now Route One] along the river St. Croix or Schoodic above Calais – having no direct road to Calais where Inhabitants must go as a market and outlet for the surplus produce of their soils and other articles and for articles of importation. The petition was approved and Benjamin R. Jones, Ebenezer A Wilder and Elias Foster made up the committee to survey the way. Proprietors were allowed time to remove timber and trees from the public way. *The present day Airline was then a private road.

A description of the survey starts at the termination of the County Road near Paul Spooner’s bars near the [Alexander – Cooper town line]. Here are some points readers might recognize along the Cooper Road in Alexander, east on the Airline and down Route One to Milltown.

A rod west of Peter Flood’s house [lot 112] – by John G. Taylors bars, near his log house [lot 106] – across the outlet of lake above Stephenson’s mill – by entrance to Bailey Road [Arm Road] to Penobscot Road [Airline Road] – across Wapsconnegan [Stream] – by Great Cold Spring [Robb Watering Hole west of Bear Cove Road] – south of Mahar’s house – Keeping near old road south to William Vance’s barn [Baring] – cross Barn Meadow – Magurrewock meadows – by O’Brien’s Ledge – to J. C. Todd’s home in Milltown, near the mills. These roads existed prior to the survey, the purpose was to make the way a public highway with county money used to improve the road and maintain it. Some Cooper inhabitants follow this road even in the twenty-first century. We might note that the roads from Alexander to Machias and Eastport were opened before the road to Calais.

HOULTON ROAD – WCRB – Vol. 1, pg. 364 – MAP A

1823 Petition signed by Joseph Houlton and 24 others

We the Inhabitants of Houlton Plantation believing settlement of land is a principal and important object of Government, we need to open a road to tide water as opposed to communicating through the British Province of New Brunswick, or via boats on the St. Croix River or via boats on the St John River. The inhabitants of Houlton, Limerick and Baskahegan can not visit our shiretown, have no place of market within the United States, no way to receive public papers or documents of which we are entitles and no way to return votes, we are disenfranchised. There is a road from Houlton to Baskahegan nearly opened. We request a public highway be laid out from Baring where the road leading to Plantation No. 16 intersects northerly to Baskahegan Stream. I suspect that Baskahegan settlement was along the stream with in the present towns of Danforth, Bancroft and Weston. The road from Houlton likely is the Haynesville Woods Road, the old Military Road that runs over flat land. The existence of the Airline in 1823 at or near its present location is noted.

HOULTON ROAD – WCRB Vol. 1, pg. 365 – MAP A

1824 Order of the Court of General Sessions concerning above petition

Appointing William Vance, James A. Campbell and Thaddius Libby to lay out public highway requested. The survey from Baring to the Houlton Road between Baskahegan Stream and the River St Croix is part of the record. If my math is right the distance was 48 miles and 238 rods. The only places identified on the survey are, from the south, Lewis’ Island [Princeton], Huntley Brook [Indian Township], Baskahegan Lake [Brookton], a mountain and a small lake. Likely the work was done by a surveyor, not the appointed committee.

HOULTON ROAD – WCRB – Vol. 1, pg. 398 – MAP A

1826 Petition signed by William Vance and twelve others

We represent that a public road has been laid out from the northerly line of the Town of Baring through Plantation No 7 [Baileyville] … thence through Plantation No. 17 [Princeton] to the outlet of Round Lake [Lewey Lake] at the head of Leweys Island, so called. This private property is the heirs of William Bingham. Across the Indian Township and the next two townships ([Waite & Topsfield], proprietors unknown to the Petitioners. Said road is marked out and measured to the southerly line of townships 9 & 10 [Jackson Brook Plantation, now Brookton & Forest] … to meet the Houlton Road near Baskahegan Stream. Nothing has been done by the proprietors to open the road which prevents communication with settlers of our northern part of the County, and impedes and prevents the settlement of the northern parts of our county, a great injury to the state, county and your petitioners. We therefore pray that you will take such necessary measures to have said road opened.


1826 Petition of Nathaniel Sawyer of Cooper and 13 others

The road from the dwelling house Alvin Bridgham in Plantation 14 [Lund's Corner] to the south line of Cooper needs reparation and amendment … therefore the owners and proprietors maybe assessed a sum sufficient to expend thereon according to law. The request was advertised in the Eastern Argus of Portland and Eastport Sentinel. No objections were offered and the Court ordered 2 cents per acre on unreserved lands (20,000 acres). [Note the $400 was also to cover the advertisements in the newspapers.]

WCRB - Vol. 2, pg. 45

1829 Petition by John Cooper

The same section needed repair; proprietors assessed 1 cent per acre

WCRB - Vol.2, pa 210

1833 Petition by Otis Bridges and 4 others

Same road is unsafe and inconvenient for travelers passing in a carriage. Of $800 in repairs requested, $500 was approved. James Foster of East Machias appointed agent for repairs [pg. 223]

WCRB – Vol. 2, pg. 315

1836 Petition by George Downes of Calais and 4 others

Same road in Plantation #14 at 3 cents per acre. Nathaniel Sawyer was appointed agent for these repairs and was authorized to expend $572.02 of the $600 assessed.


1826 Petition of Paul Spooner and 2 others – MAPS A, B, & D

To open the road from Damon’s Corner in Charlotte [on Route 214] leading to Alexander intersecting the County Road near Peter Flood’s as this road has never been passable. We prey your Honors will appoint a committee to open this road through Charlotte, Baring, crossing the river below Gilman’s Mill and [over Green Hill] through Cooper into Alexander. [Part of Baring and Cooper became part of Meddybemps in 1841]. The Court appointed Bela Wilder, John Kilby and Jones Farnsworth.


Map from George Colby’s 1881 Atlas of Washington County –

1806 Petition from Calais to Machias – showing County Road from Cooper PO – Grange Hall Corner northerly to Frank Lane’s lot.

1826 Petition for Green Hill Road

1821 Petition for Eastport to Alexander Road

1826 Petition for Charlotte to Alexander Road

1826 Petition for road from Cooper PO to Meddybemps Village – Route 191

1835 Petition for North Union Road


1826 Petition of Simeon Foster and others

Whereas the road from Coopers Mills [Grange Hall Corner in Cooper] to the lot occupied by Miles Hill [just east of intersection with East Ridge Road] hence to Gilman and Emerson Mills in No. 6 [Baring, but now Meddybemps Village] and on to Eastport would be of public utility and thus we pray the Court that road it be a County Road. This is the road we now use.

GREEN HILL ROAD – WCRB – Vol. 2, pg. 29 – MAP D

1827 Petition of Green Brown to open the road from Peter Flood’s to Gilman and Emerson Mill in Baring. Dismissed [The mill never moved, that part of Baring became part of Meddybemps in 1842]

OLD CRAWFORD RD in Cooper – LOVE LAKE RD in Crawford – WCRB - Vol. 2, pg. 40

1828 Petition of Simeon Foster and others – MAPS A & D

To finish the road approved in1823 through TWP #19 to Crawford; requesting $400 of the proprietors of #19. Frederick Burrell of East Machias was named agent.


1829 Committee Report by Francis Lowe, Moses Munson & Nathaniel Sawyer

Several attempts had been made to create a shorter way between Gilman Mills [Meddybemps Village] and Calais, each entering the County Road in Calais north of the Magurrewock Bridge. All were dismissed by the Court. Finally the way was submitted by the committee above for the new route.

Starting at the foot of McDougal Hill [Conant Hill] on the road leading from Gilman’s Mill to Eastport Bridge following the best land to the County Road near the Strickland House up river from Baring Village. The route is 7 ¾ miles + 16 rods, 4 rods wide.


1829 Report of survey by Rufus Gilmore, Samuel Lowder, Jr. and Andrew Strong – MAP E

A petition addressed to the Supreme Judicial Court and asked for a four-rod road between Brewer and Baileyville. The committee of three was to make a plan for the new road and determine the probable cost of construction. The plan for the road covers 15 pages detailing the entire 81 miles, 160 rods. The bill for the plan was $613.59 and was paid by the three counties. The ‘Airline’ name didn’t come until after 1857. The private road had been laid out by Bingham Heirs to encourage settlement (and purchase) of their lands. This is the first official mention of taxpayer money being connected to the road. It is likely that much of the Airline Road was in use in 1829, but in poor repair. It was a private road belonging to the proprietor, William Bingham Heirs. Settlers would sign bonds (agreements) to purchase land in exchange for money and work on the private road. Lack of settlers in places made it impossible to maintain the road with this labor.


Map for 1829 Report & Petitions of 1838, 1840 & 1852

GREEN HILL ROAD – WCRB – Vol. 2, pg. 115 – MAP D

1830 Petition of Green Brown

The Petition was posted in the towns and in the Northern Light, a newspaper in this county. The committee met at Francis Low’s house [West Ridge Cooper], viewed the road, and believed a road could be made without serious difficulty.


1830 Petition of Robert H. Niles and 14 other inhabitants of Great Meadow Ridge.

This requested the Court to open the road that had been laid out and accepted by the Court, but today is impassable and the 40 families cannot get to market.


1831 Petition signed by Robert Foster, Michael Patten and John Upton

The road approved in 1830 from the north line of Cherryfield through Plantation #17 or Annsbourgh [Deblois] and to the Blacks Road [Airline] in Plantation # 23 or Beddington was never opened and is impassable. It needs to be opened for the convenience and interest of the public. The Commission assessed the proprietors of each plantation $1000, or about five cents per acre, to open the road.


1835 Report of Simeon Foster and others

The committee recommends discontinuance of the Green Hill Road because it runs through a heath, a bog and a swamp. And instead of improving that road to accept an existing road starting near Daniel Lanes south line [near site of North Union Schoolhouse] and going southeasterly to [Miles] Hill’s Corner on the County Road to Calais [by Evergreen Cemetery].



1835 Petition of Peter Carle and 8 others - Peter Carle lived at in South Princeton. Settlers could grow grain, but needed to get it ground for human consumption. Carle has three choices for a grist mill, Lewey’s Island [Princeton] Stephenson’s in Alexander, or a mill at Baring. Early settlers of South Princeton told of carrying sacks of grain on their backs to Baring, and they carried the food back.

This approved petition asked for a county road from Stephenson’s Mills [at the foot of Pleasant Lake] in Alexander through to the Houlton Road [by EMEC sub-station] in Princeton. Part of this road was re-routed in Alexander in 1837 [Vol. 2, pg. 453] and about a half mile either side of the Alexander/

Princeton line was moved westerly in 1862 [Vol.4, pg 195]. [Part of this road [Old Cooper Road or Old County Road] from the present Arm Road to the Airline Four Corners was abandoned by the town at the March 31, 2009 annual Town Meeting]

CHARLOTTE ROAD – WCRB – Vol. 2, pg. 412 – MAP A

1836 Petition by George Chase and 75 others.

The County was requested to lay out a road from Calais to Charlotte starting near the end of the Magurrewock Bridge in Calais and going southerly and westerly through Baring and Charlotte to the County Road near the dwelling house of David Blanchard, Esq. And westerly to Dennysville. This is the road used today from Calais to Blanchard’s’ Corner and over Smith Ridge to Dennysville.

GREEN HILL ROAD – WCRB – Vol. 3, pg. 88 – MAP D

1837 Petition by John G. Taylor and others to open the Green Hill Road - dismissed

NINETEEN ROAD - WCRB – Vol. 2, pg. 395 – MAP A

1837 Ordered that the sum of $450 be paid Elisha Hanscom to repair a road in Township #19 out of money assessed to the proprietors of #19, as soon as the money is collected. Petitions in 1829, 1831 and 1834 had requested money for this road, but had been dismissed. One petition described the road to be from Moses Ellsmore’s in TWP 18 to Abraham Fletcher’s in #20. Moses’ house has risen again! This road runs from the Airline in Crawford south through all of Township 19 and south through most of Township 18 {Berry Township].


1838 Petition by William Seavey and 17 others

This asked for some adjustments to the existing road starting about ¾ of a mile east of the East Machias River at S. F. Hamscom’s place [Hanscom’s Mill, later the Barstow place burned just before 1855, cellar with apple tree on north side road by path to river] to the Wesley line. And asked that it become a public road. The Airline, or Penobscot to Schoodic Road or Blacks Road was a private road built by the heirs of William Bingham to attract settlers to Bingham’s land. John Black was Bingham’s agent. Settlers and petitioners apparently felt it would be easier to get money for the road from the County Commissioners. As we have seen, the Commissioners simply assessed a tax on the proprietors (usually the Bingham Heirs). The road is to be 4 rods wide and owners may remove their timber within 12 months.


1839 Petition by John Gilman Taylor and 69 others.

The record shows that in 1829 a committee surveyed a road from the Penobscot River in the Town of Brewer nearly opposite the mouth of the Kenduskeag Stream, so called, and passing through several towns, plantations and unorganized townships in the counties of Penobscot, Hancock and Washington amongst which are the towns of Beddington, Wesley, Crawford and Alexander and intersecting with the county road leading from Machias to Calais in said Alexander near the house of Varen Crafts [in lot 69]. The inhabitants of Alexander have opened and put in repair a road partly in line of aforesaid road, but varying, and nearly parallel to said road for a distance of about two miles avoiding hills and bad ground, avoiding cultivated land and that no person had suffered damages in the laying out of this new road. The Commission met at the home of Jesse Stephenson and viewed the road and required the change be advertised in the Frontier Journal of Calais. The petition was approved. An on the ground study of the original road shows that it crosses along a long stretch of side hill in lots 76, 65, 66, and brooks in deep gullies on lots 65 and 67. No evidence of the original roadway is evident to me, but several manmade land marks give hint to this original road. They are Samuel Scribner’s cellar about ¼ mile south of the present Airline on lot 76, Annaniah Bohanon’s cellar and family burying ground about 3/8 mile south of the Airline on lot 65, Solomon Strout’s cellar on lot 66 (west part) and Jeremiah Frost’s family cemetery on lot 66 (west part). All these seem to be in a line that somewhat approximated the original road. Are there other undiscovered sites in that line? The Airline follows the top of the mentioned hill and crosses the brooks on more level land.

AIRLINE ROAD – WCRB – Vol. 3, pgs. 40, 43, & 68 – MAP E

1840 & 1841 Petitions by George Downes [lawyer and businessman] of Calais and others

These petitions pertained to opening and making passable the Blacks Road in Wesley, and townships 29, 30, & 31. The Court eventually assessed the proprietor $1500 in TWP 29, $2000 in TWP 30 and $2000 in TWP 31. [William Bingham’s heirs were the proprietor and John Black their agent.] It was felt that the few residents of those townships could not afford to pay for the private road maintenance or actually maintain the roads by their labor. Daniel Harwood [a Machias mill owner] in 1841 and 1844 petitioned for alterations and repairs on the Airline through these same townships. .

ARM & BREAKNECK ROADS – WCRB Vol. 3, pg. 230 – MAP B

1843 Petition by William Crockett of Alexander & 42 others

This petition requested the county take over the road from near Jacob Stevens Dwelling in Crawford [corner Airline and Crawford Arm by the church] by homes of Crockett, Knight, Fenlason & Lydick [along Arm Road] then by Philips, Thurston, David Gooch & Hackett [on Breakneck Road in Alexander], by David Vance [Breakneck Road in Cooper] and on to the County Road [at Waterhouse Farm]. Committee found said road would not be of public convenience or necessity. Petition dismissed and petitioners pay costs. What a way to discourage petitions, you win or you pay! [At some point the Breakneck Road did become a County Road because in 1901 Gorham Flood and Charles Tyler, Selectmen of Alexander petitioned to have this road from Fred Vinings house south to the Cooper discontinued because no one lived there and it cost too much to maintain. That petition was denied.]

AIRLINE ROAD – WCRB – Vol. 3, pg. 469 – MAP E

1852 Petition by Edward Dyer

This petition was to open and make passable a road through Township 24 known as the Blacks Road. The Commission ordered that a copy of the petition be delivered to the owners of Township 24 or their agent, plus a notice of same be placed in the Frontier Journal, a Calais newspaper, advising the owner or agent appear before the County Clerk and show cause why said petition should not be granted.


1895 Petition by Willis R. Dresser and 189 others

[We note that a county road was approved in 1859 from the Houlton Road into Plantation #21 [Big Lake Township] – Vol 4, pg. 80. Dresser asked to continue that “Dixie” Road southwesterly to intersect with the Crawford – Wesley Road by Sand Knoll near the home of J. D. Day [in TWP 26] near the Wesley line. It was to be of great convenience to people of Princeton and up river in their travels to the Shiretown. Petition denied. Today this private road is used for logging, riding recreation vehicles and access to Clifford Lake. It passes through Big Lake Township [TWP 21] and TWP 27.

CHARLOTTE – COOPER ROAD – WCRB – Vol. 5, pg. 409 – MAP A

1898 Petition by Lincoln H. Newbomb and 45 others

Requested a road from the intersection of the Smith Ridge Road and Blanchards Corner roads in Charlotte and running westerly, crossing the Dennys River at or near the Haskell Smith Place in Cooper. Petition denied and petitioners to pay county treasurer costs of $139.32. A rough road through here had existed for nearly 80 years. One story tells that the first iron (land) plow in Cooper was carried on its owner’s back from Eastport over this road.

In 1901 many towns asked that their county roads be designated as State Roads. County roads still exist in the unorganized townships of Maine and are maintained, as such, by the counties. The 110th Legislature gave municipalities responsibility to maintain and repair ‘all town or county ways’ that had not been discontinued or abandoned by July 29, 1976. Under present law roads can be discontinued in two ways. One is by a formal vote for discontinuance by the legislative body of the municipality, i.e. the elected council or town meeting. Alexander voters did this on March 30, 2009 For the ‘Old’ County Road. The other way is by 30 straight years of non-maintenance.