The Aziscohos Lake Preservation Commitee

The Aziscohos Lake Preservation Council


During May and June 2011, The Rangeley Higlander ran a four part series on the B17 Memorial on Deer Mountain, researched and written by Alan Johnson for Memorial Day. The story commemorates the lives and sacrifice of the ten young men who lost their lives, July 11, 1944, when the B17 they were flying to England crashed on Deer Mountain. A monument and flag was erected just over a decade ago near the site under the leadership of Michael Rozek from Berlin, NH. The story in its entirety can be found here: download PDF.


Truly Ancient History: The Archaeocyatha Fossil

In my wanderings on a memorably pleasant August day in 1994, I followed a skidder trail up the hill behind my camp on the south arm of the AlCA Road. After sitting a while on a favorite cliff-top overlook, I proceeded back down to the skidder trail. Rock-hopping, I stepped onto a fairly large boulder and observed what appeared from their size and shape to be Vibram-boot prints on the rock. A closer inspection revealed that these were not recent foot-prints but rather casts of large fossils. A cast is formed when an object becomes imbedded in material that hardens - in this case to sandstone. The original fossil material, calcium carbonate, had been leached away and replaced by quartzite that was in turn dissolved leaving only the image of its oblique section in a sandstone boulder. I took photos and sent them to the American Museum of Natural History. In their response by letter, the American Museum of Natural History informed me that this was a truly ancient fossil, probably more than 550 million years old, of a creature called Archaeocyatha.

Prior to 570 million years ago the earliest known macroscopic life-forms appeared in the Pre-Cambrian Period. By the early Cambrian Period a large sponge-like organism belonging to the phylum Archaeocyatha had evolved as a significant component of the oceanic habitat. The Latin name translates as “ancient-cup, or old vessel” which accurately describes the organism: it was like two cups or vases one inside the other separated by supporting partitions. The sides of the cups were lined by pores that permitted the flow of seawater into and out of the food-trapping organism. It was a sessile filter-feeder attached by a holdfast to the substrate. It occupied a niche in shallow seas where, attached and raised above the sand, it could out-compete simple drifting filter feeders such as early sponges and algae.

Archaeocyathids were an extremely successful group of organisms that underwent an explosive evolution to radiate into more than a hundred families - no doubt because as the first reef-building organism they both invented and built a brand new environment that they were uniquely positioned to dominate. The phylum was widespread and probably inhabited all the oceans of that period. Their skeleton was composed of calcium carbonate, the same durable material that today’s corals use to build reefs. In spite of their initial success, this phylum became extinct by 550 million years ago at the end of the Early Cambrian Period. By any standards, a 20 million year run has got to be considered a pretty decent showing. As phylums go, however, it is very short and Archeaocyatha has claimed the distinction of being the only known phylum to become extinct. Lately, this distinction has been contested as more details of early life-forms have become known. The possibility has been suggested that archaeocyathids may be an early form of sponge (Porifera).

General appearence of the boulder with archaeocyathid fossil prints
that look like Vibram boot prints, left center and center.
The boulder is approximately 4 x 4 ft.

The leftmost cast on the boulder showing its dimensions.


Detail of another archaeocyathid cast.


Nonetheless, in no case does this form appear in the fossil record after 550 million years ago. (For a reliable source of current information and descriptions of this phyla, see Wikipedia: Archaeocyatha)

Of course, this begs the question, how did this fossil end up here in the Maine mountains on the western side of the Atlantic Ocean? Part of the answer is that there was no Atlantic Ocean 550 million years ago. There was another ocean, called the Iapetus (sometimes referred to as the proto-Atlantic) between the North American tectonic plate and the Eurasian plate. During the middle Cambrian Period the Iapetus Ocean bed began to disappear as it was subducted ie., sucked into the earth’s molten mantle. As a consequence these plates began to approach one another. Finally, 350 million years ago, the two plates bumped together repeatedly, the Iapetus Ocean disappeared and was replaced by mountains every bit as high as the Himalayas. These mountains were the result of uplifting and the depositing of land and island chains that were plowed onto the North American plate by the subducting Eurasian plate. Ultimately, these two plates fused together with almost all of the other tectonic plates of the earth as a single continent called Pangea.

When tectonic plates collide, mountains result. The collision took place in three major thrusts represented in the eastern United States by the Taconics of eastern New York, the Acadian uplifts (much of the Hudson Valley and Green Mountains), and the most recent, the Allegheny Mountains. The result of these collisions was a complex series of uplifts, folds, flip-flops and thrusts followed by hundreds of millions of years of erosion. Thus, fragments of rocks from nearly every major period from the Pre-Cambrian period to the present comprise the mountains of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. However, the bedrock in the area of the Megalloway River Valley is primarily derived from the earliest geological periods: Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian and Devonian Periods (Bedrock Geological Map of Maine, Maine Geological Survey, 1985). The uplifting and subsequent erosion of the layers of the most recent geological strata left only the earliest remnants of our geology. Essentially the Megalloway Valley presents a unique view of the sub-basement of North America’s geological history.

About 140 million years ago the individual tectonic plates relaxed their embrace and once again commenced their ponderous ballet as Pangea split apart. A new ocean, the Atlantic, was born in the rifts formed by the separation of the North American and the Eurasian plates. The separation was not precisely along the original boundaries of the plates. In fact could not have been since there had been much subduction in the collision of the plates and their original edges were considerably eroded by the collisions. As a consequence, a portion of the Eurasian Plate was stranded on the North American Plate including much of southeastern Maine and New Hampshire. It seems likely that our fossil originated on part of the Eurasian plate’s early Iapetus Ocean bed that was stranded on Maine’s portion of the North American plate when the separation took place.

In any event this fossil is truly ancient history.

Donald MacDonald Green, PhD.

Portsmouth, NH, 1/2/2008


In 1996 I informed Mr. Charles Atkins of the Archaeocyatha find. He noted it in a revised edition of “History of Wilsons Mills, Maine and the Megalloway Settlements” 2000. At that time it was not known that archeocyathids had reef building abilities.

For the sequence of tectonic events in eastern North America see: Wikipedia; under Taconic, Acadian and Alleghenian Orogenies. I used Bradford B. Van Diver’s “Roadside Geology of Vermont and New Hampshire” (1987, Mountain Press Pub. Co., Missoula) as my refresher course in local tectonics. The “Bedrock Geological Map of Maine” State of Maine, Dept of Conservation (1985) is a marvelous revealing construction and was the source of most of my comments on the Megalloway Valley geology.



Metallak of the Magalloway

History, Tradition and Legend

(c. 1727 – 1847)

By: Alan W. Johnson


In early times, especially amongst Native Americans, no written record existed of names, ancestry, births, deaths or other vital statistics. The wonderful legacy of Metallak, originally preserved through oral traditions, was written down later by some who knew him and by others, fascinated with his life story. It is an unavoidable aspect of human nature, that with the passage of time and repeated “tellings”, Metallak’s story was embellished by some and outright fabrications added by others. While Metallak was living in the Magalloway wilderness, he was quite well known. So well known in fact, that some of those claiming to “know” him, in actuality, never met him, other than by reputation.

Metallak’s name and legacy has endured through time. The era in which he lived, the wilderness he called home, his exploits, colorful nature, exemplary character and friendly ways continue to capture the hearts and imaginations of many. As a testament to a life well-lived, he is fondly remembered as a loyal friend to his own people, to settlers, farmers, hunters, trappers and a Governor of Maine.

The history, tradition and legend concerning Metallak of the Magalloway can be found under the names-"NATALLOCK", "MATALLUC”, “METALLIC” along with various other spellings. The location, date and year of his birth are uncertain; only the date, place and circumstances of his death are wholly reliable.

Metallak managed to “get around” during his lifetime, reputed to span 120 years. His name and legacy appear in the histories of Stewartstown, NH, Bethel, Andover and Wilsons Mills, ME, and St. Francis, Quebec, Canada. Many streams, ponds, rocks, hills, points, paths, deer trails and other landmarks throughout the upper Androscoggin watershed bear his name and Parmachenee Lake is traditionally believed to be named for his daughter.

The Abenaki People

Metallak is alternately and simultaneously linked to the Cooashaukes (Cowas), Pigwacket, and Arosaguntacook (Arisikantegik) bands of the Abenaki tribe. The Cooashaukes band of Abenaki had a village on the Connecticut River near Newbury, VT. The Pigwacket band had a village in the vicinity of N. Conway, NH and Fryeberg, ME. Arosaguntacook is an old name for Odanak, with a large village at St. Francis, Quebec.

According to Nancy Lecompte, Abenaki historian, the Abenaki were a semi-nomadic people. Each band would move about during the seasons hunting, fishing and gathering, with a fair amount of territory between their summer and winter camps. Spring, summer and fall camps might be occupied for only days or weeks at a time, while the winter camp would usually be more permanent. As resources were depleted in one locale, the people would change their camp/village locations to regions still abundant with the resources they required. As a consequence, over the passage of time, the traditional territories or homelands of one band would become blurred with those of another. The increasing presence of white settlers in traditional Abenaki lands often accelerated the depletion of resources as land was cleared for homesteads, farms and settlements. War and disease also caused major movements of the Abenaki people. Such movements were often temporary and many would eventually return to their native homeland areas.

The geographical movement of bands and intermarriage between bands make it difficult to identify Mettalak with a single Abenaki band.


Most legends surrounding Metallak characterize him as an Abenaki Chief. Not knowing exactly when or where Metallak was born, makes pinning down his exact parentage on the impossible side of difficult. It is most often proposed, Philip, a Pigwacket Abenaki Chief, to be Metallak’s father and his mother to have been Marie Michelle, also known as Molly Missile. Bea Nelson, an Abenaki descendant and historian writes-

“Philip, called by the English, was baptized Piel (Abenaki for Peter) or Pierre (French). He was born around 1730 near the Saco River in the vicinity of North Conway NH or Fryeburg ME and was considered a Pigwacket Abenaki whose family moved north into the Arosaguntacook, Nulheganook and Amarascoggin Abenaki Band areas when he was young. At some point he married Molly Missile (Marie Michelle) a New Hampshire Indian who was famous for her moccasin making. They had several children the youngest being Metallak born about 1750, on the upper Adroscoggin River. Between war interruptions (French and Indian Wars, 1755-1760) the extended family operated a trapping and hunting circuit through most of what is now northeastern VT, northern NH, northwestern ME, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada; including stays at Odanak where some of the family eventually settled. After the fall of French Canada in 1760, Philip returned to live a traditional lifestyle until at least 1788…..” (1)

By all accounts, Metallak was raised in the ways of his people and mastered the traditional skills of hunting, fishing, trapping and woodsman ship. Metallak never left the land of his birth, co-existed with white settlers, and lived the “Indian” way.

Nathaniel Segar

The earliest written mention of Mettalak appeared in 1825, in the captivity account of Lt. Nathaniel Segar. One village in which Abenaki would find refuge was Odanak. "Odanak" is the Abenaki word for "at the village". Odanak sets on the site of the former village of Saint Francis, Quebec which was partially destroyed by fire in 1759 by Rogers' Rangers, seeking retribution and an end to the raids by the "Saint Francis" Indians on the British Colonies.

Twenty-two years after Rogers' Rangers punitive excursion, a band of “St. Francis” Indians, lead by Tomhegan, made a raid on Maine settlements. It was the height of the Revolutionary War (1775–1783) and the raid was instigated by the British against settlements loyal to the “Colonies”.

The History of Bethel, Me (then known as Sudbury, Canada) mentions the raid of August 3, 1781 ; “when a party from St. Francis made an attack upon the outer settlements, taking all the plunder they could, and carrying away captive, Benjamin Clark and Nathaniel Segar, whom they detained until the war (Revolutionary) closed, sixteen months later.”

Lt. Nathaniel Segar would later write a narrative of his captivity in which he identified Metallak as being at the St. Francis Mission, when the raiding party and captives arrived there after the Sudbury Canada incident. The conclusion could be drawn that Metallak was known to the residents of Bethel and to Nathaniel Segar before 1781, in order for Segar to remember him and specifically mention him in the captivity account. I believe that if Metallak were present at Odanak, at the time Clark and Segar were captive, he would have interceded for release on their behalf. Apparently, he was not successful; Clark & Seager were not released, but were sold to the British, who held them until the end of the war.

Early Settlers

In the winter of 1788-89, Metallak came to the aid of white settlers in what would eventually become Andover, Maine. “The first settler was Ezekiel Merrill, who in 1789, came with his wife and six children from Andover, Mass., to this place,—having stopped by the way at Fryeburgh. He and his three sons drew their effects on hand-sleds through the woods, the only guide being the spotted trail of the Indians. Mrs. Merrill lived here for three years without seeing the face of any white female save her own three daughters.” (2.)

Agnes Blake Poor, great-granddaughter of Ezekiel Merrill wrote in 1897 the following account of Merrill’s first winter in Andover, ME-

“Ezekiel Merrill seems to have lacked time, or taste, for hunting, and little meat was secured for food the first Winter in Andover except crossbills. These little birds were trapped or shared (snared) in considerable numbers in the Indian manner, and furnished many a welcome meal. Metalluk, an Indian of the St. Francis tribe of Canada, was living in the neighborhood, far from his tribal associates, and between him and Roger (son of Ezekiel) a close friendship sprang up. Roger was a hardy and energetic boy, eager to master the arts of hunting and woodcraft, and Metalluk was an able teacher. When the snow was deep and crusted the two would go forth on snowshoes after moose. As soon as they found some of the great animals in their Winter "yards" it was easy work to kill enough to provide a year's supply of meat. The meat was easily cured by drying and smoking, by methods commonly practiced by the Indians.” (3)

We can only imagine the amusement Metallak felt watching Ezekiel and his family trying to get settled, knowing they did not have a clue what they were in for, facing their first northern Maine winter. To his credit, Metallak kept his amusement over their predicament to himself and did not leave them alone as babes in the woods. Instead, he rendered invaluable assistance and undoubtedly saved their lives. Metallak often did more than co-exist with the white settlers moving into his homeland, he extended a friendly, kind and generous helping hand.

Marriage and Children

Tradition holds that Metallak was married twice. First to Marie Eunice, who also is known as Keoka. Later he married Molly Oozalluc (also called Marie Angelique). Tradition also attributes children to Metallak, two sons, Parmagummet (also called Olumbo), Wilumpi (also called Antoine) and a daughter, Parmachenee. It is not known for certain which of his wives gave birth to which children, and some accounts credit him with additional children.

“He (Natallock) married Mollyeunice, his first wife about the year 1798, but on account of the faithlessness to her marriage vows, he put her away, and married about the year 1800 his second wife, Oozallock, and by her had two sons, Parmagininut and Olumbo, and a daughter. On account of his putting away his first wife and marrying again, he had to leave his tribe and Canada, and at times could not even stay in the vicinity of the lakes, but came to Andover and camped near the Merrill Bridge for several years, and stayed there till the close of the war with England in 1815.” (4)

Sylvanus Poor, author of the above quote, is quite possibly mistaken. The events he describes occurred before Sylvanus’ own birth in 1805. His is the only reference I have found to Metallak’s first wife being unfaithful. It is far more likely she died in childbirth.

John M. Wilson, who long resided on the Magalloway river, and knew Metalluk well, wrote as follows concerning him:

"All that I know of him prior to eighteen hundred and thirty-two, was obtained from common reports. It was said that he was a St. Francis Indian, and was banished from the tribe for some misdemeanor. He had three children at least, probably by his first wife. His sons names were Parmagummet and Wilumpi, His daughter married a man in Canada by the name of Moulton. Metalluk lived several years on the shores of Richardson’s lake with his second wife, who died there and was buried on a point of land since cleared and is now part of the lake farm. He then built his wigwam and lived alone some years at the narrows of Umbagog lake, on or near what is now the Stone farm.” (5)

Other details and contradictions concerning Metallak’s two marriages and his offspring are floating about. A story exists of Mettaluk and Keoka having another child, who was killed as an infant by a wolf. The story asserts the child died gruesomely, having its jugular torn out; thereafter, Metalluk sought penance from the wolf population, killed every wolf he could find, severed their heads and mounted them on poles. It is also proposed there were other offspring, and that Mary Mattelock, born about 1793, may have been a daughter.

Metalluk married for a second time around 1800 to Molly Oozalluc. Molly loved molasses and settlers knew her as Molly Molasses. Whether Keoka or Oozalluc was the mother of Metalluk’s children is cause for long hours of speculation around the campfire. While very little is known of Keoka, his first wife, Metalluk was devoted to Molly Oozalluc by all accounts. They had camps on both Umbagog and Richardson's Lakes.

The History of Wilsons Mills reports, Oozalluc died about 1806. Oozalluc may have been a shaman for we are told that Metallic waited several days before taking care of her body, in case she was only in a deep trance. They were wintering on Umbagog when she died. Metallak being quite old at the time was unable to bury her alone. Instead, he wrapped her body in birch bark, in the ancient custom of his people, and suspended her body from a tree branch over the smoke hole of his shelter, thus preserving it. In the spring Metallak took Molly in his canoe dressed in her finest adornments and buried her on an island called Metallak Point. The location of her grave was kept secret from all, save Metallak and a man who assisted in Molly’s burial. “Moll’s Rock” on Lake Umbagog is named for Molly, it is reputed to have been a favorite fishing spot for her. (6)

(The reader will recall, the account by John Wilson, previously cited, places Molly’s death and burial on Richardson.)

Though Metallak is known as the “Lone Indian of the Magalloway” and as the “Last Chief of the Arosaguntacook bands of the Abenaki, it is likely he has descendents to the present day. Parmachenee reportedly married Eli Moulton and had a son, George. She lived near Lennoxville. Some, in that area, believe they may be descended from Metallak through a woman named Sara Moulton.

Some accounts describing Metallak’s relationship with his children are contradictory to the character Metallak displayed in all facets of his life. It is quite possible, Metallak did not raise his children. Both his marriages were brief and would seem to have occurred while Metallak was relatively old. Under these circumstances, Metallak may well have entrusted the raising of his young children to family or members of his band some distance away. Nonetheless, Sylvanus Poor recalled-

“Olumbo and Parmagininut went to Canada in 1812 and joined the English Army, and the former never returned. An Indian raid from Canada by way of the lakes was greatly feared by the settlers and Natallock was employed as a spy by the people of Andover to watch that region for hostile movements, which duty he faithfully performed. No demonstrations, however, were made in that part of the country. Natallock disowned both his sons in consequence of their joining the English, but after the war, Parmagininut returned and became reconciled to his father, promising to live with him and take care of him in his old age. But he was very lazy and Natallock did all the work. One day when Natallock was visiting his traps Parmagininut packed all the fur and utensils in their camp and made off with them in a canoe. Natallock returning sooner than expected, discovered what had happened and pursued his son in another canoe. A fight ensued, in the course of which both came near being drowned, but Parmagininut was finally worsted, and obliged to get off as well as he could, after which he appeared no more in these parts. Natallock remained master of the field, and of all the property that had not been lost during the fray. The canoes were both upset, but being near the shore they succeeded in reaching and rescuing most of the property which had sunk.”(7)

While a colorful story, Poor’s account of Metallak’s relationship with his children is far- fetched and impossible to reconcile. Poor’s account is an example of someone recalling events, late in life, which occurred while Poor was a child and probably was drawn heavily from stories created and circulated by others.

In 1890, Peter Smith Bean, a friend of Metalluk, would recall Metallak’s relationship with his sons, Wilumpa and Parmayillet, which does not jibe with Sylvanus Poor’s version, but I believe more accurately portrays the family’s interaction. Bean recalled-

“He had two sons, the oldest was named Wilumpa, the other was Parmayillet. They often used to bring things that they did not want to use during the summer over to our place and hang them up in the roof of the barn until fall, while they were upon their fishing and hunting tour to the Upper Lakes, sometimes not returning until fall, then taking them to their winter camp for use during cold weather. About 1829 or 1830, his two sons went to Canada, but could not persuade Metallak to go with them. From that time, he made his home on the Upper Magalloway most of time living alone. He made occasional visits to Andover and Rumford to dispose of his furs and pelts, always stopping to see grandfather to have [a] smoke and a glass of rum. I never saw him take only one glass at a time. If asked to take more he would say “one plenty.” (8)

A Moose Ride

No hero in history is complete without a tale that captures the imagination. Sylvanus Poor does Metallak a great service by providing the following account-

“ He (Natallock) was a man of superior qualities, not only well versed in all woodcraft and Indian skill, but hospitable, kind, generous, and always friendly to the white settlers, whom he was of great service, and many of whom were his friends….I will give a story of Natallock as nearly as possible in his own words. "I was out hunting in Letter B (Upton) many years ago, having a dog with me. I struck a fresh moose track and decided to follow it for awhile, and did so. I had not followed it long when I discovered the moose a short distance before me, lying down, apparently asleep. I crept up to him very cautiously, and sprang upon his back without awakening him. He sprang to his feet, apparently much frightened, and began to shake, rear, and jump to throw me off. I had secured a good hold of his mane, which is very thick and long, and he could not get me off in that way. He then began to trot very fast, (moose never run in the woods) and was very careless of my comfort, for he went under all of the small spruce and fir trees he could find to scrape me off. I did not dare get off for fear of being attacked by him, so I had to lie down as close as I could to his back and hold on with both hands, the trees and shrubs scraping me fearfully. He soon went into the alders near the brook and open meadows, but still I stuck to him. He also plunged into Dead Cambridge stream wetting me all over, but still I held on. He next went into an open meadow, where I could sit erect, and I got out my knife and soon killed him, but not till he had almost killed me. My head, neck and shoulders were badly beaten and bruised, and several ribs were broken, with other injuries. I had to go to Dr. Ebenezer Poor in Andover for medical aid, and I do not want to take another moose ride." (9)

How many of us, in the course of hunting, fishing or wandering outdoors, have done something without thinking it through; something fool-hardy, which seemed like a good thing to do at the time, but afterwards defies explanation to a sane person? For us, like Metallak, the experience is good fodder for a story and hopefully makes us older and wiser.

Governor Lincoln

Many records exist of Metallak’s association with Governor Lincoln, Moses Mason and other prominent citizens, who would visit Metallak at one of his camps. William B. Lapham, wrote in 1891-

“At this camp he was several times visited by Governor Enoch Lincoln, who would stay several days at a time. Governor Lincoln was in the habit of visiting Metalluk and camping with him, and left some account of him in his writings. One anecdote I believe Lincoln never published. He carried with him on his visit to Metalluk, a large penknife fitted up with different blades, awls, saw and the like. Metalluk had his eye on the knife and wished to buy it. Governor Lincoln told him he could not sell it to him. Metalluk’s covetousness was only the more strongly excited, and at last he contrived a plan to secure the penknife. He had a little island in the lake of about an acre, on which is a sort of cave in which he kept his furs, where they would not be plundered. He invited the Governor to go and see his furs. He tool his canoe and landed the governor, showed him his furs, and made him a most liberal offer of them for the knife. The Governor told him he could not sell the knife. "Well," said Metalluk, "me no carry you off the island if you no sell me the knife." But, said the governor, I told you I would not sell it to you, and I shall keep my word, but I will give it to you as a present. Metalluk was overjoyed in the possession of the knife and of course reckoned Governor Lincoln as one of his real friends.” (10)

Later Years

After the death of Molly Oozalluc, Metallak’s second wife, and the departure of his children to other locations. Metallak lived alone, living off the land he called home and dividing his time between a number of different camps in typical Abenaki fashion. He did not become assimilated into the ways of the white settlers, but remained the lone Indian of the Magalloway. Peter Smith Bean recalled-

“ The first Indian I ever remember of meeting was Metallak. I remember of his stopping at Father’s when he lived at Middle Intervale in Bethel. Father had a cabinet shop at that time. I think it was the summer of 1827. Metallak was going to see Siah Bean, an uncle of Father’s. After we moved to Letter B (Upton) grandfather, Daniel Bean, sen., had gone there before that. Metallak was often at our place and he and grandfather were great friends. He lived in sight of grandfather’s but across the lake [Umbagog], some three miles away on Metallak Point. He always stopped when he was going to Andover and Bethel, which was quite often. On such trips he left all the small game that he shot between the Point and our place. It consisted of ducks, geese and partridges. He would say “me eat with you when I come back.” On his return trip he was generally there at dinner. He was always welcome. I have sat on his knee many a time, he trotting and talking to me. He used to bring lumps of spruce gum. I remember how he looked sitting on the porch with grandfather and smoking their pipes as friendly as two brothers. Father said Metallak was an old Indian when he first saw him. As I remember him he was a rather tall straight Indian when [we] first saw him, very quiet, hardly ever laughed or smiled, kind hearted and one to be trusted as a friend in honesty, liked by all who knew him.” (11)

Sylvanus Poor adds to our appreciation for Metallak’s traditional Abenaki lifestyle, while also illustrating Metallak’s great capacity for hospitality-

“Natallock continued to live about the lake, dividing his time among his three camps; one was the narrows in Lake Umbagog. To this one he had a kind of supplementary camp or storehouse attached, which was on an island some little distance off in the lake. The existence of this storehouse I discovered when a boy, when visiting him in company with my brother, Alfred, and a Mr. Stanley and his son, who then lived in the Surplus. We had gone up for fishing in the month of March, 18_ , and taken a horse and pung with us. Natallock offered us the hospitality of his camp, where we built a small bough camp for the horse, and our host fearing we were not sufficiently provided with bed clothes made a journey to his storehouse to provide us with more furs. In every respect he showed himself as anxious for our comfort as the most highly civilized gentleman could have been for his guests. Natallock's second camp was at the narrows in Richardson Lake, near which a long sandy point still bears his name (1887). Here his second wife, Oozallock lies buried, and close by was the ground used from time immemorial by the Indians in this vicinity as their meeting ground, where they held their discussions and debates and performed their war-dances….. Natallock's third camp was up the Magalloway River. (12)

William B. Lapham contributes the following account of Metallak’s life in the wilderness, keep in mind, this description occurs while Metallak is well on in years-

“…. he next took up residence in township number 5, range two, where I found him in eighteen hundred and thirty-two. Here he subsisted chiefly by hunting, and lived in a camp about ten feet square made of spruce bark. He was here some ten or twelve years without making any clearing about his camp and would draw potatoes from the settlement in winter twelve miles on a hand sled, rather than raise them.” ….

He was visited by Hon. Moses Mason several times while he lived on the Magalloway river. He made a map of that river on birch bark, which appears to have been executed with fidelity. he had, on one occasion, shot an immense moose as he was in the water and dragged him to the shore, and cut off the best parts of the meant and dried them. the doctor bought the horns, which afterward adorned his hall as a hat rack, and which are now in the possession of Hon. David R. Hastings of Fryeburg. He was a close built man, of about middling stature, very athletic and possessed of great powers of endurance. He came to my house one morning in the winter of eighteen hundred and thirty-five about sunrise, having laid out about two miles in the woods, the night before, without fire. A damp snow had fallen the day before, and the weather had become very cold during the night. He had been on the track of a moose all day, until dark, 'almost see um," he said, and when darkness obliged him to give up the chase, 'all wet, no strike um." (13)

Peter Smith Bean offers this heartfelt recollection of the last time Metallak visited his family. It is obvious that Metallak heald the Bean family in high esteem-

“ The last time I saw Metallak was in the winter of 1833. It was after Grandfather had gone to Bethel to live with George Grover, who had married Dolly Bean, father’s sister. It was at the time Grandfather died. Father had gone to Bethel to attend the funeral of his father. Metallak stopped as usual to ask about Grandfather and Father. Mother told him that Grandfather was dead and then he asked for young Daniel. Mother told him he had gone to Bethel to his father’s funeral. Metallak was silent for a long time, the tears running down his cheek. He looked up saying, “Daniel gone to the happy hunting ground and left Metallak. He same as brother. Me go soon. Me know old man Daniel long ago when he first came to Bethel. Me old Indian then. He gone and left me. I know young Daniel when he small papoose. Siah Bean dead, Daniel Bean dead. Me dead soon. Me old man die soon. Me never come here any more.” (14)

Collectively, the above recollections describe a self-reliant man who wanted for nothing. He lived life in a traditional Abenaki fashion, albeit alone. He filled the void left in his life, created by the separation from his family and people, by turning to his neighbors. Whenever he needed human companionship, he would seek out those whom he had befriended over the years and they would welcome him as the friend he was.

Final Years and Death

Earlier in his life, an accident blinded Metallak in one eye. His advanced age and this handicap did not slow him down. Metallak’s third and most remote camp was located near Metallak Pond on the Upper Magalloway. The site was flooded in 1911 by the construction of the Aziscohos dam and creation of Aziscohos Lake. Metallak Pond was south east of South Hammond Brook and was bordered to the south by what is now known as Metalic Ledges. It is said, from this camp, Metallak particularly enjoyed moose hunting on the Little Magalloway.

The History of Wilsons Mills, Maine provides the following details of the accident which would dictate the terms of his final years: “Then in 1836, while gathering wood, Metallak injured and blinded his other eye. He was using the tump line that he used to carry his pack. It broke and sent him sprawling and he fell on a stub and completely blinded himself. As my great uncle’s grandfather (Johnathan Leavitt) and my grandfather’s great grandfather (John Bennett) were going up to Parmachenee to cut pine they found Metallak lying in his camp. He was without food, water or fire. They knew that if he remained in his camp alone, he would die. They hauled him on their sled for twelve miles to what is now the Aziscohos House in Wilsons Mills. Parmachenee was notified of her father’s condition and she came to take him to Canada with her. Metallak wassn’t happy there so he hired a boy to lead him back to this region. The boy deserted him and left him in Stewartstown, NH.” (15)

Metallic died in Stewartstown, NH in 1847 at the reputed age of 120 years. Metallak’s grave in Sewartstown’s North Hill Cemetery is marked and a State Highway marker witnesses his extraordinary life. Though he spent the last nine years of his life blind and poor, by white man standards, he did not die alone. Possessions mattered little to Metallak. It is not unusual that he, as an Abenaki, would die without an accumulation of wealth. So long as he was physically able, he lived as he always had, off the land, in the midst of the wilderness. He did not die alone. I would like to think, he chose not to be a burden on his daughter and her family, or on the people of the Magalloway and Androscoggin settlements, but spent the last years of his life allowing others to provide for his modest needs. And I would like to think the people of Stewartstown willingly provide for his care, repaying in part for the unselfish and generous assistance Metallak had rendered others all through his life. He died in his homeland, near where he was born, raised and lived his entire and full Abenaki life.

Footnotes and Credits

1. Bea Nelson, Vermont’s Northland Journal, Philip, Abenaki Chief, and Philip’s Grant.

Bea Nelson, Abenaki descendant, is an artist, writer, and retired educator. She is the Cultural Resource Manager for the Alnobak Heritage Preservation Center, editor and publisher of Nebesak News.

2. History of Andover, Maine, From A Gazetteer of the State of Maine By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill, Boston 1886

3. Excerpted from “A Merrill Memorial- Samuel Merrill”, 1928, reprint 1983, Some Eighteenth Century Migrations - Chapter XI, pp125-152, Andover, ME… Most of the facts here given relating to the settlement of Andover, Me., are from a paper written by the late Miss Agnes Blake Poor of Brookline, Mass., to be read before Hannah Goddard chapter, D.A.R., 9 Dec. 1897. Miss Poor was a great-granddaughter of Ezekiel5 Merrill.

4. "Andover Memorials”- “NATALLOCK" or "MATALLUC" and Other Spellings" by Sylvanus Poor and Agnes Blake Poor, Published by the Andover Educational Fund, Inc., 1997

5. “History of the Town of Bethel -Metalluk or Natalluc”, William B. Lapham, 1891

6. The History of Wilsons Mills, Maine and the Magalloway Settlements, 1825-2000, pages 258-260, “The Legend of Metallak, by Angela Littlehale Bennett.

7. Ibid. Andover Memorials

8. Peter Smith Bean- Oxford County Advertiser of 17 January 1890. Peter Smith Bean, who was born in Bethel on 23 March 1824, the son of Daniel Bean, Jr., of Bethel and Betsey Smith of Newry.

9. Ibid. Andover Memorials

10. Ibid. History of the Town of Bethel

11. Ibid. Peter Smith Bean

12. Ibid. Andover Memorials

13. Ibid. History of the Town of Bethel

14. Ibid. Peter Smith Bean

15. Ibid. The History of Wilsons Mills, Maine and the Magalloway Settlements

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Nancy Lecompte for her invaluable insight into Abenaki history and culture and for her critical editorial assistance, to make this tome as historically fair and accurate as possible. AWJ