Friday, December 31, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday -- Jonathan Buck Monument

The Legend of the Buck Memorial:

This monument was erected in memory of Colonel Jonathan Buck, founder of Bucksport, who died on March 18, 1795. The memorial, built of Blue Hill granite, was erected by his descendants nearly sixty years after his death.

Sometime after its placement, the outline of a leg appeared on the monument. Making their appearance as well were the stories which became legendary. The variations are many but common elements include Colonel Buck's condemnation of a woman for witchcraft and ordering her death by burning for sorcery. As the sentence is being carried out, the woman curses the Colonel and concludes with ".... so long shall my curse be upon thee and my sign upon thy tombstone." As the flames consume her body, her leg falls away and rolls out of the fire. Her deformed son, rejected by the community, grabs the leg, further insults the Colonel, and flees into the wilderness. The curse is forgotten until sixty years later. The monument is erected; the leg appears. Attempts to remove the sign are futile.

Historians will note the era of Colonial witchcraft and the infamous witch trials in Massachusetts were over long before Jonathan Buck was born. Additionally, there is no record of ANYONE being executed for witchcraft in Maine. Stories that the monument has been replaced are untrue -- this is the original. Stone cutters say it is not uncommon for granite to contain a flaw such as this stain which appears only after cutting and polishing. The outline can be removed but reappears when air oxidizes the iron. (Note, too, the outline of a heart on the upper part of the monument.)

The facts surrounding the life of Colonel Buck are that he was an honorable, industrious man who founded this community and was a leader in its early development -- building the first grist mill, and the first boat. Notably, the "witch's curse" was unheard of before the flaw in the marker appeared.

Jeff Hutchins
Eagle Project

For more history on Jonathan Buck and the legends, visit the Bucksport website.

PFF is the creation of Leah J. Utas.

Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend.


Leah J. Utas said...

What an interesting legend. Especially interesting that it was back drafted after the leg appeared.

Reb said...

I agree with Leah, very cool tale.

David Cranmer said...

Leah, Yeah I suspect if an eye formed then the tale would have been adjusted accordingly.

Reb, I thought so. Thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year.

G said...

Ya gotta admit though, it is a pretty good story. Fits in very snuggly for what all parts of New England known for, whether it be up your way and down my way.

David Barber said...

Excellent bit of folklore, David. I just love stories like that.

Happy New Year, my friend. All the best to you and Denise for 2011!!

Clare2e said...

I love a good legend, even if super-duper fake, as this one seems to be. I'm just as interested in the fallen heart, and I'd think that begs for its own story!

Happy 2011, to you, David, to the little pulp-fan to be, to your charmer, to Elaine, and to all who've been lucky enough to enjoy BEAT to a PULP this year!

Chris said...

Heh, love that story.