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Legends of The Great Falls - Part 2

Last Updated Mar-2000

Portions published in "Newsletter of the Androscoggin Historical Society"
by permission of Ne-Do-Ba

Story Four

[Joe] Weare was once at Lewiston Falls, where a large war party of hostile Indians had collected, and were having fine sport paddling their canoes far up stream and then drifting down with the rapid current to the head of the falls at which point they had a bonfire to warn them how far they might descend in safety. Weare waited until the Indians had gone up the river, then emerged from his covert and extinguished their fire and built another below the cataract in a tree, at a height corresponding to the one built by the Indians. This deceived them so that their canoes were in the rapids and beyond control, before they realized their danger and were swept over the falls to death and destruction.

Source: Ancient North Yarmouth and Yarmouth 1636-1936
William Hutchinson Rowe
New England History Press, 1980(reprint)

Story Five

Last of the Rockomekos

Molly Ockett was the last of the Rockomekkos tribe of Indians, whose tragic death is remembered by the older residents of the county. The story or tradition, whichever it be, tells of the destruction of the Indians at Lewiston Falls.
The Rockomekos had planned to attack Brunswick settlement, then in its infancy, and after a great celebration and propitiations to the gods they worshipped, the tribe set sail with their families in their canoes. When they arrived at Lewiston Falls it was dark, and two were sent ahead to kindle beacon fires on the shores of the Androscoggin just above the Falls. How it happened was never clearly explained, but by some mistake the fires were kindled below the falls instead of above and deceived by the position of the signals, the Indians paddled on and before they knew it, were in the swift current, where they were hurled over the cataract and drowned. This happened in 1688; one reason that has been given for the false beacons is that the Indian scouts who were sent ahead to kindle the fires met two white hunters, who treated them liberally to fire water. That the Indians overcome by the strong liquor, told their errand and were killed by the hunters, who then built the fires below the falls, and lured the tribe to destruction.

Source: news-clipping found at Androscoggin Historical Society
title, date, author, newspaper all unknown

Story Six

Over the Falls

A raid on Topsham was planned and a flotilla of canoes sailed down the Androscoggin to attack the settlement. Two warriors were sent ahead to build beacon fires on the Island above the falls at Ameriscoggin (Auburn-Lewiston) as night approached. These scouts met some white hunters, who learning their mission, plied them with liquor until they became helpless, knocked them on the head and built the warning lights below the falls. Deceived by the decoy fires the whole fleet of canoes, freighted with painted warriors, went over the falls to their destruction. Some of the remaining members of the tribe are said to have joined the St. Francis tribe in Canada. In spite of all these calamities there were Indians still left at Rokomeko and that the tribal organization was kept up is believed.

Source: news-clipping found at Androscoggin Historical Society
Lewiston Journal (probably magazine section)
J.W. Thompson, date unknown

A photo of the West Pitch

The West Pitch of the Great Falls
Notice the "Indian" Profile in the rock on the far right.

Story Seven

When the Abenaki were camped in the area for any period of time they would set touches out to mark the West Pitch of the Great Falls, because that pitch could be navigated by canoe. One evening a settler was out working by the bank of the river. It was getting dark and his work was not finished, so he took the torches at West Pitch to use for light - probably not knowing why they were there. About that time three Indians came down river and using the relocated touches as a guide to the West Pitch, missed the pitch and were killed by going over the falls. As a result of this, the Abenaki placed a curse on the river, saying that forever after, three whites would die at the hands of the river every year.

Source: Oral tradition from a Lewiston resident - 1990s