Alexander/Crawford History

Town News


By John Dudley & Cassie Oakes


Do you know where the public lots are in Alexander?  Technically there are none today because they were sold by the town years ago.  When Alexander was resurveyed in 1808, Benjamin Jones located the public lots at the place on the land that Putnam had shown on his 1786 survey.  Today they exist as privately owned lots.

According to the 1808 survey that we still use, lots 47 & 48 were the Public Reserved Lot for the first settled minister (320 acres).  Lots 49 &50 were the Public Reserved Lots for the Ministry (320 acres).  These lots have been divided into six lots called the Ministry Lots.  They are located north of the Airline about half way between the east and west town boundaries.  Who are the owners of these lots?

Rufus Putnam put together the first map/plan of Township 16 (Alexander) in 1786, it had 55 lots and only one lake (Meddybemps).  It was put together for the Massachusetts Land Lottery.  Here are the names of lot buyers in TWP 16 followed by the 1808-lot number, James Thatcher (lot 26), John Atkinson (lot 27), Mrs. Eunice Ray (lot 30), William White (lot 88) and Sylvester Gardner (lot 97.  The heirs of Sylvester Gardner were the only ones to pay their taxes and eventually sold lot 97 to Caleb Cary of East Machias.  Who are the owners of these lots today?  Note, William Bingham did not own these lots.

In 1808 Bingham R. Jones revived Putnam’s plan with 128 smaller “settlers” lots, most of them square lots of 160 acres each. Here are a few oddities shown on Jones’s map.  Lots W-24 &E-24 (160 acres) each, part of Putnam lot 4.  Why W & E?  Alexander has two gores, one on the east of lot 97 and one along the Crawford line.  Each gore is 50 rods wide.  Some lots aren’t square because the two north-south boundaries are not parallel.  Those lots along the Baileyville line are 13, 25, 35, 44, 53, 62, 74.

In the mid-nineteenth century two legislative acts changed Alexander’s boundaries.  The Lyndic Set-off on the Crawford Road was once part of the Alexander gore, and the Damon Set-off on the Cooper Road was once part of Cooper.

What happened to Public Reserved Lots in townships where no people settled?  As a result of legislation ca 1970, public lots scattered all over the UT of Maine have been consolidated.  In Washington County we find Maine Public Reserve Lands in TWP 18 ED (Rocky Lake), TWP 18 ED (Great Heath) and in Cutler/Whiting (Bold Coast).  Bold Coast is not in the UT.  The Machias River Corridor of 10000 acres borders that river north from the Airline to Third Machias Lake.