Alexander/Crawford History


By John Dudley & Cassie Oakes



The idea and information for this article came from Jim Sullivan.  He and his wife Dolly moved into what we call the Francis Sullivan place at the corner of the Cooper and Green Hill Roads in Alexander.  Francis was Jim’s father and a son of the Thomas Sullivan whose records we will examine.  Tom lived in the yellow hipped-roof house down the road from Jim’s place.

On June 11, 1909 Tom borrowed $421 from Ellery A. Drew of East Machias.  The money was drawn on Drew’s account at Eastern Trust and Banking of Machias at 6% interest.  Tom promised to pay $50 the first day of each November and May.  Tom made cash payments and paid off the loan on March 25, 1914 “by a black horse.”

What caused the need for that money?  Tom and his family lived in a 3-bay cape, typical of area nineteenth century homes.  That burned sometime after 1900 and the new house was built.  Was the borrowed money for the new house?  Pictures of each home will be found in Issue 141 of the ACHS Newsletter.

On March 27, 1915 Tom borrowed $210.94 and “sold” to Sabra B. Drew “one more colored chestnut known as Howard Allan mare same John Dudley purchased from Sabra B. Drew; one bay horse white face feet same he had from E. A. Drew.” Tom’s signature was witnessed by John A. McDonald.  On the back of that document they found a list of payments and “The within being fully paid the same is hereby fully and freely discharged-Dec. 21, 1926-Sabra Drew McDonald”.

On May 31, 1917 Tom acquired from Sabra B. Drew “One State Prison Grocery Wagon, painted dark frame, for $125”.  Payments to be made each and every October and March first until paid in full.  Witnessing of signature by Verda P. Hoyt.

All this took place without a credit card or electronic record keeping, but these three documents show that our ancestors could and did acquire needed items through credit.  We also observe where rural folks went for goods and services, and the changes in those service centers.