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Flaggstaff Lake, Maine
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“Man Made lake” is a commentary on the flooding of a twenty-five mile stretch of the Dead River in Western Maine, which submerged Flagstaff Plantation, Dead River Plantation, and Bigelow Township
Man Made Lake (Copyright Jeep Wilcox)
I’ll never forget the day, They took my home away, To make a lake that God did not plan. Though it has been many years, I still recall the tears, Shed when they made Flagstaff Dam.
My only choice made me sad, Either move or wish I had, No way, could I stop their flood. So knowing nothing I could do Using a token dollar or two, They took what cost me sweat and blood.
From Eustis Ridge I see, Man’s lake of misery, Where once I tilled the fertile sod. T’was there I made my stand, Trying to convince my fellow man, To leave the lake building up to God.
Yes, my life still goes on, But for me dreams are gone, Haunted with nightmares from days gone by. Like a vagabond, I still roam, For the day they took away my home, Was the day my dreams began to die.
Someday I’ll pass on, And from this land I’ll be gone, Inside of heaven’s gate I’ll stand. Once again I’ll shed a tear, For all of those still hear, With roots in a forgotten land.
Jeep Wilcox, Flagstaff Lake, Dead River, Flagstaff Plantation, Dead River Plantation, Bigelow Township, reservoir, flood, hydroelectric dam, Kennebec River, rural electrification, Benedict Arnold, Eustis, 19th century, Walter S. Wyman, Harvey D. Eaton, Percival Baxter, the Fernald Law, Long Falls Dam
For a brief pictorial history of the submerged villages, read Burnell, Alan L. & Kenny R. Wing.Lost Villages of Flagstaff Lake. Images of America Series. Portsmouth, NH: Arcadia Publishing, 2010. MPBN produced a documentary on the history of power generation in Maine that features several segments on Flagstaff Lake; the video is available at Windows on Maine. Also listen to this story about Flagstaff from MPBN. Northeast Historic Film also has a Central Maine Power Collection with many videos from the early twentieth century, though none related to Flagstaff Lake or Long Falls Dam.
Folklore | Oral History
Wilcox, Gaylon. 2011. “Man Made Lake.” NA1582. Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History, Raymond H. Fogler Special Collections Department, University of Maine.