Metallak

Hunter, trapper, fisherman and guide, well and favorably known by the region’s early settlers. “The Lone Indian of the Magalloway” was the last survivor of a band of Abenaki inhabiting the Upper Androscoggin. Blinded by accidents, Metallak died a town charge in 1847 at the reputed age of 120. He is buried in the North Hill Cemetery on road to the east.

 The marker, number 47, is located in Stewartstown on the east side of NH 145, about 1 mile north of Stewartstown village.

Even his marker was mysterious--at least, it was a mystery where it was this day.

Even his marker was mysterious–at least, it was a mystery where it was this day.

WE GOT a strange letter about this one. Several days after visiting this marker, said the writer, Metallak himself, “or something resembling him…materialized out of a dense cloud” at the foot of the bed for perhaps half a minute, waking him and his wife from a sound sleep. His letter assured us that they were rational people who didn’t then, and still don’t, believe in ghosts. But something appeared to them in the middle of the night.

Some believe that Metallak had visited from the other side before, speculating that plans to cash in on his name angered the spirit of the old Indian. The Metallak was to be a grand hotel on Lombard Hill above Colebrook before it suffered a series of setbacks during its construction and blew down in an April gale in 1893, never hosting a single guest.

Exact details of Metallak’s life are hard to pin down—even his would-be biographer, Alice Daley Noyes, citing “long and sketchy gaps in Metallak’s life,” classified her book Metallak, His Legacy a work of fiction. The state marker notes that he was the “last survivor of a band of Abenaki” on the Upper Androscoggin. Other accounts say he was not the last of his band. Probably he was the last of his band to live there, the rest (including his children) having earlier moved to Canada as more white settlers cleared farms and built towns in northern New England. Metallak remained, continuing to hunt, trap, and fish, befriending his new neighbors, sometimes serving as a guide.

Metallak's marker was back up the last time we drove by--maybe it was just a snowplow and not his ghost the time before.

Metallak’s marker was back up the last time we drove by–maybe it was just a snowplow and not his ghost the time before.

One or two accidents cost Metallak his eyesight—accounts vary: a splinter while chopping wood, a tree branch, a sewing needle. Hunters or neighbors—or hunting neighbors—rescued him, blind and starving, and his children took him to Canada to live with them. Somehow he ended up back in Stewartstown, New Hampshire, destitute, and a ward of the town. Back then, the poor who could not support themselves were more or less auctioned each year to the lowest bidder, who would be paid by the town to care for them. This is how Metallak lived his last days, dying in 1841—or 1847—at the age of 102—or 120.

If you notice anything strange when visiting this marker, drop us a line.

Marker #47

Stewartstown

1967

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s