Tuesday, August 11, 2009


We visited with Aunt Dot, Diana, Gary, and Gary's mom Peg until we could check into
our room and unpack. Then while Cheryl made a run to a nearby store I sort of dozed off
until Cheryl returned and woke me up so we could get back on the road. Cheryl and I
hadn't been back to the area in years so we'd follow Gary and the others.

We were going to drive up to Upton Me to visit the cemetery where our ancestor John Cutter
West is buried. The plan was to head up Route 16 through Berlin and Milan alongside the
Androscoggin River until we reached Errol, then get on Route 26. I looked for some of the
places I remembered from the last time I was there years ago but most of them were gone.
The old ski jump in Berlin which was once the tallest east of the Mississippi River is still
standing but is obscured by trees. And when we reached Milan itself we passed the garage
I crashed into when my Mom taught me how to ride my bike over 50 years ago. It's still
painted the same white with green trim!

Wwhen we reached the center of Milan we found that there was a road construction
detour that put us on Rte 110 which snakes around until it rejoins Rte 16 further north.
Rte 110 took us up Milan Hill which at one time was named Barrows Mountain after
my ancestor Asa Barrows and we spotted a road sign for an "Asa Barrows Rd"(which I
haven't been able to find on any online map since I came home). By the time we made it
back out onto Rte 16 there was a light rain falling. I kept a lookout for any moose grazing
by the Androscoggin but despite the many signs warning us of hundreds of car-moose
collisions we didn't spot any moose on the whole trip!

Eventually we reached Rte 26 in Errol and crossed over into Maine. Our first destination
was Back St, which is a dirt road right off the highway where my Grandfather West had
a cabin. Pop's place had burned down and there are considerably more buildings on
the road than there used to be, so we weren't able to pick out exactly where the building
once stood. We all did get a chuckle when we reached the end of the road. The last
property on it sat at the end of a long entranceway that had a sign calling it "Further
Back Street". We turned around and headed back out onto Rte 26. The rain had stopped
but there were clouds hugging the tops of the mountains ahead of us.

Not far down Rte 26 from Back Street a small unmarked graveyard sits on the side of the
road. We stopped and got out and then climbed through some weeds and walked towards
the back of the lot, where my 3x great grandfather John Cutter West is buried. Nearby are
the graves of three of his children, Ruth Ellen, David Pingree, and Arvilla Electa, and that
of Orpha V. (Reynolds), the first wife of my 2x great grandfather Jonathan Phelps West.
The ground was covered with moss (it felt like we were walking on sponges) and it hid
part of Arvilla's headstone which had fallen over. We took pictures of the gravestones and
then we all headed back to the cars because we were being attacked by a horde of very
hungry mosquitoes. Perhaps city folks are gourmet food for country mosquitoes?

Route 26 took us into Bethel, Me where we turned onto Rte 2 and followed that back into Gorham. We'd made a big loop through NH and Maine. We stopped in Gorham for dinner,
then went back to the Mt. Madison Motel. It had been a long day of travel, and Saturday promised to be the same, so we made plans to meet in the morning and then retired to our rooms for the night.

To be continued...

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