Not everything is completely accurate just because it appears in print. It can be assumed by the reader that this column and the accompanying commentary is no exception. However, as I share commentary, I do strive for historical accuracy. What follows appeared in the July 3rd, 1905, edition of the MAINE WOODS. It shares a couple “missteps”, but in the 1905 writer’s defense, it was for a Portland paper and was probably not proofed/fact-checked locally at all. Please read on and we will attempt to set the record straight.

All text reprinted just as it appeared in 1957. Contemporary commentary appears in italics.


Builder of Mollychunkamunk, First Steamer on Mooselookmeguntic Lake.

The Mollychunkamunk, named for the legendary Chief Mettalak’s 2nd wife, was built by Howard and first plied the waters of what is now known as Rangeley Lake, known as Oquossoc Lake at that time.

In a Portland paper of recent date there was a fine likeness of Capt. C. W. Howard, who is well known in and around Rangeley. The exchange says:


“One of Peaks Island’s best known and most respected residents is Capt. C. W. Howard. Everybody knows him, and everybody likes him. Although he was born at Readfield in Kennebec County, it was evident that Captain Howard was not intended to lead the life of a farmer for it is as a builder of boats that he made a reputation.

‘‘Captain Howard built and ran the first steamboats on the Rangeley and Mooselookmeguntic Lakes. In fact, Howard had sold the Mollychunkamunk to Capt. Fred Barker who was its owner/operator during this stint on Mooselookmeguntic. Can you imagine the chore of beaching her onto a cradle on runners and then freighting her over the snow to the Big Lake?

The Rangeley’s first steamer, Mollychunkamunk, with Captain Howard (next to the pilot house) and her impressive flag donated by the industrialist and noted angler, George Sheppard Page.  George L. Mutter, MD

This was in the early 70’s and at that time all travel was by stage line from Farmington. Supplies had to be teamed 40 miles for the lakes. ‘‘The first steamer there carried the euphonious name of Mollychunkamunk and was named by George Shepard Page, president of the Oquossoc Angling Association, who presented her with a fine set of colors.

George Shepard Page, a prominent New York sportsman, ventured to the Rangeley region and caught some very big brook trout. Page brought home–wrapped in birch bark, ice and sawdust–eight fish totaling 52 pounds (averaging more than six) and showed them to several New York journalists. The result was a spate of articles about the incredible fishing in the Rangeley Lakes and this region would never be the same…the article continues…

The Mollychunkamunk ran very successfully for seven years when she was totally destroyed by fire.

‘‘On the Big Lake, so-called, the first steamer was the Oquossoc, sold to Capt. Fred C. Barker, and was his first venture in a successful business life.” Oops-not quite-you see Barker had, indeed, purchased the Mollychunkamunk, moved her to Mooselookmeguntic and subsequently RENAMED her Oquossoc.


Below, some classified ads from this edition…


FOR SALE— Sixty-five acres of land, house, barn, farming tools, situated between two streams, $1,000. About $32,648.00 in today’s dollars, which is still an incredible value given that a property like this would sell for north of $250,000 today. Selling on account of sickness. Enclose stamp for particulars. John Poulin, Eustis, Maine.

FOR SALE—The unusually staunch and able steam yacht, “Wa-Wa’’ of about 22 H. P. The U. S. Government Inspection of 1911 showed her to be in first class condition. May be inspected at Camp Bellevue, Upper Dam, Maine. Price will be reasonable to a quick purchaser. Apply to Dr. Norton Dow Fordhooke Farm, Three Tuns, Pa. Or Archer Poore at the camp. This yacht served the succession of owners at Camp Bellevue on the Richardson Lakes for many years beginning in the days the Lakes were known as Welokennebakook (Lower) and Mollychunkamunk (Upper). Have a great week everyone and pray for some sunshine as you head out to make some great Rangeley History of your own!

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