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Dan Dowling's Devil Tree, Brockway, 1770's

by Rev. Dr. William Randall

Reprinted from The Harvey Lionews, November 1993


Have you ever looked up at a Devil Tree? There was one in Brockway - I say "was" because I can't find it in 1993. However, it is remembered by some of the senior citizens of Brockway as Dan Dowlings Devil Tree. I have even located its probable site.


Dan Dowling liked to play cards. He also liked to drink spirituous liquors. He also liked to cheat. The Military barracks established at Brockway during the Revolutionary War provided persons with whom Dan might indulge his questionable habits.


One late evening after Dan's extravagantly indulged vices he was walking home. He lived just north of Stone Brook (not Stoned Brook).


Dan walked aggressively, arrogantly, and abruptly into a large pine tree. Moments later, recovering some awareness of his prone position he looked up into the tree and there saw the hand of the Devil holding the two cards which he had adroitly used to achieve his winnings. Dan knows the Devil knows!


Henceforth Dan respectfully paused at the foot of that large pine and conversed with the Devil. But it wasn't over! Who the Devil knows what happened?


Dan was trapping bear on the south east side of the Magaguadavic River. He had patiently and expertly dug a "dead Fall" pit. The deadfall log he was using had been imaginatively enhanced in its effectiveness by a huge spike. Since such a contraption required exquisitely tuned precision, before Dan left the trap he stepped down into the pit to check the perfection of his handiwork. Alas! It was not perfect - or maybe devilishly perfect!


Nearly dusk Dan's wife was alarmed that he had not come home. She knew where he had gone. She forded the river. She found the trap. She found Dan. She ran down to Treadwell's.


They accompanied her and retrieved from the pit Dan Dowling's dead body.


Was there a Dan Dowling's Devil Tree?


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