Metalluk – Lone Indian of the Magalloway

The Indian bearing the above name, or something like it, was the last of the once powerful tribe that once inhabited the valley of the Androscoggin, and he is well remembered by many now living. Of his early life but little is known. He left the banks of the Androscoggin with most of his tribe, and settled on the river St. Francois in Canada, and Segar felt quite sure that he saw him there during his captivity. The late John M. Wilson, who long resided on the Magalloway river, and Knew Metalluk well, wrote as follows concerning him: “All that I know of him prior to eighteen hundred and thirty-two, was obtained from common reports. It was said that he was a St. Francis Indian, and was banished from the tribe for some misdemeanor. He had three children at least, probably by his first wife. His sons names were Parmagummet and Wilumpi. His daughter married a man in Canada by the name of Moulton. Metalluk lived several years on the shores of Richardson’s lake with his second wife, in a wigwam. She died there and was buried on a point of land since cleared and is a part of the lake farm. He then built his wigwam and lived alone some years at the narrows of Umbagog lake, on or near what is now the Stone farm. Leaving this, he next took up residence in township number 5, range two, where I found him in eighteen hundred and thirty-two. Here he subsisted chiefly by hunting, and lived in a camp about ten feet square made of spruce bark. He was here some ten or twelve years without making any clearing about his camp and would draw potatoes from the settlement in winter twelve miles on a hand sled, rather than raise them. At this camp he was several times visited by Governor Enoch Lincoln, who would stay several days at a time.

He was very civil and hospitable to strangers, but not very communicative, and the only habit he had, probably, was that of taking too much fire-water when he could get it. In the winter of eighteen hundred and thirty-six, in getting wood at a considerable distance from his camp, he thrust a splinter into his eye, and was found in that condition by two men who happened that way, in a very cold day, perfectly blind, having lost one eye several years before. He was unable to reach his camp and must soon have perished without assistance. Without being aware of his condition, his daughter and son arrived here for the purpose of looking after him about the time he was brought from his camp, and took him with them to Canada.

He was entirely blind and helpless the remainder of his days, and died some six or seven years after he left this place, in Stewartstown, New Hampshire, having been supported some time at the county charge. It is supposed that Metalluk at the time of his death was more than one hundred years old. He was a close built man, of about middling stature, very athletic and possessed of great powers of endurance. He came to my house one morning in the winter of eighteen hundred and thirty-five about sunrise, having laid out about two miles in the woods, the night before, without fire. A damp snow had fallen the day before, and the weather had become very cold during the night. He had been on the track of a moose all day, until dark, ‘almost see um,” he said, and when darkness obliged him to give up the chase, ‘all wet, no strike um.”

Governor Lincoln was in the habit of visiting Metalluk and camping with him, and left some account of him in his writings. One anecdote I believe Lincoln never published. He carried with him on his visit to Metalluk, a large penknife fitted up with different blades, awls, saw and the like. Metalluk had his eye on the knife and wished to buy it. Governor Lincoln told him he could not sell it to him. Metalluk’s covetousness was only the more strongly excited, and at last he contrived a plan to secure the penknife. He had a little island in the lake of about an acre, on which is a sort of cave in which he kept his furs, where they would not be plundered. He invited the Governor to go and see his furs. He tool his canoe and landed the governor, showed him his furs, and made him a most liberal offer of them for the knife. The Governor told him he could not sell the knife. “Well,” said Metalluk, “me no carry you off the island if you no sell me the knife.” But, said the governor, I told you I would not sell it to you, and I shall keep my word, but I will give it to you as a present. Metalluk was overjoyed in the possession of the knife and of course reckoned Governor Lincoln as one of his real friends. He was visited by Hon. Moses Mason several times while he lived on the Magalloway river. He made a map of that river on birch bark, which appears to have been executed with fidelity. he had, on one occasion, shot an immense moose as he was in the water and dragged him to the shore, and cut off the best parts of the meant and dried them. the doctor bought the horns, which afterward adorned his hall as a hat rack, and which are now in the possession of Hon. David R. Hastings of Fryeburg.

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