Jervis McEntee Diaries

Friday September 6, 1878

Jervis McEntee Diary Entry, Friday, September 6, 1878, from the Jervis McEntee papers, 1850-1905, in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

My Dear Gertrude, I propose to keep in this way a sort of a diary and to send it to you as opportunity occurs and I want you to insure it as I shall keep no other. We arrived at Mattawamkeag, the end of our railroad journey last night when our chief guide, Sanford met us. After dinner we drove to Medway 10 miles where we take three more guides each having a canoe or "birch". All our preparations are completed here, provisions etc. Staid here over night and on the morning of Saturday 7th started for Lake Milinoket. We have a stout wagon and good horses which take our traps a point on the west branch of the Penobscot about 13 miles from here where the birches are to take us, a birch for each of us. Church goes by birch from Medway as he has a lame toe while the rest of us walk. The road (so called) follows the river and five miles up at a farm we lunch on the bank of the stream in a lovely place where there is a fine view of Katahdin which is a really grand mountain. The birches come up while we are here. It is a fine thing to see them come up this rapid river against the swift current. The men stand up and pole them and are very skillful in their management. While we lunch an old man, Uncle George McCaushin comes out and talks to us. Has lived here 44 years in this secluded spot and is 80 years old. Cleared this farm, is nearly blind but is a philosopher, says he is contented. Some people tell him it is a dreadful thing to be blind but he dont think so. Has a good time and dont want to go away from there. He gets upon theology with the dominic Mr. Yeisley. Says he dont believe the Bible, nor that Christ was God. Believes in one God who created all things and who is always the same and governs by fixed laws and not in the God of the Churches who does this and that in his wrath and then repents of it and is pulled and handed this way and that by every body. Dont know where we go when we die. Nobody has come back to tell us. Whats the sense of what men tell us about it. They dont know. Has read the Koran and the Grecian bible (Grecian mythology) and thinks the Koran is the best of the lot. Thinks you better live properly and the Power which sustains you here will do what is right for you hereafter. The Dominic is interested and while of course he dont second all his ideas thinks he has some sound ones. We leave him and pass only one more farm when at the end of six miles further we come to Mil[?] tomorrow. I dont propose to keep in camp Sundays when we get on the lakes.

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