23. HIGH FIELDS AND HIGH WOODS

 

 

In 1915 this area was a large pasture across the road from the Copp house. It extended upgrade to the west and also northward almost to Culhane Brook (known as Madison Brook back then).

These sections were not shown on the map of 1935. Then they were in place on the 1940 map. We can infer from this that they were the products of CCC labor in the thirties.

High Fields and High Woods on 1940 campground map.

Thus High Fields and High Woods do not date quite so far back as the nearby “four rectangles” between the main campground road and Riverside Drive.

On the High Fields spur, extending up hill to the south, in the vicinity of Site 110 there were two sites in 1940. Site 110 today boasts its own bridge with railings over a small brook.

Further up there are now five sites, 111 to 115. The area of these five had been arranged as eight in the late thirties, the revision coming near 1960.

Site 115 is at the highest elevation in the very private High Fields section. Its long up slope entry path confers a commanding presence and is a nice example of specialized site development.

To the rear of Sites 112 and 113 flows a small stream. Casey Hodgdon recalls that in the early fifties members of the Campers Association found artifacts here from what they believed to be the water supply for the Copp home.

A small stone structure across the stream here impounded water. Water was then diverted down to the homestead through an iron pipe. Remnants of these artifacts remain.

A water supply arrangement such as this was typical for area farms of the Copp era, when gravity fed piped water ran continuously to prevent freezing in the winter (CH).

Supporting evidence is the notation on the 1915 map at the Copp homestead of “water pipe in south wall of ruin,” the correct location if this little brook was indeed the supply source.

HIGH WOODS. In High Woods, found to the north of adjacent High Fields, there are today 13 sites, 97 to 109. Back in 1940 these were organized as 24 sites, almost twice the current density, the thinning out as elsewhere due to site reorganization near 1960.

Bobby Cook notes that to the west and upslope side of Site 101 is the remnant of a now abandoned campsite, with its cut granite fireplace headstone still in place. As on the 1940 map there is only one campsite on the west side of High Woods, old site 60, this may be it.

Site 100 is the High Woods camp set farthest back from the main road. Traveling this same distance again up into the woods behind it is the upper limit of what was cleared pasture land in 1915. This is the greatest distance west of the main campground road that any cleared agricultural land extended in 1915.

The stream to the rear of Sites 99 and 100 flowed from this upper pasture. At the pasture high point, the 1915 map includes the notation “Good Camp Site.” This choice location is estimated to be just north of where the stream meets the power line.

We can imagine the good view from this elevated early camping location, down thru the open pasture and on across the road to fields and the Imp beyond.

I am again reminded of Oliver Brown’s memories of sweeping views and vistas in the Campground back in the thirties, themselves the remnant of even more openness from the era of active agriculture.

The 1940 map identified a one way traffic flow counter-clockwise around the circle. This is one way clockwise today, the change believed to have been made after 1980 (CH).

COPP GRAVEYARD. The small Copp farm graveyard east of Site 99 within High Woods is noted on the 1915 map. It is identified on the 1940 map as “unknown grave.” George Brackett confirms that the marker stone here today is the same as what was seen in the thirties.

The 1870 census identified a Deborah Kelly, age 87, residing with the Copps that year. Some have suggested that soon thereafter she was laid to rest in this little cemetery.

According to Sarah Jordan “The 1884 deed is the first mention of the cemetery on the west side of the Old Pinkham Road, across from the Copp Farm. It is described as an area ‘two rods [33 feet] square of said lot 6 where now graves are located, said graves to be at the north side said two rods.”

A 1936 USFS file item states “Title to the .03 acre Graveyard is now in the Martin Family, either absolutely or so long as needed for burial purposes.... The Government owns no interest in this parcel.”

The little cemetery today.

It is not certain who is buried here, but a 1940 letter to the USFS from a researcher states “I talked with a party last year that was one of the bearers at a Copp funeral and he informed me that there are four bodies that are buried in the front of the cemetery.”

We know that Hayes and Dolly and their offspring are interred elsewhere, and the graves for the neighboring Culhane Family are easily seen along Routes 2 & 16 in Gorham.

While this tiny graveyard was picked up by the surveyor of 1915, the site must have become heavily overgrown and overlooked for it was not generally known to campers in the twenties. George Brackett notes that the function of the site as a graveyard was only brought to light by the clearing of brush in the 1931 season, his own brother and sister participating in the exciting rediscovery.

Another side of the rediscovery process was provided in September 2009 by Barbara Hettwer of Oregon: In the early 1930's Albert and Rose Tortora with their two daughters, Rose and Helen, camped at Dolly Copp for four summers. According to Helen:

We pitched our tent on a nice, little knoll at Dolly Copp camp. Anyway, here we are all camped and all settled on this nice knoll, and we’re looking for a place to bury some of our food in the ground and what do we find but a tombstone!

It was Dolly Copp’s burial ground. Well, we notified the camp, and they had not known about it, and we had to move.

According to Rose: "I had climbed up on a rock and brushed away the dirt and saw the engraving. I told the forest ranger. He then took the credit for finding the site."

Anyone who was there during those years and may remember the Tortora's is asked to contact the grandchildren of Helen and Rose, Barbara Hettwer and Marsha Maulhardt, at bhettwer@quik.com.

Kim Craig, second from left, with friend Alison and
cousins Dube and David at the old burial site in 1988.

Belvin Barnes recalls that there were once two stones in the cemetery. A large one as now, but another only six inches high, set back and to the north of the one remaining.

An unattributed, undated USFS file item stated that the graveyard held a rough granite slab carved with “HGE, AD 16 YRS”, meaning unknown.

Casey Hodgdon says that over the years some observers have thought they saw remnants of chiseled words in the rough surface and crevices on the stone marker, but that he believes this to be just the product of vivid imagination.

The researcher preparing a 5/1989 USFS archaeological assessment concluded that he did not “know who is buried there, but there are at least three graves, probably four. The people must have been related to the Copps because they reserved the cemetery when they sold the property, also the right to visit it.”