Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Nancy's Ghost

Yesterday, we hiked the Nancy Pond Trail to Nancy’s Cascade and then eventually to Nancy Pond. The name of the trail, cascade and pond comes from the sad legend of Nancy Barton. Poor Nancy Barton was done in by a lover and found frozen to death not far from where the trail leads the road.

Her ghost reportedly haunts the Notchland Inn just down the road, and some say it haunts the woods around the surrounding area.

Here’s one version of the legend, as recorded in The History of Coos County, New Hamphsire by Georgia Drew Merrill.
The first white woman of the town was Nancy, whose story has been told in every book published concerning the White Mountains. Her full name is said by some to be Nancy Livermore; but the weight of authority gives it as Nancy Barton. She came here as cook for Col. Whipple, and kept a boarding-house for the men who were clearing land for him. She was a hard-working woman, and by her toil in this wild country, had accumulated some money, which in the fall of 1788, she entrusted to an employee of Col. Whipple, with the intention of going with him to Portsmouth with the Colonel's next party, andsettling down there to the enjoyment of married life. This did not meet the Colonel's wishes, for he did not desire to lose his competent cook, and he arranged with her treacherous lover to start during her temporary absence at Lancaster. She learned this, by some means, the day of their departure, at once walked to Jefferson, tied up a small bundle of clothing and set out to overtake them at their first stopping place, the "Notch" thirty miles distant through an unbroken wilderness. She travelled all night through the freshlyfallen snow, reached the camp soon after they had left, tried in vain to re-kindle the fire, and then hastened on after them through the "Notch" and wild valley of the Saco. For several hours she continued her course, fording and re-fording the icy river. Exhausted nature at last gave way, and she was found, frozen to death, a few hours afterwards, by a party who came after her from Col. Whipple's farm. Nancy's bridge and Nancy's rock in Bartlett both claim the melancholy honor of being the place where she expired.

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