In the May 31, 1892 news an item appeared that seemed to need some additional explanation:


Locke Mills: “Work has begun on the gravel banks (Note1). The sleepers have been laid and some of the track is laid to them.  A crew of about 16 is putting the track in, and will soon be hauling the gravel away with a crew of 30 to 40 men. Mr. Stewart says it will take four months this summer and four next summer to take them (gravel banks) all away.


Why gravel was being moved:

Comment: The gravel being removed was part of collection of glacial deposits that had accumulated in the form of long ridges local people called “whalebacks”.  Glaciers covering this area that contained the gravel had melted approximately 11,000 years earlier.  We have found out that the gravel referred to in this news item would be used to build additional logging roads and for other similar types of fill requirements.  A large amount of this gravel had already been used in the 1850-1851 period during construction of the railroad from Portland through Locke Mills to Canada.  Clearing the gravel mounds would also create additional land suitable for mills, sheds and houses.


Note 1:  The topography of Locke Mills village originally consisted of large gravel ridges or long mounds of soil and gravel left by streams from melting glaciers. George M. Stone authored a study entitled “The Kames of Mainein 1880 that described the Locke Mills area as follows:

“Locke’s Mills Kames. An interrupted series of kames extends from Bryant’s Pond to Locke’s Mills. At this point two kames-streams joined, one coming from Bethel, the other from the direction of Bean’s Corner and Bear River, but kames cannot be traced far in either direction before they are lost in abundant valley drift.  Length 8 miles.

In 1892, large amounts of gravel were needed to build new roads into timber areas where extensive cutting was planned as well as to be used for fill around and behind the mill buildings located between Alder River and the main BethelWoodstock road.

 Increasing available water power – raising the water level.

The level of the water around Locke’s Mills village was raised in 1891- 1892 to increase the amount of water power at the Locke’s Mills Dam.  E.L Tebbetts Company had decided to raise the water level.  At this time, the Tebbetts Company was apparently in the process of exiting from syndicate ownership of dowel and spools mills that were part of the American Bobbin, Spool and Shuttle Co. (since 1891) whose headquarters was in Boston.  The holding company had gone into receivership.  Tebbetts was able to lease what was originally his mill anyway it had been sold to American Bobbin, Spool & Shuttle. 


Damage claims were raised against the mill company due to flooding:

E.L. Tebbetts Company decided to raise the water level would create and /or raise the water level of the North Pond area. It would also flood lowland pasture and wet areas in the vicinity of the current era’s (1980-2006) Greenwood dump. Thus, the company’s decision would ensure large legal disputes and damages from affected land owners. Two groups of land owners were involved: The silent group, that is not making claims were  the Locke heirs (the mill’s founding family) and, of course, the Tebbetts family. claims, The group making land claims  included I.W. Grant, the Herrick’s, and the Houghton heirs.


Other news related to the financial troubles of American Bobbin, Spool & Shuttle:


 April 12, 1892 (Democrat)



Locke Mills:  The assignees of the American Bobbin, Spool & Shuttle Company are running their mills here on full time. We understand that the contractors of birch and spool stock are to get their pay without deduction.



December 6, 1892: Locke Mills: E.L. Tebbetts and R.D. Rand are getting out birch at Gilead and are going to saw spool stock there in the old Skillings mill.  (Gilead’s correspondent reported on the mill being restarted, also.)


At the same time in Bethel, Julius P. Skillings had leased the former Skillings mill in Bethel from the “syndicate” and had put it back into operation.  Meanwhile, the former manager of this Bethel mill had leased the spool mill in Dixfield from the syndicate’s trustees and moved to Dixfield from Bethel to manage the mill.


Stephen T. Seames provided the information reported above as background and explanation of the news items about removing gravel near the railroad depot.