Have you heard of the Witch’s Curse of Colonel Buck in Bucksport? Colonel Jonathan Buck (1719-1795) was the founder of the Town of Bucksport Maine and his impressive monument bears a stain in the shape of a witch's leg as a mark of his curse. He was granted the land that would later become Bucksport for his service as a Colonel of the Maine Militia during the revolutionary war. While the battles in Maine were nothing short of disastrous for the United States, things turned out well for Jonathan Buck. Holding the title of founder and Justice of the Peace he was a successful shipbuilder, timber and grist mill owner, and by many accounts Buck was an all around generous and virtuous town patron. However legend has it that near the end of his life Buck’s luck changed when he ordered a woman to be put to death for witchcraft. Her final words before being hanged were “... so long as my curse be upon thee and my sign upon the tombstone people from far and near will know that you murdered a woman.” The monument that bears the sign of the witch was erected 60 years after Buck’s death by his grandchildren, the mark appeared shortly after it was installed and clearly resembles the stocking or booted foot of a woman from the 1700’s. And despite the mark being polished off multiple times it always returns.
Other versions of the story say that she proclaimed that she would dance upon Buck’s grave and turn his bones to dust. In a more scandalous version, Buck had illegitimately conceived a child with the woman and to hide his sin ordered her tied to the door of her own home and had it set on fire. The woman’s oldest son, an ill-tempered and deformed pariah in the town, echoes the curse and when his mother’s burned leg rolls out of the fire he picks it up and strikes Buck with it crippling him for the rest of his days. The mad son then takes the leg and runs away with it and is never seen again. Some say that another satin on the monument, a sideways heart visible at the top of the monument is a symbol of their ill-fated tryst.
While there is no official record of a witch ever being put to death in Maine, the story persists. Did the mark upon the monument appear first or the curse? Some say we may never know for certain, but everyone in Bucksport knows a story of the Witch’s Curse of Colonel Buck. You can easily find the Witch-marked monument behind a black wrought iron fence right on Route 1 just across from Hannaford’s Grocery.
If you like legends and folklore of Maine, check out my new book, “Mythical Creatures of Maine” available here: https://tinyurl.com/mythicalcreaturesofmaine or wherever books are sold.