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HAUNTED MAINE

The Goose River Bridge
Rockport,Maine

THE GHOST OF THE GOOSE RIVER BRIDGE

During the Revolutionary War, the town of Goose River, which is no known as Rockport, played an active role in the war for independence. It was the frequent site of raids by British soldiers looking for cattle, butter and guns. But it was also the scene of brutal guerilla warfare as the local people often fought back against the invaders. One of these patriots from Goose River was man named William Richardson. One night in 1779, an American privateer named Samuel Tucker captured a British ship that was loaded with goods bound for England. He captured the ship on the high seas and with British warships close behind, sailed for the coast of Maine. He needed a place to hide his plunder and realized Goose River would be the perfect place. He could sail up the narrow channel and shake off his pursuers. Unfortunately, Tucker was not familiar with the river, so he hired Richardson to guide him in. They hide the boat and then, under the cover of night, sailed the ship to safety.

Richardson was pleased to have done his bit, feeling as though he may have avenged the small community against the British. Before the war’s end, the town had been pillaged and burned by the Redcoats, so in 1783, when the Treaty of Paris was signed and the war ended with an American victory, the people of Goose River decided to celebrate.

The biggest party was thrown by William Richardson, complete with feasting and barrels of ale. Richardson had more than his share of alcohol that night, and he made sure that others did to. He made it a point to make the rounds of the party with pitchers in hand, making sure that everyone’s cup was filled to overflowing. And that was his downfall......

Today, there is a bridge in Rockport that is haunted by a ghost that the local people call the "Pitcher Man". He has frightened literally dozens of witnesses over the years, not by brandishing a weapon or even being particularly threatening... but by trying to offer them a drink. You see, the ghost who haunts the bridge over Goose River is William Richardson.

During the night of the celebration, Bill wandered off from the party, walking through the streets of town, singing and dancing and generally entertaining anyone who had not come to the party. The road took him down to the bridge and as he approached it, he met three horsemen, to whom he offered the pitcher of ale. Not realizing these men were Tories, or British sympathizers, he never saw what came next. One of them men struck Bill on the head with the butt of a rifle and then rode over him, leaving him to die on the bridge.

As we already mentioned, the town has since been renamed and the old bridge across the river has been replaced, but Bill Richardson has never left.

Over the last hundred years or more, people have had encounters with the "Pitcher Man" on the Goose River Bridge. The stories span the years and include people being approached by him while walking at night, to having Bill thrust his pitcher into open car windows. Whatever the reason that Bill lingers behind, he has never lost his good spirits, and should you ever encounter him, you might consider for a moment agreeing to join him for that drink. Perhaps that is all that he’s looking for......

The Goose River runs through the town of Rockport, which is located seven miles north of Rockland on the central coast of Maine.

Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor

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