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A Johnny Red History Lesson: The Greater Northern Maine Settlement Theory

Well hello boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, and the maladjusted alike. Pull up a seat, grab a snack and put your thinking caps on, because today I have something special for you. If you haven’t noticed already, we’ve been having ball shriveling cold weather lately. Which begs the question; Why do we live in Northern Maine?  Who thought settling here was a good idea? Why didn’t our ancestors pack up and get the fuck out of Dodge when they had the chance?  

I’ve pondered this for years and after dragging myself to work every morning this week enduring conditions the vacuum of space can only re-create, I decided it was time I put my Team of Scientists on research duty to find out exactly why it is we continue to struggle to survive in this frozen wasteland.  So today I am your history teacher and will present to you the research we’ve compiled. 



Now I know what you are all thinking right now? “This is gonna be a load of bullshit.” Well, prove me wrong because my Team of Scientists and I have already rewritten the entire Wikipedia entry on the settlement of Northern Maine. You’re welcome.  Now before I get started I have to make sure the ambience is right. Let’s see I have piles of old books, a fire going in the fireplace, just lit a pipe, not a crack pipe, have you all magnetically fixed in place, and since I refuse to own or wear a sweater vest, I did the next best thing.



Our story begins in the way, way past. A group of settlers were on the run from…I don’t know….let’s say Indians. The settlers were just about out of hope. Many lives had already been lost. They were low on supplies, and every woman aged 13-65 was pregnant. To escape certain doom the settlers headed to Northern Maine. It was then they noticed the Indians gave up their chase. Instead they stopped and began yelling, “Ochuguntuk!”  Which was Indian for, “The White Death!” They did not heed the warning as they thought the Indians were referring to the settlers themselves. 

Artist rendition of the actual White Death.

 The settlers pressed on and gave no more thought to what The White Death really was, as it was like July or something when they got to Northern Maine. Instead the settlers found a beautiful green landscape with bright blue rivers and lakes. There were resources aplenty. And best of all the area seemed completely devoid of human life. They rejoiced and thanked God for such a blessing. That night they partied it up. Even the women giving birth in the back of the stagecoaches were allowed two fingers of whiskey…to dull the pain of giving birth in the back of a stagecoach. The White Death waited patiently as it knew in a few months time it would prey on it’s clueless victims. 

The next day the settlers quickly began building cottages and shacks. They fished the river for food and collected berries. They were estatic. But the local wildlife seemed very confused. 

"What tha fuuuuuuuck?!"

All was going well for the settlers. In a months time they managed to build homes for each family, a small church for the devout, and 84 saloons. 

"Come get ye old drink on!"

Yes, everything was perfect. All the women who had given birth the month before were already knocked up again. Only two settlers had drown in the river…so far. The saloon owners figured out how to make potato whiskey. There was a minor setback however. For a week’s time the settlers had barricaded themselves inside their homes as it was reported that a maniacal demon was stalking their homesteads. 

Turns out it was really just a dumb smiling moose.

The settlers had just made it through the month of September, when they began to notice something strange. All the leaves on the trees were changing colors and the air was becoming cooler and a bit more brisk. At first this frightened the settlers. Many took it as a bad sign and started suggesting that perhaps the settlement should move further south. The majority of the settlers, blinded by the fact that they didn’t have to worry about poisonous snakes sneaking in their homes to kill their babies, or having to check their boots at night for scorpions, dismissed the other settlers and the decision was made to stay and stick it out.

Not long after came the time of the V-shaped bird terror of the skies. The birds were flying south and–

“Um, excuse me History Teacher. But I think you are full of shit.”

“Scientist #3 can you take this ungrateful student out back for ‘extra credit’?”

“Sure thing boss!”

Five minutes later:

"He won't be a problem anymore boss."

“Good. Now stand there, no don’t change your coat, and keep yourself in view of the others. Now where was I?” 

Well let’s just skip to the arrival of The White Death. Winter hit the settlement hard. In fact it got so cold the settlers were heard to say, “What the shit?” That’s right kids. The phrase, “What the shit?”, was first documented as being used during the Northern Maine settlers first winter experience. It was, “What the shit?”, cold. Another interesting fact that came about during that winter experience were men’s, and some women’s, decision to grow long beards to keep warm. 

Note to self: Grow that wonderful beard!

Things just got worse from there. Food was running short, the fresh water streams were freezing over, and 63 more women were pregnant again. They wouldn’t make it through the winter.  The stagecoaches were all stuck in the snow and all the horses were frozen to death while still standing up. 

Beautiful picture? No. Those horses are dead!

It was at this time that the majority of the settlers decided it was a mistake to settle in Northern Maine and began packing their things for the long, arduous journey south. But one faction of the settlers, who were stubborn, told the rest of the settlers that they were going to stay and try to survive the winter. As you can imagine the other settlers were not pleased with this. Ironically the stubborn faction also owned all the muskets. Anyone who disagreed with them were promptly shot dead. 

It will promptly shoot you dead.

Our research uncovered one such town meeting where it was debated amongst the settlers if leaving Northern Maine could be an option. It went something like this:

“We are gathered here today to debate whether or not leaving our settlement is a good idea.”

“What the shit?! Let’s get the fuck out of here!”


“Let it be noted that I have promptly shot dead the last speaker.”

“What will we eat!?”

“We’ve devised a way to “ice” fish the lake for food.”

“That seems like a lot of unnecessary work when we can just move south!”


“Let it be noted that I have promptly shot dead the last speaker.”

“Ok…um…how will we pass the time during the long winter months?”

“We will make shoes that allow us to walk on the snow. Also other more elaborate shoes with long thin boards attached to hurl ourselves down the hill sides. We also have another shoe in mind that will have short steel blades attached to skate on the frozen lake.”



“Let it be noted that I have promptly shot dead the last speaker.”

In the end the stubborn faction found a way  to keep the remaining settlers happy. Also they were running out of ammo for their muskets. To keep the remaining settlers happy the stubborn faction opened 32 more saloons and Northern Maine’s first, and I’m sure not last, brothel.


So as we close the books on our history lesson for today, I have to say you have been a patient and willing group of learners. I am proud to have passed this little piece of history onto your young minds and perhaps one day you–

“That other student was right! You’re full of shit!”

“Um…Scientist #3?”

"Looks like someone is itching for some detention time. That's right. You sit back down and shut your yapper."

Bonus Content:

Further research has revealed that there was a faction of Northern Maine settlers that managed to escape the White Death. They moved to Louisiana. Which would explain the similar last names to the people of Northern Maine. Wait. Wow it says here they established Bourbon Street to help drink away the terrors their Northern Maine experiences. And they haven’t stopped drinking since.

Bourbon Street: Where Awesome Went to Settle

John Michael Gagnon…Ochuguntuk!…Johnny Red


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