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The Barrel of Rum, Lake Memphremagog

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medium_owls.jpgMany a strange, weird happening which took place along the shores of the lake lying partly in Canada, partly in the United States, has been recorded, and among them is the story, or legend, of the barrel of rum.

It was the fault of the old Owl's Head that once a barrel of rum remained in the deep water near that part of the lake for a period of three years before being fished up.

In the winter of 1798, it is said that C.H. -- went to Montreal with a pair of horses and a large sleigh for building materials, family groceries and a barrel of rum, which was at that time considered a necessity by many settlers. On the return trip the horses broke through the ice near the foot of Owl's Head. The harness was cut and the driver and horses, after a strenuous struggle, escaped death in the icy waters; but the load sank.

Three years later the water-soaked sleigh and its contents, with the exception of a few bags of salt, were fished up. The barrel of rum was unharmed! A well behaved barrel, and well behaved contents forsooth...
History records that the fishermen considered their catch very good payment for the expense and labor envolved in rescuing the barrel of rum from its watery stronghold.

Bertha Weston Price, Legends of Our Lakes and Rivers, Lennoxville, 1937, 25.