Who Was Jo-Mary?
Jo-Mary was a chieftain of the Penobscots and one of the most athletic men ever produced by the tribe. It was said he could outrun anyone and could swim farther and faster than anyone, both above and below water. He was also a champion wrestler. He and his family had fishing and hunting rights to a large area west of Pemadumcook Lake.
Jo-Mary Mountain, lying in the middle of his domain, was named for him, as were three water bodies—Upper, Middle, and Lower Jo-Mary lakes. A nearby ridge, called Potwaywadjo, also took its name from his family. In 1933, a man named Joe Potter cut a trail to the summit of Jo-Mary Mountain, which, from a rock perch on the northern side, is said to have had one of the best views in the region. The trail was abandoned a few years later.
Joe Potter constructed his Antler’s Camps on a peninsula on Lower Jo-Mary Lake in the early 1920s. The name was inspired by the huge set of moose antlers mounted above the door of the camp lodge. Supposedly, the antlers had been found nearby more than a century before, in the early 1800s. The camps were later moved down the lake, and Antler’s Camps is now one of the most picturesque campsites on the Appalachian Trail in Maine.
Excerpted from Mountains of Maine, published by Down East Books.