Leach Cottage Story by Roger Leach (HOM.24)
The story of the Leach Cottage written by Roger Leach
The Leach Cottage which was also known as the Teachers’ Cottage, and Turtle Camp
Written by Roger Leach
The Leach Cottage on Middle Cove, a small cove within Billing’s Cove which is just beyond Rebecca Peterson’s, is owned by me, my wife Thela and our family. I was born and raised in Blue Hill and am the son of Irving and Ida Morse Leach. Rufus O. Morse was my uncle. I was an administrator for the Cooperative Extension Service at the University of Maine in Orono and when Thela and I retired we purchased the cottage property from Miriam Morse, Rufus’ son John’s widow.
Rufus was a tinsmith and lived in Lynn, Mass. We still have half a boat Rufus made one summer when he stayed at Katherine and Horace Sr.’s cottage at Stubby Cove and I remember them going out many times in the rowboat fishing for flounder and mackerel. I also remember going to the Morse cottage with Horace Jr. before either of us were married to deliver ice for their icebox.
The original Morse cottage had sat unused for many years and was in poor condition so our family tore it down and built a new cottage. It is now a lovely home for Thela and me, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren with a view of the cove and up Eggemoggin Reach over to the Sargentville Shore Road area.
The cottage has a large cistern under it to collect rainwater because the dug well on the property is not enough for the cottage. When a boathouse and garage were added, a cistern was also built under those so as to increase water storage capacity.
Our cottage property was not part of the 1909 Byard Point subdivision created by Hagerthy and Sargent. Pam Simmons did a bit of research on the old land deeds and this appears to be how it came to be in our family.
In 1843 James Byard, the son of Robert and Abigail Glover Byard, sold land on Middle Cove Point to his son William and in 1895 William sold the land to Alfred Jones. In 1906 Alfred sold the land to Wilmot S. Johnson who then sold it, in 1921, to three ladies, said to be teachers, Anna Muzzey, May J. Wood and Alice Chamberlain. May J. Wood left her portion to Harriet Frances Wood as sole beneficiary and Alice Chamberlain left her portion to Lucia Sarah Charlton. In 1936 Harriet Frances Wood sold her portion to Ida M. Morse, the first wife of Rufus O. Morse and in 1940 Rufus bought Lucia Sarah Charlton’s portion from her estate. When Rufus passed away in 1956 he left his two portions on the land to his son John who, in 1967, purchased the remaining portion from Anna Muzzey. In 1992 Roger and Thela Leach purchased the entire property, slightly less than an acre, and cottage from John Morse’s widow, Miriam.
This explains why, when I was a child, the cottage was called the “Teachers’ Cottage” and the “Old Maids Cottage”. I never knew these people as I wasn’t born until Rufus bought the land and cottage.