The Lynching of Jim Cullen
Dena Lynn Winslow
Copyright 2020 - All Rights Reserved.
 
In northern Maine the tail remains
To chill long winter nights.
It’s telling always cold and sullen
Of the time they lynched Jim Cullen.

 

Jim Cullen was a lumberman who came from Canada. 
Barely seventeen when he left his beloved Ma and Pa. 
Chopping trees from daylight till dark in the Aroostook Woods primeval. 
The life was hard for a young lad where conditions were so evil.

That next spring when he came out of the woods, 
He’d become a man from the harshness he’d withstood. 
She was short and round with a jolly laugh and a twinkle in her eyes. 
Though she was wed to another, their feelings they could not disguise.

Rosellah left her husband and went to live with Jim. 
It wasn’t long before she had a child with him. 
The times were hard with little work and they were very poor. 
Living in a home that wasn’t their own, their future was unsure.

Tom Hubbard arrived in Mapleton in Eighteen and Seventy-three. 
Once he met Rosellah, he knew exactly where he wanted to be. 
He bought their home and sent Jim packing, planning to move in. 
She didn’t mind, Jim’s smiling bride, she’d had enough of him.

That night Jim snuck into the barn where Hubbard’s horse was tied, 
Blood pounding in his ears, rage in his heart, and fire in his eyes. 
Suddenly, furiously, he thrust his knife deep into the horses throat. 
Warm, red blood spurted from the startled beast’s neck and onto Jim’s coat.

Leaving the bleeding animal to die alone in the stall, 
He stepped out into the darkness of night and into the snowfall. 
His boots were old and full of holes and he could feel the cold. 
Ripping the shutters from the store he went where boots were sold.

Taking the boots and placing them on his callused feet,
He left the store and for John Swanback’s camp did retreat.
He was tired and hungry when at last he did alight.
John fed him and told him he looked tired, to rest a mite.

Tom Hubbard pursued and Sheriff Granville Hayden did too.
All said they’d be happy if from Aroostook County he flew.
They were purposefully careless with their guard,
When he escaped that night, it wasn’t very hard.

Walking alone in the woods, feeling the cold and the damp,
A plan began in his mind and he returned to the camp.
Stepping between Hubbard and Hayden he had no fear,
First one, then the other, he killed with a sneer.

No one would ever know what had happened there,
He stoked up the fire and stuffed in the pair.
“Them I didn’t see,” he said, as he watched the flames lash higher.
He hadn’t meant to burn the cedar camp but it was soon afire.

It was gray early dawn when he left the grizzly place,
His victim’s remains floated up in the smoke towards space.
A broken man, Jim headed home to Rosella’s house.
When the authorities came looking, he was betrayed again by his spouse.

The tight ropes, cruelly twisted around his wrists, he did allow,
His head hanging down and sweat dripping from his brow,
He sat for hours tied to a post in Dudley’s store.
A crowd shoved in to see him… his fate was assured.

That night after darkness fell, he was put on a wagon for Presque Isle.
A mob waited beside the road from town, a little over a mile.
They stopped the wagon and hung Jim Cullen from a tree.
There his soul is today, still haunting folks like me.

In northern Maine the tail remains
To chill long winter nights.
It’s telling always cold and sullen
Of the time they lynched Jim Cullen.