1959 Calais Anniversary Bull Powers



The above photo was taken at an early 60’s parade on Main Street in Calais. The tow truck pulling the wrecked car was a common theme in Calais parades back then. Stock car races which often turned into Demolition Derbies were popular pastimes in the 50’s and 60’s. What is interesting about this wreck is the graffiti on the doors which reads “Beware of the Bull The State Trooper” and “The Bull Didn’t Catch This One…” The “Bull”  was Calais’ much beloved State Trooper Francis “Bull” Powers who almost certainly attended this parade, probably as a participant. The fact the local teenagers could safely poke fun at Bull says much about his character and the respect he enjoyed in the community.

The Bull, an orphan, grew up early and tough among the gangs on the streets of Boston. He was taken in and raised by a Boston Police officer. The Bull has a very interesting biography. For instance an enemy attempted to shoot Bull with a German burp gun but this did not occur while Bull was serving in WW2 but in Eastport, in Bath Maine when threatened with a lawsuit by an unhappy citizen Bull took all of his money out of the bank and hid it under the bridge until the case was disposed of, also in Bath he often took a 80 year old woman to the grocery store on the back of his police motorcycle, we could go on but we will forego more details as we want to focus on the Bull’s and Jay Hinson’s scheme to include some unsuspecting tourists in Calais’ 150th anniversary celebration. For those interested in the Bull’s story and it’s worth a read follow this link to our web page.  http://stcroixhistorical.com/?p=1850

Pictured about left to right: Mrs. McKay, Mrs. Heslin, Mr. McKay, Beverly McKay, Melvin McKay and Trooper Powers.

The photo above, along with the story below, was published in the Calais Advertiser in 1959 which, as we have noted, was Calais’ 150th anniversary. The occasion was celebrated with one of the largest international parades every seen in the St Croix Valley.


Heslin’s Motel and Cabins thought it would be nice to invite some unsuspecting tourists to celebrate the occasion with the locals and convinced Jay Hinson, editor of  the Advertiser and Bull Powers to assist them in this worthy project. Certainly Jay, who was game for nearly anything, wouldn’t have taken much convincing but Bull also played his part without hesitation- displaying his sense of humor and the willingness to break a few rules which so endeared him to the residents of Washington County.The Advertiser reported how it all worked out:
Trooper Powers pulled over a dozen cars for “routine inspections” while he and Hinson queried the travelers about their plans. Three people were actually asked to stay over but declined with thanks because of having to meet schedules. Finally a car from Ontario drove up and stopped. The driver, Fred McKay of Catherine Ont. got out and unfolded a sad tale to Trooper Powers. Mr. McKay, his wife and two children had driven from Waldoboro that day and somewhere along the line had lost their luggage carrier and four suitcases and all their belongings off the top of their station wagon. They had notified the Sheriff’s Department who had been trying to contact Powers. Powers and Hinson decided to kill two birds with one gift and extended Mrs. Heslin’s offer of supper, a night’s lodging in a beautiful, newly decorated room and breakfast. While they were spending the night the trooper said he would attempt to find the luggage. Mrs. Heslin welcomed the family, brushed away their fears and presented Mrs. McKay with a fine gift. While they were talking Trooper Powers called his Orono headquarters on the radio and gave them the necessary information. Then, just like they do in the storybooks, Trooper Darrell Hartley of Pembroke interrupted to say that he had found all four suitcases and the luggage carrier and that he was en route to Calais. That did it. The McKay’s were just about broken up with joy and relief and apparently overwhelmed by Mrs. Heslin’s generosity. The McKay’s met Trooper Hartley at Robbinston, retrieved their belongings and returned to Heslin’s Cottages where they spent a very happy and memorable holiday.
It’s hard to imagine this happening today as someone would surely complain on Facebook, the authorities would find Bull had violated at least a dozen rules and regulations and Bull would once again have draw all his money out of the bank and hide it under the Ferry Point bridge.


We’ll close with a few local recollections of Bull:

Dick Miles:

He stopped me once for speeding and instead of writing a ticket took me home to my parents; I would have preferred the ticket! I had just received my driver’s license. Dick Miles

William Allen

I remember being in Vanceboro—where my grandparents lived—and I recall my father repeating the saying “If the bull don’t get you, the undertaker will.” And then, in looking at or describing a wrecked car from memory, said that someone had painted on it “The Bull didn’t get him.

Jack Alley:

Had a 47 Plymouth and added a Carriage Bell (Ding-Dong) to show off, as we teenagers tended to do.  As I was passing Casey’s barber shop, I gave out with a ring and there was Bull.  He made me remove the foot pedal which rang the bell, and warned me never to ring it again.  I heeded his advice.

Jack Gray:

I remember once our class (CMHS-1961) at the high school held a car wash at the Sonoco station at the intersection of South Street and lower Main St, across South St from Campbells overnight cabins, where Dick Stacey took over and had his place before the Calais Motor Inn.   Marilyn Moore Cochran, being a classmate, and Bull Powers niece, talked him into having his 55, or 56 Cadillac washed.  She drove me up to his house, across from the park, and I was scared to death driving his car down the street, and back after it was washed.  He didn’t have a problem at all with it, and must have known that I would left town if I had ever put a dent in it!!! (felt pretty good driving a Cadillac.)  About the only other ones I had been close to were Tommy Dicenzos when he was at his airport in my hometown of Baring, or Gee Gee Burns Wentworths (also CMHS-1961) parents Cadillacs.

Al Churchill:

Back in my 60’s college days I owned a red 150 Allstate motorbike, top speed about 45-50 downhill with a tailwind. I hitchhiked home to Calais from the U of Maine one weekend intending to take the bike back to Orono. Only after I got home did it occur to me the bike was unregistered and not inspected and nothing could be done on the weekend to make it legal. My parents suggested I take care of all these irregularities before driving the bike over the Airline but I didn’t see it as a serious problem, I could take care of everything in Orono on Monday. Surely the cops would understand. My folks said I should call Bull Powers to ask his opinion and I did, assuming he would see it my way and perhaps even give me some sort of unofficial permission. I had never met him but knew of his reputation as a fair and reasonable cop. I must say I was disappointed by Trooper Powers. He did not see the situation in a sensible, realistic light, but instead agreed with my parents whose wisdom, frankly, I had begun to doubt. After all I had completed nearly a year in college and knew most everything.

Sunday morning, very early I jumped on my motorbike and decided to make a run for it. Not only would no really care but no one would be out of bed. I didn’t see car until just past Alexander but that car was a State Police car parked on the side of the road. Standing beside it watching me approach was Bull Powers, arms folded and a look of stern disapproval on his face. “I’ve been expecting you” were his first words, the next several hundred were designed, as we said in the army, to rip me a new one.  I was pretty sure the Main State Police motorcycle crusher was on its way and I was ready to beg to share the bike’s fate. Instead Bull said something to the effect that I had used my one break from him and I was to park the bike when I got to Orono and not drive until I had been to motor vehicle. I did as I was told.

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