Perth-Andover — As ice breaks up and the waters of the St. John River rise to dangerous levels, all 2 residents of the hamlet of Perth-Andover have been forced to evacuate.
Perth-Andover, perhaps best known for being the place between Florenceville and Grand Falls, spans the St. John River, with Perth on the western side and Andover on the eastern. As the old saying goes, the people live both in Perth and over the other side of the river, too.
Geraldine Henderson has lived on the Perth side of the river for 97 years. Henderson recalled in an interview with The Manatee how living along the river has been a challenge. “I remember the flood of ’51. Eunice and Walter Forrest lived across the road, and when the water started coming up, it carried Eunice’s chicken coop clear away.
“Walter went out to save the chickens and the water carried him away too. Yes, bless my buttons, ’51 was a bad one. So was ’52 and ’58, and ’60, and….” Henderson trailed off into retrospective bliss, commenting multiple times that the decline in population was due to the unpredictability of the spring floodwaters.
The community’s other resident, Anne Margaret Slaney, who has called Andover home since before the town had electricity, had a more cynical view of the situation. “There ain’t nobody around no more because of the floods, that’s so. But it ain’t the water; when the blasted Liberals or Progressives ordered everyone to evacuate, it was an excuse to just pack up their mobile homes and leave.
“People headed for the bright lights of Edmundston or Hartland or wherever,” she went on. “The flood was the best thing to happen to them. It was Mother Nature’s way of getting rid of all that Perth riff-raff.”
While it is uncertain how long the evacuation notice will be in effect, at least one of Perth’s 2 residents has a positive outlook. “I’ve got a better chance of winning at Indian bingo, that’s for sure,” said Slaney.