“Upriver & Down” (1965) was Edmund Ware Smith’s last book. It’s another great book, published by Holt Rinehart, with illustrations by Maurice Day. The story “The Last Hermit of the Maine Woods” is especially good. Best of all there are six “Jake’s Rangers” stories in it. Jake’s Rangers were a group of like-minded friends and outdoorsmen living in the town of Damariscotta, Maine. Smith told many tales of the Rangers’ outdoor adventures, featuring their leader, Maurice “Jake” Day.
“Jake’s Rangers Hunt the Whitetail” introduces us to yet another interesting character of Smith’s. Uncle George Whitehouse is unforgettable. He is the year round resident/caretaker of the Rangers’ deer hunting camp. This story appeared in Field and Stream Oct. 1959 under the title “Jake’s Rangers and the White Deer”. The story is accompanied by some nice photos, but unfortunately, none are of Uncle George.
“The Jinx and Uncle George” is a very funny story. The trip the rangers took with U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas garnered national attention, and is told in “Jake’s Rangers vs. the Supreme Court”. The story “Downriver With Jake’s Ranger’s” is unforgettable. Since their previous trip, chronicled in “Jake’s Rangers vs. Spring Fever” was fraught with danger and near misses of life and limb, they decided their next expedition be by canoe. With this in mind, they figured weight would be no object. They would eat like kings. Bentley Glidden “borrowed” a giant cast iron frying pan from the church (I have seen this actual frying pan and it is huge). They hit the spring runoff and had to portage, and Bentley was heard saying “crime does not pay”….but all is well that ends well. There were only a few other Jake’s Ranger’s stories written. They appeared in magazines like Ford Times and Field and Stream.
“Upriver & Down” is a great book, but it is kind of sad to know it was Smith’s last one. He died in October of 1967. He was a true genius who could write about anything and often did. I have read many of his magazine articles, and not all were about the Maine woods. A lot were either mystery stories, human interest stories, essays, love stories, short novels, and travel pieces. Still, no one could convey the atmosphere of the Maine woods like Smith. He remained a solid writer from start to finish. This book had multiple printings and luckily is very available. It will become one of your favorites.
Introduction by J. Donald Adams
The Last Hermit of the Maine Woods
An Intimate Study of Homesickness
The Bush-Queer Canoe Trip
An Architecture of Loneliness
Along Thoreau’s Canoe Trail
How to Go Native in Maine
Into the Woods with Emily Post
Death of a Haunted Tent
Trout from Still Waters
The Greatest Moose Caller on Earth
Fly Choice by the Omen Method
Jake’s Rangers Hunt the Whitetail
Downriver with Jake’s Rangers
Jake’s Rangers vs. the United States Supreme Court
The Jinx and Uncle George
Return to Pogy Pond
Down the Allagash with Justice Douglas and the Old Guide