Hunter Accidentally Shoots Self, but His Words Live On
The Real Story Behind the Legend
An avid hunter, George Gerry had been taken by his wife on the opening day of hunting season, Saturday, October 3, 1931, to the Jarvis Hill section of West Claremont at about 4 o’clock. Mrs. Gerry told her husband that she would return at 6 p.m. in the car to meet him. However when she returned to pick her husband up, he was nowhere to be found. Mrs. Gerry returned lo town and called on friends to help her search for him.
As noted in the Monday, October 5, 1931 edition of the Claremont Daily Eagle:
“Still later the search party was augmented by Sheriff Emery B. Monta, Chief of Police Daniel E. White and other members of the police department, and a contingent of firemen and other volunteers. Fog and darknesss hampered the search, and members of the posse with some difficulty kept from getting lost themselves in the hilly and wooded area which the hunter was known to have entered. It was pretty much by good fortune that members of the search party came upon Gerry's body about 1:15 Sunday morning on the George B. Upham estate.
The body was lying beside a stone wall with the shotgun beside it and a hole torn in the chest where the charge of shot had entered. It was evident that the victim, attempting to climb the wall, had caught his foot and fallen in such a manner that the gun had been discharged almost against his body.
Funeral services for Gerry were held at his home on Broad Street in Claremont, with interment in Riverside Cemetery at Woodstock, Vermont.”
Anyone who has ever hiked Mount Ascutney's "Windsor Trail" has certainly taken a few moments to visit Gerry Falls.
Beginning from the trail head off Route 44A in West Windsor, the Windsor Trail crosses a pasture, and then rises up, quite steeply, alongside Mountain Brook. For a considerable distance, the trail is broad and smooth, and it’s obvious that it follows an old mountain road. As the trail ascends, however, it narrows, and evidence of a road disappears. It’s at this point where Gerry Falls offers a pleasant interlude to hikers, and is without a doubt one of Ascutney’s true beauty spots.
Standing as sentry beside the falls, a large slab of granite wears a brass plaque bearing the name of George Nelson Gerry. According to Mount Ascurtney's Trail Guidebook, George Nelson Gerry (1886-1931), a noted onithologist, was one of many who liked to hike the mountain and fish its brooks. He asked that when be died that his ashes be scattered in one of them.
The plaques inscription reads:
"George Nelson Gerry , The truth at the heart of nature, The light that is not of day , Why seek it afar forever When it cannot be lifted away." 1886-1931
A native of North Pomfret, Vermont, George Gerry, had moved to work at the Sullivan Machinery Company in Claremont, New Hampshire at the age of twenty. There he was employed as an accountant. Gerry was a veteran camper who loved the fields and woods. Above all, his favorite camping place was Mount Ascutney upon which he had camped extensively. With the aid of friends he had built the Sumaco Lodge. Although the lodge is no longer in existence, it was originally located on the Castle Rock Trail, one of many side trails close to the summit. Here in this narrow ravine. the lodge was built by Gerry along with other workers from the Sullivan Machine Company in Claremont, NH. Castle Rock, a broad slab-sided table, offers hikers an excellent view of the summit ledges and the Connecticut River Valley.
Evidence of Nelson's unfulfilled dreamn can still be found to-day at the Riverside Cemetery in Woodstock. George Gerry's gravesite along with his parents and other family members, is marked by a rough cut granite monument bearing the family's name.
Although George Nelson Gerry's dream of having his ashes scattered in one of Mount Ascutney's brooks was never fulfilled, the Sullivan Veterans Cluh, of which he was a member, donated the in-scribed bronze plaque which steadfastly serves as a memorial, and also helps to maintain the memory of George Nelson Gerry.