Widows' Hill was a high elevation point in Collinsport, Maine and the location of the Collinwood mansion (1). It was one hundred feet from the edge of the cliff to the water below, and on a cloudless day, one could see twenty miles out to sea from the cliff along the water (2, 9). The drive into town from Collinwood was two hundred feet long (17). The tide along the water was extremely strong (52).
Widows' Hill acquired its name because women used to wait on the cliff and look out to sea, watching for their ill-fated husbands' ships to return. When Jeremiah Collins decided to build Collinwood on the hill in the 1790's, he turned the widows away and told them to go home and keep their grief to themselves (12). (It was later revealed it was Joshua Collins that built Collinwood.)
Some people in Collinsport claimed that the widows still walked the hill 175 years later as ghosts. The wailing sounds coming from the hill were believed to be the sobbing widows, rather than the wind, and some old timers in town claimed to have seen widows walking the hill from a distance (12).
By 1967, two people had thrown themselves off the cliff. Josette Collins jumped to her death because she wasn't welcomed in town and a Collinwood governess had done the same. Legend told of a third person who would one day be found dead at the bottom of the cliff (5, 9, 50, 51). David Collins predicted that Victoria Winters would die at the cliff. His prediction would later be tested (967).
After escaping from jail, Adam jumped from Widow's Hill when he was about to be taken into police custody, probably saving Carolyn Stoddard's life (505). He was assumed dead (506), but later discovered to have survived the leap (508).
The Legend of Widows' Hill[edit | edit source]
In the late 1960s, it was reported that two, (and sometimes three), women had died at the cliff. More than one person predicted that Victoria Winters would be the last.
The widows that Elizabeth described in her recounting of the legend were:
- Rachel Comstock: was the wife of a fisherman and had five sons, all sailors. They were all lost at sea. When Rachel got the news, she said the same words, over and over, "The sea is my grave, my grave is the sea". she came to the hill one night, and threw six white roses into the sea, one for her husband and each of her sons, then jumped to her death. (266)
- Abigail Tolliver: was a new bride, her husband was found dead by drowning just a few days after her marriage. She followed him into the sea, her bridal bouquet was found on the rocks beside her body. (266)
- Margaret Findley: her husband was lost at sea in a storm, she came to the hill that night and followed him. (266)
Deaths at Widows' Hill:[edit | edit source]
- Josette Collins in 1795 (also listed as 1796, 1797, and 1834) (9)
- Victoria Winters in 1797 (967)
- Harriet Collins in 1830 (1131)
- Samantha Collins in 1840 (1193)
- Philip Todd - 1970 (968)
- Jeb Hawkes - 1797 (967) and 1970 (980)
- Istvan - in 1897 (827)
- Beth Chavez in 1897 (876)
- Charity Trask in 1941 (TFOTHOT)
Survivors of Widows' Hill:[edit | edit source]
- Elizabeth Stoddard - attempted suicide in 1967, prevented by Mrs. Johnson, Barnabas Collins and Victoria Winters (266, 267, 268)
- Carolyn Stoddard - nearly fell over the cliff in 1968, was saved by Adam. (505)
- Adam - went over the cliff to avoid capture from the police in 1968. He was badly injured, but survived. (508)
- David Collins - almost fell from the cliff trying to back away from his mother, Laura Collins. He was pulled to safety by Victoria Winters. (140)
Filming Location[edit | edit source]
The black and white footage of Victoria Winters standing on a hill above the ocean was filmed at the edge of the Salve Regina University property in Newport, Rhode Island. The area can be viewed from the Newport Cliff Walk and is located just south of where Webster Street intersects the Cliff Walk.
The hill no longer perfectly matches the filmed footage. There are more trees now in the area and a significant amount of boulders were added at the base of the rock cliff to prevent erosion during storms.
See also[edit | edit source]
Appearances[edit | edit source]
- The following is a list of appearances and scenes from the cliff.