"Thursday last witnessed the birth of a new State and ushered MAINE into the Union," announced an article in Portland's Eastern Argus on March 21, 1820. "The day was noticed, as far as we have heard from the various towns by every demonstration of joy and heart-felt congratulation, becoming the occasion ... May the day, which has so auspiciously commenced our political existence as a State, long be remembered with complacent feelings, and every annual return bring with it, by the many blessings it may produce, additional inducement for its celebration."
As Maine’s Bicentennial approaches, institutions, scholars, students and residents are once again looking to examine the events that culminated in Maine’s statehood. To support these efforts, we have gathered from our collections items that we hope will be of particular relevance and will provide a variety of perspectives on sensitive topics related to political, economic, social, business, and ethical issues related to boundaries and land use that remain pressing in discussions in the state today.
In an effort to make these primary texts as accessible as possible, in addition to PDF format, we have made selected publications available in ePUB format. We hope this allows readers to optimize their research experience using personal reader technology. Please feel free to provide feedback regarding the availability of these ePUB documents.
Those interested in this topic will also want to watch the Maine Bicentennial 2019-20 page developed by our colleagues at the UMaine Clement and Linda McGillicuddy Humanities Center.
For more information about this digital collection and other items available in the Special Collections Department of Fogler Library, contact us at 207.581.1686 or um.library.spc @ maine.edu.
Rufus Putnam and George R. Gardner
Property map with no scale, showing boundary lines, lot numbers, and acreage. Handwritten note inscription reads: “Township No. 23 East Division is Bounded as Described in the Several Lines and [illegible] for 23,040 Acres…Attest Rufus Putnam.” Map is dated in red pencil, “1786.” Pencil inscription questions: “East Div. of Centerville?”
Back of map is stamped in blue ink: George R. Gardner, LAWYER, Calais, Maine.
From Gardner Family Papers, 1830-1939. John Gardner (1801-1888), was the principal surveyor in Calais, Maine. His son, Benjamin E. Gardner (1869-1939), a civil engineer and land surveyor took over for his father and worked most frequently with local attorneys doing land title research.
A Narrative of the Extraordinary Sufferings of Mr. Robert Forbes, His Wife, and Five Children during an Unfortunate Journey through the Wilderness from Canada to Kennebeck River, in the year 1784: in Which Three of Their Children were Starved to Death. Taken Partly from Their Own Mouths, and Partly from an Imperfect Journal; and Compiled at Their Request
In March 1784, Robert Forbes made the fateful decision to relocate his pregnant wife and children--Mary, 7-years-old; Peggy, 5-years-old; Katharine, 3-years-old; and Robert, 15-months-old--from Canada to Norridgewalk, Maine. Receiving a promise the trip could be accomplished in 12 days time, Forbes employed the services of three Dutch guides who lead the family into the winter wilderness. Four months later, the last surviving family members arrived in Norridgewalk.
Samuel Lewis, William Barker, and Mathew Carey
The Province of Maine, from the best Authorities by Samuel Lewis, 1794. W. Barker, sculp. [Scale of] American Miles 69 1/2 to a Degree. Engraved for Carey's American Edition of Guthrie's Geography improved.
Black and white, foldout map of northern Massachusetts showing the New Hampshire border and identifies the "Line between the United States and the British Possessions by Treaty 1785" including Quebec and Nova Scotia. Map size: 36 x 24 cm. Scale 1:1,520,640. Engraved by W. Barker. Map is in stable condition but shows folds and creases.
S. Titcom and John Gardner
Pen and ink hand-drawn map on paper mounted on linen. The map caption reads: A Plan of Waite Township Containing 24,985 Acres. No. 2. Range 2. S. Titcom's Survey in 1794. Lots drawn on the map include the last names of property holders as well as acreage of lots.
To the honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in General Court assembled, at Boston, January, 1803 : humbly represent, the subscribers, inhabitants of the town of Pittston in the District of Maine
Town of Pittston and David Cobb
Broadside signed by residents of Pittston, Maine, arguing for the separation of the District of Maine from Massachusetts and suggesting that the legislature authorize a convention of delegates from all towns in the district “to declare the sense of their constituents, to frame a constitution ... and to do and transact all things ... necessary to the ... establishment of a separate and independent state.”
Horrid Massacre !! : Sketches of the Life of Captain James Purrinton, who on the Night of the Eighth of July, 1806, Murdered his Wife, Six Children, and Himself : with a Particular Account of that Shocking Catastrophe : to Which are Subjoined, Remarks on the Fatal Tendency of Erroneous Principles, and Motives for Receiving and Obeying the Pure and Salutary Precepts of the Gospel
The account of Maine's first case of domestic violence mass murder as reported by outspoken printer and newspaper man, Peter Edes. On July 8, 1806, Betsy (Clifford) Purrinton and her children Polly, age 19; Benjamin, age 12; Anna, age 10; Nathaniel, age 8; Nathan, age 6; and Louisa, age 18 months, were murdered by James Purrinton during an alleged fit of religious fervor before he committed suicide. Fifteen-year-old Martha Purrinton was severely wounded during the attack but survived for three weeks, testifying as a witness against her father. She died July 30. The eldest Purrinton son, James, age 17, survived his wounds.
Map of the Country which was the Scene of Operations of the Northern Army ; Including the Wilderness through which General Arnold Marched to Attack
Black and white map of the country which was the scene of operations of the Northern Army; including the wilderness through which General Arnold marched to attack Quebec. Engraved for the Life of Washington. Plate VI from: Atlas to accompany John Marshall's The life of George Washington. Philadelphia, 1804-07. Though this map depicts the route of the Kennebec River and landscape through which Benedict Arnold lead a force of the Continental Army, it does not mark the 350 mile trail to Quebec. The 1,100 man force was reduced to 600 sick and starving men by the time Arnold reached Saint Lawrence at Pointe-Levi. Scale: 1:1,394,000. Map size: 27 x 23 cm. Map is in good and stable condition though considerably yellowed.
The Trial of David Lynn, Prince Kein [sic], Jabez Meiggs [sic], Elijah Barton, Adam Pitts, Anson Meiggs [sic], and Nathaniel Lynn. Indicted for the Murder of Paul Chadwick, Containing a Compendious but Clear and Full Statement of all the Evidence, Together with a Correct Abridgement of the Pleadings of Council, and the Charge to the Jury, as Delivered by the Court
In 1809, Paul Chadwick was hired to survey lands held by the proprietors of the Plymouth Patent, including property that fell within the boundaries of the town of Malta, now known as Windsor, Maine. The land survey caused upset among settlers as property ownership was called into question. Vowing to defend their property, on September 8, a party of fully armed men, some disguised as Native Americans, approached Chadwick advising him to cease his activities. Chadwick declined and was shot, dying the following day.
David Lynn, Prince Kein, Jabez Meiggs, Elijah Barton, Jonas Proctor, Adam Pitts, Anson Meiggs, and Nathaniel Lynn were arrested and on September 15 and charged with Chadwick's murder. The murder and subsequent events became known as The Malta War. This booklet, produced by Maine newspaper man and Revolutionary Veteran, Peter Edes, records testimony and proceedings of the murder trial.
The Foregoing is a Plan of 189,426 acres on the Penobscot River, it Being the Purchase made by Government of the Penobscot Tribe of Indians
Park Holland, Jonathan Maynard, and John Chamberlain
The foregoing is a plan of 189,426 acres on the Penobscot River, it being the purchase made by Government of the Penobscot Tribe of Indians together with two acres of land one on each side of the river between said Indian purchase and land heretofore so called. Laid down by a scale of Two Hundred rods to an inch taken by the direction of the Hon. Salem Town, Esqr. by the Publicks most obedient an very Humble Servants Park Holland, Jona. Maynard, John Chamberlain, Surveyors. Scale of map: 1:39,600. 200 Rods per inch.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Committee of both Houses to whom were referred the Petitions concerning the Separation of the District of Maine from Massachusetts
General Court of Massachusetts
The Committee of both Houses, to whom were referred the Petitions concerning the Separation of the District of Maine from Massachusetts Proper, and forming the same into a separate and Independent State, and also sundry memorials against that measure, beg leave respectfully to report that they have considered the subject committed to them, with that deliberation which so momentous a question deserves. A question, whether this great Commonwealth shall be divided, and the connexion [sic] which has so long, and so happily existed, shall be forever dissolved. They are sensible that nothing should be done to hasten an event, so important and lasting in its consequences. On the contrary, they would gladly strengthen and promote a union, which has, hitherto, been productive of so much good. This is not a question which concerns the District of Maine alone, but the whole Commonwealth. The Legislature of Massachusetts are called on to consent to relinquish their jurisdiction over one third of her citizens, and the largest portion of her territory. But your Committee have not been deterred by these considerations, from listening to the prayer of the Petitioners, and from recommending such measures as they deem just and expedient, however they may regret the present application.
A Schedule of Lands, &c. to be Sold at Publick Auction on the Floor of the Exchange Coffee House, in Boston, by the Proprietors of the Kennebeck Purchase, on Monday, the Twenty-second Day of January, 1816
Printed schedule of properties located in the District of Maine, placed up for auction by the Plymouth Company on Monday, January 22, 1816. The schedule includes locations and descriptions of properties, including lot numbers. Maine towns where property was auctioned included: Dresden, Whitefield, Malta (now Windsor), Palermo, Patrick Town and Long Pond Settlement, Harlem (now China), Fairfax, Clinton, Unity, Plymouth, Madison, Starks, Industry, Mercer, Rome, Waterville, Augusta, Canaan, Dearborn, Belgrade, Winthrop, Wayne, Hallowell, Freedom and lots located along the Kennebeck and Sebasticook Rivers.
Shall the Legislature be required to give its consent to the separation of the District of Maine from Massachusetts proper and to the erection of said District into a separate state. — Mass. Resolves.
Printed by Request.
Massachusetts Election! : First Monday in April next ; American Nomination, Major-General Henry Dearborn for Governor, Hon. William King for Lieut. Governor
Henry Dearborn and William King
Pamphlet promoting Henry Dearborn and William King as running mates in the 1817 Massachusetts gubernatorial election. The pamphlet includes a “Sketch of the Life of Major General Henry Dearborn from 1775 to 1812” primarily documenting his military service.
Major General Henry Dearborn (1751 – 1829) was an American soldier and statesman. During the American Revolution, Dearborn served under Benedict Arnold in the expedition to Quebec, of which his journal provides an important record. In later life his criticism of General Israel Putnam’s performance at the Battle of Bunker Hill caused a major controversy. Dearborn served in the U.S House of Representatives from Massachusetts from 1793-1797.
William King (1768 – 1852) was a merchant, shipbuilder, real estate investor, and statesman from Bath, Maine. King served as a Major General in the War of 1812. He served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1795 – 1799) and the state Senate (1807 – 1811; 1816 – 1820). He was a proponent of Maine statehood and served as the state's first Governor (1820 – 1821).
A Sermon Delivered in Augusta, June 23, 1819: Before the Maine Missionary Society, at Their Twelfth Anniversary
Jonathan Cogswell, David Thurston, Ammi R. Mitchell, Kiah Bayley, and Eliphalet Gillet
The text of a sermon presented by Jonathan Cogswell to the Maine Missionary Society in Saco, Maine on June 23, 1819. The document includes extracts from the report of the Trustees of the Maine Missionary Society including the Treasurer's statement and list of donors and donation amounts. The pamphlet also lists the names of Maine Missionary Society members by town and the names of officers elected on June 23, 1819.
Maine Constitutional Convention
The Maine Constitution was unanimously approved by the 210 delegates to the Maine Constitutional Convention in October 1819. On February 25, 1820, the General Court passed a follow-up measure officially accepting the fact of Maine’s imminent statehood.
Thanksgiving. A Discourse Delivered at Hallowell, on the Day of the Annual Thanksgiving in Massachusetts
The present age is ... distinguished for its advancements in literature and science. Laudable zeal is manifested, and successful efforts made, in every department of knowledge. The lovers of science have pushed their researches beyond the limits of former ages. Progress has been made in philology, in chymical [sic] and biblical knowledge, and in attainments in general literature. It is an object to which the public mind turns with a favorable aspect. Some nations, within the present age, have, in this respect, almost entirely changed their character; emerging from comparative barbarism to a state of refinement in science, from lethargy and inactivity to zeal for the diffusion of knowledge. And our own country, though not yet first in literary eminence among the kingdoms of the world, is assuming a rank, to which heretofore she could not put in a claim. Her universities, and colleges, and minor institutions of science, are receiving an increase of public favor and public benefactions ; and they, in their turn, are remunerating the public, by refining her enjoyments and throwing a lustre on her reputation.
Descendant of Miles Standish
The agreement for the sale of the Commonwealth’s Lands in the State of Maine, will be submitted to the Legislature for their ratification or rejection the present session. Permit one, who never owned a foot of land in Maine, and who has no possible interest, except for the good of posterity, in the decision, to offer a few remarks upon the expediency of ratifying that bargain.
Remarks on the Hartford Convention, or, An Exposition of the Conduct and a Development of the Ulterior Policy of the Federalists of Massachusetts, during the Late War
The Hartford Convention was a meeting of New England Federalists held in December 1814. Federalists who opposed U.S. involvement in the War of 1812, were seeking a strategy to retain political power and protect their economic interests in the region. As a result of this convention, amendments to the United States Constitution, intended to preserve Federalist power, were went to Congress including the requirement that 2/3 of Congress must approval a declaration of war or to admit a new state; that Presidents have a one-term limit; and that the 3/5th Compromise be abolished. The proposals were never acted upon. (Incomplete, includes the first 25 pages).
Joseph P. Fessenden
I DEEM it proper to state to the public some of my reasons for consenting to the publication of the following Sermon. A copy of it for the press, was requested by a number of gentlemen, members of the Congregational Society in Arundel, who disbelieve the doctrine of election, or consider, if it be revealed in the Bible, that it ought not to be preached ; in as much as it is irreconcilable with mans [sic] free agency, and beyond the comprehension of any finite capacity. I am credibly informed some have asserted, that the Sermon contains palpable contradictions, and, on this account, they should like to see it in print. Others have said that it inculcates sentiments which are new, not found in the writings, either of Watts, Edwards, or Hopkins. I have therefore concluded to give it to the public with all its novelty and contradictions, and leave them to form what opinion concerning it they please.
— JOSEPH P. FESSENDEN.
The Following Extract of the Charge of the Hon. Chief Justice Mellen, Delivered on the Late Circuit, is Communicated to the Public at the Request of the Grand Juries, for the Counties of York, Cumberland, and Oxford
Extract of the charge issued by Honorable Chief Justice Prentiss Mellen to the first grand jury seated in Maine followed the establishment of statehood. Chief Justice Mellen of Portland, was appointed to the court by Maine's first Governor, William King. His service began July 1, 1820 and concluded October 11, 1834.
“It is believed that a charge of this nature, from the Court to a Grand Jury, is calculated to make good impressions : to diffuse in no small degree a knowledge of our criminal code, enacted for the prevention and punishment of offences : to give information to the citizens, with regard to their obligations to the government, and to each other: and to increase their respect for those principles and laws which ought to govern the conduct of all : especially, if at the same time, they perceive the tribunals of Justice anxiously endeavoring to give them their aid, and sanction by a calm, impartial and unwearied discharge of their duty.”