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On the plans of towns sold in the District of Maine after 1783, the signature of Rufus Putnam, surveyor, frequently appears. Putnam spent weeks in the wild lands locating corners and mapping lots as a field man for the largest land sales operation in Maine's history. In thirty-seven years he and his associates surveyed and sold a land area twice the size of Connecticut. They struggled with practical problems that still confront later generations of foresters: boundary disputes, political pressures, unruly logging contractors, timber estimates, and map making. The work of Rufus Putnam, not only as an individual but as an agent of the early public lands policies applied to Maine, left durable marks on the state's history. The historian of Maine's public lands faces two major questions in assessing the overall impact of this disposal program: What did the Maine land policy issues faced by Massachusetts and by the United States as a whole have in common, if anything? And what were the key bequests to Maine and U.S. land policy from this period?
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©1986 Forest History Society and American Society for Environmental History. Used with permission of the copyright holder.
Forest History Society and American Society for Environmental History
Early American Land Grants, District of Maine
Geography | United States History
Irland, Lloyd C., "Rufus Putnam's Ghost: An Essay on Maine's Public Lands, 1783-1820" (1986). Maine Bicentennial. 50.