Maine Bicentennial



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According to the Portland Gazette, Sept. 16, 1823, over 26 square miles of land encompassing the communities of Wiscasset and Alna, Maine were scorched by a firestorm the afternoon of Sept. 4, 1823, resulting in over $250,672 in damages (approximately $5.8 million in 2018 USD). In addition to two deaths, the region lost 32 homes, 37 barns, 437 head of stock, 3 school houses, a tannery, a gristmill and a sawmill. Over 277 inhabitants were impacted between the two towns. Local authorizes estimated the value of lost property at $50,672 and the value of lost timber and crops at $200,000.

Within hours of the fire, Rev. Hezekiah Packard of Wiscasset, began penning missives to his associates throughout New England, seeking contributions to support fire victims. Articles about the fire and soliciting support appeared in newspapers in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut.

Rev. Packard spoke at a meeting of fire survivors on January 18, 1824, encouraging residents to rebuild and move forward. The text of Packard's sermon includes his eye-witness, albeit melodramatic, account of the fire. By April 1824, Rev. Packard announced that $21,505.64 in donations was received for distribution to fire victims.

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Publication Date



Joint Committee


Wiscasset (?), Maine


Wiscasset Maine, Fire 1823


United States History


Pamp 1009

A Short Address, Delivered before the Sufferers by the Late Fire in Wiscasset and Alna, at their meeting January 18, 1824, to Express their Gratitude for Donations made for their relief, to which are Added Several Exhortations, and the Lord's Prayer, Paraphrased



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