Publication Date


Document Type


First Page


Last Page



In 1794, the General Court in Boston passed a resolve requiring all towns in Massachusetts and the District of Maine to submit plans that would aid in the creation of an official state map. The legislature’s directive was part of the ongoing nationwide quest to establish order and identity in America following the Treaty of Paris and the break with Britain. Never a foregone conclusion, the evolving national identity was born through a process of invention and was the offspring of contention and debate among various segments of society. This article analyzes the map of Georgetown, Maine drawn by Mark Langdon Hill against the backdrop of this formative period. By accepting the commission to produce Georgetown’s map, Hill, along with the other creators of the town plans required by the capital, became an active participant in the process of ordering and cultural invention taking place in the Federal period. Showing evidence of both a public and private agenda the landscapes he laid down on his sheets of paper imposed not only a geographic order on Georgetown but also endowed it with a municipal identity based upon class, religion, and economics. The author, who earned his MA in American and New England Studies from the University of Southern Maine, is a retired educator. He has written articles on maritime history and is author of Fifty Years of Fortitude: The Maritime Career of Captain Jotham Blaisdell of Kennebunk, Maine, 1810–1860 (Mystic, CT: Mystic Seaport Museum, 1988).