History of
Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell.

Preface to the 1878 Edition



The labor of compiling a local history, though not necessarily requiring a very high order of talent, does require a careful and conscientious examina-tion of a large amount of miscellaneous material. The difficulties attending a compilation of this kind are numerous and, many of them, not easily to be anticipated In the words of Sterne, "When a man sits down to write a history, though it be but the history of Jack Hickathrift or Tom Thumb, he knows no more than his heels what lets and confounded hindrances he is to meet with in his way."

So much is said by way of apology for the unavoidable errors that may, perchance, be discovered in this volume. The undertaking itself needs no apology, as the value of such compilations, not only to the writers of general history, but also to the public more immediately interested, is now everywhere admitted.

The aim of the compilers has been to furnish a work which should be valuable rather than merely entertaining. They have endeavored to give a faith-ful and complete history of the three towns, and although they have tried to make the volume more interesting by the introduction, when proper, of narratives and traditions, yet this they have considered of secondary importance.

The methodical arrangement of a work of this kind, so as to embrace all that is desired and at the same time to avoid frequent repetition, is involved with difficulties, and is, after all, somewhat a matter of taste. In this work the arrangement by the topics into which the subject is most naturally divided has been adopted as, on the whole, the best. Each division of the subject has, however, been arranged in chronological order, and for further convenience of reference full indexes have been appended. It is proper, in this place, to acknowledge the assistance which the compilers have received, in various ways, in the prosecution of their work. Their very great indebtedness to the labors of the late John McKeen, Esquire, has already been shown, and is still further shown by the frequent reference to him throughout the book; but they desire also to acknowledge the kindness of Miss Frances A. McKeen in furnishing them with the private papers of her father.

The name of the late Moses E. Woodman, Esquire, is also entitled to he held in grateful remembrance for the work he did in collecting and tracing the genealogy of Topsham families.

Much interesting information has also been obtained from notes made by the late James McKeen, M. D.

It is proper also to acknowledge to the public the great obligations of the compilers to the late Doctor John D Lincoln, both for the material assistance rendered by him, and for his steadfast encouragement in their undertaking, from its very inception up to his last hours.

The thanks of the compilers are also especially due to Mr. A. G. Tenney, for his personal help and advice, as well as for the great assistance afforded by his file of the Brunswick Telegraph, and for the many courtesies extended by him; to Professor A. S. Packard, for valued advice and assistance, and for his kindness in affording unusual facilities for examining the books and papers in the historical and college libraries; to General Joshua L. Chamberlain, Honorable Charles J. Gilman, Professor Stephen J. Young, and Professor George L. Vose, for valuable advice and assistance; to Reverend Elijah Kellogg, for his manuscript lecture on the history of Harpswell; to Messrs. Charles J. Noyes, Stephen Purinton, Edwin Emery, Professor Henry Carmichael, Reverend George T. Packard, and Doctor Asher Ellis, for assistance in the collection and preparation of material for the work; and to the many others who have, in one way or another, assisted them, the compilers return their sincere thanks.

The various illustrations given in the book will, it is hoped, be satisfactory to the public. The portraits were furnished by and inserted at the expense of the friends of the persons whom they represent.

The Pejepscot plan of the Brunswick and Topsham lots was made from two of the original plans, and was reduced and engraved by the photo-lithographic process, by J. H. Bufford's Sons, Boston. The map of Brunswick and Topsham villages in 1802 was compiled from a written description of Brunswick by the late John McKeen, Esquire, and from verbal descriptions of Topsham by Mr. James Wilson and the late Mrs. Nathaniel Green.

All of the maps and most of the illustrations are from drawings made by Mr. Charles G. Wheeler, Bowdoin, Class of 1876.

Whatever praise or censure may be due the authors for the manner in which they have executed their work should be equally divided between them, as it has been a joint production, in which they are themselves unable to specify their respective claims of authorship.

In conclusion : To the citizens of the three towns, and more especially to those of Brunswick and Harpswell, whose interest in the work has been so fully shown by their liberal appropriations in aid of its publication, this volume is offered with gratitude and respect, and its favorable reception will be deemed an ample remuneration for their labors by
THE AUTHORS.

Next: Part I



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