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PART II, CHAPTER 3.
MUNICIPAL HISTORY OF HARPSWELL.

UNDER COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS.

The place formerly known as Wescustego was, on September 22, 1680, incorporated as a plantation by the name of North Yarmouth.

In 1731 the limits of North Yarmouth were determined by order of the General Court as follows:-

"To begin at a white Rock by the side of the Bay dividing between Falmouth & North Yarmouth & to extend from thence into the woods North west by Falmouth line eight miles, and from ye sd white Rock to extend by the Bay to the mouth of Bungamunganock River, from thence to extend eight miles into the woods on a line parallel to Falmouth line & from thence to Falmouth line aforesaid, & from the aforesd white Rock & mouth of Bungamunganock River Sd Township to extend south east, the width of sd Township to the Main Sea so as to include the Islands within sd courses."

On April 6, 1733, the township was incorporated as a town.1

In 1735 a committee appointed by the General Court ran the line of the town as follows:-

"Beginning at the mouth of Bungamunganock River on the westerly side thence south east over Maquoit Bay to Mare Point and said line runs over Minot's Barn which stands on sd Point, thence over Middle Bay to Merriconeag neck, thence across sd neck and Merriconeag river to a point on Sebascodegan Island to an Inlet of water called the Basin, thence crossing another part of sd Island to a small Island called Egg Island in Quahaug River, thence crossing another part of sd Island running a S. E. course across the bay to small Point, thence to Hunnewell's Cove, thence crossing sd cove and so on in a S. E. line to the Main sea at mouth of Kennebec River."

The present town of Harpswell, or the greater portion of it, was, it will be observed, at this time embraced within the limits of the town of North Yarmouth, of which town it constituted a parish.2


1. Maine Historical Society Collection, 2, pp. 172, 176. Russell's History of North Yarmouth.
2. Maine Historical Collection, 2, p. 180.


[1740.] In the year 1740 Merriconeag Neck was annexed to Brunswick, as will be seen by the following petitions to and order of the General Court:-

"To HIS EXCELENCY JONATHAN BELCHER ESQ. CAPTAIN GENERAL AND GOVERNOUR IN CHIEF, THE HONOURABLE THE COUNCIL AND HONOURABLE HOUSE or REPRESENTATIVES OF HIS MAJESTY'S PROVINCE OF THE MASSACHUSETTS BAY IN NEW ENGLAND IN GENERAL COURT ASSEMBLED MAY 28th , 1740.

"THE PETITION OF THE PROPRIETORS OF THE NECK OF LAND IN CASCO BAY IN THE COUNTY OF YORK, CALLED BY THE NAME OF MERECONEGE NECK:-

"Humbly Sheweth

"That Whereas the said Neck of Land, is one half part of it within the line of the Township of North Yarmouth, and having Paid Rates and Taxes to said Township, both to Church and State, altho' the Inhabitants there live above Thirty miles distant by Land from the Meeting House, and twelve miles by Sea across two very Dangerous Bays, (Especially in the Winter time) being also many times Impassable in canous, with their Familys thereby depriving them of the Public Worship of God, for a great part of their time, which is a very great discouragement to the Setlers, and Whereas this Honourable Court have been pleased Two years since to Invest the Township of Brunswick with all priviledges as the other Towns in this Province Enjoy and that Brunswick Meeting House is but Three Miles distant from the upper end of said Neck, adjoyning to Brunswick Town, and no Water to pass over which makes it easy to repair thereto without the Danger and Difficulty of the Winter and Tempests by Water and the very great length of way by Land.

"May it please your Excellency and Honours, We Humbly pray, That you would be pleased for the prevention of the aforesaid Inconveniences to set off the Familys that may Inhabit said Neck of Land, from the Town of North Yarmouth, and annex them to the Town of Brunswick, especially since but a part of said neck of Land is couched within the line of North Yarmouth Township. And as in Duty Bound your Petitioners shall ever pray.

"JOSEPH WADSWORTH
ADAM WINTHROP
HENRY GIBBS
BELCHER NOYES
JOB LEWIS

for ourselves and Partners"

"We the Inhabitants of the said Neck of Land Most Humbly [Pray?] That your Excelency and Honours would be pleased to grant the Prayer of the above named Proprietors of said Neck of Land that we may be Released under our very Great hardships, and as in Duty Bound shall ever pray.

"JAMES BREWERRICHARD JAQUES
JOHN MATHEWSJOHN STOVER
WILLIAM MAGRAYELISHA ALLEN
EDWARD QUINGHAMISAAC HALL
WILLIAM GIBSONSAMUEL STANDWOOD
MOSES GATCHELLDAVID STANDWOOD
JOSHUA CROMWELLJOHN STEVENS
SAMUEL WINCHELLJOHN ROSS JUNr
JOHN ORRSETH TOOTHAKER
WILLIAM MACKNESSJOB MOULTON
THOMAS MCGREGORABIEL SPRAGE
JOHN SMARTWAIT WEBBER
JOHN LINDSEYEBENEZER TOOTHAKER"
BENJAMIN DENSLOW 

"IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, June 3, 1740,

"Read and ordered, That the Petitioners serve the Town of North Yarmouth with a copy of this Petition that they Shew Cause if any they have on Tuesday the 24th Instant, if the Court be then sitting, if not, on the first Thursday of the next Sitting of this Court, why the Prayer thereof should not be granted.

"Sent up for concurrence

J. QUINCY, Spker


"IN COUNCIL June 4th 1740. "

"Read and Concurred

SIMON FROST Depy Secry."

"Consented to "J. BELCHER, "A true Copy Examd.

" SIMON FROST Depy Secry."

"The following order passed on the petition of the Proprietrs of Merriconeag Neck, viz!

"IN COUNCIL June 27, 1740

Read again and it appearing that the Town of North Yarmouth has been duly served with a copy of the Petition but no answer given

in, Ordered that the prayer Of the Petition be granted, and that that part Of the Neck Of Land within Mentioned which heretofore belonged to the Town of North Yarmouth together with the Inhabitants thereon, be and hereby are set off from the said Town of North Yarmouth, and annexed to & accounted as part of the Town of Brunswick there to do Duty and receive Priviledge accordingly.

"Sent down for Concurrence

"SIMON FROST Depy Secry

"IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES June 28, 1740.

"Read & Concurred

"J. QUINCY Spkr

Consented to

"J. BELCHER

"A true copy Examined

"SIMON FROST Depy Secry1

[1741.] Merriconeag Neck remained, however, annexed to Brunswick for a short time only, as On August 1, 1741, the foregoing bill was again brought before the Council, together with the answer of Ammi Ruhamat Cutter, agent for the town Of North Yarmouth, and the matter having been thoroughly considered, it was voted "that the order of this Court within written passed the twenty seventh of June last (A) be & is hereby superseded & set aside, and that such of the Inhabitants of the neck of land within mentioned, (B) as are consenting thereto and shall give in their names to the Town Clerk of Brunswick for that purpose be & hereby are set off to the Town of Brunswick so far as relates to the Ministry, to do duty and receive priviledge accordingly." This vote was sent to the House of Representatives August 5, where it was read and concurred in, with the addition of some amendments at the places marked A and B. The first amendment simply inserted the date, and the second One added the words, "with their estates."2

This legislation was not satisfactory to the people of Brunswick, nor to many of those upon Merriconeag Neck, and accordingly the following petitions were sent to the General Court this same year:-


1. Pejepscot Papers. 2. Ibid.


"To His EXCELLENCY WILLIAM SHIRLY ESQ GOVERNOUR & COMANDER IN CHIEF IN & OVER HIS MAJESTYES PROVINCE OF THE MASSACHUSETTS BAY IN NEW ENGLAND,

THE HONOURABLE HIS MAJESTYES COUNCILL, AND THE HONOURABLE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN GENERALL COURT ASSEMBLED ANNO DOMINI, 1741.

"THE PETITION OF THE SELECTMEN OF THE TOWN OF BRUNSWICK IN THE COUNTY OF YORK IN BEHALF OF SAID TOWN,

Humbly Sheweth

"That the Sd town being of but small Extent and the Inhabitants as yet but few in number & a considerable part of the Soil not so rich and fitt for tillage as in many other towns, and tho' the said Inhabitants from a Principle of Loyalty & dutifullness to the Government, are ready & desirous to do what they can towards the support of the publick charge, yet for the reasons above mentioned, they find it very difficult to maintain their families & support the ministry, & much more to pay the Province tax which the Honourable Court was pleased to lay upon them last year, and they find this Disability in some measure Increased by reason that a considerable part of Mericoneag Neck, which hapens to fall within the line of North yarmouth, by reason of the large extent of sd township into the Sea Cuting of the whole front of Brunswick next the sea, which was the last year by order of the Generall Court annexed to Brunswick has been since Set back to North yarmouth; Now we beg leave Humbly to Represent to your Excellency & Honours that the town of North yarmouth is in extent of land more than three times as large as Brunswick, without reconing in the Necks & Islands Couched within the lines of sd town, which much Increase the proportion, and the sd town is much more numerous in Inhabitants, & their land by long Cultivation is become much more profitable, so that they cannot be reasonably suposed to stand in need of so small an addition as Mericoneag Neck. Now whereas the uper part of sd neck, is Contiguous to Brunswick and the rest of it by land, is 18 miles nearer to the center of Brunswick & to sd meeting house than to North yarmouth meeting house, & a much nearer & safer way to Brunswick in time of danger, where they can be relieved by land from Brunswick town, which they cannot readily, by North yarmouth, by land or water, and the addition of it to Brunswick, would something increase their number, & at present in Some measure Enable them. to discharge the heavy tax laid upon them, which is very burthensom by reason of their Continuall fears and great

poverty of the Inhabitants (excepting four or five familyes) Your Petitioners therefore Humbly pray that your Honours will so far Compassionate & Encourage them as to annex unto Brunswick the whole of sd neck viz : that part of it that is couched within North yarmouth line & the uper part of it that lies between the lines of North yarmouth and Brunswick and which at present is within the bounds of no town and your Petitioners as in Duty bound Shall ever pray &c.
 "BENJA LARRABEE,  
 WYMOND BRADBURY,Selectmen
 SAML HINKLEY,of Brunswick


"We the Subscribers Inhabitants of Merriconeag Neck in Casco bay, such of us as fall within the line of North-yarmouth finding ourselves under a great burthen & disadvantage in being subjected to that town from whence we are so very remote & from whence we can expect no manner of benefit on account of the Ministry, School, or otherwise, & others of us who are not within the bounds of any town but lying between the lines of North yarmouth & Brunswick, but lying contiguous to Brunswick & Judging it to be very much for our Comfort & benefit to belong to sd town, do Humbly Joyn with the Inhabitants of Brunswick in the within Petition, and earnestly Supplicate your Excllency & Honours that for the reasons therein set forth you will be pleased to annex the whole of Mericoneag Neck to the town of Brunswick & your petitioners as in duty bound shall ever pray.

"RICHARD JAQUES
WAIT WEBBER
JOHN STOVER
JOHN MATHEWS
THOMAS MCGREGOR
NATHL L. BARNES"1


These petitions were not favorably received by the General Court, but on June 14, 1749, that body, in response to a petition of the inhabitants of that portion of Merriconeag Neck and the adjoining islands, which was within the limits of North Yarmouth, passed an order to the effect that the Neck, the land and islands mentioned in the petition, and the northeast part of Sebascodegan Island, should be a distinct and separate precinct.2


1. Pejepscot Papers. Original Petition.
2. Massachusetts Records, 1749.


In 1758 the following Act of Incorporation was passed:-

"ANNO REGNI      REGIS GEORGII SECUNDI TRICES-      IMO PRIMO.

For incorporating a neck of land called Mericoneag Neck, and certain Islands adjacent, in the County of York into a Separate District by the name of --

"Whereas the Inhabitants of Mericoneag Neck and the Islands adjacent have humbly represented to this Court the difficulties and great inconveniences they labour under in their present situation and have earnestly requested that they may be invested with powers privileges and immunities of a District.

"Therefore be it enacted by the Governor, Council, and House of Representatives, That the said Neck of Land beginning where Brunswick line intersects the upper end of said Neck which is four rods above the Narrows of said Neck commonly called the Carrying Place, from thence including the whole of said Neck down to the Sea, together with the Islands adjacent hereafter mentioned, viz: Great Sebascodegan Island alias Shapleighs Island, Little Sebascodegan Island,1 and Wills2 Island lying to the South east side of said Neck ; Birch Island, Whites Island and the two Goose Islands lying on the Northwest side of said neck and Damariscove Islands3 lying at the lower end of said Neck, be and hereby are incorporated into a separate District by the name of Harpswell.

"And the Inhabitants of said Neck of land and Islands shall be and hereby are invested with all the powers, privileges and immunities that the several towns in this Province by law do or may enjoy, that of sending a Representative only excepted.

"And be it further enacted That John Minot Esq. be and hereby is empowered to issue his warrant to some principal Inhabitant of the said District requiring him in his Majestys name to warn and notify the said Inhabitants qualified to vote in town affairs to meet together at such time and place in said District as by said Warrant shall be appointed to choose such officers as the law directs and may be necessary to manage the affairs of said District:

"And the said Inhabitants being so met shall be and hereby are empowered to choose officers accordingly.


1. Now Orr's Island.
2. Now Bailey's Island.
3. One of which is now called Haskell's Island.


"JANUARY 20th 1758,

"This bill having been read three several times in the House of Representatives passed to be enacted

"F. HUBBARD, Speaker

"JANUARY 20th 1758,

" This bill having been read three several times in Council passed to be enacted "A. OLIVER, Sec'y.

" JANUARY 25>th 1758,

"By the Governor I consent to the enacting of this bill

"T. POWNAL.

"Copy examined

"A. Bradford
"Sec'y of Commonwealth of Massachusetts"

It will be observed that no reference is made in the foregoing Act to the town of North Yarmouth. This would convey the impression that when Harpswell was made a precinct, it became legally separated from that town, which was probably the case.

The present name of the town is not known to have been used prior to the incorporation. By whom it was first suggested is not known. One authority1 states that it was so named by the General Court, but according to traditionary accounts the name was given by the Dunnings. There is a Harpswell in Lincolnshire, England, and the name was probably first suggested by some emigrant from that vicinity and was favored by the Dunnings, who were English people, though from another county.

Harpswell, though similar to an incorporated town in most respects, had not the privilege of being represented at the General Court, and was therefore only a district.

The first recorded meeting of the district was held March 30, 1758, At this meeting Captain John Stover was chosen moderator; Andrew Dunning, clerk; David Curtis, Isaac Hall, and Andrew Dunning, selectmen and assessors; Lieutenant Lemuel Turner, district treasurer; Elijah Douglas and Taylor Small, constables; James Babbage, Seth Toothaker, and John Coombs, tithing-men; Waitstill Webber, William Alexander, and Joseph Thompson, surveyors of highways;


1. Kellogg, MSS. Lecture.


Edward Easters, Thomas McGregor, and Joseph Linscott, fence-viewers; Nathan Adams, James Gardner, and John Snow, hog-reeves; and Elisha Allen, sealer of leather. It was voted at this meeting that hogs and horses should be allowed to run at large, according to the existing law. The meeting adjourned to the last Wednesday in May.

At the adjourned meeting on May 25, the following votes were passed:-

That Alexander Wilson and Andrew Dunning should be a committee to settle with North Yarmouth; and to receive whatever money was due the town.

To have no schoolmaster this year.

That the selectmen should lay out the highways as they might deem advisable.

That the selectmen should settle "with Mr. Jaques, the former treasurer" probably of the former precinct or parish, "and should remove the Treasury into Lemuel Turner's hands."

That Thomas McGregor should be collector for that year, on the Neck, and should be allowed thirteen shillings and four pence for his services.

That Mr. William Harsey should be paid fifteen shillings for his trouble in making out the rates for the parish in 1755.

That Mr. William Blake and Mrs. Mary Young should be paid twelve shillings each, for making out the rates at the same time.

That Captain Timothy Bailey should be paid one pound for a note that he gave in the year 1751 "for the Place being presented."

That Mr. Curtis be paid 33 Is. 1d. "for taking up Mr. Pattishalls execution against the Parish."

That he have eighteen shillings for his time and expense in taking up the execution.

That Benjamin Jaques be paid thirteen shillings four pence "for going with Mr. Curtis to take up Patishal's execution."

That Benjamin Jaques and Alexander Wilson be paid three shillings each "for getting a power [of attorney?] to give Mr. Ralph Farnan."

That fourteen shillings be allowed Richard Starbird on his assessment for 1754.

That Samuel Eaton be paid three pounds for serving as clerk for four years ; and that Lieutenant Lemuel Turner be paid eighteen shillings, David Curtis twenty-four shillings, and Captain Timothy Bailey three shillings, for going to North Yarmouth. It will be seen

that most of the foregoing relates to past transactions of the precinct, or parish, which have not been preserved as matters of record.

[1759.] On May 9, 1759, a committee was chosen to settle the district and parish affairs, and another committee was also chosen to settle with the town of North Yarmouth, and to receive what money was due to Harpswell. At this meeting it was also voted to build a pound near the meeting-house, and also one on Mr. Joseph Thompson's land on the island called Great Sebascodegan.

On May 30, of this year, the town voted to purchase scales, weights, and measures for use as a standard. Jonathan Flint was allowed 1 9s. for laying out the main road from the Brunswick line to the lower end of the Neck; James Gardner was also paid 3s. for carrying a pole to lay out the road, and Thomas Jones, Jr., and Captain John Stover, 3s. each, for assistance in laying out this road. 13 6s. 8d. was appropriated for the poor.

[1760.] In 1760 the town appropriated 35s. 4d. to pay David Curtis for his expense in obtaining books, scales, and weights.

[1762.] At the May meeting in 1762, it was voted that 2d. per head should be paid for all crows killed on the Neck before the October following.

[1763.] In May, 1763, the town voted to pay Benjamin Jaques, Alexander Wilson, and John Alexander the sums assessed against them for the sloop built the previous year.

[1765.] In 1765 the town voted to allow Nicholas Pinkham the sum assessed upon his father "for the fine laid on the Quakers as appears by State and Rate Bills, 1760."1

[1768.] At a meeting held March 25, 1768, the town voted - twenty-six to twelve - not to set off Great Sebascodegan Island as a parish. At a meeting held September 28th, it was voted not to send a delegate to the convention to be held at Boston, but the selectmen, with Andrew Dunning and Benjamin Jaques, were chosen as a committee to prepare and forward a letter to that convention.

[1770.] The records of the meeting on May 22, 1770, contain the following entry:-

"The majority of votes for Mr. Samuel Stanwood as Representative were 20." This is the first mention to be found of the town's being represented at the General Court.

[1772.] In 1772 the town voted to pay David Curtis and


1. This is the first and only record in either of the three towns where Quakers are spoken of as having been fined.


Elijah Douglas one dollar each "for haling Boards from Brunswick." What the boards were for is not stated, but probably for the school-houses.

[1773.] On January 28, 1773, a communication from the town of Boston, setting forth the rights of the colonies and a statement of the infringement of their rights, was laid before the town for their consideration.

A committee, consisting of William Sylvester, Deacon Andrew Dunning, and Captain Benjamin Jaques, was chosen to write a reply and to submit it to the town at a special meeting to be held on the eighth day of March, at which time the committee reported as follows:-

"That generous Ardor for Civil and Religious Liberty which in the Face of every Danger and even Death itself induced our fore Fathers to forsake the Bosom of their Native Country their Pleasant Seats and Fertile Fields and begin a Settlement in this then a howling Wilderness is not extinct in us their Posterity.

"they Dearly purchased (with many Tears Prayers Mortifications & Self Denials) those happy Gospel Priviledges and Religious Liberties which we enjoy in Conjunction with the Royal Charter these we esteem dear and Sacred - we are greatly alarmed at the Innovations made upon our Charter Rights and think them a Real Grievance - We fear not Poverty but disdain Slavery.

'whatever Day,
Makes Man a Slave takes half his worth away.'

"We shall not particularly enumerate our Grievances but only Say we Concur with the Sentiments of the Committy of Correspondence at Boston as they have stated the rights of the Colonists and of this Province in Particular, and of the Infringements on those Rights. We openly and Frankly declare that we hold Fast our Loyalty to our Sovereign (Independency we have not in View -we abhor the Thought) and hold our Selves in Readiness at all times with our lives and For-tunes to assist his Majesty in his Defence as we have heretofore done (when for the Enlargement of the Brittish Empire, upon the Ruins of their Perfidious French Neighbors we have Cheerfully Emptied our Purses and furnished out our Quota of Men to join the Countless Numbers of loyal Americans who have Sacrificed their lives in the high Places of the Field & Desert -Many of whose Bones are to this Day whitning in the sun) yet we groan under our Burdens we sensibly feel them, but do not despair of Redress If the Importunity of a Poor widow May Moove an unjust Judge to avenge her How much More

May we hope for Redress by Frequent application to our Gracious and good King which application we humbly conceive Should be Dutiful and loyal -Vewing our Selves to be the children and our Gracious Sovereign the Parent. And Could his Excelency Our Governour (whom we highly esteem & think to be endowd with Singular abilities) be prevailed upon to join the other Branches of the Legislature Supplicating the Throne for Redress it appears to us the Most probable way of obtaining his Majestys Royal Attention and Relief.

"WILLIAM SYLVESTER }
ANDw DUNING } Committy."
BENJn JAQUES }

The records continue as follows:-

"The question being put whether the foregoing Report be accepted it Passed in the Affirmative Nemine contradicente and thereupon voted William Sylvester Esqr., Deacon Andrew Duping & Capt. Benj. Jaques a Committy to Transmit an attested Coppy from the Clerk to the Comitty of Correspondence at Boston with the Thanks of this District to that Respectable Patriotic Town."

[1774.] At the annual meeting in 1774, the town passed the following votes : "to allow Andrew Duning 6 shillings a year since 1759 for services as Clerk," and "to fence the burying place with stone or boards, as the Committee think proper."

At a special meeting, held August 11, William Sylvester, Esquire, Andrew Dunning, and Deacon Isaac Snow were chosen a committee to reply to sundry letters from the town of Boston, relative to entering into a covenant for the non-consumption of British goods.

The committee reported as follows:-

"That the Town of Boston is Now Suffering in the Common Cause, a Cause which we Esteem to be Our Own that it is our Fixed Resolution not to be Awed into Acquiesence by a Mad Exertion of Mere Power on the Part of Our Enemies but to hold and Defend Our Charter Rights to the Last. that a general Agreement between the Colonies of non importation & non exportation faithfully observed would (under God) be a Means of the Salvation of our falling Country that as the Honourable House of Representatives Did on June 17th 1774 Resolve that a Committy Should be appointed to Meet as Soon as May be the Committies that are or shall be appointed by the Several Colonies on this Continant to Consult together upon the Present State of the Colonies and to Deliberate & Determine upon Wise and Propper Measures to be by them Recomended to All the

Colonies for the Recovery & Establishment of their Just Rights - & it is our Opinion that our now Coming into the non-Consumption agreement Previous to the Result of the Congress would be Premature and that We should Anticipate the Verry End of that Respectable Body we therefore think it More Regular and Advisable first to hear the Measures advised to by the Congress and we hold our Selves in Readiness to Comply with the Same."

This report was accepted.

On September 14th, Joseph Ewing, Captain John Stover, and Andrew Dunning were chosen a committee "to go to Falmouth to meet the Falmouth and other Town Committees at Falmouth, ye 21st of Sept. Inst."

[1775.] On March 20. 1775, the town passed the following vote "to Give the Men that Shall Engage as Minute Men too Shillings & Eight Pence pr Week allowing they Meet three Days each week & spend three Hours Each Day in exercising or Learning the Art Military for One Month from Date Agreeable to the Advice of the Congress- and if Legually called by the Chief Officers to March Out of Town Shall be entitled to forty eight Shillings as A Bounty or Incouragement and the like Incouragement to Any Others that shall be Legally Called as above & comply with the call."

The selectmen were this year instructed to have the town's proportion of the Province rate paid to Henry Gardner, Esquire, "as soon as may be."

William Sylvester, Joseph Orr, Nathaniel Purinton, John Snow, Samuel Bartlett, James Ridley, Joseph Ewing, Andrew Dunning, Benjamin Jaques, Paul Curtis, John Stover, Ebenezer Toothaker, John Roduck, John Farnham, Mark Rogers. William Morgridge, Simeon Hopkins, Ezekiel Curtis, and Anthony Coombs, Jr., were chosen a Committee of Inspection and of Correspondence.

The town also voted to provide a stock of ammunition, double in quantity the amount required by law. On May 1st, William Sylvester, Nathaniel Purinton, John Snow, Benjamin Jaques, and Andrew Dunning were chosen a Committee of Supply.

At a meeting held on the 5th of June, it was voted that "the Remainder of the half barrel of Powder Purchased by the Committy of Supply be a Town Stock." It was also. at this time, "Voted to keep four Watches - One at the intervale By the Harbour or there Abouts One at the High Land Near Benj. Webbers One at the Lookout and One at Jaqueses Hill And Every Person Deficient being Duly Notified to Pay Six Shillings as a fine." It was also voted,

"Not to fire a gun between Sun Set & Sun Rise except at the enemy or an Alarm on Penalty of Setting in the Stocks One Hour."

The town also voted that the powder should be furnished to those needing it, in the quantity of half a pound for each man, who applied and who should pay or give his note for it.

Captain John Snow, Paul Randall, and William Sylvester were chosen a Committee of Supply and Safety.

At a meeting held July 6th, Captain Nehemiah Curtis was selected to join with the committees of other towns in the county, for the purpose of distributing in the most important places the men who were stationed for a guard upon the sea-coast.

[1776.] At a meeting of the town held January 16, 1776, the selectmen were chosen a committee to embody in a petition to the General Court the necessity there was for an armed guard and a supply of ammunition in the town.

On March 4, William Sylvester, Nathaniel Purinton, Captain Nehemiah Curtis, Captain John Snow, and Lieutenant Benjamin Dunning were chosen a Committee of Correspondence, Inspection, and Safety. At a meeting held May 6, the vote of the District in 1775, giving minute-men 2s. 8d. per week for meeting for military practice on three days in each week, for three hours each day, was rescinded. On July 30 it was voted that the selectmen should take charge of the ammunition and arms, receipt for the same, and then distribute them among the officers of the militia, who should be accountable for them. It was also voted to pay Nathaniel Purinton and the seven men who assisted him in bringing guns down the Kennebec River, 4s. each, for two days' labor. It was also voted to pay Deacon Isaac Snow 12s. for his expenses and charge in bringing twenty-five fire-arms from Falmouth. Andrew Dunning was, at this meeting, chosen to take recognizances in Harpswell. At a meeting held on December 20, the following resolutions were passed:-

"Voted the great & General Court or Assembly of this State Do Take up a Form of Government as Soon as they think Propper & that form that Shall tend, most to Piety, Peace, Safety and Good Order in this State and agreeable to the Honourable Continental Congress - the vote unanimus at a full Meeting.

"Voted the Selectmen Send to the General Court or Treasurer for Axes, Kittles, Canteens and Money to hire Waggons & Pay the Men that are Draughted their Milage to the Place of Destination."

[1777.] At the March meeting in 1777, Nathaniel Purinton, Captain John Snow, Captain Nehemiah Curtis, Ezekiel Curtis, and

Andrew Dunning were chosen a Committee of Correspondence and Safety. It was also voted, "Not to Have a Hospetal Built in the County for an Enocolating Hospetal." It was also voted this year to pay Andrew Dunning 12s. for superintending the delivery of powder and flints, and for recording the Declaration of Independence. On November 25, a committee was chosen to supply the families of soldiers with necessary articles.

[1778.] The entry of the May meeting in 1778 commences, "At a meeting of the Town of Harpswell." It is the first time that the records were, thus commenced, heretofore the words "parish," "district," or "inhabitants" being used. Yet Harpswell must have been in, all respects a town prior to this, having in 1770 elected a representative. At this meeting, Captain John Snow, Joseph Ewing, Benja-min Dunning, Ezekiel Curtis, Captain Thomas Merryman, Paul Randall, and Alexander Ewing were chosen a Committee of Inspection, Safety, and Supply. It was voted to raise 420 "for the reinforcement of nine men now to be raised, and proportioned as hereafter mentioned, viz. to four men for the militia one hundred dollars per man. To five men for the Continental Army two hundred dollars per man. "The selectmen were instructed to hire the money to pay the above bounties, and also the mileage of the soldiers.

At a meeting, held June 24, the town voted to purchase some clothing which had been provided for the soldiers and also to raise the sum of 56 for the four men who had that day enlisted. At another meeting, held on the third of August, it was voted that the selectmen should provide the town's proportion of clothing for the army, in accordance with the order of the General Court, passed the previous June, and that each article of clothing should be of the same price as previously, if of as good quality, and that it should be valued by the same committees.

[1779.] At the March meeting in 1779, Thomas Merryman, James Ridley, and Alexander Ewing were chosen a Committee of Correspondence, Inspection, Safety, and Supply. At a meeting, held July 2, it was voted that all the male inhabitants of Harpswell above the age of sixteen years should take the oath of allegiance to the United States. It was also voted to supply powder and balls from the town stock to such as might need them; that the price of the powder should be 3, and of balls 15s. per pound. - each one being allowed half a pound of powder, and balls in proportion. It was also voted that Michael Curtis, Thomas Farr, Paul Randall, and John Blake should be a committee "to wait on the Justice to tender the oath of allegiance to the United States," and that all males over the age of

sixteen years who refused to take that oath should be disarmed. At a meeting held in August, it was voted to sell eight fire-arms, that had been recently purchased, at forty two and one half dollars each.

[1780.] At the March meeting in 1780, William Sylvester, Esquire, Captain Nehemiah Curtis, Paul Curtis, Thomas Farr, Captain Isaac Snow, Lieutenant Anthony Coombs, and Simeon Hopkins were chosen a Committee of Correspondence, Inspection, and Safety. At the May meeting the town voted to raise 2,000 for expenses and 300 for support of the poor.

The proposed new constitution for the State of Massachusetts was read and considered article by article. It was amended "in Page 27th, last line, for the word Christian to have the word Protestant and in Page 33d -the House of Representatives to have a voice in the appointment of officers for the Continental army." Thus amended, thirty voted in favor of, and one against it. At a meeting held in September, the town voted for governor, lieutenant-governor, and senator. John Hancock received fourteen votes as governor; Samuel Adams eight, and James Bowdoin seven, as lieutenant-governor; and John Lewis, fifteen as senator. This is the first record of a vote of this town for State officers.

At a meeting held October 23, a committee was chosen to procure beef for the army.

[1781.] On January 11, 1781, a committee was chosen to procure soldiers for the Continental army, and on the thirtieth of the month the town voted "to give Sixty Pounds L. M. Paid in the Old Way in hard money, Stock, Produce or Equal in other things as shall be agreed on by the Town and Persons Engageing."

At a subsequent meeting, held the third of February, the town voted that the above-named sum should be given as a bounty to each man that should enlist for three years as a soldier, and that it should be paid "by the tenth Day of May next, or as Many Midling Cows & Calfs as shall amount to the Sum at five Pounds for each Cow & Calf or Intrest for the same till Paid."

At a meeting held in March, the town voted that "the Pools [polls] & estates in the Town be Divided into ten classes as Near as may be to Pay the Bounty Given the ten Continental soldiers, the Assessors to assess the Inhabitants & Each Class to collect their Part & Pay to the Agents for the Soldiers according to Agreement." And that "the whole sum contained in the Notes Given the Soldiers be assessed except the Cows that were Promised at the three years end, the Town to be assessed for the money."

At a meeting held in April, a Committee of Correspondence, Inspection, and Safety was chosen as usual.

At a June meeting it was voted to raise thirty-five pounds for current expenses and fifteen pounds for the support of the poor, the money to be reckoned in silver dollars at six shillings each, or in other currency equivalent to silver.

In July the town voted to raise 50 in silver, or its equivalent, for the purchase of the beef called for by the General Court in its requisition of June 22.

On December 5, the town voted to pay twenty-two shillings per hundred-weight for the beef needed to fill the second and third requisitions, and to raise 16 for that purpose.

[1782.] In May, 1782, the town voted to relieve the tax collector of all responsibility for the counterfeit money he had received prior to July, 1781, upon his making oath to the facts. The usual Committee of Correspondence, etc., was chosen this year.

[1783.] In March, of this year, the town voted to build two pounds, one to be erected on the neck and the other on the island.

In May, Nathaniel Purinton, Esquire, Lieutenant Anthony Coombs, Deacon Andrew Dunning, Benjamin Dunning, and Lieutenant Michael Curtis were chosen a Committee of Inspection, "on account of the Return of the Absentees."

[1785.] In March, 1785, the town voted to rent a workhouse, also to pay for labor on the highways the following rates: 4s. per day per man, 2s. for oxen, 8d. for a cart, and 1s. for a plough.

[1787.] On January 8, 1787, the town voted in favor of the three eastern counties being made a separate State, and Captain Isaac Snow was elected to represent the town at the convention to be held at Portland on the last Wednesday in January.

On December 10, Captain Isaac Snow was elected a delegate to attend the convention to be held at Boston on the second Wednesday of the succeeding January, and a committee was chosen to give him instructions. On the twenty-eighth of the month the town met to hear the instructions which the committee had prepared, and it was at this meeting voted to "except [accept] the federal Constitution with Amendments." This vote explains the object of the convention for which the town had chosen a delegate.

[1792.] The town appears to have been very undecided as to the utility of a separation of the eastern counties from Massachusetts. In January it voted in favor of it and in May against it.

[1794 ] On August 11, 1794, it was voted "to give the men that

shall go on this detachment five dollars as a bounty if they are called for into service. Voted to make up to the men that shall List with the Continental Pay, twelve dollars per month for three months if they should be called into actual service." The object for which a detachment was made from the Harpswell company of militia has not been ascertained. It is evident, however, from the above vote, that it was of a national character.

In November of this year, Stephen Purinton, Johnson Stover, and Benjamin Dunning were chosen to make a survey and plan of the town, in accordance with the provisions of an Act of the General Court passed the preceding eighteenth of June.

[1795.] This year the town voted -thirty-eight to twelve- against a revision of the Constitution.

[1796.] In May of this year the town voted "That if any let his Ram go at Large between the first day of September and the Tenth Day of November he shall forfeit the Ram."

[1797.] On May 10, 1797, the town again voted against a separation of the District of Maine from the State of Massachusetts.

[1798.] At a meeting held October 15, 1798, the town voted against "the formation of a new county to be composed of the towns of Brunswick, Harpswell, Durham, Georgetown, Bath, Topsham, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Little River, Litchfield, Green, Lewiston, Wales, and Littleborough."

[1803.] In 1803 the town offered a bounty of four cents for each crow killed during that year.

[1805.] In 1805 it was voted that "if the Treasurer shall receive any bank bills that will not pass that the town will receipt for the same." This was a singular way to discountenance the counterfeiting of money.

[1810.] This town seems to have been remarkably lenient towards those who had been imposed upon by counterfeit, or bad money, for this year it was voted "to receive a three dollar bill of the Widow Sarah Haskell, on Vermont State Bank, said not to be good, and give her good money in lieu of the same, and voted that Paul Raymond have the bill and make sale of it to the best advantage."

[1812.] At the annual meeting in 1812, the town voted "that Peter Birthright [and his family] live on the premises where they are and the Selectmen supply them with necessarys."

A present of ten dollars was also voted to Samuel Clark. At a special meeting, held August 24th, Stephen Purinton and John Curtis were elected delegates to a County Convention to be held at Gray "to take

measures to alleviate the miseries of war, and bring about a speedy and lasting peace." The selectmen, with Stephen Purinton and Marlborough Sylvester, were chosen a Committee of Safety and Correspondence.

[1814.] At a meeting held July 25th, the town chose Stephen Purinton as an agent to go to Boston to receive Harpswell's quota of the State stock of arms and ammunition, provided that he could get them at the expense of the State and without cost to the town.

At a town meeting held the seventh of November, the selectmen were chosen a committee to receive into their care the arms and equipments for the town, and were authorized to dispose of the arms, one to a person, on sufficient security that those who received them would deliver them up when called for.

[1816.] In May, 1816, the town again voted against a separation from Massachusetts, and in September also, by a still stronger vote. At this latter meeting Reverend Samuel Eaton was chosen as delegate to the convention to be held at Brunswick on the last Monday in September.

[1817.] In 1817 the collectorship of taxes on the Great Island was struck off at auction to John Reed at five and a quarter cents, and that on the Neck to David Orr at four and a half cents on the dollar.

[1819.] In July, 1819, the town again voted against the separation of Maine, but at a meeting held in September, Stephen Purinton was elected delegate to the Portland convention, and on the sixth of December the town voted in favor of accepting the Constitution prepared by that convention.

UNDER STATE OF MAINE.

[1821.] At a meeting held February 25, 1821, the town voted to send a representative to the legislature for their proportionate part of the time, but objected to being classed for representation with any other town. At this meeting the town also voted against being set off from the county of Cumberland, and also against the formation of a new county. At a meeting held in May, it was voted "that Joseph Eaton shall purchase locks and hinges for the town chest, at the expense of the town."

[1822.] In 1822 the town's poor were, according to custom, set at vendue, but a vote was passed that those who bid them off should furnish them with suitable food and with tobacco, but should provide no clothing without the consent of the overseers of the poor. At a meeting of the town, held on December 21, a committee was chosen

to present to the legislature a remonstrance against the proposed division of Cumberland County. At this meeting the selectmen were instructed to remonstrate to the legislature "against the now extended limits of the jail yard in this county."1 The town also voted that the selectmen and town clerk should "instruct the representative in future events."

[1823.] In 1823 the town voted in favor of allowing the inhabitants of Great Island to be set off as a separate town.

[1825.] At the annual fall meeting this year, "it was motioned and seconded to take the minds of the people whether to send a representative or not, and the vote was not to send. The presiding selectman then told the people if there were any who wished to bring in their votes he should receive them." The result was that John Curtis had twenty-two votes, Paul Randall thirteen, and Peleg Curtis one vote.

[1826.] At the September meeting, in 1826, the town voted that the militia should be furnished with one quarter of a pound of powder for each man -made into blank cartridges- and that the commanders of companies should cause it to be expended in teaching the men precision in firing. Luther Dana was, in November of this year, licensed "as a retailer of strong liquors to be spent out of his shop." This is the first license of the kind recorded in the town records.

[1827.] In 1827 the town voted to let the powder remain in the magazine, and to pay the militia money instead of rations; also, to deliver to each non-commissioned officer and private - at the review inspection - one quarter of a pound of powder to be made into blank cartridges.

[1829.] In 1829 the town voted that the selectmen should grant licenses to sell intoxicating liquors to all suitable persons, who were victuallers or retailers, that should apply for a license agreeably to the provisions of an Act passed in March of that year.

[1831.] On January 3, 1831, the town voted unanimously against the formation of a new county, if Harpswell was to be included in it.

On January 25, it was voted to petition the legislature not to class Harpswell with any other town for representation, but for it to authorize the town to elect a representative for such a portion of time and at such period as should be equal to their portion of representation. The request was not granted.


1. Was this an exquisite bit of satire, implying that the jail was so insecure that the prisoners roamed all over the county ?


[1832.] On July 7, 1832, a law of March, 1832, relating to vaccination was read, and the town then voted to make no provision for vaccinating the inhabitants, and to raise no money for such a purpose. Peleg Curtis, Joseph Eaton, Levi L. Totman, Stephen Snow, and David Johnson, 2d, were chosen a Health Committee, and were instructed to use all reasonable means to prevent the introduction and spread of the cholera in that town.

[1834.] On February 15, 1834, the town voted, for a fourth time, against the formation of a new county, and still again at a meeting in September. It was also voted this year that no licenses should be granted to retailers, permitting them to sell liquor to be drank in their stores. The selectmen were authorized to grant permits for the taking of lobsters, and the next year (1835), they were instructed to grant a license to Captain John Smith, of Waterford, Connecticut, and company, to take lobsters, -he not to employ more than six smacks,- and to none others, for the sum of one hundred dollars per year until the town ordered otherwise.

[1836.] An article in the warrant for the annual meeting of the town in 1836, for purchasing one or more hearses, was "passed over," and until the year 1877 there was no hearse in town.

[1837.] In March of this year the representative was instructed to favor the passage of an Act so that the town might receive its proportion of the surplus revenue. At a meeting, held the next April, Benjamin Randall was chosen an agent to receive the town's proportion of the surplus revenue, and it was voted to have this money loaned to the citizens, and a committee was chosen to superintend the loan. It was also, at this meeting, voted that the overseers of the poor should try to remove all negroes from the town. This action may have been due to antipathy against the race, but it was more probably because the negroes were all paupers. The town, also, this year, voted almost unanimously against an amendment to the State Constitution relative to bail.

[1838.] This year the town voted that the surplus revenue money should be divided among the citizens, per capita, as soon as it could be collected. Paul Randall was chosen an agent to collect and distribute it, and he was authorized to collect it "in Union Bank bills and small change."

[1839.] The town this year voted against a proposed amendment to the State Constitution, relating to the tenure of judicial officers.

[1840.] At the regular meeting this year a committee was appointed to consider and report concerning the annual value of the

lobster privilege. They reported that it was worth one hundred and ten dollars per year, and the town voted to lease it at that price.

[1841.] The town, this year, voted in favor of a resolve of the legislature, passed in April, which reduced the number of representatives to one hundred and fifty-one. Also, in favor of diminishing the number of representatives when they reached two hundred. The town, this year, again petitioned the legislature not to class Harpswell with any other town, but to assign its proportion of representation.

[1843.] A committee was chosen, this year, to ascertain where land could be purchased for an almshouse.

[1844.] The town, in 1844, voted very strongly against a resolve of the legislature for amending the Constitution, which was passed March 19, and it also voted unanimously against an Act to establish town courts, which was passed by the legislature, March 22.

[1845.] In February, 1845, a committee was chosen to petition the legislature for a separate representation. Several meetings were held in the winter and spring of this year, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Samuel Mayall, the representative to the legislature. There was no choice, as this town voted each time for a Harpswell man instead of one from Gray, the town with which it was classed in representation. The town this year purchased land and built a house - which it still owns - on Lamboe's Point, for Thomas J. Pennell and family, who had lately removed from Gray. Pennell was a poor man, but able-bodied, and the town furnished this assistance as a precautionary measure to keep him from becoming a pauper.

[1846.] This year the town had the same trouble as the year before in regard to electing a representative.

[1847.] The town in 1847 voted against a resolve of the legislature which provided for the election of representatives to the legislature by a plurality vote; also, against an Act pledging the credit of the State and creating a State debt.

[1851.] In 1851 the town again petitioned for a separate representation in the State legislature.

[1852.] In 1852 the selectmen were instructed to appoint an agent to sell liquors.

[1853.] At a special meeting, held on February 26, 1853, the town was found to be unanimously opposed to Harpswell being set off from Cumberland and annexed to another county, and it was voted to remonstrate against all petitions for new counties that included Harpswell

[1855.] In March of this year the town voted not to dispense with a liquor agency, but that if the selectmen should appoint an agent they should buy the liquor and pay him a reasonable compensation for selling it, the town receiving the profits thereof. In September the town voted against certain proposed amendments to the State Constitution, by which judges of probate, registers of probate, sheriffs, municipal and police judges, land-agent, attorney-general, and adjutant-general should be elected by the people.

[1856.] In March, 1856, the selectmen were instructed to see if the old meeting-house could be obtained of the proprietors, and in September the. town voted to buy it for a town-house, for one hundred dollars, the price being that fixed by the proprietors.

[1857.] The selectmen were instructed in 1857 to remove the body pews in the town-house, build a chimney, provide wood, etc.

[1858.] At a special meeting, held in May of this year, the town voted unanimously in favor of the prohibitory law ; fifty-nine votes being cast.

[1859.] The town in 1859 voted against State aid to the "Aroostook Railroad Company." It was also voted that the selectmen should take counsel in reference to some disputed islands adjacent to Harpswell, and should report as to the probability of the town's being able to deny them. The representative to the legislature was instructed to use all means in his power to reduce the expenses of the State government.

[1861.] In 1861 the town voted to petition the legislature for a separate representation for the term of ten years. The request was not granted.

The town records, subsequently to the last date, contain nothing of general interest, except what relates to the enlistment of volunteers and the support of their families, which will be mentioned in another connection, until 1865.

[1865.] At a meeting. held April 8, of this year, it was voted to raise $2,500 to purchase a town farm. Charles Stover, Paul C. Alexander, and Paul A. Durgan were chosen to hire the money and were instructed to hire it on town bonds, running fifteen years. This vote, however, was evidently never carried into effect.

[1866.] At the annual meeting in 1866 the town voted to leave the poor in the care of the overseers. It was also voted to raise $1,500 for the support of the poor.

[1867.] In 1867 the selectmen were authorized and instructed to have a room finished in the gallery of the town-house for an office,

and also to build a chimney and procure a stove, and to have the building shingled. At a meeting held June 3d, the town voted unanimously in favor of an Act of the legislature for the suppression of drinking-houses and tippling-shops.

[1869.] At the annual meeting this year it was voted to buy a town farm, and L. H. Stover, William C. Eaton, and S. S. Toothaker were chosen a committee to get proposals, and were instructed to report at a meeting to be called for the purpose. The committee reported on the twenty-fourth of April, and the town voted to raise $3,000 by loan to purchase a farm, and the selectmen were instructed (if in their judgment the interests of the town required the purchase of a town farm) to purchase such a farm as they should think proper, and make the necessary repairs on the same.

[1870.] At the annual meeting in 1870, the town voted to leave the care of the poor with the overseers, and also to raise $1,500 for their support. The town also voted "that the treasurer be instructed to keep the State bonds arising from equalization in his own house."

[1871.] On January 14, 1871, the town voted that the selectmen and overseers of the poor "be and are hereby instructed to build a new barn for James Alexander in place of the one destroyed by fire, and that they furnish him with hay and sufficient farming tools, using their discretion in the matter."

The town also passed the following resolve:-

"That in our candid judgment the burning of the barn of James Alexander, 2d, and the maiming of his cattle in the night-time by some person or persons unknown, is an outrage upon a peaceable community which demands the most vigorous efforts to detect and convict the perpetrator, as no person is safe in his person or property in a community containing at large such a person.

"Therefore, Resolved, That the selectmen he authorized and instructed and are hereby required to make diligent search to apprehend and convict the offender, using their discretion as to the methods to he taken to produce that result."

The selectmen were also instructed to oppose the repeal of the Porgie Law, before the Committee on Fisheries at Augusta.

At a meeting held February 6th, the following preamble and resolution were passed by unanimous vote:-

"Whereas the location of our town of Harpswell is so isolated and is so far removed from any town not entitled to a representative, that it would be very inconvenient, and of no benefit to have it classed for representation.

"Therefore, Resolved, That we in our corporate capacity, agreeable to the requirements of the constitution of Maine, do hereby determine against a classification with any other town or plantation, and we do hereby instruct the town clerk to forward a copy of this resolution to the speaker of the House of Representatives, praying that the legislature may authorize the town of Harpswell to elect a representative for such portion of time and such periods as shall be equal to its portion of representation."

The prayer was not granted, however, and Harpswell still continues to be a classed town. At the annual meeting this year, the town voted that the selectmen "be authorized to purchase a town farm the present year and to hire money for the purpose." This vote, however, was never carried into effect.

[1873.] At a meeting held in October, 1873, the town voted to exempt from taxation for six years the property located and the capital invested in Harpswell, of S. F. Perley and twenty-five others, who were associated for the manufacture of superphosphates, bone, plaster, fertilizers, and acids.

The important doings of the town not already mentioned will be found incorporated in other chapters.




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