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State of Maine

Report of

State Historian






It is the increased facility of access to the national archives that has
contributed more than anything else to the deeper and more accurate
knowledge of English history which the past generation has witnessed.
— John Fiske in "Old and New Ways of Treating History." Essays
Historical and Literary, Vol. 2, p. 9.




)!_ ;•■'- !k


Office of State Historian, December 31, 1908.
To his Excellency William T. Cobb, Governor of Maine,

Sir: — I have the honor to present herewith my report for
1907 and 1908. In order that the work performed since the
estabhshment of the office may be viewed as a whole, I cover
both years.

Respectfully yours,

Henry S. Burrage,

State Historian.


The following action of the Legislature received executive
approval Alarch 20, 1907:


Public Laws of 1907.

Chapter 88.

An Act to encourage the compiling and teaching of Local History and
Local Cieography in the public schools.

Section i. The governor, with the advice and consent of the council,
shall appoint a state historian, who shall be a member of the Maine
Historical Society and whose duty it shall be to compile historical data
of the state of Maine and encourage the teaching of the same in the
public schools. It shall also be his duty to encourage the compiling and
publishing of town histories, combined with local geography. It shall
further be his duty to examine, and when he decides that the material
is suitable, approve histories of towns compiled as provided in section
two of this act.

Section 2. Whenever any town shall present to the state historian
material which he considers suitable for publication as a history of the
town presenting the same, then he may approve of the publication of a
history with the local geography which will be suitable for the use in
the grammar and high school grades of the public schools.

Section 3. Whenever material for a town history with local geog-
raphy has been approved by the state historian, and the same has been
published by the town, and provision has been made for its regular use
in the public schools of said town ; then the state treasurer shall pay
the town so publishing a sum not exceeding one hundred and fifty dol-
lars, provided that the state shall not pay to any town, to exceed one-
half the amount paid by said town for printing and binding said histories.

Section 4. The superintending school committee, and the superin-
tendent of schools, shall elect some citizen of the town to serve with
them; and these persons shall constitute a board to compile a history
and the local geography of the town in which they reside. Two or more
towns may unite in compiling and publishing a history and the local


geography of the towns forming the union. It shall be the duty of the
superintendent of schools to forward two copies of said history to the
Maine state library and notify the superintendent of public schools of
the title of said history.

Section 5. All the actual cash expenses of the said state historian
incurred while in the discharge of his official duties shall be paid on the
approval and order of the governor and council, and shall not exceed
five hundred dollars per annum.

My appointment as State Historian followed May 7, 1907.
Evidently those who were most interested in the framing and
passage of this act aimed to promote the study of local and
state history in the public schools of Maine. It seemed fitting,
therefore, that an early inquiry should be made with reference
to the place which such study now holds in the public schools
of the State. Accordingly a printed circular, dated May 20,
1907, was sent to all town and city superintendents of schools
in Maine, requesting an answer to the following questions:

1. To what extent is the history of the State of Maine now
taught in your public schools?

2. Are local history and local geography taught?

3. What text-books, if any, are used and in what grades?

To these inquiries, addressed to about five hundred superin-
tendents of schools in the State, one hundred and seventeen
replies, chiefly from superintendents in the larger towns and
cities, were received. It is probably a fair inference that the
superintendents who failed to respond to the inquiries made
could give only an unfavorable reply ; for the answers that were
received showed, with some gratifying exceptions it is true, that
little attention is paid to state and local history in the public
schools of Maine. State history is taught to some extent, but
largely in connection with general history. Even less attention
is paid to local history and local geography. As to text-books,
sixty-eight of the one hundred and seventeen superintendents
of schools, in replying to the circular, stated that in teaching
state or local history no text-books were in use in the schools of
which they had the oversight.

A conference with the State Superintendent of Schools dis-
closed the difficulties that those in charge of our public school
interests encounter in any endeavor to secure added attention to
local and state history. The courses of study in the public


schools have been increased in nnmber in recent years to such an
extent that the curriculum is already overcrowded. Probably
only those who have kept in closest touch with the public schools
are aware of this increase, which is largely due to demands of
the new education made necessary by reason of the marvelous
developments in the various material sciences during the past
half century. The teaching in the public schools must not only
take these demands into consideration, but it must endeavor to
meet them. Courses of study that would satisfy our fathers
will not satisfy us as our children take their places in the public
schools. Our best teachers and educators are endeavoring to
meet the requirements of the age in which we live, and by the
best methods. It is a time of readjustment, therefore. The
problem with those who are engaged in this readjustment is
how to find a place for the new courses of study which are
demanded in this educational advance. All who are interested
in historical studies, and are asking for increased attention to
these studies in the public schools, should recognize the difficul-
ties that are encountered in this readjustment occasioned by
the addition of studies connected with the material sciences.
\\'ithout insisting, therefore, upon a very large division of time
for the teaching of history in the public schools, it seems possi-
ble to have local history and local geography taught orally in
the lower grammar grades, and to have the history of the State
taught in the higher grades by the use of a text-book of moder-
ate size, largely used as a reader, yet studied to such an extent
that the prominent facts shall be considered and retained. The
State Historian, by co-operating with the State Superintendent
of Schools, will use his influence in all possible ways in the
endeavor to bring about a result so desirable.

By the act of the Legislature to which attention has already
been called, it is also made the duty of the State Historian "to
encourage the compiling and publishing of town histories." If
local history is to be taught, there must be local histories to
which the teachers in the public schools can go for the facts
concerning which they are to give instruction. It is also made
the duty of the State Historian to examine newly compiled
town histories, and to approve such "as he considers suitable
for publication." Several inquiries have been received with
reference to the compilation and publication of town histories,


and encouragement has been extended to those having such his-
tories in contemplation or preparation. No completed work
along this line, however, has as yet been submitted to the State

Still another task assigned to the State Historian has received
attention, namely the compilation of "historical data of the
State of Maine." The erection and dedication, in the Park at
Valley Forge, of a marker provided by the State in honor of
the officers and soldiers from Maine, who were with Washing-
ton in the memorable winter of 1777-8, was made the occasion
of an investigation with reference to the number of men Maine
had in the eleven Massachusetts regiments at Valley Forge.
From the Revolutionary records in the office of the Secretary
of State in Boston, I succeeded in obtaining, through the chief
of the department of Revolutionary rolls, the names and resi-
dence of more than one thousand officers and men who were in
Washington's army at that time. The roll thus secured is now
in the office of the Adjutant General of the State. The Maine
Society of the Sons of the American Revolution has published
this roll in an attractive pamphlet containing an account of the
services in connection with the unveiling of the Maine marker
October 17, 1907.

Considerable attention has also been given to the work of
securing as complete a roll as is now possible of the officers and
men from Maine who were with Gen. Pepperrell at the capture
of Louisburg in 1745. Maine had three regiments in that expedi-
tion. Parkman says that a full third of the Massachusetts con-
tingent, or more than a thousand men, is reported to have come
from the hardy population of Maine, whose entire fighting force
was then but 2855. But no official rolls of Pepperrell's army
are known to have been preserved. Not finding them in the
Massachusetts State archives, the Secretary of the Common-
wealth, Col. William M. Olin, was instructed by a resolve of
the General Court in 1897 to ascertain and report whether or
not there are in existence in England rolls "of all the colonial
forces engaged in the Louisburg expedition." The Honorable
John Hay was then the American Ambassador to England, and
as this inquiry was made through him, he referred it to Mr.
B. F. Stevens, the United States despatch agent at London, a
well-known expert in such matters. For these rolls diligent but


unsuccessful search had been made in the Pubhc Records office
in London by historical investigators and public officials. Mr.
Stevens continued the search among the documents of the Colo-
nial, the Admiralty and the War Offices, also of the Audit Office,
but without success. In the Colonial Office, however, he found
a register of the commissions in Pepperrell's army. That regis-
ter, which included the names of the officers of the forces sent
to Louisburg by Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecti-
cut, was copied and sent to the Secretary of the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts.

The Legislature of Massachusetts in 1898 passed
resolve with reference to the rolls of the forces at Louisburg
in 1745 ; and the Secretary of the Commonwealth was "author-
ized and instructed to ascertain and report to the General Court
whether or not there are in existence in Halifax, Nova Scotia,
rolls of the Massachusetts colonial forces" in the Louisburg
expedition under Gen. Pepperrell. The Secretary visited Hali-
fax, where every facility was extended to him for an examina-
tion of the archives in the Provincial Building. He found sev-
eral volumes of manuscripts relating to the expedition, but they
were copies of letters and papers of which the originals are in
the Records Office in London. H^e examined five letters from
Gen. Pepperrell to the Duke of Newcastle, two letters from
Gen. Pepperrell and Commodore Warren to the Duke of New-
castle, twelve letters from Gov. Shirley to the Duke of New-
castle, one from Gov. Shirley to Mayor Aldridge, and one letter
from Gen. Pepperrell to Gov. Shirley. In one of Pepperrell's
letters to the Duke of Newcastle, dated Louisburg, June 28,
1745, this statement was found: "I have now the honor to
enclose to Your Grace an account of what troops were raised
in each of his ^Majesty's government in New England which
were aiding in this expedition, and the present state of them."
But added search for the "account," to which reference was
made in the letter, did not bring the missing document to light.
Nor has subsequent search by others been any more successful.
From several sources, however, I have been able to add to the
list of officers of the three Maine regiments, contained in the
commissions list found in London, lists of as many of the Alaine
companies at Louisburg in 1745 as could be obtained from town
records, or from the records of companies obtained in one way


or another by persons interested in the Louisburg expedition,
and which are found in the volume of Pepperrell Papers pub-
lished by the ]\Iassachusetts Historical Society, the New Eng-
land Historical and Genealogical Register, etc. The rolls of
our Maine men at Louisburg thus obtained are probably as
complete as can now be made in the absence of the ofihcial rolls.

I have also compiled for use in our Maine public schools a
brief historical review of the more prominent facts in our
Maine history from the appearance of the early voyagers on our
coast to the present time.

The work of the State Historian as outlined in the Legisla-
tive act authorizing the appointment interested me because of
my historical researches and studies, but it did not touch upon
conditions with which I had been made familiar in some earlier
investigations among our state archives. July 6, 1905, the
Maine Historical Society celebrated at Thomaston and at St.
George's Island Harbor the three hundredth anniversary of
the voyage of George Waymouth to the coast of Maine. While
the members of the Society were on their way down the St.
George's river on that day, members of the local committee
pointed out objects of historical interest. Among these was
the home in Gushing of a sea captain on whose vessel a fugi-
tive slave concealed himself at Savannah, Georgia, in the sum-
mer of 1837. The slave was not discovered until the vessel had
been several days at sea, and was far on its way northward. The
owner of the slave, rightly inferring that the negro had escaped
in this vessel on which he had assisted in some repairs, fol-
lowed the Maine schooner up the coast to its destination at
Thomaston. where he succeeded in finding his slave, whom he
was allowed to take back to Savannah. The owner was not
satisfied, however, with recovering the slave, but brought
against the captain and mate of the vessel on which the slave
escaped a charge of stealing the slave and carrying him away.
The charge was officially made, and the Governor of Georgia
was asked to call on the Governor of Maine for the arrest of
these "fugitives from justices" as they were called, and for their
delivery to Georgia officials in order that they might be brought
to trial in the State of Georgia. Three successive governors of
Maine declined to grant this request, and the case w^as before
the governor and Legislature of Maine several years.


Only a fragment of this fugitive slave case was told to me on
the occasion to which reference has been made; but enough was
said to awaken a desire to know more, and not long after, at
the State House in Augusta, I made inquiries concerning the
documents in the case. In the office of the Secretary of State
I asked for the Legislative files for the years 1 837-1 841, but in
these not a single reference to the case could be found. I then
repaired to the State library. Mr. Carver, the State Librarian,
said he had an indistinct '"ecollection of having seen a reference
to the case in some printed State document, he thought ; and
he offered to search for it. When I next visited the library he
informed me that in one of the printed legislative documents,
in a governor's message, he had found a mention of the case to
which I had referred. With this as a guide I turned to other
printed legislative documents, and by further researches among
them I was enabled at length to bring together the principal
facts in this fugitive slave case. One important document,
however, I still lacked. In my search I had learned that the
Legislature of Alabama interested itself in the matter, and
passed a series of resolutions with reference to it. But these
resolutions had no place in the printed legislative documents
referring to the case, nor was the original manuscript copy to
be found in the office of the Secretary of State. A copy of
these resolutions was at length obtained at the State House at
Montgomery in Alabama.

The impression received in the course of these researches
confirmed an earlier impression with reference to the condition
of our State archives. Not long after the death of Governor
Washburn, I wished to prepare a paper for the Maine Histori-
cal Society calling attention to Governor \\'ashburn's distin-
guished services as governor of Maine during a part of the Civil
War. Much of course could be learned from the Governor's
correspondence. The war correspondence of Governor Andrew
of Massachusetts is preserved in the State House in Boston in
manuscript volumes carefully indexed. By inquiry at the State
House in Augusta, I could not find that a single letter written
by Governor Washburn during that great crisis in the nation's
history had been preserved ; and for lack of material I was
obliged to abandon the purpose of recording with some fulness


of detail the valuable services performed by our great war-

The condition of things as to our State archives hinted at
by these references is doubtless to be attributed very largely to
the fact that suitable provision has not as yet been made for the
care and preservation of the public records and other valuable
papers accumulating year by year at the State Capitol. At
times, evidently, there has been a resort to a weeding-out pro-
cess in order to secure space for the storage of what was
regarded as more valuable material. At times also, for the
same reason, there has been a removal of the material to the
basement, attic, or any place found available, in the over-crowd-
ing made by the accumulations of many years in the various
offices. A few letters of Governor Washburn were recently
found in the basement of the capitol by the Maine adjunct
member of the Public Archives Commission. Certainly noth-
ing is clearer than that the public archives cannot be preserved
and made accessible for examination and use unless adequate
quarters are provided for their reception.

In connection with the above report of my work as State His-
torian, therefore. I beg leave to call attention to the importance
of enlarging the duties of Lhe State Historian so as to have them
include the care and preservation of our State archives and the
collection of the materials of our history before Maine became
a state. The importance, indeed the absolute necessity, of
immediate attention to the care and preservation of our public
records in the State House has been made very plain by the
Maine adjunct member of the Public Archives Commission,
Professor Allen Johnson of Bowdoin College, who at the
request of the Commission, which was appointed by the Ameri-
can Historical Association, has made a careful examination of
the condition of the State archives, and is about to submit a
report thereon based upon that examination. By the courtesy
of Professor Johnson an early copy of that report has been
placed in my hands.

This mention of the Public xA.rchives Commission suggests a
reference to the work accomplished by that Commission in
recent years in connection with the work of the American His-
torical Association. Not long after my appointment as State
Historian, I visited Washington, and had an interview with Dr.


J. Franklin Jameson, director of the Department of Historical
Research in the Carnegie Institution. He reviewed with me the
work of the Public Archives Commission, and out of his great
familiarity with it made most valuable suggestions as to plans
and methods with reference to the care and preservation of pub-
lic archives. He also gave me a list of the names of the men
in different states who have become especially prominent by
their work in connection with the public archives of the states
in which they reside, and with whom as experts he advised me
to come in close touch in my investigations. In this way, by
correspondence with men engaged in the work of collecting and
preserving public archives, and in the study of published reports
forwarded by them, I obtained in a comparatively short period
of time a large amount of valuable information.

It was ascertained that the condition of our public archives
in ]\Iaine was by no means peculiar. A like condition of things
has been found to exist in other states, though I\Iaine, which
according to its motto should lead, is here found lagging some-
what behind. An early noteworthy attempt in this direction
was made for the Commonwealth of ^Massachusetts between
1836 and 1846 by the Rev. J. B. Felt, who in those years, from
various parts of the State House, brought together valuable
historical material in two hundred and forty-one volumes. In
1884. by direction of the Legislature, an advance step was taken
with reference to the care and preservation of the archives of
Massachusetts by the appointment of a commission "to inves-
tigate the condition of the records, files, papers, and documents
in the State department." The members of this commission,
most carefully selected, devoted an entire year to the task
assigned to them. In a report covering forty-two printed pages
they disclosed a state of things far from desirable. They inves-
tigated a place in the upper part of the State House known on
account of its remoteness as "Oregon" which was the depository
of a large mass of loose and unarranged papers "little cared
for" and "open to depredations neither small nor unfrequent;"
also a place known as "The Dungeon," a dark room in the base-
ment containing another large collection of papers mostly of
that century. It is of interest to us that in their investigations
here and there the commissioners found a considerable accumu-
lation of papers relating lo land grants in Maine, and to the



separation of the District from the State. In concluding their
report the Commissioners said :

"When certain classes of documents have already been made
to constitute a series, it seems desirable that from among the
papers, loose in themselves or loosely bound, these same series
should be continued in bound volumes. All other papers, loose
or loosely bound, comporting in character with the papers which
Mr. Felt included in the so-called Massachusetts Archives,
should by a supplemental arrangement be bound in volumes
and constitute a continuation of that series. A rough computa-
tion, including all previous to 1800, indicates that this recom-
mendation would add not far from one hundred volumes to the

A wider movement in this direction was started in 1899 ^^
the meeting of the American Historical Association in Boston
by the appointment of a Public Archives Commission "to investi-
gate and report, from the point of view of historical study, upon
the character, contents and functions of our public repositories
of manuscript records, and having power to appoint local agents
in each State, through whom their inquiries may be in part
conducted." The work of the Commission began with a pre-
liminary examination of State records. In this inquiry informa-
tion was sought as to whether the public records had been lost
or destroyed, or were to be found elsewhere than in the depart-
ments where inquiry was made ; also as to the condition of the
records whether securely housed and protected, wdietlier bound
or unbound, whether conveniently arranged for consultation or
the contrary. At the meeting of the Association in 1900,
reports were received from the following States : Connecticut,
Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New York,
North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Reports from
other states have been received in each succeeding year, and
the reports show that the Public Archives Commission has car-
ried its work into most of the States with the result that not
only has there been a noteworthy increase of interest in the


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