District of Maine
By: Nancy Z. Clark

Dec 1 , 2002

Napoleon’s abdication on April 11, 1814 freed the British fleet to pursue a more aggressive North American policy beginning in May blockading from L. I. to Penobscot with two frigates headquartered at occupied Provincetown, Ms. The Maine coast east of Penobscot was occupied. Eastport, Castine (in August), Hampden, Bangor (several days in September) and Machias fell to the British. Governor Strong called an extra session of the General Court in October 1814 to authorize his borrowing of funds to support the militia efforts along the coast. He failed to raise the issue of the eviction of the British from eastern Maine at this session. This did not win him support in the District.
It then became apparent that the majority of the funds were to be used in the defense of Boston, with District protection a secondary concern. Appropriating funds without caring for the District was another no-go for the residents.
Smuggling food and support to British forces was a lucrative activity. When local Militia troops became too effective in preventing smuggling, the British caused a tactical retreat from Robbinston to Machias. Then came the foray up the St. George River (referred to above.)

* October 25, 1814 letter from PMG Meigs to William D. Williamson, PM Bangor
“Gen’rl Post office October 255 1814:
Sir: Under the circumstances in which you have been placed by the enemy-you must make out yr. office accounts in the best Way you cann & transmit them-accompanied by affidavit-I am yr. obdt. svt. P. Meigs”

A large British fleet arrived at Castine September 1st. The Militia, seeing how futile their cause, blew up their own fort and fled up the bay. Soon a flag was sent across the bay to Belfast to ask for their surrender. From there, a fleet went up the Penobscot, headed for Bangor. The following letter to the PM there is of interest:
* Williamson reports ‘upwards of $50 post-office money were exacted and taken’ among other outrages.”

By November, those of Maj. General King and part of General Seward’s Division joined Gould’s troops at Wiscasset. They remained there until the British fleet was seen to sail past Castine, and they dispersed.
The Treaty of Ghent signed Dec 24, 1814, received in this country Feb. 11, 1815. Castine finally got rid of the British troops April 25, 1815.

Ah, but how to pay for this righteous repelling invaders!
* Georgetown military mail May 1, 1812 from the U.S. garrison. Written by Jackson Durand Georgetown, United States garrison Georgetown, to Dr. John McCrilles and sent free as military mail.
“My Boat has this evening returned from Wiscasset-and Capt. Berring has sent me a verbal request to settle your demand against the Government-and for this purpose he has forwarded to me $45.80, being the amount of your demand. Should you be disposed to discontinue the process against me, and receive the money (as no doubt you will) you will please to call as soon as it will suit your convenience and receive it. -Tomorrow and the next day shall be at home-but on Monday I shall probably make a visit to Bath-I am Sir, Respectfully, your humble serv’nt Jackson Durand”

Enter the War Rates, Enacted on Dec. 23, 1814, implemented February 1, 1815.
Restored Rate lasted only one month, voted Feb. 1, 1816, enacted March 31, 1816, ended May 1, 1816.
So, the War is over, and coffers are replenished, and the majority of people who voted want to be separated from Massachusetts. But, they need to get a 5/9th majority to succeed. Matters are heating up.
But there are two postmasters who do their best to protest the separatist movement: Syms Gardner of Bowdoinham and Stephen Thatcher of Kennebunk. The former used a Bowdoinham, D. M. handstamp in 1820 while the latter used a Kennebunk, MS in 1819. Syms Gardner used the postmark both pre- and post statehood.
Kennebunk, part of Wells, wanted to be annexed to New Hampshire rather than be part of a separate state. Of the Kennebunk protest postmarks, only four are known to exist. One man has two copies, and two others have a single copy apiece. Known February 26 to March 24, 1819, I do not own a copy, but my mentor in Maine collecting has (or has tried to) arranged to bring his copy so you can see one.

The politicians are almost ready to consummate the separation. The man who would be King (no, his name is King) will soon be our first Governor, rallies the final charge in this letter.
* William D. Williamson, to be first Governor, to J. Williamson, Esq., Secretary of the Convention to meet at Bucksport. Letter from Bath, Sept. 22, 1818.

“Sir, I observe a meeting has been notified of your congregational, and a part of our Senatorial District, to meet at Bucksport, the last calendar day of this month, the purpose to select a candidate to represent your district in the next congress. Nothing more is wanting I assume than for the Republicans to be united in your district and the (?toire) of your candidate must be certain (this result is rendered almost certain as we are informed here) as it is stated that the Mr. L. Jarvis is very generally spoken of, the uniform support which the Republican measures of our country have received from all the Jarvis family, in addition to this Mr. Jarvis, possessing all the necessary qualifications will place him in congress on the first instance under circumstances more favourable (sic) than any other person perhaps in the district of Maine, I sincerely hope this result so interesting to our District will be effected.–
The Mr. Jarvis not having been a member of our State Legislature, would not be able to do so much for us here or gentlemen who have been there and have formed their acquaintances, I name this as it has been observed, that some of Mr. Williamses (sic) friends are desirous it is understood that he should be the candidate, seeing that this might be the case is my principle inducement for writing you at this time. -Measures of the utmost in fortune to this District as well as the State will be conducted the next year, and Mr. Williamson must not leave the Senate were (sic) he has acquired very greate (sic) influence, until (sic), these measures are effected, even should he himself prefer a seate (sic) in congress at this time, the interest of his Constituents being more promoted by his remaining in our Senate, I think he will not hesitate a (?) in deciding.
The other object of your meeting (?) some remarks which have been made by Gentlemen in the Country I am inclined to think you had better agree on one Senator at this time and omit the other for a little advisement with the Resident September A. Lincoln, the new organization which has been entered into here with great zeal will render this as a seceedure of frustration necessary – I have no doubt however in the result of every thing being perfectly satisfactory – but as some of our people here say they are entitled to (?) more than half, the Senator, as indeed gave as to their aiding you in the nomination will do no harm.-
I beg of your sir in the court of your communicating any of this opinions (sic) to the mention of your (?) to say that my only object is to aid the republican cause which I genuinely believe to be that of our country.
I am Sir Respectfully Your Humble Svt. W. King”