Posts Tagged With: Windsor

Maine’s Malta War

This story relates the uprising of the settlers from an area we know today as Windsor, Maine. Only one person was killed, and seven men were tried for the murder of that one man. Follow along as we explore a moment in Maine’s past….

The Malta War

An uprising in Maine

The town of Malta was incorporated on March 3rd of 1809. Between then and now, it has been referred to as New Waterford and Gerry. Today we know it as Windsor. This community is situated at the headwaters of the Sheepscot River. On the 8th of September of that year, 1809, one Mr. Paul Chadwick was Murdered. The lands of that town were claimed to be owned by the holders of the Plymouth Patent. Mr. Chadwick was hired by the proprietors of the patent to survey the lands.

The settlers of the area were understandably upset, as the truthful ownership of the area was being called into question. They had presumed to be the lawful owners, when in fact, that may not have been the case. Joined as one, the people living on the lands being surveyed made a resolution to defend their property at all costs. Ten or more men gathered themselves together, and went to speak to Mr. Chadwick.

Some were disguised as Indians, and were fully armed, as they were resentful upon the encroachment of their homes. They advised Chadwick to cease his survey operations and quit the territory, or suffer the consequences. To his error, Chadwick did not believe the men, and was subsequently shot. His wounds, though mortal, allowed him to live until the following day, when he died.

Almost immediately, seven men were arrested for the crime. These were; David Lynn, Nathaniel Lynn, Ansel Meigs, Jabez Meigs, Adam Pitts, Elijah Barton and Prince Cain. They were brought to Augusta and confined in the jail there, and charged with the crime of murder.

While awaiting trial rumors began circulating around Augusta that a large party of armed men intended to storm the jail to rescue the seven men. Prone to believing the wild stories, the residents felt they were in imminent peril. The fear of the possibility of the town being burned down by these people turned into “supposed fact”. To calm the public, the judges of the court, known then as “Justices of the Common Pleas” and the Sherriff requested that Maj-General Sewall of the 8th division send troops to quell the uprising.

However, General Sewall did not believe that this situation required as drastic a response that was requested. He replied by sending a couple of patrols to stand watch and patrol the streets. October 1st was a night that would change this view. After midnight approximately seventy men approached the town. All were armed and some were in disguise to hide their identity.

They came to within one hundred fifty rods on the East side of the bridge into Augusta. The leaders of the mob sent a spy closer to the bridge to reconnoiter the situation and report back, so a plan could be made. Unfortunately, the spy got too close to the guards and was taken prisoner. He was dragged off some distance, and nearly three dozen men took chase and attacked the soldiers.

They managed to subdue the soldiers because of their numbers, and rescued their fellow miscreant. A few soldiers fired their muskets as a warning and the reports were heard in the city. Immediately, the bell in the courthouse tower was rung. The streets of Augusta were filled with citizens, some in terror of the rumored attack on the city.

General Sewall immediately called up three hundred soldiers to curtail the commotion and return peace to Augusta. The following day, when it was shown that there would be no more violence, he recalled two hundred, leaving the other hundred soldiers in town for guard and patrol duty. The seven prisoners were indicted on charges of murder, and held until their trial in November of that year.

The trial commenced on the 16th of November and lasted eight days. In addition to remarks and testimony of the defendants and their legal representation, testimony from a total of forty four witnesses was heard. The jury deliberated the case over a course of two days, and acquitted the seven men by unanimous verdict.

The prosecutor in this case was Daniel Davis, representing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Attorneys for the defendants were Prentiss Mellen, Samuel S. Wilde, Thomas Rice and Phillip Leach. Comments made by Judge Parker on the case indicated that the State was not in agreement with the verdict. However, as the law was held by the court the verdict was allowed to stand.

It is interesting to compare the situation of two hundred years ago to today. While a mob of people protected the land they felt was lawfully theirs the same would not be allowed today. In this day the written law has become so convoluted with caveats and loopholes that only a team of lawyers could have tackled the problem.

I would wonder why the Plymouth Company still had valid title to the area. One would think that all patents by the English Crown would have become null and void at the end of the Revolutionary War. They were not, however, as a court had given title back to the original patent owners after the war.

Another interesting note on this incident is that an act was made to institute a statute prohibiting any person from disguising themselves as an Indian, with the intent of prohibiting a law enforcement officer or surveyor from completing their duties.

Maine History news

A look at the past of America’s pastime

NEW GLOUCESTER, Maine — One hundred and fifty years ago, when batters were called “strikers” and home plate was actually an iron plate, you couldn’t blame the umpire for striking out. There were no called strikes in the early days of a game called “base ball.” “The only time a …

Family of World War II tank driver arranges surprise visit

AUGUSTA, Maine — Family members of World War II tank driver Harry Grimm, who turned 90 on Monday, have undertaken a secret mission. They are taking him on a ride Friday to a place that should put a smile on his face and may cause a tear to fall from…

Transylvania by the sea: Washington County rich in ghost stories

LUBEC, Maine — She walks the trails at West Quoddy Lighthouse State Park, stopping only to gaze out to sea. The wind billows her long…

Categories: articles, history, Maine, Maine oddities, stories, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Benedict Arnold & Maine History Headlines

Here are a few headlines from around the state of Maine for you history buffs! Click on the headline links to go to the source for full stories.

The Curious London Legacy of Benedict Arnold

More than 200 years after his death, the most notorious traitor of the Revolutionary War has an unlikely supporter Read More »

The Last Roundup for Movie, Early TV Cowboys
While the story of the sale of items from the Roy Rogers Museum made headlines around the world, Worthologist Harry Rinker is thinking about what that auction really means. At the moment, the new owners of Rogers’ memorabilia are relishing in their acquisitions, and most will proudly display their trophies, regaling those privileged to view them with their personal remembrances of Roy and Dale and how they acquired their piece of the Western couple’s history. But fame is fleeting, and so is memory. Harry ponders about the future fate of these once-cherished items and other similar pieces once belonging to TV and movie Western heroes. Read “The Last Roundup for Movie, Early TV Cowboys”

Dixfield Outdoor Market promises 50 vendors, lots of variety

DIXFIELD — The Main Street Outdoor Market Committee and the Dixfield Historical Society have teamed up to offer a variety of events and activities Aug. 14 and 15. The Outdoor Market is in its 15th year or so, Norine Clarke said. It will cover most of the sidewalks on Main Street from…

Welcome sign to kick off Acadian congress

An official sign unveiling here next week is designed to help kick off the largest event ever held in the St. John Valley, one that will have massive economic and cultural … more

220th birthday of Coast Guard celebrated at Lobster Fest opening

ROCKLAND, Maine — U.S. Coast Guard Station Rockland was honored during a ceremony and celebration of the 220th birthday of the Coast Guard on the opening day of the Maine Lobster Festival. City … more

Tour of quarries exposes the past

HALLOWELL — Some 170 people swarmed throughout the old Hallowell quarries Sunday, mining memories of summer days and an industry gone by…

In Windsor, little ships a labor of love

WINDSOR — Roger Anttila’s love of the sea has turned into a leisure-time occupation. Anttila brings to life the romantic tales of 17th- and 18th-century sailors with model clipper ships he crafts out of timber salvaged from shipwrecks found off the coast of Maine…

Saco to consider historic value of 1938 fire station

SACO — The Central Fire Station on Thornton Avenue could be eligible for the National Historic Registry, and the Planning Board has recommended the city look into the possibility….

Lighthouse lovers line up Summerfest

BATH — The volunteer group organized to care for and preserve Seguin Island lighthouse is launching its first annual Summerfest celebration, an event to raise money for and awareness of the historic structure…

Olde Bristol Days Livens Up August With Concerts And Parade
Olde Bristol Days kicks off Thurs., Aug. 12 as the Bristol Parks and Recreation Commission takes over planning for the event from Jenny Pendleton and Joyce Thompson.
 

Topsham celebrates 156th annual fair Aug. 8-14

TOPSHAM — The Topsham Fair is rolling out its 156th year of “farm fresh family fun” beginning Sunday, Aug. 8 and running through Saturday, Aug. 15…

Historical Society hosts annual flea market, bake sale

SCARBOROUGH — The Historical Society will hold its annual fundraiser on Saturday, August 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Historical Society Museum on Route 1 near Fire Station 6.

Categories: breaking news, collectibles, events, headlines, historical societies, history, lighthouses, Maine, Maine things to do, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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