KITTERY, Maine — If you have never visited Fort McClary or if you haven’t been there is a while, now may be the time. For the third year in a row, the Friends of Fort McClary will be sponsoring two weekends of living history, with something for all ages.
On Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m., the “Liberty Rifles,” a Civil War re-enactment group, will be encamped at the block house at Fort McClary State Park on Pepperrell Road.
Maine was the first state to adopt a law against the manufacture and sale of spirituous liquors in 1851, but by then the Kennebunks had been dry for almost 20 years.
When James Remich, proprietor of the Kennebunk Gazette, published an editorial “condemning the indiscriminate sale of ardent spirits” on Feb. 4, 1826, he lost 150 subscribers; not just enthusiastic imbibers but merchants and West Indies traders who took part of their living from the importation and sale of rum. According to his son, Daniel Remich, who later penned the “History of Kennebunk,” James kept the subject constantly before his remaining readers to his own financial detriment. In 1830 he published a report claiming that 3/4 of pauperism in Kennebunk could be attributed to intemperance.