arnolds march historical society, Maine

Arnold Expedition Historical Society

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WHAT’S IN A NAME- DIVISION COMMANDER MEIGSThe most unusual first name of an officer on the expedition was “Return” for Major Return Jonathan Meigs of Middletown, Connecticut. Some historians suggest that his name came from his grandfather who in courting a young lady decided his quest was hopeless and left her house. As he was leaving she changed her mind and called out “Return Jonathan.”This is likely a made up story. It turns out that in the extended Meigs family in the 18th century there were other unusual names such as Concurrence, Mindwell,Recompense, Silence, Submit, Thankful, Mercy and Church. It seems that the Meigs family specialized in unusual names so Return is consistent in that context.Major Meigs was a division commander on the expedition who was taken prisoner in the assault on Quebec. He was selected as one of two officers who were released early on parole to send a message to the Americans. The 380 plus prisoners were becoming a financial burden on the British who wanted them out of Quebec and back home. Meigs personally visited Washington to advocate for a solution to get the men in the British prison released. It is hard to tell how much influence Meigs had in the ultimate prisoner release occurring in September of 1776.Meigs wrote a journal recounting his experiences on the expedition. His journal was given to a British officer and was published in 1776. It was the first expedition journal to be published. Since that first publication his journal has been published ten other times over the years making it the most published journal from the expedition. Kenneth Roberts called it one of the best journals.In 2012, Richard Mason published a biography of Meigs titled “The Quiet Patriot.” It is worth a read. ... See MoreSee Less
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Anybody out there know why these boats are called "Shaving Mills?"In reading about the history of Penobscot Bay during the American Revolution, one often comes across the term "shaving mills." This refers to the small open vessels used, primarily by the Tories, to raid along the coast (Americans also used them to raid along the Nova Scotia coast). Does anyone out there know the origin of the phrase "shaving mills" and why these boats were called that?(photo from Privateers Media) ... See MoreSee Less
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The barn at the Colburn House had sill problems. How do you fix the sills on a barn that size? Well, you just lift it up, replace the sill, and set the barn down on the new sill. Simple. 🙂 Read about how this project came about in this excerpt from the Arnold Expedition Historical Society, May 2010 Newsletter. Levitating BarnsMaine barns are an institution separate from its accompanying house. And there is more than one kind of "barn raising. " The barn at the Colburn House property in Pittston, Maine is undergoing a levitation of sorts. The accompanying photo will demonstrate that.This barn was build in the mid-nineteenth century an like most barns built them are susceptible to sill rot along its supporting foundations. Maine barns fail either at that point, or because the barn roof develops leaks. Obviously, the Colburn barn and its accompanying carriage house were not there in 1775, when Col. Benedict Arnold visited the property on Sept 2l-23,1775. But today the barn plays an important part of the history of the Expedition as it houses the so-called Bateau Museum, where the bateaux replicas and other historical craft are displayed for visitors.Up in the Air Cribbing and I beams raise the barn to build a new foundation and sill replacement. The extensive renovations being accomplished by the State Bureau of Parks and Lands, under the supervision of Thomas Desjardin has been underway for two years. Extensive repairs on the main house were done first. The Carriage House has also undergone extensive repairs including a new electrical system and a complete new foundation and sill. A new security system was also installed, but the barn was a final major obstacle to be overcome.This year, the Davis Family Foundation of Maine, provided a generous grant to the AEHS, of $25,000 to enable a continuing process to "fix" the barn. This has been funneled to the BPL to undertake this extensive project. At this time we would like to acknowledge and thank the generosity of this Foundation which has allowed the continuation of the important renovations to the property.There is still a way to go, however. Once the barn settles back to earth, more work will be needed in the interior. A new heavy duty floor is to be installed and the whole first floor is to be restored to a time when the barn was used as a working building for cattle and horses. Also, it will be opened up for use as a meeting place and for other social events such as weddings. The bateau displays on the second floor will be more properly arranged and better interpretive signing will be displayed. This "second phase" of the barn's renovation will have to await other grants to complete the work.Tight State budgets mean this will take time to complete. Other grants will be sought to supplement the work. But the AEHS would like to acknowledge and thank the BPL in general and Tom Desjardin in particular for the extensive commitment to make this property a class act, one that we will all be proud to say is an important part of our Maine and Expedition heritage for many years to come. We would urge the members of the AEHS, to visit the facility this coming summer, to view the amazing changes that have taken place. Descendants of the Colburn family that are current members of the Society will especially enjoy seeing the wonderful renovations that have been accomplished already and see the additional progress that is underway.- End of Newsletter clipping - Visit our website Research Room, Newsletter Archives to find more gems like this. ... See MoreSee Less
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