This article is republished on the Upper St.John website
by permission of the author. It is the English translation of the French
version published in Le Revue de la Société historique du Madawaska
30 (janvier-mars 2002), 5-55, and in abbreviated form in English in Maine History
41 (Summer 2002), 117-139.
A gravestone with the traditional name and date on the front and a political polemic on the
back is rare. That is what visitors find in Riverside Cemetery, just across the Aroostook River
from the town of Fort Fairfield, Maine.(1) On the base of one gravestone is the name, "BAKER,"
and an Old English "B" is carved in bas relief on the crown stone. Whoever paid for the stone
evidently had the money to purchase expensive granite; it is in excellent condition 105 years later.(2)
On the face we read the names of a man and his wife with their birth and death dates: "JOHN
BAKER / JAN. 17, 1796 / MAR. 10 1868 / SOPHIA, HIS WIFE / MAR. 17, 1785, FEB. 23,
1883." All predictable. All traditional. However, on the back of the stone, which visitors expect
to be blank, we read,
Erected by authority of a Resolve
of the legislature of Maine A.D. 1895,
to commemorate the Patriotism of
JOHN BAKER A Loyal son of Maine
in maintaining the Honor of his Flag
during the contentions on the disputed Territory 1834 - 42.
Not predictable. Not traditional. The viewer is more surprised on learning that John Baker died and was initially buried not far from the village he helped found, Baker Brook, in Madawaska County, New Brunswick.(3)
The headstone memorial raises at least three questions that invite inquiry by a 21st century visitor to the cemetery. One, why would anyone want to erect a memorial to the efforts of John Baker, who, today, is a long-forgotten minor figure in Maine's history? Two, how did anyone get the legislature to pass a resolution calling for the State to erect the memorial? And three, is John Baker really a patriot who defended the honor of his flag against some attack?
These questions help us understand John Baker's place in Maine's history 150 years after he stopped having a role in it. The first deals with what makes a person extraordinary in Maine in 1895. The second deals with whether the memorial was the result of broad public interest or the special connections of a private few. The third deals asks whether the values of a century later sustain the view of John Baker that led to the memorial. Together, the answers to these questions should let us decide whether to leave John Baker in the forgotten dust of history or to renew our respect for his deeds.(4)
The Flag Incident
Geraldine Tidd Scott tells the story briefly.(5)
On July 4, 1827, John Baker and about fourteen of his neighbors celebrated Independence Day. At the [Western side of the] confluence of the Meruimticook [Baker Brook] and St. John Rivers, on land conveyed to Baker by Maine and Massachusetts, Baker erected a flag staff. Two of the French settlers assisted him in a traditional flag-raising ceremony. A flag made by Sophia Baker, bearing a representation of the national eagle partially surrounded by stars, was raised. An address was followed by a feast. A French fiddler, Bellony Terrio [Bénonie Thériault], had been hired for the occasion and some of the Acadians from Madawaska were guests. In the evening, a ball at the home of James Bacon [whose house was on the Eastern side of the confluence of Baker Brook and the Saint John River], at which by invitation many of the French settlers were present, concluded the festivities of the day.(6)
Were the flag raising merely a proud commemoration of Baker's origins, nothing might have come of the event. But the event was not about the past; it was about the present and future. The event was not about diversity; it was about which country would have control of the Upper Saint John River Valley. As Scott points out, "there is no doubt that this particular gathering had also as its purpose the exercising of jurisdiction."(7) On the 25th of July, militia adjutant Francis Rice wrote to justice of the peace George Morehouse, complaining that there was "disorder amongst the people, occasioned by Baker and others in the upper settlement."(8)
Rice's letter got results. The New Brunswick attorney general directed Justice of the Peace George Morehouse to investigate the matter. Morehouse went to the Madawaska settlement, found a person who had been present at the flag raising, and recorded the following sworn testimony from William Feirio [Guillaume Thériault]:
Baker and the other American citizens then raised a flag staff, and placed the American flag thereon; that the said Baker then declared that place to be American territory, which he repeated to this deponent and other French settlers then there, and that they must for the future look upon themselves as subjects of the United States, who would protect them, and him in what he was doing.(9)
Morehouse then went to Baker's house on 7 August 1827. Here is part of what took place.
I pointed to the flag, and asked Baker what that was. He said, "the American flag, Mr. Morehouse: did you never see it before, if not, you can see it now." I asked him who planted it there: he said, "he and the other Americans there." Bacon was present at the time: I required him in His Majesty's name to pull it down. He replied, "no, I will not; we have placed it there, and we are determined we will support it, and nothing but a superior force to ourselves shall take it down; we are on American territory; Great Britain has no jurisdiction here; what we are doing we will be supported in; we have a right to be protected, and will be protected, in what we are doing, by our Government."(10)
Baker was arrested in the following month. Eight months later, he was tried before a jury in Fredericton, found guilty of high misdemeanor, fined 25 pounds, and jailed for two months (or until he paid the fine). George Morehouse, in his testimony at Baker's trial, described the flag as "a white flag, with an American eagle and semicircle of stars, red."(11)
This is the incident memorialized on the back of John Baker's headstone.
The existence of the memorial leads to the first question posed at the start of this article: Why does anyone want a memorial? What makes this flag event important enough to remind subsequent generations and passers by? The answer is that a memorial signifies something important to a group of people. The Acadian Cross at Saint David in the Upper Saint John Valley is important to Acadian descendants; the flags of Maine regiments that served in the Civil War displayed in the Hall of Flags in Maine's state house are important to the descendants of Civil War veterans and, by extension, to all veterans; and the statue of Longfellow in Longfellow Square at the intersection of West Congress and High Street in Portland is important to Portlanders and all Mainers. All public memorials signify something important to some group.
Kirk Savage, in his observant analysis of Civil War memorials, explains that the nineteenth century's effort "to construct memory in physical monuments is symptomatic of an increasing anxiety about memory left to its own devices. . . . Collective memory is intersubjective, abstract; public monuments seek to isolate and objectify it. In effect monuments transfer the burden of sharing memory from human minds to a communal artifact, an external sign that declares, 'we remember'." He continues, "The obsession with material proof of memory [in the nineteenth century] arose because popular memory could not be trusted or even verified."(12)
Savage has a point. How many Mainers, especially lifelong residents outside Aroostook County, remember that Fort Kent and Fort Fairfield were initially the locations of blockhouses, each named after an early Maine governor, and that they were built in expectation that the Aroostook War would become a bloody exchange with England over the demarcation of the Northeast boundary of the US? With each generation's passing, what was common knowledge is no longer common memory, and what many could explain is found now only in rarely visited archives.
Savage's comments explain the Acadian Cross at Saint David, the flags of Maine's Civil War regiments, and the many busts and statues of Longfellow. The Acadian Cross informs thousands of Acadian descendants that Saint David was the location the first Acadian and French-Canadian settlers to the Valley landed in 1785. Almost every person ever born in the Valley is a descendant of the fourteen original families and those who followed them to what became known as the Madawaska Settlement. The cross says that it is important for all descendants to remember that their forebearers began something at that place in that year which has benefitted at least seven generations of Valley residents. The cross also carries the burden of a vibrant oral tradition, lifting it from the shoulders of those who may not so easily remember to pass on or be able to pass on to others in our increasingly mobile culture.(13) Maine's regimental Civil War flags remind all who pass the flags in the state house on their way to the legislative chambers on the floor above of the substantive cost in life paid by Mainers to preserve the Union. Of those who enlisted in Maine regiments, 2,914 were killed or died of combat wounds; another 4,656 died of accidents, disease, or imprisonment.(14) Longfellow's statue reminds Portlanders and other Mainers who pass the statue on their way to the city center that Longfellow's poetry taught and entertained not just the United States but all Europe and earned him the sobriquet of America's favorite poet.(15)
However, Savage's comments do not explain a memorial to a single person's flag raising over land the nationality of which had not been decided. No one has argued that John Baker's bellicose defense of his flag in 1827 resulted in any tangible benefit to anyone twenty-five, fifty or one hundred years later. The flag is not preserved in Maine's state house. There is no steady trickle of tourists visiting his homestead to see where the famous flag was unfurled against the summer afternoon sky.
Thus, we can ask, "For whom is the memorial important?" The Acadian Cross, Maine's Civil War flags, and the many statues of Longfellow have meaning for and appeal to thousands and hundreds of thousands. In contrast, John Baker's flag was the proud creation of Sophie Rice Baker. The "white flag, with an American eagle and semicircle of stars, red" was not even the 13 stars and 13 stripes approved by the Continental Congress on 14 June1777 and standardized with 15 stars and 15 stripes since 1 May 1795, some 32 years before the memorialized incident.(16) As the language of his memorial tells us, it was indeed "his flag" (emphasis mine). In 1827, it was an important symbol for 16 Yankee families in the upper settlement.(17) Yet it is difficult to imagine anyone living in Aroostook County in 1995 and few living in the County in 1895 for whom a memorial commemorating John Baker's "Patriotism . . . in maintaining the Honor of his Flag" would be important. It is not the objectification of the collective memory of all Aroostook Mainers, for the county was not created until 1839, fully twelve years after the flag incident, and scarcely anyone lived in it outside the Madawaska Settlement in 1827. There was not even a road from the Bangor area on the Penobscot to Houlton, 90 miles South of the Madawaska Settlement in 1827.(18) It is not a positive symbol for those of Acadian or French-Canadian descent who live in the Upper Saint John Valley, for Pierre Duperre's 1818 letter and Joseph Sansfaçon's testimony at Baker's 1828 trial indicate that Baker's behavior was an irritant to many of them. When we look at Resolve 249 from the 1894-1895 session of the Maine legislature, it appears that the memorial was important primarily if not only to the person who petitioned the Maine legislature for the memorial, John Baker's daughter, Adaline Baker Slocomb, and those with whom she socialized. When the memorial was unveiled, Adaline was in the front row. Her son-in-law, Captain E. E. Scates of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, led the ceremony.(19) Just as the flag was not the US flag but John Baker's, John Baker's headstone / memorial is not Maine's but Adaline's.
The large turnout at the unveiling of the memorial and the formal ceremony by the I.O.O.F., with members from Presque Isle as well as Fort Fairfield, is evidence that some townspeople, many of whom were children of original settlers, agreed with Adaline's memory. For them, the memorial and the unveiling ceremony were validations of their fathers' view that John Baker and the State of Maine were in the right in insisting that the 1783 treaty put the boundary at the headlands above the Saint Lawrence and that all the Madawaska Settlement was in the United States. For them, the ceremony was a validation of the aggressive frontiersman who stood up for what was right, consequences be damned. But showing up for a paradeand who in a small town does not like a public spectacle?--or showing personal support is not signing a petition and raising money. It is still Adaline Baker who got Senator Houghton's help to get the legislature to agree with her request, and hers is the only signature on the petition to the legislature.(20)
This conclusion, that few if any cared except Adaline Baker, is supported by the fact that the State of Maine, not a voluntary association, paid for the memorial. The core concept of a public memorial, Savage tells us, is that it represents the "collective memory" of a group.(21) When we look at how the typical public monument to a public figure or event got funded, we see evidence of the group sharing the costs of preserving the collective memory. For instance, the Civil War monument in Houlton was funded by a starter gift of $1,000 from the town; donations from the public paid for the remaining $2,500. We know many people shared the memory since many individuals donated funds to reach the $3,500 price tag for the monument.(22) The same is true for Portland's Longfellow Square statue.(23) When we look for the individuals behind the effort to get funds for the memorial to John Baker, we see only Adaline Baker Slocomb's signature on a memorial petition attached to the draft language of the Resolve. (See Appendix A.)
The statement on the back of the headstone memorial indicates that it was "Erected by authority of a Resolve / of the legislature of Maine A.D. 1895 which tells us that the State of Maine paid for the stone. That leads us to ask the second question posed at the beginning of this article: why would the legislature of the state of Maine want to pay for a headstone and memorial in a cemetery in 1895 for a deed that took place nearly 70 years earlier in 1827 for a person who died almost 30 years earlier in 1868?
To answer that, we must remember how legislation in a representative democracy gets passed. It is axiomatic that those who participate in the political process benefit from it. It is correlative that a personal acquaintance with the representatives and senators who work the process provides an entrée into the legislative process. Put in vernacular terms, it is not what you know, it is who you know that counts. When a young man changes his first tractor tire, he turns to an older relative or neighbor: the older man has done it many times, and he will gladly show the young man how to do the job. When Adaline Baker Slocomb wanted the State of Maine to put up a memorial to a patriot, her father, she did what others do who are not sure how to do something. She turned to a family friend and voila, she had what she wanted.
To understand this connection, we must look at the social leadership of Fort Fairfield in the 1890s, a decade when Fort Fairfield was conscious of itself as a growing town. At the February 1893 Board of Trade banquet, a speaker reported that
[as of] August 29th the Fort Fairfield National Bank was in operation, and arrangements had been entered into with Mr. Holmes of Caribou for an electric light system. A night police for our village has been secured. The Fort Fairfield Land Company has been organized. The Building Association organized with a capital of $9,000; streets have been laid out; five houses built and an open field for other work before them which he believed would be successfully occupied the present year.(24)
In this energized new community, several names regularly show up together in newspaper columns. E. L. Houghton, State Senator in 1895, and N. Fessenden, Secretary of State, were both officers of the Harrison Republican Club, and they traveled together from Fort Fairfield to Augusta and back; E. L. Houghton and W. W. Slocomb, Adaline Baker's son, were both officers of the Eastern Frontier Masonic Lodge, and both were active in the Board of Trade; and the Houghton and Scates familiesMrs. Scates being Adaline's daughterleft on vacation trips together.(25) Adaline's husband, Caleb Slocomb, must have been a prominent member of the Masonic Lodge since 77 Masons, some from Andover, N. B., attended his ceremonious funeral.(26) In a town with a population of 1,469 in 1900,(27) we can comfortably infer that the Slocombs, Houghtons, and Fessendens were sufficiently close that Adaline (or her son, the prominent clothing store owner) asked for Houghton's agreement to move a bill through the Maine legislature for the relocation of her father's remains and the erection of a memorial to him. Given the closeness of these families in the leadership circle of Fort Fairfield, Houghton was likely more than happy to oblige Adaline.
When we look at the draft of Resolve 249, it was Senator E. L. Houghton who introduced the resolution, attached Adaline Baker Slocomb's memorial to it, and monitored its progress through three readings in the House and in the Senate. When the memorial was unveiled, Fessenden, Fort Fairfield resident and Houghton political associate, now Maine's Secretary of State, presented the keynote speaker.
The effort was not a simple matter of political patronage, of vote-seeking by politicians, however. We must view the petition to obtain a memorial for Patriot John Baker in the context of other efforts to memorialize important past individuals. We must look at the memorializing that was going on associated with memories of the Civil War. Citizens' committees in many Maine towns, including Houlton, raised funds for a memorial. The period from 1890 to 1910 was marked with the efforts to erect memorials in places as far-flung as Houlton, Maine, Bedford, Iowa, and New Orleans, Louisiana. Indeed, it is difficult to find a county seat between Portland, Maine, and Atlanta, Georgia, without a civil war monument. Memorial fever swept the country between 1890 and 1910.
In addition, we must remember the core function of the effort to obtain funding for a memorial. Savage tells us that
[Funding campaigns served a] crucial . . . function: legitimization. They served to demonstrate public participation in the commemorative process and to confirm public approval for its results. The ritual of the campaign was necessary to support the claim that the monument did indeed embody collective memory, that the work was not just the product of special interests or powerful individuals. Through ritual the public monument overcame its own particular origins . . . and justified itself as the instrument of a collective will.(28)
Thus Adaline's petition to Maine's legislature through Senator Houghton was necessary to validate her memory that her father was indeed a patriot whose actions were motivated by the widely shared belief of Massachusetts and Maine authorities that the 1783 treaty did in fact put all land South of the headlands above the Saint Laurence within the boundary of the United States.
Savage tells us that memorial efforts always involve two core questions: "whose memory" and "what memory"?(29) In this case, the Statement of Facts by Baker's daughter Adaline, printed as part of Resolve 249, answers the first question of "whose memory." The Statement about John Baker's patriotism is Adaline's memory. Her memory of the event is most likely supplied by her parents. Born in 1827, she would have been 13 when her father maneuvered to become leader of the town of Madawaska and collected fees for the movement of British timber past an American-made log boom. She would have been 15 when the WebsterAshburton Treaty was signed, putting all the land her father and his brother before him had developed on the Canadian side. And she would have been married and gone from the house for two years when her father received his grant of land from the provincial government in 1848. Thus, the bulk of what she heard in her parents' home would have been between about 1835, when she was 8 years old, and 1846, when she married at age 19.
Three sources of her memory are much closer to the 1890s when she made her request of the legislature. One is her mother who appears to have lived with her in her final years. An article in The North Star for 14 August 1883, titled "Barbara Freitche of Aroostook," outlines Sophia Baker's life and says that "Mrs. Baker spent the last years of her life with her daughter, Mrs. Evelyn [sic.] Slocomb of Fort Fairfield Village."(30) The article includes the flag story. The second is her full-brother, John Jr., who mailed her a letter from Mecosta, MI, on 4 December 1890 sharing his recollections of his father's life. His letter also includes a reference to the flag story. The third is her half-brother Enoch's son Jesse, who also wrote to Adaline with some facts about his grandfather. His letter includes a physical description of John Baker which he obtained from his mother, Marie-Madeleine Ouellette (1821 - 1906), who grew up two farms upstream from the Baker homestead at the mouth of Baker Brook and knew John Baker.(31)
The question's second half, "what memory," is considerably more complicated. In her statement, Adaline admits that "The neighbors who were his contemporaries have joined him on the 'other shore,'" and are thus not available to corroborate her understanding of events. Thus it is "upon that history and tradition that we have from the early settlers of that region, we must rely to satisfy your honorable body of the justice of my claim upon the consideration of the State." Not having the benefit of access to archives, research libraries, and photocopy machines as we do, she had to make do with oral tradition handed down from those who knew her parents to supplement what she had heard from them as a child, what stories her mother would have told her when she lived with Adaline in her last years, and the letters from her brother and her half brother's son.
This is the core of her memory.(32) Her father went North from Moscow and settled on "land watered by the Upper Saint John." He purchased the land from Massachusetts and Maine land agents. He worked with "unremitting toil" which made him "the possessor of a comfortable home and a very considerable property." Her father's "most prominent trait" was "his intense loyalty to his country and his flag," his "patriotism." "He . . . offended the Provincials by raising on his premises on a Fourth of July, an American flag made by my mother." That action "brought upon him the vengeance of the Provincial authorities," who "destroyed and confiscated" his property, leaving him to "end his days in poverty on a miserable remnant of his once fine property, which had all been conveyed by the Provincial Government to parties in Fredericton." In sum, Adaline recalls that her father was a patriot who paid a steep pricethe loss of most of his property--for doing no more than proudly displaying the American Flag.
As with all memories about a person later idealized, Adaline's memory is selective and contains errors.
The first is how much property her father possessed when he was arrested. In her Statement of Facts, Adaline Baker Slocomb says that, after arriving in the Baker Brook area, her father "had cleared a farm in the wilderness, built mills, and by the almost unremitting toil of himself and family, was the possessor of a comfortable home and a very considerable property."
Adaline's memory is partly correct. Her father improved on the start his brother Nathan had made. However, all the initial clearing and building was done by her uncle Nathan between 1816 and 1820. The comfortable home was not finished at the time of his arrest; he was living in the log cabin his brother Nathan had built.(33) The considerable land was mostly the 100 acres that James Irish and George W. Coffin, land agents for Maine and Massachusetts respectively, sold him in October 1825. It was the standard amount of land for a self-sufficient farmer.(34) Deane and Kavanagh noted the lot when they came through making their survey in the summer of 1831. They also noted that he had begun to clear a lot in 1823 next to the 100 acres granted by Massachusetts and Maine in 1825, a lot up on Baker Brook with seven acres cleared, a 3-acre island in the Saint John, and a lot at the West mouth of the Madawaska River.(35) If each lot, excluding the island, is 100 acres, he worked upwards of 400 acres, much more than a land agent would have granted. Given that most farmers had 100-to-150 acres and that a few had 200 acres, Baker's holdings would be "very considerable property" indeed.
However, one of those lots, the one at the mouth of the Madawaska river, was not his to claim. In his 1819 report, Pierre Duperre wrote that John Herford "came down to make shingles, at the mouth of the Madawaska river, upon the land belonging to the Indians."(36) When Deane and Kavanagh came through in 1831, Baker told them "that John Harford, in 1817, cleared the West point at the mouth of the Madawaska river and lived there one year. Baker purchased the improvements of Harford before witnesses, and sent Walter Powers to work on the land."(37) When they got to the mouth of the Madawaska River, Deane and Kavanagh, wrote, "The first lot, bounded Easterly by the Madawaska and Southerly by the St. John, is the place where John Harford began to clear and which John Baker claims, as is mentioned in the former part of this report. It is said that Simon Hebert has a late grant or Certificate from the British of it, and under which he claims it. He is clearing it."(38) Baker may have bought the improvements from John Harford and may have claimed it, but someone else held the legal title to that lot.
Moreover, as the Daveis Report points out, "No residents are entitled to acquire any rights in real estate, except British subjects." Since Baker insisted on remaining American, he could not have owned a "very considerable property" if he had wanted to. John Quincy Adams was correct in calling John Baker a "squatter."(39) Instead of owning a large amount of land, John Baker was legally unable to own any at the time of his arrest and for the following 20 years.
The second error is the provincial authority's reason for his arrest. He was not arrested for treason since he did not violate a trust owed as a citizen of New Brunswick. A person can betray only his own country for which he owes a citizen's duty of allegiance. Since John Baker insisted on remaining an American citizen, he could be treasonous only against the United States. In New Brunswick, he was charged with "high misdemeanor" "for violently opposing and resisting His Majesty's authority and the execution of the laws in the upper part of the parish of Kent, and attempting to seduce His Majesty's subjects there to depart from their allegiance to His Majesty."(40) (See the events for July and August 1827 in Appendix C.) High misdemeanor is not high treason. Adaline's memory is exaggerated.
A third error has to do with the event that triggered the effort to arrest him. Adaline says that "He . . . offended the Provincials by raising on his premises on the Fourth of July, an American flag made by my mother." It was not the flying of the flag that offended; it was that he "declared that place to be American territory," and told the "French settlers then there . . . that they must, for the future, look upon themselves as subjects of the United States . . . ."(41) The evidence presented at his trial makes it clear that there were several precipitating events, separate from the flag incident, that led to the effort to arrest him. His ordering captain Simon Hebert not to train with the militia, his preventing constable Joseph Sansfaçon from carrying out an arrest, and his telling postman Pierre Sileste that he had orders from the US government to stop the mails all raised the ire of local and Fredericton officials. Raising the flag, by itself, had little to do with why John Baker was arrested. It is not accurate to say that "These acts of loyalty to his country [raising the flag and informing Governor Lincoln of British troop movements] brought upon him the vengeance of the Provincial authorities." It was his interference with the operation of British jurisdiction in the Madawaska Settlement that led to his arrest.
Yet another error has to do with why he was "imprisoned for months." Adaline says it was "the vengeance of the Provincial authorities" for having flown the American flag on the fourth of July. However, the facts of the case do not support her conclusion. When arrested, John Baker was given the opportunity to post bail. He could not. "On the criminal suit he was required to find bail for his appearance, in the sum of £100, which he informed the undersigned [Barrell] he could readily obtain if he could be discharged from the civil process."(42) It was not "the vengeance of the Provincial authorities" that kept him in prison for seven months until his trial. It was his failure to pay a £228, 5s, 6p judgment that had been won against him in court seven years earlier in October1820 for failing to deliver merchandise in that value to Robert Sherar. Sherar had already gotten a Bailable Process issued in February 1827, seven months before Baker was arrested for high misdemeanor. (43) Sherar's process kept Baker in the Fredericton jail until he paid up. That he remained there so long suggests that he did not have the means of paying his debt.
The final error has to do with whether and why "his property was destroyed and confiscated" and given to others in Fredericton. We know from Barrell's interviews with him that he could not meet bail on the high misdemeanor charge because Robert Sherar found out he was in jail and immediately instituted a civil process demanding payment of a seven-year-old debt. He apparently could borrow enough money to pay the £100 bond, a sum he would recover and return merely by showing up in court, but he could not pay both his bond and his long-overdue debt to Robert Sherar of Quebec. If some of his property was "confiscated," Sherar may have been successful in getting parts of the sawmill in lieu of cash to release some of the debt. It was John Baker's inability to manage his affairs to pay a debt, his refusal to pay his fine, and his refusal to become a Canadian citizen (and thus qualify to own property), not the vindictiveness of Provincial authorities, that explains why the land his brother and he developed was sold to "others in Fredericton."
A possible error has to do with Adaline's statement that her father "was suffered to end his days in poverty on a miserable remnant of his once fine property." In 1848, six years after the border was settled, New Brunswick land agents granted John Baker a legal title to 534 acres, a substantive piece of land.(44) The grant was necessitated by Article IV of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, and Lord Ashburton even committed to let Baker sell his grant back to the New Brunswick government if he insisted on living on US soil.(45) The grant included everything that Deane and Kavanagh had noted in their visit of 1831 except for the land at the mouth of the Madawaska River. Baker was 52 years old then. A grant of 534 acres is not a "miserable remnant." It is, as Roger Paradis calls it, "princely." With 534 acres at his disposal, he should have ended his days, not in poverty, but in comfort, a wealthy man.
Since no public records detail his personal financial circumstances in the final 25 years of his life after the border was settled, we do not know whether John Baker died wealthy or impoverished. One clue is in the US and Canadian censuses. By the time the border was settled, many of the Americans had settled on the South side of the Saint John River in Hancock (today Saint John) Plantation in Maine's Aroostook County. The township is immediately to the Southwest of Fort Kent and its North side borders the Saint John River. Most of the township is opposite the civil parish of Saint Francis in New Brunswick's Victoria (today Madawaska) County. In 1850, John Baker (64) and his wife Sophie (65) are enumerated in the household of son-in-law Jesse Wheelock (66) and daughter Sophronia (32). John's old right-hand man, Walter Powers (68) is also in the household. John's old partners are on both sides of the Wheelock farm, and they have acquired modest wealth for the time. Daniel Savage (60), Jesse Wheelock (66), and Barnabas Hannawell (60) were the three arrested and convicted in 1831 for sedition after forming the Madawaska township in territory under British jurisdiction. Their households were enumerated as 31, 35, and 36 and had a real estate value of $2,000, $2,000, and $3,500 respectively. John Harford (56), co-conspirator in the Americans' 1827 effort to demonstrate they were not bound by British law, is 6 farms away from Jesse Wheelock's. His real estate is valued at $700, about 1/3rd of Wheelock's. All four of John Baker's associates are "farmers," whereas John Baker is "laborer." A year later, John Baker (64), farmer and lumberman, and Sophia Rice Baker (64) are again enumerated, this time in the Canadian census for Saint Francis parish in New Brunswick's Victoria (today Madawaska) County. He is listed as head of household; his son John Jr. (21) and wife Sara (22) live with them, although it may be the other way around. Daughter Adeline Baker Slocomb is 4 households away. Ten years later, John and Sophie are still living with son John Jr., and John Sr. is still enumerated as household head. Presumably, John and Sophie lived with son John until John Sr.'s death in 1868.(46) There are many reasons why a man and his wife would live in a daughter's household, bad health or an injury among them. But one possible reason John Baker was enumerated in his daughter's household across the river is that his financial condition was poor.
A second clue comes from a deed John Baker signed in April 1848. Isaac Tarrington and Charles McPherson of Hancock Plantation owed him $1,200, and he had initiated a lawsuit in Eastern District Court at Houlton to recover the sum. John Baker sold the right to the suit to his son-in-law, "John Morton of Madawaska County of Carlton and Province of new brunswick" for $300. It is rare for a person to exchange $1,200 for $300, and it is not likely that someone would pay good money for a debt that can never be collected. It is possible that John Baker had no funds with which to pursue the debt and that he was strapped for cash. Jesse Wheelock and Sophronia (Baker) Wheelock were witnesses, suggesting that he and Sophia were living with their daughter as early as 1848.(47) Béatrice Craig has studied the economic history of the Upper Saint John Valley. If she is correct, "the forest market collapsed in 1848," which would explain not only John Baker's financial plight but that of every small operator in the Valley.(48)
When we look at other deeds that have John Baker's name on them, we see the origin of his daughter Adaline's view that "others in Fredericton" took away her father's land. Throughout his adult life, John Baker defaulted on his financial obligations, and throughout his adult life, his creditors turned to the courts for redress. In November 1818, some of the land that his father had sold him and his brother Nathan in the Moscow, Maine, area in 1809 for $1,000, was sold at a sheriff's sale to pay a $125.76 debt he owed to Moses Thompson. In November 1820, John defaulted on a debt of $521.29 he owed C. Selden and Amos Fletcher, and they had to turn to the courts to obtain title to the remainder of John Baker's land through a sheriff's sale.(49) Both these sales were in the Moscow area of Somerset County and resulted in a loss of the land his father had sold him. At the same time that John owed money to Selden and Fletcher, he owed Robert Sherar merchandise worth £228, 5s, 6p with interest by 11 October 1820. He was a "Trader and Dealer in Timber" at Bonaventure in the Gaspé peninsula of Quebec in 1819 and likely owed Sherar timber at least equal in value for the cost of supplies he had advanced Baker. He had not delivered when his debt came due, and Robert turned to the court, winning a judgment on 1 October 1822. It was this debt that led to his imprisonment for seven months in the Fredericton jail until his trial on "high misdemeanor" in May 1828.(50) In 1823, a year after Sherar won his judgment against Baker, Samuel Nevers went to court to collect £300, and a writ of execution was carried out on 5 July 1824.(51) Ten years later, Samuel Nevers turned to the courts again to collect money John Baker owed him. This time it was for £306, and a sherif's sale was held on 12 June 1834 of Baker's land and buildings to pay the debt.(52) Thirteen years later, on 5 October 1847, James Hatheway turned to the courts to collect £100 that John Baker owed him. He obtained a sheriff's deed for the 86 acre Hay Farm at the end of lot 67 that the provincial government granted John in 1848. However, when Hatheway asked the lieutenant governor for the grant to the lot, his petition was denied for the New Brunswick government to "be in conformity with the [Webster-Ashburton] treaty of Washington." Nevertheless, Hatheway held on to the sheriff's deed until, nine years later, on 10 January 1856, he sold the Hay Farm to John's wife, Sophia, for 5 shillings.(53)
It is no wonder that Adaline claimed "others in Fredericton" confiscated her father's land. They did. However, it is not "the vengeance of the Provincial authorities" that took the land away; it was her father's incurrence of business debt he could not repay that led to the "miserable remnant." Nine days after John Baker died, his widow deeded the lower half of lot 67 to Sara, wife of John Baker, Jr., her only son by John, and six days later deeded the upper half of lot 67 to Madeline, wife of Enoch, her only son by Nathan.(54) Since the custom of the time was to deed land to sons, not daughters, Sophia may have been trying to protect the home place and her daughters-in-law out of fear that her lumbermen sons would exercise the same poor judgment as her husband.
The contrast between Adaline's assertions and the facts are not one-sided half-truths. Her claims are false. The discrepancy sufficient to demand explanation. For that, we must turn to those who study human memory.
Two themes have come to the forefront of contemporary theory on human memory. One is its subjective character. The second is a growing awareness of the factors that distort memory. Untrained readers of history look upon recollections of the past like Adaline's as objective fact. Memory researchers caution us to think otherwise. "We now believe with some degree of certainty that our memories are not just bits of data that we coldly store and retrieve, computer like." There is a dynamic, subjective component to remembering: "memories are records of how we have experienced events, [they are] not replicas of the events themselves.(55) Freud has argued that recollected past "experiences are not pictures of reality; they are distortions or screens that allow us to avoid facing what really happened. Freud's central idea [is] that conscious recollections are inevitably distorted by a person's wishes, desires, and unconscious conflicts."(56) Freud also "suggests that much forgetting occurs because events concerned are associated with unpleasant events that evoke anxiety and call up an automatic process that bars them from conscious awareness."(57) What people store in their memories is shaped by the feelings and beliefs held at the time of an experience; how people recall those experiences is likewise shaped by feelings and beliefs. One researcher "concluded that memories are imaginative reconstructions of past events. He argued that the experience of remembering is shaped as much by the rememberer's 'attitude'expectations and general knowledge regarding what should have happened and what could have happened as by the context of specific past events."(58)
This theory, and the research underpinning it, explains much of the discrepancy in Adaline's claims. Yes, her father did "possess" much landif her father's pioneer belief, learned from his own father's experience, is correct, namely that one merely goes into an uninhabited area and claims it. Yes, if we ignore the fact that he never became a Canadian citizen, John Baker's behaviors would have been treasonous for Canadians living in the Madawaska Settlement. Yes, most people who threaten others do not brag about it and just quietly forget itor at least hope others will not hear of it. Whether that is repression (Freud) or is forgotten because not repeated (Schacter) is a matter for memory researchers. Yes, when compared to his peers in the 1850 census, he appears to have lived out his days short of cash. Yes, his property was indeed given to others, both in Moscow, ME, and in Fredericton, NB; we just have to omit the reason. By omitting the correct reasons for his 1827 arrest and his several losses of land, Adaline's assertions are largely correct. And memory research explains the distortion.
The major claim of Adaline Baker Slocomb's memory and the key word on his headstone / memorial has to do with patriotism. Is John Baker a patriot? The answer depends on the values we use. In a retrospective, it is fair to look at a person from the values of the age in which we do the reexamination. It is unfair, however, to ignore the values of the time in which that person lived. Thus, we must start with the values of John Baker's lifetime.
If we use the values extant in the fledgling United States in the 1820s and 1830s, we have to conclude that John Baker was a True Blue Maine Patriot who vigorously advanced the interests of the State of Maine.(59)
A look at the events of the time shows him to be just one of the many voices urging the conquest of the continent. His was an era when men of strong will formed the Republic of Texas, starting with the failed effort at Nacogdoches in 1819 and ending in Houston's victory over Santa Anna in 1836 which wrested Texas from Mexico. Strong-minded Vermonters created the independent republic of New Connecticut by compact agreement and eventually forced a separation from New Hampshire to become an independent state. Nathan Baker's February 1818 inquiry of Pierre Duperre about "introduc[ing] the laws of the States" and incorporating a township in the Upper Settlement, and John Baker's 1827 development of a compact with fellow Americans to provide for a solution of their differences and to resist the implementation of British jurisdiction is precisely what took place in Vermont, Texas, and elsewhere. Americans had been interested in annexing Canada since the American colonies effected their independence from the King. As one scholar puts it, "For many decades after 1783 the beacon of annexation glowed, at times at white heat, at times very dimly, but it was never completely snuffed out."(60) There was so much emigration from the newly freed colonies to the Canadas that Lieutenant Governor Sir John Colborne complained to London.(61) The two Baker brothers were just one more instance of that pressure.
Behind John Baker were many who thought the entire continent should and eventually would be part of the United States. John Quincy Adams, secretary of state under Monroe, was a strong expansionist. Merk says that, "In methods of diplomacy, as in aims, he was an imperialist."(62) On 20 May 1818, two months after Nathan Baker had his conversation with Pierre Duperre, Adams wrote that it was "unavoidable that the remainder of the continent should ultimately be ours."(63) The arch theorist of American expansionism is John L. O'Sullivan, New York City newspaper owner, who coined the phrase "manifest destiny" in an 1845 editorial. When news of the annexation of Texas broke, he wrote, "Yes, more, more, more! . . . til our national destiny is fulfilled and . . . the whole boundless continent is ours."(64) The feeling was widespread. Joseph Chandler of Portland, Maine, gave a Fourth of July speech in 1804 saying the boundary of the new country should stretch to the Panamanian isthmus.(65) This expansionist philosophy was even celebrated in poetry. In "Song of the Open Road," included in his 1855 Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman wrote,
From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master, total and absolute,
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I inhale great draughts of space;
The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.(66)
Given this thinking, John Baker is a leader, the right person at the right place at the right time doing what loyal patriots do.
One of the roots of expansionist fever was a hunger for land. The visit of Justice of the Peace Morehouse to Baker Brook to investigate the meaning of the flag incident made John Baker go with neighbor James Bacon all the way to Portland to petition the Governor for Maine's protection and for deeds for the land they held. Three days after Baker's visit, Governor Lincoln wrote to US Secretary of State Henry Clay. Part of his letter reveals the basis for his urgency. "She [Maine] owns, as it is believed as clearly as she owns any other portion of property, a tract not less than six millions of acres . . . generally valuable for soil and timber, so that the latter along one river has been estimated to be worth $130,000 00 . . . ." Later in the same letter, he says, "The materials for ship building on the disputed territory, may be called inexhaustible, and the soil is so fertile, that the Matawascah settlement exports many thousand bushels of gain." He ended the letter with, "I cannot close without assuring you of my confirmed belief, that Maine will never assent to the result of an arbitration unfavourable to her interests . . . ."(67) Lincoln's fear that the land would be stripped of the virgin pine that gave the land its value was not unfounded. Three years earlier, Assistant Land Agent, Samuel Cook returned from a trip to the Aroostook, "where I found and seized about six hundred tons of timber, the settlers not feeling disposed to give their security for the same." He finished his letter saying, "One thing is certain: and that is, they mean to get all the timber up the Aroostook, and up to Madawaska, unless our Government take some measures to prevent it."(68)
At the micro level, John Baker saw money in the thousands of virgin pine trees there for the taking, waiting for him to cut them down and sell them for a landfall profit. He wanted to use the land. At the macro level, Governor Lincoln governor wanted the untapped resources in the disputed territory to be left for Maine's citizenry. He wanted to preserve it. The desire for land was a shared motivation. If he told John Baker his thought about not agreeing to a settlement not in Maine's interests, as is entirely possible, it is no wonder that Baker returned to the Saint John River saying that "the government had decided not to yield and to defend them"
John Baker, then, was the willing front man for an American attitude and the hopes of his governor. His attitudes were the same as many others in Maine, which one writer has described as "politically radical, expansionist and frontier-minded, and strongly in favor of 'states rights.'"(69) He pushed the limits of international tolerance, was arrested, and spent a year in the Fredericton jail insisting that the land was American. His arrest and trial became an international incident that gave impetus to the need to settle the boundary. Baker's actions served as a catalyst that led to our having a boundary, 44 years having elapsed already from the 1783 treaty without agreement on where to mark the border. Given the values of 1827, John Baker is a Patriot, a Loyal Son of Maine. Given the memories of the events seventy years later in 1895, he deserved to have a grateful State of Maine erect a memorial to his patriotism.
However, the intervening 174 years since John Baker's arrest have produced some changes in our understanding of how to maintain good international relations. Using the values held by considerate thinkers in 2001, John Baker is not a patriot. He is, instead, naive, a bully, a poor follower, and an embarrassment both to his state and to his country. These are strong words to describe a man who can no longer defend himself, but there is sufficient evidence to support their use.
One: he is culpably naive. Wise humans know not to try to step between two fighting bull moose or two countries in disagreement. John Baker should have heeded Pierre Duperre's 1817 advice to his brother Nathan not to try to establish an American township and American laws in the area until "the line was settled between the British government and the States."(70) Acting as if the line has already been agreed to is naive. The border is not agreed to until it is agreed to, and until it is agreed to wise people assume it could be something other than desired. Moreover, as Secretary of State Clay put it, Baker, "on his private authority . . . would undertake the settlement of a national dispute. He derived no power for any such acts, either from the Government of the United States, or, as is believed, from the Government of Maine. National disputes ought always to be adjusted by national, and not individual authority."(71) John Baker was foolhardy and hubristic.
Not only is John Baker naive in assuming the border is set when it is not, he is naive about common international practice. People are bound by the laws of the jurisdiction in which they act. German autobahn speed limits do not apply to South Carolina country roads as German visitors to South Carolina quickly find out. When in Canada, one must obey Canadian law as Americans carrying mace quickly find out on entering Canada. John said, in effect, "Because I and the Governor say this is Maine soil, Canadian law does not apply." He did not understand, and may not have wanted to understand, what the New Brunswick court made clear as a governing "principle of public law, that the national character of the place agreed to be surrendered by treaty, continues as it was under the character of the ceding country, until it be actually transferred. Full sovereignty cannot be held to have passed by the mere words of the treaty, without actual delivery."(72) John Baker likewise did not understand or want to understand the corollary of this legal principle, namely that whomever has exercised jurisdiction over a space has a right to continue to exercise that jurisdiction until it is formally ceded. At both his 1828 trial and at the 1831 trial (which he did not attend since he escaped arrest), the court went through some pains to establish whether the British government had exercised and continued to exercise jurisdiction throughout the Madawaska Settlement. The evidence in court affirmed what the New Brunswick attorney general concluded before seeking authority to indict John Baker in 1827: yes, New Brunswick had exercised and continued to exercise jurisdiction throughout the Settlement. Even Barrell, charged with investigating that question for Secretary of State Henry Clay, concluded the same.(73) John was naive about how the world worked. In his single-minded pursuit of getting the Madawaska Settlement declared American soil, he did not see the bigger picture and ignored strong legal precedent clearly articulated before him at his trial.
Two: he is a bully. The Sileste, Hébert, and Sansfaçon statements in their affidavits are, clearly, responses to a physical threat. People do not say, "You'd better be a stronger man than me to stop me," unless someone has just said, "You'd better do it or I'll make you." With Sansfaçon, it was a threat of more than bodily harm; Baker threatened "to take his life." It is no accident that "bully" is the name of a lumber camp boss. It took sheer force of muscle and will to cut down giant trees and to manage those who did that work. Intimidation and threats are usually counterproductive in interpersonal relationships, however. Patriots are advocates first. Baker was, as Morehouse put it, "banditti."(74) He is still an advocate for the interests of his state, but his behaviors at the least detract from the former role and at the worst overshadow it.
Three: he is an uncooperative, bad listener. In the jargon of the 1990s, he is not a team player. After Morehouse visited Baker's home and Baker proudly refused to take down the flag, saying, "nothing but a superior force to ourselves shall take it down," Baker and his neighbor James Bacon got nervous and paddled the long distance from Baker Brook to Portland for a meeting with Governor Lincoln. Lincoln said he would take their request for a deed to their land to the legislature. He did. He also wrote a letter to Baker containing these sentences: "In the mean time your prudence and moderation are relied upon for preventing unnecessary excitement and omissions as well as fruitless disputes. The most quiet state in which you can remain will be most favorable to the success of the efforts which may be expected from the State . . . ."(75) Lincoln's caution was already too late: Baker was arrested almost immediately after his return. Governor Lincoln was not the only one urging restraint. Barrell ended his report to Henry Clay by repeating his admonition to the Americans in the Upper Settlement:
The undersigned recommended to the American settlers at Madawaska, forbearance and moderation in their future proceedings during the pendency of the existing negotiation between their government and that of Great Britain, in relation to the disputed territory; assuring them, that if their conduct should be inoffensive and peaceable, they might rely upon the protection of their government. And he has the satisfaction to believe that reliance may be placed upon the assurances he received from the settlers generally, that they would hereafter abstain from all acts of individual violence, and from all unnecessary collision with the authorities of the neighboring province.(76)
It is obvious that Baker never made such a commitment. Three years later, Agent Provacateur Baker led an effort to create a township of Madawaska, and an arrest warrant was issued for him. This time, the charge was "sedition." He escaped into the woods and was not arrested. In 1840, he was convicted and fined £20 for "having enticed several soldiers to desert from the detachment of the 58th Regiment stationed at Madawaska."(77)
Four: John Baker is an embarrassment. In November 1827, John Quincy Adams wrote in his journal, "Mr. Barrell went off yesterday morning upon his mission to Maine and New Brunswick. Mr. Clay sent me also an answer from Mr. Vaughan to his note on the disturbances upon the Northeastern frontier, with several documents relating to the seizure and imprisonment of Baker. This will prove one of the most dangerous of our breakers."(78) Negotiations between the US and Great Britain were difficult enough without actions like Baker to inflame the situation. Upon receiving Barrell's investigation of the circumstances surrounding Baker's arrest, Henry Clay wrote in a letter to British Envoy Vaughan, "that there was some misrepresentation in the accounts of the disturbances which had reached the Government of the United States . . . and which . . . disclose some transactions which the President has seen with regret." In a follow-up letter, Clay wrote, "The President is far from being disposed to sanction of any acts of Mr. Baker."(79) What would you do, as President of the US, on hearing that someone claimed central government authority for stopping the mails of a foreign nation? Governors and presidents do not need loose cannon spoiling international relations. The British Envoy felt the urgent need to say that the blame did not lie at Washington's feet. In a letter to Henry Clay, he wrote, "It is hardly necessary for the Undersigned to repeat the assurances which he has received from the Lt. Governor of New Brunswick, that His Excellency is convinced, that the Government of the United States, was not in any shape aware of the intentions of Baker and his Associates." Special Agent Barrell likewise felt it necessary to make a disclaimer in his report: "The undersigned deems it scarcely necessary to add, that the proceeding of the settlers on the fourth of fifth of July last, and on the 11th of August following, were without the authority or knowledge of the Executive of the State of Maine."(80) Even Maine's Governor Enoch Lincoln, perhaps Baker's strongest defender, was warned about Baker's reputation. In November 1827, Daveis, Lincoln's investigator, wrote to Lincoln of Baker's character. Lincoln's answer acknowledges that there are "those who impeach his prudence and moderation . . . [which] sometimes degenerate into artfulness and meanness."(81) It seems that Portland and Fredericton, Washington and London all knew they were dealing with an independent actor who would not be contained by the niceties of international protocol.
Given the hindsight permitted by documents available to us today, John Baker was no more than an example of the unbridled exuberance of a young and growing nation. He caused two international incidents, one in 1827-1828, a second in 1830-1831, and he was very active in the efforts to bring about a war in 1838-1839. Today, his actions require that he be corralled and controlled, not memorialized and celebrated.
Today, the disagreement between the fledgling United States and its parent nation of Great Britain, the acrimony between the new State of Maine and the older Province of New Brunswick, the competition between American and Canadians loggers, each seeking to extract the valuable virgin timber before the other got there, and the cultural clash between the brash Yankees and quieter Acadian and Canadian residents in the Madawaska Settlement all gather dust on research library shelves. Their story is buried with the correspondence between Governor Lincoln and Lieutenant Governor Douglas and in formal exchanges between United States Secretary of State Henry Clay and Great Britain's Envoy Charles Vaughn. Arguments made before the King of Holland on where the Treaty of 1783 put the Northeast boundary line are as forgotten as the arguments on jurisdiction made before the New Brunswick Court at John Baker's trial. From the vantage point of the year 2000, John Baker's headstone / monument is the effort of a daughter to get the State of Maine to say that her father was a Special Somebody, not a Misguided Nobody, and the State agreed with her. However, as Savage reminds us, "rituals enacted at the monument decline either gradually or precipitously" such that "cities and towns throughout America remain filled with ignored or forgotten monuments."(82) The memorial to John Baker's impetuous flag is one of them.
HOUSE. No. 249.
STATE OF MAINE
RESOLVE for a Memorial commemorating the Patriotism of John Baker.(83)
Resolved, That the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars be and the same is hereby appropriated for the purpose of removing the body of John Baker from British soil to the town of Fort Fairfield and erecting a suitable monument commemorating the patriotism, courage and sufferings of the said John Baker.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Maine in Legislature assembled,
A. D., 1895:--
The memorial of Adeline Slocomb of Fort Fairfield in the county of Aroostook respectfully represents:--
That she is the daughter of John Baker, late of "Baker Brook" in the Province of New Brunswick, who was an American citizen, a native of the town of Moscow in this state. About the year 1815, Mr. Baker with a few neighbors started on a journey by river and lake through an almost unbroken wilderness of more than two hundred miles, to make homes and establish a settlement of Americans in that part of the State of Maine watered by the Upper Saint John.
At the time the Government of the United States claimed the territory north of the St. John, to the line dividing the waters flowing to the St. Lawrence, from those flowing to the sea.
It is chanced that Mr. Baker selected a tract of land on the river, about six miles below the present town of Fort Kent, whereon he settled with his family, not doubting the right of his Government to the territory, or its willingness and ability to protect him in his rights. In a few years Mr. Baker had cleared a farm in the wilderness, built mills, and by the almost unremitting toil of himself and family, was the possessor of a comfortable home and a very considerable property.
A most prominent trait in my father's character was his intense loyalty to his country and his flag, and this patriotism never abated during all the troubles growing out of the boundary disputes.
He purchased his farm and adjoining tract from the land agents of Maine and Massachusetts, and when the first knowledge came to him of the designs of the Provincial government to send troops and take forcible possession of the territory, he started for Augusta alone making his journey through the wilderness on snow shoes, to notify the governor. He had previously offended the Provincials by raising on his premises on a Fourth of July, an American flag made by my mother.
These acts of loyalty to his country brought upon him the vengeance of the Provincial authorities. He was accused of treason, carried to Fredericton, imprisoned for months, and his property destroyed and confiscated.
He was suffered to end his days in poverty on a miserable remnant of his once fine property, which had all been conveyed by the Provincial Government to parties in Fredericton.
The story of my father's efforts and sacrifices in endeavoring to obey the orders of the authorities of the State, are a part of the history of the "Aroostook war" period. The neighbors, who were his contemporaries, have joined him on the "other shore," and upon that history and t he tradition that we have from the early settlers of that region, we must rely to satisfy your honorable body of the justice of my claim upon the consideration of the State.
I ask nothing for myselfI want no money compensation as a recompense for his almost lifelong sacrificesI respectfully ask his native State to cause his remains to be removed to American soil, and to cause the erection of a suitable monument to commemorate his patriotism.
STATE OF MAINE
House of Representatives,
February 28, 1895.
Reported by Mr. MILLETT of Gorham, from Committee on Military Affairs, and ordered printed under joint rules.
W. S. COTTON, Clerk.
Appendix B: Northern Leader Article
The Northern Leader Oct. 9, 1895 Pp. 6-7, Col. 3.
Militant Ceremonies at Riverside Cemetery, Thursday.
Stone Sarcophagus to the Memory of John Baker, unveiled, Thursday, at Riverside Cemetery, Fort Fairfield.
The ceremonies, at the unveiling and dedication of the memorial to the memory of John Baker, on Thursday, the 4th, inst., was an event of peculiar interest to our community.(84)
The exercises were conducted by Canton Wabasso, I.O.O.F., assisted by members of Canton Columbia, Presque Isle. Some 25 or 30 chevaliers marched in triple column, their plumes waving, and their magnificent uniforms showing off finely in the bright sunshine. They were headed by the Fort Fairfield band, which discourses good music. Following the chevaliers came a double carriage, containing, with others, the speakers of the day, Hon. William Dickey, of Fort Kent, and Hon. N. Fessenden, Secretary of State. Next came relatives and then spectators, some 45 or 50 teams altogether, while at the cemetery there were several hundred people in all.
Upon arriving at the cemetery the Canton formed a triangle around the monument in single line, it being veiled with the stars and stripes. Captain Scates, taking a position in the center said:
"Chevaliers and friends, we have assembled, on this occasion, to perform an interesting and important ceremonyone we trust will have its proper influence upon your hearts and minds. The spot upon which we stand has been selected to erect a monument, to mark the resting place of a truly loyal and patriotic citizen, and to be done with the solemn and militant ceremonies befitting such an occasion. Before proceeding to the immediate duties of the occasion, it is right and proper that we invoke the Divine blessing, without which no good act or work can succeed. Our chaplain will not address the Throne of Grace."
The Canton uncovered, followed by prayer.
Response of chevaliers. Amen.
Then Canton covered, and came to present swords, and Capt. Scates said:
"In the name of friendship as pure as water, (sprinkled three times on stone.) I lay this first foundation stone; and as it forms the basis of this monument, holding in harmony and consistency its component parts so may true friendship ever constitute the foundation of our social fabric, and unite the family of man in one fraternal brotherhood."
Canton salutes with swords and chevaliers said, "so be it." Then they came to present swords and Capt. Scates, receiving from chaplin a triangle of flowers, said,
"In love, symbolized by these flowers, I lay this second stone; and as it underlies and supports this material monument, so may love ever be the chief foundation stone of our lives, and may the divine sentiment of love ever animate the hearts of all."
Canton salutes and chevaliers said "so be it." Canton again came to present swords, and Capt. Scates, receiving vessel containing wheat, strewed it on stone and said, "In truth, represented by this wheat, I lay this third stone, trusting that truth may ever prevail over error, and that its good seed, sown in our hearts, may bring forth its peaceful fruits in our in our [sic.] lives. May the monument here erected for the exemplification of truth, loyalty, and patriotism, ever remain unshaken by the storms of time."
Can saluted and chevaliers said, "so be it." Canton came to present swords and Capt. Scates said, "As universal justice is the first principle of soldierly manhood, Major Cutts, what have you to offer for a deposit?"
Major Cutts said, "Sir; I have prepared the following deposits: First a set of scales, as emblematic of the weighing out of justice, in accordance with the deserts of all, upon the golden principle of not oppressing those who are unable to exact a right."
Capt. Scates said, "Sir; it is well. Have you anything to deposit as emblematic of the manner of administering justice?"
Major Cutts said, "Yes, sir; I would counsel the administration of justice, by first using the persuave [sic.] eloquence of the right, through the peaceful arbitration of friends. That failing, however, I would resort to legal authority, in order to uphold justice and enforce a right, and as typical of both, I offer to deposit an olive branch and dagger, representing peace and war respectively." "Sir; what else have you to offer to record and forever perpetuate the doings of this day?"
Major Cutts said, "The life and history of John and Sophia Baker, a copy of the resolve of the legislate, authorizing the erection of this monument, by-laws of Canton, and copy of ceremony, name of officers and chevaliers taking part in ceremony, name of grand sire and department commander, president of the United States, governor of the state, and officers of the town, with day and date."
Capt. Scates said, "Chevaliers; is it well?"
All chevaliers, responding, It is. So let the deposit be made."
After the deposits were placed in the receptacle, in the third stone of the sarcophagus, Capt. Scates, with trowel and mortar, cemented the glass cover, and said, "As the cement seals these deposits, and binds together the stones of this monument, so may the cement of brotherly affection bind us together during all the days of our lives here below."
The Canton saluted, and chevaliers said, "So be it."
The Canton then advanced swords, and Capt. Scates, said, "Standing within a triangle of living witnesses, and under an arch of steel, by authority of the commander of Patriarchs Militant, I do proclaim this monument unveiled and erected with Militant form, under the auspices of Canton Wabasso, No. 22, Patriarchs Militant. May it ever stand as a reminder to the world of true loyalty, patriotism, and "universal justice."
The Canton saluted, and chevaliers said, "So be it."
Hon. N. Fessenden, representing Governor Cleaves, and in behalf of the State of Maine, in a brief speech presented the sarcophagus to Riverside Cemetery Association.
We regret that we cannot give a verbatim report of this beautiful, eloquent and patriotic speech. It was purely extemporaneous, and delivered in the best chosen and impressive words. As an oratorical effort it was a grand successone very difficult to equal and not to be excelled.
Maj. Dickey, of Fort Kent, was then introduced, and, from personal knowledge, gave an interesting history of the circumstances which brought the subject of the dedicatory exercisesJohn Baker-into notoriety.
He had been granted, by Maine and Massachusetts, a tract of land upon a tributary of the upper St. John river, in the then, disputed territory. Upon the approach of the 4th of July, 1834, with his patriotic wife, he resolved to properly observe their national holiday.
A journey was made to the nearest provincial settlement, at the mouth of the Madawaska river, and some red, white and blue bunting was purchased, and, on the morning of the 4th, an American flag waved over the home and possession of this truly loyal citizen of the United States.
This aroused the loyal subjects of the Queen, and an armed force soon pulled down the flag, arrested Mr. Baker, took him to Fredericton, and threw him into prison. Through the influence of a prominent englishman, then residing at Hallowell, Maine, by the name of Vaughn, he was released and allowed to return home. Subsequently an effort was made to arrest him again, and he was compelled to flee to the woods, and make his way as best he could by the lakes and down the Kennebec, and to Portland, where he made complaint to the State authorities.
After the excitement died away, he returned to his family, but his property was confiscated and destroyed. Up to the time of the final settlement of the boundary, in 1842 by the Webster-Ashburton treaty, he was unwavering in his loyalty to his country and his flag. To sustain his position, that the erection of this monument by the State in honor of the loyalty and patriotism of John Baker, a private citizen.
The speaker read an extract from the report of commissioners appointed by the legislature to represent the State on the boundary question of whom ex-governor, Edward Kent, was chairman, and clearly proves that his wrongs were of such a nature that they received attention and suggestions from the British minister, and are as follows:
"And we trust that the voluntary suggestions of the British minister in regard to John Baker, will be carried into effect, SO AS TO SECURE HIS RIGHTS."
In concluding, the speaker said that this, he believed was the first instance
in which the State had ever thus honored a private citizen. But the case was
so clear and appropriate, that upon his simple statement and recommendation,
it was passed without an objection by the House of Representatives, of which
he was a member, and the only objection in the senate was raised by the Somerset
senators, who claimed as Mr. Aker, was a native of their county the monument
should be erected there.
Appendix C: Baker Chronology
17 January 1796 John Baker one of first children born in Moscow, Maine, to Joseph Baker and Dorcas Smith, the first family to settle in Moscow.(85)
21 June 1816 Joseph Baker dies four months after his wife. About this time, Nathan and his brother John "were found to be dishonest in trading with the Indians. On notice of their coming trial they migrated to Madawaska . . . ."(86)
September 1816 John Baker, likely in company of his brother Nathan, scouts the Upper Madawaska Settlement between the Saint Francis and Madawaska Rivers.(87)
February 1818 Nathan Baker and a Maine magistrate meet with Militia Captain Pierre Duperre
and ask him to concur with their desire "to introduce the laws of the
States" and to incorporate a township. Duperre: "I told him I would have
nothing to do with such matters before the line was settled between the
British government and the States."(88)
August 1818 Nathan Baker with his wife, Sophia Rice, and his brother, John Baker,
come to the Upper Madawaska Settlement and build a house at the mouth
of the Meruimticook River, later called Baker Brook. John went on to
work in the lumber camps on the Restigouche in the Baie des Chaleurs
5 September 1818 Militia Captain and community leader Pierre Duperre writes to Judge J.
Murray Bliss to ask that "our jurisdiction be enforced as usual in
Madawaska" since several American arrivals "would induce many of the
inhabitants of this district to believe that the jurisdiction of the United
States is in force and that of New Brunswick is not."(90)
October 1818 Nathan Baker and Fletcher with five men start taking wood from "10 lots,
on all which there are settlers, and some of them established fifteen years
ago." When some "forbad him to cut wood upon their lots; he said it did
not belong to them, but to the States." Pierre Duperre, a man accustomed
to assessing others, says Nathan Baker "appears to be a man who takes
much upon him."(91)
8 December 1818 England's ambassador, Charles Bagot, meets with US Secretary of State
John Quincy Adams, and discusses Duperre's letter, which had made its
way up the chain of command. Adams opines that Baker and others are
"squatters, and must be dealt with accordingly." Bagot concludes, "From
my conversation with him, I have every reason to be assured that the
American government will readily take whatever measure may be necessary
to prevent the occupation of American citizens of any part of the territory,
which, until otherwise decided by the Commissioners of Boundary is
considered to be ours."(92)
19 February 1819 Pierre Duperre observes some "Ten or twelve hundred tons of timber" cut
down and moved to the Saint John River near Baker Brook.(93)
Spring 1819 Nathan Baker, John Harford, Sr., and John Harford, Jr. are subpoenaed for
"trespass and intrusion" on crown lands in 1818. They appear in
Fredericton in the summer, submit to British authority, and are permitted to
return to the settlement.(94)
1820 John is prosecuted "on a civil process for 'intrusion and trespass' on
Crown Lands" and "confessed a judgement to [Robert] Shear at Quebec
for about two hundred and thirty pounds" which he did not pay.(95) He
returns to the Meruimticook and joins his brother's lumber mill business.
1821 "Nathan Baker died, and John Baker continued to carry on the lumbering
business under Nevers."(96)
1822 John marries his brother's widow.(97)
2 July 1823 John takes 4 pounds, 5 shillings, and 3 pence in bounty from the New
Brunswick government for harvesting an initial crop of 90 bushels of wheat
on newly cleared land.(98) Five years later, this will be used as evidence that
he accepted British jurisdiction over the Upper Settlement.
1824 New Brunswick Customs House Seizing Officer George West seized 300
logs that Baker cut on Crown lands without a license. Since Baker "spoke
as if he considered himself a resident within this Province" West let Baker
redeem the logs for 2 shillings, 6 pence per 1,000 feet, a significant loss of
4 October 1825 Land Agents James Irish, for Maine, and George Coffin, for Massachusetts
issue grants for 100 acres to John Baker at the mouth of the Meruimticook
River (Baker Brook) and for 100 acres to neighbor James Bacon. The
grants describe the land as part of "a plantation called and known by the
name of Madawaska Settlement, in the county of Penobscot, and State [of
Maine]." Baker tells Coffin that the majority of the 2,000 Madawaska
inhabitants want to be part of Maine. Charles Vaughn, British Envoy to the
US, wrote on 2 Dec 1825 to US Secretary of State Henry Clay to protest,
saying that the action of Coffin and Irish have "excited great attention and
alarm in the British settlements" and "to repeat my request that this
conduct may be disavowed and discountenanced by the Government of the
United States."(100) Neither Massachusetts nor Maine issues any more grants
for land in the disputed territory.
4 July 1827 John has a 4th of July party, inviting several French guests. He raises "a
white flag, with an American eagle and semicircle of stars, red"(101) and then
"declared that place to be American territory, which he repeated to . . .
French settlers then there, and that they must, for the future, look upon
themselves as subjects of the United States . . . ."(102)
15 July 1827 John Baker, James Bacon, and Charles Studson ask Peter Markee (Pierre
Marquis) and Abraham Chamberland to sign a document they have drawn
up. In the document, the American signers have "bound themselves to
oppose the execution of the Laws of England amongst them in
18 July 1827 John Baker meets the provincial mail carrier in route in his canoe from
Fredericton to Québec just below the church of Saint Basile and tells him
"that England had no right to send her mails that route [by the Saint John
and Madawaska Rivers], and that he [Baker] had received orders from the
Government of the United States to stop them." The mail man, Pierre
Sileste (Sélesse), told Baker "he should not have that mail without he was
a better man." Baker let him continue.(104)
About 1827 John Baker goes to the home of York County Militia Captain Simon
Hébert: "Baker said I had better not train" with the militia. "I told him I
would go next Saturdayhe must be stronger than me to prevent me."(105)
25 July 1827 Militia adjutant Francis Rice writes to Justice of the Peace George
Morehouse to complain that, during the previous Saturday's militia
training, he found "some disorder amongst the people, occasioned by
Baker and others in the upper settlement." He concludes, "Sir, if this
Baker and others is [sic.] not stopped immediately, they will corrupt a great
part of our militia."(106)
7 August 1827 Justice of the Peace Morehouse, ordered by Attorney General Wetmore to investigate Rice's allegation, takes sworn depositions from mail carrier Sileste (Sélesse) and militia captain Hébert. He also goes to Baker's house where he orders Baker to pull down his flag. Baker refuses and says that "nothing but a superior force to ourselves shall take it down."(107)
9 August 1827 While arresting John Bacon on a warrant requested by fellow American Phineas
Hofford on 9 Aug 1827, Constable Joseph Sansfaçon was surrounded by
John Baker and eleven others. Baker had a sword, John Schoedder had a
musket, and Walter Powers, Nathaniel Bartlett, Daniel Savage, Isaac
Jones, and John Baker Jr. were all armed with clubs. Baker spoke to
Sansfaçon "in most violent language, threatening to take his life for
attempting to serve that writ."(108)
11 August 1827 Justice of the Peace Morehouse writes to Attorney General Wetmore to
report on his fact-finding trip to the Madawaska Settlement triggered by
Rice's July letter. He recommends that the "Government will speedily take
such measures as will convince the French settlers that the Americans have
no right to act as they do, and crush this banditti."(109)
Late August 1827 Attorney General Thomas Wetmore and C. Peters, Solicitor General , write
to Lieutenant Governor Douglas to concur with Justice of the Peace
George Morehouse's 11 August 1827 report to Wetmore. They conclude,
"We consider the Madawaska settlement [to] be within the British
territory, and unquestionably in his Majesty's possession, and that Baker
and his coadjutors . . . owe a temporary allegiance to his Majesty." They
then ask for authority to ask Morehouse to issue an arrest warrant for John
Baker, James Bacon, and Charles Studson on a "misdemeanor" charge.(110)
1 September 1827 Nervous about what Justice of the Peace Morehouse might be up to, Baker
and neighbor Bacon travel to Portland, meet with Governor Lincoln, and
present him with a petition asking for his protection. Lincoln urges
"prudence and moderation . . . for preventing unnecessary excitement."(111)
7 September 1827 Attorney General Thomas Wetmore, having examined the Feiro
(Thériault), Markee (Marquis), and Sileste (Sélesse) affidavits along with
Morehouse's August report, asks Morehouse to prepare an arrest warrant
and directs Sheriff Miller to execute it.(112)
22 September 1827 Justice of the Peace George Morehouse issues an arrest warrant for John
Baker, James Bacon, and Charles Studson for "high misdemeanors" for (1)
"endeavoring to persuade and procure divers of the inhabitants [of Kent
Parish, York County] . . . to depart from the allegiance which they owe to
His said Majesty" and for (2) violently opposing the execution of the laws
of the realm of England and of this province within the said parish and . . .
conspiring together to subvert His majesty's authority and government in
that part of this province."(113)
25 September 1827 York County High Sheriff Edward Winslow Miller, in company with about
12 others, arrests John Baker at his home in the pre-dawn morning hours.
The sheriff is not able to arrest Bacon or Studson.(114) On hearing of his
arrest, Robert Sherar of Quebec institutes a civil process demanding
payment of the £230 judgment he won against Baker in 1821. Unable to
pay both his £230 debt and his surety bond of £100, Baker remains in the
Fredericton jail until his trial seven months later.(115)
12 October 1827 Governor Enoch Lincoln of Maine writes to New Brunswick Lieutenant
Governor Sir Howard Douglass requesting the facts regarding Baker's
arrest and imprisonment "in order to allay the anxiety produced by the
impression that the privileges of an American citizen and the jurisdiction of
a sovereign power have been invaded."(116)
5 November 1827 Governor Lincoln appoints Charles Daveis to obtain information "relating
to rights of property and jurisdiction" in the disputed territory.(117)
5 November 1827 Governor Lincoln of Maine writes to Lieutenant Governor Douglas of
New Brunswick "to solicit your friendly reception of Charles S. Daveis,
Esquire, appointed to obtain information relative to our border difficulties"
and, "inquire into concerns calculated to produce a war between the United
States and Great Britain." Daveis is "fully empowered to demand the
release of John Baker, a citizen of Maine . . . and [to demand] that the
persons, who arrested him . . . may be delivered up to be tried by the laws
of this State, and dealt with as justice may require."(118) Douglas does not
answer the letter and does not meet with Daveis when he arrives in
Fredericton since the latter is not an accredited representative of a foreign
9 November 1827 Governor Enoch Lincoln issues a public proclamation urging all who are
"suffering wrong, or [are] threatened by it . . . on account of the violation
of our territory and immunities, are exhorted to forbearance and peace."(119)
19 November 1827 Henry Clay commissions Samuel Barrell to investigate the jurisdictional
history of the Upper Saint John and the Baker arrest and incarceration.(120)
22 January 1828 Samuel B. Barrell writes to Henry Clay from Boston on his return from
Madawaska. His initial conclusion: "There has been much undue
excitement in regard to the arrest & imprisonment of Mr. Baker. I saw him
repeatedly at Fredericton, and from his own statement, independently of
what I learned from other sources, I was satisfied that there was no
occasion for our Government to interfere with the proceedings against him
on the part of the authorities of N. Brunswick."(121)
31 January 1828 Charles S. Daveis turns in his report of findings to Governor Enoch
11 February 1828 Samuel B. Barrell turns in his report of findings to Secretary of State Henry
Clay. On the matter of jurisdiction, he finds that "The laws of the Province
of New Brunswick appear to have been always in force since the origin of
that [Madawaska] settlement. The settlers have acquiesced in the exercise
of British authority, both civil and military . . . ." On Baker, he found that
"Baker is represented by the settler's to have taken the lead in this affair"
of preventing constable Sansfaçon from executing an arrest warrant on
James Bacon. He ends his summary of facts regarding Baker's actions and
arrest by saying that the Americans' actions "were without the authority or
knowledge of the Executive of the State of Maine." (Independently, the
British Envoy concludes the same thing.) Before leaving the Upper
Settlement, he told the Americans "that if their conduct should be
inoffensive and peaceable, they might rely upon the protection of their
government" and received from them "assurances . . . that they would
hereafter abstain from all acts of individual violence, and from all
unnecessary collision with the authorities of the neighboring province." On
hearing of his findings, "Governor Enoch Lincoln urged Mr. Barrell to
suppress the facts of the case."(122)
18 February 1828 The Maine legislature passes a resolve authorizing relief for John Baker's
20 February 1828 US Secretary of State Henry Clay writes to British Envoy Charles Vaughn
to say that Barrell's report uncovered "there was some misrepresentation
in the accounts of the disturbances which had reached the Government"
and that "they disclose some transactions which the President has seen with
regret" (possibly referring, among other things, to Baker's actions such as
his claiming US government authority to stop the mails). He then goes on
to say that the American Settlers are beyond the boundaries of the
Madawaska Settlement as provided in grants by the New Brunswick
government in 1790 and 1794 and concludes that "His arrest, therefore, on
the disputed ground . . . cannot be justified" and ends, "I am charged,
therefore, by the President, to demand the immediate liberation of John
Baker, and a full indemnity for the injuries which he as suffered in the
arrest and detention of his person."(124)
31 March 1828 Secretary of State Clay directs American Chargé d'Affaires Lawrence to
demand Baker's release in a direct appeal to the British Foreign Office in
8 May 1828 John Baker tried for "high misdemeanors." The jury returned a verdict of
guilty" "after about an hour's deliberation."(126)
12 May 1828 The New Brunswick court sentences Baker " to be imprisoned in the
common gaol of the county of York for the term of two calendar months,
and to pay a fine to our lord the King of twenty five pounds, and remain
committed until the same was paid."(127)
13 May 1828 John Baker writes to Governor Enoch Lincoln to report his conviction and
sentencing. He ends by saying, "In consequence of British invasion and
oppression, my family is in want and distress," and he asks the Governor to
"send relief to my family" and seek his release.(128)
4 June 1828 Charles Vaughan passes on Lieutenant Governor Sir Howard Douglas' 12
May letter in which he declines "to remit the punishment to which Baker
has been sentenced," saying he will "let the law take it's course, unless I
should receive contrary instructions from H. M. Govt."(129)
12 July 1828 John Baker's jail sentence ends. However, neither he nor the State of
Maine pays the fine, for that means acknowledging the jurisdiction of New
Brunswick over the Madawaska settlement until the Commissioners of
Boundary decide otherwise. So John Baker remains in custody in
14 August 1828 Great Britain's Foreign Secretary, Lord Aberdeen, refuses to order the
Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick to release John Baker. "The
several acts of outrage and sedition proved against him on the trial were
such as no government actually exercising jurisdiction, and therefore
responsible for the peace and security of the community existing under its
protection, could allow to pass unpunished, whether the perpetrators of
offences happened to be its own subjects, or aliens settled within its
jurisdiction, and therefore owing local and temporary obedience to its
21 October 1828 John Baker gave a bond to pay his fine by 25 December 1828
and is released from the Fredericton jail. He had been in custody for thirteen
1. The writer thanks Jerry Findlen of Fort Fairfield, Maine, for introducing him to the headstone / memorial and for doing on-site research at Fort Fairfield. Thanks are also due to Nancy Roe, Special Collections Librarian at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, to Lisa Ornstein, Director of the Acadian Archives at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, to Michel Thériault, Directeur du Centre de Documentation et d'Études Madawaskayenne at the University of Moncton at Edmundston, and Ann Small, Archivist at the Maine State Archives. All four helped me locate materials and provided valuable suggestions that led to other material used in this article. Finally, the writer thanks Christiane VanWart, title searcher at the Madawaska County Registry of Deeds, who located and supplied a copy of all land transactions involving John Baker in New Brunswick.
2. A note in the "Locals" column of the Presque Isle Star Herald for 26 September 1895 says that the "just finished" marker "will be about five feet in height . . . and will weigh about three tons" (p. 3, col. 3). Resolve 249 of the 1894-1895 Maine legislature provided $250 for the costs of the monument and for moving John Baker's remains. In year 2000 dollars, the cost would be about $4,800.00 (S. Morgan Freeman, "Inflation Calculator," www.westegg.com/inflation).
3. Roger Paradis, in his article, "John Baker and the Republic of Madawaska: An Episode in the Northeast Boundary Controversy," The Dalhousie Review 52 (Spring 1972), maintains that John Baker was buried in "the family plot at Meruimticook (Baker Brook), New Brunswick" (p. 93). Guy Dubay, in his article, "Vers la Démystification de John Baker (1786-1868)," Revue de la Société Historique du Madawaska xxiv (novembre 1996), maintains the same: "In that summer , he was exhumed from his grave at Baker Brook, New Brunswick, where he had reposed since 1868" (p. 38, translation mine). However, Fr. André M. Godmer, pastor of Saint-Coeur-de-Marie at Baker Brook, wrote in his Esquisse Historique de Baker-Brook: Jubilé d'Argent de la Bénédiction Solonnelle de l'Eglise, 29 juillet 1928 - 29 juillet 1953 (n.p., 1953), "He died at Saint-Francis, near Baker Brook, in Madawaska [County], and was buried in the Protestant cemetery in 1868; he reposed in the Canadian soil that he always wanted to call American" (p. 15, my translation). Possibly drawing on Godmer's earlier work, Marcel Ouellette, in his short note on "John Baker" in Revue de la Société Historique du Madawaska XII (octobre-décembre 1984), wrote, "He died around 1868 and was buried at Saint François" (p. 27, my translation). There is a tiny Baptist chapel about five miles to the Southwest of Saint-Francois-de-Madawaska on the road to Connors. Both villages are in the civil parish of Saint-Francis in Madawaska County, NB. The sign on the front of the church reads, "Saint Francis Baptist Church, 1857." Georges Sirois, in his history of this short-lived Baptist community, points out that it was the only Protestant community and church in the Upper Saint John Valley West of Grand Falls until the late 19th century when a Presbyterian church was built in Fort Kent. Georges Sirois, "Un Aventurisme Spirituel: La Mission Baptiste de Saint-Francois (1855-1867)" xxiv (avril-juin 1996): 8. Since John Baker declared that he was Baptist in the 1861 Canadian census, and since John Baker and Sophie Rice were living with their son John Jr. in the civil parish of Saint Francis at the time, we may assume that he was buried in this church's cemetery, and not in Baker Brook. If correct, he was buried about 20 miles upstream from the village he helped to found where he had started to build a home in 1827 near the log cabin his brother Nathan had built in 1817.
4. . Two thorough treatments of John Baker are important for understanding the man and his role in Maine's history between 1820 and 1842. The first is an article by Roger Paradis, "John Baker and the Republic of Madawaska: An Episode in the Northeast Boundary Controversy," The Dalhousie Review 52 (Spring 1972): 78-95. The article deals with Baker's actions during those difficult years. Paradis is a skilled story teller, and Baker's story is gripping reading. Moreover, he stays close to his sources, which range from original documents like the Maine Resolves to an article in the short-lived newspaper, Journal de Madawaska (1902-1906). If readers want only one article to read about Baker, this is the one. The second thorough treatment is a book by Geraldine Tidd Scott, Ties of Common Blood: A History of Maine's Northeast Boundary Dispute with Great Britain, 1783-1842 (Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1992). Her focus is on the story of the border controversy, but she does not shy away from describing in detail John Baker's role as it comes up. Her treatment of Baker is neutral and solidly anchored to original documents. Readers wanting to read a recently done history of the Northeast border conflict will find no better than Tidd Scott's book. A briefer treatment of John Baker actions described in this article is available in "John Baker's Rebellion and the Subsequent Deadlock," Chapter VII of Charlotte Lenentine Melvin, Madawaska: a Chapter in Maine-New Brunswick Relations (Madawaska, ME: Saint John Valley Publ. Co., 1975). Originally a thesis done at the University of Rochester, NY, in 1956, it has been republished by the Madawaska Historical Society. Her work focuses on Baker's impact on the relationship between Maine and New Brunswick and between the US and Great Britain.
5. Scott, Ties of Common Blood. Scott draws from two primary documents for her details. The first is the "Report of Charles S. Daveis, Esq, Agent appointed by the Executive of the State of Maine to inquire into and report upon certain facts relating to aggressions upon the rights of the State, and of individual citizens thereof, by inhabitants of the Province of New-Brunswick," originally printed by the State of Maine as Legislative Document 18 (Portland,1828), and again in Massachusetts General Court, Joint Committee on Public Lands, Report and Resolves in Relation to the North Eastern Boundary of the State of Maine (Boston, 1838), 227-273. Future citations to this work will be to the "Daveis Report." The second is Samuel B. Barrell, "Report of the Special Agent," which, with attached documents, is part of Message from the President of the United States, with Documents Relating to Alleged Aggressions on the Rights of Citizens of the United States by the Authorities of New Brunswick, on the Territory in Dispute Between the United States and Great Britain, 20th Cong., 1st sess., 1828, S. Doc.130, serial 166. Future citations to this work will be to the "Barrell Report." Of the two, Barrell's report is the more objective, and most of Tidd-Scott's detail of the flag incident come from it.
6. Scott, Ties of Common Blood, 44-45. Bracketed material in the quotation is my own.
7. Scott, Ties of Common Blood, 45.
8. Francis Rice to George Morehouse, 25 July 1827, "Barrell Report," 36.
9. Sworn affidavit of William Feirio [Guillaume Thériault], 8 August 1828, taken by Justice of the Peace George Morehouse, "Barrell Report," 37.
10. Sworn testimony of George Morehouse, Baker trial, 8 May 1828. The trial transcript is part of Presidential Message on Arrest of John Baker in New Brunswick and Boundary of Maine, 20th Cong., 2nd sess., 1828, H. Doc. 90, serial 186. It is reprinted in John Francis Sprague, The North Eastern Boundary Controversy and the Aroostook War (Dover, ME: The Observer Press [1910?]), 78-79.
11. Sprague, The North Eastern Boundary, 78.
12. Kirk Eugene Savage, "Race, Memory, and Identity: The National Monuments of the Union and the Confederacy" (Ph.D. diss., University of California Berkeley, 1990), 4.
13. Cecile Dufour Pozzuto, comp., Madoueskak, 1785-1985: A Pictorial History, Recapturing the Past (n.p., 1985), tells us that a cross has been on the South bank of the Saint John River, not far from the church of Saint David, more or less continuously since 1785, when oral tradition has Joseph Simon Daigle, leader of the first families to migrate to the Madawaska Settlement, raise a cross on their arrival. On 4 July 1922, for the 50th anniversary of Saint David parish, a new cross was built by two parishioners and carried by 12 stout mem from surrounding farms to the present location. After 12 years of planning and fund-raising by the Madawaska Historical Society, a 14-foot high granite cross was raised at the site in time for the 28 June 1985 bicentennial observance of the arrival of the first families (113). Saint David Parish's Centennial Planning Committee, Centennial, 1871-1971 (n.p., 1971) has a good photo of the 1922 cross (17). Its popularity as a symbol is evidence by family reunions having part of their activities at the cross. (See Cyr Family Reunion: July 24, 25, 26, 1981, Madawaska, Maine [Madawaska, ME: Madawaska Historical Society, 1981].)
14. Information on the display comes from "The Returned Maine Battle Flags," Civil War Memorials Erected in the State of Maine, Maurice J. Warner, Comp. (Augusta, ME: Maine Civil War Centennial Commission, 1965): 2. The 43 national colors, 41 regimental colors, and 28 guidons on display are now replicas. The originals were removed in the late 1990s to the Maine State Museum for safekeeping. (Telephone conversation with Sean Findlen, Assistant to the Director, Constituent Services, Office of the Governor, State of Maine, 24 April 2001.) The mortality statistics come from William F. Fox, Regimental Losses in the American Civil War, 1861-1865: A Treatise on the Extent and Nature of the Mortuary Losses in the Union Regiments, with full and exhaustive Statistics Compiled from the Official Records on file in the State Military Bureaus and at Washington (Albany, NY: Albany Publishing Company, 1889): 467. A full 20 percent of all combat losses by Maine's 31 regiments were sustained by only two regiments, the First Maine Cavalry, which sustained more losses than any Union cavalry unit, and the First Maine Heavy Artillery, which lost more men than "any regimental organization [from any Union state] in any arm of the service" (467).
15. Edward Wagenknecht devotes all of Chapter XX, "The Surest Pledge," to summarizing the documentation making Longfellow "one of the most famous men in the world" in his book, Longfellow: A full-Length Portrait (New York: Longmans, Green, 1955): 307-313.
16. "Stars and Stripes," Encyclopedia Britannica 2001, CD (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1994-2001).
17. George Morehouse, "List of American Citizens in possession of lands in Madawaska, quantity, etc.," "Barrell Report," 40-41.
18. The population of the Madawaska Settlement (Penobscot County) was 2,487 people in the US census of 1830. The closest settlements to it (both in Washington County) were Aroostook, with only 261 people followed by Houlton Plantation with 576. All three together were less than 1% of Maine's 398, 260 inhabitants. The rest of Northern Maine was wilderness. Bureau of the Census, Fifth Census or, Enumeration of the Inhabitants of the United States. 1830. To Which is Prefixed a Schedule of the Whole Number of Persons within the Several Districts of the United States, Taken According to the Acts of 1790, 1800, 1810, and 1820 (Washington, D.C., 1832): 6. A first road to the Saint John Valley was authorized by the Maine legislature in January 1842. "Resolves in relation to a military road," Northeastern Boundary of Maine, 27th Cong., 2nd sess., 1842, S. Doc 66, serial 396, 3. The County was not created until 1839 at the height of the Aroostook War.
19. "During these ceremonies Mrs. C. E. Slocomb, daughter of the patriot the day's exercises were for the purpose of commemorating, sat in front of the main line of the assembly, not far from the sarcophagus." The Beacon, 3 October 1895, p. 8, cols. 2-3. The article is reprinted in Roger Paradis, ed., Papiers de Prudent L. Mercure: Histoire de Madawaska (Madawaska: Me, Madawaska Historical Society, 1998), 1: 155. The Beacon article is nearly identical with the version published in The Northern Leader and reprinted here in Appendix B. An item in The Northern Leader for 26 January 1894 refers to "Mrs. Slocomb, who is with her daughter, Mrs. Scates, has been suffering from the grippe" (p. 4, col. 1). This Mrs. Slocomb has to be Adaline who would be 65 years old during the first winter after husband Caleb's death; Mrs. Scates was born Emma Slocomb. Son W. W. Slocomb's wife Grace would have only been 27 at the time and could not have had a married daughter.
20. The strong support for Baker-as-Patriot on the part of the keynote speaker at the headstone-memorial's unveiling suggests many Aroostook residents empathized with Adaline's views. Not all of the 200 or so in attendance were there as curiosity seekers. It remains a fact that only Adaline's signature is on the petition to the legislature and that the headstone-memorial's existence is almost entirely due to her efforts. Her petition to the legislature, titled "Statement of Facts" when it was printed no the back of Resolve 249, it is an admixture of two writers. One is clearly Adaline, whose voice is recognizable in the six final paragraphs, and especially in sentences written in first-person narrative. Passages such as "A most prominent trait in my father's character," "The story of my father's efforts and sacrifices" and "I ask nothing for myself" can come only from her. However, other parts of the petition, written in third-person exposition, appear to be the work of someone familiar with public language. Passages such as "establish a settlement of Americans in that part of the State of Maine watered by the Upper St. John" and the whole paragraph beginning with "At the time the Government of the United States claimed the territory north of the St. John," are the work of another writer, possibly Senator Houghton of Fort Fairfield, whose name is on the typed copy of the petition submitted to the legislature's Committee on Military Affairs. (Memorial of Adaline Slocomb, 1895, Maine State Archives.)
21. Savage, Race, Memory, and Identity, 1-4.
22. Civil War Memorials, 40. What cost $3,500 to erect in 1909 would cost about $64,700 in year 2000 dollars (S. Morgan Friedman, "Inflation Calculator," www.westegg.com/inflation).
23. "The Longfellow Statue (1888) . . . cost $8,500. The Statue, a faithful portrait, is one of the city's prized possessions." Maine: A Guide 'Down East' (Boston: Houghton, 1937): 186. The 1970 edition of Maine: A Guide 'Down East' tells us that "Money for the statue . . . was raised by penny donations from school children" (219), evidence that there was broad support for the statue. In year 2000 dollars, the statue cost about $157,100 (S. Morgan Friedman, "Inflation Calculator," www.westegg.com/inflation), a hefty sum reflecting the city's pride in its native son.
24. The Northern Leader, 7 February 1893, p. 2, cols. 1-2.
25. The Houghton-Fessenden political association is found in The Northern Leader, 25 August 1892, p. 5, col. 3, and 22 February 1895, p. 7, col. 2. The Houghton-Slocomb Masonic association is found in The Northern Leader, 12 January 1894, p. 6, col. 3, 3 January 1893, p. 5, col. 2, and 7 February 1893, p. 2, col, 1. The Houghton-Scates vacation travel association is found in The Northern Leader, 18 August 1893, p. 7, col. 2.
26. Obituary, The Northern Leader, 23 May 1893. "The people gathered in large numbers at the Collins House [the local hotel] with the members of Eastern Frontier Lodge F. and A. M., with brothers from Andover, N.B., and sister towns to attend the funeral of Brother C. E. Slocomb. . . . The procession then took up its march to Riverside cemetery. Seventy-seven Masons were in line, with their aprons and white gloves, followed by a large concourse of citizens" (p. 3, col. 3).
27. Table 5.--Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1890 and 1900, Bureau of the Census, Census Reports, Vol. I, Population, Twelfth Census of the United States (Washington: D.C., 1901): 190.
28. Savage, Race, Memory, and Identity, 116-117.
29. Savage, Race, Memory, and Identity, 5.
30. Papiers de Prudent L. Mercure, 1: 128. Mercure summarized the article and did not copy it verbatim into his papers. The article appears to have been an obituary published six months after Sophia's death on 23 February 1883. The newspaper article erred in the spelling of Sophia's daughter's name. A search of the 1871 Canadian census shows Sophia, then 87, living with her son Enoch and his wife Marie-Madeleine Ouellette. A search of the1880 US census for Fort Fairfield shows only one Slocomb, Caleb E., and his wife, Adaline. No other Slocomb is listed, nor is Sophia Baker. Thus, it would appear that John Baker's widow, Sophia Rice Baker, arrived at Caleb and Adaline's home after the 1880 census was taken.
31. Both John Baker, Jr.'s and Jesse Baker's letters are reprinted in Roger Paradis' edition of the Papiers de Prudent L. Mercure, 1: 153-154. John Jr. was likely logging. Mecosta is in the center of Michigan's lower peninsula, West of Mount Pleasant and North of Grand Rapids.
32. All quotations which follow in this section, unless otherwise noted, are taken from Adaline's Statement of Facts, printed below in Appendix A.
33. In a petition to the governor of Maine for financial relief after her husband had been in jail for a full twelve months, Sophia wrote, "the house we live in is very uncomfortable and the house we are building will take about two hundred dollars to make it comfortable for the winter." In the same month, John Deane met with John Baker and wrote to Governor Lincoln, "he has been frustrated from finishing a house, which he had commenced for the comfort and accommodation of himself and his family." (Both letters are in Folder 17, Box 23, Exec. Council, 1828, Maine Archives.)
34. "Deed to John Baker," Message from the President of the United States . . . in Relation to the Arrest and Trial . . . of John Baker, 20th Cong., 2nd sess., 1829, H. Doc.90, serial 186, 12.
35. . Report of John G. Deane and Edward Kavanagh to Samuel E. Smith, Governor of the State of Maine as reprinted in W. O. Raymond, "State of the Madawaska and Aroostook Settlements in 1831," Collections of the New Brunswick Historical Society (Saint John, NB: Barnes & Co., 1914): 396. The pertinent text reads as follows:
"Next, North bank, is a possession in the occupation of John Baker. He began on the land in 1823.
Next, North bank, is the hundred acre lot John Baker owns, which he purchased of the State of Maine and Massachusetts. Baker claims a lot up the Marirumpticook, on which he began in 1826. He has cleared seven acres on the lot, which is now in mowing. He also claims an island in the St. John containing about three acres chiefly in mowing. The clearing was commenced in 1828.
John Baker says that John Harford, in 1817, cleared the West point at the mouth of the Madawaska river and lived there one year. Baker purchased the improvements of Harford before witnesses, and sent Walter Powers to work on the land."
36. Duperre to Wetmore, 20 Feb 1819, "Barrell Report," 32.
37. Report of John G. Deane and Edward Kavanagh, 396.
38. Report of John G. Deane and Edward Kavanagh, 445-446.
39. Bagot to Colonel Barclay, 8 December 1818, "Barrell Report," 30.
40. 28. Wetmore to Morehouse, authorizing him to issue an arrest warrant for John Baker, 7 September 1827, and Wetmore to Miller, directing him to arrest John Baker, 7 September 1827, "Barrell Report," 42-43.
41. Sworn affidavit of William Feiro [Guillaume Thériault], 8 August 1827, taken by Justice of the Peace George Morehouse, "Barrell Report," 37.
42. Report of the Special Agent, "Barrell Report," 10.
43. Robert Sherar vs. John Baker, [December] 1827, RS42, Supreme Court Original Jurisdiction Cases, 1784 - 1836, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. Papiers de Prudent L. Mercure, 3:124. Had Baker not been arrested on the high misdemeanor charge, he would have been arrested eventually for the non-payment of debt.
44. Grant No. 4366, Lot 67, 534 acres, Book J, 3 November 1848, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. He was also granted Baker Island, 3 acres, on 27 November 1848 (Grant No. 4430, Book J.) Lot 67 had two halves and a back extension. The Northeast or "lower half" straddled Baker Brook and had about 224 acres. The extension, immediately in line with and as wide as the Northeast half, was called "the Hay Farm" and had about 86 acres. The Southwest or "upper half" paralleled the lower half and had about 224 acres. The narrow end of each half ran along the Saint John River.
45. . During the Webster-Ashburton negotiations, Edward Kavanagh, Edward Kent, John Otis, William. P. Preble, the Commissioners of Maine sent to Washington to look out for Maine's interests, wrote a set of three requests to the negotiators. One asked that any grant of land within the disputed territory "shall be confirmed, and all equitable possessory titles shall be quieted, to those who possess the claims." They then add this sentence: "And we trust that the voluntary suggestion of the British minister, in regard to John Baker, and any others, if there be any, similarly situated, will be carried into effect, so as to secure their rights." Papers accompanying [the] Message of the President of the United States, 27th Cong., 3rd sess., 1843, S. Doc. 1, serial 413, 99.) Webster and Ashburton agreed and created Article IV. The article reads in part, "All grants of land heretofore made by either Party, within the limits of the territory which by this Treaty falls within the dominions of the other Party, shall be held valid, ratified, and confirmed to the persons in possession under such grants, to the same extent as if such territory had by this Treaty fallen within the dominions of the Party by whom such grants were made. . . ." The Article goes on to say that "possessory claims" are also to "be deemed valid and be confirmed" with a "title." Baker's 1825 grant from Maine and Massachusetts was one of only two grants by the US side that was located on the Canadian side after the 1842 treaty. (Neighbor James Bacon had died earlier.) "The Webster-Ashburton Treaty, August 9, 1842, The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School, www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/diplomacy/br-1842.htm. The "voluntary suggestion of the British minister" is contained in Ashburton's 9 August 1842 dispatch to the Foreign Secretary in London: "Following the river upwards, there lives at its fork with the St Francis, a man named Baker, who has a mill, and about 100 acres of land. He has been an active partisan and agitator on the part of Maine, and the Maine Commissioners fearing that his situation as a British subject might expose him to difficulties, made many efforts to throw his property within the Maine line. As this was in every respect objectionable, and seeing the object they were aiming at, I got over the difficulty by a voluntary promise, not put into the Treaty, that, if Baker wishes to leave the Province, and is not able to find at once a purchaser for his property, it shall be taken over at a reasonable price. I have written to this effect a letter to Governor Kent one of the Maine Commissioners. This engagement must if necessary be fulfilled, and that rather liberally, but not extravagantly. I do not know what the expense of so doing may amount to, but I think it cannot well exceed a thousand pounds." Ashburton Papers, Despatch No. 17, as cited by Hunter Miller in his commentary on the documents associated with the Webster - Ashburton Treaty of 1842 (Document 99) in Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, ed. Hunter Miller (Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1934), 4: 401. (Ashburton confused the Meruimticook with the Saint Francis.) The communication is revealing. The Maine Commissioners were not acting solely out of a view of what land the 1783 treaty made part of Maine and the US; instead they were acting with specific regard for John Baker's wishes. For his part, Baker, having made himself persona non grata with New Brunswick authorities and having had his fill of the British legal system, feared what would happen to him. Ashburton's offer gave him an opportunity for a dignified retreat South. Ironically, Baker chose not to sell his grant back to the New Brunswick government, lived in New Brunswick with his son John Jr. from 1851 until he died in 1868, and was buried in New Brunswick.
46. 1850 US Census, Aroostook County, Maine (Hancock Plantation), National Archives Microfilm M-432, Roll 248, p. 126A; Jean-Guy Poitras, Recensement 1851: comté de Victoria, incluant l'actuel comté de Madawaska, province du Nouveau-Brunswick (Edmundston, NB: Jean-Guy Poitras, 1998): 129; Jean-Guy Poitras, Recensement 1861: comté de Victoria, incluant l'actuel comté de Madawaska, province du Nouveau-Brunswick (Edmundston, NB: Jean-Guy Poitras, 1998).
47. John Baker to John Morton, Northern Aroostook County Registry of Deeds, 1: 621-622. We know that Morton is Baker's son-in-law from A. Estabrooks who served as minister to the tiny Baptist community of Saint Francis. In 1883, he wrote to The Christian Visitor, "Fifteen miles further up [the Saint John River from Baker's Brook] in 1861 on the point of a lovely flat I found four families in a cluster. John E. Morton, Augustine Webster and Caleb Slocomb all Nova Scotians, were all married to Mrs. Baker's daughters." Georges Sirois, "Un Aventurisme Spirituel: La Mission Baptiste de Saint-Francois (1855-1867)," Revue de la Société Historique du Madawaska xxiv (avril-juin 1996): 35.
48. Béatrice Craig, "Agriculture et marché au Madawaska, 1799 - 1850," Revue de la Société historique du Madawaska XXVI (février 1999), 15. Her earlier study of the Upper Saint John Valley's agricultural history is "Agriculture in a Pioneer Region: The Upper St John Valley in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century," in Farm, Factory and Fortune, New Studies in the Economic History of the Maritime Provinces, ed. Kris Inwood (Fredericton, NB: Acadiensis Press, 1993), 17-36.
49. It appears that Joseph Baker had already set up his son Asa in farming when, on 15 March 1809, he sold "all the land I now possess in said place . . . except one half of the dwelling house" to Nathan and John jointly. The land was South of brother Asa's land on the East side of the Kennebeck River at Bakerstown (Moscow, Maine). On 12 November 1810, John bought Nathan's half. (Somerset County Registry of Deeds, 3: 202.) The result of the sheriff's sale to pay Moses Thompson is recorded in 8: 159-160, and the result of the sheriff's sale to pay Selden and Fletcher is recorded in 11: 100-102, Somerset County Registry of Deeds. The legal language can be confusing. After a borrower defaulted on a loan, creditors filed a "plea of trespass on the case of promises" with the court. The term was used in both Canadian and American courts. (Suing for "tresspass" here does not refer to walking on someone else's land without the owner's permission.) The court then issued a "writ of execution" to the sheriff to collect the money. If the money was not available, the sheriff was ordered to assess property equivalent in value owned by the debtor, seize it, and turn it over to the creditor. That was a "sheriff's sale" and the resulting "sheriff's deed" was registered in the county registry of deeds. The terms are well defined in Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary: Definitions of the Terms and Phrases of American and English Jurisprudence, Ancient and Modern, ed. Joseph R. Nolan and M. J. Connolly, abr. 5th ed.(Saint Paul, MN: West Publishing, 1983).
50. Robert Sherar vs. John Baker, [December] 1827, RS 42, Supreme Court Original Jurisdiction Cases, 1784 - 1836, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.
51. Samuel Nevers vs. John Baker, 1823. The writ of execution was recorded in Book C, p. 178. RS 42, Supreme Court Original Jurisdiction Cases, 1784 - 1836, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.
52. . The auction was ordered by Sheriff Winslow on 4 December and announced in the 11 December 1833 issue of The Royal Gazette. The sherif's sale took place on 12 June 1934 at Harvey's Hotel in Woodstock. Because it explains so much of Adeline's belief about her father's "once fine property, which had all been conveyed by the Provincial Government to parties in Fredericton," the notice is worth quoting in its entirety.
To be sold at Public Auction, at Harvey's Hotel in Woodstock on Thursday the 12th day of June next, between the hours of 12 and 5 in the afternoon.
All the estate, right, title, interest, claim and demand of John Baker, of in and to a certain tract of land on which he resides, in Madawaska, containing about 200 acres, with a double Saw Mill, Grist Mill, Two Story Dwelling House, large Frame Barn, Sheds and Out Houses built thereon: The said Farm being bounded on the East side by land owned by Fierman Thibadiau [sic.] and on the West by Nathaniael Bartlett's land and with the aforesaid improvements has been taken on Execution issued out of the Supreme Court, at the suit of Samuel Nevers, against the said John Baker, for the sum of 306 pounds 11 Shillings 1 pence.
J. F. W. WINSLOW, Sheriff.
Woodstock, December 4, 1833
53. The suit and sheriff's sale are in Hatheway, James G. vs. John Baker, 1847, RS 958, Supreme Court Original Jurisdiction Cases, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. The petition for the grant is in F. W. Hatheway, 1848, RS 108, Land Petitions, Additions, 1787-1853, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. The sale to Sophia is recorded in Deed, 10 January 1856, Book A, p. 586, Registry of Deeds, Madawaska County, Edmundston, NB.
54. Deed, 19 March 1868, Book B, p. 241, and deed, 25 March 1868, Book B, p. 246, Registry of Deeds, Madawaska County, Edmundston, NB.
55. Daniel L. Schacter, Searching for Memory: The Brain, the Mind, and the Past (New York: Basic Books, 1996), 4, 6. I am indebted to Dr. Schacter's book for most of the material on memory in this article.
56. Sigmund Freud, "Screen Memories," (1899) in Early Psycho-Analytic Publications, vol. 3 of The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, ed. & trans. James Strachey (London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1952-1974) as paraphrased by Schacter, p. 100.
57. Sigmund Freud, "Psychopathology and Everyday Life" as summarized by Alan Braddeley, "The Psychology of Remembering and Forgetting," ch. 2 in Memory: History, Culture and the Mind, ed. Thomas Butler (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989), 57.
58. F. C. Bartlett, Remembering (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1932) as summarized in Schacter, 101.
59. Webster's Third International Dictionary, CD, defines a patriot as "a person who loves his country and defends and promotes its interests" and as "one who advocates or promotes the independence of his native soil or people from the country or union of countries of which it is a part."
60. Albert B. Corey, The Crisis of 1830-1842 in Canadian-American Relations (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1941), 12.
61. Aileen Dunham, Political Unrest in Upper Canada, 1815-1836 (London, 1927): 78, as cited in Corey, p. 13.
62. Federick Merk, Manifest Destiny and Mission in American History: A Reinterpretation (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963): 14.
63. John Quincy Adams to Richard Rush, 20 May 1818, House Documents, 17th Cong., 1st sess., 1818, H. Doc 112, serial 68, 12-13, as quoted in Merk, 16.
64. John L. O'Sullivan, Editorial, New York Morning News, 7 Feb 1845, as quoted in Merk, 46.
65. Merk, 13.
66. Thanks go to Robert A. Divine, T. H. Breen, George M. Fredrickson, and R. Hal Williams, America: Past and Present, 5th ed. (New York: Longman, 1999): 350, for pointing out this poem, available at www.Bartleby.com/142/82.html
67. Letter of Lincoln to Clay, 3 September 1827, Documents relating to the North Eastern Boundary, 205, 207, 208.
68. Letter from Samuel Cook, 25 March 1824, Message from the President of the United States, 20th Congress, 2nd Session, 1828, H. Doc. 90, serial 186, 5.
69. Charlotte Lenentine Melvin, "Madawaska: A Chapter in Maine-New Brunswick Relations" (master's thesis, University of Rochester, 1955; reprint, Madawaska, ME: Madawaska Historical Society, 1975), 29.
70. Militia Captain Pierre Duperre to New Brunswick Attorney General Thomas Wetmore, 20 February 1819, "Barrell Report," 31.
71. Clay to Vaughan, 17 March 1828, William R. Manning, comp., Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States: Canadian Relations, 1784-1860 (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1942), 2:169.
72. James Kent, Kent's Commentary on International Law, ed. J. T. Aldy, 2nd ed. rev. (Cambridge: Deighton, Bell, and Co., 1878): 394. An earlier, variant edition of this work, "Chancellor Kent's Commentaries on American Law, p. 106, was cited by prosecutors during the 1831 sedition trial at which John Baker, although indicted, was not present. The transcript of the trial, first printed in The Fredericton Royal Gazette, 19 October 1831, is reprinted as an appendix in Remarks upon Disputed Points of Boundary under the Fifth Article of the Treaty of Ghent, Principally Compiled from the Statements Laid by the Government of Great Britain before the King of the Netherlands, as Arbiter, 2nd ed. (Saint John, NB: D. A. Cameron, 1839). References to Kent's commentary are on xxv and xxvi. Lord Aberdeen, British Foreign Secretary in 1829, made use of this principle in Great Britain's formal reply to American Ambassador Lawrence regarding the United States' formal demand for Baker's release Aberdeen to Lawrence, Niles' Weekly Register 33 (16 May 1829): 192.
73. Having studied Justice of the Peace George Morehouse's report of doings in the Upper Settlement, Attorney General Thomas Wetmore and Solicitor General Charles Peters (who had become Attorney General by the 1831 trial), conclude in their report and recommendation to Lieutenant Governor Sir Howard Douglas, "We consider the Madawaska settlement [to] be within the British territory, and unquestionably in his Majesty's possession; and that Baker and his coadjutors were, and are, under the protection, and owe a temporary allegiance to his Majesty." (Wetmore and Peters to Douglas, [August 1827], Documents Accompanying the President's Message to Congress, 20th Cong., 1st sess., 1828, H. Doc. 2, serial 169, 29.) At Baker's sentencing hearing during the 1827 trial, Chief Justice Saunders of the New Brunswick Supreme Court noted Baker's defense and responded to it: Baker "did not consider himself amenable to the process of this court, being a citizen of the United States, and that the offence charged was committed within their territory; but the court could not admit this to be the case, it appearing clearly that the Madawaska settlement where the offence was committed, has been, from the first erection of the Province, hitherto under our laws, and subject to our jurisdiction." (John Francis Sprague, The North Eastern Boundary, 95.) The chief justice in the 1831 trial emphasized this legal point: "in point of fact, the Madawaska settlement had been continually under the jurisdiction of this Province ever since its first establishment, and . . . there had been no act by which this jurisdiction had been changed and another introduced." (Remarks upon the Disputed Points of Boundary, xxvi.) Barrell's charge included the responsibility for seeking answers to the following questions: "The President wishes to know when and by whom these settlements on the Madawasca and Aroostook were first made:? Whether they were under American or British authority, or of French origin? By whom have they been governed? Have both the American and British governments exercised acts of jurisdiction over them, or only one government, and which, exclusively? Have the settlers generally acquiesced in the exercise of that authority, whether British or American, which has been extended over them?" (Clay to Barrell, 19 November 1827, "Barrell Report," 7-8.) Barrell's conclusion, in his report to Secretary of State Henry Clay, agrees with the British: "The laws of the Province of New Brunswick appear to have been always in force since the origin of that settlement. The settlers have acquiesced in the exercise of British authority, both civil and military, among them. . . ." ("Barrell Report," 13.)
74. Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, CD. Morehouse to Wetmore, 11 August 1827, "Barrell Report," 40.
75. Lincoln to Baker and Bacon, 3 September 1827, Papiers de Prudent L. Mercure, 1: 153.
76. Barrell Report, 130, italics mine.
77. "Report of the Trial of Barnabas Hannawell, Jesse Wheelock, and Daniel Savage," The Fredericton Royal Gazette, 19 October 1831, reprinted in Remarks upon the Disputed Points of Boundary, xvii - xix. Colebrooke to Sydenham, 1 May 1840, in George S. Rowell, "John Baker, A Hero of Madawaska," pamphlet, 28 November 1911, 9.
78. 76. Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, Comprising Portions of His Diary from 1795 to 1848, ed. Charles Francis Adams (Philadelophia: J. B. Lippincott, 1875), 7: 357-358.
79. Clay to Vaughan, 20 Feb 1828, Message from the President of the United States, 20th Cong., 2nd sess., 1829, H. Doc. 90, serial 186, 39; Clay to Vaughan, 17 March 1828, Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, 2: 169.
80. Vaughan to Clay, 21 November 1827, Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, 2: 658. Report of the Special Agent, "Barrell Report,"15.
81. Lincoln to Daveis, 26 November 1827, American Antiquarian Society.
82. Savage, Race, Memory, and Identity, 117.
83. This is the printed text of Resolve 249, likely what was used by legislators in each chamber when the resolve came up for a reading and vote. It is printed on a single 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of paper folded in half to form 4 pages, much like a college graduation program. The resolve is on page one, the front, Adaline's Statement of Facts is on facing pages 2 and 3, and the committee reporting out the resolve is on page 4, the back. Clerk W. S. Cotton's tracking sheet for Resolve 249, on file in the Maine State Archives, indicates that the resolve was proposed by "E. L. Houghton / Fort Fairfield." The House of Representatives referred the proposed resolve to the Committee on Military Affairs on 30 January 1895, and the Senate Chamber followed suit on the following day. It was reported out of the Committee on Military Affairs on 28 November, was passed by the House after a second reading on 6 March, and was passed by the Senate after a second reading on 21 March 1895.
84. The writer of the article presents the I.O.O.F. ceremony in detail but does not capture the chaplain's prayer, any of Secretary of State Fessenden's impromptu remarks, or Major Dickey's oration. This handling of his information suggests that the reporter had access to a print copy of the I.O.O.F. ceremonial manual but did not have the shorthand skills of big city reporters. There are errors in Major Dickey's oration, the year of the flag incident being the most glaring. Guy Dubay is correct in reminding us that Major Dickey was only 17 years old and living in Southern Maine in 1827, that he only moved to Fort Kent in 1848, and that any "personal knowledge" he had of John Baker would be based on a meeting which took place no fewer than 27 years before the unveiling of the monument and possibly as many as 45 years earlier. Guy Dubay, "Vers la Démystification de John Baker (1786-1868)," Revue de la Société Historique du Madawaska xxiv (novembre 1996): 39.
85. Headstone, Riverside Cemetery, Fort Fairfield, Maine. Moscow History Committee, Makers of Moscow (Moscow, ME: Moscow History Committee, 1991): 73.
86. Makers of Moscow (1966): 20. Tidd-Scott was unable to ascertain the truth or falsity of the allegation. This negative reputation may have been what Deane referred to in his letter to Governor Lincoln in his assessment of Baker's character on 23 February 1828 after visiting Baker in the Fredericton jail (Deane to Lincoln, 23 February 1828, as cited in Tidd-Scott, 66). A search of Somerset County court dockets in the Maine Archives does not reveal a criminal complaint against the two Baker brothers. The 1991 edition of Makers of Moscow dropped the assertion, suggesting that others were unable to find support for the claim. It is worth noting, however, in that it means someone thought the claim was consistent with other information that had been handed down about John Baker's character.
87. When the 1851 census taker queried John Baker as to when he moved to New Brunswick, John Baker said "September 1816." Jean-Guy Poitras, Recensement 1851 Census, Comté de Victoria, Incluant l'actuel comte de Madawaska, Province du Nouveau-Brunswick (Edmundston, NB: Jean-Guy Poitras, 1998): 129. Since Captain Duperre's February 1819 letter indicates that Nathan Baker and his family only arrived in August 1818, we can deduce that the two Baker brothers came up in 1816 to scout the area for a suitable homestead and base for a logging operation.
88. Militia Captain Pierre Duperre to New Brunswick Attorney General Thomas Wetmore, 20 February 1819, "Barrell Report," 31.
89. Letter of Duperre to Wetmore, 20 February 1819, "Barrell Report," 31. "In 1816, he left the United States, and took up his residence in the province of New Brunswick, where he remained about two years, and then left New Brunswick for the province of Lower Canada [Quebeclikely the North side of the Baie de Chaleur], where he remained about the same length of time. During the whole of this period he was engaged in the lumbering business." Testimony at his 1828 trial places him there in 1819. Samuel B. Barrell, Report of the Special Agent, "Barrell Report," 14. Sprague, 86.
90. Duperre to Bliss, 5 September 1818, "Barrell Report," 30
91. Duperre to Wetmore, 20 February 1819, "Barrell Report," 31.
92. Bagot to Colonel Barclay, 8 December 1818, "Barrell Report," 30.
93. Duperre to Wetmore, 20 February 1819, "Barrell Report," 31.
94. "In the summer of 1819, a subpoena was served upon John Harford . . . requiring him to appear at Fredericton, to answer to a suit for trespass and intrusion on crown lands instituted by the Attorney General. Similar process was issued against his son, John Harford, Jr. and also against Nathan Baker. John Harford states that he went to Fredericton in obedience to the summons and that he, together with Nathan Baker, submitted to the authority of the government of New Brunswick, and were both permitted to return to their settlements." Samuel B. Barrell, Report of the Special Agent, "Barrell Report," 13-14. This was likely for cutting timber on public land without a permit. When Attorney General Wetmore informed Samuel Barrell that there was a process issued against John Baker for trespass and intrusion, he referred to "similar conduct on the part of a late brother of John Baker and other American citizens in 1818. Upon that occasion, suits by me for trespass and intrusion against Nathan Baker and John Harford and son, which suits, in consequence of their submission, were not further proceeded in." Wetmore to Barrell, 23 December 1827, "Barrell Report," 19-20.
95. Roger Paradis, "John Baker and the Republic of Madawaska," 79. At John Baker's 1828 trial, George West said, "I know the defendant, Baker; have known him since 1820, he was then settled at the Bay Chaleur" (sworn testimony of George West, Baker Trial, 8 May 1828, Sprague, The North Eastern Boundary Controversy, 86). John Baker told Samuel Barrell about the unpaid debt to Sherar. Report of the Special Agent, "Barrell Report," 10.
96. Report of the Special Agent, "Barrell Report," 14.
97. "John Baker married Sophia Rice and it is interesting from a local standpoint that the ceremony of marriage was performed in 1822 by Rev. F. Dibblee who, in the register described them both as of the United States, now residing in Madawaska" T. C. L. Ketchum, A Short History of Carleton County, New Brunswick (Woodstock, N.B.: Non-Entity Press, 1981): 27, as quoted by Guy F. Dubay in "Vers la Démystification de John Baker (1786-1868)" Revue de la Société Historique du Madawaska xxiv (avril-juin 1996): 42.
98. Sworn testimony of Henry Clopper, York County Register of Deeds, Baker Trial, 8 May 1828, Sprague, The North Eastern Boundary Controversy, 84).
99. Sworn testimony of George West, Baker Trial, 8 May 1828, Sprague, The North Eastern Boundary Controversy, 86.
100. Deed to John Baker, Deed to James Bacon, and Charles Vaughn to Henry Clay, 2 Dec 1825, Message from the President of the United States . . . in Relation to the Arrest and Trial . . . of John Baker, 20th Cong., 2nd sess., 1829, H. Doc. 90, serial 186, 12-13. The deeds to Baker and Bacon are the only two granted by Massachusetts and Maine for land in the disputed territory. The Massachusetts legislature passed a resolve in June 1826 suspending its June 1825 resolve authorizing "the conveyance of the undivided lands on the Saint John and Madawaska Rivers to the settlers in actual possession" (19). Maine's legislature appears not to have followed suit.
101. Sworn testimony of George Morehouse, Baker Trial, 8 May 1828, Sprague, The North Eastern Boundary Controversy, 78.
102. Sworn affidavit of William Feiro (Guillaume Thériault), 8 August 1827, taken by Justice of the Peace George Morehouse, "Barrell Report," 37.
103. Sworn affidavits of Abraham Chamberland and Peter Markee [Pierre Marquis], 7 August 1827, taken by Justice of the Peace George Morehouse, Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, 2: 658-659.
104. Sworn affidavit of Peter Sileste [Salesse], 9 August 1827, taken by Justice of the Peace George Morehouse, "Barrell Report," 37-38. Pierre Salesse had served for a number of years aboard a French Navy frigate. Thus, he was more than likely trained in the use of pike, cutlass, and pistol. Baker was taking on a man who could more than defend himself. Guy Dubay, email, 10 & 15 Dec. 2001.
105. Sworn testimony of Simon Hébert, Baker Trial, 8 May 1828, Sprague, The North Eastern Boundary Controversy, 86.
106. Francis Rice to George Morehouse, 25 July 1827, "Barrell Report," 36-37.
107. Sworn testimony of George Morehouse, Baker trial, 8 May 1828.
108. Sworn affidavit of Joseph Sansfaçon, 9 Nov 1827, taken by justice of the peace George Morehouse, "Barrell Report, 26. John Jr. here is likely Enoch Baker, Nathan and Sophie's only son. John married Sophie around 1822, and their only son, John Jr., could not have been more than four years old at the time.
109. Morehouse to Wetmore, 11 August 1827, House Document No. 2, 26-27.
110. Wetmore and Peters to Douglas, undated, House Document No. 2, 29.
111. Memorial of John Baker and James Bacon, 1 Sept 1827, Maine State Archives. Lincoln to Baker and Bacon, 3 September 1827, Papiers de Prudent L. Mercure, 1: 153.
112. Wetmore to Morehouse and Winslow, 7 September 1827, "Barrell Report," 42-43.
113. Arrest Warrant for John Baker, James Bacon, and Charles Studson, 22 September 1827, "Barrell Report," 23.
114. Statement of Sheriff Miller appended to 22 September 1827 Arrest Warrant for Baker, Bacon, and Studson, "Barrell Report," 23.
115. Samuel Barrell "had repeated interviews with Mr. John Baker" at the Fredericton jail. In those interviews, he learned that "Mr. Baker is also imprisoned on civil process at the suit of Robert Sherar, residing in Lower Canada. He confessed to a judgement to Sherar at Quebec, for about two hundred and thirty pounds, in the year 1821, and upon this judgment the present suit is founded. On the criminal suit he was required to find bail for his appearance, in the sum of one hundred pounds, which he informed [Barrell] . . . he could readily obtain if he could be discharged from the civil process." Report of the Special Agent, "Barrell Report," 10. In year 2000 US dollars, the judgment to Sherar was in the vicinity of $4,000 and the surety bond was in the vicinity of $2,000. (S. Morgan Freeman, "Inflation Calculator," www.westegg.com/inflation).
116. Enoch Lincoln to Howard Douglas, 12 October 1827, reprinted in Massachusetts General Court, Documents Relating to the North Eastern Boundary of the State of Maine, 209-210.
117. Maine Secretary of State Amos Nichols to Charles Stuart Daveis, 5 November 1827, reprinted in Massachusetts General Court, Documents Relating to the North Eastern Boundary of the State of Maine (Boston: Dutton & Wentworth, 1828), 211.
118. Lincoln to Douglas, 5 November 1828, reprinted in Massachusetts General Court, Documents Relating to the North Eastern Boundary of the State of Maine, 211-212.
119. Governor Enoch Lincoln, "A Proclamation," 9 November 1827, reprinted in Documents Accompanying the President's Message to Congress at the Commencement of the First Session of the Twentieth Congress, December 4, 1827, 20th Cong., 1st sess., 1828, H. Doc. 2, serial 169, 23.
120. Henry Clay to Samuel B. Barrell, 19 November 1827, "Barrell Report," 7-8.
121. Barrell to Clay, 22 January 1828, Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, 2: 682.
122. Samuel B. Barrell, Report of the Special Agent, 11 February 1828, "Barrell Report," 13-15. We see the British view of Baker's authority to do mischief in a letter from Charles R. Vaughn, British Minister to the United States. On 21 November 1827, a month after Baker's arrest Vaughn wrote to American Secretary of State Henry Clay, "It is hardly necessary for the Undersigned to repeat the assurances which he has received from the Lt. Governor of New Brunswick, that His Excellency is convinced, that the Government of the United States, was not in any shape aware of the intentions of Baker and his Associates" (Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, 2:658). The shocking discovery that Governor Lincoln tried to suppress Barrell's report comes from the Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, 7: 428.
123. "Resolved further, That the Governor be, and he hereby is, authorized and requested, with the advice and consent of Council, from time to time, to extend to the family of the said John Baker, such relief as shall be deemed necessary . . . ." A Resolve in Relation to Aggressions upon the North Eastern Frontier of the State," 18 February 1828. Mrs. Baker petitioned the governor for support on 13 August 1828, and five neighbors--all Americanswrote to support her petition on 15 September 1828, saying that "their weekly expenses have been the sum of Eighteen Dollars per week their [sic.] being eight in family." Sophia Baker to Enoch Lincoln, 18 August 1828, and Statement of Walter Powers, Daniel Savage, James Bacon, Barnabas Hunewell, and Jonathan Cleanstan, 15 September 1828, Maine State Archives, Exec. Council, 1828, Box 23, File 17.
124. Letter of Clay to Vaughn, 20 February 1828, House Document 90, 39-40.
125. Clay to Lawrence, 31 March 1828, Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, 2:172.
126. Sprague, The North Eastern Boundary Controversy, 93.
127. Baker Trial Sentencing, 12 May 1828, Sprague, The North Eastern Boundary Controversy, 95.
128. John Baker to Governor Enoch Lincoln, 13 May 1828, Lincoln Family Papers, Octavo 35, American Antiquarian Society, as cited in Scott, Ties of Common Blood, 63.
129. Douglas to Vaughan, 12 May 1828, and Vaughan to Clay, 4 June 1828, Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, 2: 714-724.
130. On 9 July 1828, three days before he was due to be released from jail if he paid his £25 fine, John Baker wrote to Governor Enoch Lincoln to say "he is determined to preserve the character of a citizen of the U States and the State of Maine . . . and intends not to pay his fine." Because "at the time of his arrest he was in debt" and has not been able to provide for himself or repay those debts, he asks for financial support from the State. John Baker to Enoch Lincoln, 9 July 1828, Maine State Archives, Exec. Council, 1828, Box 23, Folder 17. A month later, he reaffirmed his decision during a visit by John Deane, saying "he did not intend to pay the fine" and intended " to persever in not submitting to the jurisdiction of the British." John Deane to Enoch Lincoln, 20 August 1828, Maine State Archives, Exec. Council, 1828, Box 23, Folder 17.
131. Aberdeen to Lawrence, 14 August 1828, Niles Weekly Register 33 (16 May 1829): 191.
132. Lettre of John Deane to Enoch Lincoln, 25 October 1828, Lincoln Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Letter of Douglas to Murray, 23 October 1828, Colonial Office Records, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, 188/38: 206. The Northern Leader's 9 October 1895 article on the monument's unveiling quotes Major Dickey of Fort Kent as saying "from personal knowledge," that "Through the influence of a prominent englishman, then residing at Hallowell, Maine, by the name of Vaughn, he was released and allowed to return home" (p. 7, col. 3). The "Vaughn" Major Dickey refers to would have been either Benjamin or his brother Charles Vaughan, both born in London in the 1750s, who resided in Hallowell just below Augusta on the Kennebeck River. Henry D. Kingsbury and Simeon L. Deyo, Eds., Illustrated History of Kennebec County in Maine (New York: H. W. Blake, 1892): 191. Baker, tired from waiting for support that never came from the national government, paid his fine, apparently with the financial help of Mr. Vaughan. Letter of John Baker to Samuel Cooke, 27 September 1828, Lincoln Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society.