[Archive Relating to the Founding of the Town of Brewer, Maine]. Josiah Brewer, Joseph Sewell.
[Archive Relating to the Founding of the Town of Brewer, Maine]
[Archive Relating to the Founding of the Town of Brewer, Maine]
[Archive Relating to the Founding of the Town of Brewer, Maine]
[Archive Relating to the Founding of the Town of Brewer, Maine]
[Archive Relating to the Founding of the Town of Brewer, Maine]

[Archive Relating to the Founding of the Town of Brewer, Maine]

Boston, Massachusetts; Brewer, Maine; Augusta, Maine: 1803–1858. 144 manuscript letters, 8vo, 1 manuscript map.

A substantial archive of manuscript documents and letters, many of which relate to the early development of the town of Brewer, Maine and the role of Samuel B. Stone as “father of the town,” with letters concerning the administration and development of land in nearby Eddington, etc.

The earliest document in this archive dates from 1803 and is a one-page report of a committee from the town of Orrington to inquire whether a fish way could go through Capt. John Brewer’s mill dam. This matter is affirmatively determined, and is signed by Timothy Freedom, Joseph Carver, and another (illegible) individual. The two other early letters are a 1-page 1812 letter from Moses Adams of Ellsworth to Josiah Brewer, a request for Brewer to accept the position of Deputy Sheriff, and a one-page 1814 letter to Josiah Brewer from a Marcus Morton of Taunton with a request to collect money from a Mr. Hodges and convey it to Boston.

A substantial portion of this archive consists of an extensive correspondence between Joseph Sewell Esq. of Boston and Josiah Brewer—some 23 letters (46 pp.) from 1826 to 1837, concerning the administration of land within Jarvis Gore in Eddington. Sewell and his associates owned 10,000 acres; Brewer is the land agent and administrator who is supposed to keep trespassers from cutting the wood on the property. An initial 1826 letter from Sewell addressed to Josiah Brewer reads:

I have to request that you will continue in the care and superintendence of the land in Jarvis Gore, lately under the care of Sam’l Stone Esq. deceased [Samuel B. Stone’s father], belonging to me and my late partners Sam Salisbury and John Tappan. Our wish is to dispose of the land to good settlers, and for this purpose you will make conditional contracts with suitable persons to be confirmed by us if found eligible.

Salisbury and Tappan, Sewell’s former partners, write to Josiah Brewer as well: “It is our wish that our Mr. Sewell should continue to act as our agent in the correspondence [?] to the lands in the Jarvis Gore until further notice.”

The acreage is surveyed by a Mr. Herrick, and Sewell uses the former’s field notes to refer to specific lots of land for which Brewer procures buyers. Sewell advises Brewer on what types of settlers he is to look for; how much to charge per acre; how to obtain quick claim deeds; and the matter of wives signing away their rights of dower. In one letter Sewell writes, “[i]n every instance where there is a wife let her sign the mortgage & have the whole acknowledged & recorded without delay, and send them up when a good opportunity offers.” There is discussion in several letters about building an access road to the land. Sewell wants to hire the settlers to work on the road and would deduct labor costs from what they owe on the land. Unfortunately, however, Brewer ends up contracting the labor for money (instead of deducting from what these men owe for their land), and so in 1830 he is let go (although his correspondence with Sewell lasts until 1837 concerning mortgages) and a land agency in Bangor takes on his job. One letter records the findings of a committee assigned to locate certain lots in Jarvis Gore for public use. The findings are published in the Bangor Whig; other notices are to be posted on the schoolhouse and a guidepost in Clifton. One particular 120 acre lot is intended for the first minister and family; a 320 acre lot for the use of the ministry; and a 120 acre lot for school use. This particular letter contains the survey of each of these properties.

Originally settled in 1777, Brewer, Maine, in Penobscot County, became a separate town on February 22, 1812, breaking away from Orrington. At the heart of this archive are 99 letters (190 pp.) from 1838 to 1858, written to Samuel B. Stone (1811–1857), surveyor, Maine legislator, school planner, and land agent, who was a prominent figure in the early history of Brewer. Among the subjects treated in these letters are: a “plan” for the town of Brewer; letters concerning sales of land in Brewer and bookkeeping (taxes) relating to Brewer; matters relating to a Brewer school; a communication from the Chairman of the Standing Committee of Orrington and Brewer appointing Stone as part of the Committee of Vigilance for the School District of Brewer; various bookkeeping matters for the town of Brewer; current legislative matters in Augusta; various petitions to the Governor of Maine; the plans of a “Point Lot” Stone surveyed; an 1853 letter concerning the Red Packet, “the largest ship ever built in Maine”; and various personal letters from friends (one in particular concerning his father’s death). Also included is a 2 pp. letter from his brother George in Antigua in 1840, crewed on a vessel that stopped in Martinique, they could not sell their load until Antigua; his brother remarks on yellow fever consuming all the crew of a certain French vessel; 2 letters (3 pp.) addressed to Stone concerning the acquisition of organs, one organ from the First Universalist Church in Portland, Maine.

Also included are 5 letters addressed to or from the Maine Legislature. A 1 p. letter from a T. Nickerson (possibly a legislator) addressed to Samuel Stone, Augusta, 1835 concerns the creation of a bank in Brewer. This letter reads:

We do not make hard work of making laws although some of them may be hard laws. They have got up a bill now which is in effort to make every man a voter […] I have been before the committee on Banks and Banking & have stated what I could in favor of a bank in Brewer. The subject has been partially considered by the committee and they have concluded to take up the subject next Tuesday.

Two letters concern the town of Holden: a 3-page missive addressed to the Senate and House of Representatives composed of a petition from inhabitants of Brewer to “divide the said town of Brewer at the first division line according to the Survey and plan of said town, and incorporate the easterly part into a town by the name of Holden” (in addition, they also request a division of all public property); and a 4-page letter also concerning the act to incorporate the town of Holden, Maine (est. 1852). The final two letters consist of a letter of Stone’s written to the House of Representatives in 1857 relating to the removal of a Judge Dennings; and a 1852 letter addressed to the Maine Senate and House of Representatives, opposing various divisions proposed for the town of Brewer.

The archive also includes the following:

An 1836 hand-drawn map (8’’x 24’’ 1 p.) with remarks made by surveyor James Freeman, for a road from the Bucksport line to Brewer village (distance 5 miles).

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A 3 pp. letter Samuel Stone writes to his brother in 1856; a letter from Stone’s father; a 2 pp. 1852 letter from Stone’s sister relating the death of their mother; 1 p. miscellany.

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Stone’s 7 pp. report on local public schools from 1855, showing his strong commitment to pedagogy and education. 6 pp. of field notes by Stone from 1849, describing lots within the town of Eddington. 2 pp. 1851 letter consisting of field notes made of two lots of land in Clifton by Stone. A 1 p. survey of a mill and 1855 fields notes of town landings.

[with]

3 pp. 1851 letter detailing a court decision in Washington County: Plaintiffs live in Cherryfield, Maine and owned logs lying in the Machias River as well as sawn lumber on a wharf in Machias. They refuse to pay a tax to the town of Machias, so their goods are confiscated. The court ultimately rules in favor of the plaintiffs; letter contains description of the opinion.

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3 pp. minutes of a bargain with a Mr. George.

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2 letters, 5 pp. involving a Mr. Atwood, one of which consists of promissory notes.

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A one-page report of a request made by several inhabitants of Brewer for the establishment of a “Boarder [?] road.”

A sizeable archive of documents and letters relating to the early development of the Brewer, Maine region.

Item #4192

Price: $1,750.00

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