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Glad to find a fellow Moosepathian Jul. 15th, 2008 @ 02:57 pm
Check out the Online Moosepath League

Lots of politely peculiar people there 

Maps of Maine Jan. 7th, 2005 @ 03:40 pm
I was searching around today and I found two very interesting maps of Maine. I love maps almost as much as Bilbo Baggins I expect, and old ones are truly fascinating. These two are from 1831 and 1845, and I believe both can be found in the map collection at USM.

The older of the two was drawn and published by David H. Burr. It shows the borders of the counties of Maine as of 1831 - northern Maine was divided between Washington County (yellow), Penobscot County (green), and Somerset County (pink) - as well as various versions of the border between Maine and New Brunswick. The various versions of the border is what is interesting, because that border was hotly contested from 1783 until 1842. There are no less than three border lines.

The later map, made in 1845 shows the border line that was decided upon, and the one that has remained so until the present.

From http://www.mainehistory.info/history.html I found this brief account of that northern border dispute, a matter I very much want to look into at more detail.

"The precise boundary line between Maine and New Brunswick remained a matter of often-heated argument for years after the close of the Revolutionary War.

The dispute festered and smoldered until 1839, when it threatened to erupt into open warfare. The Maine Legislature that year raised funds to support a military force of 10,000 to protect the state's border claims at Madawaska.

Several hundred British regulars were dispatched to the scene from Quebec. At this point the U.S. Congress entered the picture, approving $10 million for military expenses should war break out.

Nearly 50,000 troops were readied for action, and Major General Winfield Scott was dispatched to the scene. Scott managed to work out a temporary agreement between the two parties before the so-called "War of the Aroostook" reached the point of bloodshed.

The Webster-Ashburton Treaty, hammered out in 1842 by U.S. Secretary of State Daniel Webster and English special minister Lord Ashburton, finally settled the question of where Maine's northeast boundary lay. "

Maine Jan. 7th, 2005 @ 03:15 pm
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First of all, there is Maine. Without Maine the Moosepath League would cease to exist, the fact of which has made me love my second home state much more than I did at first. Coming from New Mexico, Maine seemed less romantic, less colorful, less mysterious. I felt crushed by trees and found the sea frightening after living for so long in a land of little water. I was used to bright reds and golds and huge expanses of sky, and yet here I was, transplanted to a land that seemed at first very drab. Green. Gray. White. Silver blue.

After living here for almost ten years though, I am finally beginning to see that Maine has every bit of romance and mystery as the land of my birth. In fact, it is somehow a richer and stranger place, being so much older in a way. It has stories and towns that existed long before white men began trickling into the West, and those same trees and that same sea hold so much more than I could ever have imagined. I have to look harder perhaps, for the Maine of my experience is a reserved place, a careful place, but a place not lacking in wonders.

The Moosepath League makes it their business to search these wonders out, or you might say that they are discovered by them in a somewhat haphazard fashion. In this sense, Maine is like a character itself - mischievous and a little coy at times, and at other times exuberant and excited, flinging it's arms open wide and asking only that you admire and love it.

As a child who was mortally afraid of ticks and bored with lighthouses, I needed someone like Mister Walton or Sundry Moss or the people they met to give me a better introduction to the state of Maine.

Now I see it as a treasure chest laid out before me. I want to find out it's secrets and read the old tales and spooky stories that come out of the sea. I remember when I was studying Leif Erikson. I was so excited to think that perhaps he had come here - and then to read in Daniel Plainway, I think it was, of something that had to do with that. It was like finding part of the answer to a riddle. And the mysterious 'Red Paint' people, who left those huge oyster shell heaps on the Damariscotta - I want to see them!

Maine is a rich place, a vibrant place, and it was the Moosepath League who showed me that. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

How It Began Jan. 6th, 2005 @ 05:22 pm
My father did not discover the Moosepath League until right before the third book, Daniel Plainway, was published. This must have been sometime in 2000. I admired the cover of Cordelia Underwood (the lovely and seemingly rare one done by David Beck), and Dad, pausing from his delighted perusal, said I might read it when he was finished.

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I did not wait that long, even though there is a rule in my house that no one may start a book another person is reading until that person is done with it. I found the book unguarded on the living room table and kidnapped it. Dad only got it back because he was bigger than me.

Once it was my turn I raced through the book, trying my best to keep up with the members of the League themselves as they traveled around Maine, running in and out of towns that I knew and locations that I had visited. There was something so delightful about them, so very GOOD, that I was refreshed and learned to believe all over again that life did not have to be so cynical as it sometimes seemed to get.

My father read the books a step ahead of me, and then he began to read them out loud to my family - my mother and four other sisters. They were equally pleased and we became a devoted admirers of Mister Walton and Sundry Moss and the other members of the Moosepath League.

Two summers ago in 2003, right after Mrs. Roberto came out, Van Reid himself came to our local library - the Kennebunk Free Library. My family made a pilgrimage on that Thursday night to meet the man who had made Maine seem like a very interesting an astonishing place to us.

We were the only children in a room full of people over 50, so we did our best to sit very quiet and just gaze at Mr. Reid. He told funny stories and talked about Maine and his books, and he looked so funny and good himself that we knew the books had come straight out of his heart.

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Afterward we clustered around him and it was wonderful to see how happy he made us, and how happy we made him. He was so pleased that we liked his books that he said after signing my copy of Daniel Plainway that our entire family could consider ourselves "Honorary members of the Moosepath League."

That's about as honored as you can get.

We continue to love and laugh as we read the further adventures of the Moosepath League, and we strive to keep the Waltonian principles in our hearts and follow them as faithfully as members of that excellent club should.
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