Choosing Survival: Wabanaki Documents at the Maine State Archives




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Maine State Archives

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In 1839, at the height of the bloodless Aroostook War over the disputed territory in northern Maine, Maliseet Lewis Tomer and fourteen other men, representing a total of fifty people including their wives and children, petitioned the Maine Legislature. Inhabiting a provincial land grant in New Brunswick, probably the Tobique Reserve, the Maliseets explained that they had “been driven by the barbarity of the British from our settlement on the St. John River.” After seeking refuge in Maine and falling into poverty, the petitioners asked for a 500-acre land grant on Moosehead Lake, where they might grow crops and escape poverty. The Maliseets’ precise description of the desired land along Moose River that flows into the lake from the west suggests the families’ intimate knowledge of the region. Residents of the town of Munson, located south of Moosehead Lake, supported the petitioners, but the Maine Legislature rejected the Maliseets’ request. [Description Text by Micah A. Pawling, Ph.D]

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Petition of Maliseet Lewis Tomer and fourteen others from New Brunswick to the State of Maine



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