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Sale 2486 Lot 303
(MAINE.) Dexter, Aaron. A fragment of oral history on the controversial border between Maine and Canada. Autograph Letter Signed to John Hancock, Governor of Massachusetts. 2 pages, 9 x 7 1/4 inches, plus integral blank with docketing but no address panel; a small inked 19th-century doodle on the blank. Np, circa 1790
Estimate $2,000 - 3,000
Aaron Dexter (1750-1829) was a Harvard graduate and medical school professor. Here he writes to Governor Hancock to recount important oral history on the ambiguous and controversial border between Maine and Canada. "In consequence of your request, I have minuted all the conversation that I recolect of Governor Parr's at Halifax. The Governor mentioned Coll. Allen's applying to him to order his settlers from a track of country to the easterd of a river commonly called the grate St. Croix, known among the natives by the name of Skudock. The Governor said it was a river suppos'd by the people of that province to be the river mentiond in the provisional treaty as a bounderary between the two countrys. Mr. Charles Morris, the King Surveyor, being present declard it to be the river that Governor Barnard establishd as a perpetual boundary in the year 1763, and in consequence took a grant of this very land, to the east of said river from the Province of Nova Scotia, a reacord of which he produced. The governor exprest a great desire to have the boundery line ascertaind, to remove every possible cause of dispute hereafter between the two countrys, for it was his earnest desire to establish a perpetual amity between the Province of Novascotia and the United States, particularly the State of Massachusetts Bay. Mr. Morris said their was three rivers in the Bay of Passamaquody of the same name, and above twenty in the province, that the French settlers when they baptiz'd an Indian child, it was commonly on the bank of some river, which they ever after calld St. Croix." John Parr served as Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia from 1783 through 1791, and Hancock died in office in 1793. Provenance: from the collection of William Wheeler III.