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Wabanaki Homeland and the New State of Maine

Wabanaki Homeland and the New State of Maine: The 1820 Journal and Plans of Survey of Joseph Treat

Edited with an introduction by Micah A. Pawling
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Wabanaki Homeland and the New State of Maine
    Book Description:

    In late September 1820, hoping to lay claim to territory then under dispute between Great Britain and the United States, Governor William King of the newly founded state of Maine dispatched Major Joseph Treat to survey public lands on the Penobscot and Saint John Rivers. Traveling well beyond the limits of colonial settlement, Treat relied heavily on the cultural knowledge and expertise of John Neptune, lieutenant governor of the Penobscot tribe, to guide him across the Wabanaki homeland. Along the way Treat recorded his daily experiences in a journal and drew detailed maps, documenting the interactions of the Wabanaki peoples with the land and space they knew as home. Edited, annotated, and with an introduction by Micah Pawling, this volume includes a complete transcription of Treat's journal, reproductions of dozens of handdrawn maps, and records pertaining to the 1820 treaty between the Penobscot Nation and the governing authorities of Maine. As Pawling points out, Treat's journal offers more than the observations of a state agent conducting a survey. It recreates a dialogue between EuroAmericans and Native peoples, showing how different perceptions of the land were negotiated and disseminated, and exposing the tensions that surfaced when assumptions and expectations clashed. In large part because of Neptune's influence, the maps, in addition to detailing the location of Wabanaki settlements, reflect a riveroriented Native perspective that would later serve as a key to EuroAmerican access to the region's interior. The groundwork for cooperation between Treat and Neptune had been laid during the 1820 treaty negotiations, in which both men participated and which were successfully concluded just over a month before their expedition departed from Bangor, Maine. Despite conflicting interests and mutual suspicions, they were able to work together and cultivate a measure of trust as they traveled across northern Maine and western New Brunswick, mapping an old world together while envisioning its uncertain future.

    eISBN: 978-1-61376-146-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xiii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-66)

    On June 2, 1820, Maine’s first governor gave his “state of the state” address to the new legislature in Portland. Governor William King declared that there was “no state in this union, whose inland frontier is more exposed . . . as Maine.”¹ Massachusetts and Maine both had urgent interests in settling the northeast boundary disputes with New Brunswick and Lower Canada. Statehood the previous March made this matter an immediate concern. By September, almost six months after Maine’s statehood, Governor King and his Executive Council hired Major Joseph Treat to “explore” the public lands on the Penobscot and Saint...

  5. Journal and Plans of Survey by Joseph Treat—1820
    (pp. 67-276)

    I this day received Instructions from His Excellency William King, dated the 11th instant, directing me to proceed up the Penobscot—thence through the Lakes and River St. John, & c. for the purpose of examining and ascertaining the quality of the soil and growth on the Public Land in that vicinity.—

    Agreeably to these Instructions, I make the necessary arrangements to commence my tour as soon as possible.

    Having previously engaged lieut. Governor John neptune to go on this exploring Route with me—sent word to him on the 18th to be in readiness to start on the 20th—...

  6. Appendix: The 1820 Treaty Negotiations between the Penobscot Tribe and the New State of Maine
    (pp. 277-292)
  7. Index
    (pp. 293-300)
  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 301-302)