Moscow’s 1819 Vote Against Statehood

It is interesting to note that Moscow voted very differently with regard to Maine’s statehood than did the neighboring town of Bingham. Bingham voters were decisively for separation from Massachusetts, whereas Moscow’s voters were against it – almost in an inverse ratio.

Moscow’s town records indicate that early town meetings were held at the home of Captain Thomas Chase.

Chase_notice

Example of a prior year’s meeting notice to be held at Thomas Chase’s house. Moscow Town Records.

The clerk’s record of  the July 26, 1819 vote, located in the town books,  does not mention the place where the vote was held, and the meeting warrant has not been found. It is probable that the vote for statehood took place at Chase’s house, as he did not sell those properties until 1821, when Amos Fletcher of Norridgewock bought them.

Moscow_vote_1819

Return of Moscow’s vote on statehood, 1819. Moscow Town Records.

The town record shows the votes cast as follows: Yes votes (for separation) 3; No votes (against separation) 13. Maine’s Bicentennial Commission is gathering information about the votes in an effort to understand the dynamics. Bingham and Moscow are neighboring communities in Somerset County, and so the difference cannot be explained geographically. The topic deserves further study to understand what might have caused the difference between the two groups of voters.

On September 20, 1819 Moscow voters chose William Stevens as their delegate to the constitutional convention.

Stevens_moscow_delegate

Record of vote for William Stevens as Moscow’s Convention Delegate. Moscow Town Records.

The town of Moscow  ratified the new constitution by vote on December 6, 1819.

Ratification_Moscow_1819

Record of the vote to ratify the Maine Constitution, 1819. Moscow Town Records.

Thomas Chase lived on two lots that straddled the Bingham and Moscow town lines, knows as Lots #19 and #20. Early deed records list transactions for these lots as being in both Bingham and Moscow. They probably embraced land where the Nichols Hill Road is located, running from the Kennebec River all the way to Austin Stream. Phillip Bullen’s 1800 survey map of Bingham shows them clearly. Chase’s dwelling house was probably on the Moscow side of the line, but its exact location is not known. He obviously considered himself a citizen of Moscow.

bullen_map_1800

Phillip Bullen’s Survey Map of Bingham, 1800, detail. Copy in the Author’s Collection.

Thomas Chase was born in 1769 in Dennis, Massachusetts and married first Abigail Small, who died in Massachusetts in 1799. They had at least five children before she died. Chase’s father was Deacon Abner Chase of Yarmouth, Massachusetts. His mother, Deborah, was a sister of Barnabas Baker, father of the large Baker clan that moved to Moscow from Litchfield, Maine before 1810; Reuben, Abner, and Brown Baker were Chase’s cousins.

Thomas and his second wife Keziah (Davis) lived for a while in Litchfield (1810 census) before moving to Moscow. They had three children. Their son Davis Chase born 1802, married Esther Baker; son Nathan born 1806, married Eleanor Clark. Both sons and their families remained  in the Bingham and Moscow area.   Their daughter Mary “Polly”  born 1807, married John Dudley Andrews and moved west to Iowa and Nebraska before 1860.

Thomas Chase died in Moscow in 1835 and is buried in the Baker (or Sugartown) Cemetery on the Messer Road in Moscow.

 Sources:

 

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