Tag Archives: Daniel Webster

Maine stuff in my California apartment No. 6

Here's another Maine thing in my California apartment -- a Fryeburg Academy sweatshirt. It was a gift from my nephew Max and niece Sophie.

Today’s photo is of a Fryeburg Academy sweatshirt I received as a present from my nephew Max and niece Sophie. The long-term plan is for Max and Sophie to attend Fryeburg Academy, a private preparatory school located in Fryeburg, Maine, the White Mountains. I say “long-term” since they are not quite old enough yet to attend.

Fryeburg has a long and rich history. John Hancock – yeah, a signer of the Declaration of Independence – signed the charter in 1792 and Daniel Webster was a headmaster of the school.

Here’s Fryeburg Academy’s mission from the school’s website:

“Fryeburg Academy is an independent secondary school that serves a widely diverse population of local day students and boarding students from across the nation and around the world. The Academy believes that a strong school community provides the best conditions for learning and growth. Therefore, we strive to create a supportive school environment that promotes respect, tolerance, and cooperation, and prepares students for responsible citizenship. Within this context, the Academy’s challenging and comprehensive academic program, enriched by a varied co-curriculum, provides the knowledge and skills necessary for success in higher education and the workplace.”

And here’s a link for the school’s history.

This is an occasional multipart series of photos of things related to Maine that can be found in Keith Michaud’s California apartment. All photos in this series are shot by and are the property of Keith Michaud.

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Connecting dots from Fryeburg to the northern boundary

It is amazing sometimes how things just sort of fit together in a weird cosmic sort of way. Today, I am able to connect the dots between Maine’s first-ever school, a leading pre-Civil War politician, and some wily northern Mainers who wanted to avoid British rule.

I am a Facebook fan of DownEast magazine, the Maine-base monthly publication that carries stories, commentary, Maine humor and more. The magazine today posted a trivia question about Fryeburg Academy, the first school built in Maine and the school where my sister and brother-in-law intend to send my niece and nephew. The history is rich. John Hancock – yeah, the “place your John Hancock on the dotted line” John Hancock – signed the charter for the school in Fryeburg, Maine, in 1792. Yeah, 1792. There are some pretty old things in Maine and the rest of New England.

Anyway, the trivia question was about the academy’s most famous headmaster. Turns out it was Daniel Webster, a leading American politician before the Civil War.

OK, I know that might not impress anyone other than people into pre-Civil War U.S. history, but I found it interesting. The answer that DownEast gave was: “Daniel Webster, politician, pundit, and hard-drinking diplomat who settled the northern border of Maine over a bottle of brandy with a British negotiator.”

The last part of the answer caught my eye, too, since I was born on that northern border and lived my entire childhood about an hour’s drive south of it. It also reminded me of a story my Ashland Community High School history teacher, Ron Stevens, told class one day. If I recall correctly, surveyors were sent to establish the boundary after the agreement between Daniel Webster and the British negotiators. The surveyors reached the confluence of two rivers and the locals – my Mother has relatives there – invited the surveyors to partake in “adult beverages.” The locals then sent the surveyors on a northern tributary of a river rather than the southern route agreed upon by Webster and the British negotiator over that bottle of brandy.

Anyway, once the surveyors sobered up and realized they had been sent down the wrong river, instead of backtracking, they simply put down two straight surveyors lines to reconnect with the route set in the agreement. If you look at the northwest portion of the state of Maine on a map you can pretty much see where the surveyors were steered down the wrong river and where they decided it was best to make it back to the established route. It also means several thousands of acres of land more for Maine.

See, weird cosmic sort of way to connect some dots between the oldest school in Maine, a leading politician and the state’s northern most boundary.