Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Aroostook War

My 4th great-grandfather Oliver S. Philbrick served as a private in Captain Reuben Crane's 2nd Company of infantry in the Aroostook War. This was a unit drafted into the Militia of Maine "for the protection of its Northeastern Frontier." He served from February 25, 1839 to April 13, 1839. So what is the Aroostook War? Have you ever heard of it?

The Aroostook War was really not a war at all. When Maine became a state in 1820, settlers were granted land on both sides of the Aroostook River despite the fact that the British also claimed that area. The U.S. government was not able to work out an agreement and in January 1839, Americans were determined to get rid of the Canadian lumberjacks in the disputed territory. A leader of the Americans was arrested and Maine troops quickly flooded into the area. The state of Maine appealed to the federal government for even more troops and the state was granted a force of 50,000 and $10 million if a war actually broke out. General Winfield Scott was sent to meet with the lieutenant governor of New Brunswick. Scott had an impressive background having served in the War of 1812, participated in enforcement of the tariff of 1828 and the removal of the Cherokee. Finally recognizing the seriousness of the situation, Great Britain agreed to set up a commission to reach a resolution. The result was the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 which settled the northern border of Maine as seen in the map to the right.

General Winfield Scott

Sources and further reading on the war and the treaty:

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