Sept. 6, 1786: A two-day convention on a proposal to separate Maine from Massachusetts, the third such gathering to be held on the subject within a year, opens in Falmouth (now Portland). Thirty-one delegates representing 22 towns attend.

The convention appears to be divided, with the pro-separation group having a slight edge. Eventually it decides, 15-13, to appoint a committee that would send, whenever it sees fit, a petition to the Massachusetts General Court – the state legislature – a more mildly worded version of the same grievances that a similar convention identified in January. A fourth convention is scheduled for the following Jan. 3.

Sept. 6, 1924: Lt. Lowell H. Smith, Lt. Erik Nelson and Lt. Leigh Wade, all of the U.S. Army, take off in three Douglas cruiser planes, headed for Boston from Mere Point in Scarborough, needing only to cross the United States to complete the first around-the-world plane flights.

This is happening three years before Charles Lindbergh’s celebrated nonstop New-York-to-Paris flight of 1927.

President Calvin Coolidge met the around-the-world aviators at Bolling Field in Washington, D.C. Left to right: Lts. Arnold and Smith, President Coolidge, Secretary of War John W. Weeks, Gen. Patrick, Lt. Wade, Gen. Billy Mitchell, and Lts. Nelson and Ogden. Photo courtesy of the National Archives

The three aviators arrived the previous day from Pictou, Nova Scotia, landing on Casco Bay near Brunswick’s Mere Point. They had intended to fly to Old Orchard Beach, where thousands of spectators were awaiting their arrival; but they got lost in dense fog around Orrs Island, prompting them to land where they did. They spent the night there.

A formation of planes flying up from Boston to Old Orchard Beach to greet the globe circumnavigators had to turn back and go home, also because of fog.

Smith, Nelson and Wade stop on Sept. 7 in Old Orchard Beach on their way to Boston, still attracting an enormous crowd despite their tardiness.

They began the trip March 17 in Santa Monica, California, and would end it there Sept. 28 after flying westward at intervals for more than six months.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at islandportpress.com. To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]


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