Oct. 14, 1794: When delegates gather in Portland to consider again the question of whether the District of Maine should separate from Massachusetts, it becomes clear that this second phase of efforts to achieve that goal are making no more progress than the first, in the late 1780s.

Nonetheless, the convention concludes that Maine’s prosperity depends on a total separation from Massachusetts. It sends a 31-page pamphlet to residents of three of Maine’s five counties – York, Cumberland and Lincoln – asking that they conduct a nonbinding vote for or against separation during the gubernatorial election of April 1795.

During that election, voters show little interest in the question. In Portland, only 29 of them bother to express a preference.

Oct. 14, 1854: Reflecting the hostility of many of Maine’s Protestants to an influx of Roman Catholics, a mob of Know Nothings in Ellsworth tars and feathers a Jesuit priest from Switzerland, Johannes Bapst, and tries unsuccessfully to set fire to him. The local sheriff disperses the mob at gunpoint.

Earlier in the year, Know Nothings blew up a Catholic school Bapst had founded in Ellsworth and tried to burn his church.

Bapst later becomes the first president of Boston College. John Bapst High School, a Catholic school in Bangor, is named after him.


Sardine canneries at Eastport, 1911, photographed by Lewis Wickes Hine Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

Oct. 14, 1886: Fire breaks out among sardine canneries in Eastport, inflicting heavy damage on them, a hotel, other businesses and several dwellings. It is the third major multi-building fire in Eastport within 22 years.

A photo of Geraldine Largay taken Saturday, July 20, 2013, in Sandy River Plantation. Photo courtesy Maine Warden Service

Oct. 14, 2015: Workers employed by a Navy contractor in western Maine’s Redington Township find the skeletal remains of Appalachian Trail hiker Geraldine Largay, of Brentwood, Tennessee, who was reported missing in July 2013.

Largay, hiking alone and using the trail name “Inchworm,” died at least 26 days after she got lost. The state medical examiner determines that she succumbed to starvation and exposure. Her ordeal is described in the book “When You Find My Body,” the title of which comes from a note Largay wrote to her husband while awaiting a rescue that never came.

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: jowen@mainetoday.com.


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