The processing of this collection was funded
by gifts from the Pingree heirs.
The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Old Town Bridge Corporation (Me.)
Old Town Bridge Corporation
3.75 linear feet (6 boxes, 1 flat file)
The Old Town Bridge Corporation
records contain stock and financial records, as well as some records concerning the
Corporation's legal proceedings with the state of Maine.
SERIES I. Clerk and Stockholder Records SERIES II. Financial Records SERIES III. Other
Scope and Content Note
The Old Town Bridge Corporation records contain stock and financial records, as well
as some records concerning the Corporation's legal proceedings with the state of
Maine. The original labels/titles of the folders have been kept in order to preserve
the principal of provenance. This collection has been divided into three series.
Series I. Clerk and Stockholder Records contains
records from the clerk, as well as stockholder records. These stockholder records
include dividends, stock certificates, and records of stock transfers. The stock
certificates have been filed chronologically by the date that the stock was first
issued, not by the date that ownership of the stock was transferred.
Series II. Financial Records contains accounts, bills,
receipts, and invoices The accounts and vouchers include information about stock
dividends that were to be paid out. These have been left with the accounts and
vouchers because this is where they were originally found. The folders containing
papers from David Pingree and E. S. Coe's Bangor office were originally labeled as
this. It is unclear if the contents did in fact originate from Pingree and Coe's
office in Bangor, as their names rarely appear on the contents; however, the
handwriting on the papers is very similar to handwriting found within their
collections, and Pingree was a stockholder in the Corporation—for these reasons the
original label has been kept. The contents of these folders include mostly financial
papers, some legal documents as well as correspondence.
Series III. Other contains miscellaneous items.
Within this series are materials concerning the Old Town Bridge Corporation's legal
proceedings with the state of Maine, agreements, acts to incorporate,
correspondence, and a printed copy of the charter. There is also an undated sketch
of a chain haul and some miscellaneous papers.
In 1827, the Old Town Bridge Corporation was incorporated
and chartered to build and maintain a bridge over the Penobscot River near Old Town,
Maine. The bridge was built to connect Marsh Island with Milford, Maine, and to take
"specified rates of toll, which the legislature reserved the right to revise and
change" after ten years (Atlantic Reporter 949).
Through an additional act in 1828, the right to change the toll rates was extended
to forty years, "provided that at the end of said term [the bridge would] revert to
the state" (Atlantic Reporter 949). Sometime in the
fall of 1831 or winter of 1832, the bridge was completed and opened for use. The
bridge consisted of two structures—one part extending from half a mile below Old
Town Falls to Marsh Island, and the other part extending from the island over the
eastern channel to Milford. In March 1846, the part extending from the island to
Milford was washed away by a freshet. The bridge was rebuilt and opened by October
1, 1846 this time closer to Old Town Falls. Following the destruction of the bridge
in March 1846, a charter was given to the Old Town and Milford Bridge Company to
build a replacement bridge over the Old Town Falls, if Old Town Bridge Corporation
did not complete the work as scheduled. Old Town Bridge Corporation did build the
replacement bridge on time; however, a lawsuit followed in which it was alleged that
the bridge was built in the wrong place, which would void the Corporation's original
charter (Atlantic Reporter 949). In 1871, the original
charter that gave the Corporation the right to collect tolls and have possession of
the bridge expired, but the Corporation continued to maintain possession of the
bridge and collect tolls. However, in 1887 the Corporation increased the tolls
dramatically, causing the public to appeal to the Attorney General. The Supreme
Judicial Court at Bangor voted in favor of the people, but the Corporation appealed
the decision (Statement of Facts). On March 26, 1907,
an act was approved that reverted ownership of the Old Town bridge from the
Corporation to the state of Maine (Acts and Resolves
Benjamin Fiske was the president for many years. John Winn was the treasurer
from 1846 until about 1857. Following him, James N. Chandler became treasurer from
about 1858 until 1894.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons,
or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Chandler, James N.
Coe, Eben Smith, 1814-1899
Pingree, David, 1795-1863
Old Town and Milford Bridge Corporation (Me.)
Actions and defenses
Bridge construction industry
Bridges--Design and construction
Maine--Politics and government
Old Town Falls (Me.)
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research use.
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in
writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex
Old Town Bridge Corporation Records, MSS 917, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum,
This material was donated by the Pingree family heirs.
Collection processed by Hilary Streifer, January 2016.
Acts and Resolves of the Seventy-Third Legislature of the
State of Maine 1907. Kennebec Journal Print: Augusta, 1907.
The Atlantic Reporter. Vol. 26. West Publishing
Company: St. Paul, 1893.
Statement of Facts: State of Maine vs. Old Town Bridge
Corporation. Pamphlet. MSS 917, Box 5,
The Old Town Bridge Corporation records contain stock and financial records, as well as some records concerning the Corporation's legal proceedings with the state of Maine.
Old Town and Milford Bridge Corporation (Me.); Maine--Politics and government; Old Town Falls (Me.); Chandler, James N.; Coe, Eben Smith, 1814-1899; Fiske, Benjamin; Pingree, David, 1795-1863; Winn, John; Actions and defenses; Bridge construction industry; Bridges--Design and construction; Lumbering--Maine; Lumber trade; Stock certificates
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.