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Penobscot Boom Corporation Records

Penobscot Boom Corporation Records

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The processing of this collection was funded by gifts from the Pingree heirs.

Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Creator:Penobscot Boom Corporation (Me.)
Title:Penobscot Boom Corporation Records
Dates:1835/1863, 1912
Quantity:2 linear feet (2 boxes)
Abstract:The Penobscot Boom Corporation records contain correspondence, financial, and legal records mostly from the corporation's activities in the 1850s.
Collection Number:MSS 918

Series List

SERIES I. Correspondence
SERIES II. Financial and Legal Papers

Scope and Content Note

The Penobscot Boom Corporation records contain correspondence, financial, and legal records mostly from the corporation's activities in the 1850s. This collection is arranged in two series.

Series I. Correspondence contains correspondence about the operation of the Penobscot Boom Corporation. The majority of the correspondence is between David Pingree (1799-1863) and John Winn, Pingree's agent.

Series II. Financial and Legal Papers contains accounts, bills, receipts, and materials detailing some of the legal problems that the Corporation faced in the 1850s. Within this series are stock transfers and capital stock agreements.

Historical Sketch

In 1832, the Penobscot Boom Corporation was incorporated by the Maine House of Representatives. A lumber baron by the name of Rufus Dwinel and his associates had formed the Corporation to erect and maintain a boom across the Stillwater branch of the Penobscot River between Birch Stream and Eber's Point, for the purpose of stopping and securing logs, masts, spars, and other lumber floating upon said river. The incorporation of the business was granted for thirty years and also gave them the right to erect piers and side or branch booms, where it was thought necessary, between Hemlock Island and Orson Island, between Birch Stream and Pushaw Falls, and between Pea Cove and the outlet between Orson and Marsh Islands. The charter provided that the booms had to be constructed to allow the safe passage of rafts and boats. The Corporation had to allow everyone the same privilege of landing rafts of logs, boards, and other lumber. It was also the responsibility of the Corporation to guard the passageways in the boom so that no lumber could slip through. The Penobscot Boom Corporation was also allowed to charge a toll; failure to pay the toll could result in a lien on all of the logs boomed (Charter).

In 1833, Dwinel sold the franchise and the property to General Samuel Veazie, who found Pea Cove to be an inadequate location for the increasing amount of lumber, and built a boom at Argyle in the winter of 1836 to 1837. In 1838, the state legislature amended an act to the original charter, allowing the Governor and Legislative Council to appoint three men as a Boom Committee, with the authority to manage the boom with the purpose of expediting the work of the boom. This three person committee continued into the twentieth century (Hempstead 17). In 1847, David Pingree (1795-1863) purchased the boom from Veazie (Hempstead 20).

In 1854 a conflict between the Corporation and the lumbermen who used the boom, over the price of the tolls, ended up in the state's legislature. The outcome of this conflict was the creation of the Penobscot Lumbering Association to represent the interest of the lumbermen and an amendment to the Corporation's charter, allowing it to rent the boom and its property to the new association. This arrangement continued into the twentieth century (Hempstead 21).

Index Terms

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.

Coe, Eben Smith, 1814-1899
Dwinel, Rufus, 1804-1869
Pingree, David, 1795-1863
Winn, John D.
Booms (Log transportation)
Lumber trade
Lumber trade--Maine
Penobscot River (Me.)
Penobscot River (Me.)--History


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


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.

Preferred Citation

Penobscot Boom Corporation Records, MSS 918, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was donated by Pingree family heirs.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Hilary Streifer, January 2016.

Related Material

Hempstead, Alfred Geer. The Penobscot Boom and the Development of the West Branch of the Penobscot River for Log Driving, 1825-1931. 1975.

Charter. Penobscot Boom Corporation, 1844. MSS 918, box 1, folder 7.

David Pingree Papers, 1810-1939. MSS 901

David Pingree Papers, 1810-1939. MSS 901

E. S. Coe Papers, 1844-1906. MSS 924

John Winn Papers, 1818, 1845-1881. MSS 925

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