FORT FAIRFIELD – At a special proclamation signing ceremony held last Wednesday, the Fort Fairfield Town Council heralded 2008 as the Town of Fort Fairfield Sesquicentennial throughout the community and encouraged all citizens to participate in the festivities.
Staff photo/Scott Mitchell Johnson
MEMBERS OF THE FORT FAIRFIELD TOWN COUNCIL signed a special proclamation last Wednesday declaring 2008 as the Town of Fort Fairfield Sesquicentennial throughout the community and encouraged all citizens to participate in the festivities. Signing the proclamation, which was witnessed by descendants of Fort Fairfield’s forefathers, are council members, from left: Chairman David McCrea, Stev Rogeski, Ruel Flannery, Sue LeVasseur and John Herold.
To make the event even more memorable, the signing was witnessed by descendants of Fort Fairfield’s forefathers. On hand were Philip C. Roberts, John B. Foster Sr., Kendall Shaw and Herbert C. Haines.
The Proclamation reads as follows:
Whereas, the Town of Fort Fairfield was incorporated in the year 1858; and
Whereas, the year 2008 is the 150th anniversary of that incorporation; and
Whereas, the Town of Fort Fairfield plans on celebrating its Sesquicentennial throughout 2008 by recognizing its heritage of 150 years of progress and service; and
Whereas, the Town of Fort Fairfield is proud of the many achievements of the citizens of Fort Fairfield since 1858 and looks forward to a bright and prosperous future; and
Whereas, the celebration of the incorporation of the Town of Fort Fairfield Sesquicentennial is a once-in-a-lifetime event that will be remembered by all citizens, young and old,
Now, Therefore, We, the Fort Fairfield Town Council do hereby proclaim the year of 2008 A.D. as The Town of Fort Fairfield Sesquicentennial throughout the town and encourage all citizens to participate in the festivities.
Signing the proclamation were members of the Town Council – David McCrea, chairman; Stev Rogeski, Ruel Flannery, John Herold and Susan LeVasseur, the witnessing descendants, and Town Manager Dan Foster.
Foster said he is honored to serve a town whose citizens are “interested and committed” in the community.
“I think the quality of a man is how he acts when things are really tough,” he said. “That’s when folks are able to pull together. I don’t know if we’ve ever experienced a winter as tough as this one, and I am just overwhelmed by the goodwill and the people who consistently in this community are willing to step up.
“On Easter morning, I got a call at 6:30 a.m. and found out that part of our roof at the highway garage had collapsed,” said Foster. “We ended up having five or six people down there working on behalf of the town, and because of that, we were able to save a lot of the structure. I’m awfully proud to be part of this town. I feel very privileged to be able to have this job that I have, and the Sesquicentennial is just a continuation of the expression of goodwill citizens have for this community.”
Foster said he, too, has ancestors on both sides of his family that were in Fort Fairfield when the town was incorporated.
“I’m very proud of that,” he said. “This is a special place to be.”
McCrea, a life-long resident of Fort Fairfield, said he is equally proud to call the community home.
“History is a very special thing. Your history is what makes you rich. When you have a community like Fort Fairfield that has a rich history, it’s pretty hard to turn your back on it. There’s something about the town you grow up in and live in, or live in for 30 years, or adopt as your own for the last 10 years,” said McCrea. “We have people in this room whose ancestors go back to the very beginning, some of them even before we were incorporated. I’m really proud of this town and these people, and I hope I get to live a lot more of this history.”
Barbara Hayslett, a representative for U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine), noted that March 13, the Congressman had the following added to the Congressional record:
“Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor the families who 150 years ago came to the banks of the Aroostook River following the Aroostook War and the Webster-Ashburton Treaty which paved their way. Working together in the midst of wilderness, the community supported a school and increasing amounts of small businesses. Finally, in March 1858, the Secretary of State certified that an act to incorporate the Town of Fort Fairfield had been signed by Gov. Lot M. Morrill.
“Today, equipped with the same community spirit and sense of common purpose, the people of Fort Fairfield continue to embrace the challenges and opportunities of living and working on the border in northern Maine. Their commitment and the commitment of their ancestors are to be commended. It is these individuals and families along with the many other hardworking people of Maine that I remember every time I cast a vote here on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“It is an honor and a privilege to represent the people of Fort Fairfield and I am pleased to have this opportunity to help this community celebrate its 150th anniversary.”
The idea for the proclamation signing came from Tony Levesque, master of ceremony and community development director, who found a book in the town’s safe where other archival records are kept.
“This book I opened up says, ‘Records of Letter D Plantation in Town of Fort Fairfield, Volume First.’ I was amazed that I had found this book that nobody had really ruined,” he said. “I turned to a page and it talks about March 11, 1858 that in the Senate a bill was signed incorporating the town. It was approved and the governor signed it. It went to the secretary’s office in Augusta Aug. 29, 1858, and it was established they would have to have a meeting at the Black Schoolhouse. That schoolhouse we’ve been fortunate enough to salvage and move into the Railroad Museum.
“At that first meeting, they elected selectmen, a tax collector, an overseer of the poor, and they appointed constables and district reps for their schools, and names popped out at me,” said Levesque. “I asked about the people and found many relationships to people who live here today. It’s great having this book on record, and I invited the descendants of Fort Fairfield’s forefathers here tonight.”
Philip Roberts is the great-grandson of John Trafton, who came to Fort Fairfield in the early 1840s.
“He opened a law office which I am still running,” said Roberts. “My great-great-grandfather, Gen. Mark Trafton, came about the same time and was put in charge of all of the government facilities that were here when the Army pulled out after the Aroostook War was resolved.
“I’m a Fort Fairfield native, so it’s nice to have such a rich history here,” he said. “I’m proud of the history of the family here in Fort Fairfield, and try not to besmirch the family name.”
After being signed by the appropriate parties, the proclamation was later attested by Town Clerk Mary A. Whitmore and stamped with the town’s seal and placed as a permanent record for the community.
Staff photo/Scott Mitchell Johnson
TONY LEVESQUE, Fort Fairfield’s community development director, served as master of ceremony at a special proclamation signing last Wednesday night at the Town Office. During the ceremony, members of the Town Council, witnessing descendants and Town Manager Dan Foster signed a proclamation declaring 2008, as the town’s sesquicentennial. Levesque also showed those in attendance a book he found in the town’s safe where archival records are kept that talked about the town’s incorporation in 1858.
Staff photo/Scott Mitchell Johnson
DESCENDANTS OF FORT FAIRFIELD’S FOREFATHERS witnessed the signing of a special proclamation last Wednesday heralding 2008, as the town’s sesquicentennial throughout the community. The descendants also signed the proclamation, which was attested by Town Clerk Mary A. Whitmore and stamped with the town’s seal and placed as a permanent record for the community. Pictured are, from left: Philip C. Roberts, Herbert C. Haines, John B. Foster Sr., and Kendall Shaw.