George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Goodwin, 25 November 1789

From Samuel Goodwin

Pownalborough, District of Maine, 25 Nov. 1789. Suggests that a lighthouse be established on the island of Seguin, near the entrance of the Kennebec River, and describes the advantages of the location.1

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

1Goodwin sent GW a second petition, dated November 1789 and probably enclosed in this letter, stating: “A great many peoples are Very uneasy that there is no Port of entry & Delivery for foriners, on the Great and leading river Kennebeck, which is settled about A 140 miles as the river runs.” Kennebec River “is settled up it about 50 or 60 miles; as that runs: & Some Says more; about 20 thousand Souls on Kenebeck river including both Sides thereof & to the west line of the County of Lincoln; & People a settleing continually . . . & Such a Number of inhabitants Worth notice; and to make every thing as easy for them as for other parts . . . A man Can live as well in the Southern Colony’s with two days work in a week as they Can here with 6 days, Work in a week—it is a Cold Climat; and the True Calculation of the Seasons here is 4 months summer—2 months fall; 4 months Winter and two months Spring: & after our Crops is Cut Short: as it was the last Season & Very Short, too & many must Pinch Very heard this Winter; By not haveing Ports of Entry & Delivery on the large River of Kennebeck for foriners—Will Cause Smugling & So deprive the publick of their Just dues . . . if your Excellency Knew the Truth and facts . . . as you are A Star of the first magnitude and Capable & willing to make all happy as fair as human Natur Can be—all eyes are looking to you” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). Another letter from Goodwin concerning an establishment on the Kennebec River is dated 25 Jan. 1790: “I Most Humly begg leave to Present your Excellency With A Plan Which Please to accept off: it will Give you a General idea: of Kennebeck river and the settlements, and Towns &c; the Sea Shore and other Rivers; in part; from Cape Elizabeth; To Penobscut Rivers mouth; the Sea Shore is from actual Surveys and Kennebeck river, as high up as the Carrying Place, To the first Pond: about A 140 miles from its mouth as the river runs, the Several Surveys, has ben don; by Joseph Heath Esqre Mr Phineas Jones; John North Esqr. and Mr Epheram Jones, Part of the Western branch of Kennebeck river; was Surveyed the Surveyor, was Keld & the Survey Stopt the Rest was taken by Course and imaginary distance; and Moose Lake, was taken from Hunters, som of which was Surveyors, who Gave the form and distance, as Near as they Could, and the Neck of Land, runing into the Said Lake appearing Like A Moose A Drinking; which Gave it the Name of Moose Lake both by Indians and English; the Indians informed me; that when the watter ware up in the, Spring, (they Could Goe from Richmond Fort, which was oppiset swan Island on the West Side of Kennebeck river, about 25 miles from the Sea: they Could Goe in 4 days to Quebeck in a burch Connew). but when the Watters ware down, the uper part of the rivers & Streems Was rocke & Shoal, and Difficelt Passing—the watters when up, Covered the rocks; oh how easy: they distrest the people here I had my Sheer . . . Sir please to Excuse Every thing A Miss—it is Cold weather and Cant be don So well as in Worm weather: we have a Cold Climet and Cold house” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

Five thousand dollars was appropriated for the construction of a lighthouse on Seguin in May 1794, after Massachusetts had ceded the necessary land to the federal government (1 Stat. 368–69 [19 May 1794]). For the controversy surrounding its construction, see Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 17:430, 18:201.

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