Samuel Baker: "A genuine pattern crank of the most obnoxious sort."

Historian presentation: A South Thomaston Utopia

Event has passed


SOUTH THOMASTON — "A South Thomaston Utopia: The Remarkable Saga of Reverend Samuel Baker" is the topic for an illustrated talk and round table engagement at the Wessaweskeag Historical Society's meeting room behind the Public Library, 8 Dublin Road, on Thursday, February 22, beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is free, and the public is invited.

According to a news release, last summer, Charles Jacobs, a local historian, author, retired museum curator, and aspiring archaeologist, stumbled upon an amazing archival treasure, an 1858 proposal for a 700-acre,16-plus structures planned community — a Christian Society, a City Upon a Hill — within the Weskeag basin. Its architect was one Samuel Baker, a seasoned evangelist, a divinity scholar, and according to one contemporary cleric, "a genuine pattern crank of the most obnoxious sort."

During this past autumn and winter, Jacobs, tapping into a variety of archival resources, was able to ferret out and synthesize something of a biography for Reverend Baker. He encountered factoids at every research turn, from Sam's linkage with a zealot who spent his last years confined in a wooden cage to a father-in-law named Peter Parker (probably not the Amazing Spider-Man, however!); from an Augusta boarding house that ultimately morphed into the Maine Wesleyan Seminary to a wave of Spiritualism that swept over New England. These and other Believe-It-or-Not!®-class anecdotes are woven into a vibrant tapestry of mid-19th century Mid Coast culture for the evening's presentation.

After Jacobs' talk, the audience is invited to participate in a short seminar. The host is hopeful that "Utopia" will provide the springboard for a four-part, four-season Cittie Upon a Hill Circle series. He has proposed the following format for the balance of the programs:

Session #2 (spring): "Reliable & Religious," Rev. Baker and his fellow War of 1812 chaplains; South Thomaston fights Madison's Second War for Independence.
Session #3 (summer): "Heaven on Earth," South Thomaston's planned community in the context of 19th century New England's utopianism.
Session #4 (autumn): "Past is Prologue," the potential lessons and "lights" of Rev. Baker's schemes and dreams, how such an idealism might serve as a tonic for troubled times.

For additional information or questions regarding the February 22 program, the public is invited to contact the presenter at his email,


See the Pen Bay Pilot’s previous article:

Historian researches pre-Civil War planned community intended for South Thomaston

Event Date: 
Thu, 02/22/2018 - 7:00pm
Event Location: 
South Thomaston Public Library, 8 Dublin Road, South Thomaston
88 Dublin Road
South Thomaston  Maine