South Thomaston ceremony for 1812 chaplain, utopian
SOUTH THOMASTON — This Memorial Day weekend, on Sunday, May 27, at 2 p.m., citizens gathered at the graveside of Elder Samuel Baker in the Village Cemetery, Dublin Road, and pay their long-overdue respect for his patriotic service as a chaplain during the War of 1812 and his contributions as a 19th century theologian and utopian.
The Wessaweskeag Historical Society, in association with the Randall Collins Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3108 (Belfast) and the Elder Samuel Baker Circle, have coordinated this community event.
Elder Baker, born 1785, served as an army clergyman with Lieutenant Colonel Erastus Foote's Massachusetts Regiment (Maine at the time was being part of the Bay State) in 1814. Records for this period are rather fragmentary and contradictory, but research indicates that the Massachusetts governor called upon a volunteer militia to "suppress a threatened invasion" of the British, and Foote, an attorney by profession, organized at least a dozen companies that were to be stationed at Thomaston, St. George, and Camden.
After the war, Baker rose to prominence (as well as sank to controversy) as an outspoken, progressive theologian and public education advocate. He sermonized on a national stage as a major contributor to the weekly Sabbath Recorder, and in 1858 he floated a proposal for a planned community ("utopia") to be situated in "Greater South Thomaston" (today's Owls Head).
Sunday afternoon's ceremony will consist of a eulogy and a short talk about chaplaincy during War of 1812, the decoration of the chaplain's grave with a wreath and appropriate veterans marker. VFW Post 3108 plans to have an honor guard, a rifle squad, and a bugler on hand to help officiate.
Afterwards, the public is invited to enjoy refreshment and fellowship at the nearby Historical Society museum-meeting room.
For additional information, the public is invited to call Charles Jacobs of the Elder Samuel Baker Circle, (207) 594-2637.