Monday, July 6, 2009

Mysterious Plates Found in the Wall of a Bangor House

Recently, I was talking with our barber as she clipped away at my son's hair. She shared how she came to find three mysterious plates with names and dates engraved on them. I talked her into digging them out so that I might get a look. In a house that she owned previous to the one she now owns, she came across the three metal plates shown at the right. Removing the plaster and lathe of the nineteenth century house near Ohio Street in Bangor, these were fished out in the same condition as they now appear a decade or so later. My guess is that the plates were once fastened to the coffins of those named on the plates, since they have holes in the corners of them and were obviously fastened to something.

If you recall, recent BHS guest speakers have shared their stories of finding coins dating from the initial and subsequent construction (s) of their eighteenth century homes in the process of renovating them. A shoe enclosed in the wall of eighteenth homes has also been said to have been a typical superstition and practice insuring a house's safety according to recent guest speakers. Finding what would seem to be casket plates in the walls of a nineteenth century is a new one for me? Insights about these plates, and how they might be typical or atypical of superstitions surrounding house construction from the time period would be greatly appreciated. Please email me at:

"Junteenth Day"; An Annual Celebration to the End of Slavery (June 19, 1865), by David Hanna

A steady rain forced the fourth annual “Junteenth Day” celebration this past June 19th to be held in the Brewer Auditorium instead of at the Chamberlain Freedom Park of Brewer, Maine as scheduled. This designated day celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, 2000 Union soldiers marched into Galveston, Texas at the end of the Civil War and enforced the tenets of the Emancipation Proclamation for the first time in the heart of the newly surrendered confederacy.

City of Brewer Mayor Arthur Verow read a proclamation recognizing the event, the spirit of self, and the long fight for freedom for African-Americans . He proclaimed June 19, 2009 as “Junteenth Day." In addition to Mayor Verow, State Representative Michael Celli, representatives from the offices of US Senator Olympia Snowe (Maine), US Senator Susan Collins (Maine), and US Congressional Representative Michael Michaud read statements praising the role of African-Americans in society and recognizing the tragedy of slavery as well as the importance of the “Underground Railway," a freedom trail for many slaves.

The keynote speaker was James Varner, president of the Maine Human Rights Coalition. He stated his goal was to get “Junteenth Day” officially recognized in the State of Maine as well as the nation noting that 31 states, along with the District of Columbia, had already done so. He spoke of the need to work diligently for the end of racism and discrimination in America.