Gazetteer of the State of Maine, 1882 page 346
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Gazetteer of the State of Maine With Numerous Illustrations, by Geo. J. Varney

BOSTON: PUBLISHED BY B. B. RUSSELL, 57 CORNHILL. 1882. Public domain image from


Moore at the meeting-house as the service closed : but seeing through
the window some armed men crossing the river above, he took the
alarm, sprang through the open window, and escaped to his vessel.
An armed company of the settlers followed down to the shore, when
the Margaretta, after firing a few shots over the settlement, slipped
down the river. Early the next morning, Benjamin Foster, Jeremiah
O’Brien and his five stalwart brothers, and some others, gathered at
the wharf, and took possession of Jones’ wood sloop ; then by shouts
they gathered the men of the settlement on board. A plan of captur-
ing the Margaretta was made known, the timid were allowed to go
ashore, while the holder spirits, a few only armed with muskets, others
with pitchforks and axes, sailed down the river to attack the British
schooner. Another company, in a small coaster, followed them. They
found the schooner in the bay, and run alongside with the intention of
boarding. She received them with a discharge of several guns, muskets
and hand grenades, by which several were killed. The vessels fell
apart, only John O’Brien, one of the six brothers, having got on board
the enemy. Several of the British instantly fired at him, but not a
bullet touched him. Then they charged upon him with their bayonets;
but before they could reach him he was overboard, and swimming
towards the sloop, which he reached without other harm than a wet-
ting. The only cannon possessed by the patriots was a wall piece,
which they balanced on the rail, and fired with destructive effect.
The muskets, also, did good service, and the decks of the Margaretta
were cleared. Several of the enemy had fallen, including the comman-
der, and when the vessels were brought together again, the officer in
command fled below in terror, and the crew yielded at once.

On the 26th of June following, the Massachusetts Congress passed a
formal vote of thanks to the heroes of this affair. The Margaretta was
the first British vessel captured by the Americans; and the action
merits the name it has received of “ The Lexington of the Seas.”
Foster and Jeremiah O’Brien were soon after commissioned for priva-
teering, and were very successful. Machias soon became aggressive,
and an expedition was filled out to aid the patriots in New Brunswick
and Nova Scotia. Thinking it necessary to crush this rebellious town,
the governor of Nova Scotia, in 1777, sent Sir George Collier with four
vessels and eighty marines to accomplish this purpose. They arrived
in the bay early in August, and after burning a tide-mill, two dwellings,
two barns and a guard house, and committing other depredations below,
one of the brigs was towed by barges to the mouth of Middle River,
within half a mile of Machias Falls. Here such a lively fire was poured
down upon them from the high banks that the crews of the barges were
driven on board the brig, whence again all was driven below deck, and
the brig drifted helplessly down the stream. Every man in the place
able to bear arms wTas now upon the shore, Major Stillman being in
charge ; while on the other side of the river were forty or fifty Passa-
maquoddy Indians sent by Colonel John Allan, and led by Joseph
Neeala, their chief. The Indians raised their peculiar yell, which the
white people imitated, until the woods rang with them ; and the British
were glad to reach the bay again. A notable incident in this contest
was the journey of Hannah Weston, wdth another young woman from
the Pleasant River settlement, 20 miles west, to bring powder for the
patriots. A day or two later the squadron sailed away.


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