Kittery’s discovery: PFAS leaking from the dump to the ground water?

It is my opinion that the Town of Kittery still has a lot of explaining to do.

The need of Government to be truthful should overshadow the need to contain the damage.

All Citizens need their Town and Federal Government to be honest. Thank you to IAN LENEHAN of the Portsmouth Herald for staying on top of this health crisis.

The IAN from the Portsmouth Herald has just done another article on the PFAS’s in the well water around the Kittery Dump. In case you missed it, below is OURKITTERY’S post and the current article in the Portsmouth Herald. YOU NEED TO READ IT.

https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/news/local/2022/01/13/kittery-maine-residents-near-dump-solutions-possible-pfas-water/9174942002/

As you read it keep in mind as a result of the PFAS’s in the ground water, that families drink this water, their pets drink it, wildlife drink it, the wildlife eat food that grows as a result of the water, the animals move around and of course ground water travels long distances.

The Big Question. Were there ever any tests done that were done incorrectly? and if so WHEN and what company! Has anybody notified the previous homes owners of the affected area.? Another question that should be asked, Should Kittery begin planning for the unexpected long term health ramifications in the future? The damage it can cause could be huge. We are talking about the potential health issues and how it people could be adversely affected by PFAS years to come.

Perhaps a diverse committee to examine all the aspects, the evidence and get experts who know this stuff to help Kittery with a robust plan for the affected citizens and develop a plan to clean up the area or craft a mitigating plan to stop the seepage. This process needs to be transparent and not held in executive session.

Kittery’s Web Site. (Free to read)

https://www.kitteryme.gov/resource-recovery-facility-transfer-station/pages/pfas-sampling-associated-closed-municipal-landfill

PFAS in residential well water.

Webinar on ASDWA's New PFAS - Source Water Protection Guide and Toolkit -  ASDWA

https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/news/local/2021/12/13/pfas-found-kittery-maine-dump-nearby-home-wells-tested/6488248001/

  1. How long has this been going on?
  2. Who knew?
  3. How long did they know?
  4. What is the mitigating plan?
  5. Has the recent interest expired?
  6. Since it may not affect someone, has the interest faded?
  7. What if it did affect you or your family, how would you feel then?
  8. What health risks are associated with PFAS’s, what health concerns can we expect?
  9. How many families are potentially affected?
  10. How is the wildlife affected by it and the deer meat hunters feed on?
  11. Has anyone walked out behind the dump through the green ooze in the water seeping from the hill?
  12. What is really buried at the landfill that history has shown us is dangerous now but not known then? https://bangordailynews.com/2021/11/23/outdoors/hunters-warned-to-throw-away-meat-after-detection-of-forever-chemicals-in-fairfield-deer/embed/#?secret=qmtOR6k7OU

Should we be warning Hunters in Kittery the meat may be contaminated.?

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/can-epa-get-rid-toxic-forever-chemicals-n1281707

THE FOREVER CHEMICAL.

What does PFAS do to your body? A growing body of science has found that there are potential adverse health impacts associated with PFAS exposure, including liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression and cancer. These chemicals can easily migrate into the air, dust, food, soil and water.

The questions should be expanded since the disclosure by the Town of Kittery.

  1. Who will be held responsible if there are health effects of the potentially affected Kittery’s residents.
  2. When does the health effects or contamination begin to show?
  3. Should the residents be tested at the Town’s expenses as they did at Pease ? https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/activities/pease/community-fact-sheet.html
  4. The Town Dump has been there for over 5 decades. We just now heard about this! Did this come to light after a Town Employee raised an unrelated alarm to the DEP? Very coincidental either way? I am sure it is unrelated but the fact is, PFAS’S are known as the forever chemical and according to the Portsmouth Heralds article, its been found in the well water of adjacent properties of the Kittery Town Dump;
  5. Do you know the history of what was dumped there over the years?
  6. How far does ground water travel? i.e. Does well water end up in their septic tanks and then is pumped out dropped off at the Sewer treatment plant, processed and dumped into the river?

KITTERY needs to be pro-active and needs to be moving on this, at the very least by providing water lines for the residents at Kittery’s expense.

KITTERY, Does anyone get it?

In my opinion, things to be watching in 2022.

  1. DPW/THE DUMP
  2. Town of Kittery’s lack of diversity.
  3. PFAS’s found in well water
  4. Marijuana
  5. Affordable Housing
  6. Teachers

The DPW and Dump!

THE DPW and the DUMP. Well, I was hoping things would work themselves out and I sincerely tried to right this wrong while I was a Councilor, but you all know how that ended. Things are still happening and I hope that losing all of the hardworking employees (we lost five in five weeks plus several more prior to that) is not the answer to the problems there. I’ll let you form your own conclusions to situations that I have been alerted to.

  1. It was brought to my attention recently in writing, that there was an alleged, male on males employees sexual harassment incident, the assailant gets a week off and is then promoted.
  2. Alleged EPA violations and complaint.
  3. Clynk issues (recycling cans)
  4. Alleged overtime abuse by a supervisor,
  5. Harassment, hostile work environment.
  6. The alleged installation of an on demand Hot Water Heater without a license (according to the statement from a Town worker), a town mechanic installed it without a license or permit.
  7. Allegations of an operator using the town loader to clean his own driveway in Kittery,
  8. Allegations of harassment of the original whistle blower.
  9. Allegedly putting an inspection sticker on plow trucks with bad wheel bearings. How dangerous is that?
  10. If you care to talk to any of the former employees, they’ll fill you in on the rest.

DPW employees are leaving in droves and now the Transfer Station is forced to close on Wednesday and will open at a later date. Outrageous!

In reference to the notice of the Transfer Station Haz-Mat Wednesday closures, not once were the residents told that there is a staffing problem, morale issues or questionable practices by the supervisors. Yes, I know, “a personnnel issue” would be their excuse to not release this information. See Below from the KITTERY MAINE PAGE FACEBOOK POST. Incidentally, a very well run page. Some of the following are posts from tenured Town Employees who now can speak out without fear of reprisal.

These Town Employees have homes, families, and work history between 2 and 15 years of experience and the institutional knowledge and stories they can tell will shed the spot light on WHAT IS GOING ON!. They just don’t quit. Especially before Christmas.

Now to another public safety issue, ONE that finally got in the press.

PFAS in residential well water.

https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/news/local/2021/12/13/pfas-found-kittery-maine-dump-nearby-home-wells-tested/6488248001/

  1. How long has this been going on?
  2. Who knew?
  3. How long did they know?
  4. What is the mitigating plan?
  5. Has the recent interest expired?
  6. Since it may not affect someone, has the interest faded?
  7. What if it did affect you or your family, how would you feel then?
  8. What health risks are associated with PFAS’s, what health concerns can we expect?
  9. How many families are potentially affected?
  10. How is the wildlife affected by it and the deer meat hunters feed on?
  11. Has anyone walked out behind the dump through the green ooze in the water seeping from the hill.
  12. What is really buried at the landfill that history has shown us is dangerous now but not known then?

Should we be warning Hunters in Kittery the meat may be contaminated.?

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/can-epa-get-rid-toxic-forever-chemicals-n1281707

THE FOREVER CHEMICAL.

What does PFAS do to your body? A growing body of science has found that there are potential adverse health impacts associated with PFAS exposure, including liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression and cancer. These chemicals can easily migrate into the air, dust, food, soil and water.

The questions should be expanded since the disclosure by the Town of Kittery.

  1. Who will be held responsible if there are health effects of the potentially affected Kittery’s residents.
  2. When does the health effects or contamination begin to show?
  3. Should the residents be tested at the Town’s expenses as they did at Pease ? https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/activities/pease/community-fact-sheet.html
  4. The Town Dump has been there for over 5 decades. We just now heard about this! Did this come to light after a Town Employee raised an unrelated alarm to the DEP? Very coincidental either way? I am sure it is unrelated but the fact is, PFSA’S are known as the forever chemical and according to the Portsmouth Heralds article, its been found in the well water of adjacent properties of the Kittery Town Dump;
  5. Do you know the history of what was dumped there over the years?
  6. How far does ground water travel? i.e. Does well water end up in their septic tanks and then is pumped out dropped off at the Sewer treatment plant, processed and dumped into the river?

KITTERY needs to be pro-active and needs to be moving on this, at the very least by providing water lines for the residents at Kittery’s expense.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. Does Kittery have a lack of diversity on Town Boards and Employment? The definition of DIVERSITY is: The practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.

This question was recently asked during the November 2021 election and it still needs to be asked;

  1. Why?
  2. What is being done to address it?
  3. Why are people afraid to discuss it?
  4. Should the personnel board be reestablished?
  5. Should the ability to hire and fire and promote employees be governed by a personnel board complete with diversity and inclusive to ensure fairness?

LET US NEVER FORGET it happened in Kittery!

https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/news/2020/06/13/seacoast-has-long-history-with-ku-klux-klan/113956360/

In the mid-1920s, 400 klansmen marched through Kittery Foreside. At the time, membership of the KKK in Maine neared 40,000.

The Kitterians Auxiliary of the Klu Klux Clan.

http://diannefallon.com/fragments-of-history-when-the-kkk-came-to-kittery/

Lets move on to MARIJUANA. Over 600 people signed a petition to allow Recreational marijuana in Kittery. The voters also mandated it in Kittery. The Town of Kittery has a habit of sticking medical marijuana locations in residential areas, on dead end roads, near day care centers and the elderly. If you are not concerned you should be for it can pop up right next door to you.

We have business districts of Rte 1, Bypass and Rte 236 that would be very good to put these shops instead of next to residential homes lowering their values.

Green Truck Inc. located on Route 236, owned by a Kittery resident had tons of support. After getting the petition that many of you may have signed at the polls, there was panic at the Town Hall. The Town Manager approached Council with concerns it would derail her ordinance of marijuana. There were several question raised.

  1. Where should we put them?
  2. What would happen if the voters vote on the language the petition asked for?
  3. What was the ordinance,?
  4. How can we stop this from happening?
  5. Where was Councilor Cyrus Clark on the issue, did he abstain? After all he is in the business. How did he vote? (See the records).

Who is Cyrus Clark you might ask ? Well he is a Marijuana Entrepreneur and I would add a very smart one. He had multiple conversations with me regarding his stance of retail and medical marijuana coming to Kittery Maine. He was very well informed of the issues since he had a marijuana business in Wells, Maine. He claimed he even worked with the State of Maine on marijuana regulations. He certainly appeared to be in the know and shared his extensive knowledge with the Town Manager and Council.

Well, it did not go so good for those who signed the petition. Then comes the lottery for a business license. Coincidentally, shortly after the ordinance change and lottery, Clark opened a marijuana store in York, Maine right over the Town Line.

Read it on Seacoastonline.com

https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/news/local/york-weekly/2021/12/28/tops-farm-york-maines-only-medical-marijuana-dispensary-opens/9023106002/

The article starts by saying Owner Cyrus Clark has been in the medical marijuana business for nearly 9 years. Cyrus is also a Kittery Town Councilor for those who did not know. Outrageous!

Would a reasonable person believe or have the opinion that there is a conflict of interest here? Now we learn that Sweet Dirt is considering a law suit against Kittery over the Town fiasco retail marijuana lottery the Kittery came up with. If you had the money, you could buy as many chances as you could afford. Where is the outrage?

I am curious if Cyrus Clark abstained from that discussion or offered input with the workshops, the Town Manager, Council?

Did he disclose that he was opening a store in York Maine?

Was this lottery legal under Maine Law? Kittery raised over $535,000 dollars on this fiasco (my opinion). The big winner was Theory Wellness. ( BOSTON — Theory Wellness, a marijuana dispensary operating in three Massachusetts locations, agreed to pay nearly $300,000 in restitution and penalties for its failure to pay hundreds of employees premium wages on Sundays and covered holidays under the state’s wage laws. Aug 27, 2021) https://www.metrowestdailynews.com/story/news/2021/08/27/theory-wellness-fined-nearly-300-k-shortchanging-employees/5615833001/

https://www.mainebiz.biz/article/kittery-nets-535k-in-fee-income-alone-as-cannabis-store-applicants-roll-in

People have asked if it was fair, was it a rouse to raise money, was it deceptive? How could the little guy compete with the big guys and the big money.

Along comes the Lawsuit. Perhaps it should be a Class Action Lawsuit.

https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/news/local/2021/12/31/maine-pot-sweet-dirt-eliot-threatens-lawsuit-kittery-weed-license-lottery-process/9043283002/

RIGGED they say! Outrageous. Who are they to accuse Kittery of being deceitful? Kittery is above board.

Back to the petition, the Location of Green Truck is on Rte 236, the corridor to the inlands. The petition should have gone forward. It is my opinion as well as others that it was a stacked deck. They never saw it coming. How did Green Truck or other small businesses make out with the carefully crafted ordinance? Not so good, according to the owner. I’ll let them tell that story.

A recent statement from the owner of Green Truck confirms the frustration:

“There are no shops on Route 236. Theory Wellness is corporate out-of-state money and Indico already has a store in Kittery. Kittery led everyone to believe it would be a first come first serve like all other license applications have always been handled in Kittery . That is until Jeff Pelletier changed it at the very last meeting with zero input. Our lawyer said we have a solid case to sue but I didn’t want to waste any more time or money on Kittery. The article is really good, I just wish I would have made more of a stink and got some exposure for our company.”

The quote was referring to the Sweet Dirt threatens to sue article.

Why did Kittery ban them from Rte 236 and North of the Route 1malls? There are plenty of Marijuana shops on Route 236 in Eliot and South Berwick. I am of the opinion that other shops don’t like any competition. Could there have been competition from South Berwick, Eliot or even the new Medical Marijuana location in York Maine?

Folk lore says Kittery has always been alleged to have a shady past, secrets and back door politics and those back door politics are still cultivated in Kittery.

The list of stories are endless and this is only what leaks out.

  1. The Dump, allegedly a recent call was made to the EPA by a Town Employee on an unrelated issue to the PFAS’s and coincidentally a few weeks later, the Town tells the press that there are tests for PFASs being conducted around the dump.
  2. Allegedly private work is still being done on Town Employees personally owned vehicles during work hours.
  3. A few years ago, a planning Board member (who also hid behind an alias name on Facebook) built an ADA apartment with an expired permit. The Permit was over three years old. He was Busted, the apartment was not even to code.
  4. The Land Trust received $50,000 dollars from Kittery Taxpayers to buy more land. Then came a complaint from a resident of Kittery Point who made allegations that a planning board member was trying to buy the land for pennies on the dollar and the Land trust was in the red and needed cash. Allegedly the Town Manager stopped it after being given that information.
  5. The planning board member attempted to thwart contributions from local businesses who wished to donate to the Wood Island Life Saving Project.
  6. The teachers and their pay. How many have left the district since 2014. Almost 100? Why?
  7. The Sewer Sticker Shock. Eliot votes NO on funding and Kittery is now short $1.5 million. The 2012 Council flips the cost burden onto the tax payer who needed the sewer. You could not opt out. Elderly, single moms and families could not shell out over $20,000 dollars per hook up. Shapleigh School gets hooked up with no one knowing it, at what cost? This needed to be hooked up to avoid the overpass piping by the Trading Post bridge that keeps freezing.
  8. Affordable housing, needed, yes, but at what cost? Accessory Dwelling units every where, septic tanks sized to a few rooms and now added rooms with an ADA, are we sure about this? https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/news/local/2021/11/24/kittery-accessory-dwelling-units-program-to-help-affordable-housing-crisis-adu/8722457002/
  9. Selling foreclosed parcels and buildings now considered Town Property well under market value. These should be sold at current market values to lower the town debt.
  10. An Ogunquit Maine resident was once sitting on a Kittery Maine residential Town board and voting on spending your tax dollars. Many of the board members and Council knew it when it was happening.
  11. Residential additions being permitted, built and completed and no change to their taxes assessments.
  12. The list goes on and on.

As more former employees realize they are now able to speak truthfully about the abuse of power and town funds they witnessed, the truth will eventually be unearthed . It is time Kittery wakes up and asks the questions “What is going on?” It is time for an independent investigator NOT one hired by the Town Manager or by the paralegal from the Town’s Law Firm, to do due diligence. A credible investigation not steered by fear, management or a Council. A real investigator with the sole purpose to investigate and discover the problems and its source, no matter what or who it may be.

There is a COMMON DENOMINATOR. What else is being kept from you?

Final thoughts from Chuck Denault

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone that has expressed their support for my candidacy. I’m very hopeful for the opportunity to serve the residents of Kittery for another term on the Town Council.

As many of you know, my opponents have been spending their campaign working against me, my character, and my reputation. These are desperate attempts to discredit my accomplishments as a public servant. This includes going so far as to bluntly state the only reason they’re running is to make sure I’m not re-elected. 

But when they go low, you can count on me to take the high road. 

I’m not going to engage in mudslinging. I’m not going to disparage my fellow residents in the race for Town Council. I won’t stoop to their level as that would be as self-serving as their attacks on me. Instead, I’ll spend my time going door-to-door in our community, listening to concerns, hopes, and aspirations for our town. 

If I’m reelected, I’ll immediately call for the formation of a Public Safety Commission to establish citizen oversight into our Police, Fire, and Public Works departments. It will work to achieve the following: 

  1. The safety and security of the citizens, employees, and guests of Kittery; 
  2. Offer official channel for department employees to voice their concerns, with total impunity;
  3. Ensure departments are operating in an ethical manner that is responsible to the taxpayer; 
  4. Ensure all department employees are accountable to the citizens of Kittery 

ASK THE OTHER CANDIDATES WHY THEY DON’T WANT MORE CITIZEN OVERSIGHT OF THESE DEPARTMENTS. 

WHEN THEY TELL YOU “NO”, ASK YOURSELF WHY. LET THAT SINK IN FOR A MOMENT.

To the countless community members that have expressed their desire to see me reelected, please vote. Those that haven’t decided, you have a choice  to make. Are you voting for someone that will dig into the problems…or someone that is more comfortable turning a blind eye to uphold their own individual image?

On November 2nd, please vote for me, Chuck Denault, to return to Town Council. It would be an honor and a privilege to get back into the chambers and facilitate growth in this town and demonstrate these needs for change. Let’s get our voices heard, Kittery. 


Thanks, Charles

KITTERY’s 375th UPDATE

Kittery — Maine’s oldest town — is approaching its 375th year. Probably.

D. Allan Kerr

KITTERY, Maine — The seaside town of Kittery, Maine, is best known for its famous stretch of retail outlets along U.S. Route 1 and for being the home of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard – which is NOT located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, but that’s another story.

In the Seacoast region, Kittery is popular for its natural “hidden treasures,” locations along Spruce Creek and Portsmouth Harbor which tend to be tucked away from sight of the tourists flocking to the aforementioned shopping outlets. In recent years, the town has drawn attention for its remarkable concentration of exceptional eateries.

Kittery celebrates 375th year

But Kittery is also a place of significant history, laying claim as the oldest town in the entire state of Maine. In fact, over the next year Kittery is celebrating the 375th year of its existence. In recognizing this milestone, the Portsmouth Herald agreed to publish a series of monthly articles exploring aspects of Kittery’s fascinating past.

And what, I figured, could be a more appropriate subject to kick off this series than a look back at the birth of the town itself?

Kittery’s beginnings hard to confirm

Local lore tells us Kittery was first incorporated way back in 1647, more than a century-and-a-quarter before the birth of the US of A. The year is right there on our town seal, below the iconic image of the Fort McClary block house. It’s also listed on the official logo of our yearlong 375th celebration.

I figured I could just go to Town Hall and dust off our copy of the original incorporation document, Kittery’s very own Magna Carta. Maybe have one of the Herald’s ace photographers pop over to get a couple photos.

But the town of Kittery has no such document.

In fact, while I tried really hard to do so, I could not even verify the official birthday of  Oct. 20, 1647 the town has touted for so many decades. I checked with various agencies throughout both Maine and Massachusetts, at the York County Registry of Deeds and the Portsmouth Athenaeum, at Portsmouth Public Library and our own Rice Public Library, and no one was able to confirm the existence of originating documents dating to 1647.

The book Colonial Village Kittery Point and Kittery, Maine is on sale now. Colonial Village was written by John Eldridge Frost in 1947 to document the history of homes and other structures built in the village of Kittery Point, Maine prior to 1800.

But ultimately, surprisingly, the specific calendar date might not even matter.

Apparently, this 1647 reference comes from The History of the State of Maine by William D. Williamson, a politician and historian who briefly served as Maine’s second governor. In his two-set volume, published in the 1830s, Williamson noted that “at the court of elections, Oct. 20, 1647, the Piscataqua plantations were formed into a town by the name of Kittery.”

A few decades later, however, an author by the name of Everett Stackpole referenced Williamson’s claim in his own 1903 book “Old Kittery and Her Families” and noted, “I have searched the court records in vain for confirmation of his statement.”

“The earliest date on the town records is of a meeting held 19 March, 1648,” he added.

Almost 120 years after Stackpole’s book, I reached out to Kittery’s town clerk and deputy town clerk – Karen Estee and Kim Tackett, respectively – to see if they could unearth any parchment related to a 1647 birth date. Their research turned up nothing earlier than the same reference to a March 1648 meeting.

The Kittery Historical and Naval Museum relics and information about the past, the oldest being in the room that features the Andrews-Mitchell Garrison House. The fortified farmstead offered protection from raids in turbulent Colonial days.

But also, according to these records, “at a town meeting held at Kittery July 16th 1648,” Major Nicholas Shapleigh, John Heard and Nicholas Frost were “ordered and agreed” to serve as townsmen and rate makers, and to collect all fines within the township. These documents were transcribed in 1852 by Isaac Phillips, the town clerk at the time. Some of the original papers are so faded they are illegible.

Tackett even contacted the office of Massachusetts Archives in Boston, Massachusetts, since Kittery (and the rest of Maine) was at one time under the jurisdiction of our southern neighbor. But they have no records to indicate the 1647 date either. In fact, while Williamson in the 1830s cited a “court of elections” taking place in October 1647, Caitlin Jones of the Massachusetts Archives says her curator “found that there was no ‘court of elections’ in the province of Maine on that date.” 

Which brings me to an admittedly off-kilter theory.

The folks at Massachusetts Archives, and Stackpole and other sources, have cited at various times another general court ruling issued Oct. 16, 1649 in what was then Gorgeana, which reads:

‘It is ordered by this Court and power thereof that the Inhabitance (I believe they mean “Inhabitants”)  of Pascataquacke wthin the jurisdicktion of this p’vince have the Free power of a towneship as any other townes wthin this jurisdicktion have and that all the inhabitance from Brabot harbor and so eight miles above Newichawanocke with the Isles of Sholes to be within a Towneship.”

Kittery region’s original name

The Kittery region used to be known as the Piscataqua Plantations, and Newichawanocke refers to the area we now know as Berwick, Maine. 

Now, if you’ve ever read old manuscripts from the 17th and 18th centuries, you know scribes of the day had a very elaborate, downright flowery style of handwriting. I have to wonder if Williamson, in putting together his history in the 1830s, misinterpreted the date of this 1649 ruling, and then other authors and historians simply regurgitated this information in the decades since.

Kim Sanborn, our devoted Kittery Historical & Naval Museum director and a fellow 375th Celebration Committee member, doesn’t buy this theory. She’s not inclined to dismiss centuries of local tradition because of a missing piece of paper.

What’s more, she believes the original incorporation document might still be out there somewhere, and notes as an example someone from Exeter, New Hampshire, recently donated to the museum a 1666 Kittery land grant.

“What we do know is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg,” Sanborn said recently of the town’s history. “It amazes me how documents, deeds and wills continue to surface after so many years. Stored in attics, cellars or barns, when these items are found they can be preserved and shared using the technology we possess today, bridging the span of 375 years.”   

The Kittery Historical and Naval Museum has tons of memorablilia and information about the past, the oldest being in the room that houses the Andrews-Mitchell garrison house. This was a fortified farmstead that offered protection from raids in turbulent Colonial days.

Tom Hardiman, keeper of the Portsmouth Athenaeum, points to another possibility. He maintains the recording of a court ruling in 1647 intended to help “shield the townspeople from the encroachments of Massachusetts” could have simply been delayed for two years. We’ll get more into that in a bit.

But he also acknowledged this could all be a “historical mistake.”

“Since Williamson would have relied on handwritten copies of the court records, someone could have copied the date incorrectly,” Hardiman said. “We may never know for sure.”

In addition, a 17th-century gent known as Basil Parker, who also used the name of Thomas Brooks for reasons not documented, served as the recorder of deeds for York County around the time of Kittery’s reported incorporation. After he died, some of the writings in his care were missing. By at least one account, papers were left with the owner of Gunnison’s Tavern in Kittery, where Parker reportedly died.

A court order issued in 1653 called for anyone in possession of the missing papers to return them to the succeeding recorder or be fined a ten-pound penalty. It’s quite possible Kittery’s incorporation document was among those missing papers.

Meet Sir Ferdinando Gorges

But there’s also yet another theory regarding Kittery’s emergence as a town, which I find intriguing.

Sir Ferdinando Gorges

If any one individual could be considered the Father of Maine, it should be Sir Ferdinando Gorges. Gorges was a colorful English adventurer and a bit of a rogue, and should really be more widely acknowledged in our state’s history – even though he never stepped foot on American shores.

We’re not quite sure when he was born, but it’s believed Gorges wasn’t more than 21 years of age when cited as an “eminent chieftain” in the Queen’s military forces. As a soldier, he was taken prisoner by the Spanish around 1588; was wounded in action at the siege of Paris in 1589; and in 1591 was knighted at the Battle of Rouen, in Normandy, for his military deeds.

As a seaman, Gorges also commanded ships in service of the Crown. In 1595, he was placed in command of fortifications at Plymouth, England, in defense against the Spanish armada, a position he held for many years.

Gorges was a protégé of the infamous Earl of Essex, Robert Devereux. In fact, it was Lord Essex who bestowed knighthood upon Gorges on the battlefield. Essex is well-known in British history for his tortured and perhaps romantic relationship with the much older Queen Elizabeth I, until he attempted in 1601 to seize the Queen’s court to demand a change in government leadership.

(I still remember as a kid being fascinated by the classic 1939 black-and-white film “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex,” featuring film legends Bette Davis and Errol Flynn as the tragically-fated pair.)

The Essex plot failed and Gorges was among the conspirators imprisoned. Gorges essentially saved his own neck by ratting out his former mentor, who was subsequently beheaded. After testifying in court, face-to-face, against Lord Essex, Gorges was not only eventually freed from prison but also restored to his previous command at Plymouth.

Legend has it that Gorges became fascinated with the American continent when an English explorer kidnapped several Native Americans and brought them back to England. Gorges acquired three of the natives and learned much about the New World from them.

Some accounts contend one of the Native Americans enslaved by Gorges was Tisquantum, better known as Squanto in our Thanksgiving folklore. However, historians discount this claim.

Gorges was a primary supporter of the failed Popham Colony in what is now Phippsburg, Maine, in the early 1600s. Although disappointed when the experiment fell apart, Gorges continued to push for the colonization of New England, and for a prominent role in that effort.

Eventually, in 1639, Gorges was granted a charter for the Province of Maine by the king of England, starting at the Piscataqua Harbor entrance and up “into the River of Newichewannock” (now the Salmon Falls River), and northeastward along the seacoast and so forth. This was the culmination of previous grants and patents he had received. Gorges was later appointed governor-general of the province, and in various accounts is referenced as Maine’s protector, proprietor, and even “lord.”

Gorges oversaw – from overseas – the establishment of settlements in this territory. He envisioned his province as something of a personal fiefdom, in which he would dispense grants of land to gentrified folks loyal to him.

He required appointees to swear an oath of allegiance pledging they would each “be a faithful servant and councilor” to Gorges as “my Lord of the Province of Maine,” and to his heirs. Perhaps recalling his own shady past, he also insisted they would “not conceal from him and his Council any matter of conspiracy or mutinous practice against my said lord, his heirs and assigns.”

Gorges died in England in May 1647, just a few months before Kittery reportedly incorporated as a town. For obvious reasons, news traveled slowly in those days. Hardiman says folks in this area might not have learned of Sir Ferdinando’s death until late summer.

“If the residents of Pascataquacke wanted to incorporate to avoid being absorbed into another jurisdiction, they would have done so in the October term of court,” he explained.

Personally, I like to think that once Gorges was out of the way, the citizens of this plantation took the opportunity to just claim the township as their own. For what it’s worth, Stackpole in his 1903 book suggested the same thing.

“On his death in 1647 his affairs in America were neglected,” Stackpole wrote. “The new town of Kittery assumed that all the land within her borders belonged to her and could be given away to whomsoever she chose.”

The Maine Historical Society cites a third option for what could be considered the official incorporation of Kittery.

“All signs point to 1652 as the date,” Jamie Rice, the Society’s deputy director, recently wrote via e-mail. “This is the date Kittery accepted Massachusetts as its government, ie. incorporated. The 1647 doesn’t appear to be ‘wrong’ and 300th anniversary activities in 1947 would support such a date, however, it’s about the word ‘incorporation.’ ”

See, back in 1651, the leaders of Massachusetts Bay Colony decided to send “a loving and friendly letter” informing Kittery residents they were within the jurisdiction of that colony. Months of legal wrangling and protest and negotiation followed, but ultimately in November 1652, local inhabitants were called to the home of William Everett to submit themselves to the government of Massachusetts.

“After a parley of four days 41 of the principal inhabitants subscribed to articles of submission, and a government was duly organized like that in force in Massachusetts,” WW Clayton wrote in his 1880 History of York County, Maine.

The declaration signed on Nov. 20, 1652 confirmed Kittery was to remain a township with the same protections and privileges as other Massachusetts towns.  Additional Maine towns soon followed — the very fate the Athenaeum’s Hardiman believes some may have been avoiding with the previous court actions.

“Other sources we consulted allude to the 1652 date as the official year (of incorporation),” Rice noted. “However, 1647 might be the ‘accepted’ date when Kittery felt it was a proper town.”

One of the complicating issues in all this is the recorded reference to “town meetings” dating back to 1648, and the listing of Kittery by name, prior to both the 1649 and 1652 dates.

Naturally, it’s impossible to pack 375 years of history into a single newspaper article, but here are some other interesting things to note about Kittery’s earliest days:

  • In the beginning, the town included the areas we now know as Berwick, North Berwick, South Berwick and Eliot. Eventually each of these parcels splintered off to form their own township.
  • At one point back in 1641, Kittery joined with Portsmouth, Exeter and Dover – all now located in New Hampshire – to create an independent republic “for purposes of protection and government,” according to Clayton’s History of York County, Maine. However, Portsmouth and Dover shortly thereafter placed themselves under the protection of Massachusetts.
  • While Kittery is considered the oldest town in Maine, Gorges decided to incorporate Gorgeana – which he envisioned as his provincial capital, and of course named after himself – as America’s first city in 1641 or 1642, depending on your source. Gorgeana was later reincorporated as the town of York in 1652, and is considered the second oldest town in Maine.
  • The town derived its name from Kittery Court, the family home of early settler Alexander Shapleigh in Kingswear, England. However, in his Old Kittery and Her Families, author Stackpole somewhat cheekily recounts the local legend of a Strawbery Banke lad who in the 1630s pursued a young lady called Kitty Rye, who lived near the current site of Fort McClary. So, according to this tale, folks would say the young man was off to visit Kitty Rye across the Piscataqua River, and this evolved into the town’s name.

“We have an amazing amount of history in Kittery,” Sanborn, our local museum director, said this week.  “As we continue to learn of the events in our past, it is so important that we remember everything that made Kittery the first Incorporated town in Maine.”

And as far as she’s concerned, Kittery is turning 375 next October.

“If that document is found (and I hope it is) eventually, that may change the date in our history,” she said, “but until then I believe we have to go with all the circumstantial evidence.” 

D. Allan Kerr is a member of Kittery 375th Celebration Committee and frequent columnist for the Portsmouth Herald.

D. Allan Kerr

Posted at the request of D.Allan Kerr

Game Camera’s catch more than Animals.

Recently conversations regarding Game Cameras and being used to catch Election Sign Thief’s, have become political. People making statements on social media with no knowledge of the law. During the meet the Kittery candidate forum, Councilor Clark accused me of being a criminal for using game cameras on Mackenzie Lane (the Dump Road). He left out several parts but spun it to look bad. Unbelievable…this is what he does, plants a seed and watch it grow. Even the Portsmouth Herald reporter who called me knew it was LEGAL and placed their spin on it. Next Clark may suggest a vehicle dash cam’s, a ring door bell or a nest cam is another problem. The problem should have been the theft of political signs. But thievery in Kittery is ignored and it has been proven.

Maine Law is clear.

Trail/Game Cameras Law

People using trail and game cameras may not place a camera upon another person’s private land without written permission. All cameras must be labeled with the person’s name and contact information.

This is public owned property and for those who insist I did not have my name on the cameras, it was never checked (I have proof) and that my name, address and phone number was on the inside. The main reason was that if someone stole my cameras, I could have them charged with Theft. It would have been easily captured on the cameras since they were all pointed at each other along with my sign.

Cameras have been used to watch many political signs that get stolen over the years and several complaints were made to the police department both here in Kittery and Eliot over the years. Kittery Police even used cameras to catch Graffiti Artists painting away.

2017, a Kittery Resident was caught and turned over to the police after having been caught stealing a Kittery Candidates sign. In 2020, Eliot Maine residents were also caught and turned into police. In 2017, A Kittery Town Employee of Kittery was caught driving over many of another two Political Candidate’s signs. Some of the Sign Theft perpetrators who stole signs owned by Ken Lemont, Jim Goulter and John Perry, Michelle Meyer, Biden and Trump as well as mine have been caught and then turned over to the police along with any game camera pictures.

https://ourkittery.com/2017/10/caught-stealing-or-tampering-with-election-signs-is-a-crime-in-maine/ail/Game Cameras Law

On November 3rd, I will post the faces of the people I caught stealing my signs. In fact, I know who one is from Mackenzie Lane, the dump signs that were stolen and I am trying to identify the second person. This is not a personnel issue and it will be dealt with. They know who they are as well.

This has been a problem for many years, like it makes a difference. Before you accuse someone and slander their name and open yourself up for civil liability, be sure to know the law. I DO!

https://i0.wp.com/ourkittery.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/caught.jpg

Kittery Author and Artist updates

In order to broaden OURKITTERY, Local Authors, Artist and others will be showcased from time to time. Our first guest is D. Allan Kerr and the Author of SILENT STRENGTH. Fell free to email me with your project.

“On April 10, 1963, the submarine USS Thresher sank off the New England coast. The loss of 129 officers, sailors, and civilian technicians was a tragedy for the Navy, our nation, and especially for the families of that gallant crew. The USS Thresher was built in Kittery, Maine, at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Each year, the people of Kittery and neighboring communities in Maine and New Hampshire gather on the anniversary of the loss of the Thresher to pay their respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation.

To order the book, click the following link.

REMEMBER TO VOTE FOR THE KITTERY WATER DISTRICT TRUSTEES

If you live in Kittery, or a section of Eliot, Parts of York or the PNS (Shipyard) you can vote for the Kittery Water District Trustees. You can vote by absentee at the windows up to 4 P.M. tomorrow, Friday the 12th, 2021. The Voting in person will be held tomorrow in Thursday September 16, 2021 at the Kittery Community Center from from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Kittery Community Center on Sept. 16.

I was told even if your on well water!

Any Questions, call the water district.(207) 439-0775

Kittery Water District Vote Eliot and York as well

If you live in Kittery, a section of Eliot, Parts of York and PNS you can vote for the Kittery Water District Trustees. You can vote by absentee at the windows up to 4 P.M. tomorrow, Friday the 12th, 2021. The Voting in person will be held on Thursday September 16, 2021 at the Kittery Community Center from from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Kittery Community Center on Sept. 16.

If you live in Eliot or York Maine, you may be able to vote as well. See the Kittery Water District’s Website. www.kitterywater.org.

https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/news/local/2021/08/18/kittery-me-water-district-hold-election-3-seats-sept-16/8160622002/

Get to know the candidates.

https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/news/local/2021/09/08/eight-candidates-kittery-water-district-board-trustees/5708956001/

One Issue: Water — Florida Bay Forever

Kittery’s Edward Dubravsky Sr. Passing

EDWARD’S OBITUARY

U.S. Veteran

York, ME – Edward Joseph Dubravsky, Sr. went on to his final home on July 7, 2021 at the age of 91.  He passed away peacefully at the home of his son surrounded by family.

Ed was born on June 15, 1930, in Homestead, PA. to parents who had emigrated from Slovakia.  Following his graduation from Homestead High School in 1948, he enlisted in the US Navy, serving 20 years and retiring as Chief Petty Officer.  He then worked at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for 20 years, as well as running his own TV repair business.   He liked to keep busy and worked various jobs such as driving for a local car rental company, bagging groceries at the base commissary and, for many years, was “EJ the DJ” for weddings and parties.

At the beginning of his naval enlistment, Ed was stationed in Kittery, ME where he met the love of his life, Eleanor “Bebe” Franklin.  They were soon married and raised three sons.  They were stationed in several places in the US before retiring to Kittery, ME in 1967.  They lived an active life including bowling, square dancing and volunteering for Meals on Wheels.  Years later, they became snowbirds, wintering in Estero, FL.   After 55 years of marriage, Bebe passed away suddenly.

Ed never remarried and continued to split his time between Estero and being with his family in Kittery.  He loved to dance and play cards and was very good at both.  He loved his family and was a generous provider.   His family will miss him dearly.

He is survived by three sons:  Edward J. Dubravsky, Jr. and his wife, Dolly; Danny Dubravsky and his wife, Bridget; and Keith Dubravsky and his wife, Jackie; six beloved grandchildren:  Sara, Ethan, Jared, Justin, Jessica and Aaron; seven great-grandchildren:  Chloe, Isabel, Lucy Bea, Charlotte, Lorelai, Scarlette and Owen.

A memorial service will be held at the Church at Spruce Creek, 31 Wilson Road, Kittery, ME on July 19, 2021 at 11:00 followed by a graveside service at Orchard Grove Cemetery, Rogers Road, Kittery.   Following the service, the family will be greeting friends and family at the church for shared memories and refreshments. Care of the Dubravsky family has been entrusted to the J S Pelkey and Son Funeral Home.