Farmington, Maine.  pp, in the form of twenty-five four-page letters, each folded to 7.75" x 10". Occasional short splits at folds [no text loss], clean. Very Good plus.
[offered with] AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF DEACON JOHN THOMPSON OF MERCER, MAINE. WITH GENEALOGICAL NOTES OF HIS DESCENDANTS. COMPILED BY HIS GRANDSON JOSIAH H. THOMPSON IN THE YEAR 1920. Farmington, Maine: Franklin Journal Company. . 152pp, photo illustrations. Original brown cloth, gilt title on front board [light wear at corners and spine ends]. Very Good plus.
[offered with] MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF JOHN THOMPSON OF MERCER, MAINE, DECEMBER 29, 1845 - MAY 4,1850, WRITTEN IN AN ELEMENTARY COPY BOOK. Manuscript journal, 6.5" x 8".  pp. Original yellow illustrated wrappers [light spotting]. Lined pages, stitched, in neat ink manuscript. Very Good.
The complete holograph manuscript autobiography of Maine pioneer John Thompson, offered here, consists of letters written to his daughter Olive Thompson around 1850. The manuscript was privately published by the family in 1920 [as above], virtually complete, with minor stylistic changes. Thompson [1784-1868] was born in Middletown, Connecticut. Part of his youth was spent in central and western Massachusetts, in such places as Blanford and Savoy. After a stint on a crew building the Dedham Turnpike, Thompson migrated to Maine and established a homestead in Mercer, about 30 miles northwest of Augusta.
From around 1800-1807 the narrative focuses on Thompson's experiences in Worcester County, and in Worcester, "but a village then," also in western Massachusetts. A keen observer, Thompson reports on working conditions, his comrades, and some horrendous accidents. In 1807, Thompson heads for Maine: "I had always entertained the idea that I should go into some of the western states where... many of my old acquaintances had gone, but it was otherwise determined by an overruling Providence ... I had my mind fixed on going Down East." His journey to Maine, by land and boat, his homesteading, and his frequent trips between Mercer and Boston over the next eight years are interesting accounts of this largely unsettled territory and some of its pioneering families. At Augusta he witnesses a farcical trial for adultery, of which he gives an amusing account. Another time he returns to the farm with a "bundle of quince sets... and a small lilac bush... the first ever brought into the place." Several times he is delegated to deliver Mercer's taxes ["twenty dollars... that was all Mercer paid at the time"] to Boston. Near the end is a seven page account of Thompson's experiences in the local militia, called up in 1814 when the British took Eastport. While the printed version ends in 1819, the manuscript concludes in 1820 with brief mention of the Missouri Compromise and Maine statehood.
Also present is Thompson's manuscript journal [unpublished] of life in Mercer, with dated entries from 1848 to 1850. The first two pages are the official records of the Anti-Slavery Missionary Association of Mercer, beginning with its establishment on December 29, 1845. The group convened at the Beech Hill school house, articulated its purpose, and named its officers. Thompson was secretary and treasurer, the only two positions formed. Also listed are Moses C. Pike, Levi Gates, Asa Paine and A.J. Downs. The Association was formed to observe "the concert of prayer for slaves once a month and take up a contribution at [said] meetings for missionary purposes." Its doings are described, including raising funds for the "Canada missions." The remaining pages chronicle work performed at Thompson's farm-- planting, ploughing, milling logs, killing a pig, bringing wool to Wilton Factory. Daily details include notes about travels to market, funerals, religious services, peace meetings, the need for a petition to be circulated for cheap postage, and a barn raising. The names of several additional members of the town are listed. Item #27995