Graveside service to commemorate War of 1812 chaplain May 27

May 17, 2018

South Thomston — Citizens will gather at the graveside of Elder Samuel Baker in the Village Cemetery, Dublin Road, Sunday, May 27, at 2 p.m. and pay their long-overdue respects 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.

Baker, born in 1785, served as an Army clergyman with Lt. Col. Erastus Foote’s Massachusetts Regiment (Maine at the time was 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” by 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 (and also 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 the War of 1812, the decoration of the chaplain’s grave with a wreath and an appropriate veteran's marker. VFW Post 3108 plans to have an honor guard, a rifle squad and a bugler on hand to help officiate.

Afterward, the public is invited to enjoy refreshment and fellowship at the nearby Historical Society museum-meeting room.

For more information, call Charles Jacobs of the Elder Samuel Baker Circle at 594-2637.

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