Sept. 8, 1803: The Portland-based newspaper Eastern Argus publishes its first issue. The paper is the first one in Maine supporting President Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party, the nemesis of the Federalist Party, which dominated the press.

The Federalists, who tend to oppose the District of Maine’s separation from Massachusetts, gradually are losing influence in Maine. In 19th-century Massachusetts gubernatorial elections, for example, Maine men cast a majority of the votes for the Federalist candidate in every election until 1804; after that, they always favor the Democratic-Republican candidate.

Sept. 8, 1809: Surveyor Paul Chadwick, 22, is shot fatally in a confrontation with a group of men, some dressed as Indians, in Malta – now called Windsor. Chadwick was carrying out a surveying assignment from Massachusetts officials who claimed to own the land; the men, probably squatters, challenged the officials’ ownership.

Seven men are arrested Sept. 15 and charged with murder in a case that becomes known as the Malta War. An armed mob approaches the Kennebec County jail in Augusta to try to free the suspects, but the militia keeps them at bay.

At the close of an eight-day trial in November, a jury finds the men not guilty.

Maine Gov. Clinton Clauson, second from right, and Connecticut Gov. Abraham Ribicoff look on as Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy shakes hands with Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie in Augusta on Nov. 15, 1959. Associated Press

Sept. 8, 1958: Waterville Mayor Clinton Clauson, a Democrat, wins the Maine gubernatorial election in his race against Republican Horace Hildreth.

It is the last statewide Maine election held in September; all future elections are to be held in November in conjunction with national voting. The September voting tradition engendered the saying “As Maine goes, so goes the nation,” suggesting Maine’s role as a bellwether indicating likely national voting trends.

The 1958 election also is the first election in which a candidate is elected to a four-year term as governor. However, Clauson serves only 11 months and dies in December.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.