Oct. 12, 1676: In the aftermath of King Philip’s War (1675-1676), a large group of Wabanaki Indians led by Mogg Heigon approaches the English garrison at Black Point, part of Scarborough, while the commander is absent, intent on taking it over.

Heigon convinces an emissary, Henry Jocelyn, that the garrison should surrender peacefully. He says the inhabitants can carry their belongings away with them. Jocelyn returns to the garrison and finds that only his own family and a few elderly people remain there. The rest have slipped out a back gate and taken Jocelyn’s possessions with them.

The next year, settlers sneak back into the garrison. Heigon returns with a small army of Wabanakis, seals off the garrison and lays siege to it. The settlers, armed better than they were in 1676, shoot and kill Heigon. The Wabanakis abandon the siege. They return a month later and lure about 100 settlers outside the garrison. Then they kill the garrison’s military leaders and turn the settlement into a smoldering ruin.

Heigon is memorialized in an 1830s poem by John Greenleaf Whittier, “Mogg Megone,” the title of which is an alternate spelling of the Wabanaki leader’s name.

An artist’s impression of the fire in Belfast on Oct. 12, 1865 published in Harper’s Weekly Magazine dated Nov. 4, 1865. House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/44493

Oct. 12, 1865: A mere 25 days after the worst fire in Augusta’s history devastates the city’s downtown, a blaze starts accidentally in a boat shop at the foot of Main Street in Belfast. Aggravated by the wind, the fire destroys 125 buildings in a 22-acre area, including much of the city’s business district and its waterfront on Penobscot Bay.

During the eight-hour effort to contain the flames, firefighters explode or demolish buildings on several streets to create fire breaks and prevent the destruction of the entire city core.

Oct. 12, 1937: Bank robber Al Brady, 26, and an accomplice, Clarence Lee Shaffer Jr., 20, are killed in an FBI ambush outside Dakin’s Sporting Goods Store in downtown Bangor.

Al Brady FBI

The criminal gang, the target of a yearlong manhunt and prone to boasting about its members’ exploits, had been convicted or implicated in several robberies and slayings in their native Indiana. They visited Dakin’s twice before to buy guns and ammunition for use in committing more robberies.

Arriving in a black Buick sedan with Ohio license plates, they also inquired about the availability of tommy guns. When the store manager said he wasn’t allowed to stock those, the robbers asked if he could get some anyway and said they would return later. The manager tipped off the police, triggering the FBI ambush.

Clarence Lee Shaffer Jr. FBI

The robbers return on the 12th. When one gang member, James Dalhover, 30, enters the store, an agent planted inside pulls on a string attached to a piece of cardboard in the store window as a signal that the ambush could begin. Brady and Shaffer, caught by surprise, fire off some shots but are gunned down immediately, with bullets flying everywhere.

“Brady and his gang were supposed to be masters of crime,” the Bangor Daily News comments. “But in their tragic adventure here they acted, from first to last, with almost incredible stupidity.”

The body of Brady, the gang leader, who is on the FBI’s “public enemies” list, is buried in an unmarked grave in Bangor’s Mount Hope Cemetery. A stone is placed there in 2007, when a re-enactment of the shootout is staged downtown.

Oct. 12, 2019: Biddeford’s Journal Tribune daily newspaper publishes its final issue, leaving Maine with six dailies.

The paper took its most recent form on May 2, 1977, when the Biddeford-Saco Journal merged with the semi-weekly Sanford Tribune. Its roots, however, date to Feb. 7, 1845, with the debut of the Saco-based Union, a weekly newspaper. Mergers and name changes resulted in that paper later becoming part of the Biddeford-Saco Journal.

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 islandportpress.com. 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 to participate in the conversation. 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.

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.