Masons honor Maine’s first mapmaker

Posted Oct. 11, 2009, at 9:13 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:10 p.m.
Lead by Sean Fluet of East Madison on the bagpipes, Master Masons from  throughout Piscataquis County marched on Saturday from the Moses  Greenleaf homestead to a monument in his honor in Williamburg. The march  and a ceremony honored Maine's first cartographer and the first  Worshipful Master of the Piscataquis Masonic Lodge in Milo. (Bangor  Daily News Photo by Diana Bowley)
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Lead by Sean Fluet of East Madison on the bagpipes, Master Masons from throughout Piscataquis County marched on Saturday from the Moses Greenleaf homestead to a monument in his honor in Williamburg. The march and a ceremony honored Maine's first cartographer and the first Worshipful Master of the Piscataquis Masonic Lodge in Milo. (Bangor Daily News Photo by Diana Bowley)

MILO, Maine — Master Masons throughout Piscataquis County joined the public Saturday to celebrate the life of Moses Greenleaf — Maine’s first mapmaker, an author, justice of the peace and pioneer — on the 175th anniversary of his death.

The event was organized by Piscataquis Lodge No. 44 in Milo, the first Lodge of Freemasons in Piscataquis County, where Greenleaf served as its first Worshipful Master.

Saturday’s celebration included a presentation of Greenleaf’s life and his accomplishments given by retired educator Walter Macdougall of Milo. Macdougall, a member of the Piscataquis lodge, wrote a book on Greenleaf titled, “Settling the Maine Wilderness: Moses Greenleaf, His Maps, and His Household of Faith, 1777-1834.”

“Moses and his family were deeply involved in Freemasons,” Macdougall told the audience Saturday.

Greenleaf, who was born in Newburyport, Mass., in 1778, was an early settler of Williamsburg near Brownville, according to Macdougall. He felt society was going bad and wanted to get away from it to create a new settlement in Williamsburg, he said. Greenleaf realized that public welfare was what really mattered, Macdougall said. Education was a priority to Greenleaf, so in 1811 he brought the first schoolteacher to Williamsburg on horseback from Charleston. He later became a director of Foxcroft Academy, according to Macdougall.

An accomplished writer, Greenleaf published “A Statistical View of the District of Maine” in 1816, and “Survey of Maine: In Reference to its Geographical Features and Political Economy” in 1829, which included an atlas.

In addition to the history lesson, the Masons held a short ceremony at a monument in Williamsburg that was erected in Greenleaf’s honor in 1947. While Greenleaf’s headstone is in the Village Cemetery in Brownville, Macdougall said, his body is thought to be buried beside his house across the street from the monument.

Masons from throughout the county marched from Greenleaf’s home to the monument, led by Sean Fluet of East Madison, who played the bagpipes.

Walter Macdougall’s son George Macdougall read a letter of sentiment from Gov. John Baldacci. The governor acknowledged the important role Greenleaf played in the state’s history and thanked the Masons for preserving his legacy.

Piscataquis County Commissioner Eric Ward urged those in attendance to take with them the spirit of Greenleaf and challenged them to make their community the best it can be.

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