July 9, 2013

Freeport in no hurry to replace erroneous 'birthplace' motto

The old motto was debunked by historians, but a town panel says it has higher priorities.

By Matt Byrne mbyrne@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

FREEPORT — The Town of Freeport will remain motto-free for at least this summer.

click image to enlarge

The patch of the Freeport Police Department states, "Birthplace of Maine", as it was believed that the town's Jameson Tavern was where Mainers made plans to secede from Massachusetts. However, recent reports indicate that the purpose of the meeting was actually to discuss staying as part of Massachusetts.

Carl D. Walsh / Staff Photographer

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Town councilors voted last month to drop the old motto – "Birthplace of the State of Maine" – because it was deemed inaccurate by historians. A claim that the Jameson Tavern had been the site of a meeting of Maine's founders at the time they decided to separate from Massachusetts was debunked by the Daughters of the American Revolution and local experts.

That led some Freeport High School students to suggest new mottos to the Town Council, and to the possibility of a wider search for a replacement.

A committee of town councilors decided Tuesday to keep the issue of replacing the town's motto on the back burner until the Fall.

"We have some really pressing issues in town," said Special Projects Committee Chair Kristina Egan.

The town is faced in the coming months with sorting out a $40,000 cut to local revenue sharing and a potential withdrawal from the regional school district, she said. "For me, coming up with a motto is sort of a low priority."

The town will passively poll the public on its website through July about the issue's importance, and councilors said they will welcome input from the public until they take it up again after the summer.

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