Jan. 3, 1787: A fourth convention about a proposal to separate Maine from Massachusetts is held. An “Address to the People” about Maine residents’ grievances had drawn a 645-349 vote in favor of separation, but the total vote count was a tiny minority of those citizens eligible to vote, and they came from only 32 of Maine’s 93 incorporated towns.

The pro-separation side agrees to adjourn the convention. Soon afterward, arguments in the press against separation and the failure of future conventions to accomplish anything make it clear that the pro-separation movement is dead for now.

In 1988 on Capitol Hill, Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., center, Senate Democratic leader for the past decade, hands the gavel to Sen. George J. Mitchell after Mitchell was elected Senate majority leader. Associated Press file photo

Jan. 3, 1989: U.S. Sen. George J. Mitchell, D-Maine, a Waterville native and former U.S. attorney and federal judge, becomes Senate majority leader. He later steps down on Jan. 3, 1995, capping a 15-year Senate tenure, when President Bill Clinton appoints him U.S. special envoy for Northern Ireland.

In that job, the former federal judge helps negotiate a peace deal between the long-feuding Protestant and Catholic factions in Northern Ireland. Michell also becomes the author or co-author of several books, mostly about politics and international peace negotiations.

On this date was researched and written by Joseph Owen of Augusta, a retired copy desk chief of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal newspapers. Owen is a longtime member, former president and current board member of the Augusta-based Kennebec Historical Society.

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