Arranged and described by Brenda Howitson Steeves
Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department
Introduction and Summary Information
Collection Title: Edwin A. Churchill Papers.
Dates of the Collection: 1987-2000 (inclusive); 1999-2000 (bulk).
Provenance: The Churchill papers were a gift from Mr. Churchill in 2001.
Collection Number: MS 777.
Box Numbers: 1-4 (formerly new accession 2001-0719b).
Size and Arrangement: The collection consists of four document boxes of material (3 cubic feet).
Conservation Note: The collection has been re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes.
Preferred Citation: Edwin A. Churchill Papers, Special Collections, Raymond H. Fogler Library, University of Maine.
Restrictions on Access and Use: Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.
The collection contains legal documents and research material compiled and collected by Edwin A. Churchill in his work as an expert witness in two land use cases in Wells, Maine, in 1988 and 1999, and in the boundary issue case between New Hampshire and Maine in 2000.
Edwin Churchill is the Chief Curator at the Maine State Museum in Augusta. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Maine in 1979, has taught American and European history at several institutions in Maine, and is the author of numerous books and articles on Maine history. His areas of expertise include Maine and northeastern American history, with emphasis on the colonial period, and Maine material culture.
He is a two-time recipient of the Maine Historical Society’s James P. Baxter Award for best journal articles published and received the Neil Allen Award from the Society for outstanding contributions in the fields of Maine history and genealogy.
In 1987 he spent most of a year consulting with the office of the Maine Attorney General in preparation for the so-called Moody Beach lawsuit (Edward B. Bell et al. (plaintiffs) v. Town of Wells et al. (defendants), Supreme Judicial Court of Maine). In this case, fifty plaintiffs living in the area known as Moody Beach brought suit against the town, saying that increased use by the public of their oceanfront property had become unreasonable and overburdensome after the secession of Ogunquit from Wells in 1979. The plaintiffs asked the court to declare that the title to their property allowed only the public rights of fishing, fowling and navigation in the intertidal zone. The Supreme Court agreed with the plaintiffs that public easement for these uses did not include public recreational use and that no public easement by local custom had been proven to exist at Moody Beach.
In 1999, Churchill was active in another land use case in the town of Wells, (Lisle Eaton et al. (plaintiffs) v. Inhabitants of the town of Wells (defendant), Supreme Judicial Court of Maine). At issue was the public’s right to use Wells Beach for a broad range of recreational purposes on both dry sand and in the intertidal zone. Churchill conducted research into the history and usage of Wells Beach, working with the firm of Bergen & Parkinson of Kennebunk, which represented the town of Wells. Churchill stated in a deposition (Sept. 1, 1999) that there was no doubt, in his opinion, that Wells Beach had been used openly and continuously since the 1600’s by the general public for various activities including transportation and access, recreation and harvesting natural resources. The Court ruled in 2000 that the town and public had a right to use Wells beach by way of an easement by prescription.
In 2000, Churchill was involved in research for the case of State of New Hampshire v. State of Maine. In this case, the State of New Hampshire asked the U.S. Supreme Court to settle a controversy over the location of the common boundary between the two states in the inner portion of Portsmouth harbor, asserting that its boundary encompassed the islands on which Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is situated. The dispute resulted in part from Maine’s implementation of a state income tax in 1969; residents of New Hampshire working at the Shipyard protested having their income taxed by the state of Maine. Maine asserted that both New Hampshire and Maine had already confirmed a mid-channel boundary, which had been supported in an earlier Supreme Court case (New Hampshire v. Maine, 434 U.S. 1, 1977). In a ruling in 2001, the Court ruled unanimously in Maine’s favor, and the border between the two states remained the same.
Scope and Content Note
The collection contains materials gathered by Edwin Churchill in his work as an expert witness for the state of Maine in three court cases. It is arranged chronologically by case. The arrangement and folder headings are those used by Mr. Churchill.
The papers prepared for the Moody Beach case include briefs and the court decision, notes, an index to exhibits entered by the state of Maine, and Churchill’s proposed testimony at the trial.
The papers generated for the Wells Beach case are the largest section of the collection. They are arranged in the following order: administrative, notes, articles, and documents. Most of the material consists of photocopies of legal documents, local histories, and town records, etc. consulted by Mr. Churchill. His work included detailed research through published volumes of York deeds, Maine Province and Court Records, Wells town records, Massachusetts and Maine Acts and Resolves, diaries, maps, and photographs.
The section of material gathered from his work in the case of New Hampshire v. Maine contains notes on research plus court documents issued in the case.
Papers from the Moody Beach case
1 Edward B. Bell v. Town of Wells. Brief of appellees, Jan. 6, 1986
2 Bell v. Wells. Superior Court. Trial brief of state and town defendants, July 13, 1987
3 Bell v. Wells. Appendix to trial brief of state and town defendants, July 13, 1987
4 Bell v. Wells. Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Brief of appellants, Apr. 6, 1988
5 Moody Beach: notes, etc.
6-7 Moody Beach: memos, decisions, etc.
8 Moody Beach: Broderick
9 Moody Beach: index of def. Exhibits
10 Moody Beach: misc.
11 Moody Beach: Supreme Judicial Court
12 Moody Beach: proposed testimony of E. Churchill
Papers from the Wells Beach case
13 Wells Beach (decision), Oct. 20, 2000, Maine Supreme Court
14-15 Wells Beach title report, Jan. 31, 1997, prepared by Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson
16 Deeds (uncollected)
1-2 Eaton v. Town of Wells. Deed index, May 28, 1999, Vols. 1 & 2
4 Admin.: participants (Wells Beach case)
5 Admin.: meetings, notes
6 Admin.: deposition (Ed Churchill), July 9, 1999
7 Admin.: affidavit (Ed Churchill), Sept. 1, 1999
8 Trial, Aug. 5-10, 1999
9 Judicial decision, Wells Beach
10 Notes: Bourne, History of Wells and Kennebunk
11 Notes: character of people (heterogeneous)
12 Notes: fishing
13 Notes: use of beach, general
14 Notes: fowling/hunting
15 Notes: livestock on beac
Box 2 cont.
16 Notes: recreation
17 Notes: trespass
18 Baker, “Defense of title, town of Wells”
19 Churchill, “Who owned Wells Beach, 1646-1841”
20 Cohen, Ted, “Payment sought over beach damage,” PPH, 1-7-97
21 Cohen, Ted, “Who owns Wells Beach?” [PPH?], 1/6/97
22 Collins, Rachel, “Line drawn in sand over Maine beach,” Boston Sunday Globe, Jan. 26, 1997
23 Daniels, “Puritans at play” (1995)
24 Genealogy, Littlefield, notes/reports
25 Genealogy, Storer, notes/report
26 Introduction, York deeds, Vol. I
27 Jacobson, Heather A. “Historical development of the saltmarsh at Wells, Me.”
28 Land title, Churchill, “Too great the challenge” (excerpts)
29 Land title, Wells deeds
30 Land titles, Me. Crt. (MPCR 2:36-7) 1655
31 Land titles, Moody, Peter, “Observations on Wells Beach ownership”
32 Land titles, Moody, Robert, “Maine frontier” (excerpts)
33 Land titles, Reid, John, “Acadia, Maine and New Scotland”
34 Land titles, notes
35 Land title, notes, Eaton side
36 “Low water mark, high water mark,” Maine law affecting marine resources, Vol. II
37 Luce, Mary, “The Martin cottage”
1 Mende, Christopher H. “Eaton et al. v. Inhabitants of Wells et al.”
2 Mende, Christopher. “Findings, observations and conclusions w/ regard to ancient deeds”
3 Notes: resources
4 Notes: travel on beach
5 Doc.: Act concerning access to beach, 1636, Dorchester, #35
6 Doc.: Acts concerning roads in Wells (PCRM)
7 Doc.: Acts concerning roads in Wells (County Co. of Pleas)
8 Doc.: Acts concerning roads in Wells (Wells town recs.)
9 Doc.: Act concerning seawall (Wells), sand beach
10 Doc.: Act concerning town land titles, 1649, #50, 51
11 Doc. Act concerning town land titles, Ipswich and Gloucester 1669), #57
Box 3 cont.
12 Doc.: Act for observance of Sabbath, 1653
13 Doc.: Act for observance of Sabbath, 1692
14 Doc.: Act against [misbehavior] on the Sabbath, 1711-12
15 Doc.: Act for observing Sabbath, 1727
16 Doc.: Act regarding gathering beach resources, Me., 1820
17 Doc.: Act regarding livestock on the beach, 1757 (Wells)
18 Doc.: Act regarding livestock on the beach, 1827 (Wells)
19 Doc.: Act regarding trespass, 1646, Salem
20 Doc.: Act regarding trespass (1652), Me.
21 Doc.: Act regarding trespass, 1666 (Me.), unruly animals
22 Doc.: Act regarding trespass (Me.), 1680, horses to be branded
23 Doc.: Ancient history of Kennebunk
24 Doc.: Beach scenes (Wells), ca. 1900?
25 Doc.: Biddeford town recs., excerpts
26 Doc.: Business directory of subscribers to a new map of Maine, ca. 1862
27 Doc.: Diary-Bates, Anna
28 Doc.: Diary-Grey, Joshua
29 Doc.: Diaries-Walker family
30 Doc.: Donnell versus Clark
31 Doc.: Drake, Nooks and corners
32 Doc.: Eaton deeds (related)
33 Doc.: Epps vs. Hall, Littlefield, etc., Apr., 1720
34 Doc.: Football, 1657-8, Windsor, Memorial history of Boston
35 Doc.: Football, 1687 (Ipswich) in Waters, Ipswich in Mass. Bay Colony
36 Doc.: Fowling and hunting, MPCR
37 Doc.: Fowl (accidental shooting in marsh near Kittery, 1646/7)
38 Doc.: Frost. Art of swimming
39 Doc.: Hubbard and Greenleaf, Acct. of Wells
40 Doc.: Illegal recreation, Me.
41 Doc.: Illegal rec. on Sabbath, Me.
42 Doc.: Indian deed (Capt. Sandy)
43 Doc.: Jordan. History of Cape Elizabeth
44 Doc.: Josselyn. New England’s rarities discovered; fowling, 63
45 Doc.: Josselyn. Travels
46 Doc.: Littlefield suit
47 Doc.: Livestock on beach
48 Doc.: Maps
49 Doc.: Marsh land deeds
50 Doc.: Marshes in Wells
51 Doc.: Mass. acquisition of Wells, terms (1653); 3 Mass. Bay Recs., 332-340
Box 3 cont.
52 Doc.: Petition, Fellows, Mary, 1753
53 Doc.: Recreation on beach
54 Doc.: Resources
55 Doc.: Roads
56 Doc.: Sea wall
57 Doc.: Sewall, David. Topographical description of York
58 Doc.: Sproul, Alice. Wells Beach legislation
59 Doc.: State sells Ogunquit Beach, newspaper, Jan. 23, 1889
60 Doc.: Trelawny papers, 1634
61 Doc.: Wells, topographical description, 1794
62-63 Doc.: Wells town records
64 Doc.: Willis, Wm. Journals of Smith & Deane
1 Doc.: Wheelwright property
2 Doc.: Wills and inventories
3 Doc.: Copies of early wills and inventories
4 Doc.: Wood, William. New Englands prospect (swine on beach/fowling)
Papers from the case of New Hampshire v. Maine
5-6 Me. – NH
7 Me. Border, Att. Gen.
8 State of N.H. v. State of Maine. Motion for leave to file complaint, Mar. 6, 2000 (U.S. Supreme Court)
9 Lodging in support of motion for leave to file complaint
10 Brief in opposition to motion for leave to file complaint (state of Maine)
11 Lodging in support of brief in opposition to motion for leave to file complaint (state of Maine)
12 Plaintiff’s reply to defendant’s brief in opposition to motion for leave to file complaint (state of N.H.)
13 Letter from commissioners for settling boundary lines between Provinces of Mass. Bay
and New Hampshire, 1737 (copy)
Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at email@example.com or (207) 581-1686 for further information.