Arranged and described by Brenda Howitson Steeves
Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department
Introduction and Summary Information
Collection Title: Oscar F. Fellows Papers.
Dates of the Collection: 1899-1926 (inclusive); 1905-1925 (bulk).
Provenance: The Oscar Fellows papers came to the University of Maine Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections as a gift of Frank Fellows in 1969.
Collection Number: MS 175.
Box Numbers: 1 (formerly Cage Box 2).
Size and Arrangement: The collection consists of one archival record carton (1.2 cubic feet).
Conservation Note: The collection has been re-housed in acid-free folders and an acid-free box.
Preferred Citation: Oscar F. Fellows 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 the papers of Oscar F. Fellows from his work as counsel to the International Commission Pertaining to the St. John River. Born in 1857, Oscar Fellows was an attorney in Bucksport, Maine and later established the law firm of Fellows & Fellows in Bangor with his sons, Frank and Raymond. A Republican, Fellows was in the Maine House of Representatives from 1901 to 1903, serving as Speaker in 1903. He also served as president of the Maine Bar Association. He died on December 28, 1921.
The Commission, the papers of which make up the bulk of this collection, was formed in 1906 “to investigate and report upon the conditions and uses of the Saint John River, and to make recommendations for the regulation of the use thereof.” The need for the Commission arose from difficulties over use of the St. John River for log driving and as an international boundary. From the date of the Treaty of Peace between the United States and Great Britain in 1783 to the Treaty of Washington in 1842 the question of the location of the international boundary as defined by the first treaty gave rise to bitter controversies. By the treaty in 1842, commonly called the “Ashburton-Webster Treaty,” the St. John River was declared to be the line of boundary, with the navigation of the river free and open to citizens of both Canada and the United States. Altercations between lumbermen, controversies over construction of dams, control of water levels, and development of mills along the river led to the need for resolution to these continuing problems.
The Commission began work in 1909; George A. Murchie of Calais, Maine and Peter C. Keegan of Van Buren, Maine were appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt to serve as U.S. commissioners. Two commissioners, Alexander P. Barnhill and John Keeffe, both of St. John, New Brunswick, were appointed by the government of Canada. Oscar Fellows was appointed as counsel on behalf of the U.S.
Twenty-one public meetings of the Commission were held at Van Buren, Calais, Bangor, Augusta and Houlton, Maine, and at Fredericton and St. John, New Brunswick. In order to familiarize themselves with the subject, Commission members traveled on the river and some of its chief tributaries, particularly that part which makes up part of the international boundary between New Brunswick and Maine. In 1910 the Commission’s work was expanded to include investigating the feasibility of building storage reservoirs on the river to facilitate driving logs. The Commission completed its work in 1915 and adjourned with the release of its report on February 16, 1916. The report concluded that there was a need to increase water storage, smooth and remove boulders to facilitate log drives, and recommended a joint international corporation to regulate and improve the river.
The collection also contains some material belonging to Raymond Fellows, Oscar Fellows’s son. Raymond was born on October 17, 1885 and served as Maine Attorney General from 1925 to 1928. His part of the collection concerns an application made in 1924 to the International Joint Commission, the bi-national organization established in 1909 to prevent and resolve disputes about the use and quality of boundary waters of the United States and Canada. The law firm of Fellows and Fellows served as American counsel for this Commission. An application to the Commission by the New Brunswick Electric Power Commission sought approval to build a dam at Grand Falls on the St. John River. Under Article III of the treaty of 1842 approval for projects affecting the natural level or flow of boundary waters had to be granted by the Commission.
Scope and Content Note
The collection is arranged in two series: Papers of Oscar Fellows and Papers of Raymond Fellows.
The first series begins with drafts of the report of the International Commission Pertaining to the St. John River as well as plans and maps accompanying the report and transcripts of a few of the proceedings of the Commission. Correspondence to and from Oscar Fellows, as well as correspondence of Commissioner Keegan and information about Commission expenses and Fellows’s compensation is also included. Information collected by Fellows in his work for the Commission completes this series.
The second series, the papers of Raymond Fellows, includes the application of the New Brunswick Electric Power Commission to the International Joint Commission, 1924, reports and correspondence about the planned construction at Grand Falls, and various petitions, responses, and resolutions filed in reaction to the application.
Series I: Papers of Oscar Fellows
1 Drafts of Commission report
2 Report of the Commission, Feb. 16, 1916
3 Index of evidence taken before St. John River Commission
4 Plans and maps accompanying report of the consulting engineers
5 Plans and maps accompanying report of the consulting engineers
6 Index to St. John River Commission books and papers
7 Transcript of informal examination of Prof. H.S. Boardman, Feb. 24, 1910
8 Transcript of proceedings at session of St. John River Commission; held at Bangor, Mar. 24, 1910
9 Rules of procedure of the International Joint Commission ... promulgated Feb. 2, 1912
10 [Testimony] in the matter of the
International Commission pertaining to the St. John River before the full
commission at St. John, N.B., July 30, 1915
11 Correspondence re driving logs on the River, 1905-1909
12 Correspondence to and from Oscar Fellows, 1909-1918
13 Letter from Peter C. Keegan to William J. Bryan, Secretary of State, July 18, 1914
14 Correspondence, etc., re Commission expenses, 1912, 1924
15 Correspondence re compensation for Oscar Fellows, 1912-1924
16 Reports, notes, etc., of Oscar Fellows, 1909-1917
17 Copy of letter from Sir W. Colebrooke to Lord John Russell, June 18, 1841, re St. John River and boundary treaty
18 Copies: Excerpts from Report of Land Agent of Maine 1841, 1842; Webster-Ashburton Treaty, Article III, 1842
19 Copy of Report of the Commissioners, 1843, for ... surveying boundary lines between Maine ... and British Provinces
20 Opinion of Maine Supreme Court re Senate’s powers to regulate river flow, etc., 1907
21 Letter to Governor General of
Canada, 1908, re memorial of the St. John Lumber Co., Van Buren
Lumber Co., and Kennedy Island Mill Co.
22 Report of development of water power
on the St. John River at Pokiok, N.B., for the transmission of electricity
to Fredericton and St. John, Aug. 18, 1911, by Arthur Adams, consulting engineer.
23 Copy of article: British diplomacy and Canada [from “United Empire, the Royal Colonial Institute Journal,” Oct., 1911]
24 Brief of law relative to matters pertaining to the St. John River, undated
Series I: Papers of Oscar Fellows cont.
Box 1 cont.
25 An act to incorporate the St. John River Hydroelectric Co., undated
26 Report of Telos Canal and Chamberlain Dam, undated
27 Copy of map surveyed under
instructions from the Commissioners & agents of Maine & Mass. & then
copied & reduced by Geo. W. Coffin, 1835
28 Map of northern Maine especially adapted to the uses of lumbermen and sportsmen, 1899, by Lucius L. Hubbard
29 Map: The New England commercial and route survey, 1905
30 Map: Public Works, Canada: Booms and piers, River, St. John, N.B., 1908
31 Plan of the River St. John at Van Buren, undated
Series II: Papers of Raymond Fellows
32 Application of the New Brunswick
Electric Power Commission to the International Joint Commission ...
re construction at Grand Falls, 1924
33 Correspondence, notes, etc., of Raymond Fellows re Grand Falls project
34 Reports, correspondence, etc., re construction at Grand Falls, 1925-1926
35 Plans: New Brunswick Electric Power Commission. Grand Falls Development, 1924
36 Petition by International Paper Co.
& Grand Falls Co. before the International Joint Commission re
of New Brunswick Electric Power Commission, 1925
37 International Joint
Commission. Statement in response on behalf of the state of Maine, Apr. 24,
re application of New Brunswick Electric Power Commission
38 Copy of Maine resolution re project at Grand Falls, 1925
39 Part of transcript of Commission report, pp. 133-199: Parliamentary acts re St. John River and logging companies
40 Maine Public Utilities Commission. Special water power investigation, 1918
41 Maps: Topographical quadrangles, Bar Harbor, 1920, and Orland, 1923
42 Raymond Fellows: Miscellaneous material
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (207) 581-1686 for further information.