April showers – May flowers! No April Fools here, hubby and I just got our first vaccine jab up at the Cross Center. It all went very smoothly; we were told they are vaccinating up to 3,000 people a day there! Side effects to report, site soreness and a little fatigue. Fingers crossed the second dose is that easy.

Town meeting

Town meeting happened March 20 as planned. It was short and sweet, 33 masked townspeople attended. There is a very nice write-up in the March 25 edition of The Republican Journal — so I’ll try not to repeat Kendra Caruso’s content. I will, however, add a little to it.

There was some discussion around Don Nickerson, our existing fire chief, getting voted in for the open position of third selectman. We had hoped someone else might be nominated, but no such luck. It is a challenge to operate a small town short-staffed.

The Town Office consulted the Legal Services Department of the Maine Municipal Association regarding this exact issue, and this was their response:

“Theoretically, it is possible to run for and serve in two elected positions at the same time, unless a town charter says otherwise." (Jackson does not have a charter.) It is not an ideal situation, so, again, any and all you Jackson residents, please consider stepping forward to run at the next town meeting.

Note: The next selectmen's meeting is Tuesday, April 6, 6:30 p.m. at the Town Office. All are welcome.

Speaking of volunteering, if you have an interest in looking up — and tracking down — deeds, the Jackson property tax maps are in need of updating. They were last done in April 2004, and quite a few properties have not only changed hands, but also been subdivided in these past 17 years. Contact the Town Office if you might have some time to give to this project.

Also of note: The town voted to keep the rate for interest on unpaid real estate taxes at 5%. The interest begins to accrue the day after the tax due date. It was clarified that the due date for taxes will be Oct. 1, or 30 days after the commitment date, whichever is later.

The commitment date is set as of when the selectmen sign the paperwork confirming the mill rate for the year. It is a domino effect to get all this paperwork in order, and you may have noticed that the pandemic upset the apple cart to a degree in 2020; hence the clarification.

Jackson history nugget

The Liberty Men and Great Proprietors, about whom I am reading and mentioned last week, began their antagonistic struggles as early as the 1600s, through the 1700s — taking a break for the American Revolution — and on into the 1800s. The settlers having laid claim to their hard-won farms through blood, sweat and tears, were not happy to discover that the Great Proprietors — who were just given their large swaths of land — then wanted money from the settlers.

What began as an acceptable request of one dollar an acre for land in the town of Liberty, was jacked up to two dollars an acre by the Great Proprietor of Midcoast Maine, Joseph H. Pierce Jr.

On Sept. 5, 1815, a group of Liberty farmers banded together to resist what they saw as unfair price gouging. In keeping with a trend begun over a hundred years earlier, they dressed up as Native Americans — they were known as White Indians, darkening their faces and dressing accordingly, and armed with guns, bayonets and swords, they forced their way into Pierce’s property, destroyed his papers and threatened to kill him.

Despite their costumes, and putting a wood chip in their mouths to disguise their voices, some were caught, tried and jailed. In such small communities, it really must have been impossible to disguise yourself, wood chip or no wood chip in your mouth. Stay tuned for more tales of the Liberty Men ….