Lost financial records returned to North Yarmouth

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YARMOUTH – After many years in the collection at the Yarmouth Historical Society, a book containing financial records from 1735 through 1799 has been returned to North Yarmouth, completing the town’s records dating back to 1680.

“The book is falling apart and is brittle,” North Yarmouth Town Clerk Deborah Allen Grover said. “We are keeping it with the other records in the Town Hall collections vault in an archival box to slow the decay.”

The treasurer’s record book contains town tax information, financial transactions and church records.

According to Marilyn Hinkley, director of the Yarmouth Historical Society, the book was donated to the Yarmouth Historical Society in 1965 by a Yarmouth resident. In 2000, North Yarmouth and Yarmouth received grants from the Maine Historical Records Advisory Board to organize their archival collections. Hinkley said the treasurer’s book wouldn’t have been noticed if the archivist, Elizabeth Maule, wasn’t so familiar with the collections of each town.

Old North Yarmouth used to include the areas that are now Cumberland, Chebeague Island, Freeport, Harpswell, North Yarmouth, Pownal, Yarmouth, the Mere Point area of Brunswick and the Small Point area of Georgetown. Yarmouth was the last town to separate from North Yarmouth in 1849, and a legal agreement was made for North Yarmouth to retain possession of all “ancient” North Yarmouth documents – anything before 1849.

Maule said she worked on the grant projects to inventory North Yarmouth town records from 1681 through 1849, and became familiar with the documents in that time period. She said the treasurer’s book could contain information including minister salaries, school information, road work costs and bills paid. She said up to 1849, the records often include information from at least two towns.

“Most of the towns in the area share history with each other,” she said. “And the records before 1849 hold a greater interest.”

Hinkley said the book contains interesting passages, payments, dates and notes that could certainly pertain to either town, but when they realized the book was in the Yarmouth collection, the decision was made to remove it.

The process of removing an article from a collection can be very time consuming, Hinkley said, but the book is now in the hands of its rightful owner, the town of North Yarmouth.

“Handing over the book, sending it home, was the right thing to do,” Hinkley said. “We all try to work together to reach the same goal, to share information and town records with the public for the public good.”

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net.

n-yarlostbook.JPGA treasurer’s book containing financial records from 1735 to 1799 was returned to North Yarmouth this spring. Pictured from left are Ursula Baier, North Yarmouth Historical Society trustee emeritus; Paul Napolitano, chairman of the North Yarmouth Board of Selectmen; Deborah Allen Grover, North Yarmouth town clerk; Maggie Soule, president of the Yarmouth Historical Society, and Katie Murphy, president of the North Yarmouth Historical Society. (Contributed photo)