On-campus ceremony commemorates Maine Statehood Day

SMCC marked the 201st anniversary of Maine’s statehood with a ceremony in the Old Settlers Cemetery, which contains the grave of one of the signers of the Maine Constitution.

President Joe Cassidy, History Instructor Herb Adams, Student Senate President Joshua Parks and South Portland Historical Society Executive Director Kathryn DiPhilippo delivered remarks during a ceremony on March 15 before decorating the grave of Ebenezer Thrasher. The Old Settlers Cemetery, located on campus near Oceanview Dining Hall, is considered South Portland’s oldest landmark, dating to 1658.

Thrasher, who was a tanner and a town leader in Cape Elizabeth, was one of about 235 men who gathered in Portland in the fall of 1819 to draft and sign the Maine Constitution. Maine officially became the nation’s 23rd state on March 15, 1820.

Adams originally planned an event a year ago to celebrate Maine’s bicentennial, but it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. In frigid weather on March 15, Adams provided a brief history of the Maine Constitution and of Thrasher’s life.

“Neither the British, nor the Bostonians, nor the cold, ever stopped Mainers before — and Covid will not now,” Adams said.

During the event, members of the South Portland Historical Society held up two flags on either side of Thrasher’s grave: the current Maine State Flag and the 1901 Tan Star and Pine Tree flag.