Arbor Week: Maine
“Pining” for Lower Taxes
(Photo by faegirl)
|Happy Arbor Week, Maine!
Last month, on April 15th, protesters convened on various metropolitan areas to conduct “Tea Parties“. They wanted to make a statement about taxes and decided to name their events after a famous 1773 protest – the Boston Tea Party.
The tariffs on tea imports weren’t the only controversial good of the times. Maine’s State Tree, the Eastern White Pine, was also a source of great unrest and “a major motivating factor for the American Revolution“.
The Eastern White Pine grew tall. It’s wood was strong. It was light and rot resistant. This made the tree perfect for the masts of great ships and it just so happened the British had a formidable Navy they wanted to provide for. All Eastern White Pine trees with a diameter greater than 12″ were claimed for Great Britain. It didn’t matter where the tree was or who lived on the land. The tree was marked with a Broad Arrow and just like that, it was property of the king. Valuable material was snatched away. The trees became souvenirs of injustice and “weighed heavy on the minds and hearts of the colonists desire for independence“.
In the winter of 1772, sawmills were caught violating the law and using the marked trees. That spring, a sheriff and his deputy arrived in the town of South Weare, New Hampshire with orders to arrest the leader of a sawmill. As the two men rested in a local inn, they were assaulted by a group of twenty men. The sheriff and his deputy were lashed. Their horses were disfigured. Then both men and their horses were driven away in disgrace, heckled by the townspeople.
This community’s uprising is called “The Pine Tree Riot“. The date was April 13, 1772– more than eighteen months before the Boston Tea Party.
As rebellion grew into revolution, the first Continental Flag was conceived and was reportedly present at the Battle of Bunker Hill. A reminder of what they were fighting for was included in the design. It wasn’t a teabag on the flag, it was a tree.
An Eastern White Pine.