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What follows is sections of an article about my presentation in Calais, Maine (pronounced Callus) be

History Presentation Connects Cultures of Maine and Early Texas, by Lura Jackson, Calais Advertiser, June 29, 2017

Looking at a map, it may be difficult to immediately understand how the culture of Maine could have strangely influenced the development of the Gulf Coast of Texas almost two hundred years ago. However, as a presentation conducted by Professor James Valentino of Texas at the Holmstead on June 16th revealed, the connections are numerous and unmistakable.

The presentation centered on the life of Lucy Parker Shaw, a woman from Eastport that moved with her Bath-born husband Joshua to Galveston, Texas in 1838. During the course of his graduate work in American History, Valentino uncovered over thirty letters written from Lucy to her mother in Eastport, and from that point his research into her and her family began. He would eventually write a book titled From Maine to Galveston, Republic of Texas: The Life and Letters of Lucy Parker Shaw.

“History is only slightly about the past,” Valentino said, prefacing the presentation with one of the most important points he has gleaned throughout his studies. “It’s mostly about the present. People in in the past, if we tell the truth about it have something to tell us about the present or our future.” He said that this why history gets twisted so frequently. “They twist the history of the past to try to fit their vision of what they want the world to be or what they want the world to look like in the future. Historians are nearly all liars.” With that said, Valentino said that primary materials like the letters Lucy wrote enable a firsthand untwisted perspective of life in a particular era…..

At the time, Texas was a free and independent place-it was not a state, despite its efforts to become one. The Northeast states had staunchly blocked its admission into the union to prevent the imbalance of free and slave states. Texas, therefore was another country entirely the Republic of Texas. Galveston itself was the only natural port on the Texas coast, and at the time it was the largest settlement in Texas at between 2,000 and 3,000 souls. “There was rascality and criminality of all kinds,” said Valentino. Audubon himself traveled past Galveston and described the inhabitants as “indolent and reckless.” Men far outnumbered women and cattle, pigs, and dogs freely roamed the streets. Vigilante law prevailed…..

They brought the idea of education, morals, and civic-mindedness to Galveston,” said Valentino of the Shaws. Joshua was industrious; he quickly joined the Galveston Wharves Board and explored the cotton compressing business. He and Lucy became involved in the local hotel business and were soon managers of the Tremont Hotel the first largescale hotel in Galveston. Joshua was one of the Alderman of Galveston when it became incorporated in the city, and there is strong evidence that he named a street after his hometown. The street named 25th street today was once named Bath Avenue. Lucy herself ran a school for girls that she personally organized, and later she would be an important figure in the local Temperance and Benevolent societies. After Lucy’s death of undocumented causes, Joshua would serve as harbormaster for the town and in the local militia….

Valentino described the Shaws’ legacy as “a formidable one” that contributed to the social, political, and cultural transformation of Texas. They themselves are also transformed by the new world they found themselves in, as Valentino illustrated with a story of one of their children….

Valentino concluded his talk with an impression of the migration from New England to Texas that the Shaws were a part of. “It was people from one region who were taking their talents and ideas and mixing them with those of another and actually improving the lot of all," he said. “The ideas of New England of education, of civic mindedness, of community, were exactly what that city needed at that time, and the Shaws’ provided it. One of the oldest books of the region lists the Shaws as one to the families that Galveston now owes a debt to.”


The full text of the article is available at: http://www.thecalaisadvertiser.com/articles/2017/06/29/history-presentation-connects-cultures-maine-and-early-texas
















The full text of the article is available at: http://www.thecalaisadvertiser.com/articles/2017/06/29/history-presentation-connects-cultures-maine-and-early-texas


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