All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Archaic Laws in Maine

A debate in Belgrade about whether the town's sexton should be appointed or elected inspired an editorial in the Kennebec Journal.
[W]e're less intrigued by political dramas in Belgrade over how a sexton gets a job than we are by their antique name. And it reminds us of another antique custom still in play in Maine, in Damariscotta Mills, where an ancient law decrees that the widows of the town are entitled to a portion of the alewives harvested there every spring.

There's also the old state law, still in effect, about "spite fences" which provides criminal penalties for "any fence or other structure in the nature of a fence, unnecessarily exceeding 6 feet in height, maliciously kept and maintained for the purpose of annoying the owners or occupants of adjoining property." And another state law that says that "whoever on Memorial Day before 3:30 o'clock in the afternoon engages in any public outdoor game or sport where an admission is charged or collection is taken shall be punished by a fine of not more than $25 or by imprisonment for not more than 10 days, or by both." That should stop all those illicit morning bocce games on Memorial Day all over Maine. [Link]


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