All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Friday, June 15, 2007

Marie Antoinette's Refuge in Maine

A speech by Rufus K. Sewall before the Maine Historical Society in 1893 recounted an effort in 1793 to spirit Queen Marie Antoinette out of France and give her refuge on the coast of Maine.

At the center of the conspiracy was Captain Stephen Clough, who lived in that part of Edgecomb since incorporated as Westport. The house in which he lived—and where the Queen was to make her home—was moved in 1838 across "The Eddy" to Edgecomb, and is now occupied by Marie Antoinette House Antiques.

Much of the story is based on hearsay and family legend, but an artifact passed down in the Clough family suggests that it may be true.
It is a carefully preserved fragment of the white death robe of Marie Antoinette, with the legend inscribed within a knotted loop of its alleged trimmings, viz.:—"This was taken from the dress which Queen Marie Antoinette wore at her execution, by an eye witness, Captain Stephen Clough." This relic of alleged royal wardrobe is authenticated by the earliest family tradition of the highest respectability, socially and otherwise.

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