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    Thomas Jefferson Document Printed Signed as Secretary of State. One page, 7.25" x 10", New York, August 10, 1790. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson affixed his handsome signature to this Act which provided funds to complete what is known today as the Portland Head Light.

    In part: "... An Act authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to finish the Light House, on Portland-Head, in the District of Maine. / Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there be appropriated and paid out of the monies arising from the duties on imports and tonnage, a sum not exceeding fifteen hundred dollars, for the purpose of finishing the light-house on Portland-head in the District of Maine: and that the Secretary of the Treasury, under the directions of the President of the United States, be authorized to cause the said light-house to be finished and completed accordingly."

    Signed in type by George Washington as President, John Adams as Vice President, and
    Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg as Speaker of the House of Representatives. With a bold holographic signature at bottom: "Th:Jefferson."

    In 1787, while Maine was still part of the state of Massachusetts, George Washington hired two Portland masons, Jonathan Bryant and John Nichols, to oversee the construction of a lighthouse on Portland Head. Washington gave the masons four years to build the tower, and reminded them that the colonial government was poor and that the materials used to build the lighthouse should be taken from the fields and shores.

    While it was under construction, the federal government was formed (1789) and funding for the lighthouse was put on hold while new procedures and protocols were established. At last, with this act, the final necessary funds were approved, and the lighthouse was completed on January 10, 1791.

    Various changes were made to the structure through the years, but by the outbreak of the Civil War, raids on shipping in and out of Portland Harbor had become commonplace. Because of the necessity for ships at sea to sight Portland Head Light as soon as possible, the tower was raised eight feet. Integral page detached; document remains in near fine condition and features an impressive and attractive signature. Ideal for display.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    11th-12th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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