From the Ephemera…
By Linda Snow McLoon
Residents of Scarborough have always had an opportunity to have their voices heard and their votes counted when a presidential election took place in our country. A document from the historical society’s ephemera collection tells us about such an election.
In 1840, the incumbent Democrat president, Martin van Buren, was challenged by a Whig candidate, William Henry Harrison. Harrison had led a successful military force against Native Americans in the Battle of Tippecanoe, resulting in the slogan for his presidential bid, “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.” Harrison won the election but died only 31 days after his inauguration. This made Harrison’s presidency the shortest in American history and lifted his vice president, John Tyler, to office. A half-century later, Harrison’s grandson, Benjamin Harrison, became the 23rd president.
On October 15, 1940, Scarborough’s three selectmen – Stephen Waterhouse, Solomon Bragdon, and Simon Milliken – instructed the constable, John Donnell, to notify those Scarborough residents qualified to vote of the coming election. Citizens were to assemble at the meeting house in the second parish – Dunstan – on the first Monday in November to give their votes for Electors to choose the President and Vice President.