August 04, 2020

Maine asks for return of independence document

AUGUSTA – The state of Maine is seeking the return of a copy of the Declaration of Independence that was acquired by a Virginia man at an estate auction in 1995.

Maine Archivist David Cheever says a Jan. 15 trial date has been set in Fairfax County, Va., to settle the dispute with Richard L. Adams Jr., who lives in the Fairfax area.

The document, printed in 1776, is one of several copies of the original Declaration that was sent to the former Colonies to be publicly read. The copy in dispute was sent to what then was the Massachusetts District town of Pownalborough, now Wiscasset, Maine.

Cheever says the document surfaced in 1994 in a Wiscasset woman’s home, and Adams acquired it the next year at an estate auction. Cheever says the state of Maine recently learned the document was in Adams’ hands and wants it returned.

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