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Originally settled in 1607 by the Plymouth Company, the coastal area between the Merrimack and Kennebec rivers, as well as an irregular parcel of land between the headwaters of the two rivers, became the Province of Maine in a 1622 land patent. In 1629, the patent was split, creating the Province of New Hampshire. By 1658, the Massachusetts Bay Colony had assimilated the Province of Maine into its jurisdiction.

With the creation of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in 1692, the entirety of what is now Maine became part of that province. Under Massachusetts’ administration, it was first administered as York County, which was subdivided by the creation in 1760 of Cumberland and Lincoln counties.

The District of Maine, created 1778, was the northernmost of three districts in Massachusetts, bounded on the west by the Piscataqua River and on the east by the Saint Croix River. By 1820, the time of its statehood, the territory had been further subdivided with the creation of Hancock, Kennebec Oxford, Penobscot, Somerset, and Washington counties. During the War of 1812 the British conquered a large portion of Maine including everything from the Penobscot River east to the New Brunswick border. The weak response of Massachusetts to this occupation contributed to increased calls in the Maine district for statehood.

Maine became the 23rd state on 15 March 1820, as part of the Missouri Compromise.


The early governors of  the Province of Maine affixed their personal seals to important documents.

Early Governors of the Province of Maine were:


William Gorges 1636-1639 1st Governor

Sir Ferdinando Gorges 1639-1649

Thomas Gorges, Deputy Governor1640-1643

Richard Vines, Deputy Governor 1644-1645

Edward Godfrey, 1649-1651

George Cleeve, Deputy President of the Province of Lygonia 1643-1658

Thomas Danforth 1679-1686 [1]


Arms of Gorges


An entry in Burke’s Peerage (p. 413)  about the arms of Gorges reads:

Gorges (Wraxhall, Langford, &c Sir Theobald Russell, son and heir of Sir Theobald Russell, by Eleanor, his wife, sister and heiress of Ralph de Gorges assumed his maternal surname of Gorges, and also adopted the armorial bearings of the family, which occasones a disputed, 2. Edward III., between him and Warburton of Cheshire, and the latter gentleman, establishing his rght to the arms inthe court of Henry Earl of Lancaster, Earl Marshal, Gorges had assigned to him - Lozengy or and az. a chev. gu; which his posterity bore for some time, until they assumed again their hereditary coat). Ar. a gorges (or whirlpool) az.


As Maine was governed by Massachusetts from 1678, the seals used on its legal documents were those of the mother state.

One of the earliest Acts of the first Legislature of the State of Maine was to establish the arms and seal for the new state June 9, 1820, as follows:

“A Shield  argent charged with a Pine Tree: a Moose Deer at the foot of it recumbent. Supporters: on dexter side an husbandman resting on a scythe; on the sinsiter side a seaman resting on an anchor.

In the forground, representing sea and land, and under the shield the name ofthe State in large Roman capitals, to wit: MAINE. The whole surmounted by a Crest, the North Star. The motto in small Roman capitals in a label interposed between the shield and crest, viz., DIRIGO. [2]


Ć See illustration in the head of this essay. [3]


The Seal adopted 09.06.1820



The Moose Deer (Servus alces) is a native of the forests of Maine

The Mast Pine (Americana quinis ex uno jolliculo setis) is the largest and most useful of American Pines and the best timber for masts. It was the staple of the Commerce of Maine.

The Crest. The North Star may be considered particularly applicable to the most Northern member of the Confederacy, or as indicating the local situation of the most Northen State in the Union.

The Motto. Dirigo meaning ‘I direct’ or  ‘I guide’. , is the State motto of Maine. The resolves, adopting the seal upon which this motto appears say “as the Polar star has been considered the mariner’s guide an director in conducting the ship over the opathless ocean to the desired haven, and as the centre of magnetic attraction; as it has been figuratively used to denote the point, to which all affectons turn, and as it is here intended to represent the State, it may be considered the citezens’guide, and the object to which the patriot’s best exertions should be directed. [4]

The Supporters. The Husbandman with a scythe represents Agriculture generally, and more particularly that of a grazing country. The Seaman resting on an anchor represents Commerce and Fisheries. Both indicate that the State is supported by these primary vocations of its inhabitants.









Maine State Area Command






That for regiments and separate battalions of the Maine Army National Guard:  From a wreath of colors, a pine tree Proper.


Maine is known as the Pine Tree State.  A mast pine tree is the prominent feature of the coat of arms of the state.


The crest was approved for color bearing organizations of the State of Maine on 30 August 1922.

Distinctive Unit Insignia




A silver metal and enamel device 2.86 cm in height overall consisting of a silver shield bearing a brown moose on a green mount, in front of a green pine tree with a brown trunk, the shield within a pattern of silver embellishment and attached below the shield a black scroll inscribed "DIRIGO" in silver letters.


The pine tree, moose and motto are prominent features of the seal of the State of Maine.


The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for State Staff Corps and Department, Maine National Guard on 1 February 1929.  It was redesignated for Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment and noncolor bearing units of the Maine Army National Guard on 18 June 1970.  It was redesignated effective 1 October 1982, for Headquarters, State Area Command, Maine Army National Guard.

Shoulder Sleeve Insignia




On a blue shield 6.35 cm in width by 7.62 cm in height with a 3.2 mm) yellow border a green pine tree with yellow trunk silhouetted against a yellow sun with pointed rays and issuing from a green mound.


The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved for Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Maine National Guard on 19 August 1949.  It was redesignated for Headquarters, State Area Command, Maine Army National Guard on 30 December 1983.  (TIOH Dwg. No. A-1-483)



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© Hubert de Vries 2015-04-09



[1] History of York County, Maine. With illustrations and biographical sketches of its prominent men and pioneers by Clayton, W. W. (W. Woodford) Published 1880

[2] Resolves of the Legislature of the State of Maine, Passed at its Session Which Commenced on the twenty-first day of May and Ended on the twenty-eighth day of June, ine thousand eight hundred twenty. Published Agreeably to the Resolution of June 28, 1820 (Printed by Francis Douglas, State Printer, Portland. Maine, 1820) p. 21

[3] State Arms of the Union, Boston 1879

[4] Ibid. p. 22

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