Burnham Tavern Museum

Attractions Category: Downeast & Acadia

  • Site of the First Naval Battle of the American Revolution, One of 21 homes in the United States designated as most significant to the American Revolution.

    In early June 1775 the men and women of the fledgling settlement of Machias found themselves on the horns of a very difficult dilemma. Hard on the heels of the news of Lexington & Concord had come an ultimatum. In order to obtain critical supplies the settlers must see their lumber shipped to Boston to build barracks for British troops. If they refused, they faced hunger and the wrath of Lieutenant Moore, commander of the armed British vessel Margaretta which sat in the harbor, its guns leveled at their homes. If they complied, they betrayed the American cause.

    The Tap Room of Job Burnham’s tavern, which stands at the center of Machias and overlooks the river anchorage, became the scene of hot and heavy debate as the settlers struggled to decide. Jeremiah O’Brien, Job’s brother-in-law, argued hard for aggressive action and urged the capture of the British commander and his ship.

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