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Sir William Phips, the Invasion of Quebec, and the Origins of Sudbury Canada

August 11, 2018 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

This year’s annual Stanley Russell Howe Lecture by Dr. Emerson W. Baker celebrates the 250th anniversary of Bethel’s founding in 1768.

Although Bethel was first established 250 years ago in 1768, its origins can be traced back to 1690 and the massive invasion fleet Sir William Phips (portrait, below) led in hopes of conquering Quebec. Little known in the United States but an iconic moment in Canada, the invasion was one of the worst military disasters in American history, led by a treasure-hunting knight with no military experience. The failed expedition plunged Massachusetts deeply into debt and even helped trigger the Salem witch trials. Yet, ultimately, it led to the establishment of “Canada townships” along the New England frontier. This included Sudbury Canada (present-day Bethel), which was granted to the survivors and heirs of soldiers of the 1690 campaign who resided in Sudbury, Massachusetts.

Emerson “Tad” Baker is a professor of History and Interim Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies at Salem State University. He is the award-winning author of many works on the history and archaeology of early Maine and New England, including A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience. He is also co-author of The New England Knight: Sir William Phips, 1651-1695. Baker has served as an advisor for PBS-TV’s American Experience and Colonial House, and this summer has appeared on two episodes of TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are? He is also the project scholar for the Old Berwick Historical Society’s current exhibit, “Forgotten Frontier: Untold Stories of the Piscataqua.” Follow him at @EmersonWBaker.


August 11, 2018
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Museums of the Bethel Historical Society
(207) 824-2908