I managed to get lost in Minot last summer, despite two map apps on my phone and a generally good sense of direction. Center Minot Hill Road is where I pulled over to look at a paper map and discovered somebody, somewhere and something I didn’t know about and wouldn’t have known about had I not gotten lost.

A former sea captain from Portsmouth, NH, William Ladd, began buying property in Minot, Maine in 1814. He soon owned 600 acres, a large summer residence (with an observatory on the roof), six barns, sprawling orchards and enough livestock to be considered one of the state’s largest farms. A scholar and church man, Ladd began writing essays about war and peace during the summers he spent in Minot. He started the Peace Society of Minot in 1823, organized five more peace societies in other areas, and in 1828, was successful in forming a national organization, the American Peace Society. He was a writer and presenter and ideals from his most famous piece, “A Congress of Nations,” were used decades later when President Woodrow Wilson created a model for what we now know as the United Nations.

On July 21, 1928, the town of Minot honored the 100th anniversary of the American Peace Society and the 150th anniversary of William Ladd’s birth with a celebration and the dedication of the plaque I found when I was lost.

The boulder it is attached to was specifically chosen from a nearby farm and moved by men and horses to Center Minot Hill Road next to the Congregational Church. It was rested on granite from every state in New England and stones from 14 other countries. A crowd gathered to hear the Governor of Maine, Ralph Brewster, the President of Bowdoin College and speakers from Washington D.C., Germany and China honor “The Apostle of Peace” and the American Peace Society. You can learn more and see photos and the official program from that event at the Minot Maine Historical Society website.

William Ladd and American Peace Society dedication plaque in Minot, Maine.