Van Buren, ME

VanBuren Maine - plowing field

Beneath The Harvest Sky takes place in the small northern Maine town of Van Buren.

Van Buren is a town on the Saint John River in Aroostook CountyMaine; located across from Saint-Leonard, New Brunswick, Canada. Van Buren is part of Francophone North America: 76.6 per cent of residents are habitual speakers of French; many having ties to Québec and New Brunswick.


According to the town of Van Buren, the first settlers to the area were French speaking Acadians who had been expelled from Nova Scotia in the late 1700′s for their refusal to swear allegiance to the British Crown. Early settlers had been lured to the area by its rich timber resources.This area is also known for the “Bloodless Aroostook War,” an undeclared and bloodless conflict which heightened tensions between Britain and the United States. The Treaty of Paris in 1783 left unresolved the boundary between Maine and its Canadian neighbors, New Brunswick and Lower Canada (Quebec). When Maine became a state in 1820 and began granting land to settlers in the Aroostook Valley, the dispute came to a head between the United States and Britain.

Under pressure from Maine, the U.S. Congress authorized a force of 50,000 men and appropriated ten million dollars to address the crisis. Maine raised forces for the anticipated fight and actually sent 10,000 troops into the disputed Aroostook Valley region, but General Winfield Scott arrived and pursuaded the Maine and New Brunswick authorities to agree to submit the matter to a commission. The land was laced under the jurisdiction of the United States as part of the state of Maine by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842. As a result, the village then voted to adopt the name of the eighth president of the United States, Martin Van Buren. Van Buren was incorporated as a town in March 1881.