Trails to the Past- Lincoln County Maine-Index



 Lincoln County





Lincoln County occupies a middle place on the coast of Maine in respect to population, and no county of equal territory has so many harbors and havens. It is much cut up by arms of the sea and pond-like rivers, but there are no great variations of altitude in the surface. Damariscotta River occupies nearly the middle line of the county, extending from north to south. East of this and parallel thereto is the line of Muscongus Bay, its extension inland as Broad Bay, and Medomac River. Parallel on the west is the Sheepscot River, with its excellent harbor. This county is bounded on the east by Knox County, west by Sagadahoc and Kennebec, and north by the last, Waldo and Knox, and south by the ocean The Knox & Lin. r.r. crosses it.

Lincoln County was established in 1760, at the same time with Cumberland County. The easterly line of Cumberland was then the westerly line of Lincoln. “From the time of its formation until the erection of Hancock and Washington Counties in 1789, Lincoln extended over quite three-fifths of the territory of the province.” Its westerly line was ‘from Small Point north-westerly upon Casco Bay to New Meadows River, and up said river to Steven’s carrying place at the head of said river, and up said river 30 miles ; then north two degrees west on a true course to the utmost limit of the province.  Its north was Canada, its east Nova Scotia, and its south the ocean. Hancock County came across Penobscot Bay and river, and took in nearly the whole of the Waldo patent. In 1799, the organization of Kennebec took four-fifths of what. remained after the formation of Hancock. Lincoln then continued undisturbed until 1827, when it parted with six towns to form Waldo; and it had an equal run of time again, down to the organization of Androscoggin and Sagadahoc, in 1854, when the former received three towns from it, and the latter was made entirely from it.” In 1860 (the centennial of Lincoln County), Knox County was organized, taking from her nine more towns, leaving the arent county with but 17 towns and a plantation to her name. In still earlier time this region had been claimed by France as a part of her territory of Acadie; later, it was known as Sagadahoc Territory; and in 1665, the Duke of York (subsequently James II.), to whom it had been granted by the King, erected it into the County of Cornwall,— Jamestown, at Pemaquid, being the capital, and New Dartmouth (Newcastle), a shire town.

At the outbreak of King Philip’s war, in 1675, the settlements of Cornwall, scattered over a wide extent of country, embraced some 300 families. Under the prudent management of Abraham Shurt, the chief magistrate of this county, a larger degree of amity had been maintained with the Indians than in other parts ; and the inhabitants of this region did not suffer so severely during the first year of the war as those in the westerly settlements. In the second year, however, Old Cornwall was likewise swept with the besom of destruction; and thenceforth until 1700 the settlements were deserted, or the inhabitants who remained were in terror of savage attacks, with only brief intervals of repose. In 1688, the County of Cornwall was entirely depopulated and desolated by the Indians under the lead of Moxus. Sir William Phips, first governor of Massachusetts under William and Mary, was desirous of doing something, if possible, to recover from the dominion of the savage the land of his youth; and in 1692 he built in place of Fort Charles, which had been destroyed, a fortification of stone, naming it Fort William Henry. In 1696, M. Iberville, with a force of French and Indians, entered the harbor and invested the place, and by means of artillery succeeded in forcing its surrender.

It was not until 1729 that the permanent re-peopling of Old Cornwall commenced. At this time Col. David Dunbar, who had been commissioned surveyor-general of the King’s woods, and deputy-governor in the eastern parts of New England, repaired Fort William Henry, also re-naming it Fort Frederick. He set vigorously at work to settle the county. To actual settlers he made grants of a homestead of 10 or 12 acres, and 100 acres of farm land. The settlers brought in by Colonel Dunbar were largely Protestant English, with some Scotch and Irish Presbyterians; and by his aid the Presbyterian church became established as the prevailing phase of religion in this county until after the Revolution.

At the same time with the formation of the county, was incorporated Pownalboro, its shire town, which was named for Thomas Pownal—at that date governor of Massachusetts. His birth -place was Lincoln, England, a city famous for its antiquity and its noble cathedral; and thus Governor Pownal appears to have been further complimented in the name of the new county.

Lincoln County has 180 public schoolhouses, and her school property at the close of 1879 was valued at $89,250. The valuation of the county in 1870 was $6,857,610. In 1880 it was $6,634,693. The population in 1870 was 25,597. In 1880 it was 24,809.

Source: Varney, George J., Gazetteer of the State of Maine.  Boston: B. B. Russell, 1886.


Cities and Towns

Boothbay Harbor
Hibberts Gore
Monhegan Island
South Bristol

Surrounding Counties
Kennebec County, Maine—north
Waldo County, Maine—northeast
Knox County, Maine—east
Sagadahoc County, Maine—west


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