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.
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
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
-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.
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.
Knox County, Maine—east
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