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York County, Maine
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Histories of Cities & Townships


  Acton The area of Acton was first settled in 1776 by Benpunm Kitnens, Clement Steel, and John York.
Acton was once part of Shapleigh, but separated in 1830.
  Alfred Abenaki Native Americans called the area "Massabesic," meaning "large pond," or "the place of much water." It was in the western portion of a large tract of land purchased from Indian chiefs Fluellin, Hombinowitt and Meeksombe (also known as "Captain Sunday"), between 1661 and 1664 by Major William Phillips, an owner of mills in Saco (which then included Biddeford). According to historian Jim Brunelle, editor of the Maine Almanac, the price was "two large blankets, two gallons of rum, two pounds of powder, four pounds of musket balls, 20 strings of beads and several other articles."
     Simeon Coffin of Newbury, Massachusetts arrived in 1764 and lived for a time in a wigwam, although the first permanent settlement took place in 1770. It was known as the north parish of Sanford, until the community was set off in 1794. Sawmills and gristmills operated by water power at the streams. A log jail was built in 1803, with a brick jail in 1869. The courthouse was built in 1806, the year Alfred became the shiretown of York County. It was incorporated as a town in 1808, named in honor of King Alfred the Great. Land would be set off to Sanford in 1828, and annexed from Waterboro in 1847. The Rochester & Portland Railroad entered from Waterboro in 1864, connecting to Rochester, New Hampshire in 1871. More than 30 trains passed through Alfred daily between 1910 and 1920, but use would decline in the age of automobiles. Passenger service ceased in 1949, with the final train departing in 1961. In 1947, a severe drought in Maine tindered wildfires in the town, burning 4,500 acres of woodland and 2 residences.
     Alfred Shaker Village in c. 1915A Shaker religious community once thrived in Alfred. In 1783, members of the Shaker Church settled on the hill near Massabesic (now Shaker) Pond. Others dubbed them the "Merry Dancers," because of their ecstatic worship. "They were," as historian George J. Varney writes, "at this time fanatical in religion and intemperate in their indulgences."
     Organized in 1793, Alfred Shaker Village practiced the religion's celebrate communal living, with equality among the sexes and races. They built plain architecture and furniture, honest expressions of their faith. At the movement's height in the 1840s, Shakers operated nineteen utopian communities scattered from Maine to Kentucky, and as far west as Indiana. But among all the "societies," Alfred Shaker Village in particular was noted for "spiritualistic healing of the sick."
     Shaker dance and worship Only Sabbath day Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester survives under the control of the last few Shakers. Some former communities operate today as museums because, like Alfred Shaker Village, they closed when the congregation dwindled. In 1931, the Alfred property was sold to the Brothers of Christian Instruction, who allow the Friends of Alfred Shaker Village to operate a museum in one of the site's original Shaker buildings.
  Arundel The area now known as Arundel, while sometimes referred to by that name, was a part of Kennebunkport until 1915, at which point it was named North Kennebunkport. In 1957, following the publication of the Chronicles of Arundel by Kenneth Roberts, the town was renamed to Arundel by the state legislature.
  Berwick Originally part of Kittery, Berwick was settled in about 1631. It was variously called the "Parish of Unity," "Kittery Commons" or "Kittery North Parish." "Unity" (Berwick) was populated with Scots prisoners of war captured at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, then force-marched to Durham Cathedral in Durham, England. Tried for treason for supporting Charles I rather than Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector, they were shipped in a vessel called "Unity" to Massachusetts, where they were sold into slavery to work the Great Works sawmill until able to pay for their freedom. George Gray, of Lanark, Scotland, was among 150 prisoners who endured this ordeal, live to fight and protect his family and his lands during the King Phillips war and died in "Unity" (Berwick) in 1693. His descendants would populate other areas of Maine, notably Deer Isle and Stonington.
     The community was attacked by Indians in 1675 at the advent of King Philip's War, and then through the French and Indian Wars. In raids of 1690-1691, it was burned and abandoned. It would be resettled in 1703 and called "Newichawannock," its Abenaki name. In 1713, it incorporated as "Berwick," the ninth oldest town in Maine, named after Berwick-upon-Tweed, England. The first schoolhouse in the state was built here in 1719. Berwick was once considerably larger in size, but South Berwick was set off in 1814, followed by North Berwick in 1831. Lumbering was a principal early industry. In the 19th century, Berwick enjoyed a symbiotic economic relationship with Somersworth, New Hampshire, the mill town to which it is connected by bridge across the Salmon Falls River.
  Biddeford Biddeford is the site of the earliest recorded permanent settlement in Maine. In the winter of 1616-1617, Richard Vines, a physician, resided at "Winter Harbor," as he called Biddeford Pool. In 1630, the Plymouth Company granted the land to the south of "River Swanekaclocke," as the Saco River was then known, to Vines and John Oldham. In 1653, the town, which then included both sides of the river, was incorporated by the General Court of Massachusetts as "Saco." That same year, Roger Spencer was granted the right to build the first sawmill. Lumber and fish became the community's chief exports. In 1659, Major William Phillips of Boston became a proprietor, and constructed a garrison and mill at the falls.
     During King Philip's War in 1675, the town was attacked by Indians. Settlers withdrew to "Winter Harbor" for safety, and their homes and mills upriver at the falls were burned. In 1693, a stone fort was built a short distance below the falls, but it was captured by the Indians in 1703, when 11 colonists were killed and 24 taken captive to Canada. In 1708, Fort Mary was built near the entrance to Biddeford Pool. The town was reorganized in 1718 as "Biddeford," after Bideford, a town in Devon, England from which some settlers had emigrated. After the Fall of Quebec in 1759, hostilities with the Indians ceased. In 1762, the land northeast of the river was set off as "Pepperellborough," which in 1805 would be renamed Saco.
     Mills on Saco River in c. 1910The first bridge across the Saco River was built in 1767. The river divides into two falls that drop 40 feet, providing water power for mills. Factories were established to make boots and shoes. Granite quarries and brickyards operated, in addition to lumber and grain mills. Major textile manufacturing facilities were constructed along the riverbanks, including the Laconia Company in 1845, and the Pepperell Company in 1850. Biddeford was incorporated as a city in 1855.
     The mills attracted waves of immigrants, most notably French-Canadian workers from the province of Quebec. At one time the textile mills employed as many as 12,000 people, but as happened elsewhere in New England, the industry entered a long period of decline. Today, only one textile company, WestPoint Home, remains in Biddeford. The last log drive down the Saco River was in 1943, with the last log sawn in 1948. The prosperous mill town era, however, left behind some fine architecture, in particular City Hall and churches.
     Biddeford's name is engraved near the top level of the The Pilgrim Monument, in Provincetown, Massachusetts, along with the names of some of the oldest cities and towns in New England.
     Biddeford's current mayor is Wallace H. Nutting, a retired four-star General. He is serving his second term, and is one of the few Republicans elected to office in the city in recent history.
  Buxton Buxton is composed of five villages: Salmon Falls, Groveville, Bar Mills, West Buxton, and Buxton Center. The town was named by its first minister, Reverend Paul Coffin for his former town of Buxton, England. Before that it had been known as Narragansett. The site of the town was once used as a garrison during the war against the Narragansett Indians. An attempt to settle the area was not made until 1750 when several men and their families commenced a permanent settlement in Salmon Falls. Its first school house was established by Reverend Silas Moody in 1761.
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  Cape Neddick  

Cape Porpoise

1703 Casualty List

  Dayton The area was once inhabited by the Sokokis (or Saco) Indians, who hunted and fished along the Saco River. The old "Sokokis Trail" is now Route 5, which passes through Dayton. In 1664, Major William Phillips purchased from the sagamore the land which would become "Little Falls Plantation" -- today the towns of Hollis, Dayton and part of Limington. In 1728, a stockaded fort which contained a trading post was built a half mile below Union Falls. Called the "Saco Truck House" or "Saco Block House," the garrison was maintained throughout the French and Indian War until the fall of Quebec in 1759.
     Settlers arrived in 1735, and lumbering became a principal industry. Logs were rolled down the banks of the Saco River and floated to sawmills at Saco. Nathaniel Goodwin established the first local mill in 1782 at Goodwin's Mill, where falls in Swan Brook drop 33 feet. A sawmill and gristmill were erected at Union Falls (then called "Hopkinson's Mill") in 1806. Tanneries were built, and land was cleared for farms. In 1798, "Little Falls Plantation" was incorporated as "Phillipsburg," in honor of Major William Phillips -- until 1810. But considered difficult to pronounce and write, the name was changed to "Hollis." Then, in 1854, the southern part of Hollis petitioned the state legislature to become a separate town. Permission was granted, and the community was named "Dayton" after Thomas Day, who submitted the petition.
     In 1860, Dayton voted to build at Union Falls a covered bridge, 112 feet long and 18 feet wide, connecting to Buxton. The span would be blown up in 1921 by the Clark Power Company, an event filmed as part of a melodrama by the Pine Tree Moving Picture Corporation of Portland. In October of 1947, after a dry summer, fire destroyed two-thirds of Dayton, including 27 homes, 4 barns and the town hall. In 1951, the Central Maine Power Company built a hydroelectric dam between Salmon Falls and Union Falls, submerging the scenic gorge. Once a community of dairy farms, Dayton is now primarily residential.
  Hollis The town of Hollis was originally called Little Falls Plantation encompassing the towns of Hollis, Dayton and part of Limington. It was bought by Major William Phillips from the town of Hobinowil and Mogg Hegon of the local Sagamore Indian tribe in 1664. In 1728 a trading post by an order from the General Court of Massachusetts was to be constructed on the site to protect trade with the Indians.It was made crudely of logs and equipped with a cannon. Ten men and a sergeant garrisoned it. John and Andrew Gordon tried to settle the land in 1754, but were driven away by the Indians. On March 27, 1781, the first recorded plantation meeting took place and Joseph Chadbourne was elected Moderator. By 1790 the population had grown to 607. The first vote for state office came in 1791 and Littlefalls gave John Hancock 27 votes. In 1798 Littlefalls was incorporated into Phillipsburg, named in honor of Major Phillips. The first town meeting took place on September 27, 1798, at the home of Stephen Hopkinson. The moderator was Joseph Chadbourne. In 1810 a committee was put together to rename the town, headed by Colonel Isaac Lane and Captain Eben Cleaves. It was finally decided upon the name Hollis. The reasoning behind the name is not known; it is thought to have been inspired by Hollis, New Hampshire, or possibly by the Duke of Newcastle, whose family name was Holles.
  Kennebunk First settled about 1620, the town developed as a trading and, later, shipbuilding and shipping center with light manufacturing. It was part of the town of Wells until 1820, when it incorporated as a separate town. "Kennebunk, the only village in the world so named," was featured on a large locally famous sign attached to the Kesslen Shoe Mill on Route One. To the Abenaki Indians, Kennebunk meant "the long cut bank," presumably the long bank behind Kennebunk Beach. Kennebunk's coastline is divided into three major sections. Mother's Beach, Middle Beach or Rocky Beach, and Gooches Beach or Long Beach. Separate from Kennebunk Beach is secluded Parson's Beach, a quiet alternative to the summer crowds.
     The town is a popular summer tourist destination. Kennebunk contains fine examples of early architecture, the most noted of which is the "Wedding Cake House," a Federal-style dwelling extensively decorated with scroll saw Gothic trim. This was added to the house for his wife of many years by George Washington Bourne late in his life, and not as legend has it by a ship captain for a young bride lost at sea. Local economy is tourism based. The headquarters for the natural health-care product manufacturer Tom's of Maine is located in Kennebunk. Many residents commute to Portland, to New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. The Lafayette Elm was a tree which was planted to commemorate General Lafayette's 1825 visit to Kennebunk.
     The Lafayette ElmThe Lafayette Elm became famous for its age, size, and survival of the Dutch elm disease that destroyed the hundreds of the other elms that once lined Kennebunk's streets. The elm is featured on the town seal. The restored Kesslen Shoe Mill has been renamed the Lafayette Center. Kennebunk is also the home to two of the states oldest banks. Kennebunk Savings Bank 1871 (Behind Saco & Biddeford Savings Inst. 1827 and Bangor Savings Bank 1852) The Oldest Commercial Bank is Ocean Bank 1854.
  Kennebunkport Kennebunk is known as the location of the summer home of former U.S. president George H. W. Bush. It is the location of Walker's Point, the summer residence of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, the father of President George W. Bush. First built by Bush's grandfather George Herbert Walker, it has been a family home ever since, and has been owned by Bush since shortly after he became Vice President in the 1980s. During his presidency, Bush often invited world leaders, from Margaret Thatcher to Mikhail Gorbachev, to Kennebunkport. In 2007, his son George W. Bush invited Vladimir Putin (in June) and Nicolas Sarkozy (on August 11).
  Kittery Point First settled as early as 1623, the southern part of Kittery was once called Champernowne's after Sir Francis Champernowne, a prominent pioneer and landowner. Nicholas Shapleigh built the first house in the area, and Edward Godfrey established a trading post in 1632. Early professions included fishermen, hunters and trappers. Others harvested the region's abundant timber, which was shipped to England or the West Indies. Kittery was incorporated in 1652 when Maine became part of Massachusetts Bay Colony.
     The Pepperrells were a distinguished Kittery Point family which established fisheries to supply the London market. Its most famous scion was Sir William Pepperrell. He became the first baronet in New England for commanding a militia which defeated the French in 1745 at the Battle of Louisburg. His gambrel mansion of 1733 remains a landmark at Pepperrell Cove on the Piscataqua River. After his death, his widow in 1760 built The Lady Pepperrell House, a noted Georgian building formerly owned by Historic New England.
     John Bray House in 1910, Maine's oldest surviving houseThe John Bray House, built by a shipwright in 1662, is considered the oldest surviving house in Maine. Recently threatened with redevelopment, the building is instead being restored. On land once owned by Sir William Pepperrell is a Portsmouth Harbor defense called Fort McClary, built opposite Fort William and Mary in New Castle, New Hampshire. It is today Fort McClary State Historic Site and features a blockhouse dating from 1844. In 1969, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Fort Foster, a later coastal defense, was built by the federal government on 92 acres at Gerrish Island. Now owned by the town of Kittery, Fort Foster Park provides superb views of Portsmouth Harbor, Whaleback Lighthouse and the Isles of Shoals, part of which belongs to Kittery. At Seapoint Beach in the mid-20th century, the Newcomen Society built a cluster of Tudor cottages as its former summer retreat.
  Kittery Settled about 1623, Kittery was incorporated in 1647, and today bills itself as "the oldest incorporated town in Maine." It was named after the birthplace of a founder, Alexander Shapleigh, from the manor of Kittery Court at Kingswear in Devon, England. Shapleigh arrived in 1635 aboard the ship Benediction, which he co-owned with another prominent settler, Captain Francis Champernowne. Together with the Pepperrell family, they established fisheries offshore at the Isles of Shoals, where fish were caught, salted and exported back to Europe. Other pioneers were hunters, trappers and workers of the region's abundant timber. The settlement at the mouth of the Piscataqua River was protected by Fort McClary.
     Kittery originally extended from the Atlantic Ocean inland up the Salmon Falls River, including the present-day towns of Eliot, South Berwick, Berwick and North Berwick. Located opposite Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the town developed into a center for trade and shipbuilding. After the death of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Lord Proprietor of Maine, the province in 1652 became part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1663, John Josselyn would write: "Towns there are, are not many in this province. Kittery, situated not far from Passacataway (Portsmouth), is the most populous." During the Revolution, the first vessels of the U.S. Navy were constructed on Badger's Island, including the 1777 Ranger commanded by John Paul Jones. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the nation's first federal navy yard, was established in 1800 on Fernald's Island (also called Dennett's Island). Still in operation, it is connected to the mainland by two bridges. The facility rebuilt the Constitution, and built the Civil War sloop-of-war Kearsarge. Seavey's Island was annexed and became the site of the now defunct Portsmouth Naval Prison.
     Kittery has some fine early architecture, including the Sir William Pepperrell House, built in 1733, and the Lady Pepperrell House, built in 1760. The John Bray House, built in 1662, is believed to be the oldest surviving house in Maine. Located at the John Paul Jones State Historic Site on U.S. Route 1 is the Maine Sailors' and Soldiers' Memorial by Bashka Paeff. Further northeast up the road, the town has developed factory outlet shopping, very popular with tourists. Kittery Point is home to Seapoint Beach and Fort Foster Park, which was originally a harbor defense. In 1996, the movie Thinner, based on the 1984 Richard Bachman novel Thinner, was filmed in Kittery.
  Lake Arrowhead  
  Limington In 1668, Francis Small traded goods with the Newichewannock tribe of this area. Their Chief Wesumbe, also known as Captain Sandy, was friendly with Small and warned him of a plot against his life. A group of renegade tribesmen planned on murdering Small instead of paying him with the furs that were owed to him. Small escaped after watching his house in what is now Cornish burn to the ground. The Chief made up the loss by selling Small all the lands bounded by the Great and Little Ossipee Rivers, the Saco River, and the New Hampshire border. Known now as the five Ossipee towns, the tract included all of Limington, Limerick, Cornish (formerly named Francisborough), Newfield, and Parsonsfield. This is the first mention of Limington that is recorded in the York Maine County Land Registry, and is on the wall of the registry, in Alfred, Maine.
     The town of Limington comprises the eastern portion of the lands between the Saco and Ossipee Rivers watersheds, located in the very northeastern part of York County, Maine. is slightly over nine miles (14 km) long, with an average width of five miles. It is bounded on the north by , on the east by Standish, on the south by Hollis and Waterboro, and on the west by Limerick Cornish. The Saco River forms the boundary on the north and east sides while the Little Ossipee it from Waterboro on the south.
     The highest point in Limington, Sawyer Mountain, rises 1,100 feet (340 m) above sea level. In 1884 the US. Geological Survey placed a stone tower fifteen feet high upon its most prominent point. Later the tower was struck by lightning and now only scattered stones remain. There are seven ponds which cover 1, acres of the town. Four of these, Boyd, Dole, Foss and Sand Ponds, are in South Limington. remaining three, Horn, Ward and Webster Ponds are in North Limington.
     The town was a part of Captain Francis Smallís purchase from Captain Sunday, a chief of the region in 1668. In its earlier settlement it was known as Little Ossipee Plantation, which name it continued to bear until its incorporation under its present name in 1792. In 1798 a tract of about 2,000 acres (8 km≤) was annexed from Little Falls Plantation (Hollis); and in 1870, about 1,500 acres (6 km≤) of land with the inhabitants thereon, constituting about one twelfth the valuation, was set off from Limington and annexed to Limerick. The first settler was Deacon Amos Chase, who removed here and commenced a mill in 1773, at the location known as Chase's Mills, at the mouth of the Little Ossipee River. Ezra Davis and Jonathan Boothby followed him in 1774, and John MeArthur and Joshua Small in 1775. Eminent among later residents have been Abner Chase, Wingate Frost, Simeon Strout, Isaac Mitchell and Arthur McArthur.
      The first Congregational church was organized in 1789. The first church was built in 1793, on the site of the present house; it was enlarged and rebuilt in 1835. The present first Free Baptist church was built in 1852. The number of men furnished for the army in the war of the Rebellion was 153. The sum paid out for war expenses was $51,150, for a portion of which, however, the town was reimbursed by the State.
     The Limington Academy was incorporated in 1848. Its chief founders were Arthur and James McArthur, Rev. J. H. Garmon, Dr. Samuel M. Bradbury, Gideon L. Moody, and Isaac L. Mitchell. Among its valued teachers have been Rev. Jonathan Atkinson, Rev. David Boyd, Hon. Samuel Tappan, Isaac Mitchell, Arthur McArthur, Esq., James Frost, Shadrach Boothby, Rev. Westcott Bullock, Thomas Gilpatrick, and Richard Meserve, M.D., The town has sixteen public schoolhouses, valued at $2,000. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $567,808. In 1880 it was $408,573. The population in 1870 was 1630; in 1880 it was 1431.

     What is now Limington was originally only a tract of land called Little Ossipee, after Ossapee, its original Native American name. In 1773, Deacon Amos Chase began the earliest settlement on the land. Dea. Chase built a home on the eastern side of the plantation where he found a waterfall, upon which he built the town's first mill.
     Limington was incorporated as a town in 1792. As the surface of the land was rocky and broken, nearly 2,000 acres (8 km≤) of land were annexed from the nearby plantation of Little Falls.
  Lyman The Town of Lyman was incorporated under the name of Coxhall on April 24, 1780. In 1803, on February 25, the name of the town was changed to Lyman, in honor of Theodore Lyman, Esquire.
     While the original settlers are not known for certain, early records and deeds mention the following: William and Jacob Waterhouse (of Kennebunk, Maine), Love Roberts, Alexander Grant, Thomas Lord, Jacob Rhoades, Benjamin and Mark Goodwin (brothers who built one of the first mills at Goodwins Mills, the only village in the town), John Low (who served as Moderator and Town Treasurer), John Burbank, Joseph Witten, James and William Brock, Mark Ricker, Robert Cousens, Valentine Hill, and Gershom Downs.
  North Berwick North Berwick was first settled about 1630 by fur traders. It was originally part of Berwick until it separated and incorporated in 1831. In the 1800s it had several mills, which manufactured textiles, farm implements, stove polish, shingles and clapboards, as well as toboggans and sleds. The North Berwick Woolen Mill on the bank of the Great Works River is an historic landmark, and was used as a setting in the 1995 movie Jumanji. Its major employers are a Pratt & Whitney aircraft engine parts factory and overhaul facility, and Hussey Seating, a manufacturer of seats for stadiums and other spectator facilities.
  Ogunquit Ogunquit, which meant "coastal lagoon" to native Abenaki Indians, was first a village within Wells, which was settled in 1641. The first sawmill here was established in 1686, and shipbuilding developed along the tidal Ogunquit River. Besides constructing schooners and brigs, local shipwrights built the famous "Ogunquit dory."
     At what was then called Fish Cove, near the unnavigable Josias River, fishing was a major livelihood. But the cove was unprotected by a headland or breakwater from Atlantic storms, so fishermen had to protect their boats by hauling them ashore each night. Resolving to create a safe anchorage, they formed the Fish Cove Harbor Association, and dug a channel across land they purchased to connect Fish Cove with the Josias River. When the trench was complete, in roared the ocean, its erosion helping to further widen the passage. The resulting tidewater basin would be called Perkins Cove, across which spans a manually-operated draw footbridge, possibly one of the most photographed objects in Maine.
     Ogunquit Beach in c. 1910With a 3 and a half mile beach of pale sand and dunes forming a barrier peninsula, connected to the mainland in 1888 by bridge across the Ogunquit River, the weatherbeaten old village was discovered by artists. It became a popular art colony and tourist area. Particularly after 1898, when the Ogunquit Art Colony was established, it was not unusual to see artists and fishermen plying their respective trades around Perkins Cove. To accommodate summer crowds, several grand seaside hotels and inns were built.
     Today, Ogunquit remains a vibrant seasonal resort town, having separated from Wells in 1980. Visitors often arrive from great distances and in great numbers, some from Canada. Over the years, Ogunquit has also become a destination for gay and lesbian tourists, and features numerous gay-owned and -operated hotels, restaurants and bars.
  Old Orchard Beach The Old Orchard Beach area began appearing in historical records around the time of 1653. The area was first officially settled in 1657 by Thomas Rogers, who dubbed it "The Garden By The Sea".

1703 Casualty List - Saco - York Co.


Granted in 1630 by the Plymouth Company to Thomas Lewis and Richard Bonython, the town extended 4 miles along the sea, and 8 inland. Settled in 1631 as part of "Winter Harbor" {as Biddeford Pool was first known), it included Biddeford. It would be reorganized in 1653 by the General Court of Massachusetts as "Saco," like the Sokokis (or Saco) Indians who once hunted and fished along the Saco River. The community would be incorporated in 1718 as "Biddeford," the fourth town in Maine. The northeastern bank separated in 1762 with the name "Pepperellborough," in honor of Sir William Pepperrell, a late proprietor. It was renamed "Saco" in 1805, and incorporated as a city in 1867.
     The settlement would be attacked by Indians in 1675 during King Philip's War. Settlers moved to the mouth of the river, and the houses and mills they left behind were burned. In 1689, it was again attacked, with some residents taken captive. Hostilities intensified from 1702 until 1709, then again in 1723, when the town contained 14 garrisons. Nevertheless, the area became a center for lumbering, with logs floated down the river from "Little Falls Plantation" (now Dayton, Lyman, Hollis and part of Limington), to be cut by sawmills at Saco Falls. In 1827, the community produced 21,000,000 feet of sawn lumber.
     Sarah Fairfield Hamilton Memorial in c. 1912On Factory Island, formerly called Indian Island, the Saco Iron Works began operation in 1811. A cotton mill was established in 1826, and a canal was dug through rock to provide water power. Factory Island developed in the 19th century into major textile manufacturing center, with expansive brick mills dominating the Saco and Biddeford waterfronts. That industry would fade in the 20th century, particularly with the closure of the York Manufacturing Company in 1958. The prosperous mill town era, however, left behind much fine architecture. Saco has a considerable collection of buildings in the Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival and Victorian styles.
     Saco is home to Funtown Splashtown USA (an amusement park), and Aquaboggan Water Park, as well as General Dynamics Armament Systems (also known by its former name, Saco Defense), a subsidiary of the defense contractor General Dynamics; it builds primarily small arms weapons for the U.S. military, such as the M60 machine gun. Saco sees much tourism during summer months, due to its amusement parks, Ferry Beach State Park and proximity to Old Orchard Beach.
  Sanford Sanford is in the western portion of a tract of land purchased in 1661 from Abenaki Chief Fluellin by Major William Phillips, an owner of mills in Saco. In 1696, Mrs. Phillips willed it to her former husband's son, Peleg Sanford, from whom the name is derived, although it was first called "Phillipstown." Sanford would be incorporated in 1768. Alfred was once the "North Parish" of Sanford.
      The Mighty Mousam River provided water power for mills. Following the Civil War, Sanford developed into a textile manufacturing center, connected to markets by the Portland & Rochester Railroad. Factories were built at both Springvale and Sanford villages. Products included cotton and woolen goods, carpets, shoes and lumber.
     In 1867, British-born Thomas Goodall arrived, after selling a mill in 1865 at Troy, New Hampshire which made blankets contoured to fit horses. He established Goodall Mills, manufacturing saddle blankets, carriage robes and mohair plush for upholstering railroad seats. It would also make "Palm Beach fabric," for summer suits and draperies. The company's textiles were known for brilliant and fast colors, and found buyers worldwide. From 1880 to 1910, the mill town's population would swell from 2,700 to over 9,000. In 1914, the Goodall family built Goodall Park, a 784 seat roofed stadium, now a treasured historic site. A statue of Thomas Goodall was erected in Central Park, and has recently been restored.
     Sanford Mills in c. 1910In 1954, Burlington Mills, then the largest textile firm, bought Sanford Mills. The latter closed, leaving 3,500 unemployed. Local business owners began traveling the northeast, convincing new employers to move to the area. Life Magazine would call Sanford "the town that refused to die." It now has diversified industries, including the manufacture of aircraft parts.
     In the 1960s, the Federal Government offered money for urban renewal, to rehabilitate aging or blighted districts. More than thirty Sanford structures were razed. In Springvale, three of four corners were leveled. Fortunately, fine architectural examples from the flush mill era survived.
     In 2003, a proposal to build a $650 million casino in South Sanford was rejected by Maine voters. The 362-acre development, ostensibly owned by the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy nations, would have encompassed 4,000 slot machines, 180 gaming tables, a hotel, a 60,000 square foot convention center and an 18 hole golf course. Proponents argued that it would add 4,700 permanent jobs and 25% of revenue would be directed to the state. Detractors predicted higher crime, traffic and an erosion of Maine's quality of life.
  Shapleigh Shapleigh was incorporated as a town in 1785. It was named after a man named Major Nicolas Shapleigh who died in 1682 by his heirs.
      The neighboring town of Acton was part of Shapleigh until 1830 when it separated.
  South Berwick Originally a part of Kittery known as "Kittery Commons" or "Kittery North Parish," what is now South Berwick was settled about 1631 in the vicinity of Quampheagen Falls, at the head of navigation on the Salmon Falls River. Here, Ambrose Gibbens (or Gibbons) established a trading post. The community was also be called the Parish of Unity due to the peaceful disposition of its inhabitants. Its original Pennacook Indian name was Newichawannock.
     Berwick, which then included South Berwick, separated from Kittery and was incorporated in 1713. South Berwick, in turn, separated from Berwick and was incorporated in 1814.
     In 1652, Richard Leader established a sawmill on the Great Works River, a tributary of the Salmon Falls River that takes its name from his operation. During the 19th century various mills were erected to utilize the water power of the Salmon Falls and Great Works rivers. South Berwick manufactured cotton and woolen textiles, plows and cultivators, shoes, as well as sawn and planed lumber.
     The town is home to Berwick Academy, founded in 1791, a private co-educational day school.
  South Eliot  
  South Sanford  

1703 Casualty List

In 1622, the Plymouth Company in England awarded to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Lord Proprietor of Maine, territory which included the "Plantation of Wells." His young cousin, Thomas Gorges, acting as deputy and agent, in 1641 granted settlers from Exeter, New Hampshire the right to populate the land from northeast of the Ogunquit River to southwest of the Kennebunk River.
     With the death of the elder Gorges, the Massachusetts Bay Company laid claim to all of Maine. In 1653 Wells was incorporated, the third town in Maine to do so, and named for Wells, England. The Abenaki Indians had called it "Webhannet," which means "at the clear stream," a reference to the Webhannet River. After 1675, inhabitants were beleaguered through the French and Indian Wars, with devastating attacks in 1692 and 1703. Native American hostility, encouraged by the French, would end with the Battle of Louisburg.
     Wells originally included what is now Kennebunk. Kennebunk seceded from Wells in 1820, the same year that Maine became a state. Wells also included Ogunquit, which by act of legislature in 1913 became a village within Wells, and then in 1980 became a separate town.
     Wells celebrated its 350th anniversary in 2003.
  West Kennebunk  
  York Harbor  
  York York is actually the fourth name that the town has known.  The earliest records refer to the general area as Agamenticus, after the original inhabitants.  The first English settlers, having come from the region of Bristol, England, lent that name to the town until it became a chartered city under Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who renamed it Gorgeana in 1642.  The name York was appointed after the fall of the Loyalists under Cromwell in 1652, commemorating the town (York, England) in which Cromwell defeated the King's forces.
     The center of York Village was along Lindsay Road as York River was the most important mode of transportation.  After the Abenaki Candlemas Day Raid of 1692, the town reorganized itself on higher ground that evolved into the present day center of religious, civic and governmental functions.
     As tourism developed in the late nineteenth century, more and more of the town's tax dollars came from the businesses and homes of the wealthy summer residents. Although they sought the colonial quaintness of the town, they also wanted the amenities of the cities: public water, streetlights, sidewalks, paved roads, electricity and libraries. The locals, however, had the advantage of the vote, and farmers would not vote for improvements at York Harbor or York Beach.
      In 1901 York Harbor and York Beach presented bills to the Maine legislature requesting the creation of York Harbor Village Corporation and York Beach Corporation. The incorporation process allowed these sub-towns a certain degree of self-government and a "refund" of 65 percent of the taxes they paid to York, permitting such independent services as fire, police, and highway departments.
      York Harbor Village Corporation developed the first zoning ordinances in the state of Maine and was among the first in the nation. Zoning held the rapid growth in check as well as defined the types of businesses that were considered appropriate. York Harbor Village Corporation did not give up  its autonomy until 1975.
      York Beach Village Corporation was premier in bringing the amenities of the city to York. The village boasted the first sidewalks, streetlight, fire department, and public sewage and water. York Beach Village Corporation folded in 1977.
     Cape Neddick, the residential suburb of York, was the last section of York to be developed due to its geographic remoteness from the town center. Lumbering operations and its associated mills along Cape Neddick Josias Rivers furnished employment. The name Cape Neddick is one native place name that has survived and remained a prominent landmark since contact, known first as a navigational marker and today as the site of an oft-photographed lighthouse. The English added the word "Cape", but Neddick is believed to be an Algonkian word meaning "solitary" and refers to the nubble of land isolated from the peninsula.



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