Maine History
Contemporary: Principal References


The most important state of Maine related histories. Those histories written before 1940, such as Williamson, are located in the antiquarian bibliography.

Axtell, James. (1994). The exploration of Norumbega: Native perspectives. In: Baker, et. al. Eds. American beginnings: Exploration, culture, and cartography in the land of Norumbega. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London. IS.
  • "In re-creating the story of Norumbega before the fateful advent of the Pilgrims in 1620, we should listen to -- and really try to hear -- some voices that are seldom even thought to have existed.  These are the voices of the native Norumbegans who met and usually welcomed the seaborne strangers from Europe. ...When Caspar Corte-Real kidnapped fifty-some Indians in 1501 from what sounds like Maine, one man possessed 'a piece of broken gilt sword,' which to the Venetian ambassador in Lisbon 'certainly seem[ed] to have been made in Italy.'  A native boy was wearing in his ears 'two silver rings' made just as certainly in Venice." (Axtell, pg. 149 and 154).
  • "...the lethal plague of 1616-18 and subsequent European irruptions seem to have left an unhappy silence in the native oral record of coastal Maine." (Axtell, pg. 151).
  • "Maine's coastal waters and then its rivers soon became a wild international frontier of cutthroat competition and cultural domination.  And the plague-weakened natives bore the brunt of the damage, as they did everywhere in North America -- the victims of a geopolitical reality they could not foresee and could only partially fashion." (Axtell, pg. 165).
Baker, Emerson W., Churchill, Edwin A., D'Abate, Richard S., Jones, Kristine L., Konrad, Victor A. and Prins, Harald E.L., Eds. (1994). American beginnings: Exploration, culture, and cartography in the land of Norumbega. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London. IS and also W.
  • This important publication, along with Alan Taylor's Liberty Men and Great Proprietors and the many antiquarian sources in the collections of the Maine Historical Society, have provided the primary impetus for organizing The Davistown Museum and its internet bibliographies.
  • Several of the chapters in this publication have been cited and annotated in this section of the bibliography under the chapter authors.  Be sure to check the other listings under Baker and the authors Axtell, Bourque, D'Abate, Harley and Prins for these listings.
  • The editor would like to differ with the authors of this definitive history of the early days of Maine and assert that Norumbega is in fact nothing more controversial than the land the Wawenoc Indians (>1500) inhabited prior to European contact.  The quotations from Baker, et. al. cited in our annotated bibliography, provide both a summary of the contemporary professional historians view of what Norumbega is and was as well as an excellent jumping off point for a reconsideration of this historical viewpoint.
  • For our viewpoint see the Norumbega Reconsidered essay.
  • "It is the region from Cape Elizabeth northward and northeastward just beyond Mount Desert that was the essential Maine of the maps that we do have and that was the core of the mysterious Norumbega." (Quinn, pg. 39).
  • Another of The Davistown Museum's top ten recommended books on Maine history.
Baker, Emerson W. (1985). The Clarke and Lake Company: The historical archaeology of a seventeenth-century Maine settlement. Maine Historic Preservation Commission, Augusta, ME.
  • One of the most important site-specific studies of 17th century settlement in coastal Maine, the Clarke & Lake Company was established in 1654 and flourished until attacked by Native Americans in 1676 after the beginning of the King Philip's war.
  • Baker first explores the flourishing Plymouth Colony fur trading activities in the Kennebec region and contends that the first trading post established on the Kennebec by the Plymouth colonists (1629) was not located at Cushnoc at the head of the tide in Augusta (see Cranmer for a dissenting viewpoint), but was located at an undetermined spot somewhere between Arrowsic Island on the lower Kennebec and Cushnoc.  Edward Winslow had lead the first contingent of traders up the Kennebec in 1625, "trading a boatload of corn to the Indians for 700 pounds of beaver skins." (pg. 3).  Baker notes the Plymouth Colony fur trading activities reached their height in 1631 - 1636 and then began a decline.  By the time of the establishment of the Clarke & Lake Company, the Plymouth colonists were no longer important players in the fur trading activities in Maine.
  • Baker has particularly interesting comments on the antagonism between Native Americans and the fishermen and other coastal traders who would often cheat the Indians as well as sell them guns and alcohol, contrary to the wishes of the Plymouth colonists.
  • "From their headquarters on Arrowsic Island, Clarke & Lake harvested the natural resources of the Kennebec and exported them in the triangular trade.  The location of this settlement at Spring Cove has been confirmed archaeologically by the identification of six seventeenth-century structures.  Archaeological remains also indicate that the settlement took advantage of the available furs, fish, timber, and salt hay.  Furthermore, Spring Cove was located along an Indian coastal canoe route, and prehistoric artifacts show that Indians had visited the site intermittently for more than seven thousand years, suggesting it was a suitable location for trade.  In return for beaver and moose skins, Clarke & Lake traded knives, kettles, textiles, and other goods to the Indians.  English settlers and traders of the Kennebec were supplied by Clarke & Lake as well." (pg. 61).
  • "Clarke & Lake employed fishermen to participate in commercial fishing operations and to provide food for company employees.  The Clarke & Lake tide mills processed local timber into staves and boards, and may have provided lumber for shipbuilding. ... Farmers, fishermen, blacksmiths, and other specialists made Arrowsic highly self-sufficient." (pg. 61).
  • "As soon as the Clarke & Lake Company moved into the Kennebec in 1654, the population of the region began to grow rapidly. ... Although population centers arose at Pejebscot and Arrowsic, no real towns developed along the Kennebec; rather, people settled in a ribbon pattern along the river." (pg. 1 and 62).
  • Of particular interest is the location of the Clarke & Lake trading station and settlement: "As the Sasanoa River was a frequent route for Indians traveling between the Kennebec and the coast to the east, Spring Cove was a strategic location for a trading post." (pg. 10).  Not only was the Clarke & Lake settlement located on a key position on the coastal canoe route to Pemaquid and to Pentagote, the settlement was directly opposite the entrance to the back river component of the Sheepscot River, which provided a direct navigable canoe route as far into the interior as Liberty, Maine.  (The Sheepscot River crosses route 3 in Liberty about four miles west of St. George Lake, the source of the Georges River, which terminates at Thomaston.)  Traders at Clarke & Lake were thus in a position to receive furs not only from regions upriver on the Kennebec and Sebasticook rivers, but also from throughout the backcountry of the region between the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers.  Other nearby links to Clarke & Lake include the Damariscotta River (and Damariscotta Lake) and the Medomak River, all intimately connected by a warren of bays and estuaries to the coastal canoe routes and that other most important of trading centers, Pemaquid, all of which made the area between the Kennebec and the Penobscot such an important source of furs in the 17th century.
Baker, Emerson W. (1994). The world of Thomas Gorges: Life in the Province of Maine in the 1640s. In: Baker, et. al. Eds. American beginnings: Exploration, culture, and cartography in the land of Norumbega. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London. IS.
  • "...in the 1630s and 1640s, ... Stable relations with the Wabanaki Indians created a lucrative fur trade, and the warfare that was to devastate Wabanaki and European society alike was still decades away." (Baker, pg. 262).
  • "So little is known about the Indians of southern Maine that they must be referred to generically as 'Wabanakis,' since the names of their bands are not even known.  Who was the Great Sagamore who visited Gorges?  Where did his people live?  What did they call themselves?  Were they a relict population, all that was left after the warfare and disease?  Or were they newcomers who had moved into the region from the interior, replacing  the decimated coastal populace?  Or is it possible that they were a combination of the remaining old population merged with people from the interior?" (Baker, pg. 272-273).
  • "The confusion becomes apparent when trying to unravel the specific identity of the Wabanakis on Saco River observed by John Winter.  In 1605, when Samuel de Champlain visited the large native village at the mouth of the Saco River, his Etchemin guides called the people 'Armouchiquois,' and the village 'Chouacoit.'  It was a large, permanent, palisaded settlement, and according to Champlain's map of the Saco, the surrounding area was filled with small native hamlets, all cultivating their corn, bean, and squash fields.  In 1607 Chouacoit was hit hard in a raid by the Souriquois and their allies.  Thus began a war that lasted until about 1615, apparently ending with disastrous losses for the Armouchiquois.  Then, in 1616 the first epidemic hit Saco.  Richard Vines, an English explorer and physician, watched with horror as the villagers of Chouacoit rapidly took sick and died.  Vines returned in 1631 to begin a settlement on the west bank of the Saco River.  Others came with him or soon followed, yet these English settlers rarely mentioned the native people of the area.  Gone was the large village at Chouacoit." (Baker, pg. 273).
  • "Instead of residing in a large sedentary village at Chouacoit, the 'Sacos' (as the English called them) seemed to migrate seasonally, up and down the river, often living far in the interior.  Were the populous sedentary agriculturalist Armouchiquois the same as the fleeting and migratory Sacos?  Or were the Sacos a different people who extended their territory from upriver to the coast as the weakened Armouchiquois were forced to abandon the region or merge with more powerful neighbors?  The documentary record provides few clues to the answers to these questions." (Baker, pg. 273).
Baker, William A. (1973). A maritime history of Bath, Maine and the Kennebec region. 2 vols. Maritime Research Society of Bath, Bath, ME.

Banks, Ronald, F. (1970). Maine becomes a state: The movement to separate Maine from Massachusetts, 1785-1820. Wesleyan University Press for the Maine Historical Society, Middletown, CT.

  • The most important publication about the evolution of Maine as an independent state.

Brockman, Mark E. and Jeffrey Georgiady. (2005). Prehistoric lithic resourses of the coastal volcanic belt, Washington County, Maine. The Maine Archaeological Society, Inc. Bulletin. 45 (1). pg. 5-24. IS.

Bourque, Bruce J. and Whitehead, Ruth H. (1994). Trade and alliances in the contact period. In: Baker, et. al. Eds. American beginnings: Exploration, culture, and cartography in the land of Norumbega. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London. IS.

  • This chapter is a revised version of "Tarrentines and the Introduction of European Trade Goods in the Gulf of Maine".
  • "...by adopting European-style navigation, the Tarrentines were able to amass the yields of several small catchments along the Gulf of Maine and efficiently transport the aggregate to markets in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  The coastal nature of the Gulf of Maine fur supply doomed the Tarrentines to a precipitous decline once European traders arrived there. ...those in the Gulf of Maine could not hope to stem, even temporarily, direct European penetration to native fur producers after the Europeans entered the region." (Bourque, pg. 147).
  • Bourque as well as Snow and other authors frequently mention the Etchemins, whose descendants are today known as the Passamaquoddy and Maliseet.  Reference by many authors is also made of the Penobscots as an Etchemin tribe.  The confusion over the actual identity of the Etchemins is further complicated by the conflating of Etchemins with Tarrentines by early writers such as Williamson.  The possibility remains that in pre-contact times the Penobscots, most certainly Etchemins (canoe people) were allied with or at least on friendly terms with the more sedentary western tribes such as the Massachusetts, the Kennebecs and the Wawenocs.  As Bourque points out, as the fur trade and the resulting competition for beaver pelts evolved in the early 17th century, the easternmost Souriquois (Micmac) quickly lost their advantage as intermediaries in the fur trade due to direct contact by French and English traders with Native American trappers in Maine.  The result was growing antagonism towards the Armouchiquois, the French name for the sedentary agriculturists living on or west of the Kennebec River.  This antagonism culminated in the raids against the Saco Indians in 1607 and then shortly thereafter against the Bashabes and his followers.  The key unresolved ethnohistoric issue is the actual identity of the Etchemins as well as their relationship with both the Souriquois to the east and the Armouchiquois to the west. Lock, in Sketches of the History of the Town of Camden, Maine, reports that the Camden Hills were the demarcation point between the antagonistic Tarrentines (and Etchemins) and the Wawenocs just prior to the Souriquois (Tarrentine) attacks and the great pandemic that followed (ca. 1605).  This demarcation line may reflect the increasing influence of the Etchemins at the beginning of the historic period as the confederacy of Mawooshen began to disintegrate under the impact of European contact.  The question remains, what tribe was the Bashabes from?  The Bourque/Snow thesis, currently reflected in contemporary writings on the subject, is that the Bashabes was a Penobscot and an Etchemin.  The problem with this thesis is that it leaves as an ethnohistoric terra incognito those lands and Native Americans living between the Penobscot and the Kennebec, traditionally referred to as Wawenocs.  Williamson as well as most antiquarian Maine historians have always referred to Wawenocs as separate from and even antagonistic to not only the aggressive Micmacs (Souriquois, Tarrentines) of Nova Scotia, but also to the Etchemins of eastern Maine who are frequently referred to in older texts as Tarrentines.  This confusing series of tribal designations gives rise to the current controversy over the identification of the Wawenoc Indians - they did exist even though they did not occupy the larger area.  If they were Etchemins, as is currently implied by the Bourque/Snow thesis that all Armouchiquois lived west of the Kennebec, then this contradicts traditional historic descriptions of the Etchemins as living east and north of the Camden Hills prior to and up until about 1605.  It seems possible that during the heyday of the confederacy of Mawooshen, the semi-permanent villages described by Snow in The Archaeology of New England were occupied by the Armouchiquois even as far as the Deer Island penninsula, the Union River and Mount Desert Island.  The alternative to this scenario is that the villages listed by Snow east of the Kennebec were occupied by Etchemins, and that the great Bashabes, who lived somewhere between Damariscotta and Rockland, was an Etchemin.  While we believe the latter is not correct and that the Bashabes was a Wawenoc and that the Wawenocs were semi-sedentary Armouchiquois, this ethonohistoric conundrum is one of the main stumbling blocks to coming to a clear understanding of the Native American culture that so obviously thrived in the areas between the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers just prior to European settlement.
  • Richard D'Abate and Victor A. Conrad, in the general introduction to this book further comment on the confusing terminology of tribal identities with this footnote (10) on page 316: "Bruce G. Trigger, ed., Handbook of North American Indians (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1978), volume 15, labels the inhabitants of the predominant part of Maine as 'Eastern Abenaki.'  A somewhat controversial terminology when first published in 1978, the term has been rejected by many scholars on the basis of subsequent research.  Because of this debate, and because the terms tend to exclude the Micmac and the Etchemin (modern-day Maliseet and Passamaquoddy) groups, the labels 'Abenaki' and 'eastern Abenaki' are generally not used in this book.  Instead, the term 'Wabanaki' is used as a general reference to the native people of Maine and the Maritimes.  Although the label 'Wabanaki' is less than ideal, it does not carry the degree of confusion currently associated with the terms 'Abenaki' or 'eastern Abenaki.'" (pg. 316).  Nonetheless, Bourque, Maine's most prominent ethnohistorian as well as most other writers continue to refer to the Native Americans in Maine of the 16th and early 17th centuries as Abenaki, a term which obliterates the more complicated and difficult to decipher inter-tribal relationships of the late pre-historic and early contact eras.

Bradford, John. (2011). The 1607 Popham Colony’s pinnace Virginia: An in-context design of Maine’s first ship. Maine Authors Publishing, Rockland, ME.

Brain, Jeffrey P. (1995). Fort St. George: Archaeological investigation of the 1607-1608 Popham colony on the Kennebec. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.

  • This is the first of a series of publications on this subject.  All have the same author and publisher.
    • Fort St. George. II: Continuing investigation of the 1607-1608 Popham colony on the Kennebec River in Maine, 1997.
    • Fort St. George III: 1998 excavations at the site of the 1607-1608 Popham colony on the Kennebec River in Maine.
    • Fort St. George IV: 1999 excavations at the site of the 1607-1608 Popham colony on the Kennebec River in Maine.
    • Fort St. George V: 2000 excavations at the site of the 1607-1608 Popham colony on the Kennebec River in Maine.
    • Fort St. George VI: 2001 excavations at the site of the 1607-1608 Popham colony on the Kennebec River in Maine.
    • Fort St. George VII: 2002 excavations at the site of the 1607-1608 Popham colony on the Kennebec River in Maine.
    • Fort St. George. VIII: 2003 excavations at the site of the 1607-1608 Popham colony on the Kennebec River in Maine.
    • Fort St. George. IX: 2004 excavations at the site of the 1607-1608 Popham colony on the Kennebec River in Maine.
    • Fort St. George. X: 2005 excavations at the site of the 1607-1608 Popham colony on the Kennebec River in Maine.
    • Fort St. George. XI: Excavations at the site of 1607-1608 Popham colony on the Kennebec River in Maine.
    • Fort St. George XII: 2009 excavations at the site of the 1607-1608 Popham colony on the Kennebec River in Maine.
    • Fort St. George XIII: 2010 excavations at the site of the 1607-1608 Popham colony on the Kennebec River in Maine.
    • Fort St. George XIV: 2011 excavations at the site of the 1607-1608 Popham colony on the Kennebec River in Maine.

Brain, Jeffrey Phipps. (2007). Fort St. George: Archaeological investigation of the 1607-1608 Popham colony. Occasional Publications in Maine Archaeology. Number 12. The Maine State Museum, The Maine Historic Preservation Commission, and the Maine Archaeological Society, Augusta, ME.

Brain, Jeffrey Phipps, Ed. (2010). Popham papers. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.

Clark, Charles E. (1977). Maine a history. The States and the Nations Series. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., NY, NY. IS.

  • An excellent brief history of the state of Maine; particularly suitable for secondary school students.  Contains an excellent summary of the early observations and writings of the first European visitors to Maine (Christopher Levett, A Voyage into New England Begun in 1623, John Smith, A Description of New-England, John Josselyn, An Account of Two Voyages to New-England Made During the Years 1638, 1663.)
Cranmer, Leon E. (1990). Cushnoc: The history and archaeology of Plymouth Colony traders on the Kennebec. Occasional Publications in Maine Archaeology Number Seven. The Maine Archaeological Society, Inc. Fort Western Museum and The Maine Historic Preservation Commission. X.
  • This pamphlet contains an excellent bibliography as well as the most important current information about the origins of the Cushnoc Trading Post.  Not mentioned, but of interest to residents of Davistown, is that Cushnoc was established at the junction of the Cushnoc Trail and the Kennebec River.  Penobscot Indians used the Cushnoc Trail to go from Penobscot Bay  to get to the Kennebec River.  It wasn't practical to beat around Pemaquid Point in birch bark canoes during the summer southwesterlies; the Cushnoc Trail was the overland route from Penobscot Bay to the Kennebec River and pre-dates European contact.
D'Abate, Richard. (1994). On the meaning of a name: "Norumbega" and the representation of North America. In: Baker, et. al. Eds. American beginnings: Exploration, culture, and cartography in the land of Norumbega. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London. IS.
  • "Though there is still some question whether the name Norumbega referred to any pre-European Indian reality, it is clear that Norumbega starts for us as a European construct.  Establishing such a priority represents the bias of our vision as well as our method." (D'Abate, pg. xxxi).
  • "'Norumbega' remains an illusive historical fact.  All the evidence for its geography and associations and origins is unstable or contradictory.  On maps of the New World, where the name is most often found, 'Norumbega' can appear and vanish from year to year, alter its spelling, migrate through many degrees of latitude, and change references -- sometimes naming a city, a river, a region, or all three." (D'Abate, pg. 61).
  • "Is there a positive historical and geographical fact hidden beneath the evidence -- a real ancient kingdom of 'Norumbega,' as both the Renaissance and later antiquarians believed? or is 'Norumbega' yet another of the geographical myths so common in the era of exploration?" (D'Abate, pg. 62).
  • "'Norumbega' is a word, and like all words, like linguistic signs in general, it does not represent reality so much as human thought about reality." (D'Abate, pg. 62.).
  • "'Norumbega' is the name of an idea that many Europeans shared for a brief period of time.  It was founded on a few brief but important experiences in the New World and was then fully formed only in the representations of European thought, where it ultimately remained.  To pursue the puzzle of 'Norumbega' is to glimpse how deeply human knowledge may be, at any point, constructed in its own, self-reflecting imagery." (D'Abate, pg. 68-69).
  • "...a European awareness that the name was of native origin -- that a country of that name already existed in the New World -- might go some way toward explaining why the name was preserved and why it had such cachet in the sixteenth century..." (D'Abate, pg. 76).
  • "The displacement of 'Norumbega' by 'New England' thus closes the European history of its meaning.  But this brings us back, finally, to the possibility of a second history of the name, the possibility that even before Europeans began to elaborate their ideas about America, the word 'Norumbega' had had an Indian meaning.  To ask for this meaning, as suggested earlier, is to pursue a different line of inquiry, not because names function differently in the minds of Indians but because the history of the set of conceptual relations that 'norumbega' stood for in the minds of sixteenth-century natives cannot be followed as can that of the Europeans." (D'Abate, pg. 85-87).
  • "...it is safe to say that 'norumbega' is a piece of Wabanaki nomenclature of rivers, and we might go so far as to assume that something like it was used among one or more tribes of the Algonquian group that probably existed in the Northeast in the sixteenth century." (D'Abate, pg. 87).
Day, Clarence A. (1954). A history of Maine agriculture, 1604-1860. University Press, Orono, ME. IS.
  • This nifty little history of Maine agriculture is one of the secret gems of Maine historiography - its probably the best synopsis of Maine history cited in this bibliography.  Day is concise, comprehensive and covers most of the major events in Maine history as pertinent background information to his history of agriculture.
Day, Clarence A. (1963). Farming in Maine 1860 - 1940. University of Maine Bulletin. No. 78. University of Maine Press, Orono, ME. IS.

Duncan, Roger F. (1992).  Coastal Maine:  A maritime history.  W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, NY. IS.

  • The best contemporary book on Maine's maritime legacy. One of the Davistown Museum's top ten.

Georgiady, Jeffrey and Mark Brockman. (2000). Prehistoric lithic types of New England. Franklin Printing, Farmington, Maine. pg. 12-15, 58-9.

Gramly, RM. (1979). A survey of Maine lithic sources (with emphasis on western Maine and coastal areas). Maine Historic Preservation Commission. Augusta, Maine. pg. 25-9.

Gramly, R. Michael, and Rutledge, Kerry. (1981). A new Paleo-Indian site in the state of Maine. American Antiquity. 46. pg. 354-360.

Harley, J.B.  (1994). New England cartography and the Native Americans. In: Baker, et. al. Eds. American beginnings: Exploration, culture, and cartography in the land of Norumbega. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London. IS.

  • "Place-names have always been implicated in the cultural identity of the people who occupy the land.  Naming a place anew is a widely documented act of political possession in settlement history.  Equally, the taking away of a name is an act of dispossession." (Harley, pg. 296).
  • "In New England the founding document of European colonization, as well as of its modern cartographic and topynymic history, is John Smith's map of 1616. ...Naming was possessing, at least in part possession. ...Smith's map became a paradigm for further Anglicization" (Harley, pg. 297-298).

Jones, William I. Facing Hatchet Mountain. (2006). Collection of essays from Hope Historical Society. IS.

Judd, Richard W., Churchill, Edwin A. and Eastman, Joel, W. Eds.  (1995).  Maine:  The pine tree state from prehistory to the present. University of Maine Press, Orono, ME. IS.

  • The most important contemporary history of Maine with contributions by 27 historians.  Excellent maps, extensive references at the end of each chapter.  One of The Davistown Museum's top ten recommended books on Maine history.
  • This is the most widely distributed, contemporary Maine history, the most useful for classroom and home-schooling use and excerpts from it are cited in our publication, Norumbega Reconsidered.
Moody, Robert E. (1978). The letters of Thomas Gorges: deputy governor of the province of Maine: 1640-1643. Portland Historical Society, Portland, ME.

Morris, Gerald E., Ed. (1976). Maine bicentennial atlas: An historical survey. The Maine Historical Society, Portland, ME. IS.

  • The best quick reference to the routes of the early explorers.
  • An essential for teachers and any course on Maine history.
  • See the other annotations for this text in the Native Americans: Principal sources bibliography, comments about its information on early settlers' trading posts in the Introduction to the Ancient Pemaquid section and some of the plates in the Maps section: geography of ancient Pemaquid.
O'Leary, Wayne M. (1996). Maine sea fisheries: The rise and fall of a native industry, 1830 – 1890. Northeastern University Press, Boston, MA. IS.
  • The most important of all contemporary texts on the history of the fishing industry in Maine and its role in Maine's economy.
  • A cogent summary of the importance of fishing in pre-Civil War Maine economy and the decline of the cod fisheries during and after the Civil War.
  • The appendices contain a wealth of information about which fish were harvested when, where and by vessels from what port.  The map at the beginning of the text is particularly interesting in documenting the robust pre-Civil War fishing industry in central coastal Maine.  The largest tonnage of fish was landed in the Penobscot customs district (Swan's Island, Isle au Haut, Deer Isle, Sedgwick, Castine, Orland and Bucksport); the next largest in the Frenchman's Bay customs district followed by the Belfast, Waldoboro and Wiscasset customs districts.
  • The fluorescence of the fishing industry in the first 6 decades of the 19th century in central coastal Maine coincides exactly with the boomtown development of both mill towns such as Liberty, Montville, Appleton and Union and the ship building industry in Warren, Thomaston, Waldoboro, Wiscasset and towns further down east.
Prins, Harald E. (1994). Children of Gluskap: Wabanaki Indians on the eve of the European invasion. In: Baker, et. al. Eds. American beginnings: Exploration, culture, and cartography in the land of Norumbega. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London. IS.
  • "...we possess precious little cognitive information about the indigenous cultures of New England and the Maritime Provinces in the precontact period." (Prins, Introduction to Chapter 4, pg. 91).
  • "Because they were a script-free people, the ancient Wabanakis (forebears of the Micmacs, Maliseets, Passmaquoddies, Penobscots, and Abenakis) left us without any written records documenting how and what they thought, felt, or did in their lives." (Prins, Introduction to Chapter 4, pg. 91).
  • "...native people of the northeastern coastal area were traditionally known as Wabanakiak (the people of the dawn)." (Prins, pg. 95).
  • "In the early seventeenth century, French visitors to the region reported that the Wabanakis were divided into three such major groupings from northeast to southwest: the Souriquois, Etchemins, and Armouchiquois.  Later these ethnonyms, as first recorded by Samuel de Champlain, were generally replaced by the terms Micmac, Maliseet-Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, and Abenaki. (Prins, pg. 98).
  • "Until the period of European contact in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the traditional Wabanaki mode of subsistence based on hunting, fishing, and gathering persisted in the territories east of the Kennebec River." (Prins, pg. 102).
  • "Those Wabanakis who were migratory hunters, fishers, and gatherers moved every six weeks or so and could set up a village within hours." (Prins, pg. 103).
  • "Generally, the larger tribal communities existed in the region west of the Sheepscot.  This area was inhabited by people originally named Armouchiquois (perhaps a derogative, meaning dogs) by their Souriquois neighbors.  In contrast to the eastern Wabanaki groups, who maintained a mode of subsistence based exclusively on hunting, fishing, and gathering, these Armouchiquois planted vegetable gardens." (Prins, pg. 104).
  • "Clearly, horticulture not only permitted higher population densities than in areas inhabited by migratory food collectors but also allowed for more permanent settlement patterns." (Prins, pg. 105).
  • "Etchemin and Souriquois hunting groups living east of the Kennebec traded with the Armouchiquois from Saco and elsewhere." (Prins, pg. 106).
  • "On their long-distance trading journeys, Wabanaki tribesmen in general bartered such things as beautiful furs, strong moose-hide moccasins, dressed deerskins, and moose hides with the Narragansett and other southern neighbors.  These trade goods were exchanged for luxuries such as wampum (blue and white beads made of quahog shell).  Wampum was a specialty of the Narragansett of Rhode Island." (Prins, pg. 106).
  • "...place-names show how thoroughly familiar the Wabanakis were with the particular challenges and opportunities of their habitat. ...Accumulating over hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of years, ...place-names contain vital elements of ecological knowledge.  Indeed, the purpose of place-names was 'to turn the landscape into a map which, if studied carefully, literally gave a village's inhabitants the information they needed to sustain themselves.'" (Prins, pg. 110).
  • "...early seventeenth-century European records reveal that Wabanaki tribesmen inhabiting the Maine coast in that period referred to the region from Cape Neddick to Schoodic Point (the end) as Mawooshen (also spelled Moasson).  Under this name, they apparently understood an area 'fortie leagues in bredth, and fiftie in length, [comprising] nine rivers, [namely the] Quibiquesson, Pemaquid, Ramassoc, Apanawapeske, Apaumensek, Aponeg, Sagadehoc, Ashamahaga, Shawokotec.[Popham, 1857 and Purchas, 1617]" (Prins, pg. 110).
Taylor, Alan. (1990). Liberty men and great proprietors: The revolutionary settlement on the Maine frontier, 1760 - 1820.  University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. IS(2).
  • The most important current history of the early years of the Davistown Plantation and an inspiration for the Davistown History Project.  Indispensable for an understanding of the history of coastal Maine. One of The Davistown Museum's top ten.
  • See our extensive comments and quotations from this important history in the Davistown History Project.