American History and Genealogy Project

State of Maine

Maine, the northeastern of the United States, is bounded n. by Lower Canada; E. by New Brunswick, from which it is separated by the St. Croix river, and a line due n. from the monument, at the source of the St. Croix River, as designated and agreed to by the commissioners, under the 5th article in the treaty of 1794, between the governments of the United States and Great Britain; thence n., following the exploring line run and marked by the surveyors of the two governments in the years of 1817 and 1818, under the 5th article of the treaty of Ghent, to its intersection with the St. John's river, and to the middle of the channel thereof; thence up the middle of the main channel of said river St. John, to the mouth of the river St. Francis; thence up the middle of the channel of the said river St. Francis, and through the lakes through which it flows to the outlet of the lake Pohenagamook; thence southwesterly, in a straight line to a point in the n. w. branch of the river St. John, which point shall be 10 miles distant from the main branch of the St. John, in a straight line, and in the nearest direction; but if the said point shall be found to be less than 7 miles from the nearest point or crest of the highlands, that divide the rivers which empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence from those which fall into the river St. John, to a point 7 miles in a straight line from the said summit or crest; thence in a straight line in a course about s. 8° w. to the point where the parallel of lat. 46° 25' n. intersects the s. w. branch of the St. John; thence southerly by the said branch to the source thereof in the highlands at the Metjarmette portage; thence down along the said highlands which divide the waters which empty themselves into the St. Lawrence from those which fall into the Atlantic ocean, to the head of Hall's stream; thence down the middle of said stream till the line thus run intersects the old line of boundary surveyed and marked by Valentine and Collins previously to the year 1774, as the 45° of N. lat., and which has been known and understood to be the line of actual division between the states of New York and Vermont on the one side, and the British province of Lower Canada on the other; and from the said point of intersection w. along said dividing line, as heretofore known and understood, to the Iroquois, or St. Lawrence river. Such are the terms of the late treaty, now ratified by both governments, and which has happily settled a controversy of a quarter of a century The line designated as the old line, run as the 45° of n. lat., is found to be about 1 mile n. of the true line of 45° n. lat. Maine is bounded s. by the Atlantic ocean. This state lies between 43° 5' and 47° 20' n. lat., and between 66° 50' and 70° 55' w. Ion. It is computed to contain 30,000 sq. miles, or 19,200,000 acres. It was under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts until 1820, when it was made an independent state. The population in 1790, was 96,540; in 1800, 151,719; in 1810, 228,705; in 1820, 298,335; in 1830, 399,955; in 1840, 501,793. Of these 252,989 are free white males; 247,449 do. females; free colored males, 720; do. females, 635. Employed in agriculture, 101,630; in commerce, 2,921; manufactures, 21,879; navigating the ocean, 10,091; learned professions, 1,889.

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Augusta, at the head of sloop navigation on the Kennebec River, 50 miles from its mouth, is the seat of government.

This state is divided into 13 counties, which, with their population and capitals, are as follows:

County, Population, Capital

York, 54,034, Alfred Somerset, 33,912, Norridgewock
Cumberland, 68,658, Portland Penobscot, 45,705, Bangor
Lincoln, 63,517, Wiscasset Waldo, 41,509, Belfast
Hancock, 28,605, Ellsworth Piscataquis, 13,138, Dover
Washington, 28,327, Machias Franklin, 20,801, Farmington
Kennebec, 55,823, Augusta Aroostook, 9,413, Houlton
Oxford, 33,351, Paris ...

These counties contain about 498 townships, or settlements, some of which have but few inhabitants.

Maine is an elevated country, but generally uneven and hilly rather than mountainous. On the western side of the state, east of the White mountains in New Hampshire, an irregular chain of highlands extends eastwardly to the north of the sources of the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers, and passing south of the sources of the Aroostook river terminates on the eastern boundary of the United States, at an elevated peak, denominated Mars Hill. This chain of highlands the British claimed as the most northern boundary of the United States. Katadin Mountain is the most elevated summit of the chain. This peak is about 70 miles n. of Bangor, between the e. and w. ranches of the Penobscot River. It is 5,335 feet high. Another chain of highlands extends in a n. w. direction from near the n. w. source of Connecticut River, dividing the waters which flow northwardly into the St. Lawrence, from those which flow southwardly into the Atlantic Ocean and the bay of Fundy, which is a branch of it. This is a continuous, though somewhat irregular chain, probably nowhere less than 1,400 feet high, and is clearly the northern boundary of the United States, as settled by the treaty of 1783. Where the new road from Hallowell to Quebec crosses this chain, it is 2,000 feet high. Though not very elevated, the interior of Maine rises so rapidly from the seacoast as to preclude the flow of the tide far inland, though few other states of tie Union are more completely traversed by navigable rivers.

The rest of Maine is hilly, though the hills are not generally very elevated. The tract of county along the seacoast, to the extent of from 10 to 20 miles from it, and to a greater width in the s. w. part, is very various, and generally rather a poor soil, though in some places it is tolerably fertile. The best land in the state is between the Penobscot and Kennebec rivers, where it is excellent. The mountainous region in the n. w. has a poor soil. East of the Penobscot river, the soil is not of a superior quality, excepting about the sources of the St. John's river and its tributary reams.

The principal productions are grass, Indian corn, wheat, barley, rye, and flax. The uncleared lands are of great extent, and furnish an immense amount of pine and other lumber, which, in the form of masts, plank, boards, and timber, is exported to a great extent, particularly from the territory bordering on and e. of the Penobscot River. From other parts of the state near the navigable rivers, a great amount of wood for fuel is sent to Boston and the other principal towns on the shore of Massachusetts. Fish, potashes, beef, and pork, are also extensive articles of export. According to the statistics of the census of 1840, there were in Maine 59,208 horses and mules, 327,255 neat cattle, 649,264 sheep, 117,386 swine. There were produced, 848,166 bush, of wheat, 355,161 of barley, 1,076,409 of oats, 137,941 of rye, 950,528 of Indian corn, 10,392,330 of Potatoes, 601,358 tons of hay, 1,465,551 pounds of wool, 257,464 of sugar. The value of the products of the dairy was $1,496,902, and of lumber §1,808,683. The amount of wheat and Indian corn had been greater in some previous years.

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Previously to the year 1807, when the wars in Europe gave to the United States a great share of the carrying trade of the world, commerce was so profitable, and the facilities for carrying it on in Maine were so great, that agriculture was greatly neglected for this superior source of wealth; but afterward, when an embargo, and non-intercourse, and war, crippled the resources of commerce, the inhabitants of Maine were driven from the seaboard on to the lands in the interior; and from that time the agricultural resources of the state have been more extensively developed. Much of the land is well adapted to grazing, and cattle and sheep are raised in great perfection. Sometimes the crop of Indian com suffers from the shortness of the season. Among the fruits, apples, pears, plums, and melons, succeed well.

The facilities which Maine enjoys for commerce are very great. The rivers are extensively navigable, and numerous bays and inlets on the coast, protected as they often are by islands, furnish more good harbors than are found in any other state in the Union. Ships are extensively built not only for their own use, but for a foreign market. The fisheries furnish employment to many of the inhabitants, and are not only a source of wealth, but a nursery of seamen. Lime is exported, chiefly from Thomaston, to the amount of about $1,000,000 annually. A fine building granite, chiefly from Hallowell, which is of a light color, is also extensively exported. Maine, in point of shipping, is the third state in the Union.

The climate of Maine, though subject to great extremes of heat and cold, is generally favorable to health. The cold of winter, though severe, is steady, and is less injurious to the constitution than the sudden changes so frequent in many parts of the country. Near the ocean the heat of summer is greatly tempered by the sea breezes. The season of vegetation, at its greatest length, extends from April 21st to October 16th, though the vigor of vegetation does not continue more than three months and a half. In July 9th, 1838, the thermometer rose to 100° above zero, and on January 26th, 1837, it sunk to 27° below zero, which may be regarded as the extremes of temperature. Such extremes are of short continuance.

Maine has a number of fine rivers. Among these is the Penobscot, 250 miles long, and navigable for large ships to Bangor, 52 miles from the ocean. The tide here rises from 20 to 25 feet, and is of itself sufficient to float large ships, and greatly facilitates the entrance and departure of vessels. The Kennebec has a course of about 250 miles, and is navigable for large ships to Bath, 12 miles from the ocean; and for vessels of 150 tons to Hallowell, 40 miles from the sea; and for sloops of 100 tons 2 miles further, to Augusta; and for boats to Waterville, 18 miles above Augusta. The Androscoggin rises in New Hampshire, but runs chiefly in Maine, and unites with the Kennebec, 20 miles from the ocean. The Saco rises in the White Mountains in New Hampshire, but soon enters Maine, and, pursuing a southeastwardly direction, discharges itself into Saco bay. It is navigable for ships 6 miles to Saco falls. The Damariscotta is chiefly an arm of the sea, has a tide of 10 feet, and is navigable for large vessels 18 miles to Nobleboro. The Sheepscot is a small river, with a large bay at its mouth, which forms the harbor of Wiscasset, one of the finest in the state. All these, above the navigation for vessels, as well as many others, have numerous falls, and furnish many excellent mill seats. The Piscataqua River forms the boundary of Maine on the west, but runs chiefly in New Hampshire.

Maine has numerous lakes and ponds in the interior. The largest lakes are Moosehead, which is 50 miles long, and from 10 to 15 broad; and Umbagog, which lies partly in New Hampshire, and is 18 miles long and 10 broad. But so numerous are the smaller lakes and ponds, that it is computed that one tenth of the surface of the state is covered with water.

The coast of Maine abounds with islands, the largest of which is Mount Desert, in Frenchman's bay, and is 15 miles long and 12 broad. Long island, Deer island, and Fox Islands, are on the W. side of Penobscot bay. The principal bays are Penobscot, 30 miles long and 18 wide; Casco Bay extending 20 miles between Cape Elizabeth and Cape Small Point, containing many islands; and Passamaquoddy bay, lying between Maine and New Brunswick, 6 miles deep and 12 wide. The shores of Maine are bold and rocky, and have many inlets.

The most commercial cities and towns are Portland, (city,) on Casco Bay, the third in commercial importance in New England; Bangor, (city,) on the Penobscot; Hallowell, on the Kennebec: Thomaston, on the St. George River; Bath, on the Kennebec; Belfast, on a branch of Penobscot Bay; and Wiscasset, on a bay at the mouth of the Sheepscot. Besides these, the other large towns are Augusta, Gardiner, Brunswick, Waldoborough, Frankfort, Prospect, Bucksport, Camden, Gorham, Wells, and Eastport.

The exports of Maine for the year ending September, 1840, were $1,018,269, and the imports were $628,762. There were in Maine, in 1840, 70 commercial and 14 commission houses engaged in foreign trade, employing a capital of $1,646,926; and 2,220 retail drygoods and other stores, with a capital of $3,973,593; 2,063 persons were employed in the lumber trade, with a capital of $305,850; 123 persons were employed in internal transportation, who, with 56 butchers, packers, &c, used a capital of $95,150; 3,610 persons were engaged in the fisheries, with a capital of $526,967.

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Though manufactures are not a primary object of attention in Maine, they have not been neglected. The amount of homemade or family manufactures in 1840, was $804,397. There were 24 woolen manufactories employing 532 persons, producing goods to the amount of $412,366, and employing a capital of $316,105; 6 cotton manufactories, with 29,736 spindles, employing 1,414 persons, producing goods to the amount of $970,397, with a capital of $1,398,000; 16 furnaces produced 6,122 tons of cast iron, and 1 forge for bar iron, employing 48 persons, and a capital of $185,950; 15 persons produced 50,000 bushels of salt, with a capital of $25,000; 280 persons produced granite and marble to the amount of $98,720; 6 paper manufactories employed 89 persons, producing to the amount of $84,000, with a capital of $20,600; 37 persons manufactured tobacco to the amount of $18,150, with a capital of $6,050; hats and caps were made to the value of $74,174, and straw bonnets to the value of $8,807, together employing 212 persons, and a capital of $23,050; 395 tanneries employed 754 persons, and a capital of $571,793; 530 other leather manufactories, as saddleries, &c, produced articles worth $443,846, and had a capital of $191,717; 21 potteries employed 31 persons, and manufactured articles to the amount of $20,850, with a capital of $11,353; 864 persons manufactured bricks and lime to the amount of $261,586, with a capital of $300,822; 339 persons produced machinery to the amount of $69,752; 119 persons produced hardware and cutlery to the amount of $65,555; 4 ropewalks, employing 34 persons, produced cordage to the amount of $32,660, with a capital of $23,000; 779 persons produced wagons and carriages to the amount of §174,310, and employed a capital of $75,012; flouring, saw, and other mills, employed 3,630 persons, producing manufactures to the amount of $3,161,592, with a capital of $2,900,565. Ships were milt to the amount of $1,844,902; furniture was manufactured to the amount of $204,875, employing 1,453 persons, and a capital of $668,558; 34 brick, and 1,674 wooden houses were erected, employing 2,432 persons, and cost $733,067; 34 printing offices, 14 binderies, 3 daily, 2 semiweekly, 50 weekly newspapers, 5 periodicals, the whole employing 196 persons, and a capital of $68,200. The whole amount of capital employed in manufactures in the state was $7,147,224.

Maine has a number of respectable literary institutions. The principal is Bowdoin College, at Brunswick, which received its name from the Hon. James Bowdoin, its founder. It was founded n 1794, and went into operation in 1802, has been liberally endowed by its founder, by Massachusetts, and by Maine, and is a flourishing institution. It has 11 instructors, 165 students, and 20,000 volumes in its libraries. Waterville College was founded in 1820, and is under the control of the Baptists. It has 6 instructors, 65 students, and 7,000 volumes in its libraries. The Banger Theological Seminary was established in 1816, is under the direction of the Congregationalists, and gives classical and theological education, preparatory to the gospel ministry. It has 3 instructors, 43 students, and 7,000 volumes in its library. The Methodists have an institution at Readfield, denominated the Maine Wesleyan Seminary, founded in 1822. In all these institutions there were in 340, 266 students, which is something less than the above aggregate, which is of a later date, there were in the state in 1840, 86 academies, with 8,477 students, and 3,335 primary and common schools, with 164,477 scholars. Notwithstanding these facilities for education, there were, 241 persons over 20 years of age who could neither read nor write.

The three principal religious denominations in Maine are the Baptists, the Methodists, and the Congregationalists. In 1836 their numbers were as follows: Baptists, 222 churches, 145 ordained ministers, 15,000 communicants; Methodists, 115 travelling preachers, 15,493 communicants; Congregationalists, 161 churches, 119 ministers, 12,370 communicants. Besides the above, there are some Free Will Baptists, Friends, Universalists, Unitarians, Roman Catholics, and Episcopalians. There were on the 1st of January, 1840, 48 banks in Maine, with an aggregate capital of 1,671,500, and a circulation of $1,224,658. At the close of 1840 the state debt amounted to 1,687,367.

There is a state prison at Thomaston, where the convicts are extensively employed in quarrying and cutting stone.

Maine has executed and projected several important works of internal improvement. The Cumberland and Oxford canal was completed in 1829. This canal connects Portland with Sebago Pond, is 20½ miles long, and has 25 locks. By another lock in Saco River, it is extended through Brandy and Long ponds, making its whole length 50 miles, and its whole cost about $250,000. Bangor and Orono railroad was completed in 1836, and connects the two places, being 12 miles long. The Portland, Saco, and Portsmouth railroad was incorporated in 1837, and connects with the railroad from Boston to Portsmouth. A railroad has been projected from Portland to Bangor, a stance of 132 miles, to complete the great chain of railroads along the seaboard. Several routes have been explored from the seaboard to Quebec, the nearest and least expensive of which is from Belfast; but it is not probable that such a work will soon be completed.


Maine became an independent state in 1820, having previously belonged to Massachusetts. The governor is chosen annually by the people, and has a salary of $1,500. The senate and House of Representatives are also elected annually by the people. The number of the senate cannot be less than 20, nor more than 31. The number of representatives cannot be less than 100, nor more than 200. Seven councilors are elected by the legislature to advise the governor in his executive duties. The judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the governor and council, and hold their offices during good behavior, or until they are 70 years of age.

The first permanent settlement in Maine was made in Bristol, which lies on the east side of Damariscotta River, at Pemaquid point. In 1635, the District was granted by the British crown to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who appointed a governor and council. In 1652, the state of Massachusetts purchased the territory of the heirs of Gorges for $5,334. It was annexed to Massachusetts in 1691 by a charter from William and Mary, and remained under its jurisdiction until it became an independent state.

Table of Contents

Source: A Complete Descriptive And Statistical Gazetteer Of The United States Of America, By Daniel Haskel, A. M and J. Calvin Smith, Published By Sherman & Smith, 1843

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