Edward H. (Edward Henry) Elwell.

Portland and vicinity online

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1. A. L. EMIiRSON.


3. john anderson.

4. Levi Cutter.

5. J. C. Churchill.

6. E. Grhelv. j

7. J. B. CAHOON.


9. Albion K. parris. |

10. JAS. T. McCom;.

11. William Willis.

12. jedediahjewett.

13. Joseph Howard.

14. W. \V. THOMAS.


16. A. E. Stevens.

17. Wm. L. Putnam.

iS. B. Kingsbury, Jr.

19. GEO. P. Westcott.

20. R. M. Richardson.


Portland and Vicinity.





I'Uiir.isiiF.i) iiv


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1876, by

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



Tlu' early voyagers, as they skirted along the shores of Maine, in llie
twilight hours of discovery, were charmed with its secure harbors and noble
rivers, where sheltered groves and grassy banks lured them to the land. In
the attractions of calm waters, and sunny isles clothed with a luxuriant
forest, the bay of which we write excelled all others. Captain John Smith,
the first of Maine tourists, in his account of his famous summer trip along
our shores, in 1614, thus describes it : " Westward of Kennebec is the
Country of Aucocisco, in the bottom of a deep bay full of many great isles,
which divide it into many great harbors." This was Casco Jii(i/, the present
name of which is a corruption of the Indian word Aucocisco, which, accord-
ing to some authorities, signifies " a resting place," though others give it
the interpretation of cnm" or heroti. In view of the many halcyon retreats
from toil and care which its islands afford, the former would seem to be the
more a]ipropriate designation, though the water fowl indicated by the latter
still frequent the bay.

One can imagine the delight, when this land was new and clothed with
the glamour of surprise, of sailing from the surges of the Atlantic into the
sheltered roadsteads of this bay, along the green shores of its fovest-crowned
islands and out-reaching ])eninsulas, far into the heart of the land, where the
placid waters reflected in their cool depths the verdant foliage which over-
hung them, in 'the silence and seclusion of a solitude unbroken save by the
songs of birds of varied plumage flitting through "the forest i-riineval."
No element of beauty was wanting to this miniature archipelago, and the
native inhabitants, who had an eye for sunny spots and grassy glades, made
it a place of frequent resort. They found in its waters an inexhaustible
supply of provisions, and the evidences of their feasts still remain in the
heaps of clam-shells found on the shores of the islands.

Here is a little bay, extending from Cape Elizabeth to Cape Small
Point, a distance of about twenty-live miles, with a deptli of about fifteen
miles, more thickly studded with islands than any water of like extent on
the coast of the United States. Unlike the low, sandy islands of the
Massachusetts coast, tliese are of the most picturesque forms, while boM


headlands and peninsulas jut far out into the waters. There is the greatest
possible variety in the forms and groujDing of these islands. Some lie in
clusters, some are coupled together by connecting sand-bars, bare at low
water, while others are solitary and alone. Nearly all of them are indented
with beautiful coves, and crowned with a mingled growth of maple, oak,
beech, pine and fir, extending often to the water's edge, and reflected in
many a deep inlet and winding channel. In the thick covert of the firs and
spruces are many green, sunny sj^ots, as sheltered and remote as if far
inland, while beneath the wide-spreading oaks and beeches are pleasant
walks and open glades.

These islands are of all sizes, from the little rocky islet, covered by the
sea at high tide, to those which contain thousands of acres and hundreds of
inhabitants. Though some of them present bold headlands, there is nothing
barren or desolate in their asjDect. For the most j^art they rise like mounds
of verdure from the sea, forest-crowned, and from their summits one may
behold on the one hand the waves of the Atlantic, breaking almost at his
feet, and on the other, the placid waters of the bay, spangled by multitudi-
nous gems of emerald, while in the dim distance he discerns, on the horizon,
the sublime peaks of the White Mountains. It is imjDOSsible to conceive of
any combination of scenery more charming, more romantic, more captiva-
ting to the eye, or more suggestive to the imagination.

It is a popular legend that the islands in Casco Bay number three hun-
dred and sixty-five, a compliment to the days of the year which is also
commonly attributed to Lake George, Lake Winnepesaukee, and several
other bodies of water. Whence it had its origin it is impossible to say,
since numerous as are these islands it is not difiicult to count them. If
we take down the chart and run our eye over it we see the islands fall
naturally into three divisions or ranges, which we will set down in their
order, beginning each with the island nearest Portland, and running
eastward :

Inner Range. — Mackay's, The Brothers (2), Ten Pound, Clapboard,
Sturdevant, Basket, Cousins, Littlejohn's, Lane's, Moges' (2), Crab, Bibber's,
Silver (4), two unnamed.

Middle Range. — Hog or Diamond (2), Cow, Crow Knob, Chebeague
(2), Crow, Irony, Goose Nest, Little Green, French, Whaleboat (2), Goose
(2), Goslin (2), Shelter, Birch, White's, four unnamed.

Outer Range. — House, Cushing's, Ram, Peaks', Pumpkin Knob, Over-
set, Marsh, Long, Stepping Stones (3), Hope, Crotch, Jewell's, Sand, Outer
Green (2), Broken Cave (3), Bates', Ministerial, Stave, Little Bangs, Stock-
man's, Whale Rock, Haddock Ledge, Mark, Eagle, Upper Flag, Horse,
Birch, Haskell's, Turnip, Jaquish, Bailey's, Orr's, Jebaskadiggin, Pond, Ram
No. 2, Cedar (6), Elm (2), Ragged, Bold Dick, White Bull, Little Bull,
Sisters (2), Mark No. 2, Brown Cow, Gooseberry, Wood (2), Burnt Coat,


Jameson's Ledge, Lower Flag, Horse No. 2, Malaga, Bear, Rogue, one un-
named, Jenny's, Yarmoutli, two unnamed, Pole, Hopkins', Bateman's, Long
No. li, three unnamed.

Here are one hundred and twenty-two islands and islets, and we have
perhaps left uncounted many rocks and reefs which might be made to swell
the number, but it iirobably would not extend beyond one hundred and
fifty. Many of the names of these islands are curious. Some are derived
from carlv proprietors, others owe their origin to some trifling incident or a
characteristic feature, while a few, like Chebeague and Jebaskadiggin, are of
the aboriginal tongue. They are all liomely and unromantic enough, but
are not easily changed. Hog Island, which, though so inelegantly named, is
one of the most beautiful in the bay —

"The gem of Casco's lovely isles,"
has been so called since 1634, though it is now beginning to be known as
Diamond Island, a name long applied to the largest of its many coves.

The bay is almost as remarkable for its peninsulas as for its many
islands. At its Avestern extremity, between the sheltered waters of Fore
River and Back Cove, extends the Neck on which Portland is built. At the
eastern end the long narrow peninsula of Ilarjiswell stretches far out into
the quiet waters, flanked by many islands. The land here is very much
broken, the islands cluster thickest, and the mainland reaches out many
finscers, between Avhich creeks and inlets and tidal rivers extend far inland.
The shore is fringed with picturesque "Points." The Presumpscot River
brings down in a full stream, the waters of Sebago Lake, and discharges
them at a point a little north of Portland liarbor.

The waters of the bay present as many attractions to fishermen and
sportsmen as do the islands to the seekers after hc.ilth and recreation. The
early voyagers found them full of fish. Hither came Capt. John Smith in
pursuit of whales, though he caught not many. The early settlers, when
they met to talk over the wonders of the new land, told marvellous tales of
the strange creatures found in tlie bay. Jocelyn, who was here in 1639, tells
of one Mitton, a great fowler, who encountered a triton, or mereman, in its
waters. As he was fetching a compass about a small island for the advan-
tage of a shot, the creature laid its hands ujwn tlie side of the canoe, where-
vipon the said Mitton actually chopped one of them off with a hatchet, and
he solemnly averred that it was in all respects like the hand of a m:in. The
triton presently sank, dyeing the waters with its jiurple blood, and uiitortu-
nately his like has never since been seen. Jocelyn, too, makes the lust
mention of the sea serpent on our coast, seen coiled up like a cable on a
rock at Cape Ann. This monster must therefore be considered an ancient
inhabitant of our waters, and Casco Bay is one of its favorite haunts. It
has frequently been encountered off Cajte Klizahcth, and we have good
authority for saying that it has even ])aid our harbor a visit within a few
years past.


On a ledge in the inner bay, off the shore of Falmouth, the seals still
breed, and sport in the calm waters. More real is the presence of the pug-
nacious sword-fish, in the pursuit of which our fishermen find not only sport
but pi'ofit, since its flesh is by many esteemed a delicacy, and finds a ready
sale in our market. Of the other edible fish there is great abundance and
vai'iety. The earliest inhabitants made great profit by catching fish and
drying them on Richmond's Island, and for more than two hundred years
House Island has been the scene of similar operations. Looking from some
headland, on a bright summer day, it is a beautiful sight to see, on the
horizon, the white sails of the mackerel fleet standing out against the blue
sky. Here, too, the oleaginous porgy is pursued by steamers, while the
fishermen catch for the market, cod, pollock, hake, haddock, and halibut.
Along the rocky shore the cunner or sea-perch, best of pan fish, is caught,
and furnishes the substantial dish of many a feast on the rocks, while in the
creeks and inlets the silvery smelt abounds.

Of sea fowl there is still no lack, though they are not so abundant as
fifty or even twenty-five years ago, when off Bald Head, an outer promon-
tory at the south-eastern extremity of the bay, flocks might be seen passing
for days together. From the middle of April to the middle of May great
numbers of old squaws (pin-tail ducks) fly into the bay in the morning,
through Hussey's Sound, to feed, and out again at night, to rest on the
ocean. Then the gunners station themselves in boats, in a line fi'om Long
Island to Peaks' Island, and shoot at the birds as they fly over. A few
geese are occasionally shot, but the shooting of coots (surf or velvet ducks)
affords more extensive sport than any other during April and May. These
are shot over decoys and in flying past points of land and over bars. Bald
Head is a great resort of sportsmen, for there the coots, which will not fly
over i.he mainland when migrating, may be shot in passing.

Walking along the solitary outer shores the lonesome cry of the loon is
often heard, and they are sometimes seen in flocks of five or ten. The long
legged heron may be met at times stalking along the shore in search of fish,
and the ospray, or fishing eagle, builds its nest on some tall tree, and catches
its prey by darting upon them when near the surface of the water.

For many years this bay has been a pleasure ground, the resort of
lovers of the picturesque, as well as those in pursuit of fish and game. How
many pleasant associations cluster around the recollections of the pic-nic
parties at Diamond Cove, or fishing excursions farther down the bay. Year
by year the stream of summer visitors increases. An afternoon trip to the
islands -is the daily recreation of our citizens in the summer season. The
extension of our railroad system now enables excursion parties, numbering
many hundreds, to come from points fifty miles distant in the country and
spend a day in the enjoyment of the refreshing sea breezes of our bay,
returning home at night. From Canada and other distant points come


visitors who make a longer stay, filling to overflowing the munerous hotels
and boarding-houses on Cushing's, Peaks', and Little Chebeague Islands,
and finding health and recreation in sea bathing and fishing.

Parlies cani]»ing out dot with their white tents the shores of Little
Diamond, Cushing's and Peaks', an VK'INITY


the bay. Here he built the first house and planted tin- first torn, liis field
extending westward to Clay Cove. Our first settler was a restless, ambi-
tious and self-willed man, long prominent here ; his partner Richard Tucker
was of a more quiet disposition, and attended to the trading, while Cleeves
devoted himself to public alYairs. At lirst they were sipiatters, but in 1087
Cleeves went to England and obtained from Sir Fertlinamlo Gorges, the pro-
prietor of this part of Maine, a grant of the peninsula on which he had buill,
:ind other neighboring lands and islands. These he proceeded to parcel out
to settlers who sought the place, and a scattered community grew up on the
edge of the wilderness. It was long without government, and the morals
which ])revailed were not of the highest order. The jieople devoted them-
selves principally to fishing, and cheating the Indians in the purchase of
their furs. Beaver skins constituted their chief currency. They were
roughly clad and coarsely fed. They lived in temporary shelters of logs,
filled in with clay, or in iiouses of one story, with thatched roofs and
wooden chimneys. The
impenetralile forest was
behind them, the open
ocean before them, and
this was their highway
;iiid tlie chief source of
their sustenance. They
liad no roads, and when

, . Ill 1 J The main road to Massachusetts.

they traveled by land

to Massachusetts they crejtt along the seashore on the beaches, which were
the first highways. The settlement came to be known as Casco. In 1658
Massachusetts usurped the government of this territory and gave the name
of Falmouth to the town, but this ])ortion of it continued to be called Casco
Neck until its incorporation as Portland in ITSC*. Falmouth comprised, in
addition to the Neck, the territory now occupied by the towns of Cape
Elizabeth, Deering, Westbrook and Falmoutli. Of course with Massa-
chusetts rule came the imperative order for the settlement of a minister,
and the people built the first meeting-house on the jioint now occupied by
the Portland Company's works. There officiated the Rev. Mr. IJurroughs,
a man so amiable and generous-liearted that the enlightened jieople of Salem
afterwards hanged him for a wizard.

The settlement grew but slowly. In 107;') there were only forty fami-
lies in town, of which but four or five lived on the Neck, then mostly
covered with a dense forest. During these forty or fifty years the Indians,
who from the first had received them hosjjitably, dwelt in ]»eace with these
new comers. In return, all along this coast, they had been outrageously
wronged by vagabond and unprincipled white men, and at last the day
of wrath came. In 1G7;") King Phili]> arose to avenge the wrongs of his



First Church in Por-tland.

people, and in the following year the blow fell upon Falmouth, All the
settlements in the town were ravaged, and the inhabitants who had not
previously sought refuge in more secure places were killed or carried into

captivity, and the place was entirely de-
stroyed. The town remained desolate until
the peace of 1678, when the inhabitants be-
gan to return and build up the waste places.
Fort Loyal, the largest fortification on the
coast, was erected on a rocky eminence near
the foot of India street, where the round-
house of the Grand Trunk Railway now
stands, and Falmouth became a frontier
jDOSt. Government commissioners reallotted the land to new settlers, and
the old proprietors quarreled with them about it. A new element in the
population was added by the accession of a party of French Huguenots.
The town began to prosjDcr again. Mills were set up and inroads were
made on the forest. Trade in fish and lumber was oj^ened with the towns
in Massachusetts. Roads were laid out, though they were mere foot-paths
through the forest, — no vehicles having been introduced. In 1681 the first
tavern was opened, and licensed to sell spirituous liquors, the intercourse up
to this time having been so limited that no inn was needed.

In 1688 the population had increased to six or seven hundred, compris-
ing eighty families, twenty-five of whom were living on the Neck. Then
came the second Indian war, caused partly by the failure of the English to
fulfil their treaty stipulations with the In-
dians, and partly by the instigation of the
French. In 1689 the timely arrival of
Major Church, with a force of volunteer
troops and friendly Indians, saved the town
from destruction. A battle was fought on
the farm of Anthony Brackett, under Bram-
hall's Hill, in which the Indians were de-
feated and driven off, the whites suffering a
loss of eleven killed and ten wounded.
Next year, 1690, the French and Indians came down five hundred strong,
killed Lieutenant Clark and his scouting party of thirteen men on Munjoy's
Hill, captured Fort Loyal after a siege of five days, and carried Captain
Davis, commander of the fort, and his surviving garrison captives to
Quebec. Thus the Neck was again made desolate, became a thoroughfare
for the savage and a resort for beasts of prey, and for many years was
known only as "deserted Casco." The war continued until 1698, after
which a few old settlers straggled back to their desolated homes. The
center of population and defence now shifted to New Casco, a point of


First Hotel in Portland.


land east of the Presumpscot, where a fort was built in 17U(i. In 1703 the
war broke out again, and in that year twenty-five persons were killed l»y
the Lulians on Purpooduck, ut Spring Point, near where Fort Preble now
stands. The town was now entirely deserted of inhabitants, and did not
become the scene of further cruelties during the war.

The second period begins with the resettlement of the town in ITlTi,
and ends with its destruction by Mowatt in 1770. This was the era ol"
colonial growth and pros])erity. In 1717 one Ingersoll built a hut on the
Ni'ck, where he lived some time alone, being thence called Governor Inger-
soll. In 1718 twenty families were settled there in a compact and defen-
sible manner. They clustered principally about the foot of India (then
called IJroad) street, and eastward along the beach where had stood the
houses of Cleeves and Munjoy. This continued to be the court end of the
town until after the peace of 1783. The second meeting-house was erected
at the corner of Middle and India streets, where Rev. Thomas Smith, in
17iI7, commenced his long ministry of over sixty-eight years.

When the town was incorporated in 1718 the Neck, above Clay Cove,
was all forest and swamp. A brook flowed from the northern part of
Hampshire street into the cove, which was crossed by bridges on Fore and
^Middle streets, under which boats i)assed. There are men now living who
remember the old bridge on Middle street. The passages were at first only
trails or foot-paths through the woods, but gradually grew into streets, as
vehicles requiring them were introduced, and they were named the Fore,
the Middle, and the Back streets, the name of the latter, after the Revolu-
tion, being changed to Congress street. In 1774 the territory was occupied
as far westward as Center street, the upper portion of the Neck still being
covered with woods ; this was at the close of a period of sixty years of
steady growth. The Indians, broken and scattered, made jieace in 17'J5,
which lasted for many years; they dwindled away by death and by emigra-
tion to Canada. They took part against the English in the French wars of
1744 and the following years, and Falmouth was frc(piently alarmed by
their depredations in the neighborhood, but was never again seriously
threatened by them. In 175.') it had ceased to be a frontier post, and was
free from the alarm and danger to which it had formerly been exjtosed.
The people devoted themselves to the improvement of their condition ; new
mills were erected, and the forest as well as the sea was made a source of
profit. At one time in the year 1727 there were thirty vessels riding at
anchor in the harbor of Falmouth. Commerce was reviving. The articles
of export were fish, fur, and lumber. Population gradually increased ; in
1753 it numbered 7'20 souls on the Neck, and in the whole town, l!,7lll,
including 21 slaves, Parson Smith owning one. In 1771 the ])opulation of
the Neck had increased to 2,000.

The prosperity of the town was retarded by the fretpient wars with the



French, into the spirit of which, however, our people heartily entered.
They Avere Englishmen, and hated, of all things, the French, the Indians,

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Online LibraryEdward H. (Edward Henry) ElwellPortland and vicinity → online text (page 1 of 12)