Village at Pemaquid
collection of stone building foundations reveals the locations
and cellar holes from various periods of the village's history.
before English fishermen and fur traders began frequenting
the waters of Monhegan, Damariscove, and Pemaquid, Native
Americans inhabited the area. As recently as the first decade
of the 17th century, there was a sizable Wabanaki settlement
on the Pemaquid Peninsula. However, by the time a year-round
English settlement was established in the 1620's, the area's
Indian population was reduced to a fraction of its previous
1631 two merchants from Bristol, England became patent-holding
proprietors of Pemaquid, acquiring 12,000 acres plus 100 acres
for every settler they brought over from England. By 1665,
there were approximately 30 houses existing at Colonial Pemaquid,
and by the early 1670's Pemaquid may have had a population
of between 150 and 200 people. The settlement, however, was
part of an unstable frontier on the northern fringe of English
territory that was also claimed by the French.
a point of contact and conflict with the French and the Native
Americans who often joined them, Pemaquid was subject to several
devastations. The first occurred in 1676, when the Abenaki
Indians burned the village during a King Philip's War regional
uprising. Fort Charles, a wooden fortification, was constructed
the following year, but it and the rebuilt village were demolished
in a 1689 attack. In 1692, Fort William Henry, probably New England's first stone
fortification, was erected by the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Within four years it too was leveled by the combined efforts
of the French and Wabanakis, and the Pemaquid settlement was
abandoned for 30 years.
1729 a British officer, Colonel David Dunbar (who bore the
title Surveyor of His Majesty's Woods in American) built Fort
Frederick on the ruins of Fort William Henry. Dunbar established
a third settlement, laying out streets, framing 30 to 40 houses,
and recruiting as many as 200 residents. However, when Dunbar's
claim to the land was disputed by the Massachusetts government
in 1732, he was forced to leave, and the community gradually
dispersed. Fort Frederick was defended against several further
French and/or Indian attacks, but was decommissioned in 1759.
Pemaquid and its succession of forts were then forgotten for
almost 150 years.