History of Boothbay, Maine
From
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine

By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill,
Boston 1886




Boothbay, one of the most southerly towns of Lincoln County, is situated between the Damariscotta and Sheepscot rivers, having the town of Edgecomb on the north. The surface is moderately irregular, without high hills. Agriculture is largely followed, and fair crops are obtained in return for thorough cultivation. The principal occupation of the inhabitants, however, relates to the fisheries. Barter's, Sawyer's and Hodgden's islands lie near together on the west side of the town; and at the south is Squirrel Island, which, though without other than the family of the keeper in winter, is in
summer quite a populous village, being a convenient and agreeable sea-side resort. The harbors are Boothbay Harbor, midway of its southern shore; Linekin's Bay, east of the former, and separated from it by the promontory of Spruce Point ; and Pleasant Cove, off Damariscotta River, in the north-eastern part of the town. Linekin's Neck is a long projection of the south-east part of the town curving west ward, and forming Linekin's Bay. The principal ponds are Adam's, in the centre of the town; and south of this, Campbell's Pond, with its outlet, Campbell's Creek, running southward to the sea. Oven's Mouth River is a little more than an arm of the sea. It extends from a little north of the centre of the town to its northern boundary, whence it turns westward, joining Back River, and the Sheepscot beyond. Back River is but a channel of the Sheepscot, separating Barter's Island from the main land.

Boothbay is noted for its fine harbors, and its extensive business in the menhaden or porgie fishery, and the extraction of the oil and the preparations of guano from this fish. Boothbay Harbor is esteemed one of the best in the eastern country. It has four entrances, is of ample size and depth, and is well protected. In 1779 it was the rendezvous of the American expedition against the British at Castine. In recent years it has sometimes in time of bad weather held four or five hundred vessels at a time, consisting chiefly of fishermen, who sought its shelter, or came in for supplies of bait, etc., Boothbay Harbor is a port of entry in the Wiscasset District. At the beginning of 1881, there were doing business at Boothbay village, one fishery and oil company, an ice company, two marine railways, a company manufacturing fertilizers, a factory for canning lobsters, and several manufactures carried on by sipgle parties. At East Boothbav, (Hodgdon's Mills) two firms and an incorporated company are engaged in preparing oil and guano from porgies; and there are also a large saw-mill and two shipbuilding firms. The other village is North Boothbay, situated at the centre of the town. There is here an establishment of the Knickerbocker Ice Company. Boothbay village is 12 miles south of Wiscasset, with which it is connected by a stage-line. It is the terminus of the daily steamboat line from Bath in the summer, and from Wiscasset in the winter.

Boothbay was formerly known as a part of Cape Newagen. It is supposed to have been occupied as early as 1630. Boothbay Harbor (formerly Townsend) is considered by many to be the "Pentecost Harbor," on whose shores the crew of Captain Weymouth planted and raised a crop of garden vegetables in 1605. Henry Curtis, in 1666, purchased of the famous sagamore, Robin Hood, the right to settle here; but in the second Indian war (1688) the savages destroyed the settlement. It lay waste and almost desolate for 40 years subsequent. In 1730, it was revived by Colonel Dunbar, who gave it the name of Townsend. It was incorporated under that name in 1764, retaining the old name until 1842, when it received the name it now bears, in memory of Old Boothbay, in Lincolnshire, England. It formerly included Southport and the western part of Edgecomb. The hardships of that early period were sometimes almost beyond belief. The set tiers brought in by Dunbar were largely Presbyterians from the north of Ireland, some of whom had been actors in the scenes of the English Revolution of 1688. The simple faith of these emmigrants is well illustrated in an anecdote related by Willis, "Scotch-Irish Immigraton" to this country] of Andrew Reed, an uncle of the celebrated Presbyterian, Rev. John Murray. During the last Indian war the residents of Boothbay Harbor withdrew to the westward for safety. Mr. Reed alone refused to go, and, in defiance of all persuasian, persisted in remaining in his rude log cabin. Contrary to all expectation, the fugitives, on their return in the spring, found him alive and unharmed. To their wondering inquiries lie calmly replied that lie had felt neither solitude nor alarm. " Why should I? Had I not my Bible with me?" cried the old man. Rev. John Murray, to whom allusion has been made, was settled at Boothbay in the years just preceeding the Revolution. After "emoving from Boothbay, he was settled over the "Whitefield Church" in Newburyport, where his services were often attended by audiences of 2,000 people. Early in the war of the Revolution, British cruisers sometimes put into Boothbay Harbor, where the sailors frequently went ashore to rob the people. The plundered inhabitants remonstrated with the officers, but to no effect. As a last resort the people requested Mr. Murray to make an effort for their relief. They embarked Him in a capacious boat, and paddled out to the British ship, whose crew were at this time bearing so heavily upon them. The approaching boat challenged the attention of the whole ship's company, who were on the alert to know its business. Their surprise was great when they beheld upon the deck of their vessel the noble figure of the clergyman, clad in the full canonicals of the Presbyterian order. They gazed U])Ofl him in silent wonder, while lie set forth the sad case of his struggling and suffering parishioners with such force and pathos that the town was no more afflicted by those attached to this vessel.

The Boothbay Savings Bank held in deposits and profits at the close of 1879, $35,795.87. At Boothbay village there are now Congregationalist, Free Baptist and Methodist churches; at North Boothbay is a Congregationalist arid Free Baptist, and at East Boothbay a Methodist church, and on Barter's Island, a Free Baptist church. Boothbay has sixteen public schoolhouses, and the entire school property is valued at $20,000. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $642,819. In 1880, it was $769,760. The population in 1870 was 3,200. In 1880 it was 3,576.

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