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

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




Camden is situated on the west side of Penobscot Bay, and is the north-eastern town of Knox County. Rockland bounds it on the south, Hope on the north-west, Penobscot Bay on the east and Lincolnville, in Waldo County, on the north. The area is 26,880 acres. The surface is broken and mountainous, and the Indian name of the place (Megunticook) signifying great sea-swells, is properly descriptive. There are grouped within the town five mountains, spoken of in early times as Mathebestucks Hills. Mount Megunticook is 1,265 feet in height; and of Mount Beatty, Bald Mountain, Ragged Mountain and Mount Pleasant, no summit falls below 900 feet above the sea. They range in general from north-east to south-west, and are more or less clothed with forest trees quite to their tops. The summit of Megunticook affords one of the noblest of marine prospects, embracing Penobscot Bay with its islands, Mount Desert at the east, and a vast sweep of the ocean on the south-east. These are possibly the mountains mentioned by Captain Weymouth, as seen in his voyage in 1605, and by Captain Smith in 1614. They are visible 20 leagues distant. They are supposed to have been the boundary between the great Bashaba’s domimons, situated on the west, and those of the Tarratines on the east and north. Mount Beatty, 900 feet in height and threefourths of a mile from the village, was during the war of 1812 furnished with a battery consisting of one 12 and one 18 pounder. Though there were no gunners qualified to manage the battery, and few soldiers in town, this appearance of readiness for defense kept tile British in cheek.

In the war of the Revolution the place did not escape so easily. After the British, in 1779, occupied Castine, Camden became tile Only place upon the Penobscot of general rendezvous for the Americans. A small force was encamped here, believed to have been under the Command of Captain George Uliner, afterward major general of militia, state senator and sheriff. In one of their descents on the place, the British burned the saw mill on Megunticook Stream. They also set fire to the grist-null, but it was extinguished by Leonard Metcalf and and a small party, who bravely drove the assailants to their barges.

Camden was a patt of the Waldo patent, and the township passed into the ownership of the “Twenty Associates,” becoming Megunticook plantation. It was surveyed by David Fales, of Thomaston in 1768, and settlements were commenced a few years after on Goose River, Clam Cove and Megunticook, and mills erected. The first settler was James Richards, who commenced a settlement at the mouth of the Megunticook in 1769. Robert Thorndike together with Peter Ott, Paul Thorndike, Harkness and Ballard, about the same time commenced one at what is now Rockport village. Gregory, Buckland, Porterfield and Upham were the pioneers of the settlement at Calm Cove. The town was incorporated in 1791, being named in honor of Lord Camden a parliamentary friend of the colonies in tile Revolution.

Camden has six ponds,—Lily, Hosmer’s, Canaan, Grassy, Rocky., and Oyster, containing from 65 to 900 acres. There are five considerable streams and twenty-one water-powers. Fourteen of these are on 3iegunticook Stream, the outlet of Canaan, or Megunticook Pond, situated about 2½ miles from Camden Harbor. Tile stream is, however, some 34 miles long, and in this distance has a fall of about. 150 feet. The manufactures at Camden village consist of foundry products, railroad cars, woolens and paper-mill feltings, anchors, wedges, plugs and treenails, planking, powder-kegs excelsior, mattresses, powder, barreliiead machines, tin-ware, oakuin, wool-rolls, carriages, boots and shoes, leather, flour and meal, ships and boats. At Rockport, the manufactures are ships, boats, sails, capstans and windlasses, lime, bricks, tinware, meal, boots and shoes, patent clothes-dryers; and a considerable business is done in ice. At West Camden, are made corn-brooms, carriages, cooperage, meal, lime, etc. At Rockville, the products are carriages, and boots and shoes. There are operated in town sixteen litne-kilus, three shipyards, four grist-mills and six saw—mills. Limestone is the principal rock underlying the soil. The latter is generally sand and olay,—a diluvial formation. Hay is the principal crop exported. Camden village is on the stage line from Bangor to Rockland, and is 8 miles from the latter place. The nearest railroad station is at Rockland. Camden is also on the steamboat line from Portland and Boston to Bangor.

Each of the villages has its peculiar attraction in elegant buildings, fine situation, or streets shaded with trees of elm, locust, maple and horse-chesnut. The Post-offices are at Camden village, Rockport, West Camden and Rockville. Camden Saving’s Bank at the close of 1879, held deposits and profits to the amount of $145,672.72. Camden National Bank has a capital of $50,000. The “Camden Herald” is a spirited and ably conducted sheet, a good collector of local as well as national and foreign news. At this date it advocates the measures of the greenback party. It is issued every Saturday by W. W. Perry.

Among the eminent citizens were Hons. Jonathan Thayer, Erastus Foote, E. K. Smart, Joseph Hall, and William Merriam. Camden furnished 300 men for the armies of the Union during the war of the Rebellion, of whom 90 were lost. The churches of the town number three Methodist, two Episcopal, four Baptist, two Universalist. At Camden village is an excellent new town-hall, having an audienceroom capable of seating 600 persons. The cost of the building was $12,000. In the villages are three libraries, and two book-clubs. The larger villages have graded schools. The town has sixteen public schoolhouses. The total school property is valued at $11,650. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $1,497,631. In 1880 it was $1,676,536. The rate of taxation in 1880 was 17 mills on the dollar. The population in 1870 was 4,512. In 1880 it was 4,386.

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