History of Monhegan Plantation, Maine
From
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine
By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill,
Boston 1886
Transcribed by Doreen Crocker



MONHEGAN PLANTATION is an island situated just outside of Muscongus Bay, in Lincoln County. It lies 12 miles sout-east from Pemaquid Point light, 23 miles from Marinicus rock, and 20 miles from Seguin light. Its own lighthouse has a flashing, white light, sweeping the entire horizon. The tower is of granite of the natural color. The island comprises a thousand acres of good, though rocky land. Potatoes are the chief crop, and fishing the principal occupation of the Islanders.

Monhegan has a bold shore on all sides, a large projection of rocks at its northeastward part, and has one good harbor. Station Hill, about 200 feet high, is the principal eminence. Broocher's Cave, about 8 feet in depth, ia an object of curiosity.

The name, Monhegan, is a corruption of an Indian word signifying "Grand Island". It is the "St. Georges" Island" of Capt. George Weymouth, who landed here in 1605. Here, also, Popham's colonists landed on the 29th of August 1607, when Richard Seymour, the chaplain, preached the first English sermon ever given in America. A plan has been formed for erecting a monument upon the island in commemoration of this event.

Monhegan has, from their first knowledge of the coast, been a place of resort for European fisherman and traders; and in 1618-19 part of a crew sent out by Sir Ferdinando Gorges spent the winter here. In 1626, Abraham Shurt was sent over by Elbridge and Aldsworth, the owners of the Pemaquid Patent, to purchase the island from Abraham Jennings, of Plymouth, paying for it L50. It was depopulated in Kings Phillips' war; but was soon after resettled, and has ever since continued in thriving condition. On the island "Mananas" forming the western side of the harbor of Monhegan, are some markings on a rock, which by some antiquarians are believed to be letters made by Scandinavian explorers in ancient days. The characters are about eight inches in lengthand are sunk quite deeply into the rock, upon a stratum which seems to be softer than the main ledge, which is hornMende. They all stand in proper paraells to each other, and obliquely to the course of the stratum. A cast was taken by Dr. Hamlin, which was sent to the American Antiquarian Society at Copenhagan; but the society have not been able to establish its human origin. Many incline to the opinion that the marks are only peculiar fissures in the rock.

There were formerly an Advent society and meeting on the island; and during the season of 1880 a church was finished and dedicated by the Methodists. Monhegan has one good public schoolhouse, which, with the appurtenances, is valued at $500. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $24,345. In 1880 it was $10,305. The rate of taxation in the latter year was 2 1/2 per cent. The population in 1870 was, together with Marsh Isle, 165. In 1880 it was 133.

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