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

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





Phipsburg constitutes the southern point of Sagadahoc County. It lies between the Kennebec River on the east, and New Meadows Harbor and West Bath, on the west. On the opposite side of this harbor is Great Island, a part of Harpswell. On the eastern side are the island towns of Arrowsic and. Georgetown. Bath lies at the north-west. Phipsburg is very nearly 12½ miles in extreme length and of an average width of about 3 miles. Bays and inlets mark its entire circumference. Following the shore north-eastward from Cape Small Point, we pass the inlet known as Sprague’s and Morse’s rivers, succeeded by Hunniwell's Beach; north which Hunniwell’s Point and Sabino peninsula form the eastern shore of Atkins' Bay. On its northem side rises the lofty bluff of Cox’s Head, upon which, in 1814, an earthwork was erected; beyond which is Wyman’s Bay. At the north looms Parker’s Head, and at its south-western side is the inlet basiii forming the tide-power known as Parker’s Head Mill Pond. Next succeed the harbor at Piipsburg Center, with Drummore Bay two miles above, with inlet and tide-power. Through Fiddler’s Reach, a curve of the Kennebec around the northern end of Phipsburg, we pass to Winnegance Creek, nearly three miles in length, and a basin at its extremity, forming two unsurpassed tide-powers, and separating Phipsburg from Bath and from West Bath except for a neck 200 rods in width, the Winnegance Carrying Place. South of this we have the Western Basin, Horse Island Harbor and Small Point Harbor. Several others we have no space to mention. There is some salt meadow in the northern part. The insulated ponds are Cornelius, Water Cove, Parker’s Head, Rooks and Popham. The surface of the town is rough and ledgy, but without high hills, except the long ridge of Morse’s Mountain which rises some 50 feet above the plain. A little south-west of the middle of the town much of the soil is a mixture of clay and sand. The lower part has red loam. The principal crops are potatoes and hay. Near the Basin on the western side is plenty of granite and a good lime quarry. Slate and feispar are also found in town. The depth of water is sufficient for vessels of considerable size to come quite up to the mills on several of the powers. On the Winnegance Tide-Power, three miles from Bath post-office, and four miles from Phipsburg Center Village, have been sixteen mills, nine on the Bath side and seven on the Phipsburg side of the line. Some of these, however, were burned several years since. There are now ten sawmills and one grist-mill operating in the town. There is at the Center a ship-yard where vessels of 2,000 tons are built. There are also five ice companies in the town. The post-offices are Phipsburg (Center), Parker’s Head, Small Point, Winnegance and Hunniwell’s Point. The nearest railroad station is at B:ith, about seven miles from Phipsburg Center. All steamers on the lines connecting the Kennebec with Portland and Boston, take and discharge passengers at this point.

Phipsburg contains the site of the earliest English colony in New England. The peninsula on the eastern side at the southern part, that bears on its north-eastern point the lofty granite walls of Fort Popham, still bears the marks of its occupancy by Popham’s colony in 1607. West of the fort rises a long hill running southward, and marking on the shore the western extremity of Hunniwell's Beach. A short distance in from the beach, at the foot of a grassy slope on the eastern side of the hill, is a pretty fresh-water pond. At Small Point Harbor, on the south-west side of the town, is the site of a fishing settlement established by the Pejepscot proprietors in 1716, with the name of Augusta. Dr. Oliver Noyes, one of the proprietors, was the principal director and patron. Captain Penhallow, son of the author of a history of the Indian Wars, in 1717, resided here. Dr. Noyes, in 1716, erected here a rude fort 100 feet square, for the purpose of protecting the settlers, who were coming in rapidly. A sloop named “Pejepscot” was employed as a packet between this Augusta and Boston, carrying out lumber and fish, and bringing back merchandise and settlers. The settlement continued until Lovewell’s War, when the houses were burnt and the fort destroyed by the Indians. In 1737 an attempt at re-settlement was made. Among those who came at this time were three families of Halls, Clark, Wallace, Wyman, James Doughty, David Gustin, Jeremiah Springer, Nicholas Rideout and John Owens. Phipsburg was included in the Pejepscot grant to Purchase and Way, and after Wharton’s purchase their lands were confirmed anew to some of the purchasers. The south part of the town was bought of the Indians by Thomas Atkins, the remainder by John Parker, jr., in 1659, and the northern part was assigned to his brother-in-law, Thomas Webber, who also obtained an Indian title. Silvarnis Davis, widely known in his day, owned and improved a farm south of Webber’s.

In 1734 Col. Arthur Noble built a strong garrison on the north side of the peninsula near Fiddler’s Reach. The first house of worship known in this settlement was erected near this garrison in 1736. Some thirtyfive years later an Episcopal church was erected on the site of this first house. The present Congregational church at the Centcr was built about 1802.

The extension of the North Yarmouth Line direct to the ocean brought the southern part of Phipsbnrg into that town; but the whole, for convenience to time inhabitants, was, in 1741, annexed to Georgetown. In 1814 Phipsburg was separated from that town and Incorporated under its present name, which was adopted in honor of Sir William Phips.

Eminent names among the citizens of this town in days that are past are Mark L. Hill, Andrew Reed, Parker McCobb, James Bowker, William M. and Thomas M. Reed. The fact that there are some 25 persons above seventy-five years of age speaks well for the salubrity of the climate. Two of the churches in the town belong to the Free Baptists and one to the Congregationalists. Phipsburg has fourteen public schoolhouses, and the total school property is valued at $2,500. The valuation of the estates in 1870 was $427,303. In 1880 it was $371,836. The rate of taxation in 1880 was three and a quarter per cent. The population in 1870 was 1,344. In 1880 it was 1,497.

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