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

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




Woolwich is situated in the eastern part of Sagadahoc County, adjoining Lincoln County, whose towns of Westport and Wiscasset bound it on the east, and Dresden on the north. It is separated from Bath by the Kennebec River, from Arrowsic and Georgetown by Back River and Moiisweag Bay, and by Monsweag River from Wiscasset on the east. The extreme length of the town from north to south is about 8½ miles, and the width from east to west is near 5½ miles. The area is 20,000 acres. The surface is much broken by low hills and projecting ledges, but has no great extent of low or marshy land. The soil is well adapted to the growth of every kind of produce for which the state is noted. Originally there was a heavy growth of timber in Ihe town. The trees common to the region flourish, especially the oak. Nequasset Pond, situated a little south of the centre of the town, is a beautiful sheet of water. Its length is about two miles, and its width varies from half to three-fourths of a mile. Its principal feeder, coming down from Dresden at the north, is marked by a line of low hills; as is also its outlet, which runs southward, discharging into Back River. A considerable bay makes up into the southern part of Woolwich at each side. At the extremity of the point between is Hockomock Head, a high bluff with precipitous walls of rock, which has a legend. During the Indian wars some Indians who had been committing depredations in Wiscasset were pursued, and one-said to have been a chief was closely followed up this narrow bluff to its precipitous front. Discharging his gun, he flung it from him, cried "Hockomock! Hockomoch!" and leaped down into the water. Thus runs the legend. In confirmation of it, there was found a few years since in a crevice of the rocks near the top a gun, silver mounted, and evidently of French workmanship, but so decayed as almost to fall in pieces at the touch. Eastward of Hockomock is Phips' Neck, forming the south-eastern portion of the town. Near the point a bridge connects with Westport across a narrow part of the bay.

Woolwich has four small villages, one, Montsweag post-office on the falls of the stream bearing that name; Nequosset railroad station on the outlet of Nequosset Pond; Woolwich at the lower ferry, postoffice and railroad station, and Woolwich village at the upper ferry, opposite the upper end of the city proper of Bath. The manufactures are at Nequosset and Montsweag, and consist of lumber, bricks ant leather. There is also a grist-mill on a branch of the Montsweag in the north-eastern part of the town.

The early name of Woolwich was Nequasset, from the Indian name of the pond. John Bateman and Edward Brown were the first settlers. They became resident in 1638, and the next year purchased from Robin Hood, an Indian chief, most of the territory now comprised by Woolwich. Messrs. Smith, Cole, Phips and White came in very soon after. Subsequently a portion of this tract was claimed by Thomas Clark and Thomas Lake, and by settlers under them, by whom mills were erected about 1658. The settlement of Bateman and Brown was made under the grant to John Mason of 10,000 acres of land on the east side of the Sagadahoc. The peninsula at the south-east part of the town (Phips' Neck) was owned and occupied by James Phips (or Phippes), where was born in 1651, the son, afterward distinguished as Sir William Phips. and who in 1692, was made royal governor of Massachusetts and Maine. Direct tradition points out the place on this neck where young Phips built the vessel which in 1676, conveyed the settlers of the region out of the reach of the murderous savages. The fort of the Indian trader, Hammond, destroyed by the Indians in August, 1676, is said to have been in this town.

The Rev. Josiah Winship, a graduate of Harvard, was the first minister settled in Woolwich. He was ordained here in 1765, when there were only about twenty families and two framed houses in the town. He was the first Congregational paster ordained over a church in Kennebec valley. There is a still a flourishing church of this denomination here; and its pastor is Rev. Henry O. Thayer, the historian of the region. The Baptists, Free Baptists and Methodists also have each a church in the town. Woolwich has seven public schoolhouses, and the total school property has a value of $3,400. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $597,650. In 1880 it was $532,639. The population in 1870 was 1,168. In 1880 it was 1,154.

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