History of South Thomaston, Maine
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine

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

South Thomaston is the most south-eastern town of Knox County, extending southward in the form of a peninsula, and into Penobscot Bay in the form of a promontory. Tliomaston and Rockland bound it on the north, St. George on the south, St. George’s River on the west and Penobscot Bay on the east. The surface of the the town is rough and rocky along the coast, but back some distance there are many excellent farms. Hay is the principal crop. Dean’s and Perry hills, 100 to 150 feet in height, are the greatest elevations. The principal rock is granite. Eight different parties, of which one is an incorporated company, are engaged in quarrying. Wcstkeag River is the principa; stream. Its pond, confined at South Thomaston village by a dam, furnishes the chief water-power in town. It is a tidepower mainly. Upon it are a grist—mill, three polishing machines for granite, and a lumber-mill. The nearest railroad stations are those at Rockland and Thomaston, each about four miles distant.

Elisha Snow, who came from Brunswick in 1767, was the first settler. He built a saw-mill on the Westkeag (Wessawaskeag) stream, near which has sprung up the village of South Thomaston. Next came Lieutenant Natthews, Richard Keating, John Bridges, and James and Jonathan Oberton. In 1773, Joseph Coombs came into the town and erected another saw-mill near Snow’s; and the two soon after built a grist-mill together. Coornbs was a very energetic and skilful man. At this time he was but little past his legal majority. It is told of him, that he first came to the region as a day laborer, hut by his energy and prudence, soon acquired property and a wife. He met the latter at some party in the region, and both conceived a liking for each other. To visit her he was obliged to cross St. George’s River on a raft. Sometimes the raft would be on the opposite side, when he would divest himself of his clothes and swim across for the raft, and return upon it for his clothes. Then dressing in the dark he would set forward in a regular manner. He prospered in love, as we have seen he did in business; and some of his descendants display his sterling qualities. Eminent citizens of a later period were Captain E. A. Thorndike, Hon. George Thorndike, Rev. Samuel Baker, Rev. Amariah Kelloch, and Hon. E. H. Murch. The Indian name of this vicinity was Wessaweskeag, which signifies a “land of wonders.” The name was contracted by the first settlers to “Weskeag,” afterward to “Keag,” and finally it has degenerated to “Gig,” which remains a familiar appellation to the present time.

The Baptist church at South Thomaston is, with one exception, the oldest of that denomination between Penobscot Bay and Kennebec River, having been constituted in 1784, under the pastoral charge of Rev. Isaac Case. A meeting-house was erected by the society in 1796, which was enlarged and improved in 1847. In 1784, Elisha Snow, the first settler, was baptized, and in 1794, was settled as sub-pastor of this church. In 1808, he became senior minister, and continued thus until removed by death in 1832, at the age of ninety-two years. The Methodists also have now a meeting-house in the town. There arc fourteen public schoolhouses in South Thomaston, and the school property is valued at $6,300. The village district is graded, and has a high school. There is a village library of about 100 volumes. The valuation of real estate in 1870 was $408,145. In 1880 it was $321,861. The rate of taxation in the latter year was 17 mills on the dollar. The population in 1870 was 1,593. In 1880 it was 1,771.

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