Thomaston, Maine

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Thomaston, Maine
Panorama View of Thomaston, ME.jpg
Panoramic view in 1908
Knox County Maine incorporated and unincorporated areas Thomaston highlighted.svg
Location in Knox County and the state of Maine.
CountryUnited States
State Maine
County Knox County
Villages Thomaston
Wiley Corners
Area
[1]
  Total11.48 sq mi (29.73 km2)
  Land10.94 sq mi (28.33 km2)
  Water0.54 sq mi (1.40 km2)
Population
 (2010) [2]
  Total2,781
  Estimate 
(2012 [3] )
2,776
  Density254.2/sq mi (98.1/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
  Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
Area code(s) 207
Website https://www.thomastonmaine.us

Thomaston (formerly known as Fort St. Georges, Fort Wharf, Lincoln) is a town in Knox County, Maine, United States. The population was 2,781 at the 2010 census. Noted for its antique architecture, Thomaston is an old port popular with tourists.

New England town Basic unit of local government in each of the six New England federated states of the United States

The New England town, generally referred to in New England simply as a town, is the basic unit of local government and local division of state authority in each of the six New England states and without a direct counterpart in most other U.S. states. New England towns overlay the entire area of a state, similar to civil townships in other states where they exist, but they are fully functioning municipal corporations, possessing powers similar to cities in other states. New Jersey's system of equally powerful townships, boroughs, towns, and cities is the system which is most similar to that of New England. New England towns are often governed by a town meeting legislative body. The great majority of municipal corporations in New England are based on the town model; statutory forms based on the concept of a compact populated place are uncommon, though they are prevalent elsewhere in the U.S. County government in New England states is typically weak at best, and in some states nonexistent. Connecticut, for example, has no county governments, nor does Rhode Island. Both of those states retain counties only as geographic subdivisions with no governmental authority, while Massachusetts has abolished eight of fourteen county governments so far. With few exceptions, counties serve mostly as dividing lines for the states' judicial systems.

Knox County, Maine U.S. county in Maine

Knox County is a county located in the state of Maine, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 39,736. Its county seat is Rockland. The county is named for American Revolutionary War general and Secretary of War Henry Knox, who lived in the county from 1795 until his death in 1806. The county was established on April 1, 1860, and is the most recent county to be created in Maine. It was carved from parts of Waldo and Lincoln counties. The Union Fair, started in 1868, began as the efforts of the North Knox Agricultural and Horticultural Society.

2010 United States Census 23rd national census of the United States, taken in 2010

The 2010 United States Census is the twenty-third and most recent United States national census. National Census Day, the reference day used for the census, was April 1, 2010. The census was taken via mail-in citizen self-reporting, with enumerators serving to spot-check randomly selected neighborhoods and communities. As part of a drive to increase the count's accuracy, 635,000 temporary enumerators were hired. The population of the United States was counted as 308,745,538, a 9.7% increase from the 2000 Census. This was the first census in which all states recorded a population of over half a million people as well as the first in which all 100 largest cities recorded populations of over 200,000.

Contents

History

As early as 1630, a trading post was established on the eastern bank of the St. George River, then considered the boundary between New England and New France. In 1704, Thomas LeFebvre from Quebec bought a large tract of land along the Weskeag River on which he built a gristmill, with a house on the shoreline at what is now South Thomaston. The area became known as Thomas' Town. [4] In 1719–1720, the old trading post was remodeled into Fort St. George, a stockaded fort protected by two blockhouses. But Abenaki Indian tribes protested the encroachment of an English fort on their territory. Instigated by the French, they attacked the garrison twice during Dummer's War in 1722, then again in 1723 with a siege lasting 30 days. In response to this and other provocations, soldiers destroyed the Abenaki stronghold of Norridgewock in 1724.

Trading post place or establishment where the trading of goods took place

A trading post, trading station, or trading house was a place or establishment where the trading of goods took place; the term is generally used, in modern parlance, in reference to such establishments in historic Northern America, although the practice long predates that continent's colonization by Europeans. The preferred travel route to a trading post or between trading posts, was known as a trade route.

The Saint George River is a river in Maine with a watershed of 225 square miles (580 km2) in a unique and historic area of mountains, sea coast, lakes, tidal streams and inlets. The origin of the Saint George River is the outflow of Saint George Lake in Liberty. The river follows a winding course 45 miles (72 km) south to Thomaston, where the river flows into the estuary and runs about 12 miles (19 km) southwest to Muscongus Bay, forming the border between Cushing and St. George.

New France Area colonized by France in North America

New France was the area colonized by France in North America during a period beginning with the exploration of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Great Britain and Spain in 1763 under the Treaty of Paris (1763).

During the French and Indian War, to avenge for the fall of Louisbourg, on August 13, 1758 French officer Boishebert left Miramichi, New Brunswick with 400 soldiers for Fort St George (Thomaston, Maine). [5] His detachment reached there on September 9 but was caught in an ambush and had to withdraw. This was Boishébert's last Acadian expedition. [6] They then went on to raid Friendship, Maine, where people were killed and others taken prisoner. [7] Hostilities of the French and Indian Wars ceased with the 1759 Fall of Quebec.

French and Indian War North American theater of the worldwide Seven Years War

The French and Indian War (1754–1763) pitted the colonies of British America against those of New France, each side supported by military units from the parent country and by American Indian allies. At the start of the war, the French colonies had a population of roughly 60,000 settlers, compared with 2 million in the British colonies. The outnumbered French particularly depended on the Indians.

Charles Deschamps de Boishébert et de Raffetot French army officer

Charles Deschamps de Boishébert was a member of the Compagnies Franches de la Marine and was a significant leader of the Acadian militia's resistance to the Expulsion of the Acadians. He settled and tried to protect Acadians refugees along the rivers of New Brunswick. At Beaubears National Park on Beaubears Island, New Brunswick he settled refugee Acadians during the Expulsion of the Acadians.

Miramichi, New Brunswick City in New Brunswick, Canada

Miramichi [ˈmɛɚˌməˌʃi] is the largest city in northern New Brunswick, Canada. It is situated at the mouth of the Miramichi River where it enters Miramichi Bay. The Miramichi Valley is the second longest valley in New Brunswick, after the Saint John River Valley.

Mason Wheaton was the first permanent settler in 1763. Located at the heart of the Waldo Patent, Thomaston was incorporated from St. Georges Plantation on March 20, 1777. Many settlers arrived following the Revolutionary War in 1783. General Henry Knox built his mansion, Montpelier, at Thomaston in 1793–1794. [8]

The Waldo Patent, a letters patent also known as the Muscongus Patent or the Lincolnshire Patent, was a document granting title to 36 square miles (9,300 ha) of land in what is now the U.S. state of Maine. It is named variously for businessman Samuel Waldo, who eventually gained control of the patent, and for the Muscongus River, one of the grant's boundaries.

American Revolution Revolt in which the Thirteen Colonies won independence from Great Britain

The American Revolution was a colonial revolt which occurred between 1765 and 1783. The American Patriots in the Thirteen Colonies defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) with the assistance of France, winning independence from Great Britain and establishing the United States of America.

Henry Knox Continental Army and US Army general, US Secretary of War

Henry Knox was a military officer of the Continental Army and later the United States Army, who also served as the first United States Secretary of War from 1789 to 1794.

The town prospered in the early 19th century as a port and ship building center. Around 1840, two of seven recorded millionaires in the United States were Thomaston sea captains. [9] Other industries included two gristmills, two sawmills and planing mills, three sail lofts, brickyards, cask manufacturing and a marble works. Lime had been manufactured here since 1734 in kilns. [10] Thomaston is still home to Jeff's Marine, Inc. and Lyman Morse Boatbuilding, builders of custom power and sailing yachts. Located on the St. George River, Lyman Morse Boatbuilding sits on the original site of the General Henry Knox Mansion and where wooden schooners have been built for over 200 years.

Sea captain Commander of a ship or other sea-going vessel

A sea captain, ship's captain, captain, master, or shipmaster, is a high-grade licensed mariner who holds ultimate command and responsibility of a merchant vessel. The captain is responsible for the safe and efficient operation of the ship‍—‌including its seaworthiness, safety and security, cargo operations, navigation, crew management, and legal compliance‍—‌and for the persons and cargo on board.

Sawmill facility where logs are cut into timber

A sawmill or lumber mill is a facility where logs are cut into lumber. Modern saw mills use a motorized saw to cut logs lengthwise to make long pieces, and crosswise to length depending on standard or custom sizes. The "portable" saw mill is iconic and of simple operation—the logs lay flat on a steel bed and the motorized saw cuts the log horizontally along the length of the bed, by the operator manually pushing the saw. The most basic kind of saw mill consists of a chainsaw and a customized jig, with similar horizontal operation.

A planing mill is a facility that takes cut and seasoned boards from a sawmill and turns them into finished dimensional lumber. Machines used in the mill include the planer and matcher, the molding machines, and varieties of saws. In the planing mill planer operators use machines that smooth and cut the wood for many different uses.

Rockland and South Thomaston were set off and incorporated in 1848. The Knox and Lincoln Railroad passed through the town, carrying freight and tourists. [10]

Rockland, Maine City in Maine, United States

Rockland is a city in Knox County, Maine, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 7,297. It is the county seat of Knox County. The city is a popular tourist destination. It is a departure point for the Maine State Ferry Service to the islands of Penobscot Bay: Vinalhaven, North Haven and Matinicus.

South Thomaston, Maine Town in Maine, United States

South Thomaston is a town in Knox County, Maine, United States. The population was 1,558 at the 2010 census. A fishing and resort area, the town includes the village of Spruce Head.

Rockland Branch railroad from Brunswick, Maine to Rockland, Maine

The Rockland Branch is a railroad from Brunswick, Maine to Rockland, Maine. A charter was granted in 1849 to build a railway from the Portland and Kennebec Railroad on the west side of the Kennebec River to Rockland. Construction through the rocky headlands of the Atlantic coast proved more expensive than anticipated. The Knox and Lincoln Railroad commenced service to Rockland in 1871 using a ferry to cross the Kennebec River between Bath and Woolwich. The Knox and Lincoln was leased by Maine Central Railroad in 1891, and became Maine Central's Rockland Branch in 1901. Maine Central purchased the Samoset destination hotel in nearby Glen Cove in 1912, and offered direct passenger service for summer visitors from the large eastern cities. Carlton bridge was completed in 1927 to carry the railroad and U.S. Route 1 over the Kennebec River. Maine Central sold the Samoset hotel in 1941, and the last Maine Central passenger train to Rockland was on 4 April 1959. The State of Maine purchased the branch in 1987 to prevent abandonment. The line has subsequently been operated by the Maine Coast Railroad, the Maine Eastern Railroad, and, beginning in 2016, the Central Maine and Quebec Railway.

Thomaston was home to the Maine State Prison until 2002, when it moved to Warren and the former facility was demolished. The prison was locally famous for its shop featuring handmade wares of the prisoners and was the inspiration for the prison in the film, The Shawshank Redemption . [11] The gift shop still exists today. [12] The prison site had been sold to the state in 1824 by former governor William King. Today, Thomaston is a resort area with a large historic district containing Federal, Greek Revival and Italianate architecture. The town was a filming location for the 1996 film, Thinner .

In June 1875, Louis Wagner ("the Smuttynose Axe Murderer"), alongside John True Gordon ("the Thorndike Slayer"), were hanged on the gallows of the Maine State Prison of Thomaston. Louis Wagner was forgotten by history until the recent book Return to Smuttynose Island and other Maine Axe Murders by Emeric Spooner. Mr. Spooner located Wagner's grave which can still be viewed in the Old Prison Cemetery on the grounds of the former prison. [13]

The Thomaston Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 11.48 square miles (29.73 km2), of which, 10.94 square miles (28.33 km2) of it is land and 0.54 square miles (1.40 km2) is water. [1] Thomaston is drained by the St. George River, Weskeag River, Mill River and Oyster River. [14]

The town is crossed by U. S. Route 1 and Maine State Route 131. It is bordered by the towns of Rockland to the northeast, South Thomaston to the south, Cushing to the southwest, and Warren to the northwest.

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1790 799
1800 1,39774.8%
1810 2,10050.3%
1820 2,65126.2%
1830 4,21459.0%
1840 6,22747.8%
1850 2,723−56.3%
1860 3,21818.2%
1870 3,092−3.9%
1880 3,017−2.4%
1890 3,009−0.3%
1900 2,688−10.7%
1910 2,205−18.0%
1920 2,019−8.4%
1930 2,2149.7%
1940 2,53314.4%
1950 2,81010.9%
1960 2,780−1.1%
1970 2,646−4.8%
1980 2,9009.6%
1990 3,30614.0%
2000 3,74813.4%
2010 2,781−25.8%
Est. 20142,768 [15] −0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census [16]

2010 census

A view of downtown Thomaston, Maine as seen in March 2013. Thomaston Maine March 2013.jpg
A view of downtown Thomaston, Maine as seen in March 2013.

As of the census [2] of 2010, there were 2,781 people, 1,219 households, and 767 families residing in the town. The population density was 254.2 inhabitants per square mile (98.1/km2). There were 1,385 housing units at an average density of 126.6 per square mile (48.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.0% White, 0.3% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.5% of the population.

There were 1,219 households of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.6% were married couples living together, 13.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.1% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 14% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.73.

The median age in the town was 44 years. 21.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.4% were from 25 to 44; 30.8% were from 45 to 64; and 18.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 46.9% male and 53.1% female.

2000 census

As of the census [17] of 2000, there were 3,748 people, 1,436 households, and 887 families residing in the town. The population density was 343.2 people per square mile (132.5/km²). There were 1,535 housing units at an average density of 140.5 per square mile (54.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.81% White, 0.61% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.05% from other races, and 0.80% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.43% of the population.

There were 1,436 households out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.4% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.2% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the town, the population was spread out with 20.5% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 25.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 114.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 116.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $33,306, and the median income for a family was $42,319. Males had a median income of $29,894 versus $21,295 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,199. About 8.1% of families and 12.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.1% of those under age 18 and 15.9% of those age 65 or over.

Fire Department

The Fire Department currently runs three pumpers, one ladder truck with a 75' aerial ladder, one utility/brush truck and one ambulance. The Fire Department is an all volunteer service.

Sites of interest

Notable people

Montpelier, the Gen. Henry Knox mansion (1793-1871) - replica built 1929. The "Knox Mansion," Thomaston, from Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views.jpg
Montpelier, the Gen. Henry Knox mansion (1793–1871) – replica built 1929.

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References

Texts

Endnotes

  1. 1 2 "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved December 16, 2012.
  2. 1 2 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved December 16, 2012.
  3. "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 17, 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  4. "History of Early Thomaston", Thomaston Historical Society
  5. The History of Augusta, from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time ... by James W. North p. 67
  6. Phyllis E. Leblanc Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
  7. The history of the state of Maine: from its first discovery, A. D ..., Volume 2 By William Durkee Williamson, p. 333
  8. Coolidge, Austin J.; John B. Mansfield (1859). A History and Description of New England. Boston, Massachusetts. pp. 323–326.
  9. Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums (1970). Doris A. Isaacson (ed.). Maine: A Guide 'Down East'. Rockland, Me: Courier-Gazette, Inc. pp. 260–261.
  10. 1 2 Varney, George J. (1886), Gazetteer of the state of Maine. Thomaston, Boston: Russell
  11. "Prison that inspired Stephen King closes". UPI. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  12. Maine Department of Corrections Industries
  13. Emeric Spooner, Return to Smuttynose Island and other Maine Axe Murders
  14. "History of Thomaston, Rockland, and South Thomaston, Maine" Page 1, 1865
  15. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Archived from the original on May 23, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  17. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved January 31, 2008.

Coordinates: 44°04′44″N69°10′52″W / 44.079°N 69.181°W / 44.079; -69.181