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Welcome! to Northport, Maine

Our Town History

This history is taken from an article first published in "The Northport Budget", a short lived newspaper produced in the early 1900s. It should be noted that at the time of incorporation Maine was still a part of Massachusetts, and Waldo County was a part of Hancock County.

All the territory in this area formed part of the Muscongus Patent, later known as Lincolnshire, and finally the Waldo Patent, a subordinate land grant that the Plymouth Council, which held the great charter for New England, portioned out in Maine.

This charter was originally granted in 1620, by King James I of England, to forty noblemen, knights and gentlemen, and these men, the Plymouth Council,, before surrendering their charter, made several grants of land within the territory of Maine, of which the Waldo Patent was one. Most of this great tract of land came afterward into the possession of General Samuel Waldo who acquired part as a reward for services rendered the former owners, and part by purchase. It was for him the tract was named (Waldo County).

General Henry Knox acquired the estate in 1792. but six years later, on account of financial difficulties, was compelled to mortgage, the portion comprised within these towns to his friends, General Lincoln and Colonel Jackson.

This mortgage was in 1812 assigned to Messers. Isreal Thorndike, David Sears, and William Prescott of Boston. Belmont afterwards became the property of Samuel Parkman and Benjamin Joy of the same city.

With increase in number of inhabitants the settlements were formed into plantations and finally into the towns of today.

More than one and one quarter centuries have passed since the first settlement was made in this section and the changes that have come with the many years are very great. The trails marked by spotted trees have given way to excellent roads and drives, the little clearings of the settlers have been replaced by well tilled farms, broad meadow lands and villages, and on the seashore where once stood a few scattered log huts of hardy fishermen, there are today cozy cottages and beautiful summer residences overlooking the bay.

Only tradition, a few records and the moss covered gravestones are left to remind us of the men who came into the unbroken wilderness and made the beginnings of these towns.

Northport, the 106th town in Maine, was originally the northerly part of the plantation of Duck trap. It is bounded on the North by Belfast and Belmont, on the East and south by Penobscot Bay, and on the West by Pitcher Pond and the Town of Lincolnville. The area is about 25 square miles, The surface is rough and broken by many hills , but there is much good land for farming. The coast is irregular, and there is but one important harbor, Saturday Cove.

Early Settlements

Outlines of what is thought to have been a prehistoric road exist in Northport near the bluff, and indicate the possible presence here of the Northmen or other early voyagers centuries ago.

The earliest authentic record of early settlers here , however, places the settlement sometime in the earlier part of 1780-90. In 1790, when the first census was taken, the settlement had become a flourishing community with a population of 278.

One of the earliest white men to land on these shores was James Miller, an early settler in Belfast, who, on his way from New Hampshire to take up land in Belfast touched at Northport one Saturday in 1769, thinking he had reached his destination. He called the mistaken locality Saturday Cove.

At one time in the early days of the first settlement in Belfast, Robert Miller was returning in a boat from Camden with a bag of meal when he went ashore at Northport to get a dinner prepared at a cabin here, which was probably the only one in Northport at the time. He found the family ill and destitute and shared with the members his bag of meal.

Among the earliest permanent settlers in this place was David Miller who took up land on the shore evidently about 1786. John and Catherine Wadlin came not long afterward. They had a family of twelve children. Captain Thomas Burkmar, a soldier of the Revolution, came prior to 1795, and took up a great tract of land of two or three hundred acres. He became a leading man in the settlement. John, Thomas Jr. and Joseph, who were probably all of the same name, though spelled in various ways, were early settlers also. John and Thomas Jr. were probably sons of Thomas, Joseph who had at least a hundred acres of land, was probably a brother.

Nathaniel Sylvester came here before 1792.

Micajah Drinkwater, son of Joseph and Janet (Lathem) Drinkwater, was born on Cousins Island January 25, 1739. He married Elizabeth Bradford of Kingston, Mass. and settled in Northport with his sons Zenas and Josiah. The Drinkwater settled on the shore road not far from Duck Trap and were here in 1793.

Church History

Probably the first clergyman to visit settlers in Northport was the Reverand Paul Coffin, D.D., who was here August 12, 1796, as the guest of James Beattie.

The old Methodist Church at Saturday Cove was built about eighty years ago. (From 19xx) The church burned about twenty years after erection.

Mr. C.H.Bryant of Bristol was instrumental in building the Methodist Church at East Northport. The corner stone was laid November 1, 1900, but the church was not dedicated until February 22,1903.

The church at Saturday Cove was erected through the efforts of the Ladies' Aid Society. It was dedicated a Baptist Church.

Military History

Among the early settlers of Northport were several veterans of the Revolution and earlier wars. Sturdy pioneers, with little fear of the rigors and hardships of life in the wilderness. Among them were Major Ebenezer Frye, a veteran of both the French and Revolutionary Wars, and Captain Thomas Burkmar, a soldier of the Revolution.

During the War of 1812, like other towns on Penobscot Bay, Northport was exposed to the attacks and depredations of the British stationed at Castine, and warships which cruised along the coast of Maine.

On the 23rd of September, 1814 two barges filled with British soldiers made an attack on Saturday Cove. Elizabeth Drinkwater, the young wife of West Drinkwater, observed their approach and notified Zachariah Lawrence, whom she chanced to meet. Lawrence went to the shore with his gun and secreting himself, began to give orders as to a force of soldiers, and fired at the boat from different points.

The British withdrew for reinforcements, and during their absence West Drinkwater, Alban Elwell, Solomon Frohock and David Alden, collected a force and prepared to meet them when they returned. The English, with reinforcements and a swivel gun, drove the defenders back and plundered the store of Jones Shaw and several houses. The damage and loss of the citizens of Saturday Cove amounted to between three an four hundred dollars. Many of the townsmen were in the service in this war. August 31, 1812, sixty men were enrolled under the command of Capt. Jonathan Frye.

Petition for Incorporation

 The petition of the inhabitants of the plantation in its original form (many names misspelled and incorrectly written) is an authentic list of the earliest settlers in this town.

Petition accompanying chapter 40, Acts of 1795.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts:-

To: The Honorable the Senate and the Honorable the House of Representatives of said commonwealth in General Court assembled at Boston January 1796.

The petition of the subscribers inhabitants of the northerly part of a plantation called Duck Trap in the county of Hancock humbly shews that the inhabitants have for a long time struggled with the difficulties arising from their unincorporated state and are now become convinced that in order to insure themselves the advantage of the laws of society, and of due regulations it will be necessary for them to be vested with the powers, privileges and immunities of incorporated towns. -

The plantation now called Duck Trap is of too considerable an extent to form one town, and the inhabitants have agreed upon such a Division as will be mutual accommodation to both parts. -

Your petitioners pray that the land above describes, with the inhabitants living within the same tract may be incorporated with al the privileges, powers and immunities of tons in this Commonwealth into a town by the name of Knox - and as in Duty bound shall ever pray - Duck Trap 16 December 1795.

Laws of Massachusetts - An Act to Incorporate

An act to incorporate the northerly part of a plantation called Duck Trap, in the county of Hancock, into a town by the name of Northport.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, that the northerly part of a plantation called Duck Trap, in the county of Hancock, contained within the following description to wit: beginning a t Little River, so called, on the line of the town of Belfast; thence running a southwesterly course round the shore of the bay called Penobscot Bay, and round Duck Trap Point, so called, to the line dividing Joshua Adams land from land belonging to John Wade; thanes upon said line northwest by north or till it strikes the head of a pond about a mile from the shore; from thence across said pond the same course till it strikes the line dividing Henry Pendleton's land from the land of George Pitcher; thence northwest by north so as to make six miles from the shore; thence northeast by east three miles and one sixteenth; thence south twenty two degrees; east ninety rods to the southwesterly line of Belfast; thence north sixty eight degrees east upon a line of Belfast, three miles and eighty nine rods to the first mentioned boundary, together with the inhabitants within said district be and hereby are incorporated into a town by the name of Northport with all the powers, privileges and immunities of other to owns in this Commonwealth. Approved February 13, 1796.

 We hope you have enjoyed these pieces of Northport history. If you have information of historical interest please e-mail us at


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