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Overview of the History of Edgecomb

 

Edgecomb was incorporated as a township on March 3, 1774 combining the Freetown Plantation, first settled by Samual Trask, Ebenezer Gove and Nathan Gove circa 1744-1749, and Jeremisquam Island. The island of Jeremysquam, now Westport Island, was set off in 1828.

Town government.

As was typical in bills incorporating new townships, the inhabitants of Edgecomb were instructed to meet and choose officers to manage the affairs of the town. As set out by the incorporation papers, the first recorded meeting for the town was on May 31, 1774 at the home of Nathan Gove, and freeholders and inhabitants were instructed to choose all such officers as would be necessary to manage the affairs of the town. Thus, the officers chosen at this first meeting (Selectmen, Constables, Wardens, Assessors, Tithingmen, Fence Viewers, among others), and the issues addressed in subsequent meetings during that year (such as the location and building of a meeting house, schools and animal pounds), provided the foundation for the form of government still used today. The first meeting house for the township, constructed 1791-93, continues to serve the community as its center of town government— the Edgecomb Town Hall. [1]

Schools.

A few years after Edgecomb was incorporated school districts were set up within the town with each district electing agents and officers responsible for running the schools within its area. By 1897 there were eight school districts in Edgecomb, each having one school building. Of these early school buildings a few survive—the District No. 1 “Eddy School” on Cross Point Road altered to a new use as the Eddy Apartments; the District No. 3 “City School” a part of the “Edgecomb Potters’” on Route 27, and the District No. 4 “Salt Marsh School” on River Road serving as a private dwelling.

Churches.

As new religious ideas appeared throughout New England through the late 18th century and 19th century, churches were constructed reflecting those changes. In 1801, the Baptist Society petitioned to incorporate into a religious society under the name of General Provision Baptist in Edgecomb and a church was constructed. Unfortunately this building was destroyed by fire in the circa 1870s. The “Free Will Baptist Church” constructed circa 1876 on Old County Road to replace the earlier structure still remains in an altered condition having lost its steeple. “The Methodist Chapel” built circa 1871 on what is now Route One, when not being used by the Methodist Society, was originally open for worship by the Baptist or Congregational Societies. That building is now used for commercial purposes. In 1882, the “Congregational Church” was constructed on Cross Point Road to replace Edgecomb’s traditional early Meeting House, then outmoded or outgrown in form and perhaps also in function.[2]

Owen, “Early Settlers map, 1752,” pp. 2, 12-15, 21-22; ; Town of Edgecomb web site www.maine.gov/local/lincoln/edgecomb/.

Owen, pp. 29-30, 31, 38

  Town of EdgecombHistoric resource Survey Reconnaissance level, Rose Marie Ballard Boak

 

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1857 Map

 

 Overview of Edgecomb architecture, cemetaries and archaeology

 

architecture

 The earliest public structures were animal pounds followed by 13 schools, and after nearly twenty years of deliberation and planning, the town hall was completed in 1794. The Congregational Church, Free Baptist Church and the Methodist Chapel were constructed during the 19th century.

Edgecomb’s only “Government” building, Fort Edgecomb, sits as silent testimony to this country’s military history during its early formative years.

Early settlement dating to the mid-to-late 18th through early 19th centuries is evidenced by theremaining period structures scattered throughout town. While a few clusters of early buildings or homes built fairly close to one another do exist, most early settlement in Edgecomb seems to have been widely separated.

A number of buildings constructed during the late Colonial period remain in Edgecomb. The 19th century brought, in addition to some Federal “high style” houses, the Greek Revival cape, which continued to be built throughout the late 19th century and into the 20th century and can be found along most Edgecomb roads—all or most beginning as family farms.

In the 1880s, the flamboyant architectural styles of the Romantic decades were countered by the Shingle Style, in which the building was viewed as a simple, organic, flowing form. These buildings heralded the shift that was to follow in the 20th century, the gentle inclusion for Edgecomb of a summer population.

During the first half of the 20th century many of the houses built represent a subtle change in Edgecomb. In the early 20th century, as the quiet, rural, river-bounded countryside of Edgecomb attracted summer residents from the cities to the south, dwellings representing a more seasonal life style began to take their place among the traditional dwellings of the previous decades. In the first decade of the 20th century, the simple Four-Square appeared with its hip roof, forthright simple presentation and link to the more basic architecture of the 18th and early 19th centuries.

As Edgecomb’s seasonal community grew, simple buildings such as the Craftsman or Arts and Crafts cottage, the Bungalow, as well as the simple Maine cottage begin to edge the shores of both the Damariscotta and Sheepscot rivers.

A complete inventory with photographs of 230 Edgecomb buildings over fifty years old is on file at the town and through the Edgecomb Historical Society.

Cemetaries

And as in every settled area throughout New England, fourteen public and private cemeteries dotted throughout Edgecomb provide an historical record of the people who came, settled, lived, and died in the community. And as testimony to the changes in burial practices that have occurred over time, the small family plot dating to the time of early settlement through the mid-to-late 19th century can befound on a number of properties throughout Edgecomb.

Archaeology

The Shoreland Zone of the Damariscotta and Sheepscot rivers has been completely surveyed by archaeologists from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission and the Universityof Maine at Orono. Only the margins of interior wetlands such as Lily Pond remain to be surveyed. Several prehistoric archaeological sites are known to be in three areas of Edgecomb: (1) along Cod Cove, (2) along the Sheepscot River and (3) along the Damariscotta River. Because the sites are historically valuable and are on private property, the specific locations will not be disclosed.

Historic archaeological sites are Dodge Lower Cove Brickyard; Brown's Brick Yard; Poole's Landing Brick Yard; Fort Edgecomb (also on the National Register of Historic Places); Briar Farm; the Brown Homestead and the Feldspar Mine located on Mount Hunger. With the exception of Fort Edgecomband the Feldspar Mine and mica mine in the Schmid Preserve, all land surrounding the sites is privately owned. In addition to Fort Edgecomb, four structures are currently listed in the National Register of Historic Places; (1) the Congregational Church and (2) the John Moore House, both located on Cross Point Roadand (3) the Stephen Parsons House, located on the Mill Road and (4) Fort Edgecomb.