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Maine Towns Which Owe Their

Names to Famous Englishmen

Although for more than the first one hundred and twenty-five years of the existence of the Province of Maine, the towns as they were incorporated adopted for the most part the names of English towns, in the latter part of the eighteenth century the names bestowed on them became in a greater degree those of Englishmen. Often these names were given in honor of men who were friendly to the American cause, Englishmen who in their lives of an earlier day had shown those same qualities of courage and independence which the American patriots admired.

Edgecomb, 7774

A town in Lincoln County, Edgecomb was originally settled in 1744 by Samuel Trask and others in "several places." Here, they and other settlers lived undisturbed for ten years, when three claimants challenged their titles by virtue of an Indian deed. The deed, however, had no definite boundaries and no actual possession had been taken under it. A lawyer from Boston, acquainted with the facts, undertook the defense of the settlers without fee or reward. In this he was successful, and in compliment to his generosity the plantation was called Freetown.

As early as 1637 Sir Richard Edgecomb had received from Sir Ferdinando Gorges a tract of land of 8,000 acres situated near Merry-meeting Bay, then called the Lake of New Somerset. The courts, however, ruled that the grant was obsolete and indefinite and that the sale of land to Wm. Bowdoin by the Plymouth Company was just and legal. When the town of Edgecomb was incorporated in 1774 it adopted the name of the then Lord Mount Edgecomb who, during the crisis of the Revolution, was distinguished as a friend of the American Colonies. Folly or Davis Island was so called because the first settler erected a castellated house, leaving the building incomplete in the middle of the thick forest fronting the river's mouth and standing as a monument to the extravagance and folly of the man who undertook to build what he was unable to finish.

Twenty years after the death of this first settler, Moses Davis came here with his young wife, Sarah Rolfe, and in the course of occupancy and improvement during many years they gained a good title. The bridge across Folly Bar was built in 1773. The original house built by Moses Davis in 1770 is still standing. It is the oldest house in Edgecomb and the first frame house built in town. It faces the mouth of the river and is near the old fort. The Amory house which is situated between the Davis house and the blockhouse was built in 1838 by David Jackins. About the year 1800 Stephen Parsons moved from Westport to Parsons Creek, built a house and grist mill, and the only carding mill in town. He was the town's first representative to the Legislature, after the separation of Maine from Massachusetts.

Other noted townsmen were: Admiral John Merry, Rufus Sewell, Isaac Poole, Ebeneezer Chase, and the families of Clifford, Burnham, Cunningham, Cushman, Gove, Huff, Hutchins, Dodge, Matthews, Sherman, Haggett, Patterson, Baker, Williams, Webber, Carlisle, Preble, Moore, Greenough and Greenleaf who came from Westport, and the Pinkham family who came from Boothbay. Shipbuilding was carried on to a limited extent at the Eddy, on Deacon's Point and on Folly or Davis Island. The old fort on Davis Island is a relic of the last war with England. The blockhouse, which is the most conspicuous land mark in Wiscasset Harbor, crowns a system of earth­works on the southern point of the island, one of four forts established on the coast of Lincoln County in 1808-09 built by Major Moses Porter, who had served in the Revolution and was the oldest living engineer in the army. The blockhouse is one of several buildings here erected and represents one of the most perfect and substantial of that kind of military architecture, octagonal in shape, two stories high, with an upper overhang. The great pine timbers which support the floor are fifteen inches square. During the stay of Major Porter, he boarded at the home of Squire Davis on the island. Captain John Binney originally commanded the fort and resided at a house in Wiscasset Village. The reservation is now owned by the state.

From Chapter V MAINE PLACE NAMES and The Peopling Of Its Towns by Aya Harriet Chadbourne