Long before English fishermen and fur traders began frequenting the waters of Monhegan, Damariscove and Pemaquid, Native Americans inhabited the area. As recently as the first decade of the 17th century, there was a sizable Wabanaki settlement on the Pemaquid Peninsula. However, by the time a year-round English settlement was established in the 1620's, the area's Indian population was reduced to a fraction of its previous numbers.

In 1631 two merchants from Bristol, England became patent-holding proprietors of Pemaquid, acquiring 12,000 acres plus 100 acres for every settler they brought over from England. By 1665, there were approximately 30 houses existing at Colonial Pemaquid, and by the early 1670's Pemaquid may have had a population of between 150 and 200 people. The settlement, however, was part of an unstable frontier on the northern fringe of British territory that was also claimed by the French.

As a point of contact and conflict with the French and the Native Americans who often joined them, Pemaquid was subject to several devastations. The first occurred in 1676, when the Abenaki Indians burned the village during a King Philip's War regional uprising. Fort Charles, a wooden fortification, was constructed the following year, but it and the rebuilt village were demolished in a 1689 attack. In 1692 Fort William Henry, probably New England's first stone fortification, was erected by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Within four years it too was leveled by the combined efforts of the French and Wabanakis, and the Pemaquid settlement was abandoned for 30 years.

In 1729 a British officer, Colonel David Dunbar (who bore the title Surveyor of His Majesty's Woods in American) built Fort Frederick on the ruins of Fort William Henry. Dunbar established a third settlement, laying out streets, framing 30 to 40 houses, and recruiting as many as 200 residents. However, when Dunbar's claim to the land was disputed by the Massachusetts government in 1732, he was forced to leave, and the community gradually dispersed. Fort Frederick was defended against several further French and/or Indian attacks, but was decommissioned in 1759. Pemaquid and its succession of forts were then forgotten for almost 150 years.

Colonial Pemaquid Time Line

1605 George Weymouth discovered Pemaquid and captured five Indians who lived in the village there.
1607 The Popham Colony visited Pemaquid on their way to their destination at present Phippsburg.
1610's Seasonal English fishing stations were probably established at Pemaquid.
1614 John Smith explored and mapped the area around Pemaquid.
1615 - 1617 The Indian village at Pemaquid was probably destroyed and/or abandoned during Indian wars.
1621 Samoset, an Indian from the Pemaquid area, welcomed the Pilgrims at Plimoth Plantation.
1622 Edward Winslow was given supplies by Pemaquid area fishermen to help sustain the Pilgrims.
1625 - 1629 A permanent, year-round English settlement was established at Pemaquid. (Exact dates conflict.)
1630 - 1650 Pemaquid was probably at its peak as the English fur trading center in Maine.
1630 Abraham Shurt built a fortified warehouse for trading goods at Pemaquid.
1631 Robert Aldworth and Gyles Elbridge became proprietors of Pemaquid through the Pemaquid Patent.
1632 The pirate, Dixy Bull, raided the Pemaquid settlement.
1635 The ship, Angel Gabriel, sank in Pemaquid Harbor during a hurricane.
1640 Farming, in addition to fishing and trading, had become an important occupation at Pemaquid.
1650 - 1657 The Pemaquid Patent was sold to various Massachusetts Bay merchants.
1664 - 1668 Pemaquid was governed by New York after the area was granted to the Duke of York.
1673 - 1676 In response to petitioning by its inhabitants, Pemaquid was governed by Massachusetts.
1676 The Pemaquid settlement was destroyed by Indians during King Philip's war.
1677 Fort Charles was built and a settlement, called Jamestown after the Duke of York, was reestablished.
1677 - 1689 Pemaquid (Jamestown) was governed by New York and later by the Dominion of New England.
1689 - 1820 Maine, including Pemaquid, became a province of Massachusetts until statehood.
1689 Fort Charles and the settlement were destroyed by Indians during a devastating attack.
1692 Fort William Henry was built to prevent France from expanding its territories southward.
1696 Fort William Henry was destroyed by a French and Indian force during King William's War.
1729 Fort Frederick was built on the ruins of Fort William Henry and a new settlement was established.
1733 - 1759 Many settlers left in 1733 and the village was gradually replaced by individual farms.
1747 Fort Frederick was successfully defended twice against French and/or Indian attacks.
1759 Fort Frederick was decommissioned at the close of the French and Indian War.
1775 The Town of Bristol voted to dismantle Fort Frederick to prevent its occupation by the British.
1790's The Fort House was built and a farm was established.
1825 - 1840 The cellar holes in the village were filled in and stones from the forts were removed to expand the farm.
1869 & 1871 Day field trips and excavations were carried out by the Maine Historical Society.
1890 - 1910 John Cartland excavated the fort area and promoted historical Pemaquid.
1902 The fort site was given to the State of Maine.
1908 The tower and wall base were reconstructed by the State of Maine.
1923 Warren Moorehead excavated parts of the village and fort areas searching unsuccessfully for evidence of Vikings.
1965 - 1974 Helen Camp excavated 14 foundations in the village area.
1970 The village area was purchased by the State of Maine.
1975 - 1980 Helen Camp and Robert Bradley excavated the officers' quarters of Forts William Henry and Frederick.
1982 - 1983 An archaeological survey of the village area was made.
1988 - 1989 Several foundations in the village area were stabilized.
1988 - 1999 Neill DePaoli excavated numerous test pits unearthing further evidence of colonial and prehistoric occupation at Pemaquid.
1993 Colonial Pemaquid was dedicated as a National Historic Landmark.
1998 - 1999 The Fort House was renovated as an archaeological education center by the Friends of Colonial Pemaquid.
1999 Arthur Spiess and Lee Cranmer investigated two areas of possible prehistoric occupation at Pemaquid.
2001 - Archaeological research of the Pemaquid area and the artifact collection continues.





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