Arrowsic, Maine

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Arrowsic is a town in Sagadahoc County, Maine, United States. The population was 477 at the 2000 census. It is part of the PortlandSouth PortlandBiddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area. During the French and Indian Wars, Arrowsic was site of a succession of important and embattled colonial settlements. It is a favorite with artists and birdwatchers.



Abenaki Indians called the island Arrowseag, meaning "place of obstruction," a reference to Upper Hell Gate on the Sasanoa River. Until it was widened by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1898 and 1908, the stretch was choked with boulders and ledges. Indian canoe passage would have been risky in the swift current between Merrymeeting Bay and Sheepscot Bay.[1]

In 1649, John Richards purchased Arrowsic from the sachem Mowhotiwormet, commonly known as Chief Robinhood. Richards then sold it in 1654 to Major Thomas Clarke and Roger Spencer, the latter selling his share in 1657 to Captain Thomas Lake. Clarke and Lake were Boston merchants, who built at Spring Cove on the island's northeast corner a stockaded trading post and blockhouse protected by at least two great guns. In 1658-1659, land was cleared for pasturage, streets, a warehouse, sawmill, gristmill, bake house, blacksmith shop, cooperage and shipyard. Several large dwellings were erected, one called the Mansion House. Families and stocks of cattle were imported. The village became the local court of law, headquarters of the general council, and place of protection for settlers in the region.[2]

But on August 14, 1676 during King Philip's War, the settlement was destroyed. The evening before, an Indian woman appeared at the door of the Clarke and Lake fort seeking shelter. She was admitted, and in the dead of night quietly opened the gate. In rushed warriors, and in the massacre which followed, 30 colonists were either killed and scalped or taken into captivity. Captain Thomas Lake, Sylvanus Davis and two others seized a canoe and paddled to Parker's Island (now Georgetown), where all but Lake escaped alive from their pursuers. As the warehouse was looted and village burned to ashes, a brave sported the captain's hat.[3]

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