Sagadahoc County, Maine

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Sagadahoc County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maine. As of 2000, the population was 35,214. Its county seat is Bath.[1] In land area, it is the smallest county in Maine.

Sagadahoc County is part of the PortlandSouth PortlandBiddeford, Maine, Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 370 square miles (959 km²), of which 254 square miles (658 km²) is land and 116 square miles (301 km²) (31.41%) is water.

Adjacent counties

National protected area

History

Sagadahoc County was formerly included in York, and later, in Lincoln County; having been set off from the latter and incorporated in 1854. The exploring company of DeMonts, led by the intrepid Champlain made the first known visit of Europeans to Sagadahoc. Sir William Popham’s colony, having erected buildings and constructed a vessel, after a few months’ sojourn abandoned their settlement in 1608; but English fishermen and trappers continued to visit the rivers and shores of the County. Capt. John Smith, of Virginia fame, explored the region in 1614 ; and on the map of the country which he displayed to King Charles I of England, that monarch entered the name "Leethe" as a substitute for "Sagadahoc."

When the Council of Plymouth was dissolved, and the territory divided, 10,000 acres (40 km2) somewhere on the east side of the Sagadahoc were added to each of seven of the twelve divisions, that each of the noble owners might share in the vision for New England. The grant to Sir Ferdinand Gorges, in 1622, had for its eastern boundary, the Sagadahoc. From this he granted to Sir Richard Edgecomb, a tract on the north side of the Lake of New Somerset (Merrymeeting Bay) and another on the coast, probably on New Meadows Harbor. The Pilgrims of New Plymouth received their patent rights of trade on the Kennebec in 1623, which was enlarged in 1629 to a right to the soil and exclusive rights of trade within its limits. The boundaries of this grant, like those of most of the early ones, were not accurately defined; and when the patent passed from its Pilgrim ownership and became the Kennebec Purchase, its wealthy proprietors extended their claims over the territories of their neighbors beyond what generally found warrant in law, when the issues came to be tried in the courts. The indefinite boundaries, therefore, were the cause of much litigation. Rights to the soil were sought from the natives also; the first known being the Nequasset purchase, made in 1639; the islands below soon after, and within 20 years the whole of Sagadahoc County was held under titles from its Indian possessors. The grant to Purchase and Way which, together with the Pejepscot Purchase included a large part of Bowdoinham, and all of Topsham, Bath, West Bath,and Phipsburgh, was made in 1630, Purchase himself having resided near the Pejepscot (Brunswick) Falls since 1627. In 1654 New Plymouth colony instituted a form of government covering all the settlements of the Kennebec. This was succeeded in 1652 by the more effective jurisdiction of Massachusetts, which continued, with a partial interruption only for a few years (1664-68) by the Duke of York’s government, until Maine became an independent State in 1820. In 1672, upon a petition of the settlers for protection, the territory beyond the Kennebec, which had been erected into the county of Cornwall by the Kings’ commissioners,—deputies of the Duke of York, was transmuted into the county of Devonshire; York being limited to the western side of the Sagadahoc. An appearance of right to exercise this jurisdiction had been secured by a new interpretation of the terms fixing the boundary of her patent by Massachusetts. The motive for this movement was found in the new claim of the French, under the treaty of Breda, to the territory as far west as the Kennebec.

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