South Berwick, Maine

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South Berwick is a town in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 6,671 at the 2000 census. South Berwick is home to Berwick Academy, a private, co-educational university-preparatory day school founded in 1791. It is part of the PortlandSouth PortlandBiddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area.

Contents

History

The area was called Newichawannock by the Abenaki Indians, meaning "river with many falls," a reference to the Salmon Falls River. It was first settled about 1631 as a part of Kittery known as Kittery North Parish. Near the confluence with the Great Works River, Ambrose Gibbons built the Great House at Newichawannock, a palisaded trading post to exchange goods with the Indians. [1]

In 1634, William Chadbourne, James Wall and John Goddard arrived from England aboard the ship Pied Cow to build a sawmill and gristmill at Assabumbadoc Falls. Richard Leader, an engineer, rebuilt the sawmill in 1651 to handle up to 20 saws. The factory became known as the "Great mill workes," from which the Great Works River derives its name. It was run by 25 Scottish prisoners of war captured by Oliver Cromwell's forces at the 1650 Battle of Dunbar, then transported aboard a vessel called Unity to Massachusetts. They were sold as slaves whose labor would earn them freedom. The community was dubbed the Parish of Unity after the boat. [1]

The village was attacked in 1675 during King Philip's War, then raided again in 1690-1691 during King William's War by Indians under the command of officers from New France, who burned the Parish of Unity to the ground. It was abandoned, but resettled in 1703 under its Abenaki name, Newichawannock. The Massachusetts General Court incorporated it in 1713 as Berwick, the 9th oldest town in Maine. It was named after Berwick-upon-Tweed, a town of mixed allegiances on the Anglo-Scottish border. On February 12, 1814, South Berwick was set off and incorporated. [2]

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