China, Maine

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China is a town in Kennebec County, Maine, United States. The population was 4,106 at the 2000 census.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 56.8 square miles (147.0 km²), of which, 49.8 square miles (129.1 km²) of it is land and 6.9 square miles (17.9 km²) of it (12.21%) is water.

Bodies of water in the town include China Lake, Three Mile Pond, and Branch Pond.


In 1774 a family named Clark settled in the area and established Jones' Plantation. In 1796 Jones' Plantation was incorporated as Harlem. On June 25, 1818, the Town of China was incorporated by combining Harlem, Fairfax (Albion), and Winslow.

The name of the town was chosen by Japheth Washburn. He wanted to call the town Bloomville, but people from the town of Bloomfield objected, saying that the similarity of names could cause confusion. Mr. Washburn settled on the name China, because it was the name of one of his favorite hymns. This hymn, now known as Jesus Loves Me, was then titled China in some hymnals.[1] China actually had a fourth district located at the height of land between Palermo and Albion. It was in this area that numerous families of African-American descent settled. Their history, spanning roughly 1790 to 1860, can be itemized in the Maine state archives. If you have a guide, you can still locate some cemetery plots including a large obelisk stone in memory of "Tolbot" on a high wooded ridge which was also the location of an early shingle mill. Other burial and foundation sites are also present and can best be located by using early census maps and their indicators

It is theorized that these families migrated here because it represented a safe area which slavehunters would not approach as China and several other towns were "Quaker" towns which would not tolerate slavehunters, no matter what either federal Fugitive Slave Act demanded.


The town of China contains four villages: China Village, South China, Weeks Mills, and Branch Mills.


At a yearly Town Meeting citizens elect five Town Selectmen, one of whom is chosen as chairman. The citizens also outline the budget for the coming year. The Selectmen appoint a Town Manager who oversees the daily operation of the town.[citation needed]


China is part of Regional School Unit 18 (China, Rome, Belgrade, Sidney and Oakland). China students are given the choice of attending any public high school including nearby schools in Winslow, Waterville, Augusta and Oakland. There is also a private high school, Erskine Academy, in South China, which some students choose to attend, and the town subsidizes their tuition (which Erskine reduces for China students). The town subsidizes a portion of tuition to any other private school a student chooses to attend, as well as the tuition to attend a public school.[citation needed]

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