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Falmouth, Maine, USA - 1886 - Falmouth

Falmouth is situated a little south of the centre of Cumberland County. It is more than twice as long as broad; and its greatest length is from south-east to north-west. The south-east of the town, known as Falmouth Foreside, borders on Casco Bay. On the northeast it is bounded by Cumberland, on the north-wet by Windham, and on the south-west by Westbrook and Deering. The Mackay's, the Brothers, and the Clapboard islands, off the shore belong to the town jurisdiction. The surface is agreably diversified with hill and dale, forest and field; having also considerable salt-marsh. The greatest elevations are Poplar Ridge, in the northern part of the town, and Black' Strap Hill, a couple of miles southward of the latter. The The prevailing rocks are gneiss and granite. The soil is favorable to agriculture and is generally well-cultivated. Duck Pond, about two miles in length, lies at the north-western angle of the town. The Presumpscot passes through the south-western part, forming a considerable basin at its mouth. Piscataqua River, coming from the northern part of the town, is a tributary of the Presumpscot. The other streams are the East Branch of the Piscataqua, and Mill Creek, in the middle and south-eastern part of the town respectively. The Grand Trunk Railway passes across the lower part of the town, and the Maine Central across the middle. The latter crosses the Presumpseot on an iron bridge of a single span 135 feet in length. Falmouth has manufactures of brick at several points; meal and flour at West Falmouth and New Casco; carriages, boots and shoes and tinware, at Presumpscot Falls (Falmouth P. 0.); hubs, spokes, carriage stock, brick and lumber machines at West Falmouth.

The town was incorporated in 1718, being named for an ancient seaport in England. it originally extended from Spurwink River to North Yarmouth, and 8 miles back into the country, embracing a territory of about 80 square miles. It thus included the present towns of Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth, Westbrook, Decring and Portland. The chief part of the history of ancient Falmouth will, therefore, be embraced in the history of Portland. The first settlement within the present corporate limits was as early as 1632, at Falmouth Foreside, by Arthur Mackworth, who soon after obtained a grant of 500 acres of land from Sir Ferdinando Gorges. He was one of the most respectable of the early settlers, serving as a magistrate for many years. The island opposite his residence has since borne his name, but corrupted into Mackay. This shore is now thickly occupied with neat and substantial farm-houses, and the more imposing edifices of thrifty ship-masters, together with a few summer residences of Portland citizens. Chief among these is that of Hon. Chas. W. Goddard, and Gen. John M. Brown's "Thornhurst Farm," noted for its fine stock.

The broad point on the eastern side of the Presumpscot Basin has much historic importance. The settlements on Presumpscot River in this town were among the first attacked. The family of Thomas Wakely, consisting of nine persons, remote from others, were destroyed with details of shocking barbarity; one only, a girl of fourteen escaping massacre to he carried away captive. The fort and settlemant at Casco Neck (Portland) was destroyed by the Indians in 1690, and in 1698 in pursuance of the recent treaty, a fort and trading-house was erected at this point for the accommodation of the Indians; wherefore the place came to be called New Casco to distinguish it from the Neck where Fort Loyal had stood, which was now called Old Casco. In 1703, Governor Dudley held a conference with the Indians here, to which came, well-armed and gaily painted, a large number of warriors of each tribe of Maine. The Androscoggins in attendence numbered. about 250 warriors in 65 canoes. The chiefs professed the most peace. ful intentions, and the warriors celebrated the occasion in the most demonstrative manner; yet within two months "the whole eastern country was in a conflagration, no house standing or garrison unattacked." In this war, New Casco was a centre of defence for the settlements on Casco Bay. The attack upon it was made by 500 French and Indians, and it was only saved from capture by the opportune arrival of an armed vessel of the province, whose guns quickly scattered the savage fleet of 250 canoes, and compelled the Indians to make a hasty retreat. in 1716 the fort was demolished by order of the Massachusetts Government, to save the expense of maintaining a garrison at this point. A short distance along the main road is a beautiful spot on Mill Creek, which for one hundred and forty years was occupied by a rude mill of the early settlers of the Foreside. The views for the whole extent of this road are very attractive, abounding in noble shade-trees and charming ocean views.

The records of the town previous to 1690, are not known to exist. In 1735, the people of New Casco petitioned for preaching, and in 1752, to be set off as a distinct parish Accordingly, in December, 1753, this parish was incorporated, in 1754 the church was formed, and in 1756 John Wiswall was settled over it. Rev. Ebenezer Williams labored here from 1765 to 1799. There are now two Congregational churches, a Free Baptist and a Methodist church in the town. Falmouth sustains a high-school, and is the owner of twelve schoolhouses valued at $7,000. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $688,527. In 1880 it was $769,470. The population in 1870 was 1,730. By the census of 1880, it was 1,626.

A Gazetteer of the State of Maine By Geo. J. Varney Published by B. B. Russell, Boston 1886

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