Gazetteer of the State of Maine With Numerous Illustrations, by Geo. J. Varney
BOSTON: PUBLISHED BY B. B. RUSSELL, 57 CORNHILL. 1882. Public domain image from
two grist-mills,—all employed on custom work. Bowdoin Centre, Bow*
doin and West Bowdoin are the business points. It is about 2 miles
from the town line to the railroad station at Lisbon Falls, and about
4 to the station at Bowdoinham village.
Bowdoin is supposed to have been settled some years previous to
the Revolutionary war, and was known for several years under the
name of the Plantation of West Bowdoinham. It was incorporated in
1788, when,—according to Williamson—it contained aboiitl20 families.
It was named in honor of Governor Bowdoin. The people were prin-
cipally of the Baptist denomination, and one of the first ministers
settled there was Elden James Potter. There are now three meeting-
houses in the town, and two societies fully organized and holding reg-
ular services, namely,—the Free Baptists and the Friends. Rev. Nath-
aniel Purinton and his son, Rev. Albert W. Purinton, were highly
esteemed citizens of Bowdoin. There are nineteen persons in town
between eighty and ninety years of age, and one over ninety. Bowdoin
has fifteen public schoolhouses, valued with other school property at
$4,500. The valuation of the town in 1870 was $406,550. In 1880 it
was $394,901. The rate of taxation in the latter year was 16 mills on
the dollar. The population in 1870 was 1,345. In 1880 it was 1,361.
Bowdoinham, in Sagadahoc County, is situated on the
west bank of the Kennebec river, at its junction with Androscoggin.
It is bounded north hy Richmond, west by Bowdoin, south by Tops-
ham, and east by the Kennebec. Woolwich and Bath lie opposite the
southern part. The town lies about 8 miles along the river, with
an average width of about 5 miles. The principal streams are the
Abagadusset and Cathance rivers. The former rises in the northern
part of Richmond and runs southward through the eastern part of
Bowdoinham, parallel with the Kennebec. The Cathance rises in the
northern part of Bowdoin, runs south into the middle of Topsham,
then north in Bowdoinham until it receives the West Branch, then
south to Merrymeeting Bay. Bowdoinham village is situated in the
southern part of the town, near the junction with the West Branch.
There was formerly considerable ship-building carried on at this point,
and the business has not yet wholly ceased. There are in Bowdoinham
three saw-mills, a grist-mill, a plaster-mill with capacity to grind eight
tons per day, two clothing manufactories, a cheese-factory and about
one dozen ice companies. Other manufactures are boots and shoes,
tinware, carriages and harnesses, etc. East Bowdoinham, near the
Abagadusset, has a railroad station and post-office.
The principal rock in town is a felspathic granite. The soil is chiefly
clay, with some sandy loam on the uplands. The principal crop for
export is hay. Maple, birch and ash flourish in the woods.
The Indian sachem, Abagadusset, had his residence on the point
which now bears his name. It lies between the river of the same name
and the Kennebec. Alexander Thwait purchased land of the In-
dians and lived at this place before 1656. He removed to Bath for a
few years, but returned in 1665. It is said that during the first Indian
war nine families living on the north shore of Merrymeeting Bay were
destroyed or made captive by the Indians. Remains of orchards
planted before this date have been mentioned by later inhabitants.
The township of Bowdoinham was claimed by the Plymouth pro-
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