Castine, a town in Hancock County, was once known as Majabigwaduce or Bagaduce for short, now the name of the river on its eastern shore.
In 1629 the (British) King's Council for New England authorized Edward Ashley to establish a trading post at what was then Pentagoet. By 1631 the post was destroyed by the French for the first time, then again in 1635. The Massachusetts Bay colonists attempted to assert their claim, to no avail.
Incorporated in 1796 from portions of the town of Penobscot, it later set off land to Brooksville (in 1817) and then acquired some of the earlier land it had ceded to Penobscot.
The town is named for Jean-Vincent d'Abbadie, Baron de St. Castin who held a French land grant in the area. He made friends with the Indians, attempted to accommodate the English, then fought them and the Dutch to protect the area.
The British finally took the town in 1779, but now the colonists wanted them out. That year Castine was the scene of the defeat of American forces attempt, known as the Penobscot Expedition, to liberate the town. It returned to American control in 1783 at the end of the Revolutionary War.
Two forts, Madison and George, are among the many historic sites throughout the community.
Villages, Locations and Settlements
- Fort George
- North Castine
- West Castine
A Survey of Hancock County, Maine By Samuel Wasson 1876:
Castine.—Incorporated (10-105 town) February 10, 1796. Population, 1,303. Decennary gain, 53. Wealth, per capita, $335. State valuation, $461,343. U. S. valuation, $664,333. The History of this "old town," has been prepared and published by G. A. Wheeler, M. D. It is an interesting and trustworthy compilation. The town appropriated $350 therefor. Castine perpetuates the name of Baron de St. Castin, a French nobleman, who established a residence here in 1667. It ,has a traditionary history running back to 1555. Under the name of "Pentagoet," it became known to the English settlers of New England, about 1626. It has never been without a garrison from 1630 to 1783. It has been successively possessed by the Indians, French, Dutch and English. Five naval engagements have taken place on the bosom of its harbor. One of those engagements, called the " Penobscot expedition," is said to be the most disastrous issue our arms have ever experienced. The first permanent English settlements made within the present limits of Castine, were in 1760, by Aaron Banks, William Stover, and Reuben Gray. " Old Kit," who died in Brooksville, at the advanced age of 104 years, was born upon the Dea. Hatch farm. The first child, William Stover, was born upon the farm where E. H. Buker lives, in November, 1764. In 1797, one Mariam Freethy, a shiftless person, was warned to leave the place—they had "tramps" in those days. The first corporate town meeting was held at the house of Jacob Orcut, at Orcut's Harbor. During the decennial period, ending 1850, its per capita wealth, with one exception (New Haven), exceeded that of any other town in the United States. For many years it was the Fishing Emporium of Maine. The repeal of the Fishing Bounty Act, and losses by rebel cruisers, have almost completed its commercial ruin. Its loss of taxable estates, from 1860 to 1870, was nearly 40 per cent. It was the shire town from 1796 to 1838.
Union soldiers, 157; State aid, $7,627; town bounty, $15,834 ; cost per recruit, $149
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