A Fort and Its People: Colonization to Statehood Along the Kennebec River

Material Description

The project consists of distinct, yet interrelated collections. The Kennebec Proprietors land merchants operated in the District of Maine decades before the American Revolution. Conflicting land grants and competition (such as the Pejepscot Company) laid claim to 1,500 square miles along the Kennebec River. The records include extensive information about land speculation, first contact and Native relations, Massachusetts colonial governance, and Canadian relations. It includes letterbooks, correspondence, accounts, and land claims. The Pejepscot Proprietors collection consists of deeds, depositions, maps, correspondence, broadsides, and land agent records. During the Pejepscot proprietor’s settlement efforts, three Indian wars occurred (1729-1759). That history is reflected in the documents, which includes records for municipalities settled by the company, and material such as Indian captivity depositions, privateer and voyage accounts, French spoliation claims, and Revolutionary War documents. None are accessible online. Fort Western (1754) is America's oldest surviving wooden garrison. In 1767, Captain James Howard bought the fort; which was then used as a store until 1807. The Howards’ account ledgers capture the early economy and transition from colony to nation and state. The Pownalborough Court House collection consists of deeds, lawsuits, writs, probate records and personal papers of the Major Samuel Goodwin family, and others. Goodwin (1716-1802) was the Kennebec Proprietors principal agent. The City of Hallowell incorporated in 1771. Municipal records include family documents, town meeting notes, and tax records that describe the settlement of Hallowell, and in 1797, Augusta, where Fort Western is situated.

Year Added:



Maine State Archives


Ms. Heather Moran
Maine State Archives

Ms. Linda Novak
Old Fort Western

Collaborating Institution(s)

Maine State Archives (Department of Secretary of State); Old Fort Western

Date Range

1705 - 1705

Geographic Scope

The nominated collections focus on settlement and trade in the Kennebec River region of Maine, America’s eastern and northern frontier, from the time of early colonization through to statehood.


  • 28000 Manuscripts