Mount Desert Maine

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Date: 17 Feb 1789
Location: Mount Desert, Hancock, Maine, United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: One_Place_Studies Maine Hancock_County_Maine
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This profile is part of the Mount Desert, Maine One Place Study.

Mount Desert, is a town in Hancock County settled in 1761 and incorporated on February 17, 1789 from Mount Desert Plantation.
      The Island of Mount Desert had a fascinating history long before the English settlers arrival in 1761.
For further reading Asticou’s Island Domain: Wabanaki peoples at Mount Desert Island 1500-2000''
      Asticou’s Island Domain: Volume 1
      Asticou’s Island Domain: Volume 2

Date Designation Note
-1534 name unknown Wabanaki peoples - the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes
1534-1760Nouvelle FranceUnder French control, no known European settlers
1760unorganized territory
Lincoln, Massachusetts Bay
France surrenders September 8, 1760, Britain officially takes control of the area
1762Township #3 East of Union River was formed February 27, 1762
1776 America's declarers independence from Britain July 4, 1776
1776 Mount Desert Plantation, Lincoln, MassachusettsMount Desert Plantation was formed March 2, 1776 from a portion of Township #3 EUR
1789Mount Desert, Lincoln, Massachusetts Mount Desert incorporated February 17, 1789 from from Mount Desert Plantation.
1789 Mount Desert , Hancock, MassachusettsHancock County is formed June 25, 1789
1796Mount Desert, Hancock, MassachusettsFebruary 23, 1796 Set off land to form Eden (Bar Harbor).
1820 Mount Desert, Hancock, MaineMaine becomes the 23 state March 15, 1820
1830 Mount Desert, Hancock, MaineMarch 16, 1830 Set off land to form Cranberry Isles Maine.
1838Mount Desert, Hancock, Maine Mount Desert set off Barletts, Hardwood, Robinsons or Tinker's Islands and incorporated them into a town named Seaville.
1848Mount Desert, Hancock, Maine June 3, 1848 Mount Desert set off land to form Mansel, August 8 1848 Mansel was renamed Tremont.
1859Mount Desert, Hancock, MainFebruary 24, 1859 Seaville was dissolved. Bartlett Island was returned to Mount Desert and Hardwood and Tinker's Islands annexed to Tremont.


Villages, Locations and Settlements

Villages, Locations
and Settlements
Asticou(Named for Asticou 1590-16?? the sachem
king of the local Native American Tribe)
Bartletts Island (1830c)Christopher Bartlett (1732-abt.1806)
Beech Hill aka Beach Mountain, Beach Hill Mountain Davis Wasgatt (1751 - 1843) 1789
Denning's Pond aka Echo Lake Samuel Dennen/Denning
Hall QuarryCryrus James Hall (1833-1907)
Ingraham Point
Long Pond aka Great Pond
Northeast HarborJohn Manchester(1732 - bef. 1803) 1775
Otter Creek
Pretty Marsh
Seal Harbor
Seaville (1840c, 1850c)"Seaville is an extinct town, now part of Mount Desert and Tremont."
Somesville Abraham I. Somes I (1732-1819)1761
The Sound aka Somes Sound["Somes Sound is a fjard, a body of water running deep into Mount Desert Island," ]
Upper & Lower Hadlock Ponds Samuel Hadlock (1746 - 1790) 1785

First Village: Somesville

References to Beech Hill are apparently for the area North of Beech Mountain, lying between Long Pond and Dennings Pond. The trail leading from Bass Harbor to Southwest Harbor, then up over Beach Mountain to Somesville may be seen on the Plan of Mount Desert 1795 [see Image] A. Stanley 27 Dec 2021.

" The road to Ellsworth by way of the eastern side of Echo Lake was built in 1838-9. Previous to this there was a rough cart road leading down over Beech Hill [West of Echo Lake/Denning's Pond] and along the crest of Freeman’s Hill. There were no carriages on the island and but few horses; oxen being used as beasts of burden. ..." page 38 "Traditions & Records of Southwest Harbor and Somesville ..." by Nellie C. Thornton

Historical Names

Name Note
Pemetic/ PemetiqWabinaki name meaning "Mountains at a Distance"
Isle des Monts Deserts Samuel de Champlain's name for the island because of its high barren peaks.
Mount Desert Island anglicized version of Isle des Monts Deserts
Township No. 3 East of Union River The 1762 land grant that later became Mount Desert and Gouldsboro
Mount Desert Plantation The plantation name for its part of Township No. 3 EUR
Mount Desert Organized 1776 as Mount Desert Plantation, Incorporated 1789

Pioneer Settlers

Pioneer Settler Arrival Year
Bartlett, ChristopherChristopher Bartlett (1732-abt.1806) 1767
Gott, DanielDaniel Gott I (1703-1784) 1762
Gott, DanielDaniel Gott II (1739-1814) 1763
Gott, StephenStephen Gott II (1731-after 1785) 1763
Richardson, James James Richardson (1730-1807) 1761
Richardson, StephenStephen Richardson (abt.1738-1812) 1765
Richardson, ThomasThomas Richardson (1739-1813) 1765
Somes, Abraham Abraham I. Somes I (1732-1819) 1761


The state of Maine lists 23 Islands that are part of Mount Desert Maine Islands

Islands Settler/Namesake/Note
Bartletts IslandChristopher Bartlett (1732-abt.1806) |-


Maps (Click an image for details)
1917 Topographical Map
Plan of Mount Desert with Saw & Corn/Grist Mills
Coast of Maine from Frenchmans Bay to Mosquito Harbor with Early Settler Lots about 1776
Dodge's Mount Desert Island 1872
Mount Desert Island 1917
Eden Mount Derert and Tremont Towns, with Household Names
1795 Map of Mount Desert with Old Roads & Mill Locations
1904 Beech Hill, Somesville, Mount Desert.
1887 Beech Hill.
Mount Desert maps on other sites:

Genealogy at the William Otis Sawtelle Collections and Research Center "Located in Bar Harbor at Park Headquarters, the center is dedicated to William Otis Sawtelle, founder of the Islesford Historical Museum on Little Cranberry Island. The center houses historic artifacts, archival documents related to the Town of Cranberry Isles, as well as the natural, cultural and administrative history of Acadia National Park and Saint Croix Island International Historic Site. NOTED: 16 DEC 2021 Due to Covid-19, the center is currently closed to the public" Mailing Address: PO Box 177 Bar Harbor , ME 04609 Phone: 207 288-3338


Varney's Gazetteer of the state of Maine has the following:
      Mount Desert, in Hancock County, formerly included the whole island, with some neighboring small islands. It now includes a belt across the middle of the island, with several small islands near it. The chief natural features of the town are its mountains, and an arm of the sea called Somes' Sound. This body of water is two miles wide at its mouth, and extends northward through the mountain ranges, affording a sail through the heart of the best scenery of the island. The considerable bodies of fresh water in this town are Long Pond, Echo Lake, or Deering's [Denning's] Pond, and Seal Cove Pond, the first 5 miles in length by 1£ in width, the others about one-half as large. The mountains are Pemetic (1,202 feet in height) ; the Bubbles,—North (845 ft.), and South (780 ft.) ; The Peak of Otter (506 ft.), The Beehive (540 ft.) ; Otter Cliff (112 ft.) ; The Cleft, North (610 ft.), and South (460 ft.) ; Jordan's Hills, North (840 ft.), and South (360 ft.) ; Brown's Mountain (860 ft.) ; Flying Mountain (300 ft.) ; Robinson's Mountain (700 ft.) ; Dog Mountain (670 ft.) ; and Carter's Nubble (480 ft.).
    The bowlder phenomena is exhibited in this town to a wonderful degree. There are wandering rocks of red and blue granite, trap, gneiss, mica schist, clay slate, and fossiliferous sandstones. The greater part of the bed rock here called granite, is protogine—talc being substituted for mica. There is also considerable sienite in which is hornblende instead of mica, having veins of magnetic iron, arsenical iron and pyrites.
    The principal harbors are Somes', Pretty Marsh, and North East. Somesville, the principal village, is situated at the head of the sound, having an excellent harbor. There is quite a water-power at the place, furnished by Somes' Stream, on which are a saw-mill, woollen-factory, and grist-mill. There is also a steam saw-mill. The post-offices are Mount Desert (Somesville), North East Harbor, Pretty Marsh and Long Pond. Considerable business is done in the town in gathering ice, the annual crop being estimated at 12,000 tons. There are also several granite quarries, one of which employs about 40 men. The annual shipment of cut stone is estimated at 3,500 tons. It is said that there is not a level field in town. Hay is a small crop, and it brings a better price than in neighboring towns.
    Mount Desert Island was a familiar landmark to the early voyagers of the coast. Its name seems to have been first applied by De Monts in 1604. It was temporarily occupied by the French in that year. In 1608, the Jesuits, Peter Biard and Eneraond Masse, established a mis* 6ion on the island, supposed to have been located at Fernald's Point at the base of Flying Mountain, about two miles north of South-West Harbor. " Here they constructed a fortified habitation, planted a garden, and dwelt five years ; entering with great zeal and perseverance upon the work of converting the natives to their faith." In 1613. the island having been granted to Madame de Guercheville, a lady of zealous piety, connected with the French Court, a colony of about twentyfive persons, led by Saussaye, were sent out by her to join the two missionaries. Before their fort was fully completed, they were attacked by Argall, Governor of South Virginia, who captured or scattered both the colonists and their Indian friends. No attempt appears to have been made by the French to resettle the island until one Cadilliac received from Louis XIV. a grant containing 100,000 acres, bordering for two leagues on the bay near Jordan's River on the mainland, and the same on Mount Desert Island, including the smaller islands lying in the bay. He made a resolute attempt to hold his ground, but in 1713, after the cession of the whole of Acadie to England, he abandoned it. In 1785, however, his granddaughter, Madame de Gregoire, claimed of the General Court of Massachusetts the lands of her ancestor. The Court naturalized the claimant and her husband, and quit-claimed to them all but lots of 100 acres each for actual settlers. Having been abandoned by the French, in 1688, an Englishman named Hinds, with his wife and four children, lived here. The first permanent settlement was by Abraham Somes and James Richardson, in 1761. The first child, George Richardson, was born in August, 1793. The first marriage was on August 9, 1774. Mount Desert Island became a Plantation in 1776, and was incorporated as a town in 1789. In 1838, Bartlett's, Hardwood and Robinson's Islands were set off and incorporated, into " Seaville." Christopher Bartlett first settled on Bartlett's Island about 1770. The act incorporating Seaville was repealed in 1859, Bartlett's Island again becoming a part of Mount Desert. Eden was set off in 1796, and Tremont in 1848. The island contained an area of about 60,000 acres, of which Eden has 22,000, and Tremont half the remainder.
    The Congregationalists have a church in the town, and maintain a clergyman. Mount Desert has nine public schoolhouses, and its school property is valued at $3,000. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $158,069. In 1880 it was $160,803. The population in 1870 was 918. In the census of 1880 it was 1,017.

Additional Resources


Photo Gallery (Click an image for details)
Schooners at Somesville
Old Mill at Somesville
Looking Towards Mount Desert
Cottage Street Northeast Harbor
courtesy of Elaine Hayden
Somes Cove


Comments: 2

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Will there be a section for residents? If so, may I suggest my 1st cousin 3X removed, Gerald Mark (Buckley) Borden (1871-1958) who was married to Emilie Lucille (Papin) Borden (1873-1962) in 1898. Their residence in Bar Harbor was built in 1885. It was located at 9 Harbor Lane on Frenchman's Bay and was named "Anchorhold.
posted by Steve Lake
Thank you for the suggestion. Bar Harbor has it's own one place study page here:

I need to limit the scope of the pages in the Hancock County group. Yet there is a need to recognize those who made significant contributions and notables who were associated with the towns. Darryl

posted by Darryl Rowles