Our Maine Ancestors

Waymouth Lighthorseman Reconstruction Rowing

This reconstruction of George Waymouth's Lighthorseman pulling boat was built by the Atlantic Challenge Apprenticeshop to help researchers better understand where Waymouth had gone on his 1605 excursion from Allen Island. Some say he went up the St. George River and others say he made it to the mouth of the Penobscot River. Here her crew is trialing her, prior to rowing and sailing from Allen Island up to the Penobscot River mouth and back in 24 hours.

Portrait of John Smith

This portrait of John Smith comes from his map of New England published in 1617. John Smith had explored the New England coast in 1614, and set up a fishing station on Monhegan (and named the region New England). His Description of New England published in 1616. It described his success fishing and declared that fish were the region's most valuable product. The Pilgrims used fishing as the primary economic reason for their settlement, but were not very good at it.

Native New Englanders and their Boats, ca. 1655

Detail of map, showing Native American and their boats.

From VISSCHER, Nicolaas Jansz, Map of New Belgium, New England and Virginia first published in 1655 with editions up to 1727, published in Amsterdam.

Like all maps of that era, titles were in Latin. NOVI BELGII / NOVÆQUE ANGLIÆ NEC NON / PARTIS / VIRGINIÆ TABULA / multis in locis emendata a / Nicolao Joannis Visscher.

Compass Rose, George Waymouth

George Waymouth wrote his book on navigation, shipbuilding, gunnery, fortress building and other mathmatically oriented practical skills, called Jewell of Artes, in 1604, the year before he sailed to the Maine coast. He produced two known copies by taking his work to a commercial scribe; he then presented it to James I, the King of England. In the navigation section he provided descriptions of navigational instruments showing how they were laid out, believing that any navigator needed to be able to make instruments. This is his artistic rendering of a compass rose.

Brigadier's Island 1770

Brigadier's Island is now called Sears Island. It is in Searsport and is the largest undeveloped island on the Maine coast. It was the site of trouble against proprietor Henry Knox in the early 1800s. A causeway now links it to the main land.

From J.F.W.DesBarres atlas The Atlantic Neptune of 1770.

Letter from General Knox

Signature of Gen'l Henry Knox at end of letter to Robert Houston, surveyor, of Belfast (now Searsport.)

Sabre and Trunk of Samuel Houston

Sabre and trunk of Samuel Houston, a member of George Washington's personal guard. Samuel Houston was from the part of Belfast that is now Searsport.

Castine 1770

The Bagaduce River and Penobscot Bay around what is now Castine is where the Penobscot Expedition attempted to capture the British fortifications in 1779. The attempt failed miserably, and the effort is considered by many to be the worst naval disaster in American history up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

This image is from J.F.W. DesBarres atlas Atlantic Neptune of 1770.

Bowles' Map of New England ca.1765

Bowles' New One-Sheet Map of New England, Boston, was based on well-known British cartographer Thomas Jeffery's Map of the Most Inhabited Part of New England which appeared in various editions from 1744 to 1755. This one sheet reduction of Jeffery's map dates to about 1765.

The Osher Map Library of the University of Southern Maine has a web based exhibit on the work of Jeffery, whose maps were critical to the American Revolution. 


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