Gazetteer of the State of Maine, 1882 page 438
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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


Nicatou, it is more broken, and is singularly diversified with lakes,
ponds, swamps, streams, hills, valleys and detached peaks. The Ka-
tahdin Mountains, the highest in Maine, affording a prospect charac-
teristic and sublime from the vast breadth of level country overlooked,
lie upon the left bank. Further west, the valley becomes merged with
that of the Kennebec on the south, and the Allaguash on the north,
and terminates on the north-west at the highland boundaries of the
State, and in the swamps and lagoons which form the common reser-
voir of the St. John and Penobscot.

At the period when America was still an unknown New World,

Spanish, French, Dutch and English navigators alike praised Penob-
scot Bay and River. The earliest Spanish explorer, Gomez, honored
himself by naming the river “Rio de Gomez;” and others of his na-
tion called it “ Rio Grande,” “ Rio Hermoso,”—the great, the beauti-
ful river. Thevet, the French explorer, visiting it in 1556, described
it as “ one of the finest rivers in the whole world.” Samuel Cham-
plain, exploring in the service of the French in 1604—5, enthusiastically
says, “ The river banks are covered with verdure, and here and there
lovely stretches of meadow.” Judge Godfrey of Bangor, who has
studied deeply into the history of this region, says the name of this
river was reported by the French in sixty different ways during their
occupancy, to 1664. The principal spelling made use of was Panan-
aushek. The Indian name was
Penobsceag or Penobscoote, suggested
by the rocky falls just above Bangor. From these, doubtless, the New
Plymouth colonists formed the name Penobscot, by which this river
was known to them as early as 1626. The Dutch were so well pleased    »

with the region that they sent a man-of-war to it in 1676, and captured
the French fortifications on the bay and river. The Dutch were driven
off by the English, but the French held possession of a part of the
river to 1745, when most of them removed to Canada. On the fall of
Quebec, in 1749, the whole passed to the British crown, where the title
remained until the Revolution placed it within the borders of a new

The first steamboat on the Penohscot was the “Maine,” Captain
Cram, which arrived in Bangor, May 23, 1824. It ran to Portland
during the summer season. The “Bangor,” a larger boat, Captain
George Barker, was put on the route in 1834. In 1849 small, flat-bot-
tomed steamers commenced running above Bangor, affording oppor-
tunity to observe the pleasing scenery of the navigable section of the
river. The Sanford line of steamers, by the excellence of its boats and
management, has possessed so long the steam transportation between
this river and the west as to become historic in its interest. Started
as a personal enterprise by Menemon Sanford, in 1845—36 years ago,

—it formed soon after a union with the Kennebec Steamship Com-
pany, the joint line becoming known under the name of the San-
ford Independent Line. The first steamer put upon the line was
the Penobscot, followed, in a few years, by the Boston, each about 600
tons burthen. In 1852 tht lines were divided, the Penobscot boats re-
taining the name of the combined lines. In 1859 the Menemon San-
ford, of 900 tons, and the Kennebec, of 500 tons, were added to the
line. In 1862 the Katahdin, of 1,200 tons, and 1867 the Cambridge,
of 1,500 tons, were added, the six boats having been built by Englis in
New York, for Captain Sanford. In 1875, the present company was


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