Country scene in 1912
|• Total||41.59 sq mi (107.72 km2)|
|• Land||35.09 sq mi (90.88 km2)|
|• Water||6.50 sq mi (16.83 km2)|
|Elevation||43 ft (13 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||3,076|
|• Density||87.5/sq mi (33.8/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0582829|
Woolwich is a town in Sagadahoc County, Maine, United States. The population was 3,072 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area. Woolwich is a suburb of the city of Bath located on the opposite shore of Merrymeeting Bay.
Called Nequasset after Nequasset Lake by Abenaki Indians, it was first settled in 1638 by Edward Bateman and John Brown. They would purchase the land in 1639 from the sachem Mowhotiwormet, commonly known as Chief Robinhood, who lived near Nequasset Falls. At Day's Ferry on the Kennebec River, Richard Hammond operated a fortified trading post. His household of 16, including servants, workmen and stepchildren, conducted a lucrative fur trade with the Indians. But in the first blow of King Philip's War in the area, on the evening of August 13, 1676, warriors ingratiated themselves into the stockaded trading post, then killed the elderly Hammond and his stepson as they returned for the night. Others were either slain and scalped or taken into captivity. Buildings were looted and burned, and the cattle slain.
Nequasset was attacked during King William's War, when inhabitants were again massacred or forced to abandon their homes. It was assailed again in 1723 during Dummer's War, when the Norridgewocks and their 250 Indian allies from Canada, incited by the French missionary Sebastien Rale, burned dwellings and killed cattle. Following Governor William Dummer's peace treaty of 1725, resettlement would be slow. During the French and Indian War, on June 9, 1758, Indians raided the village, killing members of the Preble family and taking others prisoner to Quebec. This incident became known as the last conflict on the Kennebec River.
The peninsula was heavily wooded, providing timber for shipbuilding. It also had excellent soil for agriculture. By 1858, industries included two sawmills, two gristmills and a shipyard. By 1886, the community also produced bricks and leather.
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers twice widened Upper Hell Gate on the Sasanoa River, which separates Woolwich from Arrowsic. Originally constricted by curves and ledges, which were made even more dangerous by swift currents, the half mile (0.8 kilometer) stretch was widened in 1898 to a minimum of 90 feet (27 meters), then again in 1908 to a minimum of 140 feet (40 meters) and depth of 12 feet (4 meters). The Sasanoa River now permits navigation between Bath and Boothbay Harbor.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 41.59 square miles (107.72 km2), of which, 35.09 square miles (90.88 km2) of it is land and 6.50 square miles (16.83 km2) is water. Woolwich is on a peninsula, with Merrymeeting Bay and the Kennebec River to the west, Sasanoa River to the southwest, and Back River to the southeast.
It is crossed by U. S. Route 1, and state routes 127 and 128. It borders the towns of Dresden to the north and Wiscasset to the east. Separated by water, it is near Bowdoinham to the west, Bath to the southwest, Arrowsic to the south, and Westport to the southeast.
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,072 people, 1,241 households, and 908 families residing in the town. The population density was 87.5 inhabitants per square mile (33.8/km2). There were 1,415 housing units at an average density of 40.3 per square mile (15.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.8% White, 0.3% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.1% of the population.
There were 1,241 households of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.6% were married couples living together, 6.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 26.8% were non-families. 19.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.82.
The median age in the town was 44.6 years. 21% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.5% were from 25 to 44; 33.7% were from 45 to 64; and 15.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 49.4% male and 50.6% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,810 people, 1,101 households, and 824 families residing in the town. The population density was 80.2 people per square mile (31.0/km²). There were 1,210 housing units at an average density of 34.5 per square mile (13.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.62% White, 0.36% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.14% from other races, and 1.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.82% of the population.
There were 1,101 households out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.9% were married couples living together, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.1% were non-families. 19.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 2.92.
In the town the population was spread out with 23.8% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 30.1% from 25 to 44, 28.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 104.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $41,741, and the median income for a family was $47,984. Males had a median income of $34,673 versus $22,625 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,097. About 5.6% of families and 6.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.5% of those under age 18 and 6.1% of those age 65 or over.
Sites of interest
- Robert P. Tristram Coffin Wildflower Sanctuary
- Montsweag Preserve
- Woolwich Historical Society & Museum
- Wilmot Brookings, pioneer, judge, politician
- John W. Brown, union leader
- Sir William Phips, colonial governor of Massachusetts
- Carlton Day Reed, Jr., President of the Senate
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- Brief Description and History of Woolwich, Maine
- Coolidge, Austin J.; John B. Mansfield (1859). A History and Description of New England. Boston, Massachusetts. pp. 367–368.
- Varney, George J. (1886), Gazetteer of the state of Maine. Woolwich, Boston: Russell
- Upper Hell Gate on the Sasanoa River
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Town of Woolwich, ME
- Patten Free Library
- Woolwich Central School
- Lower Kennebec Regional Land Trust
- Maine.gov -- Woolwich, Maine
- Maine Genealogy: Woolwich, Sagadahoc County, Maine