York County, Maine

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York County, Maine
York County Courthouse, Alfred, ME.jpg
York County Courthouse in Alfred
Seal of York County, Maine
Map of Maine highlighting York County
Location in the state of Maine
Map of the United States highlighting Maine
Maine's location in the U.S.
Founded 1636
Named for York, England
Seat Alfred
Largest city Biddeford
 • Total 1,270 sq mi (3,289 km2)
 • Land 991 sq mi (2,567 km2)
 • Water 279 sq mi (723 km2), 22%
 • (2010) 197,131
 • Density 199/sq mi (77/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.yorkcountyme.gov

York County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maine. As of the 2010 census, the population was 197,131,[1] making it the second-most populous county in Maine. Its county seat is Alfred.[2] Founded in 1636, it is the oldest county in Maine and one of the oldest in the United States.

York County is part of the PortlandSouth Portland, ME Metropolitan Statistical Area.


1622 patent[edit]

The first patent establishing the Province of Maine was granted on August 10, 1622, to Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason by the Plymouth Council for New England, which itself had been granted a royal patent by James I to the coast of North America between the 40th and the 48th parallels "from sea to sea". This first patent encompassed the coast between the Merrimack and Kennebec rivers, as well as an irregular parcel of land between the headwaters of the two rivers. In 1629, Gorges and Mason agreed to split the patent at the Piscataqua River, with Mason retaining the land south of the river as the Province of New Hampshire.

Gorges named his more northerly piece of territory New Somersetshire. This venture failed, however, because of lack of funds and colonial settlement. Also failed was a venture by Capt. Christopher Levett, an agent for Gorges and a member of the Council for New England. With the King's blessing, Levett embarked on a scheme to found a colony on the site of present-day Portland. Levett himself was granted 6,000 acres (24 km2) of land, the first Englishman to own the soil of Portland. There he proposed to found a settlement name York after the city of his birth in England. Ultimately, the project was abandoned, the men Levett left behind disappeared, and Levett died aboard ship on his return to England from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. One part of Levett's scheme did survive: the name of York, which now adorns the county.

The now-decommissioned Fort Levett on Cushing Island in Casco Bay is named for Capt. Levett.

1639 patent[edit]

In 1639, Gorges obtained a renewed patent, the Gorges Patent, for the area between the Piscataqua and Kennebec Rivers, in the form of a royal charter from Charles I of England. The area was roughly the same as that covered in the 1622 patent after the 1629 split with Mason. The second colony also foundered for lack of money and settlers, although it survived the death of Gorges in 1647.

Absorption by Massachusetts[edit]

In the 1650s the nearby Massachusetts Bay Colony asserted territorial claims over what is now southern Maine, and by 1658 had completely absorbed what is now southwestern Maine into York County, Massachusetts.

The first known and recorded deed for a purchase of land in York County is in 1668, when Francis Small traded goods with the Newichewannock tribe of this area. Their Chief Wesumbe, also known as Captain Sandy, was friendly with Small and warned him of a plot against his life. A group of renegade tribesmen planned on murdering Small instead of paying him with the furs that were owed to him. Small escaped after watching his house in what is now Cornish, Maine, burn to the ground. Small returned and rebuilt. The Chief made up the loss by selling Small all the lands bounded by the Great and Little Ossipee Rivers, the Saco River, and the New Hampshire border. Known now as the five Ossipee towns, the tract included all of Limington, Limerick, Cornish (formerly named Francisborough), Newfield and Parsonsfield.

The large size of the county led to its division in 1760, with Cumberland and Lincoln counties carved out of its eastern portions. When Massachusetts adopted its state government in 1780, it created the District of Maine to manage its eastern territories. In 1805 the northern portion of York County was separated to form part of Oxford County. When Maine achieved statehood in 1820 all of the counties of the District of Maine became counties of Maine.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,270 square miles (3,300 km2), of which 991 square miles (2,570 km2) is land and 279 square miles (720 km2) (22%) is water.[3]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 29,078
1800 37,896 30.3%
1810 41,877 10.5%
1820 46,283 10.5%
1830 51,722 11.8%
1840 54,034 4.5%
1850 60,098 11.2%
1860 62,107 3.3%
1870 60,174 −3.1%
1880 62,257 3.5%
1890 62,829 0.9%
1900 64,885 3.3%
1910 68,526 5.6%
1920 70,696 3.2%
1930 72,934 3.2%
1940 82,550 13.2%
1950 93,541 13.3%
1960 99,402 6.3%
1970 111,576 12.2%
1980 139,666 25.2%
1990 164,587 17.8%
2000 186,742 13.5%
2010 197,131 5.6%
Est. 2013 199,431 1.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[4]
1790–1960[5] 1900–1990[6]
1990–2000[7] 2010–2013[1]

At the 2000 census,[8] there were 186,742 people, 74,563 households and 50,851 families residing in the county. The population density was 188 per square mile (73/km²). There were 94,234 housing units at an average density of 95 per square mile (37/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.56% White, 0.42% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.73% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.85% from two or more races. 0.70% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The most cited ethnicities were English (17.9%), French (14.5%), French Canadian (13.9%), Irish (12.5%), United States or American (9.6%) and Italian (5.1%). 90.84% of the population spoke English and 6.92% spoke French as their first language.[1]

There were 74,563 households of which 32.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.00% were married couples living together, 9.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.80% were non-families. 24.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.96.

Age distribution was 24.80% under the age of 18, 6.90% from 18 to 24, 30.00% from 25 to 44, 24.80% from 45 to 64, and 13.60% who were 65 years of age or older. For every 100 females there were 94.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.40 males. The median age was 38 years.

The median household income was $43,630, and the median family income was $51,419. Males had a median income of $36,317 versus $26,016 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,225. About 5.90% of families and 8.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.90% of those under age 18 and 8.50% of those age 65 or over.


Presidential election results[9]
Year Democrat Republican
2012 56.9% 61,551 40.6% 43,900
2008 59.4% 64,799 38.8% 42,389
2004 53.4% 58,702 45.0% 49,526
2000 49.3% 46,618 44.7% 42,304

Voter registration[edit]

Voter registration

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of August, 2013[10]
Party Total Voters Percentage
  Unenrolled 57,214 39.84%
  Democratic 45,247 31.51%
  Republican 36,580 25.47%
  Green Independent 4,551 3.16%
Total 143,592 100%




Census-designated places[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  10. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of August, 2013". Maine Bureau of Corporations. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°25′N 70°40′W / 43.41°N 70.67°W / 43.41; -70.67