South Berwick History Time Line
Cummings Mill workers

History of South Berwick, Maine, from the age of discovery to the 21st Century

Based on the Maine School Administrative District #35 Timeline of Eliot and South Berwick History - March 16, 2001 

1400
Natives living in Quamphegan (South Berwick) raise corn, beans and squash to supplement hunting and fishing
1500

Europeans (Basques, Portuguese) are already exploring area and fishing here, unofficial trading with the natives

1524
Giovaanni da Verrazano first European to describe Maine coast
1602
Bartholomew Gosnold expedition to Maine coast
1603
Martin Pring visits our area of Maine coast
1604
Samuel de Champlain visits Maine coast
1607
Native population on New England coast devastated by European diseases (1616 and onward), 9 out of 10 die of diseases such as small pox and measles
1607-1608
Popham Colony at mouth ofthe Kennebec River; colony fails

1614

Capt. John Smith arrives at Monahiggan (Monhegan Island); finds French ships doing profitable trading business with native Indians
1620
Ship Mayflower pilgrims settle Plimoth in Massachusetts Bay
1620s
As many as 400 European fishing vessels now active off Maine coast; fishing stages on land to dry fish
1622-1623
King James grants Charter to Mason and Gorges, businessmen from England; first official settlement at Little Harbor (now in Rye); settlements on both sides of the river are called the Piscataqua Plantations
1631
The ship, the Pied Cow, lands cattle and mill carpenters on the banks of the Newichawannock, vicinity of today's Vaughn Woods
Ambrose Gibbons' trading post is in operation
1639
King Charles Creates Province of Maine
1647
Piscataqua Plantations on the Eastern Bank Renamed Kittery . (Province of Maine)
1650
Sagamore Rowls sells Quamphegan to Thomas Spencer, early settler of Old Fields (South Berwick)
Richard Leader brings Scottish Covenanters (indentured servants) with him from Saugus Iron Works, to build a large sawmill at Ashbenbedick Falls.  The project was called the "great mill works," and the area became known as Great Works.  The project was not a great success, but the Scots stayed and became an integral part of the new settlements at Old Fields and Salmon Falls. 
1652
Kittery "submits" to Massachusetts at publick meeting at Everett's Tavern (in today's Eliot)
1654
Way to Wells is ordered improved; today's Witchtrot Road
1660-1800
Town Commercial Center at Old Fields, Lower Landing, Chadbourne's Mills
1660
Congregational meetinghouse built in Kittery's Unity Parish near Old Fields (South Berwick)
1662
Persecuted Quaker women are driven from Dover. They find safety in Kittery at the homes of the Shapleighs (Eliot), and Spencers and Richard Nason (South Berwick). Nason is disenfranchised for allowing Quaker meetings to be held in his home. Kittery becomes a haven for Quakers.
1675
During “King Philip's" War, Indians attack Salmon Falls (area of Rt. 236 between Berwick and South Berwick), and an eighteen-year old girl saves many occupants of the Tozier garrison through her bravery, according to oral tradition.
1675
During “King Philip's” War, war chief Mugg captures more than twenty fishing boats
1677
Massachusetts Bay Colony buys Province of Maine from descendants of Ferdinando Gorges, and our area officially becomes part of Massachusetts Bay Colony
1685
English Crown appoints first Surveyor of Pine and Timber; James Warren in South Berwick
Chadbourne House burned in 1690 during King William's War (which began in 1689)
1690
William Phipps captures Port Royal, Acadia
1693
Grist/Sawmill at Outlet of York Pond (Punkin Town in today's Eliot)
1695
Population of Province of Maine is 2,000
1695
HMS Falkland built at Kittery
1697
Major Charles Frost and his companions killed near Ambush Rock during King William's War; they were returning from Sunday meeting at the Old Field's meeting house (South Berwick)
1700
Kittery's (Eliot's) John Shapleigh grants freedom to his slave, Black Will
1700
Lumbering and the mast trade have been important economically; Indian wars temporarily suspend this because of destruction of mills; many settlers have moved away
1702
Third Indian War (Queen Anne's War) - the war between the English and the French (and their Indian allies) continues; Treaty of Portsmouth, 1713
1702
A new Congregational church is formed; a new meeting house built shortly thereafter near the Spencer garrison at Old Fields (South Berwick)
1710
Nottingham Galley sinks off Boon Island; 20th century writer Kenneth Roberts immortalizes story of survivors' plight, stranded on Boon Island
1713
Berwick Separates from Kittery; now Berwick, Province of Maine of Massachusetts Bay
1713
Treaty of Portsmouth ends Queen Anne's War
1718
School now located at Old Fields
1722
Fourth “Indian” War (Lovell's War; hostilities continue; Treaty of Falmouth(Portland), 1725
1739-1740
Boundary Established Between New Hampshire and Province of Maine
1743
Land purchased in Berwick by Dennett ancestor of Tuttle Family (South Berwick)
1745
Local men help capture Louisburg in French and Indian War; Treaty, 1763
1751
One-room school houses become more numerous
Ground broken for John Haggin's (Jewett) house at the "meeting of the ways"
1775
War of Independence (Revolutionary War)
1776
July 1st, Town of Berwick declares its support for breaking away from England (South Berwick)
1776
Kittery men (from both South Berwick and Eliot) send two full companies to fight in the American Revolution; many local men join John Paul Jones and serve the new Navy.
Hamilton House is built at a cost of $3,000 (twice the cost of general houses in the area); average of more than one ship a year was built between 1783 and 1839 in that part of the river; Sarah Orne Jewett novel, Tory Lover, has John Paul Jones being entertained at the Hamilton House -- though it never happened
Privateering continues Capt. Theodore Jewett (SOJ's grandfather) of Berwick, is captured and ransomed by his father from an English prison
Berwick Academy incorporated
1800-1825
Town Commercial Center at Upper Landing
Jonathan Hamilton dies; he and his wife are buried in Old Fields Cemetery; Hamilton's sons continue shipyard until shipbuilding economy collapses (see 1812); house rented, then purchased in 1839 by Alpheus Goodwin for sheep raising
1812
War of 1812: embargo devastates local trade, shipping, merchants; North Berwick oral tradition has it that when the war was declared over, a huge bonfire was built atop Agamenticus Mountain in celebration; region never recovered from this war until the advent of the mills in the 1830s (Ivory Hovey letters in Counting House - ruined by blockades)
1814
South Berwick Separates from Berwick; Now South Berwick, Province of Maine, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
1819
Young Elizabeth Ann Barker arrives by gundalow at Upper Landing; will be choir director in local church (her trunk is in Counting House)
1820
Maine is 23rd state admitted to Union, a free state (Missouri Compromise)
General LaFayette and son visit Madam Cushing in South Berwick
1826
Berwick Academy's 1791 House is moved; larger building constructed and female students now attend
1830
Rogers' Brickyard in Eliot supplies brick for construction of Portsmouth Manufacturing Company at Upper Landing
Portsmouth Manufacturing Company in South Berwick produces cotton goods; Counting House (the business office) is built
1839
Bicycles are invented as serious and quick alternative to harnessing up the horse
1841
Portsmouth, Saco & Portland Company builds railroad, connecting Eliot and South Berwick to Portland and Boston
(Theodora) Sarah Orne Jewett is born, named for her father
1825-2001
Commercial Center of Town at Central Square
John Burleigh operates Newichawannock Woolen Mills at Great Works in South Berwick
Dr. Theodore Jewett builds his house next to his father's in South Berwick, the Jewett Eastman House
Civil War; 192 men enlist from South Berwick; many also from Eliot (see Willis' Old Eliot)
1861
“U.S.S. Kearsarge” built at shipyard in Kittery; major employer of Eliot and South Berwick men
South Berwick's Central Square is struck by fire; many businesses destroyed
Cummings Shoe comes to South Berwick
Many one-room schools now in South Berwick, as seen on 1872 maps
1873
Maine State Law requires free public high school education; South Berwick contracts with Berwick Academy to serve as town high school; many Eliot students also attend as paying students
Sarah Orne Jewett Writes Deephaven
Sarah Orne Jewett Publishes Country By-Ways
1882
Marcia Oakes (Woodbury) graduates from Berwick Academy; becomes well-known artist and illustrator
1885
Many churches in South Berwick
1886
Sarah Orne Jewett writes White Heron
1890
Families from Canada now live in South Berwick, working at the mills; French becomes a major second language
Fogg Memorial built at Berwick Academy; stone is cut from local quarries. Berwick Academy is an integral part of South Berwick life. Students attend high school there, and the Fogg Memorial is the location of the library for both school and town
Sarah Orne Jewett persuades the wealthy Tyson family to buy the dilapidated Hamilton House; it is restored as a summer home
1902
Dr. John L. M. Willis edits and publishes History of Old Eliot, invaluable tool of Eliot (and South Berwick) history; its three volumes contain documented and oral history pertinent to both towns
1914-1918
WWI
Collapsed remains of the Portsmouth Manufacturing Company are removed, except for the Counting House; a new dam and a hydro-electric plant (still working today) are built
Central School is Built in South Berwick; St. Michael's, also
1935
Gladys Hasty Carroll's folk play brings summer folk to Dunnybrook in South Berwick
1941-1945
WWII; many enlist; Navy Yard again becomes major employer for Eliot and South Berwick; 25,000 employed, including many women
1946
From Central School Time Line – “railroad tracks were removed from town” -Rail service discontinued through Eliot and South Berwick
1950-1953
Korean Military Action
1952
B&M Railroad discontinues services through South Berwick; railroad bed used for Rt. 236
1954
Civic Center Annex is built onto Central School; used for town meetings and offices; it will eventually become today's gym and classrooms
1956
Dow Highway (Rt. 236) constructed over old railroad bed; named for Mr. Dow of Eliot
1958
South Berwick Rescue Squad is formed
1960
South Berwick High School is constructed, in 1966, it becomes Marshwood Junior High; in 1999, it becomes Marshwood Middle School
1961-1975
Viet Nam Military Action
1963

South Berwick gets new town Charter; Town Manager form of government; the first town manager is Robert Weiss

1964
South Berwick Sewer District is formed
1966
Eliot, South Berwick Schools join to become MSAD #35; New High School is built on Depot Road in Eliot
South Berwick Public Library opens in the Jewett Eastman House, leased from SPNEA; house is purchased from SPNEA by the JEM Committee in 1984 and becomes home of the public library
1974
New wing is added to Central School
1976
Strawberry Festival in South Berwick celebrates our Nation's Bicentennial Year; becomes an annual event, a town “fundraiser”
1983
Odyssey of the Mind (OM), National Problem-Solving Competition, comes to MSAD #35
1986
Great Works Regional Land Trust is established, to protect and preserve our towns' dwindling natural resources
1991
Mildred Holmes Obrey, Student and Teacher of our schools, retires from MSAD #35 School Board Chair
1992
Marie Donahue (BA graduate), Teacher, Local Historical Author, publishes “Old Academy on the Hill”
1993
Family merchants span the century in South Berwick; Flynn's Market and P. Gagnon and Sons
800 South Berwick children and adults participate in Central School's first “Hike Through History”
2000
Dedication of New Marshwood High School on Rt. 236 in South Berwick. Realignment of student population of Eliot and South Berwick results in Eliot Elementary School and Central School (South Berwick) consisting of Pre-K through and including 3rd grade students; Marshwood Middle School, 4th grade through and including 6th grade students; Marshwood Junior High School, 7th and 8th grades; and the new high school, 9th through 12th grades.

 
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