English colonists suspected Father Sebastien Rale (or Rasle), the French missionary at the village since 1694, of abetting tribal hostilities against British settlements during the French and Indian Wars. During Dummer's War, soldiers left Fort Richmond (now Richmond) in whaleboats until they reached Taconic Falls (now Winslow), then marched quietly to Norridgewock Village, arriving on August 23, 1724. The attack was "sharp, short and decisive," leaving 26 warriors slain, 14 wounded and 150 survivors fleeing to Quebec, Canada. Father Rale was among the dead.
The town was incorporated on June 18, 1788. It became county seat of Somerset County in 1809, with a courthouse built in 1820 and remodeled in 1847, although the county seat would be moved to Skowhegan in 1871. A sawmill was built to manufacture the region's abundant hardwoods, used in local factories to make carriages and furniture. Norridgewock also had a gristmill and granite works. Built in 1849 and replaced in 1929, the 600-foot (180 m) Norridgewock Covered Bridge across the Kennebec River was the second longest covered bridge in Maine after the 792-foot (241 m) Bangor Covered Bridge, which was built in 1846 across the Penobscot River to Brewer. The Eaton School was organized by Hamlin F. Eaton in 1856 and incorporated in 1874 "...for the promotion of literature, science and morality." Its Second Empire building, designed by architect Charles F. Douglas of Lewiston, later became Somerset Grange #18. In 1988, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 51.1 square miles (132.4 km²), of which, 49.8 square miles (129.1 km²) of it is land and 1.3 square miles (3.3 km²) of it (2.48%) is water. Norridgewock is drained by the Sandy River, Mill Stream and Kennebec River.
The village is located at the junction of U.S. routes 2 and 201A with Maine State routes 8 and 139. Norridgewock borders the towns of Madison to the north, Skowhegan to the east, Fairfield and Smithfield to the south, and Mercer and Starks to the west.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,294 people, 1,285 households, and 953 families residing in the town. The population density was 66.1 people per square mile (25.5/km²). There were 1,389 housing units at an average density of 27.9 per square mile (10.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.36% White, 0.30% Black or African American, 0.46% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.18% from other races, and 0.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.36% of the population.
There were 1,285 households out of which 35.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.6% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.8% were non-families. 18.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the town the population was spread out with 26.3% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 30.1% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 97.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.9 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $35,679, and the median income for a family was $41,536. Males had a median income of $31,800 versus $20,508 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,325. About 15.1% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.4% of those under age 18 and 12.2% of those age 65 or over.
Site of interest
- Norridgewock Historical Society & Museum
- Nathan Abbott, legal scholar, professor
- Rebecca Sophia Clarke (Sophie May), children's author
- Nathan Haskell Dole, editor, translator, author
- Stephen D. Lindsey, congressman
- Sebastien Rale (or Rasle), Jesuit missionary
- Minot Judson Savage, minister
- Cullen Sawtelle, congressman
- ^ a b Coolidge, Austin J.; John B. Mansfield (1859). A History and Description of New England. Boston, Massachusetts. pp. 231–235. http://books.google.com/books?id=OcoMAAAAYAAJ&lpg=PA9&dq=coolidge%20mansfield%20history%20description%20new%20england%201859&pg=PA231#v=onepage&q&f=false.
- ^ The "History of Norridgewock, Maine", from A Gazetteer of the State of Maine by Geo. J. Varney, published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill, Boston 1886, transcribed by Betsey S. Webber.
- ^ Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums (1970). Doris A. Isaacson. ed. Maine: A Guide 'Down East'. Rockland, Me: Courier-Gazette, Inc.. pp. 359–360.
- ^ "History of Skowhegan, Maine". 2005-02-06. http://history.rays-place.com/me/skowhegan-me.htm. Retrieved 2006-12-15. which quotes Varney, Geo. J. (1886). A Gazetteer of the State of Maine. Boston: B. B. Russell.
- ^ Varney, George J. (1886), Gazetteer of the state of Maine. Norridgewock, Boston: Russell, http://history.rays-place.com/me/norridgewock-me.htm
- ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
Municipalities and communities of Somerset County, Maine Towns Plantations Unorganized
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