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Arrowsic, Maine
Doubling Point Light c. 1907
Doubling Point Light c. 1907
The Pine Tree State
Dirigo (I lead)
Arrowsic, Maine is located in Maine
Arrowsic, Maine
Arrowsic, Maine
Location in Maine
Country United States
State Maine
County Sagadahoc
Incorporated 1841
 • Total 10.79 sq mi (27.95 km2)
 • Land 7.75 sq mi (20.07 km2)
 • Water 3.04 sq mi (7.87 km2)
46 ft (14 m)
 • Total 477
 • Density 62/sq mi (23.8/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 207
FIPS code 23-01570
GNIS feature ID 0582329

Arrowsic is a town in Sagadahoc County, Maine, United States. The population is 477 as of the 2020 United States Census. It is part of the PortlandSouth PortlandBiddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area. During the French and Indian Wars, Arrowsic was site of a succession of important and embattled colonial settlements. It is a favorite with artists and birdwatchers.


Abenaki Indians called the island Arrowseag, meaning "place of obstruction," a reference to Upper Hell Gate on the Sasanoa River. Until it was widened by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1898 and 1908, the stretch was choked with boulders and ledges. Indian canoe passage would have been risky in the swift current between Merrymeeting Bay and Sheepscot Bay.

In 1649, John Richards purchased Arrowsic from the sachem Mowhotiwormet, commonly known as Chief Robinhood. Richards then sold it in 1654 to Major Thomas Clarke and Roger Spencer, the latter selling his share in 1657 to Captain Thomas Lake. Clarke and Lake were Boston merchants, who built at Spring Cove on the island's northeast corner a stockaded trading post and blockhouse protected by at least two great guns. In 1658-1659, land was cleared for pasturage, streets, a warehouse, sawmill, gristmill, bake house, blacksmith shop, cooperage and shipyard. Several large dwellings were erected, one called the Mansion House. Families and stocks of cattle were imported. The village became the local court of law, headquarters of the general council, and place of protection for settlers in the region.

But on August 14, 1676 during King Philip's War, the settlement was destroyed. The evening before, an Indian woman appeared at the door of the Clarke and Lake fort seeking shelter. She was admitted, and in the dead of night quietly opened the gate. In rushed warriors, and in the massacre which followed, 30 colonists were killed or taken into captivity. Captain Thomas Lake, Sylvanus Davis and two others seized a canoe and paddled to Parker's Island (now Georgetown), where all but Lake escaped alive from their pursuers. As the warehouse was looted and village burned to ashes, a brave sported the captain's hat.

In 1679, returning settlers established a temporary settlement known as Sagadahoc on Stage Island, and petitioned the Massachusetts General Court for a permanent settlement on the southern end of Arrowsic Island. Governor Edmund Andros complied, granting 20 families Newtown. It was laid out with a common and, by order of the governor in 1688, a small, square palisaded fort on the ridge at the southern end of the island. But King William's War broke out in May 1689, and by July, Newtown was destroyed and its garrison abandoned.

Signed in 1713, the Treaty of Portsmouth brought a truce between the Eastern (Abenaki) Indians and English settlements. Newtown was reestablished in 1714, then incorporated in 1716 as Georgetown-on-Arrowsic, named after King George I. Eventually, the town's boundaries were extended to include Parker's Island, Stage Island and the Plantation of Nequasset (present-day Georgetown, Phippsburg, Bath, West Bath and Woolwich).

During this time Fort Menaskoux was built and Samuel Penhallow was the commander. Beginning on August 9, 1717, Massachusetts Governor Samuel Shute and Penhallow conducted a two-day conference on Arrowsic with delegates of various tribes, who arrived in a flotilla of canoes and encamped on Lee Island opposite the town. They objected to so many English forts in their territory, and Shute responded that he would build them wherever he thought necessary. Incidentally, the governor's boat Squirrel ran aground on what has been known since as Squirrel Point. All the Indians helped him get free.

Steamer Going Through Hell Gate, ME
Upper Hell Gate in c. 1906

In the summer of 1723 during Dummer's War, Arrowsic was attacked by the Norridgewocks and their 250 Indian allies from Canada. Incited by French missionary Sebastien Rale, they burned 37 dwellings and killed 300 cattle. The 40 inhabitants fled to the garrison, with only a child lost. When the fort could not be taken, the Indians disappeared upriver. During the French and Indian War, on June 9, 1758, marauding Indians shot Ebenezer Preble and a workman as they tended his farm on the northern end of the island. They then attacked his garrison, killing his wife and carrying away their 5 children to be sold as servants in Canada. It would be the last Indian massacre on the Kennebec River; next year brought the Fall of Quebec. On February 17, 1841, Arrowsic Island was set off from Georgetown and incorporated as the town of Arrowsic.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 10.79 square miles (27.95 km2), of which, 7.75 square miles (20.07 km2) of it is land and 3.04 square miles (7.87 km2) is water. Arrowsic is on an island of the same name situated between the Kennebec River, Sasanoa River and Back River.

It is crossed by Maine State Route 127. Separated by water, Arrowsic is near the towns of Woolwich to the north, Westport to the east, Georgetown to the southeast, Phippsburg to the southwest, and Bath to the northwest.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 347
1870 252 −27.4%
1880 255 1.2%
1890 177 −30.6%
1900 180 1.7%
1910 147 −18.3%
1920 176 19.7%
1930 135 −23.3%
1940 167 23.7%
1950 172 3.0%
1960 177 2.9%
1970 188 6.2%
1980 305 62.2%
1990 498 63.3%
2000 477 −4.2%
2010 427 −10.5%
2020 477 11.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 427 people, 204 households, and 127 families living in the town. The population density was 55.1 inhabitants per square mile (21.3/km2). There were 251 housing units at an average density of 32.4 per square mile (12.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 98.6% White, 0.7% Native American, 0.5% Asian, and 0.2% from two or more races.

There were 204 households, of which 13.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.4% were married couples living together, 3.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 1.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.7% were non-families. 29.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.61.

The median age in the town was 55 years. 11.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 3.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 15.1% were from 25 to 44; 45.5% were from 45 to 64; and 23.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 49.2% male and 50.8% female.

Sites of interest

See also

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