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York County, Maine facts for kids

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York County
York County Courthouse in Alfred
York County Courthouse in Alfred
Official seal of York County
Map of Maine highlighting York County
Location within the U.S. state of Maine
Map of the United States highlighting Maine
Maine's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Maine
Founded 1636
Named for York, England
Seat Alfred
Largest city Biddeford
 • Total 1,270 sq mi (3,300 km2)
 • Land 991 sq mi (2,570 km2)
 • Water 279 sq mi (720 km2)  22%%
 • Total 211,972
 • Density 166.9/sq mi (64.44/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 1st

York County is the southwesternmost county in the U.S. state of Maine, along the state of New Hampshire's eastern border. It is divided from Strafford County, New Hampshire, by the Salmon Falls River, and the connected tidal estuary—the Piscataqua River.

York County was permanently established in 1639. It is the state's oldest county and one of the oldest in the United States. Several of Maine's earliest colonial settlements are found in the county. As of the 2020 census, its population was 211,972, making it Maine's second-most populous county. Its county seat is Alfred.

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


1622 patent

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

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

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.

Community High Points
Mountain Name Elevation (feet) Community
Clark Mountain 1,320 Cornish
Wiggin Mountain 1,300 Parsonsfield
Sawyer Mountain, main summit 1,200 Limington
Sawyer Mountain, north summit 1,200 Limerick
Province Mountain 1,176 Newfield
Fort Ridge, main summit 1,114 Shapliegh
Ossipee Hill 1,058 Waterboro
Hussey Hill 1,051 Acton
Fort Ridge, south slope 1,000 Alfred
Prospect Hill 880 Lebanon
Bauneg Beg Hill 866 North Berwick
Mount Agamenticus 692 York
Mount Hope 680 Sanford
Whitehouse Hill 581 Hollis
Grant Hill 502 Lyman
No name (hill) 385 Buxton
Welch Hill 370 South Berwick
No name (hill) 360 Wells
Clark Hill 360 Dayton
Third Hill 360 Eliot
No name (hill) 300 Biddeford
No name (hill) 240 Arundel
No name (hill) 230 Saco
No name (hill) 223 Kennebunk
6 unnamed locations 200 Kennebunkport
5 unnamed locations 160 Ogunquit
Cutts Ridge 140 Kittery
No name (hill) 138 Old Orchard Beach

Adjacent counties

National protected area


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%
2020 211,972 7.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2019

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States census, there were 197,131 people, 81,009 households, and 53,136 families living in the county. The population density was 199.0 inhabitants per square mile (76.8/km2). There were 105,773 housing units at an average density of 106.8 per square mile (41.2/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 96.4% white, 1.1% Asian, 0.6% black or African American, 0.3% American Indian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.3% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 22.3% were English, 19.3% were Irish, 9.8% were French Canadian, 8.1% were German, 7.9% were Italian, 5.8% were American, and 5.6% were Scottish.

Of the 81,009 households, 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.4% were non-families, and 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.89. The median age was 43.0 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $55,008 and the median income for a family was $65,077. Males had a median income of $47,117 versus $34,001 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,137. About 5.6% of families and 8.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.4% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those age 65 or over.




Census-designated places

Unincorporated villages or neighborhoods

York County's most populous cities and towns at the 2010 US Census
Old Orchard Beach
South Berwick
North Berwick

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de York (Maine) para niños

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