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In 1759, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Pownall sought to plug the mouths of Maine's key rivers so as to keep the French and Indians well inland. In January 1758, he wrote to William Pitt, Prime Minister of England about the advantages of this site, then called Wasaumkeag Point.

"A Fort at Penobscot River would be of utmost importance...  It would take possession of the finest Bay in North America for large shipping just at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy and would be advancing the Frontiers of his Majesty's Dominions."

The following year, Pownall led a group of 400 men who established and built a fort here, naming it after the governor. While the fort never fired a shot in anger, its protective presence encouraged Anglo-American settlement in the Penobscot region.

In 1775, British forces seized the fort's cannons and powder. Later, a regiment of Continentals burned the blockhouse and filled in much of the ditch system to prevent the British from occupying the fort.


Journal of T. Pownall, Capn General and Governor_in_Chief of His Majesty’s province of Mass Bay

May 4 _ Rendevous at Falmouth (Portland). Reviewed prefabrication of materials; troops not ready &

7 _ Reviewd Capt Herrick, Bean and Cargill’s companies

9 _Arrived at Fort George Thomaston). Cargill and his men to stay on board and embark at night to seek out the enemy

10 _ ;Cargill attacked Indian encampment;

13_ Sailed for Penobscot Bay aboard the King George. Four Companies enroute by land

15 _Met troops at Passagaswaukeag (Belfast). Indians set free with warnings.


17 _ Ordered Capt Bean to cross over to Western shore and to post north of Wassaumkeag (Fort Point). Cargill and Bean to secure carrying place and make a flanking movement back to the Point.;I advance with the whole in a Line Abreast, Preble commanding the left Division, Myself in the Barge the Right, as soon as we came near the Shore, upon a signal which I had before given Preble, he with his Division push’d up to the Left., and Landed on the cove so as to form a Right Angle with the Shore where I landed. _so that any Indians from behind the trees opposed either his or my Landing, the other must have flanked them; Sent ashore all the axes for clearing _ For having thoroughly Reconoitered this Point, as I have never yet saw so well suited a Scite for a Fort, so I imagin’d I should not find one more proper throughout this Rivr

18 _ Dug Well; surveyed; cleared and put up breast work. Cleared carrying place

21 _ Tested cannon range; finished building hospital

23_ Proceeded up Penobscot R. Buried lead plate; hoisted flag. Brigadier Samuel Waldo, 63, dropped dead.

25;_ Fort foundation completed

28 Returned to Boston. Brig Gen Jedidiah Preble in Command with 100 troops. Fort to be completed as soon as possible


Surname list of soldiers who settled in the area ( Partial)


Francis Archibald               Daniel Black

Ebenezer Booden             William Boynton                           Josiah Brewer                  Samuel Bridges

Isaac Clewley                  Jacob Clifford                               Remick Cole                   Hatevil Colson

Ichabod Colson               Samuel Cook                                Thomas Cooper              Charles Curtis

Nathaniel Cussens            Jacob Dice                                 Joseph Eaton                Zetham French

Reuben Gray                  Joshua Grindle                          Edward Howard                Samuel Jellison              

 Stephen Littlefield              Jonathan Lowder                     James Martin                      Robert McFarland

Obadiah Moor                          Abraham Nason                  Reuben Pitcher                      Ezra Pratt

Jacob Shute                           John Staples                    Gustavus Swan                      Jeremiah Thompson

Joshua Treat                           Moses Veazey                      Sedate Wadsworth

Thomas Wescot                    Peleg Willard                         Soloman Wood                      Joseph York.



 Nearly 8,000 people gathered at the promontory at Fort Point on July 28th, 1859 to celebrate the one hundreth anniversary of the construction of Fort Pownal. They came by sail and steamboat and horse and buggy. Even a 92 year old woman who had been in the fort as a little girl was there. Several military units were there as well as state and local dignitaries including Hannibal Hamlin. After a processional around the fort grounds and  several introductory speakers  the Rev Stephen Thurston gave a lengthy oration on the history of the fort. The day concluded with several toasts to the occasion. After that families and other groups enjoyed a picnic there.


 Building and Occupancy of Fort Pownal

A Paper Read Before The New England Historic Society

Oct 5, 1859

By Rev Richard Pike, of Dorchester, Mass


1859 Centennial Celebration

Nearly 8,000 people assembled at Fort Point on July 28, 1859 to coomemorate the one hundreth anniversary of the establishedment of a fort at the mouth of the Penobscot River.They came by steam and sail and horse and buggy. Three military units were in attendance as well as local dignitaries. Even 92 year old ------.She had been in the fort as a child. After a processional around the fort Reverend Stephen Thurston gave a lengthy oration. Toasts were given and people ended the day with a picnic.