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Wabanaki Agency in the Proprietor Records

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Place Names and Continuance

Similarly, some of the maps within these collections contain vital placenames and locations, including documentation of little-known homelands like Ameskonti. The Kennebec Proprietors maps document the continuance of Wabanaki people at Norridgewock, despite a persistent myth that Norridgewock was “abandoned” after a violent English raid in 1724. The maps instead reveal a long, and more complex, history of resistance, displacement and return.

Settlers, including the Pejepscot and Kennebec Proprietors, sometimes relied on the Wabanaki people who remained to interpret early documents and the placenames they contained. One striking example is the testimony of Pial Pôl. In 1793, Pial Pôl provided vital information, including the locative placename of the lower Androscoggin River, as Pejepscook (Pejepscot), and the upper river homeland, Ammoscongon (Amikôkan). He explained the location of particular Wabanaki places, such as Quabecook (Merrymeeting Bay), and the names of falls on the Androscoggin, including Amitgonpontekok (Twenty Miles Falls), which divided Pejepscook from Ammoscongon. He named important historic planting places and homelands like Rockamecook (Canton), near Ameskonti (Farmington), where he lived with his family at that time.

Although his testimony served to delineate the boundaries of settler claims to land, Pial Pôl’s presence, in 1793, also speaks to the Wabanaki people who remained. The manuscript also provides valuable information about place names and language, which Wabanaki language keepers and scholars are using today, asserting agency over how the documents of displacement are repurposed.


1. "‘A Kind of Warr’: The Contest for Land on the Northeastern Frontier, 1750-1820,” The William and Mary Quarterly 46:1 (January 1989), pp. 3- 26

2. “‘A Scratch with a Bear's Paw’: Anglo-Indian Land Deeds in Early Maine,” Ethnohistory 36:3 (Summer, 1989), pp. 235-256)

3. Richardson, H. W., William M. Sargent, Leonard Bond Chapman, and E. C. Bowler. “Book II, Fol. 113, 114.” York Deeds. Portland: John T. Hull, 1887.