Saco River Basin, Northeast North America – 16th-18th C
Native American Activity and Early European Contact

The indigenous community across the United States and Canada is speaking forth, expressing their heart for truths to be told and for a reconciling of their community with others. Their desire for the accurate telling of history, before and after European contact, is central. Limington was drawn into this story in its early days. Descendants of Francis Small (born abt.1625-d.1714) have written their story of Small’s 1668 land acquisition from a local sagamore, Wesumbe / Captain Sandy, of the “Land Between the Ossipees.” We do not have the indigenous people’s account of this transaction.

This reading list of journal articles and oral histories is a starting point to learn about the early people of the Saco River basin. It is not an exhaustive list. The authors range from explorers to ethnohistorians, each providing a unique focal point. While efforts are made to focus on the Saco River drainage basin, the greater context of Euro-Abenaki/Wabanaki contact in Maine and the northeast is explored. We invite you to explore this story!

The Maine Wabanaki – Truth and Reconciliation Commission ↩︎
Francis Small Story ↩︎

Note – The non-profit journal storage site, “JSTOR” requires a free registration to read their articles.

Historical Overview

Bourque, Bruce J., Twelve Thousand Years: American Indians in Maine, University of Nebraska Press, 2001

Davistown Museum bibliography – Native Americans in Maine (Other Contemporary Publications and Journal Articles)

“Holding Up the Sky: Wabanaki People, Culture, History& Art,” Maine Memory Network, An exhibit at the Maine Historical Society running from April 2019-February 2020.

Maine History Online
“To 1500 People of the Dawn”
“1500-1667 Contact and Conflict”
“1668-1774 Settlement and Strife.”

Maine Wabanaki overview

The Wabanakis of Maine and the Maritimes – A Resource Book about Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Micmac, and Abenaki Indians


Maine Historic Preservation Commission

Metcalf, Colleen, and Nate Hamilton, “The Maine Archaeology Cultural and Heritage Guide” (A 2022 University of Southern Maine undergraduate research project.)

Spiess, Arthur, “Maine Prehistoric Archaeological Sites: Introduction and Management,” Historic Preservation Commission, 1992.n

1500 – 1750

Abbott, John S. C., “The History of Maine from the Earliest Discovery of the Region by the Northmen Until the Present Time,” B.B. Russell, Portland, 1875.

Bahar, Matthew Robert, “The Sea of trouble we are Swimming in”: People of the Dawnland and the Enduring Pursuit of a Native Atlantic World, A Dissertation Submitted to the Graduate faculty of University of Oklahoma, 2012.

Bakker, Peter. “‘The Language of the Coast Tribes Is Half Basque’: A Basque-American Indian Pidgin in Use between Europeans and Native Americans in North America, ca. 1540-ca. 1640.” Anthropological Linguistics 31, no. 3/4 (1989): 117–47.

Baxter, James Phinney, Alfred L. P Dennis, and Henry Otis Thayer, “Tercentenary of Martin Pring’s first voyage to the coast of Maine, 1603-1903.” [Portland, Me. 1905] Maine Historical Society, Library of Congress.

Bennett, M. K. “The Food Economy of the New England Indians, 1605-75.” Journal of Political Economy 63, no. 5 (1955): 369–97.

Champlain, Samuel de, Charles P. Otis – translator, “Voyages of Samuel De Champlain — Volume 02,” Project Gutenberg, 2015.

Cook, Sherburne F. “The Significance of Disease in the Extinction of the New England Indians.” Human Biology 45, no. 3 (1973): 485–508.

Ghere, David L. “European Diplomacy with the Eastern Abenaki, 1725-1750.” Proceedings of the Meeting of the French Colonial Historical Society, vol. 19, 1994, pp. 87–100.

“Lescarbot: History of New France,” The Champlain Society, Toronto,
Volume II –
Volume III –

Marr JS, Cathey JT. New hypothesis for cause of epidemic among native Americans, New England, 1616-1619. Emerg Infect Dis. 2010 Feb;16(2):281-6. doi: 10.3201/eid1602.090276. PMID: 20113559; PMCID: PMC2957993.

Morrison, Alvin H., “Wabanaki-English-French – Natives & Newcomers in Frontier Encounters and Land Sovereignty Conflicts in Northern New England and Maritime Canada 1497 – Present,” Plus related Sebago-Presumpscot Anthropology Project Papers.

(Research notes – Bibliography on the Abenakis)
Savoie, S. (2003). Note de recherche: bibliographie sur les Abénaquis.
Recherches amérindiennes au Québec, 33(2), 109–119.

Taylor, Gavin James, “Ruled with a pen: Land, language, and the invention of Maine” (2000). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. William & Mary. Paper 1539623994.

Euro-Indian Trade

Baker, Emerson W., “Trouble to the eastward: the failure of Anglo-Indian relations in early Maine” (1986). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. William & Mary. Paper 1539623765.

Bourque, Bruce J., and Ruth Holmes Whitehead. “Tarrentines and the Introduction of European Trade Goods in the Gulf of Maine.” Ethnohistory, vol. 32, no. 4, 1985, pp. 327–41.

Churchill, Edwin A. “The Founding of Maine, 1600-1640: A Revisionist Interpretation.” Maine History 18, 1 (1978): 21-54.

DePaoli, Neill. “Beaver, Blankets, Liquor, and Politics Pemaquid’s Fur Trade, 1614-1760.” Maine History 33, 3 (1994): 166-201.

Sewall, Rufus King, “Ancient Dominions of Maine,” B. Thurston, Portland, 1859.

Turgeon, Laurier. “French Fishers, Fur Traders, and Amerindians during the Sixteenth Century: History and Archaeology.” The William and Mary Quarterly 55, no. 4 (1998): 585–610.

Land Sales and Territories

Baker, Emerson W. “Finding the Almouchiquois: Native American Families, Territories, and Land Sales in Southern Maine.” Ethnohistory vol. 51 no. 1, 2004, p. 73-100. Project MUSE

Baker, Emerson W. “‘A Scratch with a Bear’s Paw’: Anglo-Indian Land Deeds in Early Maine.” Ethnohistory, vol. 36, no. 3, 1989, pp. 235–56.

Snow, Dean R. “Wabanaki ‘Family Hunting Territories.’” American Anthropologist, vol. 70, no. 6, 1968, pp. 1143–51.

Language, Culture, Oral History

Fannie Hardy Eckstrom Papers

Day, Gordon, “Arosagunticook and Androscoggin,” Algonquian Conference, Volume 10, 1979.

Day, Gordon M. “The Identity of the Sokokis.” Ethnohistory, vol. 12, no. 3, 1965, pp. 237–49.

Day, Gordon, “The Indian Occupation of Vermont,” The Proceedings of the Vermont Historical Society, July 1965.

Kendall, Edward Augustus, 1776? -1842, and Joseph Meredith Toner Collection. Travels through the northern parts of the United States: in the years and 1808. New-York: Printed and published by I. Riley, 1809. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

Matthewson III, R. Duncan, “Western Abenaki of the Upper Connecticut River Basin: Preliminary Notes on Native American Pre-Contact Culture in Northern New England,” Vermont Archaeological Society

MacDougall, Pauleena, “Dialect Symbols in Aubrey’s Dictionary” (1986). Papers on the Penobscot Language. 2.

Speck, Frank G., Wawenock Myth Texts from Maine, Forty-third Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1925-26, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1928, pages 165-198.

Starbird, Charles M., “The Indians of Androscoggin Valley,” Lewiston Journal Printshop, 1928.

Teg, W. (1950). Almuchicott, Land of the Little Dog. Boston: Christopher.

(Pigwacket and Molly-Ockett)
Tufts, Henry, 1748-1831, and Edmund Lester Pearson. The Autobiography of a Criminal. New York City: Duffield and Company, 1930

Willoughby, Charles C. “Houses and Gardens of the New England Indians.” American Anthropologist, vol. 8, no. 1, 1906, pp. 115–32.

War for the Homeland / Frontier

Ball, Margaret Haig Roosevelt Sewall. Grim Commerce: Scalps, Bounties, and the Transformation of Trophy-taking In the Early American Northeast, 1450-1770.

Dekker, Michael. French & Indian Wars in Maine. The History Press, 2015.

Kidder, Frederic, The Abenaki Indians – their Treaties of 1713 & 1717, and a Vocabulary, Printed by Brown Thurston, Portland, 1859. Project Gutenberg EBook.

King Philip’s War – 1675-1678

Coleman, Emma Lewis, “New England Captives Carried to Canada Between 1677 and 1760 During the French and Indian Wars” Volume 1, Southworth press, 1925.

Hubbard, William, “A narrative of the Indian Wars in New England, First Settlement to the Termination of the War with King Philip, in 1677,” Drake, Samuel, Printed for W. Elliot Woodward, Roxbury, Mass. 1865.

Morrison, Alvin, “Tricentennial Too: King Philips War Northern Front (Maine, 1675-1678,)” 1977.

Seibert, Frank T., The First Maine Indian War: Incident at Machias (1676), Fourteenth Algonquin Conference, Carleton University, 1983.

King Williams War – 1688-1697

Pulsipher, Jenny Hale. “‘Dark Cloud Rising from the East’: Indian Sovereignty and the Coming of King William’s War in New England.” The New England Quarterly, vol. 80, no. 4, 2007, pp. 588–613,

Baker, Emerson W., and James Kenses, “Maine, Indian Land Speculation, and the Essex County Witchcraft Outbreak of 1692,” Maine History 40, 3 (2001): 158-189.

Battle of Pequawket – Lovewell’s Fight – 1725

Bickford, Gail H. “Lovewell’s Fight, 1725-1958.” American Quarterly, vol. 10, no. 3, 1958, pp. 358–66.

Eckstorm, Fannie Hardy. “Pigwacket and Parson Symmes.” The New England Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 3, 1936, pp. 378–402.

Eckstorm, Fannie Hardy. “Who Was Paugus?” The New England Quarterly, vol. 12, no. 2, 1939, pp. 203–26.

French and Indian War – 1754-1763

Ghere, David L. “Eastern Abenaki Autonomy and French Frustrations, 1745-1760.” Maine History34, 1 (1994): 2-21.

Diaspora and Maps

Ghere, David L. “The ‘Disappearance’ of the Abenaki in Western Maine: Political Organization and Ethnocentric Assumptions.” American Indian Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 2, 1993, pp. 193–207.

Ghere, David, “Subsistence or Strategy? Cattle Killing and Eastern Abenaki Migration, 1725 to 1760,” Papers of the Twenty-Ninth Algonquin Conference, 1999.
Haefeli, Evan, and Kevin Sweeney, “Wattanummon’s World: Personal and Tribal Identity in the Algonquian Diaspora c. 1660-1712.” 54th Algonquin Conference, 2022.

Library of Congress
A Plan of the late Province of Main as far as Kennebeck River. [1778?]

Samuel de Champlain and New France
Osher Map Library, Smith Center for Cartographic Education

Territories for the N’dakina (Abenaki / Abenaquis), Native Land Digital.

United States. General Land Office. Map of the United States, Showing Routes of Principal Explorers and Early Roads and Highways. Honnold Mudd Library. Special Collections, 1937.

Wabanaki Place Names of Western Maine. This map presents the work of Bates College students in History s28 (Wabanaki History in Maine) in 2012, when it was taught by Micah Pawling and Donald Soctomah, and in 2014, when it was taught by Maria Girouard and Joe Hall. Map prepared April 2015 by Joe Hall with assistance from Matt Duvall and the Bates College Imaging Centemap