Fort Kent

Fort Kent is located where the Fish River joins the St.John. The town was named for a fort or blockhouse that the United States erected at the time of the so-called Aroostook war, in 1841, and was named after the then-governor of Maine, Edward Kent.

Aerial view of St.John River at Fort Kent, with permission, by Charles Feil,

"Fort Kent was first settled by Acadian-French refugees. The first settler upon the territory now included in the town, called by the French, LaDécharge, was Mr. José Nadeau, who came in 1829 and built a log house. His nearest neighbors were at Baker Brook, about seven miles away, on the opposite side of the river below. In 1836 his brother, Sefroid, came to setttle on the point at the mouth of the Fish River. François Thibodeau and Basile Albert also came early. Mr. Daniel Savage built a mill on Fish River about a mile above its mouth, some years after 1827, when he came from Anson and settled at Baker's Brook. Mr. Fred Hathaway of Frederickton had a grant of this mill lot from the British government, and this grant was confirmed by the Commissioners in 1840; Mr. Savage moved some eight miles farther up the river.

"A boundary dispute arose from the carrying on of lumbering operations by parties from Maine and New Brunswick, and the location at the junction of the Fish and St.John's rivers was a focal point of the trouble. In April 1839 the first armed forces appeared. In 1840 the blockhouse was completed and was named Fort Kent, in honor of Governor Edward Kent who was that year elected as Governor of Maine. The same year a company of United States troops came and buildings were erected for the proper accommodation of the post. A number of those who came with the Maine posse stayed and took up farms, and others were attracted hither by the large lumber operations then carried on. The U.S. troops who came in 1840 remained four years and left the post in 1844 after the boundary disputes had been fully settled. . . ." (Varney, p.235; Chadbourne, p.260-261)

Fort Kent blockhouse

Blockhouse in Fort Kent, at confluence of Fish and St.John Rivers

The head of the Maine militia unit that was stationed at the mouth of the Fish River in 1839 and 1840 was Captain Rines.

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Last revised 20 Jan 2006
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