Clarke and Lake Company Archaeological Site

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Description 

The Clarke & Lake Company was established in 1654 and flourished until attacked by Native Americans in 1676 after the beginning of the King Philip's war.

"From their headquarters on Arrowsic Island, Clarke & Lake harvested the natural resources of the Kennebec and exported them in the triangular trade. The location of this settlement at Spring Cove has been confirmed archaeologically by the identification of six seventeenth-century structures. Archaeological remains also indicate that the settlement took advantage of the available furs, fish, timber, and salt hay. Furthermore, Spring Cove was located along an Indian coastal canoe route, and prehistoric artifacts show that Indians had visited the site intermittently for more than seven thousand years, suggesting it was a suitable location for trade. In return for beaver and moose skins, Clarke & Lake traded knives, kettles, textiles, and other goods to the Indians. English settlers and traders of the Kennebec were supplied by Clarke & Lake as well." "Clarke & Lake employed fishermen to participate in commercial fishing operations and to provide food for company employees. The Clarke & Lake tide mills processed local timber into staves and boards, and may have provided lumber for shipbuilding. ... Farmers, fishermen, blacksmiths, and other specialists made Arrowsic highly self-sufficient. As soon as the Clarke & Lake Company moved into the Kennebec in 1654, the population of the region began to grow rapidly. ... Although population centers arose at Pejebscot and Arrowsic, no real towns developed along the Kennebec; rather, people settled in a ribbon pattern along the river. As the Sasanoa River was a frequent route for Indians traveling between the Kennebec and the coast to the east, Spring Cove was a strategic location for a trading post. Not only was the Clarke & Lake settlement located on a key position on the coastal canoe route to Pemaquid and to Pentagote, the settlement was directly opposite the entrance to the back river component of the Sheepscot River, which provided a direct navigable canoe route as far into the interior as Liberty, Maine. (The Sheepscot River crosses route 3 in Liberty about four miles west of St. George Lake, the source of the Georges River, which terminates at Thomaston.) Traders at Clarke & Lake were thus in a position to receive furs not only from regions upriver on the Kennebec and Sebasticook rivers, but also from throughout the backcountry of the region between the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers. Other nearby links to Clarke & Lake include the Damariscotta River (and Damariscotta Lake) and the Medomak River, all intimately connected by a warren of bays and estuaries to the coastal canoe routes and that other most important of trading centers, Pemaquid, all of which made the area between the Kennebec and the Penobscot such an important source of furs in the 17th century." Baker, Emerson W. (1985). The Clarke and Lake Company: The historical archaeology of a seventeenth-century Maine settlement.

Update Log 

  • January 22, 2014: Added by Brian Bartlett

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