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People of the Kennebec River
Historical Information (Prior to 1800)

Last Updated Dec-2008

Kennebec River People



Bits & Pieces from Books, news-clippings, etc.


To the Maine frontier they would come from Quebec to the Chaudiere River, four and a half miles distant, making carries to the head waters of the Maine rivers. To the Kennebec they had to cross some ten or twelve miles of mountainous land.

Source: New England Captives Carried to Canada [1]


In 1764 there were but thirty warriors left of the once great tribe of the Kennebecs.

Source: Williamson, vol. I. p. 482


On the breaking out of the Revolution, the few remaining warriors of the Kennebecs gathered at Gardinerston, where they were persuaded by Paul Higgins, a white man who had lived among them from childhood, to join the Americans. Headed and guided by Reuben Colburn, they went, to the number of twenty or thirty, in their canoes to Merry-meeting Bay, whence they proceeded to Cambridge on foot, and arrived August 13, 1775. They were not much encouraged by Washington, and returned.

Source: Drake, B, III. p. 156

Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - 20-30 Warriors ready to fight for the American cause should represent a much larger population - a ratio of 5 family members to each warrior might be a very conservative estimate of the actual Native population of the upper Kennebec. In addition, we doubt all the men capable of fighting actually volunteered, as that would leave their families very vunerable.


In 1795 there were but seven families [Kennebec Abenaki], and there is not one of all that noble race now on the earth.

Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - Seven KNOWN Indian families on the Kennebec in 1795 probably represents 35 to 60 people - and how many others had already begun to hide in plain sight? The rest of the sentence is false - we know the Nicola family and a descendant of Natanis moved to Penobscot and others are known at St. Francis and Bécancour in the early 1800s according to the statements of Kendall. Are we to believe they all died without issue?


They always made two trips each year to the sea-coast. These were made for the purposes of visiting the graves of their fathers; to hunt sea-fowl; to buy and sell furs. Coming from up river [the Androscoggin] they always paddled into Dead River of Leeds, and up to the old camping place. ...
After awaiting their friends here and performing certain religious ceremonies, they divided. Part went over to Wilson Pond, worked along its waters to Cobbosseecontee; thence to the Kennebec. The other followed the Androscoggin. They reunited at Merrymeeting Bay; hunted ducks; fished and dried their fish and fowl. ... The last of these trips of record is in 1796.

Source: Lewiston Journal, 19-Dec-192[8?]


A very trifling number of the Indians, of this river, are still in existence, and belong to the village of St. Francois, where they bear the name of Cabbassaguntiac, that is, people of Cabbassaguntiquoke. Cabbassa signifies a Sturgeon. The pronunciation Cabbassa, more elegant, as I think, than Cobbisse, is constant among the Indians whom I saw; and I may take this opportunity of remarking, that the form of the Indian words is commonly more elegant in their own mouths, than as they are rendered by the English colonist.

Source: Kendall 1809 3:124

Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - Mr. Kendall traveled through the region of the Kennebec in 1807-8