Excerpted from the history
provided in the Charlotte Comprehensive Plan from
contributions by Arthur Carter and Kevin James, President
and Secretary, respectively, of the Charlotte Historical
The first recorded residents in Charlotte were the "Red
Paint People" so named because their graves contain
quantities of brilliant red ocher. Much later the
Passamaquoddy Indians arrived. They held annual inter-tribal
ceremonials at Basin Hill in Charlotte.
The first recorded attempt to attract white settlers to what
is now Charlotte occurred in 1765 when the Great and General
Court of Massachusetts granted Plantation Number 3 to the
residents of Townshend (now Townsend) Massachusetts "for
military services and other losses and services" - provided
they settled the land within six years. They were unable to
the summer of 1784 General Rufus Putnam surveyed and plotted
Plantation Number 3, which was later to become Charlotte.
About 1805 the Plantation (except for four lots) came into
the possession of a speculator and promoter named John
Coates of Boston. At that time, conditions attached to
acquisition of land from the Commonwealth included paying
taxes, making payments on a mortgage and having a certain
number of settlers on the land within a stated time. Not
many speculators succeeded in meeting these requirements –
Coates was no exception. Coates would give a written promise
of 80 acres of land to anyone willing to go to the
Plantation and settle. He hoped this would attract
additional settlers (some were already living here).
1809 seven families took Mr. Coates up on his offer and
moved to the Plantation (they arrived too late however to be
counted in the U.S. Census which was published in 1810 and
shows no people living in the Plantation). The seven
families were: Fisher, Bridges, Damon, Trusdale, Greenlaw,
Chubbucks, and Gardner. The following year John Coates
suddenly died after the failure of his business! The written
assurances he had given the families were not honored by his
creditors, and most of the Charlotte pioneers had to pay for
their land. These first families were what we today would
call "extended families". The Fishers included David Fisher,
Jr. and Ebanezer Fisher (brothers from Francestown, New
Hampshire) who were followed in a few years by three other
brothers: Increase, Benjamin, and Enoch Hewin.
1914 Lewis Fisher of this family published a very
interesting history of Charlotte: "The Story of a Down East
Plantation - Facts and Fancies About the Pine Tree State".
Long out of print, it was recently republished by the
Charlotte Historical Society and copies are available from
them. In his introduction Mr. Fisher says "Charlotte is not
a place but a state of mind. It is the Eden from which I was
driven out - the heaven that lay about me in my infancy".
The Bridges included three brothers from Ox Cove, Pembroke,
Maine: Jacob, Thomas, and John. A few years later their
father sold his home in Pembroke and moved here. Warren
Gardner, also from Pembroke, was the first Gardner to move
here and was followed soon after by his brothers Jacob and
Isaac and his sister Mary (who was married to John
Other early settlers soon followed with their families.
These included: William McGlauflin, William Denny, Owen
Clark, and Hosea Smith. Ephraim Abbott of Andover
Theological Seminary visited here in 1811 and found: "There
are now nine families in No. 3, sixty-seven persons,
thirty-two of these children of proper age to attend
school." But, he noted, they "...have never had a school in
Reverend Abbott's description of his trip from Robbinston to
No. 3 gives an idea of how undeveloped the area was: "Rode
to Mr. Boyden's on horse back and crossed a part of Boyden's
Lake in a birch canoe. Then my guide, Mr. Ebenezer Fisher,
carry the canoe on his back about half a mile. Thence we
descended the stream that leads from Boyden's Lake to
Pennamaquon Lake and across the lake to the mouth of Round
Pond stream. Then we poled up this steam to Round Pond, and
landed at Mr. David Fisher's."
The first meeting
of Plantation No 3 took place in the home of Abiah Damon in
1821. The first records of the "Town of Charlotte are dated
April 4, 1824, although Charlotte did not become officially
incorporated as a Town until January 19, 1825. When the
petition for incorporation was first read in the House of
Representatives, "Charlotte", the name of the wife of King
George Ill, was rejected because many lawmakers were still
hostile toward England. Plantation No. 3 was named "Adams",
the second choice of its inhabitants. However, just before
the final vote, legislator William Vance from Baring asked
the privilege of changing the name to Charlotte, not for the
King's wife, but in honor of his wife, Charlotte
Mulholland Vance, and this was approved. (Details of the
early records and other activities of Charlotte area
available in the Charlotte Sesquicentennial 1825-1975
Historical Souvenir Book which is available at the Charlotte
The earliest schools were held in homes. It is believed that
the first school was conducted in the home of David Fisher.
By 1819 there were three schools in Town. At one time there
were five schools: Damon Ridge, Smith Ridge, Gardner (or
Lower) Ridge, Lake, and Round Pond. These schools were for
grades one through eight. Not all students could be sent
away to high school because of the cost, so some continued
to attend the district schools with the teachers giving them
more advanced work until their parents felt they were old
enough to stop! By 1952 this was the only school. The
present school was built in 1965.
The Charlotte Pound which was first built in 1826 as a place
to put stray livestock has been kept in repair and rebuilt
and is a well-known historic site.
Prior to 1829 Plantation No.3 was served by missionaries
that made rounds to all settlements in the Passamaquoddy Bay
Area. In that year Charlotte Baptist Church was organized
with 30 members. This church was in existence until the
early 1900's. During the 1920's and 30's Sunday School was
held in the Grange Hall. This Sunday School evolved into the
present Baptist Congregation which constructed the existing
meeting house in 1948.
July 3, 1883 the Town voted to build a Town House on land to
be purchased from the heirs of Levi Fisher. Article 3,
approved at this meeting, appointed a Town House Committee
to work with the trustees of the Charlotte Grange which was
to own and have full use of the upper hall (second floor).
When the Grange moved to Cooper in the 1990's the town
purchased the second floor from them. It is now used as the
Town Historical Museum and maintained by the Charlotte
Historical Society. Charlotte Grange No. 253 was started
with a meeting of its charter members June 1, 1883 at the
home of Ansel W. Fisher. For many years the social life of
the Town centered around the Grange and its related
activities. To better meet the needs of young people, a
Junior Grange was organized June 18, 1948 with 14 charter
members. The Grange was very active in the sesquicentennial
celebration in 1975. By the early 1990's membership had
declined to such a level that the organization was no longer
effective. The remaining members consolidated with the
Railroad service between Calais and Eastport through Ayers
Junction located just over the Charlotte Town Line in
Pembroke began in November 1898 (this junction was
originally called "Eastport "Junction.) The line passed
between Round Pond and Pennamaquan Lake on a long trestle.
The first through train was run on January 2, 1899, making
connection at Washington Junction, near Ellsworth, with
Maine Central RR trains to the west. Pullman service was
begun that summer to accommodate the summer tourists. Rail
service was discontinued in 1978. The tracks to Eastport
have been torn up and sold for scrap, and the right of way
sold to 26 separate private owners.
Moosehorn National Wlldlife Refuge, with its headquarters in
nearby Baring, was established in 1937. The refuge owns
approximately 25,000 acres, 1,200 acres of which are in
Charlotte (just over 5% of the Town's total land and water
area). The Refuge provides highly diversified wildlife
habitat. Wildlife oriented recreation is encouraged, hunting
is allowed, there are numerous nature trails, and the public
is welcome to cut Christmas trees for their personal use.
During the great depression Congress passed the Emergency
Conservation Work Act which authorized several programs, one
of which was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). There
were 4,500 CCC camps nationally and 28 in Maine, one of
which was the 1129th Company, known as "Moosehorn Camp"
located in Charlotte, near Round Pond.
Moosehorn was a typical camp with four barracks each with 50
enrollees. It was active from July 1939 through 1941. Work
programs at all the camps involved two of America's most
critical and renewable resources: forests and people.
Activities included forest improvement and fire fighting,
and education and job training. Enrollees had to be between
18 and 25 years of age and were paid $30 month -- $25 of
which had to be sent home (one of the important objectives
of the CCC was unemployment relief). The primary concern of
the camp was to provide a beneficial environment for
wildlife. They built artificial nesting islands in marsh
areas, and improved yarding areas for deer and mating
grounds for woodcock by clearing debris and planting shrubs.
Other projects included constructing roads, telephone lines,
firebreaks and lookout towers within the refuge. Thirty-five
miles of fencing was erected and picnic areas built for
During 1975 the
Charlotte Sesquicentennial was observed. A very dedicated
group of residents planned and implemented many activities
-- one of the most noteworthy being the research and
publication of the Souvenir Book which contains most of the
history of the Town. Businesses in Town at that time
included three saw mills (Maurice and Franklin James, Forest
C. Gillespie, and Nelson F. Smith), three trucking
businesses (Chet's Transportation, H.J. Clark, and Donald
Hatton), M.L. Vining and Son's garage, and Don's Store.
1995 Hatton's Store closed, leaving the Town not only
without a store, but without a place to get together
informally and discuss affairs.
The Town's extremely active Historical Society, which held
its first meeting on July 28, 1993, exists to preserve and
interpret Charlotte's past through whatever means possible.
The Society has 52 members and has initiated a museum in the
Town Hall. In 1995 the Society hosted the first Charlotte
Genealogical Meeting. and published the first issue of a
quarterly newsletter "Loon II".
Lewis B. Fisher
concludes his Story of a Down East Plantation by stating
that the pioneers who went to the old Down East Plantation:
"...did better than they knew when they went there. More and
more it will be evident that they were guided by 'The
Destiny that shape our ends, rough hew them as we will'.
They started a strong sturdy strain of our best American
life. The pioneers who went west did no better in any
respect. "Hail Down East Plantation No. 3.
You have had a great history, considering your size and
location, and the best is yet to come to you. Your children,
scattered over all the world, bear you in their hearts with
love, honor and respect. "