|Maine House||District 88|
|Maine Senate||District 13|
|Area sq. mi.||(total) 47.5|
|Area sq. mi.||(land) 46.8|
Total=land+water; Land=land only
[WHITE-field] is town in Lincoln County, incorporated on June 19, 1809 from the part of Ballstown Plantation remaining after the western portion became the town of Jefferson in 1807.
The town was named for a well-known itinerant minister, George White, who visited Maine in 1745.
John Ball, and a substantial number of Irish Roman Catholics, settled the area in 1770, attracted by the lumbering opportunities and the ability to ship logs down the Sheepscot River, which also provided power for the associated mills.
In 1818 the Reverend Denis Ryan, the first Catholic priest ordained in New England, arrived and witnessed the building of the first church (a log structure) in 1822, followed by a brick church in 1833. The bricks were made by hand on the church grounds.
As do many Maine towns with scattered villages, Whitefield has several volunteer fire departments: Coopers Mills, Kings Mills, and North Whitefield.
Although predominately an agricultural settlement, Kings Mills, along with North Whitefield and Coopers Mills, developed around three waterpowers on the Sheepscot River. Formed into the Town of Whitefield in 1809, each of the villages retained its separate identity, and functioned essentially as self-sufficient entities well into the 20th century.*
Coopers Mills is a small community in the far northeastern corner of the town, through which the West Branch of the Sheepscot River flows. The remains of an old mill dam includes a modern fish ladder to assist Atlantic Salmon in their travels upstream.
Whitefield’s East River Road Bridge is the starting point for a canoe trip that runs north to south for about six miles to Head Tide Dam at Head Tide Village in Alna.
Whitefield is west of Gardiner on Route 126 and north of Wiscasset on Route 218.
Congressional Medal of Honor winner:
Chadbourne, Ava Harriet. Maine Place Names and The Peopling of its Towns.
Lowden, Linwood H. Balltown-West: An Introduction to the History of Whitefield, Maine 1765-1809. North Whitefield, Me. L.H. Lowden. 1984. (1985 printing)
*Maine. Historic Preservation Commission. Augusta, Me. Text and photos from National Register of Historic Places: http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/nrhp/text/xxxxxxxx.PDF, http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/nrhp/photos/xxxxxxxx.PDF
St. Denis Catholic Church: 76000102.PDF
Whitefield Union Hall: 07000014.PDF
Sacks, Marie L. Scenes of Whitefield: A Sampler of the Last 100 years, 1909-2009. Whitefield, Me. Whitefield Historical Society. 2009. [Maine State Library]
Waters, Henry C. A History of the Town of Whitefield, Maine as outlined in a speech by Henry C. Waters. Maine H. C. Waters. 1959. [Maine State Library]
Waters, Henry C. Kings Mills, Whitefield, Maine: Volume Two of a Continuing History of the Town of Whitefield, Maine. July 1983. [Maine State Library]
Sacks, Marie L. A Brief History of Whitefield, 1760-2004. Whitefield, Me.] Whitefield Historical Society. 2004.
National Register of Historic Places – Listings
St. Denis Catholic Church
[west of North Whitefield on Maine Route 218 North Whitefield] St. Denis Catholic is the second oldest Catholic church in the state and the third oldest in New England. It was originally a wooden frame structure, thirty-six feet by fifty feet, built in 1818 by a spirited young Irish pastor, the Rev. Dennis Ryan, the first priest ordained in New England and Maine’s first resident parish priest.
As Maine’s population grew, Father Ryan drew many Irish immigrants to this farming community, making it the rural Catholic center of Maine. By the early 1830’s the community had outgrown the little church and replaced it with the existing brick building.
The new church was built around the wooden chapel. When the brick shell had been completed chapel was taken down. The new St. Denis Catholic Church was dedicated in 1833; the stone rectory was added in 1851. The bell tower was added in 1861 to replace the original roof-top belfry.* [See photo above.]
Whitefield Union Hall
[Kings Mills Union Hall, Townhouse Road] The 1900 Whitefield Union Hall is important in the social history of Kings Mills. The Queen Anne Style building was built jointly by the Whitefield Grange # 101, and the Whitefield Fish and Game Club. As the only stage and hall in the southern portion of Whitefield prior to 1919, the Hall hosted public dances, dinners and other events and has continued to be a focal point for community gatherings.* [See photo above.]