While we know our northern friends may not feel it, in the South,
Spring is here. So we thought we'd share a few of our gardening
sites appropriate for this time of the year. Along with gardening,
there's grilling, and getting ready to diet so that you can fit back
into that bathing suit this summer!
Penobscot (derived by Vetromile
from the Pānnawānbskek, 'it forks on the white
rocks,' or Penaubsket, 'it flows on rocks'; Godfrey and Ballard
practically agree with Vetromile, the name applying directly to the
falls at Oldtown, but Ballard says it has also been rendered 'rock
land,' from penops [penopsc] 'rock,' and cöt [ot] locative, applied to
the bluff at the mouth of the river near Castine. Gerard gives the
aboriginal form as Pěnobskât, lit.' plenty stones').
A tribe of the Abnaki confederacy (q.
v.), closely related in language and customs to the Norridgewock.
They are sometimes included in the most numerous tribe of the Abnaki
confederacy, and for a time more influential than the Norridgewock.
They occupied the country on both sides
of Penobscot bay and river, and claimed the entire basin of
Penobscot river. Their summer resort was near the sea, but during
the winter and spring they inhabited lands near the falls, where
they still reside, their principal modern village being Oldtown, on
Indian island, a few miles above Bangor, in Penobscot county. A band
living on Moosehead Lake, Me., was popularly known as Moosehead Lake
Indians. That Indians of this tribe were encountered by navigators
before the middle of the 17th century appears to be certain. Kohl
(Discov. East Coast Am., 1869) says that Norumbega on the Penobscot
was often visited by French navigators and fishermen from the Great
Bank and that they built there before 1555 a fort or settlement.
When more thorough exploration began in the 17th century the
Penobscot chief, known as Bashaba (a term probably equivalent to
head-chief), seems to have had primacy over all the New England
tribes southward to the Merrimac. The residence of Bashaba at this
period appears to have been somewhere in the region of Bangor,
possibly at the Norunibega of early travelers. Champlain, who sailed
up the Penobscot (called by hint Norumbega) in 1605, says: "Now I
will leave this discourse to return to the savages who had led me to
the rapids of Norumbega, who went to inform Bessabes, their captain,
and gave him warning of our arrival." His residence must therefore
have been in the neighborhood of the rapids. The Penobscot at this
period seem to have been distinct from the "Tarratine," or Abnaki of
Norridgewock, and at war with them, although since the English
occupancy of the country they have always been known as a part of
the Abnaki and have sometimes been specifically designated as
Tarratine. The principal village, from which the tribe derived its
name, seems to have been identical with Pentagouet of early French
and English writers, situated on or near the site of Castine, Me.
The various forms of Pentagouet and Penobscot are constantly
confused in literature.
Other settlements at that period were at Mattawamkeag, Olamon, and
Passadumkeag. All of these appear to have been temporary stations
until the French gave a permanent character to Penobscot by the
establishment of a mission there in 1688. The Penobscot took an
active part in all the wars on the New England frontier up to 1749,
when they made a treaty of peace, and have remained quiet ever
since. This treaty brought them into
disfavor with the Abnaki of St Francis, who continued hostilities in
the French interest, for which reason very few of the Penobscot ever
joined their emigrant tribesmen in Canada, and they now constitute
the only important body of Indians remaining in New England
excepting the Passamaquoddy. Different estimates gave them
about 650 (1726), 1000 (Chauvignerie, 1736), 700 (1753), 400 (1759),
700 (1765), and 350 (1789). Most of the estimates within the present
century give them from 300 to 400 souls. They now number about