Bowdoin, James

Bowdoin, James

Bowdoin, James, 1726-90, American political leader, b. Boston. He was elected to the Massachusetts General Court in 1753 and served until 1774. Illness prevented him (1774) from taking his place as a delegate to the Continental Congress. Bowdoin was (1775-77) a leading figure in the council that governed Massachusetts during the Revolution, presided over the state constitutional convention in 1779, and served (1785-87) as governor of the state. A conservative, as governor he played an active role in suppressing Shays's Rebellion and also forwarded the movement toward a centralized national government. Bowdoin College, in Maine, was named for him.
Bowdoin is a town in Sagadahoc County, Maine, United States. The population was 2,727 at the 2000 census. It is part of the PortlandSouth PortlandBiddeford, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Bowdoin was part of a tract of land extending from Merrymeeting Bay to the Androscoggin River that was conveyed in 1752 by the Kennebec Company to William Bowdoin of Boston, older brother of James Bowdoin. Originally called West Bowdoinham Plantation, it was settled some years before the Revolutionary War. In 1773, William Bowdoin died, and by 1779 James Bowdoin had legal claim to the area and was granting deeds. It contained about 121 families when the town was incorporated by the Massachusetts General Court on March 21, 1788, named after the Bowdoin family. In 1799, it ceded land to form Thompsonborough, whose name changed in 1802 to Lisbon. In 1834, it ceded more territory to Lisbon.

Bowdoin developed as an agricultural town, raising sheep and producing apples, wheat, hay and potatoes. Other industries included an ice company, sawmill, gristmill, carding mill and brickyard. Since 1993, alpacas have been raised in the town.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 43.7 square miles (113.1 km²), of which, 43.5 square miles (112.6 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (0.37%) is water. Bowdoin is drained by the Little River, Dead River, East Cathance Stream and West Cathance Stream.

The town is crossed by U.S. Route 201 and State Routes 25 and 125. It borders the towns of Lisbon and Sabattus to the west, Litchfield to the north, Richmond and Bowdoinham to the east, and Topsham to the south.


As of the census of 2000, there were 2,727 people, 987 households, and 765 families residing in the town. The population density was 62.7 people per square mile (24.2/km²). There were 1,035 housing units at an average density of 23.8/sq mi (9.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.80% White, 0.26% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 1.17% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.77% of the population.

There were 987 households out of which 40.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.5% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.4% were non-families. 16.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.76 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the town the population was spread out with 28.7% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 35.1% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 7.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 101.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $42,688, and the median income for a family was $46,094. Males had a median income of $32,975 versus $22,025 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,260. About 7.9% of families and 8.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.2% of those under age 18 and 3.1% of those age 65 or over.


Public schools in the area are operated by Maine School Administrative District 75.


Further reading

  • History of Bowdoin, Maine
  • A. J. Coolidge & J. B. Mansfield, A History and Description of New England, 1859; H. O. Houghton & Company, printers; Cambridge, Massachusetts

External links

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