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Coming Events

April 24, 2014 - Protecting House and Home: Ritual Marks and Shoes in the Wall

Shoes 7:30 pm (Berwick Academy)

Historian Jan Eakins became interested in devices used by early New Englanders to ward off witches when she was director/curator of Fairbanks House, built in Dedham, Massachusetts in 1641. Puritans believed supernatural forces for good and evil shaped their daily lives. To ward off disaster, they placed old shoes in the walls of their houses and barns, hung a horseshoe over the door, or crossed their fingers – practices that continued long after the Puritan religion faded. In a lecture sponsored by the Old Berwick Historical Society, Jan will discuss the role of magic in early New England, and why shoes were believed to have special power to ward off witches. She will offer tips for determining if a “found” shoe was purposefully placed, and what to do if you are fortunate enough to find one. She will end her talk by examining a pair of children’s shoes found in a house in South Berwick. Bring shoes and stories if you have them!

The program will be held on Thursday, April 24, starting at 7:30 pm at Berwick Academy's Jeppesen Science Center on Academy Street.  The public is invited, and volunteers will serve refreshments.  This lecture is one of many bicentennial events to be organized throughout 2014 by the Old Berwick Historical Society and other community organizations.

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A Bicentennial History

 

Town of South Berwick incorporates 1814

1814: South Berwick Comes into Its Own 

by Norma Keim 

                February 12, 1814 was a momentous day for the village of Quamphegan.  Located on the site of an ancient Indian village still bearing its name, it was the commercial center of the town of Berwickwhich then included today’s South Berwick, Berwick and North Berwick.  James SullivanMassachusetts’ governor from 1807–08, had apprenticed at Quamphegan as a law clerk, and in his 1795 "The History of the Province of Maine," identifies Quamphegan Landing as the "great Landing place," located at what is now the Counting House Park on Liberty Street in South Berwick.

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Ask Norma

Ask Norma

Got a question about local history of the Berwicks, the Salmon Falls River area and southwestern Maine?  If you write us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , our volunteers will do their best to find answers in the Counting House Museum archives and reference books.

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South Berwick Time Line

Cummings Mill workers

History of South Berwick, Maine, from the age of discovery to the 21st Century

Based on the Maine School Administrative District #35 Timeline of Eliot and South Berwick History - March 16, 2001 

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The Placenames of South Berwick

Placenames of South Berwick

NEW - Updated second edition for South Berwick's Bicentennial 

With a special introduction "1814: South Berwick Comes Into Its Own: a Bicentennial History"

by the Old Berwick Historical Society

“You won’t find a more historic walkable village in New England than South Berwick.  Now you can find everything when you get there with this much-needed, carefully researched guide.”
– J. Dennis Robinson, SeacoastNH.com
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Bicentennial House Tour - "Circle the Pond"

Saturday, June 21

Come and "Circle the Pond" for the South Berwick bicentennial! Seven private homes (circa 1700-1985) feature various periods and styles, including unique architectural designs. Fundraiser supports our museum and programs. Buy tickets now or call 207-384-4039 or email vsasobo@comcast.net.

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From our new bicentennial exhibit - South Berwick Town Hall

Becoming South Berwick:

Surviving the Revolution

Meeting House

by Cari Quater
Berwick Established: In 1713, the same year that ended of Queen Anne’s War- a war dominated by conflict with the French and their Indian allies -- the town of Berwick officially separated from Kittery. 
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