Trading, Smuggling, Privateering & British Assaults in summer 1814
10,000 to 20,000 years ago - Visited or settled by Native Americans
Late 1600s, settled by French families
by 1704 - French families were driven out by ranger Benjamin Church
1772 - settled by Benjamin Cochrane of Newburyport, Massachusetts
1780 - known as Plantation 8
1798 - incorporated as Eastport, reputedly because it was the most easterly port in the United States
1807-1809 - Eastport prospered during the Embargo period due to extensive smuggling operations
1812 - Eastport residents "unanimously voted to preserve a good understanding with the Inhabitants of New Brunswick and to discountenance all depredations upon the possessions of each other"
1814 - From Lossing's Field Book of the War of 1812, by Benson J. Lossing, 1869:
A more serious invasion of the New England coast now occurred. Early in July, Sir Thomas M. Hardy sailed secretly from Halifax [July 5, 1814.] with a considerable force for land and sea service. His squadron consisted of the Ramillies, 74, his flag-ship; the sloop Martin, brig Borer, the Bream, the bomb-ship Terror, and several transports with troops, under Colonel Thomas Pilkington. The squadron entered Passamaquoddy Bay on the 11th, and anchored off Fort Sullivan at Eastport, 3 which was then in command of Major Perley Putnam, of Salem, 4 with a garrison of fifty men and six pieces of artillery. The baronet demanded an instant surrender of the post, giving the commander only five minutes for consideration. Putnam promptly refused compliance, but, on account of the vehement importunities of the alarmed inhabitants, who were indisposed to resist, he yielded his own judgment, and gave up the post on condition that while the British should take possession of all public property, private property should be respected. When this agreement was signed, a thousand armed men, with women and children, a battalion of artillery, and fifty or sixty pieces of cannon, were landed on the main, and formal possession was taken of the fort, the town of Eastport, and all the islands and villages in and around Passamaquoddy Bay. Declaration was made that these were in permanent possession of the British, 5 and the inhabitants were called upon to take an oath of allegiance within seven days, or leave the territory. 6 Two thirds of them complied. The customhouse was opened under British officials; 7 trade was resumed; the fortifications around Eastport were completed, and sixty pieces of cannon were mounted; and an arsenal was established. Several vessels, and goods valued at three hundred thousand dollars, accumulated there to be smuggled into the United States, were made prizes of by the British. The enemy held quiet possession of that region until the close of the war.
Having established British rule at Eastport, and left eight hundred troops to hold the conquered region, Hardy sailed westward with his squadron, spreading alarm along the coast. Preparations for his reception were made every where. Vigilant eyes were watching, and strong arms were waiting for the appearance of the foe at Portsmouth, where little Fort Sumner was manned.
1883 - second busiest port in the US, with 1820 entries, 1784 of which were foreign vessels
1940s - close of Eastern Steamer line
From an entry in the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica:
EASTPORT, a city and port of entry of Washington county, Maine, U.S.A., co-extensive with Moose Island in Passamaquoddy Bay, about 190 m. E.N.E. of Portland. Pop. (1890) 4908; (1900) 5311 (1554 foreign-born); (1910) 4961. It is served by the Washington County railway, and by steamboat lines to Boston, Portland and Calais. It is the most eastern city of the United States, and is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel, which is spanned by a bridge. The harbour is well protected from the winds, and the tide, which rises and falls here about 25 ft., prevents it from being obstructed with ice. The city is built on ground sloping gently to the water’s edge, and commands delightful views of the bay, in which there are several islands. Its principal industry is the canning of sardines; there are also clam canneries. Shoes, mustard, decorated tin, and shooks are manufactured, and fish and lobsters are shipped from here in the season. The city is the port of entry for the customs district of Passamaquoddy; in 1908 its imports were valued at $994,961, and its exports at $1,155,791. Eastport was first settled about 1782 by fishermen; it became a port of entry in 1790, was incorporated as a town in 1798, and was chartered as a city in 1893. It was a notorious place for smuggling under the Embargo Acts of 1807 and 1808. On the 11th of July 1814, during the war of 1812, it was taken by the British. As the British government claimed the islands of Passamaquoddy Bay under the treaty of 1783, the British forces retained possession of Eastport after the close of the war and held it under martial law until July 1818, when it was surrendered in accordance with the decision rendered in November 1817 by commissioners appointed under Article IV. of the treaty of Ghent (1814), this decision awarding Moose Island, Dudley Island and Frederick Island to the United States and the other islands, including the Island of Grand Manan in the Bay of Fundy, to Great Britain.