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Camden Mountains

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The Camden Mountains, also called the Camden Hills, are located just northeast of the town of Camden. The range includes Mount Megunticook, upon whose shoulders Mount Battie sits, Cameron Mountain, and Bald Rock Mountain. They stand high above West Penobscot Bay between Camden and Lincolnville, looking east toward Mount Desert and the rising sun. The Wabenaki, loosely defined as the "people of the dawn," greeted their maritime world, "the dawn land," from the Camden Hills, and other high points, including Mount Wallamatogus in Penobscot (460 feet), Awan-adjo  (at Bluehill), Caterpillar Hill in Sedgwick (with its panoramic sweep which stretches from the Camden Hills to Mount Desert and far out into Penobscot Bay), and atop Cadillac Mountain, Mount Desert. It is from the same peaks that artists and pilgrims alike still climb to view Penobscot Bay.

Mad-kam-ig-os'-sek, "big high land," is the Wabenaki word for Camden, and Meg-un-ti-cook, "big mountain harbor," the name for the harbor, is now used for Mount Megunticook. The inner harbor, quiet and safe, would have been the ideal place for a large, oceangoing canoe to lay up when the sea was rough. Capt. John Smith visited this place in 1614, during the Beaver Wars, and noted that the high mountains were used as a refuge from the Mik'maq of the Maritimes who fought the Wabenaki of Penobscot Bay to maintain their place as middlemen in the fur trade. These raiders would travel along the Downeast coast in their shallops. Mount Battie, of many spellings, was noted as Mount Betty in documents dating from 1757. It is a European corruption of a word borrowed from another place, the Madambettox Hills of Rockland. 

-Mark Honey


Eckstorm, Fannie Hardy, "Indian Place-Names of the Penobscot Valley and the Maine Coast," University of Maine Studies, 2nd Series, #55, November 1941, reprinted 1960 by the University of Maine Press. DeLorme's Atlas. Frank G Speck's "Penobscot Man," University Of Pennsylvania Press, 1940.

1862 Gloucester Telegraph 3.8.1862
Gloucester Telegraph

"The Reef of Norman's Woe ... is now commemorated in painting too, one of the finest pictures from Lane's easel. ... The sketch was made at the pretty spot commonly called, we believe, Master Moore's Cove.  Being some little way off the main track to Rafe's Chasm, it is seldom visited, except by the more inquisitive lovers of nature who leave the beaten road to pry out such pleasant places. ... We wish it might find a home buyer, rather than go off to enrich another community." Flowery description follows, then "There is another and larger work in the artist's studio, which, happily, is to be retained. It received much well deserved notice and commendation. The subject is a view southward from the 'Cut,' with the picturesque promontory commonly known as 'Stage Fort,' and historically interesting as the supposed spot of the 'Landing at Cape Ann' in the middle distance, and Eastern Point on the extreme left." More description follows, "Among other attractions of the studio, and particularly worthy of mention, is a cabinet picture with an effect similar to the Norman's Woe. The subject is chosen from the many sketches of the grand scenery of the Maine sea-coast with which the artist's portfolio is rich. It is a view of the Camden mountains sketches from the Graves, a jagged ledge far out in the bay, which is accessible in only the smoothest water."

Citation: "Historical Materials." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. (accessed July 23, 2024).
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