Cape Elizabeth is the most seaward town of Cumberland County. It constitutes a broad peninsula lying between Fore River, Spurwink River and the sea. Scarborough is the adjoining town on the south-west, Westbrook, Deering and Portland, on the north, and around the southern and eastern parts flows the sea. It is separated from Portland by Fore River, and Spurwink River cuts deeply into its south-western side. Its north-eastern projection forms the southern shore of Portland Harbor. The town, including Richmond Island, has an area of 12,881 acres. The soil is various, being in different parts a red, brown, and a black loam, with some sand and clay. Being near so good a market as Portland, the buildings of the rural districts have a neat and thrifty aspect. Great Pond and Small Pond, in the southern part, are the principal bodies of water. Richmond Island, lying a mile from the southern shore, was the first locality occupied by Europeans on this part of the coast. The first settler was Walter Bagnell (called "Great Walt,") who came here in 1628, occupying the island without a title. His principal purpose appears to have been to drive a profitable trade with the Indians, without much scruple about his methods. At length his cupidity drew down upon him their vengeance and they put an end to his life in October, 1631. Two months later, the council of the Plymouth Company granted the Island and certain other territory to Robert Trelawney and Moses Goodyear, merchants of Plymouth, England, who soon made it the centre of their American trade. The island was convenient to the fishing and coasting business, and it soon became a place of much importance. There is a record that, before 1648, large ships took in cargoes tor Europe there. In 1638 a ship of 300 tons was sent here laden with wine, and the same year Mr. Trelawney employed 60 men in the fisheries. In the following year, Johi Winter, the agent of Trelawney, sent to England, in the bark Richmond, 6,000 pipe-staves. After the death of Winter, about 1648, its business declined, and at the breaking out of the first Indian war came entirely to an end. The island contains about 200 acres, and now constitutes a single farm. In 1637, by the aid of the proprietors, Rev. Richard Gibson, an Episcopal minister, was settled on the island, and the necessary appurtenances of worship in the English form were provided. Mr. Gibson removed to Portsmouth in 1640, and in 1642 lie returned to England. Many years ago an earthern pot was exhumed upon the Island, and within was found a number of gold and silver coins of the 17th century, and a heavy gold signet ring, richly chased, and marked by two initials letters. This ring has given the title to an historical novel by Dr. Hsley, the chief action of which is placed upon this Island.
320 Ocean House Road
Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
Cape Elizabeth Public Schools
Southern Maine Community College
Community Center – 343 Ocean House Road, Cape Elizabeth
Thomas Memorial Library
Maine Medical Center