History of Aroostook County

In pre-colonial times, the land now occupied by Aroostook County was inhabited by the Micmacs and the Maliseets, bands of which still reside in the area.

French explorers, led by Samuel de Champlain and Sieur de Monts, first visited the area in 1604, but the area was not settled until much later. The first settlers arrived in the Aroostook River area during a border dispute between the United States and Great Britain. They settled on property claimed by both sides.

Even within the United States, the boundaries were anything but settled. Although Maine was admitted to the Union in 1820, a large part of what was to become Aroostook County still belonged to Massachusetts.


In 1837, Maine became the only state to declare war unilaterally when its legislature dispatched an army of 200 to what is now Aroostook County. Eventually the U.S. Congress appropriated funds and raised 10,000 militia to defend its borders against the British. The Webster-Ashburton treaty, adopted in 1842, settled the dispute without bloodshed and fixed the border between Maine and New Brunswick.

  • 1815 War of 1812 ends.
  • 1817 James Monroe became the 5th President of the United States.
  • 1820 Maine became a state.
  • 1825 John Quincy Adams became the 6th President of the United States.
  • 1827 Construction began on the road to Houlton.
  • 1829 Andrew Jackson became the 7th President of the United States.
  • 1832 Military Road was constructed, leading from Bangor to Houlton.
  • 1837 Martin Van Buren became the 8th President of the United States.
  • 1838 Aroostook War began.
  • 1839 Aroostook County is established, set off from Penobscot and Washington Counties.
  • 1840 A road is built from Presque Isle to Fort Fairfield.
  • 1841 William Henry Harrison became the 9th President of the United States.
  • 1841 John Tyler became the 10th President of the United States.
  • 1842 The Webster-Ashburton treaty settled the boundary lines between Maine and New Brunswick.
  • 1843 Customs office is established in Fort Fairfield.
  • 1843 Another part of Penobscot County is annexed to Aroostook County.
  • 1844 Parts of Piscataquis and Somerset Counties are annexed to Aroostook County.

Aroostook War

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