Person:Jeremiah Wardwell (5)

Jeremiah Wardwell
b.19 DEC 1756 York, York, ME
m. 24 JAN 1755
  1. Eliakim WardwellBEF 1755 - BEF 1844
  2. Jeremiah Wardwell1756 - 1825
  3. Abigail WardwellABT 1759 - AFT 1784
  4. Daniel Wardwell1760 - 1844
  5. Tyrphena Wardwellabt 1761 - 1813
  6. Temperance WardwellABT 1763 - 1838
  7. Sarah WardwellBEF 1765 - AFT 1785
  8. Mercy Wardwell1770 - 1837
  9. Samuel Wardwell1774 - 1858
m. 14 SEP 1779
  1. William Wardwell1780 - 1830
  2. Eliakim Wardwell1782 - 1840
  3. Ruth Wardwell1785 - 1840
  4. Ebenezer Wardwell1787 - 1876
  5. Anna Wardwell1790 - 1876
  6. Elizabeth Wardwell1792 - 1826
  7. Joseph Wardwell1794 - 1819
  8. Robert Wardwell1796 - 1877
  9. Lewis Burton Wardwell1799 - 1845
  10. Seneca Wardwell1802 - AFT 1880
  11. Vespasian Wardwell1804 - 1876
  12. Mercy Wardwell1806 - 1838
Facts and Events
Name Jeremiah Wardwell
Gender Male
Birth[1] 19 DEC 1756 York, York, ME
Baptism[3] 8 MAY 1757 1st Parish, York, ME
Marriage 14 SEP 1779 Penobscot, Hancock, MEto Elizabeth Banks
Death[2] 25 OCT 1825 Penobscot, Hancock, ME
Burial? 27 OCT 1825 Jeremiah Wardwell Cemetery, Penobscot, ME

Hosea Wardwell (1838-1913), a grandson of Jeremiah Wardwell, was the author of "The Early Settlers of the Town of Penobscot", which appeared in the Belfast Republican Journal in 1890, and reprinted later in the Bangor Historical Magazine, Vol. vii:25-26. Hosea wrote of his grandfather:

"Jeremiah began life as a cook on board his father's sloop Enterprise. In a Diary kept by him of a voyage from York to Bagaduce, at age 14, he wrote:

February 16, 1770: Frozen into the ice between Long Island and Bagaduce Point. Out of provisions, out of patience, out of tobacco, and worse than all, out of rum. February 17: We cut a hole in the ice and caught a halibut that weighed 300 pounds, and two codfish that weighed forty pounds each. February 18: The crew went out on the ice to Fort Pownall for supplies. March 9: The ice broke up and we brought the sloop to the landing at Bagaduce and soon loaded with wood for Boston.

"In 1774, when 17 1/2 years old, his father removed the family from York to Bagaduce and settled on Lot No.82 where Hosea B. Wardwell, author of this sketch, resided. Without a teacher, "Jere' Wardwell mastered land surveying and was an assistant surveyor to Mr. John Peters in laying out the township to the eastward of the Penobscot River. He took land in pay for his service, and thus laid the foundation for an ample fortune."

In 1775, Jere and his brother Daniel were seaman aboard the Tryphena, their father aboard as owner and Captain.

Jeremiah engaged in trading, lumbering and real estate. He had 200 acres (60 rods on the water) originally settled by brother-in-law Finlay Malcolm in 1769; and 100 acres (60 rods on the water) orginally settled by brother-in-law Daniel Brown in 1773. The assumption could be made that these properties were acquired in 1783, when Findlay and Brown and families, Loyalists, were transported to Nova Scotia by the new U.S. government.

"In 1787, Jeremiah was appointed Captain of a company in the 1st Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 8th Division of the militia of Massachusetts, in the County of Lincoln, by Governor John Hancock, and rose by promotion from grade to grade till he received the rank of Colonel by appointment from Governor Samuel Adams in 1797.

In the first U.S. Census in 1790, Jeremiah and his family were enumerated at Penobscot: 1-3-4-1-0 (i.e. Jeremiah; sons William, Eliakim, Ebenzer; wife "Betsy"; daughters Ruth, Anna, and [a female servant]; and a slave). "In 1790, he built a two-story dwelling, containing eleven rooms, and here, according to the custom of the times, he kept a free hotel. Poor and rich, high and low, enjoyed his hospitality without money and without price. Very seldom a night passed but he had a guest to entertain. His daughters often complained that they were called from the comfortable beds at midnight to cook for uninvited, but not unwelcome, visitors. He was a man who could never say no, and he lost many thousand of dollars by becoming bondsman for others, and by lending money without proper security. But he had an abundance to carry him comfortably through life, and he gave each of his sons a farm."

The 1800 Census at Penobscot showed Jeremiah's family as 7-6, B(26-44) (i.e. Jeremiah; William, Eliakim, Ebenezer, Joseph, Robert, Lewis; "Betsey", Ruth, Anna, Elizabeth, and [2 female servants]).

"In religion, Mr. Wardwell's views were liberal. He never made any public profession, but as being the most liberal, strongly favored the Methodists. He and Captain Thatcher Avery at their joint expense built a commodious house of worship for the Methodists in 1801" (the first such east of the Penobscot).

"In 1803 and 1804, he represented the town of Penobscot in the General Court of Massachusetts. In politics he was an unbending adherent of Thomas Jefferson, and a firm believer in the principles of State's Rights, and complete separation of Church and State. When Elder Roundy, a Baptist clergyman, was sued, and his cow sold to pay his tax to the established Church, Jeremiah gave him another cow from his own herd in testimony of this abhorrence of the last which sanctioned such iniquity.

"Mr. Wardwell's house was always open to ministers on the circuit. During the year 1789, the Presiding (Aldership) of Joshua Taylor, afterwards a Bishop of the Methodist Church South, Jeremiah gave Mr. Taylor his board for a year. When Mr. Taylor was roughly handled by the members of the established church in Castine, for the crime of preaching a Methodist Sermon in a barn, he sought refuge with his infidel friend in Penobscot, as Mr. Wardwell was called by the name infidel by those who termed themselves the 'faithful'. A strong friendship was formed between these two men which only was terminated on the death of Mr. Wardwell. Rev. Thomas F. Norris, afterwards editor of the Boston Olive Branch, made his home with Mr. Wardwell in 1813, resulting in a life-long friendship.

"When he began trading, Mr. Wardwell, like too many others of his day, sold rum. He soon saw the evil of it and abandoned the traffic and for the last 35 years of his life he was styled a fanatical temperance man." The he was not opposed to owning slaves is apparent from the Census of 1790, but New England had as many slaves as did the planters of the South prior to the Civil War.

"In 1812, he was appointed Justice of the Peace by Governor Elbridge Gerry, which office he heldby reappointment until his death. In the first Town Meeting of Penobscot, April 18, 1787, he had been chosen one of the Selectmen, and was chosen to the same office for nearly every year after that until he death. He was always one of any committee chosen to transact any business for the town, and his decisions were all acquiesced in as being just. Although he never attended school a day in his life, by dint of hard labor he acquired what in his day was called good learning, and many young men sought his instruction in reading, writing, surveying, navigation and arithmetic. Before public schools were established, he hired a private teacher one or two months a year for his children.

Colonel Jeremiah Wardwell died on October 25, 1825, in Penoscot, age 62 years, 2 months, and was interred in the plot he owned for his family. "Betsy" (Banks) Wardwell was a widow for twenty-eight years, dying November 26, 1853, age 88 1/2 and was interred next to her husband. -Eliakim Wardwell of York, Maine With an Informal Collection of His Descendants through the 7th Generation, Majorie Wardwell Otten 2002

"In the year 1804, Jeremiah Wardwell, of Penosbscot, was in command of some regiment. The following letter proves the fact, and also shows that they were called into service, though it is not certain that they ever left town: 'Col. J. Wardwell, Sir: It appears than an insurrection has broken out in the settlement west of Belfast, and the insurgents threaten to burn the town of Belfast, and it appears necessary that the militia should be put in readiness to march at the shortest notice. You are hereby ordered to examine the town stocks of ammunition within the limits of your regiment, and have them filled immediately, and have fifty men equipped and ready to march, if they should be called for. I am, Sir, your most obedient and humble servant, John Crosby, B. General Hampden, June 28, 1804" -History of Castine, Penobscot and Brooksville, Maine

"Jeremiah Wardwell ( 1756 - 1825 )

         Jeremiah Wardwell, also born in Old York,  is another name who played a very prominent rele in the development of Penobscot.  With John Peters,  he helped survey the territory,  copies of which are still on file in the Hancock County Courthouse.  He was present at the first town meeting held at the home of  Gabriel Johannot,  following the incorporation of Penobscot into the township.   At this meeting he was chosen to be one of the selectmen to govern the newly created town.   A self educated man,  Jeremiah is said to have taught many young men math, surveying and navigation before the time formal school system existed.  And when in 1809, the decision was made to build the first school house, he was in the line to financially sponsor the construction.   Later , when it was decided that the town needed a church,  he shared the expense of the building with Thatcher Avery.
    Mr. Wardwell's rele in the Revolution is not entirely clear, but it can be safely speculated that he was not as opposed to the British occupation as some of his neighbors.  However,  his subsequent role in town affairs,  and the fact that he became Captain of Militia,  later Colonel, suggests that he was hardly a Tory Sympathizer.   It was not known where he lived in Penobscot.  The only thing known is that the house south of the bay was Jeremiah Wardwell's home.  According to maps of that era,   a  J.Wardwell lived on what is now route 199, the Castine Road.  Traveling  south, the maps pinpoint the house to be on the right side of the highway just before the enterance way to the lower road leading from Wardwell's Point .  It was a town landmark for over  one-hundred years.  It was here that Jeremiah and his wife, Elizabeth,  the daughter of Aaron Banks, raised a large family of twelve children.  One of these children, Robert, was the father of Hosea Wardwell who helped his father build a family home at the very end of Wardwell Point Road, still standing today.    The family graveyard is just down the hill from the house overlooking Bagaduce Bay, and contains the remains of Jeremiah, as well as his wife Elizabeth."


  1. Penobscot, Maine Vital Records.
  2. Penobscot, Maine Vital Records.
  3. First Parish York, Baptismals 1750-1800, York County Genealogical Society Journal Vol 8.