The land now included in the Town of Standish was originally part of the area hunted and occupied from time to time by the Sokokis Tribe of the Abenaki Indians.
Moses Pearson commanded a company in the first siege of Louisburg and its capture during King George's War. Humphrey Hobbs commanded a company of Indian fighters defending New Hampshire from French and Indian raids. Upon return from those expeditions, the two captains in 1748 petitioned the General Court of the Provence of Massachusetts Bay for grants of land to establish a township somewhere in the County of York; and in 1750 the right to settle 22,640 acres was granted to the 120 men who had served in the two companies. The new township was called Pearson and Hobbs Town. Hobbs died of smallpox at Fort William Henry during the last of the Indian wars and none of his men ever settled on the land.
In May 1752 the Proprietors met and began the process of surveying and mapping the First Division of the land into 30-acre lots. Settlements began slowly and many of the ex-soldiers sold their rights for whatever cash they could get. Four roads were laid out which crossed at what is now Standish Corner. These four roads were each 8 rods wide (132 feet) and were called Northwest Rd. (Oak Hill Rd.), Northeast Rd. (Sebago Lake), Southeast Rd. (Gorham) and Southwest Rd. (Buxton).
In the earliest days of settlement the Indians frequently razed their cabins and attempted to drive them out. The Proprietors then petitioned the General Court in Boston for funds to build a fort and supply an armed guard. The petition was ignored and the desperate grantees thereupon built a fort with their own funds. The fort was built at the intersection of the four roads so that the approaching Indians could easily be spotted. Within the fort there were a meetinghouse used for worship and meetings and several small houses against the walls of the fort for the families to occupy. In 1756 there were 16 families with an estimated total of 65 people. The men of the families alternated as armed guards of the fort. Only Joseph Thorn and Abraham York of the original grantees ever completed the requirements for gaining title to their land.
During the time they occupied the fort, the early settlers were often near starvation. They were surrounded by Indians and their efforts to raise crops on their lots outside the fort failed because of raids by the Indians. At one time some of the bravest men sneaked out of the fort and killed a moose. They cut off and carried back one quarter of the carcass. By the time they could return with help to bring in the rest, the Indians had found and carried away the remainder of the moose. A petition to the General Court in Massachusetts in 1756 resulted in a grant of $6.40 a month (22c a day) to be divided among the sixteen families!
These conditions continued until the fall of Quebec in 1759, at which time the warfare between the Indians and the English Settlements in the District of Maine came to an end. During the next twenty-six years settlers were able to work their land and build cabins and houses. The plantation called "Pearsontown" was incorporated into a town by the name of Standish by an Act passed November 30, 1785 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is that incorporation we celebrated in 1985, 200 years later, as the Bicentennial Year.
STANDISH, Maine 1785-1985, Compiled & published by the Standish Historical Society
Learn more about the history of Watchic Lake area of Standish by following the link provided by the Watchic Lake Association.