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York County is a county located in the U.S. state of Mainemarker. In 2000, the population was 186,742. Its county seat is Alfredmarker .

York County is part of the PortlandmarkerSouth PortlandmarkerBiddefordmarker Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,271 square miles (3,293 km²), of which, 991 square miles (2,566 km²) of it is land and 280 square miles (726 km²) of it (22.06%) is water.

Adjacent counties



National protected area



Demographics

At the 2000 census , there were 186,742 people, 74,563 households and 50,851 families residing in the county. The population density was 188 per square mile (73/km²). There were 94,234 housing units at an average density of 95 per square mile (37/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.56% White, 0.42% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.73% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.85% from two or more races. 0.70% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The most cited ethnicities were English (17.9%), French (14.5%), French Canadian (13.9%), Irish (12.5%), United Statesmarker or American (9.6%) and Italian (5.1%). 90.84% of the population spoke English and 6.92% spoke French as their first language.[14272]

There were 74,563 households of which 32.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.00% were married couples living together, 9.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.80% were non-families. 24.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.96.

Age distribution was 24.80% under the age of 18, 6.90% from 18 to 24, 30.00% from 25 to 44, 24.80% from 45 to 64, and 13.60% who were 65 years of age or older. For every 100 females there were 94.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.40 males. The median age was 38 years.

The median household income was $43,630, and the median family income was $51,419. Males had a median income of $36,317 versus $26,016 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,225. About 5.90% of families and 8.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.90% of those under age 18 and 8.50% of those age 65 or over.

History

1622 patent

The first patent establishing the Province of Maine was granted on August 10, 1622, to Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason by the Plymouth Council for New England, which itself had been granted a royal patent by James I to the coast of North America between the 40th and the 48th parallels "from sea to sea". This first patent encompassed the coast between the Merrimack and Kennebec rivers, as well as an irregular parcel of land between the headwaters of the two rivers. In 1629, Gorges and Mason agreed to split the patent at the Piscataqua River, with Mason retaining the land south of the river as the Province of New Hampshire.

Gorges named his more northerly piece of territory New Somersetshire. This venture failed, however, because of lack of funds and colonial settlement. Also failed was a venture by Capt. Christopher Levett, an agent for Gorges and a member of the Council for New England. With the King's blessing, Levett embarked on a scheme to found a colony on the site of present-day Portland. Levett himself was granted of land, the first Englishman to own the soil of Portland. There he proposed to found a settlement name Yorkmarker after the city of his birth in England. Ultimately, the project was abandoned, the men Levett left behind disappeared, and Levett died aboard ship on his return to England from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. One part of Levett's scheme did survive: the name of York, which now adorns the county.

The now-decommissioned Fort Levett on Cushing Islandmarker in Casco Baymarker is named for Capt. Levett.

1639 patent

In 1639, Gorges obtained a renewed patent, the Gorges Patent, for the area between the Piscataqua and Kennebec Rivers, in the form of a royal charter from Charles I of England. The area was roughly the same as that covered in the 1622 patent after the 1629 split with Mason. The second colony also foundered for lack of money and settlers.

Absorption

In 1664, what had been the Province of Maine was given a grant by Charles II of England to James, Duke of York. Under the terms of this patent the territory was incorporated into Cornwall County, part of the Province of New York. Unlike the previous two patents, the territory stipulated in the 1664 charter encompassed the areas north of the Kennebec River to the St. Croix Rivermarker. This region, which had previously been called the Territory of Sagadahockmarker, forms the eastern portion of the present day state of Maine. The patent to James for this territory was renewed in 1674 and survives in York Countymarker.

The first known and recorded deed for a purchase of land in York County, Maine is in 1668, when Francis Small traded goods with the Newichewannock tribe of this area. Their Chief Wesumbe, also known as Captain Sandy, was friendly with Small and warned him of a plot against his life. A group of renegade tribesmen planned on murdering Small instead of paying him with the furs that were owed to him. Small escaped after watching his house in what is now Cornish, Maine, burn to the ground. Small returned and rebuilt. The Chief made up the loss by selling Small all the lands bounded by the Great and Little Ossipee Rivers, the Saco River, and the New Hampshire border. Known now as the five Ossipee towns, the tract included all of Limington, Limerick, Cornish (formerly named Francisborough), Newfield and Parsonsfield.

After a series of further permutations, the former Province had become, by the 18th century, part of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, later the state of Massachusettsmarker. The region of Maine achieved statehood of its own in 1820.

Cities and towns



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