Norridgewock Indians

The Occom Circle

Norridgewock Indians

Name (variant)



Norridgewock is the name of a band of the Abenaki Indians/First Nations, an eastern Algonquian tribe that occupied an area in Maine along the border of Acadia, on the western bank of the Kenebec River. It was also the name of their village, now called Old Point in Madison, Maine. The name is a version of Nanrantsouak, meaning "people of the still water between the rapids." The Norridgewocks lived peacefully through cultivation of maize, beans, and squash and seasonal ocean fishing, until the arrival of Europeans. Both France and England claimed their territory, and the village of Norridgewock occupied a strategic site on the way to Quebec. In 1694, Father Sebastien Rale (or Rasle) arrived in Norridgewock, establishing a Jesuit mission and the first school in the area. Rale converted most of the tribe and buit a large church where Native youths served as acolytes. The village also had a stockade. A series of wars ensued between the English and French, centered on this area. In 1721, at the beginning of "Father Rale's War," Rale encouraged the Norridgewock leaders to deliver a letter to the English governor at Georgetown demanding the removal of English settlers from Abenaki lands. This resulted in a raid on the village in 1722 and the Battle of Norridgewock in 1724, in which the village was destroyed, Rale killed, and the inhabitants relocated to Quebec. The New England poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, memorialized this battle in his 1836 poem "Mogg Megone." In 1766 Wheelock sent Aaron Kinne, who mentioned the Norridgewocks, to Georgetown, Maine, to investigate the possibilities of setting up Indian schools and recruiting Indian children for Moor's.


Bulba, Dana. "Abenakis in the Norridgewock/Skowhegan Area." Skowhegan Community History. skowhegan.; Varney, George J. "History of Norridgewock, Maine." A Gazetteer for the State of Maine. Boston: B. B. Russell, 1886.