Wells Garrison and Block-Houses

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Storer's Garrison

Joseph Storer's Garrison was considered one of the largest and strongest garrison houses in Wells. His Garrison house was two stories high with a turret at each corner that served as a watchtower. The house was protected by a palisade built with upright logs 10 to 15 feet tall spaced about 10 feet from the house. Storer built several small houses outside the palisade to house families in times of danger. The houses were only occupied during the day and everyone went into the garrison at night.

Three times when hostile Indians ravaged across York County settlers and nearly all the Wells inhabitants rushed to this garrison house for refuge. During these times the garrison would have had to house several hundred people

On 10 Jun 1692 some five hundred French and Indians, including chief Sagamores, under command of the French officer La Brognerie attacked the Wells settlement. The inhabitants fled into the Storer Garrison house. The Commander of the garrison, a Captain James Converse with his 15 men and other inhabitants of the town, successfully repelled repeated attacks despite being so greatly outnumbered. The attackers repeatedly demanded surrender but Capt. Converse refused. The attackers continued the siege for 48 hours but could not overcome the garrison and abandoned the effort. Among the casualties was the French commanding officer (La Brognerie) who was killed. In retaliation, the attackers tortured their lone captive (John Diamond) to death. The defender's great victory brought Capt. Converse fame and advancement and in 1702, the governor made him commander of all Massachusetts provincial forces in the field.

The town was again attacked during Queen Anne's War on 10 Aug 1703, when 39 inhabitants were slain or abducted, with many more wounded. Wells was also attacked in 1712 with hostile Indians raiding a wedding party.

In present-day Wells, a granite monument in Storer Park now marks the site of Storer’s garrison. A building that was built on the original old foundation sometime between 1730-1760, used timber from the original house (known as the historic "Garrison House"). That house was moved in 2012 from the garrison site to Mike’s Clam Shack Restaurant property just up the street.

See also Historical American Buildings Survey from the Library of Congress.

Assigned Location ID ME00108.

GPS Locations:

Wheelwright's Garrison

Colonel John Wheelwright's Garrison was established in 1676 during King Philip's War and continued in use during King William's War until it was destroyed in 1692 after the attack described above. Reestablished in 1702 during Queen Anne's War.

It was from this same site that the Colonel's daughter Esther Wheelwright (1696-1780) was captured on 10 Aug 1703 by hostile Indians, raised by them and later taken to Canada by Catholic priests. She became a nun and in 1760 became Mother Superior of the Ursuline Convent in Quebec.

Wheelwright's Garrison was located on the east side of present-day Route One at 1785 Post Road in Wells, Maine. Reportedly, a marker identifies the site of Wheelwright’s Garrison.

Assigned Location ID ME00107.

GPS Locations:

See Also:


  • Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X.
  • Wheeler, George A. and Henry W., History of Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell, Boston, A. Mudge & Sons (printers), 1878, 1006 pages, Pdf
  • Bourne, Edward E., Garrison Houses, York County, in Collections of the Maine Historical Society, Vol. VII (1876):112-113, Google Books


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