About This Place
Fryeburg is a town in Oxford County, Maine, United States. The population was 3,083 at the 2000 census. Fryeburg is home to Fryeburg Academy, a private preparatory school, and the International Musical Arts Institute. The town is also site of the Fryeburg Fair, which each October attracts approximately 300,000 visitors.
The area was once a major Abenaki Indian village known as Pequawket, meaning "crooked place," a reference to the large bend in the Saco River. (Because of this the term 'Freyburg' is now known to mean "Crooked place" or "crooked town") It was inhabited by the Sokokis tribe, whose territory along the stream extended from what is now Saco on the coast, to Conway, New Hampshire in the White Mountains. In 1706, Chief Nescambious would be the only Indian knighted by the French. The tribe was not hostile to English settlements, even hiring British carpenters to build at Pequawket a 14-foot (4.3 m) high palisade fort as protection against their traditional enemy, the Mohawks. In 1713, Sokokis sachems signed the Treaty of Portsmouth to ensure peace with English colonists. Nevertheless, Pequawket was attacked in the Battle at Pequawket on May 8, 1725 by John Lovewell and his militia. Lovewell was killed, as were Chief Paugus and others. The tribe subsequently abandoned their village and moved to Canada.
The township was granted on March 3, 1762 by the Massachusetts General Court to Colonel Joseph Frye of Andover, Massachusetts. Colonists called it Pigwacket, a corruption of its former Indian name. The first permanent settlement was in 1763 by Nathaniel Smith and his family from Concord, New Hampshire, although it is said that John Stevens, Nathaniel Merrill and a slave named Limbo spent the winter of 1762 here. Many pioneers were veterans of the French and Indian Wars. When a portion of the grant was discovered to lie in New Hampshire, replacement land was granted as Fryeburg Addition in what is now part of Stow. On the eve of American independence, the Province of Massachusetts Bay granted township privileges to Fryeburg. These were recognized and validated by the Continental Massachusetts government on January 11, 1777, when Fryeburg was incorporated.