The Howard Store 1767-1807
As early as 1761, The Kennebec Proprietors were selling tracts of land from Fort Western and supplying goods to the settlers. In 1767 Captain Howard purchased the fort for $500. Samuel and William Howard operated the S & W Howard Store from the premises for the next forty years. Samuel, a sea captain, was located in Boston and acted as a broker for his brother William, as well as provided goods for settlers living in the greater Kennebec Valley. William lived in the north end of the garrison and operated a store and blacksmith shop out of the south end. In 1784 a separate building was built just north of the old fort garrison, and the store continued operating there until 1807. William continued running the store with his son Samuel Jr. until 1807 when all active accounts were signed over to Samuel Jr. Unfortunately, the Embargo Act of 1807 quickly put the Howard Store out of business. Howard's family descendants lived in the old garrison building until the 1850s. Five account books survive from the Howard Store, dating from 1767 until 1807. These books list the accounts of the earliest settlers of the central Kennebec Valley and include goods being purchased and bartered.