Penobscot River and Bay, Maine
This large and important river, with its numerous and extensive branches, water a large portion of the state. It pierces the county which bears its name and receives tributaries from Washington, Hancock, Waldo, Piscataquis and Somerset counties. Below the union of the eastern and western branches the Piscataquis and Matawamkeag are its largest tributaries. From the junction of the two branches, or "the Forks," to tide water at Bangor is about 76 miles.
The western branch of the Penobscot rises in the high lands on the border of Lower Canada and the western frontier of Maine. It passes through the counties of Somerset and Piscataquis in an eastern direction, to its junction with the eastern branch, receiving in its course the waters of lakes Chesuncook, Pemadumcook, Millinoket, and other large collections of water. This branch passes within three miles of the northern border of Moose Head lake, the source of Kennebec river. The length of this branch of the Penobscot, from its source to its union with the east branch or Seboois river, may be stated at about 140 miles, and the greatest length of the river to Bangor, 215, and to the ocean, 275.
Some of the most important tributaries of this majestic river, are noted under their distinctive names; a description of them all with their hydraulic powers and boatable capabilities, their rapid courses and beautiful cataracts, their fertilizing qualities, and other peculiarities would fill a volume. Indeed, these streams and the immense basin which they drain, are so little known, that some years must elapse before anything like a fair delineation of the value and beauty of this interesting section of New England can be given.
Penobscot Bay. The waters of this bay extend from Owl's Head on the west, to Burnt Coat Island on the E., a distance of about 30 miles. At its mouth are Fox Islands, Deer Isle, Isle of Haut, and a number of smaller islands. It extends to Belfast bay, at the mouth of Penobscot river, a distance of 20 miles N. from Owl's Head. This bay contains a great number of commodious harbors, and on its borders are many large and flourishing commercial towns. It affords a great variety of fish, and the scenery among the islands is delightful.