Jefferson is a town in Lincoln County, incorporated from Ballstown Plantation on February 24, 1807, when Thomas Jefferson was President. During the 19th Century, it set off land to Newcastle and Alna, and annexed land from Patricktown, later incorporated as Somerville.
Historically the present town dates back to January 13, 1630, when a grant of fifteen miles on each side of the Kennebec River from the mouth to the present site of Gardiner was made to William Bradford [governor of the Pilgrim Colony] of Plymouth, Massachusetts. The town of Jefferson was included in this area and was part of the plantation of Ballstown, founded in 1770 by John Ball.
Abandoned granite quarries and clay banks where bricks were made suggest the early economic activities of the area. The Gazetteer of Maine in 1886, observed the following:
"The principal occupation of the people is agriculture. There is at East Jefferson, on Damariscotta Lake, a flourishing cheese factory. At this place there are also lumber, stave and shingle mills, a wooden pump and carriage factory. At West Jefferson are a shingle-mill and potash factory, etc."
Jefferson has a substantial frontage on Damariscotta Lake, both in its north end and on virtually all its western shore. Damariscotta State Park is at the northeast corner of the lake, in Jefferson. The park features a sandy beach and picnic area. Visitors can also enjoy swimming, canoeing, and fishing.