Kennebec Boat and Canoe Company

Years in Business: 
1909 - 1941
Company History: 

The Kennebec Boat and Canoe Company built its first canoes in December of 1909. The company was founded by George F. Terry, who was formerly a railroad station agent, ice cutter, publisher and merchandiser. Terry’s son, George F. Terry, Jr. later joined the company and ran it until 1939. In 1939, the company was sold to Frank Terry and James Dean. A small number of canoes were built until the factory was closed for good in 1941.

Walter D. Grant was Supervisor of the Kennebec Boat and Canoe Company from its inception in 1909. Prior to that, Grant lived with his parents and was listed in the 1900 US Census as being a painter. Grant, described on his WWI draft card as of stocky build with blue eyes, brown hair and missing parts of some fingers, was married to wife Mary, and had two children, Clifford (b. 1906) and Marguerite (b. 1909). Walter had a twin brother, Wendell B. Grant, who worked for E.M. White’s canoe business most of his life. Walter’s sister Delia l. Grant was married to E.M. White.

In 1930, Grant left Kennebec to found the Skowhegan Boat and Canoe Company.

Identifying Features: 
  • Heart-shaped decks.
  • Short rail caps on open gunwale canoes are usual.
  • Serial Number: 4 to 6 digit number + length stamped on stem or on brass builder’s plate. Format typically the same as Old Town Canoe Company. Records may be accessed through the WCHA Serial Number Search.

The following is a link to a YouTube video showing a 1927 Kennebec Katahdin Model, type A, showing typical deck and open rail treatment, location of serial number and other aspects of a beautifully restored Kennebec canoe:

  • Miller, Daniel J. 2011. The Kennebec Boat & Canoe Company of Waterville, Maine. Wooden Canoe 166:11-15.
  • Millis, Willard E., Jr. 1984. The Kennebec Canoe Company. Wooden Canoe 19:3-6.