The gores I’m talking about are geographical in nature. You’ll be glad to know that the creation of such places did not involve bloodshed or violence, as far as could be determined.

The term originates from the Old English for the shape of a spearhead and has since evolved to mean a triangular piece of land — a wedge-shaped strip of land beside an irregular field, or a strip or tract between larger divisions, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. In Maine, the shapes vary. Gores are also found in New Hampshire and Vermont.

Surveyors are understandably mum on the topic since these unique parcels of land result from their measurement errors, for the most part. The Bureau of Land Management uses the term “hiatus,” which is “an area between two surveys … having one or more common boundary lines with no omission.”

Gores are unorganized and rely on their counties and the state for governance and support.

Just where are the gores, and what role do they play in Maine’s landscape? Let’s list the basics:

Blake Gore

  • County: Somerset
  • Previously known as: 5R4 NBKP
  • Size: 3,717 acres
  • Shape: triangular, with northwest side bordering Quebec Province
  • Nearest town: Moose River
  • Special features: three small ponds, three brooks, bog and swampland.

Coburn Gore

  • County: Franklin
  • Previously Known As: 3R7 WBKP
  • Size: 8,634.26 acres
  • Shape: head of cauliflower
  • Nearest town: Eustis
  • Special features: site of a U.S. Border Station built in 1931, open 24 hours; Route 27 ends here; general store
  • Legislation: On June 21, 1991, Franklin County was granted the Coburn Gore Dump Site, an area of 1.85 acres; on March 4, 1997, a resolve was passed to name a small body of water north of Route 27 “Fabian’s Dunk” in honor of Dr. Edward Fabian

Gorham Gore

  • County: Franklin
  • Previously known as: 1R9 WBKP, part of land granted to Gorham Academy
  • Size: 9,364 acres
  • Shape: triangular, with Quebec on the northwest border
  • Nearest town: Jackman
  • Special features: just northwest of Coburn and Massachusetts Gores, six acres of inland water

Hibberts Gore

  • County: Lincoln
  • Named for the Hibbert family who moved there from Wiscasset
  • Size: 640 acres
  • Shape: flag with its pole
  • Nearest towns: surrounded by Washington (Knox County), Palermo (Waldo County) and Somerville (Lincoln County)
  • Special features: Several articles have been written on this gore and its one inhabitant. Popular lore states that the lines were first disputed when someone lost a yoke of oxen in the gore’s bog and sought reimbursement from Palermo.

Massachusetts Gore

  • Special features: 147 acres of bog or swamp; shares northern border with Coburn Gore
  • Nearest town: Eustis
  • Shape: three straight sides; west, undulating border with Quebec
  • Size: 9,151 acres
  • Previously known as: 3R6 WBKP; named for Massachusetts’ retention of timber rights
  • County: Franklin

Misery Gore

  • County: Somerset
  • Previously known as: Misery-Sapling Gore
  • Size: Legislative Document No. 1084 (1989) gives the size as 4,018 acres; Maine Revenue Services says it’s 3,684 acres.
  • Shape: long, narrow triangle 17 miles in length, ending on the west side of Moosehead Lake; half a mile in width
  • Nearest town: Beaver Cove (which used to be a gore)
  • Special features: 282 acres of bog or swamp; Routes 6 and 15 pass through north/south, as does Somerset Road and Williams Mountain Road
  • Legislation: LD 1084, “An Act to Consolidate the Township of Misery-Sapling Gore into Adjoining Townships,” dated April 10, 1989, effectively eliminated Misery Gore by dividing it among Parlin Pond, Misery and Sapling townships. The idea was to make recordkeeping and maintenance less of a hassle for Scott Paper Company, which owned all but 112 acres of the gore. It was restored to the map, thankfully, with LD 1348 in 1991; the system of administration remained as previously established in 1989.

Moxie Gore

  • County: Somerset
  • Previously known as: 1R5 BKP EKR
  • Size: 11,919.16 acres
  • Shape: triangular, with western border on the Kennebec River
  • Nearest town: Shirley, in Piscataquis County
  • Special features: home of Moxie Falls State Scenic Area and the Kennebec River Gorge; Indian Pond Road runs through it.

Veazie Gore

  • County: Penobscot
  • Size: 1,000 acres
  • Shape: triangular
  • Nearest town: Millinocket
  • Special features: includes part of Upper Jo-Mary Lake; it’s in the same county as the town of Veazie, though they are apparently unrelated and are at least 70 miles apart.

For a handy listing of township codes, click here.

Gores are populated — seasonally, yearlong or both. The U.S. Census, however, does not keep figures at the township or gore level, according to the Office of the State Auditor, and county commissioners are no longer required to take a count every five years.

I had better luck when asking about registered voters, thanks to the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s Office. Coburn Gore has four people, registered in Eustis; Hibberts Gore has one, registered in Somerville; and Moxie has four, registered in West Forks Plantation, plus three in The Forks Plantation.

Some questions for readers: Who was Dr. Edward Fabian of Coburn Gore fame? Also, if you’re a gore resident, please get in touch. It would be great to connect facts with people.

Emily A. Schroeder is staff genealogist at the Maine State Library. She may be reached at