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Swan's Island was first settled in 1760 by Captain James Swan, a native of Fife, Scotland. The island is named after him. He had been hired by the General Court of Massachusetts to settle the island and organize its defense against French attacks during King George's War (1744–1748). In 1763 he built Fort Richmond at the eastern end of Main Street as protection from an attack that never came. Colonel Swan died in 1802 and is buried on his property overlooking Bass Harbor near Fort Richmond; his grave site has been marked with a monument since 1914 when it was rediscovered during construction work on what would become Route 102A (now Route 220). The town developed slowly until about 1840 when shipbuilding began to flourish due to demand for ships used in coastal trade along Maine's rocky coastlines.