Otisfield - 1976
(The following is taken from the Otisfield, Maine Town Report, Year Ending Dec 31, 1975)
The chain of events which
culminated in the naming of the town of Otisfield in 1776, commenced in
the year 1690 when a military company under the command of Captain John
Gorham, a part of a larger force, was sent by the Massachusetts Bay Province
against Canada in the French and Indian War.
Upon their return, in consideration of their suffering and service, Captain Gorham's company was granted a township In the undeveloped territory of the Massachusetts Bay Province (Maine). Unfortunately, when a survey was made of the grant, it was found to be located almost entirely within the territory of neighboring New Hampshire. As a result, the members of the company were left with no benefits from the grant.
The matter was apparently dropped and no effort made to reopen it until 1771 when the Hon. James Otis and Mr. Nathaniel Gorham, in behalf of themselves and other heirs and assigns of the original members of Captain Gorham's Company, petitioned the Massachusetts Legislature for a new township grant to replace the one lost so many years before. It is hardly possible any of the original members of the company were alive at this time; their rights now being represented by their heirs or other persons to whom their rights may have been given or sold.
A new grant was allowed, consisting of seven miles square to be located "East of the Saco River and adjoining the boundary of an existing township"- in this case the town of Raymond. Other conditions required within a six year period that thirty families be settled in the town; a meeting house be constructed and division of the land include one sixty- fourth of the township to be laid out for the "ministry", another sixty fourth for the first settled minister, another for the grammar school and a final one for Harvard University. The other 60 rights belonged to the Proprietors.
Organized as a corporation, the Proprietors voted to lay out an initial division of 65 one hundred acre lots, the sixty fifth lot being established as a mill privilege. Each Proprietor was assessed 30 shillings for each right he held (some held several) in order to raise money to accomplish this work. Rights of Proprietors who were delinquent in payment of this or subsequent assessments were sold to prospective settlers. The survey of this first division was completed in late 1773.
The Proprietors then hired a contractor to build a bridge across Crooked River (probably at Edes Falls), construct a sawmill and a grist mill and to cut out a road from the river to the center of the township. This road, later called the Pierce Road, still exists in part as a logging road commencing at Edes Falls, thence northerly along Jug Town Road so-called, then branching easterly across Poplar Ridge to the vicinity of Camp Songo on Pleasant Lake and the
Casco Road. The contractor, George Pierce, had a great deal to do with the subsequent development of the town.
At a meeting of the Proprietors on October 16, 1776, it was voted to lay out a second division of 64 one hundred acre lots for assignment to themselves per each right and the 4 special shares for ministry and education. It was at this meeting (see inside cover), "It was voted the Name of the Town be Otisfield."
James Otis owned several Proprietor rights and it is believed that this and because of his efforts in petitioning the matter into a second grant were the reasons for the Town being so named. It is not believed that James Otis ever saw Otisfield.