Town History

Palmyra was incorporated June 20, 1807 and has had a growing community to date. Palmyra is located in the mid section of Maine 34 miles north of Waterville and 30 miles north-west of Bangor and just minutes away from Interstate 95. Palmyra has 38.5 square miles of land area where approximately 2180 residents currently reside, and is surrounded by Newport, Detroit, Pittsfield, Hartland and St Albans with community ties to all these towns. It is a diverse community of small farms, former farms and suburban-rural homes. The community is also fast becoming an appendage to the commercial sprawl of Newport’s Triangle intersection.

Much of eastern Somerset County and western Penobscot County can be viewed from its hilltops. On a clear day, the views can include the White Mountains to the west and Maine’s Mt. Katahdin to the north. Some areas of interest include the Madawaska Bog Wildlife Preserve, the Palmyra Town Park, and the Veterans Memorial Monument (located near the park entrance). The Town Park is located on Main Street beside the Town Office and it offers a picnic area, a baseball field, a basketball court. Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, hunting, fishing, hiking, and golfing and camping, It is home to the only 18-hole golf course in the Sebasticook Valley area. The Palmyra Golf Course and RV Resort is located on Lang Hill on the north side of U.S. Route 2 and attracts golf and RV enthusiasts from a wide area, as well as travelers passing through the region, these are just a few of the outdoor activities that can be enjoyed in town. In the 1790 Census this area was known as Township Number 5 Range 3, north of the Waldo Patent in the Lincoln County, in 1792 this area was first surveyed by Ephraim Ballard and Samuel Weston. In 1796 Moses Barnard of New Hampshire, Joseph Hilton, Isaac Thompson, and George Reid contracted to buy from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts this township as well as those including the present towns of Hartland, St Albans and Corinna. These men either lost or sold their option to Dr John Warren of Boston who purchased 28,200 acres from the Commonwealth June 12, 1800 for $7,666.89.

The name Palmyra has been said to be from Dr. Warren’s wife Abigail who named it Palmyra in memory of a daughter, or possibly as Abigail was a avid reader and Palmyra is an ancient Syrian city with rich and fertile farm lands and forests such as our Palmyra, named for that, neither of which has been verified. First settlers of Palmyra were Daniel Gale, who built the first log cabin near Gale Corner and returned later to Cornville to bring his wife Sarah and several of their children, soon after arriving Mrs. Gale gave birth to a son John Warren Gale. Other settlers included Joseph Jewett, Joseph Folsom, Jeremiah Marston, Peter Elkins, Samuel Elkins, Caleb Shaw, Jeremiah Robinson who was a surveyor and laid out many of the roads and lots in town, Eben Nay and Joseph Warren son of Dr. John Warren, who built the Warren mansion as well as two previous houses. On September 5, 1807 David Jewett Justus of the Peace issued a warrant to Samuel Lancey to warn free holders of a meeting at Lancey’s tavern at 1:00pm on September 14, 1807 to elect town officers. thus the first town meeting was held and Samuel Lancey was elected Moderator; Daniel Gail town clerk; Samuel Lancey, Joseph Folsom , Samuel McClure Selectman; Isaac Smith Town Treasurer; Jeremiah Robinson Constable; Gideon Parkman, Daniel Gail, Isaac Smith Surveyors of Highways; Jesse Miles, Jeremiah Marston Field Drivers; Jeremiah Robinson, Gideon Parkman Fence Viewers; Thomas McClure Elijah Smith Hogreaves: Isaac Smith Sealer of Weights and Measures; Robert Stuart Scalar of Lumber; Iphidiah Ring Pound Keeper; Jeremiah Marston, Iphidiah Ring Daniel Gail Tithing Men. Although the appearance of Palmyra has changed somewhat over the years, the small-town atmosphere of this community remains.

 John Warren (1753–1815) was a Continental Army surgeon during the American Revolutionary War and the younger brother of Joseph Warren. Warren was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts and studied at The Roxbury Latin School and medicine under his elder brother Joseph, later becoming a renowned doctor in Boston. He joined Colonel Pickering's Regiment in 1773 as an army surgeon. On June 17, 1775, he was in Cambridge tending to the wounded coming in from the Battle of Bunker Hill on Breed's Hill over four miles away. Worried about his brother, who had joined the fighting and died, Warren went to search for him after the battle was over. A British sentry told John he could not pass and then bayoneted him as a warning, forcing the depressed Warren to go back to Cambridge. After his brother's death, Warren volunteered for service and was made a senior surgeon at the hospital in Cambridge. He became surgeon of the general hospital on Long Island in 1776 during General Washington's defense there. He also served at the Battle of Trenton and the Battle of Princeton. Warren returned to Boston in 1777 to continue his medical practices while still serving as a military surgeon in the army hospital there. He became very successful for years after, performing one of the first abdominal operations in America and founding Harvard Medical School.


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